The Project Controls Department fills the gap between the executive team, Operations, and Finance. These specialists provide the project manager with the data to fully understand the current health of the project and the trajectory it may be taking tomorrow. The author provides four possible organization structures to aid in increasing your project’s returns with more reliability and transparency.
Contingency covers costs that are reasonably expected to occur but are not specifically known on a given project. Keeping estimates of contingency up-to-date and relevant to the current environment and phase of the project in real time can be a challenge. Through the use of a project information database, application of a PMO reserve, and the use of iterative risk planning, the authors offer a solution to this problem.
Assumptions have to be made if a project is going to progress, but when those assumptions are made without being consciously noted, they are unlikely to be checked and confirmed or adjusted. This simple template provides a framework for capturing and monitoring assumptions.
Projects are becoming more strategic, why isn’t project leadership? The argument for the CPO is becoming stronger and stronger, so let's consider the case for an executive responsible for project execution.
The executives of an organization are not interested in the details of a project, but they do want to know what the roadmap is for the project. How are you going to present that to them? Keep these four tips in mind.
Lessons learned can be a valuable resource to future projects. Collecting them should be a priority for the project team even when they cannot see the immediate benefit of it. Keep these four tips in mind to help the process run smoothly.
When a schedule starts to slip, the project manager should be ready to jump in and get things back on track. Here are some strategies the PM can use that do not involve forcing everyone to work 80-hour work weeks.
Sooner or later, someone is going to ask you to report on the project. Will you be ready to make a good presentation? Here are some basic principles to get you started on being able to report on the project to a stakeholder, executive or whoever needs to know what is going on.
Project issues and risks, like zombies, move relatively slowly. It’s extremely rare that a project manager will be introduced to a project one day and be overwhelmed by the same failed project the next. Therefore, like survivors of a zombie apocalypse, project managers have time to prepare--and to look for those indications that projects are turning...
As our series concludes, we continue to examine Moneyball--and how enlightening it is with its instructive lessons about the effective use of metrics, ones that go beyond the narrow world of baseball and provide some insights into how those lessons might be applied to projects generally.
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.
If we don’t conduct the proper analysis but rather make assumptions about what is causing a problem, then we jump to our perceived solution--and more often than not we end up wasting time, money and effort on implementing the wrong solution. This article supports the presentation for Cause and Effect Analysis and provides a more detailed explanation of how the tool should be used.
Question: Projects come to my team with time, scope and cost set. We are expected to add high quality on our own. No matter how skilled we are, we always fail to meet these arbitrary metrics. I’m getting burned out always coming up short, and the team has very low morale. Short of finding a new company, is there action I can take to change this scenario?
Management teams see and know more than project managers. You are paid to work with the parameters you are given, so do the best you can.
Work with your team to do a slowdown. This will force management to listen to your concerns and change things to give the projects a better outcome.
Figure out a set of things that would help get projects started more realistically and list them in order of desirability. If you try the first one and it doesn’t work, try the next one.
Organizations that work in this manner are led by people who don’t understand projects. You are better off to find a job in another corporate setting where they assign projects in a way that you can always be successful.
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.
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 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.
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.
What's the first step in looking at the risks you face in delivering your project? Before performing a full-blow assessment, you may want to ask yourself a few simple questions. This 10 minute, 27 question worksheet will help you quickly identify a number of risk factors common to many projects. It's a great first step in looking at the risks you may be facing at a macro level.
This template outlines a classic Project Charter with a focus on project definition and strategic ties. Risks and stakeholder needs are covered, but not in granular detail. It is appropriate for fairly low-risk projects where the goal is to get everyone on the same page up front.
"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure."