Project Management

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Hi to all of you, and welcome to this blog about management, projects, IT, etc. and about life among all of that. I'd like to share my thoughts, knowledges, experiences and to propose them for discussions.

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Some rules for successful requirements gathering

We know that IT system development is not only about the offer of automation services based on the requirements of the customer or consumers, but it’s about development business strategy, about business development.

For example, you have a shop, and when you created a web-site you have received a new market. If you are working in an international company which work with delivery shipments and you have created new technology about exchanges of shipment dates for your client, a big international company, you get a new market too, your business had gone to the next level because of the new technology. The new technology may give you possibility for work faster, with high quality and with new clients. And all of these examples about development both strategies: IT Strategy and Business strategy.

So, we need successful business analysis, including requirements gathering for this process as one of the main it part.

In the Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide by PMI [1] the term Business Analysis is defined as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to:

  • Determine problems and identify business needs; 
  • Identify and recommend viable solutions for meeting those needs; 
  • Elicit, document, and manage stakeholder requirements in order to meet business and project objectives; 
  • Facilitate the successful implementation of the product, service, or end result of the program or project.”   

All of you know how many projects have fails, and these failures being attributed to requirements gathering, it’s almost 70% of all project failures [2].

How could we realize the right Business Analysis (or discovered requirements) and get the set of the right requirements?

It’s very important to see in the right direction (Figure). For determine problems and identify business needs we have to see around us, to find obvious things, and we have to use some set of rules.

Figure – Discover requirements

For my opinion, there are three most important set of rules.

The first set is about right questions when you try to discover problems and formulate requirements [1]. It is like a 5W1H (Five Ws and One How) method. Answers on these questions are considered basic in information gathering.  Therefore, in the business analysis we have also five Why. Here are some typical questions with why:

  1. Why is it the problem?
  2. Why is this situation happen?
  3. Why do you have this process?
  4. Why any alternatives are not work?
  5. Why the solution of this problem is so important?

In addition, of course, you have to remember to choose the right person as an interviewee.

The second set is about requirements management [3]:

  1. Planning how we could get the right requirements. Plan must include questions, on which you try to find answers (first set of rules), methods and instruments for work with them, list of sources, time, responsibilities, plan for integration, plan for quality assurance.
  2. Team work (Collaboration&Buy-In). All team member must be in the loop. You need gathering and work with all ideas no matter how crazy they can be. And you try to get support the decision from all team members. 
  3. Integration Management (work with changes). It's very important when you continue working, making changes and go-back iterations. It makes your result much better and clarify requirements.
  4. Quality Management (quality assurance). When you have a mistake in the requierements, it will be  cost up to 100 times in the future than it is to correct a defect early on while a requirement.

And the third set is about result analysis [4]:

  1. Be sceptic and always ask questions with “Why”.
  2. I mean especially very useful in the result analysis the McKinsey technic called MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive). When you think in this way, you can find your gaps in the requirements and you can prevent duplicates too.
  3. Working with hypothesis: define, generate and test them.

In conclusion, to formulate the right requirements is a very complexity task, and there are a lot of information about different methods and tools. Above rules could be fundament in your requirements gathering.

References:

  1. Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide, Project Management Institute, 2015, p.  
  2. Beginning at the End – Requirements Gathering Lessons from a Flowchart Junkie Cari Stieglitz, PMP, Project Manager, Faithful+Gould, Originally published as a part of the 2012 PMI Global Congress Proceedings – Vancouver, Canada
  3. Requirements Management 101 four fundamentals that everyone should know. Jama.Inc, www.jamasoftware.com | 1.800.679.3058
  4. Ethan M. Rasiel The McKinsy Way, Copyright 1999 Ethan M. Rasiel. Click here for Terms of Use, 188 p. 
Posted on: February 28, 2018 10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

How to quickly and efficiently align documents

Some of you know how hard could be to fix up with customer (especially in a large company) a lot of documents when they are part of your procurement. 

You have to correct them again and again...to have discuss them with a lot of people, which can have some different opinions about the same things, which can have some different interests. 

But how could you make this process working quickly?

I have developed a habit over the years of working in consulting to do the following things:

  1. To form a working group of experts, decision-makers in the case of a large project we need to establish several working groups.
  2. For each direction must be the person responsible for the direction and possessing powers of decision-making in contentious situations.
  3. Prepare the first edition of documents, and send them to the customer for given feedback.
  4. Give feedback from all of people which take part in the fix up.
  5. Write records of all observations in the table, record the answers to all remarks and add comments, especially if you don't agree with observation.
  6. Change documents and send them again to the customer.
  7. Organize meeting and discuss the documents, try to make the positive decision. 
  8. If the positive decision didn't find on meeting, you have to distinguish controversial aspects with description their solution ways.
  9. All final decisions must be agreed by the management Committee of this project and approved by the responsible for the project from the customer.

This is easily done when you have professionals in the field of project management, project office, and very difficult when they are not.

But some organizations don't follow project management processes, and they don't have project management professionals, techniques. And what can we see?

