Conducting Successful Gate Meetings
By Dave Nielsen
Projects don’t arrive at their conclusion perfectly executed and delivering all the benefits promised in the Business Case, at the advertised cost. They must be measured along the way to ensure they are developing to plan. Our project management training (especially our PMP Exam preparation training) provides us with a variety of tools to measure project progress against schedule, budget, requirements, and quality goals. The most critical of these for demonstrating your project’s successful progress is the Gate Meeting. These meetings are variously called Phase Exit Reviews (by our PMP Exam preparation training), or Business Decision Points.
Whatever your organization calls your meetings, these are the points at which all the project stakeholders will determine whether your project is on track to meeting the organizations expectations for it. This article should provide you with some useful information, tips, and tricks to ensure that your meetings are successful. Read the Complete Article
How to Undertake a Project Quality Review that will Increase Your Bottom-Line
By Michael Stanleigh
A project quality review helps to identify the root causes of problems on a flailing project and provides detailed guidance for how to get it back on track. It has a direct, positive impact on an organization’s bottom-line. When undertaken at the end of a project it provides valuable “lessons” for project teams working on future projects.
In my consulting work in project management I am often called upon to audit projects or undertake project quality reviews of problem projects. Bringing in an outside auditor/consultant to conduct the project quality review is a good practice; it provides project team members and other project stakeholders with the opportunity to be candid and share their opinions and feelings about what is happening or happened on the project without risk of lash back.
The process for conducting a project audit or project quality review is similar regardless of whether one conducts it mid-term on a project or at its conclusion. Read the Complete Article
7 Essential Project Performance Measures
By Stacey Barr
When we think about measuring the performance of a project, it’s not really the same as measuring the performance of a team or a process. So we need to think a little differently about the kinds of measures that will tell us what we really need to know.
When we measure the performance of the business process or team, we’re interested in how a particular business result produced by that process or team is changing as time goes by. When we’re measuring the performance of a project we are interested in the impact the project has at a point in time, or over a fixed timeframe.
This is because projects by their very definition have a start point and an end point. The reason we do projects is to make a difference and usually the difference we’re trying to make is to make some kind of result, especially in business, better. Read the Complete Article
How to Help People Measure Results, Not Activity
By Stacey Barr
A reader, Kenneth, works in a hospital and has this measurement challenge: “Different people want to follow up on different things. The nurses, for example, think it is crucial to follow up on how many phone calls they answer. I reckon it is because they want evidence to show management how they spend their time at work. But I do not think this is a critical KPI or success factor for our hospital. How do I draw the line? Do I need to draw the line? How can you get all people to accept this? The bigger question here might be: Who should have access to KPIs?”
Let’s start with an answer to Kenneth’s last question: Everyone should have access to KPIs. Everyone needs feedback on how well their efforts and collaborations are getting the intended results, and contributing to the hospital’s strategic direction. Read the Complete Article
Project Management Reports You Need
By Jennifer Whitt
Two of the biggest questions I get from people are: what exactly are project management reports, and which ones are the best ones to look at? Project management reports are views of data collected related to deliverables and timelines for projects that we manage. Most PMs manage a portfolio of projects, meaning there is a considerable amount of data to track. Since I feel that the devil is in the details, here are five reports that I have found can turn a failing project into a successful one.
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- Timesheet Report
The timesheet reflects all your projects and time reported by the resources for those projects. It allows you to track actual time against that which was allocated and approved time for in your budget. It’s helpful for not only the manager to look at this, but I also share timesheet reports with teammates or anyone reporting time on my projects, because they are accountable for what they are reporting.
Tips for Making Project Tracking Easier
By Andrea Brockmeier
If You’re Not Tracking, You’re Guessing. Tips for Making Project Tracking Easier
The thrill of tracking is probably not what keeps most of us in the field of project management. Unfortunately for those of us not too fond of tracking, it’s not really an option if we want to be able to answer the question most project stakeholders are asking, that is, “How’s the project going?” We also need a baseline, of course, but that isn’t much use if you don’t have something to compare against it. You are really guessing if you try to answer that question in the absence of either a baseline or tracking.
It’s been my experience that people are often pretty good at tracking in the beginning of a project. Then at some point, just keeping up with the immediate task at hand leaves little time for reporting what has already happened. Read the Complete Article
Project Status Reporting – A Radical Approach
By Mark Calabrese
Business sponsors know what they are “expected to expect” from a project status report. Likewise, most project managers know what is “supposed to be” in a status report. While much of this standard information is relevant, oftentimes status reports can be less about “information I need to do my job” and more about “information that, by God, is just supposed to be in a project status report!” (optional ‘harrumph’). We don’t produce status reports to satisfy the Gods of Project Management; we produce status reports to communicate information relevant to the business sponsor.
With that in mind, I’m going to propose something radical here. Rather than start with a template approach, I’m going to propose that the project manager sit down with the business sponsor and ask a few simple questions, such as:
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- After you read the status report, what do you need to be able to do?
Progress Management Technique
By Michael A. Kaplan
Purpose: The project team should create a sense of awareness and ownership by frequently informing management as to the status of the project. The project team should communicate outside of the project to to provide reassurance that the project is moving according to plan and that exceptions are being addressed.
Overview: All projects use some means to measure progress, which are enabled by some form of tracking process. Progress reviews are performed so that the project manager can be assured that the project is making forward progress according to plan. Information that is collected from the tracking processes is presented in reports, which are published, circulated and discussed at project reviews. It is important to draw attention to, and visibility about the lack of progress, issues and out-of-line incidents so that action can be taken early. Progress reviews are required throughout the life of the project, and are a cyclic process in project management. Read the Complete Article
Status Reports Can Provide Tell-tale Signs of Project Management Competence
By Kiron D. Bondale
And you thought status reports were just useful for keeping stakeholders informed of project progress!
Although there are many ways of assessing a project manager’s skills including formal examinations, the perceived success of the projects they have managed and post-project 360 degree feedback surveys, a review of their project status reports might provide additional clues that might not have been gleaned through these traditional measures alone.
Here are a few development areas that might be identified:
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- If there are multiple spelling or grammatical mistakes in a sample report, this could point to a written communications skills gap, a lack of attention to detail, or both.
If the executive summary section of the report focuses too much on minutiae, runs on for more than a few paragraphs or doesn’t provide enough ”meat”, this may reflect the inability to tailor communications to the needs of a specific stakeholder community.
Performance Reporting in Project Management – Some Best Practices
By Timber Chinn, Northwest University
Project work requires ongoing measurements and evaluations to make sure everything is on track with schedule, budget and objectives. It is the project manager’s responsibility to use these measurements and evaluations to report how the project is doing compared to the performance baseline. There may be many different audiences to whom the project manager reports, and many different formats. For instance, the project sponsor may require weekly updating with a broad-brush overview of the project, whereas the project team may need daily updates with details about each work package.
The size and complexity of the project, as well as the preferences of the project manager, team and stakeholders, will determine the type and frequency of performance reporting. However, it can be challenging for parties to agree on how they want to receive performance reports, particularly if they do not understand their options. Read the Complete Article