Project Management

This post is not limited in one specific area but is more general in ways of organizing work and people during a project.

One of the most common things that I realize when talking to people in our industry is that we all pretty much agree that the way we work in our day-to-day is old-fashioned and limited and that the classical hierarchical type of management is not working. However, at a large degree, there is no awareness of alternative ways of organizing the work or people.

I am attaching some initial material below, regarding some definitions and two useful sites to start the conversation.
We are usually hearing the Agile Manifesto, and Scum sprints etc in connection with software engineering. Although the exact methodologies may not be directly applied in our industry, I have found that with some alterations, the results can be promising.


Thank you for sharing these ideas @Iro !
Indeed there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to productivity in the maritime sector.

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From my point of view it not only about productivity. It also influences the mindset.

One of the most interesting aspects of these methodologies, in my opinion, are:

  • Agile is about managing change, since is recognizes that the only constant is change.
  • To handle change you need to incorporate frequent feedback system into your work structure. Feedback democratizes the whole process and makes it more holistic.
  • To handle the data you get from feedback you need databases and tools to analyze them, so automation is the only way forward.
  • Also incorporating feedback received from people means that the culture of the company is influenced.

What do you think?

Interesting take, thanks @Iro.

Linear methodologies are dominant in traditional engineering industries because of the high costs involved. Compare, for example, building a ship in a shipyard vs building a tech product in a testing environment. Agile works in software because you can fail fast and usually for free.

Ship management on the other hand would greatly benefit from Trello boards and similar productivity tools.

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Agree with both @jstat and @Iro.

In fact, 50% of the productive time is spent in scrolling endless email databases or trying to access information in obsolete filing systems (electronic or hard copy) and another 30% of the productive time is spent in useless meetings.

A Trello board would definitely be a great tool but I also believe that simpler wiki-like knowledge management systems would be a good start for ship management companies.

When it comes to “useless meetings”, check out Elon Musk’s 6 tips for increased productivity:

1) Avoid large meetings
Large meetings waste valuable time and energy.

  • They discourage debate
  • People are more guarded than open
  • There’s not enough time for everyone to contribute
    Don’t schedule large meetings unless you’re certain they provide value to everyone.

2) Leave a meeting if you’re not contributing
If a meeting doesn’t require your:

  • Input
  • Value
  • Decisions
    Your presence is useless.
    It’s not rude to leave a meeting.
    But it’s rude to waste people’s time.

3) Forget the chain of command
Communicate with colleagues directly.
Not through supervisors or managers.
Fast communicators make fast decisions.
Fast decisions = competitive advantage.

4) Be clear, not clever
Avoid nonsense words and technical jargon.
It slows down communication.
Choose words that are:

  • Concise
  • To the point
  • Easy to understand
    Don’t sound smart. Be efficient.

5) Ditch frequent meetings
There’s no better way to waste everyone’s time.
Use meetings to:

  • Collaborate
  • Attack issues head-on
  • Solve urgent problems
    But once you resolve the issue, frequent meetings are no longer necessary.
    You can resolve most issues without a meeting.
    Instead of meetings:
  • Send a text
  • Send an email
  • Communicate on a discord or slack channel
    Don’t interrupt your team’s workflow if it’s unnecessary.

6) Use common sense
If a company rule doesn’t:

  • Make sense
  • Contribute to progress
  • Apply to your specific situation
    Avoid following the rule with your eyes closed.
    Don’t follow rules. Follow principles.