I was convinced on own experience, doing projects for two different large organizations. In one of them the specialists have been trained in project management according to PMBOK, the other heard nothing about it. In the first case, it was not difficult to organize the work properly and perform it easily. In the second case, it took some time on the organization of work on the project from the customer, as it was necessary to actually teach the ideology of project management and operation, as well as to overcome resistance and reluctance to change work style. But and one, and in another case, in the end, the process of working on documents was reduced to the mentioned steps.

I'll be glad to get your feedback.

Thank you for reading this.

Success to all of you. 

Posted on: November 23, 2017 11:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

Some words on memory about Russian writer

Yesterday, passed away the Russian writer, Daniil Granin (1919-2017), who had written, for my oppinion, the fundamental book in the Russian time management "This strange life".

This book tells us about the Alexander Lubishchev, Soviet scientist. Alexander Lubishchev devoted his life to science, including the study of using time. Alexander Lyubischev had made a monitoring and accounting time during of all his life. It had allowed him to achieve greater productivity of his activities in various fields of philosophy, biology, and entomology.

Thanks to the book of Daniil Granin method of using time-keeping has been widespread, and nowadays many of the developing and implementing time management systems use it as their basis.

My personal experience of how to improve the own efficiency with timing, I had described in my blog (https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/24731/-Its-a-magic-time---).

The rules of timekeeping in the company will help you to evaluate the work activities. It will also increase productivity, as well as the possibility of introducing an incentives and rewards system.

However, you should be careful with using these tools because people usually do not like when they don’t feel free.  That is why the most effective will be the introduction of timing as a work culture, and as a means for all employees to benefit from it.

If anyone had not read this book, I highly recommend to read.

https://www.litmir.me/br/?b=226757&p=1

If you need a translation, write about it in comments, I could post book here in parts.

Posted on: July 05, 2017 10:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Composure is one of the main leadership characteristics

Have you ever worked with a nervous head? How did you feel in this situation? Don't you think that such manager behavior has a negative effect to work?

One day I was in a very difficult situation. There was a difficult project, too little time, a lot of reporting.

Last day of the deadline. Hard work. Everyone is tired. All was ready except some acts and the boot modules. We need to write code on some disk units, and at this moment the program fail has gone. Programmers are ready to quit. I don't know how to correct a mistake in the program settings and restore the system. I just support them calm down, discuss and work together to find a solution, and they are in the beginning reluctantly, and then, infected by the desire to deliver work on time, be inspired, work boils, and finally, they report that all done! I see the joy on their faces. It was very pleasant. But a lawyer has been lost all nerves, she could not prepare the last act, I sent her to lunch, and after lunch, helped her, and she did it very quickly. The analyst, who performed the last important and urgent task, had mistaken, so he did not finish his work. I had to be with him and guide him, I saw he calms down and does everything precisely and accurately. We finished our work completed in time.

And what I noticed, my composure and attitude on the result helped us. It was an incredible example of the power of composure. As you know, there are a lot of different researches about linking leaders and team performance. Some of them showed that relationship between leader behavior and team performance is indirect [1]. But I saw in my experience very direct linking. And I have to say that a leader must have great composure. It is one of the keys to successful team performance.

There is also another opinion that composure is one of the qualities of exceptional people [2]. So, we need to remember about it and improve yourself.

 I'll be glad to get your feedback.

Thank you for reading this.

Success to all of you.   

References:

  1. http://www.sbuweb.tcu.edu/mscole/docs/Cole%20et%20al.%20(2011).%20Linking%20Leadership%20Behavior%20and%20Consensus%20to%20Team%20Perf_LQ.pdf
  2. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246347

 

Posted on: May 21, 2017 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

It's a magic time...

Recently I was actually in a situation very tight deadline and a too brief time. Except my mains projects I was attracted to work as an analyst for a large Federal project. And I had had to develop subsystem decomposition, description of the components and modules, and clarification of details and preparation of the final document in the two days.

I knew I must calculate my power for doing all work in time and with a high quality, and also I knew I must don’t work at night, and leave a little time to rest. I was decided to count the time and monitor them during work. I must have had to create eighteen schemes and their descriptions.

I created one and write the begin time and the end time. Then I made the same with another, because they could have had the different complexity.

I must have had to create eighteen schemes and their descriptions.

Then I made the same with another, because they could have had the different complexity.

After that I knew average time. And I developed my plan, I calculated time worked on each scheme and on its description accordingly with the complexity of the schemes.  The remaining time was planned under the necessary things, including eating, taking some rest, and sleep.

At the end of the second day I was finished the whole job. The secret is, as I think, that in these two days I had not spent unnoticed, perhaps, not one minute, not what hours.

Of course, such strict regulations are not always needed, but it allows you to gather, concentrate and to complete the job.

Measurement time is necessary for management yourself, for work management. And there are different ways to use it for the different types of work.

The time is magic, if you want to do something you will do it.

Posted on: March 08, 2017 04:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)
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