April 14, 2011 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Best Practices
Keeping Track of Project Details
By Michael Stanleigh
Dear Project Coach:
There are so many details on my project that I’m a little lost. I have to: track progress against the plan, prepare reports for my customers and sponsor, hold meetings with my team, manage change requests, assess project risks, manage various crises that always seem to arise and so on.
Oh - I am assigned specific tasks to complete on this project. I don’t know when I’ll find time to do everything. Do you think I’m just disorganized?
You’re not alone. Many project managers feel exactly as you do. Managing a project certainly comes with its challenges. However, I do have some ideas that will help.
The project plan is always the source of detail that lets you and the team know who will do what, when they will do it, what tasks they are dependent upon, etc. All of these activities and tasks are organized below one of the key deliverables that have been included in the Scope Statement.
However, the project plan should also include a deliverable I like to call, “Project Management”. This deliverable is generic for all projects. When completed, it becomes a great example of a WBS Template. It includes all of the tasks required to complete:
- Project team meetings
- On-going management of the budget
- On-going management of the schedule
- Sponsor meetings
- Customer meetings
- Monitoring and controlling requirements
- Process to manage project changes
- Risk management process
- Reports required, to whom and when
- Communications required both internally and externally
- Project close-out evaluation process
These tasks generally do not have any dependencies or inter-dependencies with other tasks in the project plan. However, when sufficiently detailed and included in the overall project plan you will know exactly when to hold your team meetings and for how long, when to complete reports and to whom, what is the process of completing a change request (when required), the on-going process of assessing risks, etc.
Whenever I do a Health Check or Project Audit on a project I always look for these tasks in the project plan. These are usually not there. I ask the project manager questions regarding their project meetings, when are reports due, etc. They usually stumble on the answers. Rather, they should be able to point to their project plan to identify when these occur and as an auditor, it should be easy for me to verify that these did take place.
You have a lot to manage. Bring control to your project by completing the project management deliverable and getting these tasks into your project plan. It is all about controlling your own time as well as the time on the project.
Signed: The Project Coach
Michael Stanleigh is the President and CEO of Business Improvement Architects. He works with executives and senior managers around the world to help them improve operational effectiveness through strategic planning, leadership development, project management and quality management. Michael has been instrumental in helping his clients reduce waste and increase efficiencies and profits with his clear processes and quality approach.
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