Project Management

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Topics: Innovation, Schedule Management, Scheduling
Refining Preparation
Hi People,

I was wondering if somebody could give me some tips on preparing for an upcoming project.

If I have list of, say, 150 tasks, and there isn't any order to it, how do you compile your list, begin ordering the list and keeping track of what has been ordered and what hasn't. My way of doing it is rather chaotic and must be refined because I do sometimes miss things, which them come and bite me in the backside later on.

I was wondering if you come across this and what is the best way to prepare for a project?

Any thoughs are greatly appreciated.


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Being a new PM I'm also interested in what others have to say...
I probably won't be much help and shouldn't even have any say, but I would assume this would be a good example to consider creating the work breakdown structure. Assuming that these are tasks in reference to obtaining deliverable through your team actions.

I think ordering your list depends at what phase you are at and how much info you have obtained along with the work you've already started.

I'd like to observe the responses myself to gain some knowledge though.
Hi people,

I recently read a book that dealt with this exact question. The book is called Scrum by Jeff Sutherland. He suggests using a White board with post-it notes on there broken down into Backlog, To Do, Current and Completed. All of it reviewed weekly. The system is great and has resolved my question. It's worked great so far and I've had no problems. Just thought I'd let you know.

It's like solving a jigsaw puzzle. I use Visio for my whiteboard.

You start by finding some tasks that you know are related to others, and put one in front of another. When you find more pieces that relate, you add them in where appropriate. (This is where Visio makes moving things around easier.

When you find items that are not related to that row of sequential tasks, you create a new row. If you find tasks in one row that influence another row, you shift the rows accordingly but keep them in their own rows.

You do this until you have all your puzzle pieces linked as tasks in one of your rows, and the interfaces between the rows are established.
This is a question of prioritization - regardless of whether you follow a predictive or adaptive lifecycle, you need to determine what goes first. The following three influencers can all be considered when making this decision: relative business value, relative risk and dependencies.

You can do a simple sorting technique. Put the first item in a list, then ask the question whether the next is less or more important than the first. Then move on to the next one...

Three buckets; Now, Next, Later. This can be incorporated as horizontals across a kanban board with the verticals of To Do, Doing, Done. Using Trello, you can add labels, with colors, to identify priority.

One idea of many options. Good luck!
The problem with your statement is this: "I do sometimes missing things". As PM you never miss things. Your stakeholders, your SMEs missing things. That´s a critical point. But, it does not matter you can not help others to not missing things. So, the first thing a PM must do and unfortunatelly is a missing activity is elicitation. And to perform elicitation you have to prepare for that. And to prepare for that you can follow some defined process like CMU SEI process using the tools best fit for the propose PM must take knowledge about the domain (tools like Zachman Framwork row 1 could help you as a guide), take knolwdge about tne environment (tools like PESTLE Analysis and Porter Five Forces could help), take knowledge about Stakehoders and their concerns on the domain (tools like SPIN Selling could help), take knowledge about the problems others face on the domain (SPICE model could help). After you have all this stuff in hand then you can proceed with the project planning starting (at list in my case) with the project stakeholders management. Take into account that business analyst must provide lot of the information I stated as part of the product or solution definition.

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Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

- Will Rogers