Measure FTTM Team Maturity

Many of our clients measure how well teams have adopted the FTTM Planning Method. We’ve seen many different assessment systems.

We’ve developed a common and reusable metric by which teams can assess and track their growth or “maturity" in using the methodology on multiple projects. Clients that use this system are typically running FTTM on tens if not hundreds of concurrent projects.

But lets not forget, the goal is to accelerate projects and finish them on or before schedule, per customer requirements. Maturity Level (ML) is less important than actual project performance. However, we have found teams that have achieved Maturity Level 3 (ML3) are most likely also those teams finishing fast.

These (above) are the process maturity learning cycles teams migrate through over time. They are serial and a team can’t jump a step. Starting with ML0; which indicates no use of FTTM methods. A team can achieve ML1 in 2-3 weeks, if they are focused and committed, while ML2 and ML3 are much harder to achieve and take significantly longer to realize. Over time, the idea is to get a team independently (i.e. without outside help) accelerating the schedule and continually improving their skills and methods.

Teams have to work to get above ML1. Moving from ML1 to an ML2 can only be achieved over time. The average time frame is about 2 months. This time can be accelerated if the team is doing refreshes more than once a week. Teams that do this 2-3 times a week get to ML2 faster.

Moving from ML2 to ML3 requires a major commitment and a high level of management proficiency. This includes:

Using the schedule as the driver to predict near term actions. For this to work the schedule must reflect reality, so when they look out 1-2 weeks in their schedule they see exactly what is going on in the project. The schedule and reality are aligned.

Actively looking forward for opportunities to accelerate and/or mitigate future slips means that they are using the information to change behavior or events in the future. This is again a big leap in maturity and understanding of FTTM.

ML1 and ML2 teams still tend to mostly look back (in time) to what has happened and spend a lot of time trying to understand why something happened, while ML3 teams spend a majority of their time looking forward because they have learned that acceleration means affecting the future and “the water that went over the dam” is long gone, and can do very little to help influence future events.

FTTM teams are forward leaning and spend very little time trying to forensically understand why something happened the way it did. Lower maturity environments spend a great deal of time reporting on past performance and a lot of time trying to explain this performance. This consumes a great deal of valuable time and tends to have very little value to making future events go faster, other than to find fault or place blame.

Stepping-up the maturity curve usually takes months and multiple cycles of learning. ML3 is very hard to achieve and this status must be reserved for the very best performing teams. ML3 really only addresses; technology/tools, processes, and skills. Structural (for example, “lateralizing” an organization) takes much longer. And changing organizational behavior and culture can take years. The rate of change is based on senior leadership’s understanding and involvement in the FTTM process.