Method 123 Blog

Use the Schedule for Project Integration

In the TenStep® Project Management Process, once the project is executing, all of the project management processes are integrated in the schedule. The integration occurs here because of an overriding philosophy of the TenStep process – “what’s in the schedule gets done”. In other words, all of the work of the project should be in the schedule and if an activity is not in the schedule, it should not be worked on. The schedule is the focal point of managing the project, and all the project management processes are integrated in the schedule. You should have activi...

Know the Five Steps in a Document Life Cycle

Document management is a part of communication management. It is important for the project manager to recognize the stages that a document must go through from creation to completion. This knowledge allows the project manager to understand the overall status of a document at any given time and helps ensure adequate time is allocated for the completion of the document. For instance, when a team member says they can complete a document in two weeks, are they saying that the document will be ready to circulate in two weeks or that the document will be completed and totally ap...

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...
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