Method 123 Blog

Four Responsibilities of Executives on Projects

A Primer on Processes and Templates Recipes for cooking are a beautiful thing. A recipe tells you the ingredients and how much of each you should include in whatever you are making. It then describes what you need to do to these ingredients in order to make a dish that is not only edible, but tasty as well. It’s great that someone else has already spent the time in putting together a recipe to follow that nearly guarantees success each time. To a certain extent we use recipes in our profession as project managers. The recipes we follow are the processes and templates ...

Manage Political Problems as Issues

The larger your project gets, the more you will find that the issues you encounter are political in nature. "Politics" is all about interacting with people and influencing them to get things done. This can be a good thing, a bad thing, or a neutral thing, depending on the tactics people use. Let’s consider some examples of how utilizing political skills might be good, but can also be bad. You are able to move your ideas forward in the organization and get people to act on them (good), by currying favor, suppressing other opposing ideas and taking credit for the ide...

Create Schedule Management Plan

The Schedule Management Plan describes the process used to develop and manage the project schedule. Not all projects need a Schedule Management Plan, but if your project has a complex schedule that requires special handling, you may find this plan helpful. The components of the Schedule Management Plan can include: Roles and responsibilities. You can describe different roles and their ability to access the project schedule. Schedule owner. This is probably the project manager. Who can update? Normally the project manager, but on larger projects it could be more...

Five Options for Project Start Dates

One of the characteristics of a project is that it is a temporary endeavor. In other words there is a start and end-date. This seems simple enough until you start to try to define exactly what these dates mean. Is it after the Project Charter is signed? Is it when the schedule is finalized? There are no universally recommended definition for either date. It depends on each organization and whether there are any implications for choosing one alternative over another. Here are some of the options for identifying the project start-date. The need/idea is generated. The d...

Seven Components to a Risk Management Plan

The Risk Management Plan describes how you will define and manage risk on the project. This document does not actually describe the risks and the responses. This document defines the process and techniques you will use to define the risks and the responses. The information in this plan includes: Roles and responsibilities. This section describes the leading and supporting roles in the risk management process. The project manager typically has overall responsibility for risk management, unless the team is large enough that this role can be delegated to another team membe...

Five Project Management Mistakes, Mistake 3

Mistake #3: Not Keeping Schedule Up-to-Date Many project managers create an initial schedule but then don't do a good job of updating the schedule during the project. There are trouble signs that the schedule is not being updated. The project manager cannot tell exactly what work is remaining to complete the project. The project manager is unsure whether they will complete the project on-time. The project manager does not know what the critical path of activities is. Team members are not sure what they need to work on next (or even what they should be working...

Five Project Management Mistakes

Mistake #2: Poor scope management practices Managing scope is one of the most critical aspects of managing a project. However, if you have not done a good job of defining scope, managing scope will be almost impossible. The purpose of defining scope is to clearly describe and gain agreement on the logical boundaries and deliverables of your project. The business requirements are gathered to provide more detail on the characteristics of the deliverables. Defining scope means that you have defined the project boundaries and deliverables, and the product requirements. Th...

Root Cause Analysis

A plant manager walks past the assembly line and notices a puddle of water on the floor. Knowing that the water is a safety hazard, he asks the supervisor to have someone get a mop and clean up the puddle. The plant manager is proud of himself for “fixing” a potential safety problem. The supervisor, however, is suspicious. He is not sure why the puddle is there. It wasn’t there yesterday. He wonders what caused the puddle to be there today. Therefore, he looks for a root cause by asking ‘why?’ He discovers that the water puddle is caused by a leak in an overhead ...

Five Project Management Mistakes

#1: Inadequate Planning I have heard project managers say that the time they spend planning could be better spent actually "doing the work". This is not right. Before the project work begins, the project manager must make sure that the work is properly understood and agreed to by the project sponsor and key stakeholders. The larger the project, the more important it is that this information be defined formally and explicitly. When you think about it, many project problems can be traced to problems in planning. These include Poor estimates based on not understanding t...

Branding Your Project

Branding is a more sophisticated form of marketing communication. The purpose of branding a project is to associate an emotion or a feeling with your project. This is exactly what marketing people try to do when they brand a product. For instance, The Coca-Cola Company hopes that you feel good about its products and that you will choose its products from a crowded store shelf because you like the image and emotion associated with it. Maybe it works. The purpose of branding a project is to associate a positive image and emotion with your work. This is not something most pro...
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