Last week, BuILD hosted Alexandra Chapman, Co-founder and COO of Totally Optimized Projects for a Hands-on Discussion & Workshop for practitioners as well as students.
Project Management philosophies are important because they color the way we approach the problem. Good project managers require a toolbox filled with differing approaches in order to ensure they are equipped to operate in a variety of settings.
The TOP method is just one such method, one such school of thought. There were many interesting aspects to this project management methodology that is based on over 20 years of experience including definitions of value, identifying desired outcomes, and calculating value drivers.
Defining the endgame
As is the case with many project management tools and methods, identifying the scope and parameters for measuring success are unavoidable. For example, if you are working agile, you would call it your definition of done and it represents the culmination of a sprint.
In this way path dependency is produced: how do I move my team from where we are now to where we are going? For TOP this is question is crucial. Consider Alice in Wonderland asking the Chesire Cat for directions.
From Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (1951)
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
Applying TOP in practice
The methods seeks to create shared understanding of a project and its goals in order to ensure each element of the project is in face value-driven, and ultimately fills the gaps between the business and IT activities.
It accomplishes this through providing practitioners with tangible ways of codifying tacit knowledge, shifting focus from cost to value through systematic repeatable processes that link business strategy with each individual project.
TOP in the Classroom
ITU Lecturer, Christian Stadager says this of the method, “TOP is quite innovative in it’s simple approach delivering value – something I have never seen meticulously broken down into an actionable methodology.” And brought the method into his Digital Governance course for third semester Master’s students studying Digital Innovation & Management.
If this method of project management has piqued your interest and you would like to learn more about applying it in your organization or your studies then let us know! We are happy to offer tools and guidance in any of the project management methodologies we discuss here and we are happy to help.