Project Management in Real Life

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 Project Manager with dirty hands

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The Microsoft Project Plan with subprojects


You have created a meticulous Work Breakdown Structure of all the tasks for your project. The next step is to transfer that WBS to your MS Project plan. You created a very impressive project plan with over 10,000 entries. All you have to do now is maintain the plan to keep it fresh.

Are you kidding? The project scope has changed. My project plan has over 10,000 entries with start dates and finish dates. My masterpiece is ruined! I spent one month creating that project plan after the official sign off on the project.

Take a deep breath. All you have to do now is create as many as needed MS Project plans to address the additional scope. For example you can create five small MS Project plans to address the additional scope.

Great, I now have six plans to maintain for the same project. Yes, you have six projects, but you can turn those scope creepers into subprojects by creating five tasks in your master project at the appropriate areas in the project plan. MS Project can insert a project into a project, resulting in subprojects in the master project.

When you bring up your master project all the subprojects will be there creating an illusion of one MS Project plan. Well, there will be a MS Project icon next to the line number in the MS Project master plan indicating a linked project. The subproject line numbers will start with a 1 - 97 for example, they do not renumber the master project plan.

A suggestion for large projects. Create a master project and subprojects to help make the management of the plan a pleasant experience. As much as possible we diligently gather the project requirements to build a project plan that will have minimal additions, but we need to respond quickly to incorporate the additional requirements that gets approved and needs to be incorporated into the master project plan.

There is a plus to the birth of subprojects. From a reporting standpoint you can show how much additional effort was introduced into the original project. You can create reports from the subprojects and of course you can create reports of the master project with all the subprojects that are linked to it giving you the big picture.

When you are disciplined to create a master MS Project plans that employs subprojects, you gain flexibility in the master plan. You now have an Agile project plan to address the thing that go bump in the night from those sponsors and stakeholders.

Posted on: June 09, 2018 09:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

The Project Management Trilogy

 I have identified three critical areas in a project to focus on. They all intertwine. It's up to the Project Manager to keep a close watch over them or suffer the consequences.  

(1) Statement of Work  

Review with a fine tooth comb what you are delivering.

(2) Scope Creep 

Changes are inevitable, but keep it to a minimum.

(3) Key Performance Indicators 

Make sure you are delivering results.


(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on in October 2015)

Posted on: January 22, 2018 02:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Scope Creep a dirty word in Project Management

I worked on a project that was eventually terminated due to scope creep causing enormous cost overruns. The Project Manager did not stay within the scope. This happened slowly over time like a small crack in a dam leaks water. Change requests kept coming in and they were all getting approved. The cost of the project just kept going up. Change requests are a part of every project it happens. This project had change requests beyond sanity. We were replacing a system with the same system in the end if we did not pull the plug on it and cut our losses already.


Some causes of scope creep:

(1) Poorly defined requirements that don't clearly highlight the objectives you want to achieve. You need your deliverables defined clearly.

(2) Weak change control.

(3) Sponsors that are weak.

(4) Selecting the wrong vendor solution.

(5) A Project Manager that does not raise the flag when he sees the project spiraling out of control. He thinks he can salvage it.

(6) Having no sign-off from all parties that have a stake in the project. They need to speak up if they feel the proposed project falls short of their objectives. Hash it out before you formally kickoff the project.


My granddaughter loves playing Minecraft. The creepers job is to ambush players. Players can avoid creepers by running away or facing them to get rid of them. You can runaway from the creepers to avoid them, but they are still out there looking to cause trouble. Exterminate the creepers to get rid of them. The same goes for scope creep in project management. Don't allow numerous changes without challenging it. Face it head on and ask for a compelling justification. If your given a weak justification terminate that change request.

Minecraft Creeper

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on in August 2015)

Posted on: January 18, 2018 03:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers.

- James Thurber



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