Identify the Products to Be Delivered at Each Stage
By Richard Morreale
A while ago, I wrote about the first step in a 9-step structured Planning Process. That step was to break the project down into major stages of work each delivering a major product. The purpose of this step (step #2) is to identify the products to be produced and delivered during and at the end of each stage. I suggest that one of the last activities you perform in any stage is to put the plan together for, at least, the next 2 stages. As part of the 9-Step Planning Process, Step 2 says that you must identify the products to be developed and delivered during the completion and at the end of each stage. Therefore, if you are going to plan the next 2 stages and I’ve already suggested that all your plans be product based, you will need to identify the products for the next 2 stages as part of the whole process.
In my planning, I use a very loose definition of the term products. For instance, products can be management, technical or quality items. Let me give you a number of examples of each. Management products could be a Project Management Plan, Weekly Achievement Reports, Monthly Achievement Meetings, Risk and Issue Reports, etc. Technical products could be Specifications, Drawings, Seating Plans, Design Reviews, Technical Design Meetings, etc. Quality products could be Quality Management Plans, Quality Reviews, Quality Review Meetings, Quality Reports, etc.
For instance, let’s say that you were building an IT System and you were just finishing the Requirements Analysis Stage. You should put together the detailed plan for the next 2 stages – the Top-Level Design stage and the Detailed Design stage. In order to do this, you will need to identify the products to be developed and delivered during both of those stages. It’s as simple as that.
Each stage will have at least one product while some stages will have more than one. In fact, in order to provide you with greater monitoring and control, I suggest that any product that will take more than 20 days to prepare, not counting Review, Rework and Sign-off, should be broken down into smaller products that can be integrated later to form the bigger product.
Without hard delivery checkpoints so you can actually verify progress, you are completely at the mercy of the person preparing the products to report on progress. You’ve probably all heard of the ‘90% complete’ progress statement. You ask someone on your Project how close they are to completion and they say 90% complete. Then it takes almost as much time to do the other 10% as it did to do the 90%. Not very good. Make sure you have hard delivery checkpoints so you know when it really is 90% complete.
Richard is a project manager, professional speaker, author and consultant specializing in Project Management, Leadership, Achievement and Customer Service.
You can book Richard for your next meeting or conference at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336 499 6677.