Sunday, May 21, 2006

More about planning

One of the cornerstones in good project management is to get the team to strive together towards a well define goal which everybody in the team understands. All activities are of course divided between the members of the project and all individuals need to be aware about which responsibilities he or she has. This is only possible via thorough planning.

For, personal- as well as a project manager-reasons, it always feel better to have solid plan to follow instead of wondering around in the darkness trying to find your way forward. With a proper planning you are able to always be one step ahead of the project team and in that we manage and lead them in a better way.

The project team and my self sat down and tried to figure out what we should do when we initiated the infrastructure-project. These meetings resulted in three important artefacts;

1. WBS-chart. Work Breakdown Structure-chart which is a chart that shows the breakdown of the activities.

2. Networkdiagrams, which are diagrams that shows the relative flow of the activities. You are also possible to easily identify the critical line.

3. An excelsheet in which I can track the progress of each activity and also see how much time that remains for each activity.

These three artifacts together with the Project Definition have proven to be the most important documents for me when it comes to steering and follow up in the project. I would also like to advice you to involve the project team, or at least key-resources, in the planning. You will then get the buy-in from them and they will feel more committed to deliver according to the project-plan and time-plan. Due to the fact that we took the time in the beginning of the project to do the planning in a good way we also have the project under control, we minimize the risk of misunderstandings, and I’m possible to be proactive in my management.

How you choose to structure your project and the work conducted inside the project is dependent on which kind of project you run and what you intend to deliver. It is a difference if you intend to build a house or if you are developing a software.

Some of you might think that you don’t need to secure a thorough planning…and maybe you are right and maybe, just maybe, you will come out on top with a successful project.
But…dear friends…in many of the cases will you not manage to deliver on time, with correct budget, with the scope and quality that your steering committee require of you.

The other project (3rd Party Project)that I’m involved in is a sad story in many ways. When myself and my colleague took over the project in February 2006 we only received a high level plan in a powerpoint-slide. A that point we had no choice but to deliver a part of the project due to legal issues in one European-country, but when that was done we froze the project to be able to lay the foundations once again. We are currently sorting out many issue in the project and we are securing a solid plan, which feel promising. One of the reasons that the 3rd-party product-project is in a bad shape is due to lack of plan and planning.

Please, do not step into that trap…SECURE A GOOD PLAN!

Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

Regards, ThePM


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