Project Planning Tips (#20 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet
How you develop and record your plan is very much a matter of personal preference but here are a few pointers to successful planning.
There is no such thing as a ‘standard’ plan.
If you are working with a commercial software supplier or consultancy firm they may present their standard plan at an early stage in the project initiation. This will be a useful template as it is based on tried and tested methodologies and past experience but you will need to use your detailed knowledge to adapt it to your own particular circumstances.
View the plan as a flexible framework to be adapted and changed.
It is no good sticking rigidly to a plan that isn’t working and ploughing ahead in the wrong direction. An example of how you might think about planning is to imagine you are captaining a yacht that needs to get from A to B. Read the Complete Article
The Real Steps of a Project
By Andrew Cox
Reading about the trials and tribulations of Boeing as it brings the 787 Dreamliner to market reminded me of a poster I saw in a clients office. It described the Six Steps Of A Project. They are:
- Search for the Guilty
- Punishment of the Innocent
- Praise and Glory for the Nonparticipants
At first I thought they were funny, but then realized in humor there is a lot of truth.
Fortunately, unlike the Four Stages of Change – Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing, that always happen in any and all projects and change, the Six Steps, while fairly common, don’t. They are reserved for those efforts that really get off the rails, and where the organizational culture focuses on blame rather than problem solving.
I’ve been the fly on the wall at enough project meetings to know what’s going on in the minds of many of the team members. Read the Complete Article
The Critical Path Method and Wrong Project Scheduling
By Shim Marom
One of the key techniques project managers use to monitor and control progress on their projects is the Critical Path Method (CPM). This method, promoted by the PMI through its PMBoK, is meant to assist the project manager in identifying areas of high risk on the project. Given that, by definition, the Critical Path consists of the activities that have no float (or slack) and as such (again, by definition) a delay in any of these activities will cause a delay to the project’s planned completion date.
In order to ensure that the project does not miss its deadline, project managers are encouraged to protect the Critical Path by monitoring progress against plan and taking corrective and/or mitigating actions in order to ensure critical path activities are complete on time.
To illustrate the above comment let’s review the following example:
Resource leveled project schedule
In this overly simplified example, we have a schedule with 10 activities that have been leveled to ensure optimal use of assigned resources. Read the Complete Article
What Is a Project?
By Lynda Bourne
The current definitions of a project have a common theme, but generally fail to differentiate projects from on-going operations. With governments world-wide starting to legislate about ‘projects’ we need to tighten up these definitions from within our profession before lawyers do the job for us!
There seems to be two elements of a project that clearly separate the practice and profession from operational work. These are:
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- Projects are about creating change. Turning a block of land into a building, developing a new business process, or writing a software program. At the end of the project there’s something significantly different in the world.
- Projects are also temporary organizations. The key role of a project manager is to develop the temporary team, lead them in the work of the project and then dissipate the team at the end as the output from the project is transitioned to the client or operational users.
How to Choose a Project Management Software
By Alberto Dominguez
To choose the right software is not a simple process, and to choose the right project management software is then an even more complicated process and decision. Below you will find few tips and proposed procedure to reduce the risk inherit to this decision.
To choose and implement a PM software tool is not the same of implementing a PM process. Many organizations try to implement a software tool expecting a nonexistent-unnatural process improvement. If you do not have a formal process, or even if your process is not working you have to stop thinking that automation will fix/improve/solve your problems. Automation should be used to reinforce a process and minimize the weaknesses.
Every software implementation process includes at least the following steps -of course every company has its own natural process. Public companies have also additional restriction and evaluation/validation processes that will extend the suggested process:
- Identify needs
- Define selection criteria
- Create a list of options
- Create the request for information
- Evaluate responses
- Reduce the list of options
- Ask for demonstrations or pilot programs
- Choose one
Try to isolate your needs by using the following dimensions to measure the products you are considering:
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- Scale – how big the change will be?
How to Write the Project Statement of Work (SOW)
By Dave Nielsen
The Statement of Work, or SOW, is the bible for the work the project must produce. The SOW is a key governance tool whether it is being used to direct work for a vendor or contractor, or it is being used to direct the work internally, the SOW must contain a description of all the work that is expected. The description need not be at the detail level, indeed for large projects capturing detail in the SOW is not practical, but should be comprehensive and include work that produces the projects deliverables as well as administrative work such as project reporting.
The SOW will form a key part of the contract if the work is being done by a vendor or contractor. Work captured in this document is part of the vendor’s contractual obligation to you. Work not contained in the SOW will only be done if it is mutually agreed upon, or introduced to the project through a change request. Read the Complete Article
Planning A Project – Introduction (#19 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet
The Project Plan is the core tool at the heart of project management and is the key to controlling the progress of the project. There is an often-repeated saying that maintains ‘If you fail to plan you plan to fail’. A similar quote, attributed to the managing director of a pharmaceutical company, bemoans the fact that ‘We never seem to have time to plan our projects, but we always have time to do them twice’.
Only one thing about your project plan is certain – it will be out of date as soon as the ink is dry. Planning is an iterative process that goes on throughout the life of your project. The plan is a living thing that isn’t finished until the project is complete. Developing the initial plan is usually a very optimistic stage in the project. Read the Complete Article
Seven Attributes of Effective Project Management
By Andrew Grimes
Delivering web publishing projects requires the careful coordination of a range of skill sets. There are the developers, who focus on technical challenges; the designers, information architects and QA testers, who primarily focus on addressing end-users’ needs; and of course there is the client team, whose prime focus is on business benefits. Meanwhile, the Project Manager’s focus is on the project team itself and how its members can best work together to deliver against all of these interests.
But what does a Project Manager really do?
7 Project Management Attributes
Here are my top seven attributes of effective project management: the things we PMs ought to be doing to keep everything on track …
1. Building Confidence Within The Whole Project Team.
Without confidence, a project can very quickly lose its way. The Project Manager should therefore regularly check the health of ‘project confidence’ by reviewing the following questions:
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- Is there confidence that the project is on track?