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?
Is a Project Complete Without Benefits Realization?
By Terry Melnik
In our day-to-day project management and PMO activities, the easiest and the most important thing to miss is plan for ahead what happens AFTER we cross the finish line. So technically speaking, once project managers hand over the reins of the completed project to the business owner, their job is just half done. For a project to be considered complete, project managers must focus on the other half, which is “Benefits Realization”.
Benefit realization is the confirmation that the value a project was expected to generate really does get delivered. In our everyday project management lives it is easy to get buried in details around task management, risk mitigation, resource capacity, balancing budgets and all the other moving parts. We often forget why we set out to do the project in the first place: the delivery of a product or service, an enhancement or improvement, or a capability. Read the Complete Article
9 Steps to Avoid Analysis Paralysis
By Stacey Barr
When it comes to cause analysis for performance measures, many people put the cart before the horse. They rush too quickly to analyze their data without first establishing a clear purpose.
The purpose of any kind of data analysis is to answer one or more questions.
My framework for getting from questions to answers when you’re doing cause analysis for performance measures has nine steps:
STEP 1: Phrase your question
Write down the question you want to answer and make it as specific as possible. When you’re doing a cause analysis for a particular performance measure, it can help to first brainstorm the factors that might impact that measure and then form one or more questions about each factor. Focus on questions that are useful to answer, not just interesting!
For example, “Do staff with longer tenure cause less rework?” or “Is rework different for different types of tasks?”
STEP 2: What form of answer? Read the Complete Article
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.