Project Hero Blog - Weekly Best Practices and Tips
Project Management for Aspiring, New, and Accidental PMs
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Last week we looked at the BCR -- Benefit-Cost Ratio as a way of evaluating a project. This week I'd like to look at a related technique -- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The purpose of many projects is to introduce a new product or service. Often this new product or service has a later ongoing operation. For example, if you have installed Oracle Financials, there is a need to develop the...
Fire fighting and herding cats is not project management. To bring your project back to a stable environment, pause and consider the following:
- Are there unidentified, poorly prioritized, or unmitigated risks that need attention?
- Is there a sound problem solving and decision-making process in place?
- Has the team been involved in these processes and bought-in to actions?
- Have you built...
For the next few weeks, I'd like to take a closer look at initiating projects, with special attention to costs. This is an area of weakness for many who jump in to do work before looking at the consequences or rewards. Rather than use a microscope, you need a telescope to see to the far and of the project. We'll focus on costs, but once again, there are many other factors that must be analyzed....
In general, I recommend checking in on project status no less than once a week. If you wait longer, say two weeks, by the time you find out an issue, get it solved, confirm the solution, and make sure things are on track, you can lose up to six weeks. Serious issues may require more frequent meetings than weekly so you can stay on top of the solution. The key is both flexibility and good...
Projects that are off track may require corrective action or re-planning. Before deciding what to do, make sure the team is aware of the problem. Make them knowledgeable about the issue and empower them to be responsible and a part of the solution. This will:
- improve buy-in,
- grow team capabilities, and
- lead to a better solution than one arrived at unilaterally.
Want to learn more about how...
Problem-solving is a skill needed for all project phases and knowledge areas. Here are seven steps to take to improve your problem solving:
- Understand the problem. Remember, Einstein recommended 55 minutes to understand an hour-to-solve problem.
- Identify 3-5 of the best alternatives. These should solve the problem most efficiently, completely, ethically, and with the least cost.
- Select a...
This week someone questioned the wisdom of having a weekly project status meeting where all project team members participated to discuss issues and potential requirements changes. "Wouldn't that be an expensive meeting?" he asked. "Sure", I replied, "but imagine the expense without it."
It's especially important when dealing with a virtual team or remote clients. Without it, instead of managing...
When selecting any resource of any type for a project, always keep in mind the automatic selection of the "cheapest" won't always be the least expensive option. This is why we have competitive bidding for major contracts -- we get a peek at the other dimensions. Does the resource meet our needs? Will our requirements be met? Will quality meet our standards?
Let's suppose we can choose between 3...
It's always better to over-identify, rather than under-identify stakeholders. Missed stakeholders, particularly those that are self-appointed, can hold your project back from achieving success. Here are five easy ways and places to identify stakeholders:
- Consult Project Charter: Project Sponsor, project manager, possibly project team members, and other stakeholders may be listed...
If your projects feel like "herding cats" or constant "fire-fighting", you are not doing something right. Check these five items first to avoid project chaos:
- Define project success upfront with the project sponsor.
- Do sufficient planning and get team and stakeholder buy-in.
- Have a sound problem solving and decision-making process (and follow it).
- Have a strong project management methodology...
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