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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Effective Project Management in a Snipit


What are projects all about? A project is about delivering capabilities on time and within budget. So you are hired as a project manager at company ABC to ensure that their new product can be developed within the next six months and within budget as defined by the product team.

To ensure the delivery you need to accomplish a few basic items. Most people don't even do this bare minimal checklist below.. and guess what they wonder why their projects are among the 60%+ statistics of failed projects.

a) Understand the problem/gap the product is offering to solve (ie understand the value of the end product)
b) Define the project scope (schedule, cost, capabilities, stakeholders, assumptions, dependencies and risks)
c) Put together a good team that compliments each others skills, abilities and knowledge.
d) Define all work items that are needed to make the capabilities (product) delivered, in a hierarchical format (aka work breakdown structure - WBS), detailed to a level that can allow weekly reporting on the status of work completed
e) Define activities and their duration and resources needed to accomplish the work defined in the WBS, and come up with a schedule and cost budget.
f) Track the work completed relative to the cost and time spent to date and as planned. Are your cost and schedule variances healthy?
g) Know and track your risks throughout the project and mitigate as your move forward.
h) Ensure changes are controlled and tracked along with risks, issues, cost and schedule health.

You can be comfortable that you have a good chance of delivering your end product. Of course there are other details, but for the most part this is the backbone, if its solid, your project should be able to make it to the finish line.

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