Project Management

Hitting a Moving Target

Kenneth has 14 years of healthcare experience in government and private industry. Over eight years of experience managing healthcare IT projects, operations, contracts, and personnel. His work experience includes project management, contracts and procurements, data analysis, claims adjudication, business writing, and business process modeling. Kenneth was certified in 2006 as a Project Management Professional.

It can be hard to finish a project, but finishing a project when someone keeps moving the finish line becomes an impossible task full of frustration. Unfortunately, the moving target happens all too often during projects. Business needs are constantly shifting, and when a customer gets involved in accepting requirements that were defined more than a month ago, all bets are off. A proposal may have been written six months ago, but what is wanted now is entirely different.

So how does a project manager fight this moving target and still deliver on time?

One of the chief tools that a project manager can use is to baseline the schedule and project scope. By setting it in stone (or at least the electronic equivalent of stone), the project manager and the client can then get a full view of the project from beginning to end. They can see what the entire scope of the project is and how long it will take for the project team to execute the plan. The baseline becomes the discussion point when the target begins to move. The project manager and the project team can point back to the baseline and look at what is changing--and how it will impact the rest of the project.

Setting Expectations
One of the best results of establishing a good baseline is that everyone related to the project will have the same expectations from the project and the project team. The baseline …

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