The Project Notebook

Project Management Meets D3M

It struck me today just how similar the project lifecycle was to the Plan, Implement, Assess, Analyze Data, Reflect cycle put forward by supporters of Data Driven Decision Making. D3M is advanced in school districts and state departments of education by organizations like CoSN, the Consortium for School Networking. Simply defined, D3M is a process of making choices based on appropriate analysis of relevant information. Educators responsible for accountability use it to determine how to shape educational policy.

This can be a great tool for project managers as well. When project teams aren’t performing up to standard or schedules and plans are failing, it often helps to dig into some of the details, analyze what’s not working, and share it with the project sponsors, functional managers, and the project team to focus attention on the tasks needed to pull the plan back into line. Data tends to strip emotions from issues so clarity can be achieved and win-win scenarios established.

D3M is also a tool which can be used by those on the more operational side of things to improve service levels. Tracking and plotting data again creates focus. As Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling put it “I often say what gets measured, gets done.” So next time you have a project issue to sort out, you might take a closer look at the related data and apply D3M principles.

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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP