Review Half double – Projects in half the time with double the impact

IMG_2994A few weeks ago I visited Copenhagen to give a guest lecture at the Technical University of Denmark. Afterwards I was interviewed by by Michael Fleron (DTU) and John Ryding Olsson for a new book on strategy and leadership. John gave me one of the first just printed copies of the book Half double – Projects in half the time with double the impact he wrote together with Michael Ehlers, Karoline Thorp Adland and Niels Ahrengot. In the book, John wrote “I hope the book will give you some inspiration” and it definitely did!

The book was co-created through a series of events, attended by more than 2000 participants, in close collaboration with project practitioners. As soon as a chapter was written, it became available for feedback.

There are eight chapters in the book. In the introduction chapter the authors look back and explain why the old way of working will not work in the more and more uncertain and rapidly changing future. In the five following chapters we get an overview of the new methodology, its philosophy and principles, and in-depth chapters about the four building blocks (core element) of the methodology to achieve double the impact in half the time: impact, flow, leadership and local translation. Every building block is explained, including three execution methods and corresponding tools, templates and processes as well as detailed case studies. The last chapter is dedicated to portfolio management taking the same building blocks into account.

Impact: It’s all about stakeholder satisfaction. This is the ultimate success criterion. The following three methods and tools to create impact are explained:

  • Build the impact case to drive behavioral change and business impact by using the impact case tool (case GN Audio)
  • Design your project to deliver impact as soon as possible by using the impact solution design tool (case GN Audio)
  • Be in touch with the pulse of your key stakeholders by using the pulse check tool (case: Velux).

Flow: High intensity and frequent interaction in project work, learning and impact. The following three methods and tools are explained to create flow:

  • Allocate core team members for minimum of 50% of their time and ensure co-location by using the co-location tool (case: Siemens Wind Power)
  • Increase insight and commitment using visual tools and plans by using the rhythm in key events tool (case: GN Audio)
  • Set a fixed project heartbeat to progress the project in sprints by using the visual planning tool (case: Danfoss).

Leadership: As a leader you must embrace uncertainty and make the project happen. The following three methods and nine behaviors to create leadership in your project are explained:

  • Be an active, committed and engaged project owner by using active ownership behaviors: own the impact (pave the way for impact and remove unnecessary bureaucracy), ensure resource commitment including 50% allocation of high caliber people and show up (engage with the project, at least two hours a week) (case: Novozymes)
  • Be a collaborative leader with a people first attitude by using collaborative leadership behaviors: lead the impact (being hard on the impact and flexible on the deliverables), facilitate and energize interactions and put people first by creating purpose, autonomy and mastery (case: Velux)
  • Apply a reflective and adaptive mindset by using a reflective and adaptive mindset: listen intensely, frame the issue and help to move the team forward (case: Lantmännen).

Local translation: Successful translation of the half double methodology requires commitment to three methods and tools:

  • Build a half double mindset to initiate the half double approach using the half double mindset tool (case: SAS Scandinavian Airlines)
  • Customize governance to ensure flow by using the governance customization tool (case: GN Audio)
  • Anchor the half double practice to pave the way for new results by using the reflective map tool (case: Velux).

The last chapter focusses on half double portfolio leadership using again three methods:

  • Make strategy and portfolio fit to create strategic impact
  • Short and fat portfolio with frequent strategic adjustment (this is key. Courageous prioritization is the means!)
  • Portfolio leadership team and ownership.

Conclusion. An easy to read, great colorful layout, energizing and inspirational book. The theory and hand-on principles and tools are explained and the real life examples make this book a must read for those who are directing or running projects in this more and more rapidly changing world and for those who would like to move away from some outdated ways of thinking and running projects.

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More information can be found on:www.projecthalfdouble.dk

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