Monday 24 January 2022

Project management work style reform starts with planning

"Work style reform" sounds like a keyword that ended in 2017, but it is still a theme that needs to be addressed, and i think that we will finally enter the actual implementation from now on. looking back, the government wanted to further change the way people live in order to further economic growth and happiness in japan through ab-economics, and sent out the slogan "work style reform." work style reform is, in other words, "improving labor productivity", and is an initiative to create time to lead to the enriching lives of the people by improving productivity.

the purpose of implementing work style reforms at the company is the same, and each employee aims to achieve a work-life balance (harmony between work and life) for each employee to lead a fulfilling work and life. work style reform is a great way for employees to work harder, to achieve more results, to have an important time to be with their families and lovers, and to have time to grow themselves.

what is the purpose of work style reform?

many companies are working on work style reforms, and i feel that many companies have started with the grand order of managers and presidents themselves. although the purpose and message of "work style reform for employees" as mentioned above have been sent out, many companies are currently starting with president's instructions and meetings to "keep it within the range of working hours determined by the government". in other words, the purpose is to "respond to the guidelines of future countries".

although the government has not yet issued official guidelines for working hours, i believe that the target figures and steps for corporate work style reform are often as follows.

◆target figures for work style reform within five years

・ reduce the average monthly overtime work to zero employees with more than 45 hours of overtime (zero overtime work for 540 hours or more per year)

◆target figures for work style reform within two years

  • reduce employees with more than 100 hours of monthly overtime by 50% from the current level
  • average monthly overtime within 80 hours or average monthly overtime within 60 hours numerical goals are important.

it is also important to be an initiative for employees. however, many companies may feel that they will not be able to cope with the restrictions on working hours that will change drastically in a few years if they do not change their company's constitution, which is immersed in long working hours. in this way, there are many purposes of work style reform to "reduce overtime work", but this is actually a major issue and the biggest challenge. i can't help saying only beautiful things, "for the sake of our employees." first of all, it is safe to improve the current situation of long working hours, believe that the results will lead to rich time for employees and families, and work on them.

efforts to improve long working hours

if the primary purpose of work style reform is to "improve long working hours", this goal must be achieved no matter what. if we do not achieve it, we will not be able to move forward with the second purpose of "for our employees.". so how exactly do we proceed? the first thing to do is figure out what the current situation is and where the challenges are in your company. one way to create a work style reform team in-house, grasp the current working hours, conduct internal interviews, and grasp issues is one way. there are also ways to ask a consultant for a fee to organize your assignments and plan your future actions. in any case, remember that the first action is to "organize what you need to do to solve the problem".

once a problem is decided, we will look for ways and methods to solve the problem, but i feel that there are many cases where it goes to means, methods, and tools even though the problem cannot be arranged.

< examples of methods and methods for implementing work style reforms>

  • introduction of attendance and personnel system, change of personnel evaluation system
  • change of work rules (both men and women): child-rearing support, nursing care support, side jobs, women's active participation
  • full-time employment of non-regular employees
  • establishment of mental health, power harassment, sexual harassment, mata harassment measures and rules

i think it would be good if means, methods, and tools were the solution, but if you suddenly go to a method, a way, or a tool, you will not be able to implement work style reforms. analyze the current situation and organize your challenges to improve long working hours, and then choose the means, methods, and tools.

system development and it companies work style reform initiatives from here, we will introduce our strengths in system development and it companies' work style reform initiatives. oh, my god! wait a minute. what we're going to talk about here is perfect for system development and it companies, but it also applies to other companies, so i hope you'll have a little more time to go out with them.

system development and it companies are industries that can be said to be representatives of long working hours . the reason for this is that due to the contracting system with customers and former contractors, system development is expanding steadily, and overtime hours increase due to a series of troubles just before production. the reason for this is that the demand for quality, cost, and schedule (qcd) from customers is increasing year by year.

under such a time, various issues will appear in order to improve system development and long working hours of it companies. there are keywords that often appear, such as "because we are not visualization", "because we are not able to centralize", and "because we are not able to share", and there are also internal issues for organizations and people that "after all, individuals, superiors, and organizations must change". visualization, centralization, and sharing are important, but if we can do that, will long working hours be improved? i think differently. moreover, the long working hours do not improve even if it says, "it is a problem of the person and the organization after all". so what should we do?

Guidelines for system development and it company work style reform. at one point, another person told me something similar about system development and long working hours in the it industry.

1) a company has been consulted on work style reform

"i want managers to accurately manage and grasp the amount of work and give employees an appropriate amount of work execution instructions."

2) advice from an external consultant on work style reform

"managers don't know how much work their subordinates can do, and it's no good to be doing one-to-one work."

the points about long working hours in these two cases are the same. simply put, they say that the reason for working long hours is that they are not able to plan. specifically, managers don't have a proper plan for the project, so changes and additional work are taking on and the members' working hours are increasing. in other words, it is a proposal whether the biggest problem for improving long working hours is that there are managers who can not make a plan properly or there is no plan decided by the organization. so how do you focus on your plan and create your own guidelines?

