Method 123 Blog

Six Components of a Procurement Management Plan

The Procurement Management Plan is a part of the overall Project Management Plan. The document describes how items will be procured during the project and the approach you will use to managing vendors on the project. Specific areas to describe include: Procurement process. This section provides a brief overview of the process requirements necessary to manage procurement of the identified needs. This process should include: Initiating a request Development of requirements (technical, timing, quality, constraints) Request approval Purchasing authority Bid / pro...

Ten Steps to Manage Issues on Large Projects

Issues are more than just common problems. They are problems that meet specific criteria. An issue is a formally-defined problem that willimpede the progress of the project and cannot be totally resolved by the project manager and project team without outside help. The processes used to manage issues can be simpler or more rigorous depending on the size of the project. Use the following process to manage issues on large projects. Identify the problem and document on the Issues Form Solicit potential issues from any project stakeholders, including the project team, ...

Schedule Estimating Threshold

When you create a schedule you generally don’t know enough to enter all of the detailed activities the first time though. Instead, you identify large chunks of work first, and then break the larger chunks into smaller pieces. These smaller pieces are, in turn, broken down into still smaller and more discrete activities. This technique is referred to as creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).   A question people ask is how small the activities should be before they do not need to be broken down further. This is referred to as your “estimating threshold”. ...

Manage the Schedule for Small Projects

All projects need a schedule. If you have a small project perhaps the schedule is a simple checklist or Excel spreadsheet. As projects get larger they need more formal scheduling templates and tools.   The processes you use to manage a schedule also vary depending on the size of the project. Large projects need a lot of schedule management rigor. Small projects can use a lighter process. The following steps can be used to mage the schedule of a small project.   Review the schedule on a weekly basis.   Identify activities that have been compl...

Define the Objectives of Your Project

Objectives are concrete statements that describe the things the project is trying to achieve. They are included in your Project Charter. An objective should be written in a way that it can be evaluated at the conclusion of a project to see whether it was achieved. A well-worded objective will be Specific, Measurable, Attainable / Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART). (SMART is a technique for wording the objective. An objective does not absolutely have to be SMART to be valid.) An example of an objective statement might be to "upgrade the customer service telepho...

Four Steps to Show the Value of Training

Many businesses struggle with whether they are getting their money’s worth in sending employees to training classes. This question can be applied to project management training as well as any other type of business training. You know the cost side of training too well. But how do you tell what the business value is? The most common way to determine value today is to ask the trainee whether he or she thinks the class was valuable. This is very touchy-feely and doesn’t give you much information to go on, but it is probably the most that most companies ask in terms of f...

Five Steps Before Estimating Work

Estimating is hard enough. It is even harder if you are not prepared. Estimating a 20 hour chunk of work is not so hard. Estimating for full projects or large chunks of work can be challenging. Templates can help, but consider the following steps before you begin the estimating process. Get a clear picture of the work that is being estimated Many problems with estimation come because the estimator is not really sure what the work entails. You should avoid estimating work that you do not understand. This should not imply that you can know every detail. The estimating c...

Understand the Risk Tolerance Level in Your Organization

All projects have risks and all risks have the potential for negatively impacting the project. You use risk management to determine the risks that are important enough to manage. During the risk identification process, you may encounter many risks that have some likelihood to occur and have a marginal impact to the project. The question to ask is whether the risk has enough impact on the project to worry about (this same question occurs for both qualitative and quantitative approaches). The answer says something about your risk tolerance.   For example, let’s s...

The Power of the Aligned Organization

When was the last time you rode in a car with wheels that were not properly aligned? Chances are it was a pretty rough ride. The car either pulled in one direction, making it hard work to keep it in your lane, or, it worked against itself as one tire pointed one way and another tire another way. The same thing can happen in our companies. The ride can be pretty bumpy, not to mention noisy, unless everyone is pointed in the same direction. That’s why it’s important to understand the five benefits of an aligned organization Benefit #1 – Ensures Everyone Works on...

The Customer May Not Know Enough to Completely Define the Project

Sometimes the project manager places too high an expectation on the amount of foresight and vision that customers and sponsors have. In many cases, the project manager will go to the customer looking for answers to help define the project and the customer will not have all of the information needed. This happens all the time and it does not mean that the customer does not know what they are doing. In many cases, especially for large projects, the customer has a vision of what the end results will be, but cannot yet articulate this vision into concrete objectives, deliverabl...
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