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Go/No-Go Control – Project Control Techniques

Go/No-Go Control – Project Control Techniques (#2 in the series How to Control a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

Having a project management plan will not always ensure having effective project control. Without a control process the project manager will often resort to an improper use of institutional authority to embarrass, or intimidate a project member whose performance is unsatisfactory. As a result the project member will learn to prevent disclosure of any problems. This then creates another problem in that the project manager is not being made fully aware of deviations from the project plan. Taylor’s Law1 states that “the earlier a problem is disclosed, the easier it is to manage.” When project problems are hidden from the project manager they often grow to the point where they become untenable.

Meredith and Mantel offer three methods of control, these are:

Another technique for maintaining project control is the go/no-go method. Read the Complete Article

Cybernetic Control – Project Control Techniques

Cybernetic Control – Project Control Techniques (#1 in the series How to Control a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

Having a project management plan will not always ensure having effective project control. Without a control process the project manager will often resort to an improper use of institutional authority to embarrass, or intimidate a project member whose performance is unsatisfactory. As a result the project member will learn to prevent disclosure of any problems. This then creates another problem in that the project manager is not being made fully aware of deviations from the project plan. Taylor’s Law1 states that “the earlier a problem is disclosed, the easier it is to manage.” When project problems are hidden from the project manager they often grow to the point where they become untenable.

Meredith and Mantel offer three methods of control, these are:

Cybernetic control involves a self-correcting feedback loop as illustrated in Figure 1. Read the Complete Article

The Final Project Report

The Final Project Report (#7 in the series How to Close Out a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

This series discloses important aspects of closing out a project by describing the following aspects:

The purpose of the final project report is to document the history of the project in such a way that others can benefit from knowing its strengths and weaknesses.

The following key aspects1 should be included in this report:

  • Overall success of the project: If a success model or success criteria were used, how successful was this project? This judgment can be very subjective unless a quantifiable model was established.
  • Organization of the project. How effective was the organization of the project, and was it altered as the project progressed? What recommended changes might be offered for other similar projects?

Read the Complete Article

Celebrating Success – Project Closure

Celebrating Success – Project Closure (#6 in the series How to Close Out a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

This series discloses important aspects of closing out a project by describing the following aspects:

Celebrating success brings healthy closure to the project and should involve everyone who participated on the project. When participants are located far from the central project team, accommodations should be made for them as well.

Some suggestions for celebrating project success are as follows:

  • Gather outside of work environment. This lends to an informal, relaxed atmosphere, away from phone calls, e-mail, and general interruptions. Invite family members also.
  • Recognize outstanding performers. Both the project manager and the key stakeholders can recognize those individuals who made special, significant contributions to the success of the project. Recognitions should be very specific.

  • Express your appreciation to all project participants.

Read the Complete Article

Project History File – Project Closure

Project History File – Project Closure (#5 in the series How to Close Out a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

This series discloses important aspects of closing out a project by describing the following aspects:

Without gathering data from previous projects the project manager is at a serious loss when it comes to planning and organizing the next project. Having past actuals (activity durations, labor hours, costs, etc.) from previous projects, even though they were not identical to the new project, will aid the project manager in making sound analogous estimates in the new project. Building a project history file can be accomplished easily by dedicating an external, portable hard drive for this purpose. Accessing historical data can be accomplished quickly using “desktop search engines” such as Google’s. It is assumed that any intellectual property rights would be safe-guarded when using this practice. Read the Complete Article

Conducting A Lessons-learned Review – Project Closure

Conducting A Lessons-learned Review – Project Closure (#4 in the series How to Close Out a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

This series discloses important aspects of closing out a project by describing the following aspects:

The primary purpose of a lessons learned review is to assess the overall success of a project and to learn from your mistakes. Often it is best to conduct a survey before holding the lessons-learned meeting.
Survey. A lessons-learned survey can be sent to team members during or after a project, to solicit their feedback on how the project was conducted. It applies to any project; and questions can easily be added to focus on additional areas for your project. This survey can address the following aspects:

  • General Project Issues and Communication
  • Schedule Estimation Issues
  • Design, Implementation, Test Processes
  • Perceived Process Issues
  • Closing

Purpose. Read the Complete Article

Administrative Closeout – Project Closure

Administrative Closeout – Project Closure (#3 in the series How to Close Out a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor
This series discloses important aspects of closing out a project by describing the following aspects:

At this point all personnel loaned to the project will return to their respective functional groups. If personnel performances have not been evaluated prior to this point, then this is the logical place to complete them. Functional managers will be given an appraisal by the project manager of their loaned skilled individuals so they can administer a formal review of their project support.

Intellectual property (IP) must also be addressed no later than this stage of the project. Protection of IP should begin as early as possible on the project and completed during the project closeout.

MICHAEL D. TAYLOR, M.S. in systems management, B.S. Read the Complete Article

Contract Closeout – Project Closure

Contract Closeout – Project Closure (#2 in the series How to Close Out a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

This series discloses important aspects of closing out a project by describing the following aspects:

In addition to scope verification, efforts to closeout a contract between the buyer and the seller will take place. These are typically formal reviews which will culminate the business arrangement.

The Seller’s Role

During this review the seller (subcontractor) will ensure that all open issues and discrepancies are identified and resolved with the buyer (customer). Any proprietary documents loaned to the seller must be returned or destroyed at the buyer’s direction. For proprietary information to fall into the hands of a buyer’s competitor would not only be disastrous but could lead to litigations.

The primary objective of the contract closeout is to obtain the buyer’s full acceptance of the subcontracted product, and to end in such a way that pleases the customer so that they will feel strongly inclined to work with the seller again in the future. Read the Complete Article

Scope Verification – Project Closure

Scope Verification – Project Closure (#1 in the series How to Close Out a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

This series discloses important aspects of closing out a project by describing the following aspects:

Before the project can be formally closed out, an audit must be conducted to verify that all required scope (work) has been satisfactorily completed. When a new product is completed, and it is a commercial product to be mass produced, the scope verification effort may take place with a production manager. When the new product is sold to an individual customer, the scope verification may take place with the customer present. In any case, this event will include the following steps:

  • Verify tested products meet all specifications. Sometimes called a functional audit, a review of all test data against the approved specification must be conducted.
Read the Complete Article

Organization Structures in Project Management

Organization Structures in Project Management
By Michael D. Taylor

While there are various types of organizations used today, the two most prominent are the functional and matrix forms.

Functional Organization Structure

Prior to about 1960 most corporate organizations favored a functional organization structure, also called a traditional organizational structure. The structure was very vertical with each employee having one boss. The simplified diagram below illustrates the basic form of this structure. Division managers and department heads were also included in some cases. Organizations still using this structure tend to be in the public sector where there is little if any competition and pressures to produce new products quickly are minimal.

Each functional manager was responsible for hiring employees having a specific field of knowledge or skill set. For instance, one functional manager would be responsible for hiring and administering individuals who were mechanical engineers. Another functional manager would be responsible for hiring and administering electrical engineers. Read the Complete Article

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