Do you struggle over the finish line with a gasping breath, or do you stride easily past it with the satisfaction of a job well done? Finishing well is just as vital as anything else on the project, but how do you get there?
The most significant challenge for any project manager is when projects shift modes. The shift from startup to execution, and the shift from execution to closeout, requires a change in mindset. Each shift needs the PM to adjust their focus and emphasis--and a corresponding change to how they deal with people.
Given the fast-paced environment within which most project managers operate, it is only natural that the closeout phase of the project lifecycle is often addressed in a rush. A closeout survey using one of the many tools available today is one approach to consider.
Many PMs collect lessons learned after a project is complete or after a phase is over. But what is the best way to apply those lessons learned to future projects or phases?
Question: I have been fairly successful with past projects, but the one I’m leading now deserves to die. I don’t think it’s just that I’m discouraged with my team’s performance; it doesn’t seem to me like there is much to be gained by the work we are doing. What do I do now?
|A.||While you probably do not have the authority to decide whether or not the project continues, you have a responsibility to convey your thoughts to management.|
|B.||Keep cashing the checks. Although this may not be your most successful project, in this economy as long as you and your team are employed--just keep working away.|
|C.||Since project managers can’t see the overall strategic plan for the organization, they are in a poor position to know whether or not this project has a place. It may have been constructed as a tax write-off and will save more money on taxes than a traditional project would earn.|
|D.||Tell your manager that you and your team would like to be reassigned, that you have met, and all agree that there is no value to the organization in completing it.|
Unrehearsed players executing spontaneous postmortems will not reap the full benefits, but cultivated regimens can enable even casual players to consistently succeed and draw expected results in ad hoc postmortems. If you're in a PANIC, maybe it's time to get PACIFIC...
Ideally, every project ends in success, on time and on budget. In the real world, projects are canceled--and the project manager needs to be ready for this eventuality.
Managing issues on a project takes strategic planning and a little finesse so that issues do not turn into show stoppers. Do you have an issue management plan that can handle any problems and still keep the project on track?
Project issues vary from organization to organization, but a few always pop up in the post-mortem. Here we identify some causes and offer some ideas on how you can finally get those issues off your report once and for all.
Project failure is inevitable...are you equipped to handle it? Major project failure can be a life changer, so you need to make sure that it’s a positive experience by keeping the right outlook. Here's some advice from a PM who lived through a few rough experiences.
The project manager should make sure the lessons learned sessions are positive experiences for all involved. But how can you turn a session on mistakes into something constructive?
Document a business case to persuade upper management to fund your project. Keep it short and succinct enough that the busy executive management audience will read and digest it. It should directly convey the information they need to know with salient, hard-hitting, supporting evidence that addresses the bottom line. This is a basic instructional framework of the information you should include in your business case. Enhance it as you wish!
Finding sponsors to back your project is an art. Make a compelling case for the project to gain sponsor support when you are pitching your business case to executive management. Here is an example of a brief, direct project concept designed to lure sponsors into your camp.
This checklist is a quick and dirty way of weighing risk factors against project criteria to discover level of risk.
Formulating a business case and proposing your project to senior management for buy-in can be tricky. Don't dive right in and start writing. Begin with a solid checklist of guidelines to ensure a business case that's more than buzzword hype.
Mission-critical projects need to be well-justified, with clear goals that can be referenced throughout the life of the project. This business case template offers an excellent approach to goal-setting and a way to communicate those goals effectively.
This is a high-level example of a Project Charter for implementing a methodology, but the structure and approach will work for many projects. This example is heavy on risks and assumptions, light on budgeting, role descriptions and conflict resolution.
The project sponsor is your project's champion. This guideline will help you pick the right person for this important job.
The attached tool has been developed to assist you in generating some solid payback data to be used to evaluate the return potential of your proposed method. Not only will it help the gods of finance see the light, but will also help you to understand whether your project is a winner or loser before you ever put your signature on the purchase requisition.
This excellent project justification guide will provide sophisticated advice to maximize the impact of your business case, making it accurate, complete and persuasive. In addition, learn some handy tips, techniques and strategies to complement existing procedures, templates and spreadsheets that you already use.
Presenting a winning business case with the right amount of the right information for the right audience is the key to getting approval and funding for your project! Here is a presentation that will give you the fine points on how to do just that.
No project was ever completed on time and within budget. Identifying risks associated with a project and mitigating them is a crucial activity of project planning. Managers need to not only analyze project risks, but also must develop contingency plans to address those risks.
The project sponsor checklist describes ways for the project sponsor to provide commitment and project support in an effective, visible manner.
Building an application? This checklist outlines 52 potential risk areas in application development, defining low, medium and high risk levels for each. Classifying your project risk in each of these areas will not only guide you in forming mitigation strategies, but really help you focus your management attention during the course of the project.