I always thought that writing a good spec before programming is mandatory.
I like short but frequent discussions where a project spec is being written. I found out that having a spec (Agile, or not) is something mandatory. Ever since I understood I have to demand a spec from the customer, even if I have to sit down with him and write it together (frequently), programming became a much faster and easier task to commit.
The creation of a Project Scope Statement doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Through the use of collaborative decision making and facilitated meetings techniques, it is realistic to build the components of the scope statement while gaining alignment from all project stakeholders in as few as two (2) days. The alignment gained from this upfront scoping effort will form the foundation for success throughout the remainder of the project. The key to this dynamic activity is effective planning and execution of a Project Scope Facilitate Meeting, using collaborative JAD techniques, to build the necessary scope outputs for a project.
Consider Costs and Benefits of the Entire System and Deliverable Lifetime
The textbook wording of this point varies, but is usually something like “Stop making decisions purely on the basis of cost.” When I read the various descriptions however, I believe the textbook title is not an adequate summary.
When Deming talks about not making decisions purely on the basis of cost, he is referring to a plant perspective and talks about the importance of having regular suppliers.
Adopt a Philosophy of Cooperation Where Everyone Wins and Teach it to Everyone
Often, projects can become battlegrounds where the project manager and team are at odds with the sponsor and other stakeholders. These conflicts can arise when the project environment is not conducive to a win-win approach.
In project planning and initiation, clearly define the WIIFM (What’s in it for me) for everyone on the project.
I have been managing small projects for some time now. Some of my project are really tiny, I'm talking about 8 hours of work max. Others can be 2 week or month-long projects. Some span several months, and then you get up into the 6 month and year plus undertakings.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
PROJECT MANAGER ROLE
The essential role of the project leader is to lead the project team through the project management and team processes so that they complete the project successfully. The project leader is accountable for the overall success of the project.
- The project leader is also referred to as the project manager. However, in a participative approach, the main role for the project manager is leadership, so we refer to him or her as a project leader. The role of the project leader is to
- Provide direction to the project team.
- Lead the project team through the project management process (creating and executing the project plan).
- Obtain approvals for the project plan.
- Issue status reports on the progress of the project versus the plan.
- Respond to requests for changes to the plan.
- Facilitate the team process, which is the interpersonal process by which team members develop as a team.
- Remove obstacles for the team so they can complete the project.
- Act as the key interface with the project sponsor.
- Act as the key interface with the project customer.
- Call and run team meetings.
- Issue the final project report.
PROJECT TEAM MEMBER
The project team member has an active role to play in a participatory style of managing a project. The project team member not only provides technical expertise and produces deliverables, but he or she also helps in the planning and monitoring of the project. The project team member is accountable for ensuring that his or her work contributes to the overall success of the project.
The project team member’s role is to
- Provide technical expertise.
- Provide ideas that can help the team create quality deliverables, on time and within budget.
- Ensure that his or her part of the project work gets completed on time.
- Communicate issues back to the project team.
- Participate in the project planning process.
- Interface with the suppliers for his or her area.
- Keep the boss informed on project issues, as required.
- Keep the commitment he or she makes to the project.
- Help to keep the project on track.
- Provide updates to his or her resource manager on the status of the project.
- Help to keep the team process and content on track.
The sponsor is someone from management who has been designated to oversee the project, to help ensure that it satisfies both the needs of the customer and the needs of the organization. The sponsor is sometimes called the project champion. The sponsor makes sure that the project leader has the resources, training, support, and cooperation he or she needs to get the job done. The sponsor is accountable for the success of the project leader. What happens if you don’t have a sponsor? Then your boss or the project customer, if that customer is inside the organization, will need to act as the sponsor. The sponsor connects the project to the needs of management. It’s very risky to start a project without one. The role of the sponsor is to
- Initiate the project by selecting a project leader.
- Make sure that the project’s objectives are in line with the strategic direction/goals of the organization.
- Provide overall direction to the project.
- Make sure the team has the resources required to complete the project successfully.
- Obtain commitment from the resource managers to support the project.
- Review and approve the project plan.
- Review status reports.
- Review progress on the project with the project leader.
- Help to remove obstacles that can’t be overcome by the team or the project leader.
- Mentor or coach the project leader.
- Review and approve the final report.
PROJECT CUSTOMER ROLE
A project exists to satisfy a customer. The project customer is the recipient of the main output of the project, called the final deliverable. In order to make sure the final deliverables satisfies the customer, the customer must convey to the project team what the needs and requirements for the deliverable will be. A customer can be internal or external to the organization. Most projects are done for internal customers (customers inside the organization), although the final deliverable produced by the project might eventually be distributed to or purchased by an external customer. Suppose you were working on a project to develop a new heart monitor for infants. The project customer is probably your marketing department because it’s their job to sell the monitor to the eventual buyers, the hospitals. The patients who would be hooked up to the heart monitor would be considered end users of the heart monitor product. (An end user is the ultimate consumer of the product.) Most projects are done for internal customers who then represent the needs of customers and end users outside the organization. However, some projects are done directly for an external customer. In these cases, the customer usually pays for the final deliverable directly. An example would be a project in a consulting firm to develop a customized piece of software for an external customer. The external customer would pay based on time and materials or as a flat fee for the project. Whether the customer is internal or external, there are certain similarities in the role they must play within the project:
- Provide the project team with a clear picture of their needs and requirements
- Review and approve the charter
- Participate on the project team where appropriate
- Inform the project leader of any changes in the environment that would affect the project deliverables
- Approve changes to the project when needed to make the project a success
- Review project status reports
- Provide feedback to the project leader on a regular basis
- Evaluate the final deliverables as well as the project process
There are some additional roles that internal customers typically perform:
- Review and approve the entire project plan (External customers usually review only the scope section of the plan)
- Review the final status report
If you have a project with an external customer, it is imperative to have an internal sponsor working on the project. The internal sponsor’s job is to balance the needs of the external customer with the needs of the internal organization. If your project has an internal customer, the internal customer may double as the project sponsor.
The PMBOK defines quality control as “monitoring specific project results to determine if they comply with relevant quality standards and identifying ways to eliminate causes of unsatisfactory performance”.
Cause and Effect Diagrams (also referred to as Fishbone Diagrams OR Ishikawa diagram)
What is Project Quality Management? Project quality management is concerned with the management of the project and the product of the project. The project Quality Management Processes include:
- Quality Planning
- Perform Quality Assurance
- Perform Quality Control
PMI’s approach to quality management is intended to be compatible with that of the International Standardization Organization (ISO). This generalized approach should be compatible with proprietary approaches to quality management such as those recommended by Deming, Juran, Crosby and others. Non-proprietary approaches should be compliment Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, etc.