Project Hero Blog

More Project Management Best Practice Tips

Managing Risks of Fixed Schedules

As Project Managers, we often have to perform with a fixed schedule. This type of situation can occur for almost any project or industry, but it is a special issue in the software industry when we want to meet monthly, quarterly, or other periodic release schedules. Here are my top 5 tips for successfully managing the risk and meeting the deadline:

 1) Be sure there is a project charter for each release, with the high level time, resources, budget, and deliverables scoped out. Factor in time off for vacation early since this can have a big impact if it comes as a surprise later. Any surprises warrant an immediate review.

2) Regularly review delivery metrics. Use experience to improve estimating and the ability to meet targets. Build an incentive/recognition plan around achieving superior metrics (not just meeting the target).
3) Count on product and project management being between 5% and 20% of your schedule -- this rule of thumb will help make sure you don't...
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The Power of Checklists and Sign Offs

I usually have to visit a copy shop at least 2-3 times a year to fulfill various needs for PMI meetings and events. This past weekend I had a critical business need to have a small number of copies made and spiral bound for a customer meeting. With FedEx Kinko's being the closest, I dashed off last night to have the copies done. Since I don't frequently visit, this was like a "first visit" all over again.

Fully expecting to pick up my copies on Sunday, I explained what I needed. In under 5 minutes, Kevin, a customer consultant had a copy made and bound for me to review and approve. I was quite surprised when he informed me I could come back in a half hour and pick them up. Being on the way out to dinner anyway, I returned in under an hour to pick up the finished product.

Packed with my copies, I found two similar checklists which read something like this (I've shortened, but maintained the key messages):

- I took your order, repeated your instructions, and offered you enhancements.

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Less Inspection, More Prevention


[This article was originally published 10 December 2017]

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Time to Ask Another Why?

Why do our projects not succeed?

Toward the end of last week I completed a corporate training for UCSD Extension at a major San Diego/US defense contractor. They were taking the final exam, so I covered some short topics to generate discussion rather than cover new material.  I showed them the results of industry studies by organizations such as Standish Group and Meta Group. I showed them academic results from studies by Jiang and Klein as well as Thomas and Mullaly.  I shared the PMI Pulse of the Profession® research. The bottom line?  Over two decades of research have shown that lack of user/sponsor involvement and poor requirements elicitation and management are among the top ten, if not the top two, causes of project failure.  And although we saw some earlier improvements when this was identified, we're still looking at two-thirds of projects not meeting all their goals and achieving the  expected success.  I asked them "why"? I'd...

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