Projects vs. Operations: The Model and Framework for Product-Based Project Management

SECOND EDITION                                                            

By Alexey Chumakov (IPMA/A) 

Moscow, Russia


Mature organizations get stuck to current operations, draining their competitive advantages. In unstable times, right projects are the key to success. But CEOs tend to focus on ‘generating current cash flow’, avoiding investment and missing the opportunities. The simple yet powerful framework was discovered and implemented, allowing the real organizations to balance and mix their project-based development with current operations, with affordable learning curve and initial resources.

The idea is representing an organization as 5 (usual count) specially selected product portfolios, and allocating all the tasks to them. The tasks are categorized as ‘reproduction, promotion, development’ classes, and gradually grouped to products and projects to reproduce, improve, or promote specific product versions. Permanent and temporary responsibility is assigned. The process similar to P2M ‘Vision—Product—Service’ cycle is established. Customer expectations are set as the reason and the target for any tasks. This allows for lowering overhead for project management, fully integrating the developmental project management to a decision-making process, and decisions based on total cost of ownership allocation per any product.

Subsets of Project Management, Product Management, Demand/Value management, Interaction Design, and Strategic Management were adopted and linked together to form a unified process of decision-making and value delivery through both waterfall and iterative projects. Selected guidance from IPMA ICB, PMAJ P2M, ISO 9241, and Lean was implemented.

The framework is being successfully implemented in several pilot organizations to lead ‘project-based development through versioned product portfolios’, under the name of ‘D3’ or ‘Demand-Driven Design for Organizations’.

Keywords: Project Management Framework; Product Management; Value Delivery; Decision-Making Process; D3 Framework

1. Introduction and the purpose

Usually, start-ups strive for being successful in bringing new products or services to market. They have the strongest motivation, including personal ambitions, limited funding, and the need to meet investors’ expectations. And they have almost no limitations like existing procedures, skills of operational personnel, etc. Quick and efficient decisions are made much easier at this stage. And the organization itself is obviously a project.

Successful organizations are generally less open to new initiatives (either by themselves, or under pressure of shareholders). They are more process-oriented, more rigid, and if not handled properly, eventually they could start to ‘stick to their success’, avoiding active changes.

Start-ups ‘have less resources’, successes ‘have less speed and flexibility’.

In competitive changing environment, the latter could finally lead to a loss of a market share.

How could we integrate development projects into a decision-making process to mix the startup-like speed of changes and mature operations, and benefit from both? To provide a balanced decision-making process for CEO? In my effort, I found no existing solution in the project management area, simple enough to implement. There were always some links missing between strategic goals, customers, development projects, the budget structure, and the decision-making process.


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Editor’s note:  Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. This paper was originally presented at the 27th IPMA World Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia and included in the Congress Proceedings, October 2013. It is republished here with permission or the authors and congress organizers.

About the Author

flag-russiapmwj20-mar2014-chumakov-AUTHOR IMAGEAlexey Chumakov

Moscow, Russia

Alexey Chumakov, Founder and CEO of Tolk Group, Russian Federation, is a manager, business trainer, and facilitator focused on strategic development and project / program management.  During last 10 years, Alexey is leading various programs for organizational changes, IT development, and team development for several Russian and international organizations, either joining their management team, or providing professional services through Tolk Group. Alexey is the author of Russian ‘Demand-Driven Design for Organizations’ framework, bridging strategic, project, and operational management together, with help of HR, IT, and product management techniques. He is IPMA certified project director and consultant (Level A CPD, PPMC).  Alexey can be reached at +7.903.200.11.80 or [email protected] (or via LinkedIn and Facebook). His personal blog (currently, in Russian) is http://alex.chumakov.ru.