… or where’s a work breakdown structure when you need one? Some fundamental lessons were learned the hard way on a complex datacenter consolidation project that failed to meet one urgent (but ultimately undefined) objective. Here’s the first-hand account from a veteran program director.
David Allen, author of "Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity," says people can’t — and shouldn’t try — to multitask. Overwhelmed project managers can apply his framework to clear the daily clutter that often distracts them from focusing on the most important tasks at hand.
When it comes to project management, systems are better than slogans — and they have to be held accountable. For example, don’t just blame team members who do a poor job of estimating — find ways to improve the estimating process to make it more accurate in the future. And don’t blame stakeholders for changing requirements — make the effort to understand what they really want from the outset.
Turf battles, poor oversight, misplaced objectives and vaguely defined responsibilities derail many transformation initiatives. Switching from a task management mindset to a benefit management framework can get these projects back on track.
In applying Deming’s management philosophy to project management, leaders and teams are encouraged to improve flawed processed rather than to manipulate or ignore them. Likewise, projects aren’t run in silos or monitored exclusively through the lens of short-term thinking, but instead speak to the future of the entire organization.
Projects are often run by inexperienced project managers who are unfamiliar with techniques to manage projects more effectively. In this series, Jim Stewart, PMP, brings some of these common blind spots into sharper focus.
Scope control remains among the most challenging processes faced by project managers. It requires clarity of definition, precise boundaries, and a reliable change management process.
When Beijing-based I.T. United took on a data migration project for Texas-based Dell, systemized communication became a top priority to coordinate the work. To overcome geographic and time zone gaps, both sides needed to maintain parallel environments — and expectations. In the process, a long-term partnership has formed.
The work breakdown structure is supposed to be a fundamental tool for identifying project work to be budgeted, scheduled and staffed. But misunderstandings abound and it often fails to provide useful benefits. No wonder so many project managers swear at it, not by it. Here are six steps to creating a better WBS (no B.S.).
Can projects managers better serve their teams and achieve more valuable results by not getting involved in task-level planning? Yes, because the real-time judgment of those who are executing the tasks will probably be more constructive and insightful than a detailed plan created before work even began. It’s not abandoning the plan, but using it more as hypothesis than directive.