June 16, 2009 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Uncategorized
Project Management Processes
By Meade Rubenstein
Not to be confused with the Project Management Process
If you have any involvement in project management or IT you’ve probably heard of various project management/software development methodologies, including: SCRUM, eXtreme Programming, Agile, CMM, waterfall, etc. Each methodology contains many interesting buzz words, various number of steps to success, never ending testimonials and detractors and no real proof of long term improvement. More seasoned project managers realize that there’s no silver bullet and will take what works, toss what doesn’t and continually review and adjust.
Processes for Knowing where you are
Most of the Processes for knowing where you are will be adhoc communication ones. There are no set current processes that I know of to perform an evaluation of existing work environments. Proceed cautiously and inform everyone of your intent. The best way to capture this information is in spreadsheets, diagrams or (my favorite) MindMaps.
Develop an Organizational Chart (if there isn’t one already). Most companies will have some form of an organizational chart, this will be the foundation of this step. Use Visio or a MindMapping tool to create or re-enter the parts of the organizational chart relevant to you, providing as many layers that you will be in contact with. Include titles, contact information and any public relevant information. Be careful about your notes, don’t get personal.
Processes - Document what current processes are in place and gather all relevant documentation about them. Talk to as many people as meaningful about them, especially those utilizing them, to determine actual use and value. You’re sure to get a lot of folklore thrown in. Technology – Document and inventory all used and supported technology, get an understanding of any planned or potential changes in direction internally and from the technology vendors. 3rd Parties and Service Level Agreements – Get a solid understanding of all 3rd party vendors and relationships, including those for training. Once again, work with as many people as possible and understand the short/long term agreements, historic working relationships, costs and SLA’s (service level agreements).
Processes for Knowing where you want to go
Typically the project manager is not involved in the business aspects of knowing where the company wants to go, however there are various strains of goal and scope brain storming that project management skills could greatly assist. In recent times some formal processes have be implemented with some degrees of success, most notably Six Sigma which originated at Motorola. The most valuable component of where you are heading is the idea or need aka the Goal. Project management processes could greatly help in the validation of the benefit of the idea and the scope/boundaries of change. Many ideas are hatched, but few are truly evaluated and scoped to a degree they should be.
The majority of New Ideas are not revolutionary thoughts, but additions to or improvements of existing products. The most beneficial ideas are those based on adding or creating new products, improvements or corrections to existing ones tend not to provide the same overall financial benefit since they are often costs savings that are difficult to qualify. There are many project management processes that help in the identification of the goal: For improvement projects – where the team is looking to improve upon existing tools and/or products you need to ensure that the groups is focused on the root cause issue and not a symptom. Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a set of steps in helping define the true problem that you’re looking to resolve.
Processes for the planning to get you there
This is where 99.999% of all project management is currently done, getting you there (wherever there is). While a very important aspect of the entire process, it tends to be the sole focus of project management and probably the root cause of why so many projects fail, basically the complete focus on getting somewhere…but I’ll cover my thoughts on this later. There are thousands of books, articles, discussion groups focused with this aspect of project management. Holy wars continue to be fought over methodologies, public executions occur daily and entire generations of peers disparaged.
Meade Rubenstein has over 20 years of IT experience. He is currently the COO of Gráfica Group. Meade’s website can be found at http://www.itprojectguide.com/ and his personal blog can be found at http://www.itprojectguide.blogspot.com/.
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