Method 123 Blog

Be Proactive Managing a Project with Unrealistic Budget

If you are a project manager dealing with what you perceive to be an unrealistic budget, the first thing you will want to do is discuss this with your sponsor to see if there are any factors that are driving the project budget. For instance, there may be budgetary restrictions. If you are a vendor, it is possible your sales people committed to a fixed price for the project. In some cases your manager or sponsor might set an arbitrary budget without much justification. It does not necessarily make your challenge any easier, but you may find that by better understanding the r...

Be Proactive Managing a Project with Unrealistic Budget

If you are a project manager dealing with what you perceive to be an unrealistic budget, the first thing you will want to do is discuss this with your sponsor to see if there are any factors that are driving the project budget. For instance, there may be budgetary restrictions. If you are a vendor, it is possible your sales people committed to a fixed price for the project. In some cases your manager or sponsor might set an arbitrary budget without much justification. It does not necessarily make your challenge any easier, but you may find that by better understanding the r...

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 overhea...

Determine Whether Full-Time or Contract Resources are Appropriate

Perhaps the place to start is to understand whether there are employees available in the timeframe needed for your project. It usually doesn’t make sense to hire contract people when you have employees that are available and otherwise would have nothing to do (assuming the employees have “close-enough” skills). Let’s assume that you do not have current employees available to staff your new project. Let’s also say you work for an organization that is open to utilizing contractors or hiring employees depending on the needs of the specific project. Let’s look at...

Assumptions and Risks – Two Sides of a Coin

Assumptions and Risks - Two Sides of a Coin Let's take an example of a common statement that is included in many Project Definitions - that the resources needed for this project will be available when needed. What kind of a statement is this? Most people would say it is an assumption. After all, when a project starts, you always assume you will get the resources you need. However, is it really an assumption? Can you imagine starting a project where the people and equipment were not available and there was a realistic possibility that they would not be ready when you nee...

Manage Communication – Large Projects (Part 1 of 2)

Manage Communication - Large Projects (Part 1 of 2) In a large project, all communication takes place in context of an overall Communication Management Plan. Status meetings and status reporting are required, just as for a medium-size project. In addition, there are many other types of proactive communication that need to be considered. This creative and proactive communication is laid out in a Communication Management Plan, which is created as follows. Beginning of Project - Plan Communication Determine the project stakeholders. In some cases these are stakeholde...

Escalate a Performance Problem with a Formal Plan

Escalate a Performance Problem with a Formal Plan One of the hardest jobs of a manager is to take an employee down a path that may ultimately result in termination.  It is hard enough for most managers to provide performance feedback to begin with – even when the employee performance is good.  When the employee performance is not where it needs to be, it is even harder.    The first thing you need to do when you see a performance problem is sit down with the employee, discuss the performance observations, try to determine a cause and put a short-term acti...

Managing Staff

Managing Staff Topic 1. Overcome Team Resistance to Project Management It's one thing to build a Project Charter and the schedule. It's another thing to effectively manage the project. If you could issue the plan and the work assignments and have everyone complete his activities on time, your life would be much easier. However, the process of managing the team and the schedule becomes complicated because of the people element involved. People are unpredictable. To understand how the project is proceeding and to ensure that it stays on track, controls are needed. You m...

Manage Quality and Metrics – Techniques

Manage Quality and Metrics - Techniques Gather Subjective Metrics with Client Satisfaction Surveys Gathering metrics is important because it allows you to see how you are performing against the expectations of your clients. If the world were perfect, all of the metrics you collect would be factual, relevant and accurate. However, in many cases it is impractical or cost-prohibitive to try to gather exact and quantitative numbers. One way to supplement quantifiable metrics is with client satisfaction surveys. For instance, instead of trying to measure the exact r...

Implement Critical Change Requests

Provide Leadership to Implement Critical Change Requests Scope change is not inherently bad or good. However, the team can react to changes in positive and negative ways, depending on the state of the project. A typical reaction from most project teams is to just go ahead and make the approved changes. However, there is another reaction that can be more problematic - the team may not want to make any more changes. This is the scenario for this column. This situation could occur for a variety of reasons. This may be a long project, perhaps requiring overtime, and peop...
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