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Monday, June 28, 2010

Be For Something!

From the awesome book -"Rules of Thumb" (Alan M. Webber)

"In general, it’s a good idea to learn to speak  economics, if you can’t already. That’s because people on both sides of a fight respect the dollars and cents of an issue. Proving that your solution is less expensive and works better makes your moral arguments all the more compelling.  ... it’s not enough to be against something that’s bad — you’ve got to be for something that’s better."

I am for taking a vacation. See you in a couple weeks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Does your Your Project Management Organization Measure Up?

Previous research has concluded that there are several factors that lead an organzation to be great at project management.  The top ones are:

A Formal Project Management Structure

Defined Repeatable Processes

Executive Involvement in Project Management

Project Management Tools

Experienced  Wise Project Managers (Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom)

How does your organization measure up?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Project Checklist for Project Sponsors

Identify the participants and their roles

Identify potential project team members as well as the major stakeholders.  Keep in mind the project manager should have the final say as to the project core team members.

Assign an experienced project manager early

I recently changed jobs and haven't taken the time to post to this blog.  To all the people that visit here and support this blog, thank you.  I will be posting more often in the future.

This Project Manager will make or break a project.  Be sure the individual has the expertise to manage the project and works well with others.  Don't hesitate to look at outside sources if a qualified project manager isn't available internally.

Assess the qualifications and experience of the project team members

Along with the project manager, initially assess the experience and character of potential team members.  Keep in mind the importance of well-rounded team players, and their ability to work well with others.

Complete a high-level charter

A preliminary project charter with major milestones and project objectives should always be completed by the sponsor.  After the charter is apporved and issued the sponsor can work with the project manager to identify some of the key tasks for each milestone.  It is understood that this initial "plan" is only preliminary, and will be refined over time by the project manager as he works with the team.

Ensure an issues tracking system is put in place

Ensure the project manager develops a method to track all issues and their resolutions.

Ensure there are regular project progress meetings

Work with the project manager to ensure that regular status meetings are held with key stakeholders, the sponsor, and core project team members.

Setup a regular schedule for status reporting.  Establish the criteria for regular status reports and the information they should contain.

Conduct a project kickoff meeting

Officially start the project with a meeting of all project stakeholders. The project manager and project team should be introduced, the milestones reviewed with estimated completion dates (dates at this point are just guesses), and expectations as to the level of participation and responsibility.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

History Can Teach Us!

Have you heard the old quote by philosopher and poet George Santayana that states, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"?  In project management, we need to remember that historical data is our best friend when planning new projects.  Do not forget when doing your planning to use empirical data from past projects. This data can help to reduce negative risk and increase your odds for project success.

Other information to review when planning new projects:

Review your companies past project files for information about past resource estimates, lessons learned, budget data, risks, assumptions, etc...

Conduct interviews with select project team members from past projects to understand what went right and what went wrong.

Interview stakeholders and other project managers for lessons learned from their past projects.

Do searches on the Internet about similar projects to gather information which might assist in planning your project.

Most importantly, use Risk Management during the planning cycle to identify issues that could cost you big later on.

Finally, do not fall victim to the project manager's curse of not learning from the past. Remember the old saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" 

Today is the 66th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion at Normandy. We should never forget the horrors of that day- June 6, 1944.