Project Management in Real Life

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Sharing my Project Management adventures and some tips. I try to keep my articles brief and to the point. Project Management is an Art, Science, and Discipline.

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The High Risk Project

Project Management has been around from the beginning of time. Just think about the wonders of the world that have been built. A form of project management had to have been used to accomplish such feats. The Romans and Egyptians are examples of accomplishing amazing construction projects with only primitive tools and slaves. The use of slaves must have been ingrained into project teams through the years to joke about Project Managers being slave drivers.     

Fast forward to modern times. Project Management is a critical discipline to ensure successful delivery of projects on time within the budget. Projects are tied to a budget with a reasonable variance for the bumps in the road that could pop up. The bumps in the road are the project risks that should be identified and monitored all the time. The entire team needs to be onboard with open communication to immediately report any risks that are starting to materialize. If you stick your head in the sand and hope that the risk goes away without any mitigation, good luck, get your resume ready. 

The person overseeing the entire high profile project needs to be transparent, accessible and have integrity. Knowing when to say timeout takes guts when it's starting to look bad. Slapping on workarounds for deficiencies that eventually catch up with the project is just pure stupidity. Money and time are just wasted and your competency will questioned. 

Having an unrealistic attitude that we have put in many hours and spent big money on the project already so it's unstoppable because we are at the point of no return will not work in your favor. Any failing project can be shutdown to repurpose it or dismantle it to stop further financial loss. Repurpose or dismantling will come at a cost, but if you continue on with a poorly planned project that should have never gotten a green light to proceed, you better have deep pockets to keep funding that White Elephant. A lot of people will be outraged and at the same time relieved that bleeding will be stopped. 

It's all about gathering the required cost and time to complete a project on-time within the budget. Not an easy job for some projects, but it needs to be done properly without cutting corners to get an approval. That's the expectation you expect when you entrust a project team to embark on a major high risk project that is very expensive. 

 

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in May 2016)

Posted on: April 15, 2018 06:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

Budget Creep a Project Manager's Nightmare

Going over budget within the scope of a project can happen. You think you covered all the possibilities that could occur in the project. You submitted a budget with padding so you can avoid a budget overrun. You are now at the one third milestone in the project and your funds are being depleted faster than anticipated. How did I not see this happening?

Reporting any budget variances on a monthly Project Stop Light Report will expose your budget creep. You will see how your monthly expenditures keep going up for the project. That is your cue to stop the project and revisit the budget. Are the projected estimates accurate or grossly underestimated? The faith of the project is in jeopardy now. Will the project be shutdown or will additional funds be allocated for it? A big decision needs to be made based on an accurate big picture on what the new realistic funding will be to keep the project moving.  

Project Managers need to always keep an eye on the budget and raise the red flag when the project funds are depleting ahead of time. Avoid what I call Budget Creep.

 

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in September 2016)

Posted on: March 02, 2018 05:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (15)

The Project Equations

The answer is ???

Do you remember when you were required to show your work in a math test to give the instructor an idea how you arrived at the answers. They had to see the approach that you used to solve the problems. Showing your work demonstrates that you understand  how you arrived at your answers.

Connecting the dots

The Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management is the decomposition of a Work Package that is a basically a large task that needs to be broken down as far as you can to create work packages that are smaller tasks. When you breakdown a large work package into smaller tasks it gives you a better insight on the work that needs to be done. It will give you a chance to provide good estimates on the time required to complete the entire work package.

The value of the WBS

The work breakdown structure is a valuable technique to get a better understanding of the components in your project. Showing your work on how you will deliver your project will provide clarity. The better you are at showing your work, the better your chances on delivering tasks on time.

Posted on: February 25, 2018 08:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)

The Orchestra Conductor of Projects

The Symphony Orchestra Conductor interprets a composer's score to set the tempo for the Orchestra. The conductor stands most of the time on a raised podium with a baton, but also uses hand gestures and body language to convey the emotions of the musical score to the orchestra.

Will an orchestra function without a conductor?  Yes, the show will go on with some inconsistent interpretations of the score. Will there be a good review of that Symphony? Highly unlikely unless they get lucky.

Being a Conductor is an art. Just because you can play beautiful music does not mean you can conduct. The Symphony Orchestra needs a Conductor to be successful on their delivery of music.

The Project Manager is that point person that guides a team to complete tasks on time. The tasks can be completed independently of each other or they need to be completed in a defined order of dependencies to accomplish a deliverable. All the tasks make up a project with a defined scope to deliver results.

Being a Project Manager requires the ability to have a vision on how you will deliver a project on schedule by guiding your team members to stay focused on their part in the project. Every team member plays an important role no matter how small they think their part is. No room for slackers or weak links that will comprise the team's rhythm.  

Will a team function without a project manager? Yes, it's done all the time. Will the project be on time within a budget? I don't recommend taking chances without a project manager because you might be lucky to have some good team members that can guide the team to a successful delivery of a project. That might not be the case all the time.

Being a Project Manager is an art too. The delivery of projects on schedule within a budget is like a Symphony Orchestra Conductor that delivers a beautiful Symphony with a standing ovation at the end. That's why the Project Manager is the Symphony Orchestra Conductor of Projects. They deliver results. No standing ovation, only pure satisfaction for the team delivering a successful project.

 

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in April 2017)

 

Posted on: February 16, 2018 05:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Kindergarten and Project Management

Your child is going to Kindergarten, you are going to leave your child’s education and care in the hands of a professional that has a goal to reach at the end of the school year. Prepare the children for 1st Grade. The teacher will be in charge of twenty children ages 5 to 6. With that many kids some ground rules need to be set so that everyone in the class knows the expectations.

The teacher gives the parents and children a tour of the classroom and playground to familiarise them and presents the class rules.

The Project Kickoff meeting is when you assemble all your team members with stakeholders in attendance watching you layout how you are going to run the project. Think of the stakeholders as parents that want the project team members to succeed.

The project manager presents the project to the team showing the project timeline and tasks assigned to the team. The expectations of the project manager is conveyed to the team that a weekly status meeting will be held on Fridays. Be prepared to report your status and if you cannot attend make an effort to email your status report by 5pm. I’m keeping it simple to illustrate the point I’m making on what team members are responsible for.

Whether you are teaching Kindergarten or running a project you need to set the ground rules and expectations from the beginning and develop and refine it along the way. Setting up expectations and ground rules will avoid any assumptions and make everyone’s job easier by knowing what is expected of you.

 

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in May 2015)

Posted on: January 23, 2018 03:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)
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