Saturday, December 5, 2020

Sequential vs Cumulative

I'm a sequentialist.
When planning a project, I think first about how to sequence the scope: do this first, then that. Or, do these things in parallel, followed by this or that.
MS Project, and similar tools, are the sequentialists go-to tool for planning sequences and establishing the sequential order of the project.

Not so fast!

What about cumulative, non-sequential, scope and effects?
For these, we need a cumulalist to help with the plan.

Accumulations of the cumulative
The obvious non-sequential scope is all the sundry overhead that descends on the project: HR stuff, regulatory requirements, environment maintenance, training, re-provisioning and refit, and on it goes.
But, that is all foreseeable, and to an extent, such overt actions can be accounted for in the plan.
Other things accumulate, leading to a cumulative effect on through-put, and thus cost and schedule, and perhaps even quality:
  • General fatigue from the stress of solving problems and meeting deadlines
  • Frustrations that mount up from dealing with the bureaucracy, other teams, outside consultants and contractors
  • The weather (unless you live in paradise, like I do, in Florida)
  • The pandemic 
  • Network issues and connectivity constraints
  • Security constraints and threats

There are many sequentialists on every project, and in every sponsor organization, keeping watch on the march toward the final milestone. 

Fewer may be cumulalists keeping watch on the build-up of factors and effects that may have impacts on the progress of the sequence.

Beware the accumulation of cumulative effects!


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