I posted about the importance of knowing which sort of project we are doing as it will affect the way we manage it. The Design Diamond facilitates the sort of project the team thinks it is doing and is actually doing Each type of project- fog, quest, movie, painting by numbers- is best managed in a different style and getting the style wrong can limit the horizon for the solution or, even worse, cause the project to go off the rails.
A fog project is often one of societal proportions, like sustainable enterprise. How do we address the issue of sustaining our business in today's environment, earning our place in the local society and addressing global warming too. We would probably want to involve all the local businesses in the discussion so that we could all figure it out together. There would be a series of meetings where people air the thoughts and opinions, do a workshop session and then go back to their organisation to discuss how these ideas might pan out in their particular business. In the UK landfill for waste is an issue (no more holes to fill) so an emergent issue might be how do we on the industrial/business park reduce or elimate landfill waste. A seminar on lean production is organised and afterwards everyone goes off to identify sources of waste and why it is generated. It turns out a lot of packaging waste is generated because we all order or stationary and like consumables individually. One person offers to look at how we could have a standardised list of the top items and all order from one supplier on the web and it will get delivered in bulk with minimal packaging to a central point on the park. So a quest has emerged from the fog. Once the website odering system is up and running other organisations see how it can be used to do similar jobs on other items in their business and a set of Making a Movie projects comes about. Painting by number projects come from a second and third organisation saying; I'll have that too, can you put that on our network. Soon some special skills in IT implementation emerge and the consortium of local organisations see how they could pool resources into a common resource (quest) and so on... an idealised set of events but in fact I have seen analogous things really happen. As to knowing what sort of project we are tackling... the diagram below shows the result of asking a newly formed team waht sort of project they were involved in. The team was a multifunctional and multi-organisational one. The team members attended a two-day workshop to launch the project. Individual team players were asked near the beginning and at the end of the workshop "What sort of project are we engaged in?".
The red dots are their votes at the start and green represent their views at the end of the workshop. The project was about providing a better office for collaborative design projects. At the beginning 'better' meant newer, better laid out facilities like the one we already had; at the end 'better' meant a stimulating environment for teams to create new more substantial things. The perception of the project had grown from more or less a Painting by numbers excercise in office sizing (we have the formula, just plug in the numbers) to a more creative approach asking how could we provide a facility that helped us change the nature of our projects supporting a more adventurous approach with more robust growth outcomes? A quest with some foggy feelings.