Ready, Set, Activate!

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Activate is gantthead’s project phase that immediately follows planning. Unlike PMI’s execute phase, “activate” presents an important focus on the work required to bring the project up to speed. You can’t just get sign-off on a project plan and then run at full speed--in the same way that a car needs to accelerate smoothly to get to cruising speed, so does a project need to move from approval to efficient execution as quickly and smoothly as possible. In this article, I want to explore some ways to get from zero to 60 as quickly as possible.

Starting to move
Once a project becomes “real”, a PM can often feel that they are suddenly on their own--they have been working with experts to build their plans, and negotiating with stakeholders for approvals. Now that all of that work has been completed, they are at the forefront of making the project happen and many of the people who have been engaged up to this point are suddenly playing less active roles.

Historically, the mindset of this phase as “execution” means getting as many people as possible working on tasks from the project plan, and while this is not a bad thing, it’s only part of the picture. A more measured approach will be more productive in the long term and requires consideration of:

  • Ensuring that the organization as a whole understands …

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