Sunday, February 8, 2009

Decison-making in The Woodlands - part 1

I have been saying for a while that I have a position which calls for due process in our decision making. It is time to explain that a little. My background as a professional project manager makes me more aware of this matter than many people, yet most residents understand this conceptually. I call the core of the value presented in due process, with respect to our money, "capital stewardship".

When we elect a public official, we elect them as stewards of capital, whether it be the budget of the Township, the Association, county, MUD district, school district, or state. But capital is not always measured in dollars either. We give stewardship to individuals to maintain the value of our homes through home and property maintenance standards as well when we elect RDRC residents.

Our expectations are that those who are given stewardship in our governments, assume responsibility for their decisions and become accountable for them, as if it were their own money.

Now I would like to put this in the context of project management. Project management is an organized means to dutiful stewardship. Some people mistake the term to mean "on time and on budget", but that is a totally false perception. It means taking responsibility for all the decisions from beginning to end, which minimizes risk to stakeholders and which provides the right deliverables to the right customers at the right cost at the right time. I can go into this at great depth, but only want to get the bare essentials out in the open at this time.

Sometimes projects are defined from the wrong direction. The solution (or deliverable) defines the problem. You will see what I mean when we discuss incorporation of The Woodlands at a later date. Project management is a process which needs to begin with a clear and relative definition of some problem or issue. If I don't see that clearly defined and I hear about solutions, it immediately raises a red flag to me. "It is a solution looking for a problem."

Projects provide value. If the value is not defined and cannot be compared to the value of another project, our capital is not being managed. One cannot manage if there is no perception of relative value. Without value, there can be no investment. Investments yield returns and before one goes to spend our money, they must tell us the value of their proposal.

So we have defined two critical parts of a project proposal - definition and value. They may seem obvious, but I have seen them forgotten several times in my lifetime. A proposal goes much deeper than these two items of course. There are actually 6 phases of a project. I will tell you about those in another article.

No comments: