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our company has decided to go at it alone. No framework. No project methodology. Nothing. A diabolical sadist must be at the helm.

The absence of any sort of structured approach will undoubtedly lead to a torturous environment, saturated with the guillotined heads of scapegoated managers and team members. And that’s a good day. A bad one would be on par with the tyranny dispensed by the likes of Genghis Khan, King Leopold II and most mothers-in-law.

More often than not the decision to forgo reliable best practices is due to a lack of awareness or belief in the benefits of employing a set of procedures to bring about change. Either way, it is certainly not based on some forward-thinking analysis. (That thought experiment you were just about to start — let it go). The simple and correct conclusion to be drawn is that a bewildering lack of discernment has been exercised.

The core issues that materialize in a setting absent of a structured approach are predictable and utterly catastrophic; unrealistic planning, unmitigated risks, inefficient communication, poor quality assurance, unclear roles and responsibilities, untamed flexibility, disorderly teamwork, global warming, etc., etc. — you get the point.

Also, the Project Managers, aka “convenient scapegoat when shit hits the fan”, will have what should be an alarming amount of latitude. Even the best PM’s can succumb to the enticements of an organization that offers no official approach for managing its projects. Most obvious being, the taking on of more risks. All things being equal, the more senior the PM, the more risk they can manage. Unfortunately, this inherently means that when things go wrong, they really go wrong. And not to venture too far towards a morass of paranoia but PM’s can easily exploit such a freewheeling environment. The blind spots that often manifest provide more than enough cover for unscrupulous PM’s to manipulate circumstances towards their own gain.

In the end, an organization would be far better off throwing a dart to select a random structured approach than to proceed with nothing at all. Project frameworks, methodologies, etc. are designed to provide stability to every project area. Furthermore, they ensure that all aspects are organized, predictable, transparent, and controlled, which enables transparency on the past, present and forecasted future to be achieved.

That being said (and to manage expectations) applying a structured approach by no means guarantees that a pose of triumph will be in order 100% of the time (that’s impossible and don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise). However, your organization’s average project success rate will increase exponentially, thus warding off any unwanted hemorrhaging of time and money. Such an outcome should be convincing enough to compel an organization to change course and adopt some form of structure. If it’s not, it’s best to quit immediately. Just kidding – sort of.

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