The Details Needed in A Business Requirements Document
By Michelle Symonds
A Business Requirements Document is typically used for complex projects so that everyone involved understands what the aim of the project is and how that will be achieved. It also documents what features and functions will be included in the project as well as sections on risk, assumptions and quality control.
It also documents how an end-user will use the final deliverable to achieve the business aims. For that reason it will contain information about the features and functions of the new product, process or software.
One of the important aspects of a BRD is to understand that it will be read by people with no technical knowledge and has to be understood by those people (as they will be approving the document). For that reason it should not be full of technical jargon (there are other technical documents that can fulfill that purpose) – it should be easily readable and as short as possible but, at the same time, it must explain in some detail how an end-user will use the project deliverable. Read the Complete Article
What Makes a Perfect Business Requirements Document?
By Michelle Symonds
A Business Requirements Document is an essential part of any major project. It is often written based on a company template especially in large corporations, which can vary from industry to industry, and which may have been in use for many years. But businesses change rapidly so the template you are using may not be perfect and if you work for a start up business then you may not even have a template to work from. So here are some top tips for what to include in a Business Requirements Document; getting the BRD right is a major factor in successful projects.
But just what makes a perfect business requirements document?
A BRD is a document that states, in detail, what the client wants; the main objectives of the project. Every BRD should include a number of fundamental sections, as detailed below, but many projects will also require additional sections depending on the type and complexity of the project. Read the Complete Article
Check List to Take Over An Existing Project
By Atul Gaur
A project manager is not always lucky enough to get involved in a project right from its inception. For various reasons a project manager may have to get involved in a project mid-way or at times even during the last phase of the project. The ownership of the project that is being shifted to a new project manager, may either be a well-managed project or could be the most troubled project being executed.
Projects have a detailed history behind them and with the limited time that is available during handing-taking over of a project it may not be feasible for the new project manager to check and understand each and every detail of the project. Sometimes the unshared information happens to be the most critical aspect of the project and can put the new project manager in very difficult situations. Read the Complete Article
The Project Starting Line: Writing the Project Charter
By J L Freedman
You are ready to start a new project. What is the first step? Writing a project charter. Usually the charter is written before the project starts as the charter is often used to decide whether or not to fund the project. Once the project is approved, the charter becomes the formal document that officially authorizes the project and gives the project manager authority to execute it.
The charter can be written by the project manager. However in many organizations, especially large ones, it is written before the project manager is assigned. In that case it may be written by the program manager, the functional manager, the project sponsor, or even a committee investigating the feasibility of doing the project. So if you are a project manager assigned to a new project, is it possible that you were not at all involved with creating the charter. Read the Complete Article
Project Management: Types of Power
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning
Have you ever looked at someone in power and wondered—how did they get there? Is there some special power gene that makes certain people rise to the top of the power hierarchy, but not others?
In a popular study in 1959, social psychologists John French and Bertram Raven identified five types of power: Legitimate, Reward, Expert, Referent, and Coercive.
Throughout our careers as project managers, we wear many hats, and therefore, we utilize different types of power. Sometimes we come into a project as an expert in a particular field (expert power). At other times, we have the ability to give or deny resources for a project (reward and coercive power). If you’re named the Project Manager on a project, this very title brings you a form a power (legitimate power). And when we have no formal sources of power, we have to rely on our likeability factor and ability to influence others (referent power). Read the Complete Article
Transition and Succession Planning for Project Managers
By Ray W. Frohnhoefer
You arrive at work on Monday morning and find that your key software engineer did not show up. You subsequently learn that he was arrested over the weekend for tax evasion for the past 8 years. The week is tense and you hope you will get your key engineer back – after all, he should be able to make bail and get out of jail.
So he makes bail and returns for a week. The following Monday he’s gone again. This time you learn he fled to another country seeking asylum and abandoning his wife and children to avoid prosecution. Looks like the key engineer won’t ever be available again! Your other engineers tell you he single handedly designed 60%+ of the system and they don’t really know what or how he did it. It’s going to take them months to figure it out. Read the Complete Article
Project Management Foundations – 10 Steps to Create a Strong Baseline Plan
By Steve Hart
When interviewing project management candidates, my favorite interview question is: “When you are assigned to a new client/project, what is the process you utilize to establish the baseline project plan?” Some candidates lose points immediately because they describe a process where the baseline plan is equal to the project schedule. Many candidates start out pretty strong talking about identifying stakeholders and defining business needs, and then get lost on a rambling dialog through the entire project life cycle.
I like this question so much because as a project manager you are introduced to new situations all the time (new clients and new projects), and it is extremely important to hit the ground running leading project teams through the planning process. Adapting a consistent planning approach from client to client, and project to project, significantly improves outcomes of the project planning process (both time to market and quality of the plans). 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
Project Management – Close Procurements
By Simona Belindean, Northwest University
All things – good or bad – must come to an end. And as we now understand, even the project must come to an end, and deliver according to scope by a specific date and within an approved budget. But in the process of finalizing the project, contracts must also be completed, and as such, deliverables must be verified and accepted according to contractual stipulations. This final phase, known as “Close Procurements,” confirms for both buyer and seller that the contract was executed, and final, legal closure can take place.
In the process of closing out procurements, inputs that a project manager has for verification of completion and delivery to project scope is the project management plan, and any procurement documentation that provides a description of the work performed.
During the course of a contract, the project manager must also verify that the contracted work is being completed to agreed upon specifications. Read the Complete Article
10 Guidelines for Estimating Project Effort
By Susanne Madsen
Many projects start off on the wrong foot because the effort involved in delivering them has been underestimated. It is human nature to want to deliver something well and quickly, but underestimating the complexities of a project serves no one. As project managers it is our job to make sure that the team understands what the users want and how much it will cost to produce what they want. This is one of the cornerstones of being able to successfully deliver a project.
One of the prerequisites for producing a reasonable estimate is to have spent sufficient time analyzing and understanding the requirements and the proposed solution. Carry out too little analysis and the estimated solution remains unclear and risky. Carry out too much analysis and the team will have spent too much time in discussions at the expense of actually starting and delivering the work. Read the Complete Article