*managers are project managers and project leaders.

the key to work style reform is to make a plan

"is there a company that doesn't have a plan?" as long as people are working for all projects, you have to plan all projects. the quality of the plan must be considered individually, but it is difficult to plan all large, medium, and small projects and look at the results.

plan all your projects! that said, it's not easy. most people say: you are as saying, "the time you make a plan will be longer working hours!" since we have not made plans so far, a new job called "planning" occurs, so it will be a long working day. but what if planning is done so well that there is less change or additional work in the project than the time it takes to plan? if this can be done, it should improve long working hours.

such a person says next. "the organization doesn't have a standard plan, so i don't have a proper plan," i think. as an aside, such a person never says, "actually, i don't know how to make a plan"(laughs)

so what if you create a system that allows you to create a unified plan for each organization or department? in other words, "standardization of the plan". there are many companies that say that "we have standard wbs, so we can standardize", but this alone does not standardize the plan. let's take a look at the following examples of how to plan and standardize plans.

The key to work style reform is to make a plan

1) project granularity

in order to plan all projects, large, medium, and small, you need to determine the granularity of the project. i think some people say that the granularity of the project has already been decided, but is it really all about the granularity of the project in the organization? it is a good idea to make it the granularity of one project, and to manage the project according to the process. however, it is not only such a clean-going project. that's why you have to decide the granularity of your project. it is also necessary to plan all large, medium, and small projects and to see the results.

< a general example of the granularity (being organized) of a project>

as described in this table and considerations, there are a great number of project granularity patterns, such as development work patterns, departments (roles here), departments (divisions here), project scale, sales support and indirect work. as long as people are working hours on all projects, everything must be made into a project and planned. if planning is to be a way to improve long working hours, you should start by organizing the granularity of projects that can make a simple plan.

in the above example, we have organized all the development work currently being done in the field and determined the granularity of the project from this table.

* please note that the results of the project granularity will be know-how of our consulting services and will not be described in this blog. if you are looking to consider our consulting services in earnest, please contact us individually.

2) standardization of project plans

once the project is granular, the plan standard guidelines are determined for each pattern in the project. many companies have established standard wbs and quality control guidelines for large projects only, but if you want to "standardize the planning of all projects", you need to organize them in less detail and without complications.

< a general example of standardizing (organizing) project plans>

as described in this picture, small projects must be easily planned. since large projects must be thoroughly managed, standard patterns and guidelines for detailed inspection of man-hours, cost management, progress management, wbs, and quality control must be created by development work and departments.


Examples of standardized items for < and other project plans>

  • progress rate by process, task, deliverable, and process by project standard
  • man-hours estimate by item (function), man-hours estimate by man-hours (resource)
  • quality control criteria items, failure management items, risk management items, deliverable review items, member skill evaluation items
  • project member permission setting, approval process (reference authority, update authority, approval permission, email notification rule)

* Please note that the results of the standardization of project plans will be our project management tool: PM know-how, so please do not list them on this blog. 

Our project management tools: pm's domain capabilities make it easy to standardize on your system. If you would like to consider it, please contact us individually.

3) view the planning and performance of company-wide resources

once the project granularity is determined and the project plan can be standardized, it will be on the starting line for the organization to "plan" and "standardize the plan", but this alone will not be able to make a plan.

for example, managers: educating project managers and project leaders, asking company-wide members to explain and understand their initiatives, and changing to standard costs by rank based on the skills of company-wide members, there are many things that need to be done. ※ specific methods will be overdone in this blog.

i will tell you one thing at the end that is absolutely necessary to make a plan. that means you can't plan unless you know what your current company-wide resources are doing. if you're busy and don't know who's free, you won't be able to allocate tasks to plan your project. it is important to understand not only the projects that are progressing after the order, but also the projects that are likely to be received in the future. then, it is necessary to have a mechanism that allows members to see the resource status of the entire company and department.

project management tools: pm makes it easy to see the plans and achievements of each project member in the resource histogram. in addition, in the development member assignment status, the resource status by company, department, member, project can be visualized by order, in-service, and accuracy a to d.

< project management tool: pm development member assignment status screen >

There are many cases where such a resource table is made in Excel, but I think that everyone is frustrated that the complexity of input and update and the inability to expand by member, project, department in real time. 

Project management tool: PM can solve these problems in Excel, so why not consider introducing such a mechanism?

learn to improve productivity at work style reform seminars

How was it like to introduce examples of system development and work style reform of it companies? in this case, the primary purpose of work style reform is "improvement of long working hours", and first aims to become an organization that can make plans. 


To that end, we organized the granularity of the project, planned and standardized it, then introduced project management tools to visualize, centralize, and share. i think that there are points that can be understood by general companies, so i think that you can refer to it by all means.

Why don't you participate in the work style reform seminar for your company's work style reform reference? 


a work style reform seminar will be held on february 20, 2018, organized by mijs (made in japan software & service consortium), an organization that provides domestic software and cloud services. 


This seminar is a productivity seminar not only for system development and it companies, but also for all companies such as manufacturing, distribution, finance and services, and public municipalities. we can show you examples of work style reforms of 18 mijs customers at once, so please join us.

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