Project Management Central

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Practice Areas: Benefits Realization, Government, PMO
Project Management Lite?
Network:109



My organization is looking at how Project Management can be incorporated into all aspects of our efforts. We have a fairly mature and robust project management approach for mid to large projects, but we struggle with determining how much project management is " too much" when we are managing small efforts (4-12 weeks, 10-300 hours of total team work). We are also starting to incorporate project management oversight into what I term as quasi-Operations based efforts. Not really a project, but could benefit from project management involvement. So I am asking for lessons learned, personal best practices, anything that you all could offer that I am terming as Project Management Lite. Any information would help, but I am particularly interested in what this "lite" process looks like and what expectations surround it.
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Network:565



If you already have a process that people are familiar with, that works, do you want to come up with something new just because the scale is smaller?

How would you scale down your current process?

Can you break your current process down into a bullet list or checklist, and then trim that down to the minimum items you would need for a smaller project?

Just something to think about - no need to overcomplicate things.
Network:595



Maybe you can elaborate a little bit on the background of your question. Are there special pain points in the way small efforts are managed that you'd like to address? Are the people leading the mid to large projects the same as those managing the small efforts?

If you are just looking for a way to do things in a more standardized way, I think Aaron is right about the use of checklists...
Network:1170



Potentially listed guidelines to follow based on hours to determine which deliverables and stage gates are required by the amount of hours. That would probably provide the simplest solution, while not necessarily creating a new process.

----------10-300 hours ----301-1000 hours-----1001-5000 hours----5001+ hours
Item A.........Y..........................Y...............................Y.............................Y
Item B.........N..........................Y...............................Y.............................Y
Item C.........N..........................N...............................Y.............................Y

At the same time, there is also simply 'good judgement'. For instance, if a project is deemed 310 hours, it may not necessarily warrant the extra pieces required in the next tier of hours. There is a responsibility on the PM make the right/best decision based on the specific project.

Edit: Sorry for the formatting ... : )
Network:109



Thank you for the comments. The issue, as I see it, it that we gave the authority to decide what documents, how much oversight, etc... to the PMs but they almost all defaulted to just two documents, the Charter and the Administrative Closure form. The only two required for all projects. Furthermore, the level (the and look feel to the client, NOT quality) of project management has been contingent on which project manager was assigned to the effort, client portfolio. This is not what we want. We want a more consistent approach. Aaron Porter's comment above is the direction we are heading, but knowing that if I leave it to the PMs, they will generally default to a little as possible (not necessarily what the project needs), I would like to set a baseline set of expectations for what this lighter touch looks like. Andrew Craig your suggestion is a good approach and may be what I need to lay out. At a minimum it sets the expectation for the PM and at the same time allows me to discuss with the key stakeholders what they should expect.
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1 reply by Betsy Green
May 17, 2017 4:11 PM
Betsy Green
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I expect that I'm preaching to the choir, but those two documents don't seem like nearly enough, even for a Lite version of PM.

I'd consider these deliverables essential for any project:
- Charter
- Requirements/Scope document (could be a simplified version)
- Project Plan (again, could be a simplified version)
- Schedule
- Quality/Testing Plan
- Lessons Learned
- Project Close report

I like Andrew's suggestion, too, of having tiered versions of required PM deliverables.
Network:268



This sounds like a great justification for a PMO. You can consolidate all projects, programs, and proposed projects under one roof, and then determine from there what would be the best approach to start and finish those. You might find that the smaller projects can be merged with larger projects. The PMO can also standardize what documents are needed for each project. This might help with stakeholder expectations, too
Network:939



You already received good suggestions.
However, I would suggest that don't add too many processes at a time. Take small steps and let the team be comfortable enough to adapt the process completely. This would bring steady growth.
Network:1189



I am into an organization where some things what usually belongs to operations is running as projects.Let me say: you ever are applying project management. You have to stay clear about what does mean "too much". Is because the governance process? Is because the project management deliverables people have to complete? That is the key. But remember: you ever are using project management. Key is to determine the degree of the detail used.
Network:64



May 15, 2017 2:01 PM
Replying to James Stern
...
Thank you for the comments. The issue, as I see it, it that we gave the authority to decide what documents, how much oversight, etc... to the PMs but they almost all defaulted to just two documents, the Charter and the Administrative Closure form. The only two required for all projects. Furthermore, the level (the and look feel to the client, NOT quality) of project management has been contingent on which project manager was assigned to the effort, client portfolio. This is not what we want. We want a more consistent approach. Aaron Porter's comment above is the direction we are heading, but knowing that if I leave it to the PMs, they will generally default to a little as possible (not necessarily what the project needs), I would like to set a baseline set of expectations for what this lighter touch looks like. Andrew Craig your suggestion is a good approach and may be what I need to lay out. At a minimum it sets the expectation for the PM and at the same time allows me to discuss with the key stakeholders what they should expect.
I expect that I'm preaching to the choir, but those two documents don't seem like nearly enough, even for a Lite version of PM.

I'd consider these deliverables essential for any project:
- Charter
- Requirements/Scope document (could be a simplified version)
- Project Plan (again, could be a simplified version)
- Schedule
- Quality/Testing Plan
- Lessons Learned
- Project Close report

I like Andrew's suggestion, too, of having tiered versions of required PM deliverables.
Network:595



Do you want the consistency because some repeat customers often get assigned a different project manager and then have to get accustomed to the new way of reporting etc.and maybe even wonder if this is a sign that not everything is under control? Then you not only need a matrix defining the required documents but also templates for each doc and training for the project managers in how these are expected to be filled...
Or is it maybe that actually all is fine, the projects are running smoothly, the customers are happy and it is just your organization that feels they need more control over the projects?

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