Project Management increases the chance of bringing your project in on or ahead of schedule, on or under budget and to meet or exceed your performance or quality requirements. Don Platon has certifications from the Caltech Project Management Program and UCLA Technical Project Management Programs.
The 90% Syndrome:
The last 10% takes 90% of the time
We’re all familiar with the triple constraints: scope, schedule and budget. And we’ve known about them for quite a long time. How many times have we heard – do you want it good, fast, or cheap? But is anything worthwhile ever good enough, fast, enough or cheap enough?
A more complete list of constraints for planning includes scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources and risk. Obviously higher budget projects allow for more monitoring & control and lower budget projects less monitoring & control. Even with the best plan, projects invariably take on a life of their own. But project plans introduce risk when measuring progress by milestones. Ultimately the only milestone that confirms task completion is client sign off.
Developing a project plan is the most effective way to improve ROI for your project. Changes to scope, schedule or budget are made with the stroke of a pen.
The Project Owner or Project Manager understands the key drivers for the project and documents the business case with input from all project stakeholders. It is important to know the strategic purpose of the project, understand stakeholder expectations and the success criteria.
At the project kickoff it is important to agree on a shared vision and motivate everyone on the team to work together toward a common purpose.
Planning is when we set objectives, decide how to accomplish them, divide up the work and assign resources. Few, if any, projects are too small, too short or too vague to warrant skipping this phase. Even with a well-defined plan a Project Manager works to implement only the most practical elements in order to bring a project in on budget and on schedule.
The Times they are a changing…
Change is a certainty best handled proactively by the Project Manager. Modest scope creep with negligible impact to resources and schedule are acceptable as long as they are beneficial and/or necessary. It is important to begin memorializing changes as they occur and track all the change impacts to completion.
A change order formally documents scope change and it’s impact on the project and is and formally approved in some fashion. The client officially signs off on the change.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
The PM must know what deliverables are due and when they are due in order to manage stakeholder expectations. Nobody likes surprises. The need to communicate progress is mandatory. This is especially relevant when integrating cross-silo projects involving broadcast technologies and web technologies where definition and translation of technical language is required. Silos even appear within verticals such as between web development and marketing teams involved in a project.
Communication is usually memorialized through project status reports, progress reviews and third-party reviews. The PM decides when communication is required in verbal form, in written form, or both.
Soft skills and hard tools
Project Mangers use a variety of soft skills to connect with resources working on a project. The most effective communication is made in-person where body language, tone and wording provide the greatest opportunity for understanding. Phone communication, email and chat are occasionally appropriate ways to communicate but less effective. The PM decides which method is most appropriate for the situation.
Hard tools like Gantt charts, spreadsheets, pivot tables, checklists, progress reports, quality control reports are effective ways to communicate with stakeholders on a project.
The PM can manage by walking around but not micromanage.
The PM has the power to assign and allocate resources. The greatest power a Project Manager has is to reward. One effective way to engage resources is through engaging resources during project execution and asking them what they want to continue working on, what they want to start working on and what they want to stop working on. Motivated resources are great to work with.
website & content by Don Platon Ⓒ 2015