Project managers must ensure that projects are aligned with business strategy and value creation for their company and its shareholders. The author demonstrates the importance of the bridge between the business and project worlds, even when there is not a clear link between their objectives. But one objective always remains the same: to create economic value.
Nuclear technology and project management have a long standing relationship. The River Corridor Closure Project was a finalist for the PMI Project of the Year award in 2015. As a large-scale project that dealt with significant hazards and large budgets successfully, there is much to learn from this project.
This brief checklist is intended to help project managers ensure they are ready to conduct project kickoff sessions. Project managers should review the questions asked in this checklist and make notes of any items that are unclear/outstanding /etc. Any areas that are still unclear require action plans.
Organizational values, project boundaries and performance expectations are all important areas that exist within every organization with varying degrees of thought and implementation behind them. Here we look at how organizational rules and norms are presented and communicated to employees and project team members, and how they can be interpreted.
No matter how much money or people are thrown at a project, it will not be successful without the proper amount of preparation. There is much that can be accomplished prior to the work beginning, and throughout the project there are key activities that must be done in order to support the project correctly.
Question: When projects are a normal length, I’m experienced. But now I’m being asked to head a multi-year project that promises to be very complex. Is it just frying fish in a bigger pan, or are there special procedures to know when the undertaking is massive and international, or even just longer and involving more personnel than normal?
Long-term projects are challenging and offer a great sense of accomplishment, but there are some risks and procedural modifications to layer onto your usual processes if you hope to be successful. Thinking ahead is crucial, as any errors or missed estimates are magnified.
Large projects are scary at first, but because you have so much time and such a large budget, it is easier to balance small errors and still come out within your original metrics. Just be sure the team is signed to a contract of at least six months past the estimated completion date.
Projects that will take more than six months and exceed $1 million dollars need more than one project manager. The escalation metric is simple: each quarter on the corporate calendar and each quarter of a million dollars added to the budget equal one additional project manager.
Create a rolling staff plan for this endeavor, as people will get too bored and lose their ability to find creative solutions when a project drags on. Perhaps manning it with team members from a third-party staffing service is the most efficient choice.
A solid business case, a well-thought-out plan and fit-for-purpose business requirements are important. But what about "all the little things" that we do each and every day, things that--when added together--help create the recipe for successful projects and programs?
Every project has those slow periods, the times when nothing seems to be happening. Should we just accept that certain times of the year are just quieter and less productive? No! Those are the times project management can really make a difference.
Making the right choice is not always easy, and it is not always as straightforward as it should be. How can project managers rest soundly knowing that he or she made the right choices--or, at the very least, the best possible choices that were available?
If you cannot make a plan to have the right people at the right time, then your project will not succeed. But how do you arrive at that plan with the number of resources? And how do you ensure that the number of people is right, and the start and finish dates are correct? It all starts with estimating.
Question: I have a person on my team who is constantly late with his activities. We’ve spoken, with me using my best managerial techniques, to try to help him understand the impact to the project when he does not finish work as planned. Where do I go from here?
When a person consistently does not finish as planned, there is a problem with team estimates. Hold a full team meeting to see what can be done to create more realistic estimates in the future by all team members.
You have an employee who obviously has no regard for the other members of the team. Put him on report, and if he misses even one additional deadline, either fire him or ask to have him removed from your team, depending on your power.
This person must be doing an acceptable job when he finishes; the issue is just with his estimating skills. Track his work and find a multiplying factor to use when adding his activities to the Work Breakdown Structure.
This employee seems to have a communication issue. He cannot clearly state how long it will take him to finish an activity he estimated himself, and he is not communicating to you when he will be late. See if Human Resources has a training class to help him become more articulate.
What happens when a project manager faces team attrition? This article covers three strategies that can be applied during project planning, executing and controlling within the project human resources management and project risk management knowledge areas.
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.
"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."