December 5, 2009 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Best Practices
We all have one hiding over there in the groan zone. It’s the unfinished project that lives in a strange sort of limbo, and the longer that project goes unfinished, there is an exponential increase in the time to finish the project.
So, you see them lurking there getting dusty and forlorn, what should you do about them? How can you move these projects from limbo to liberation (aka completion)?
Here’s my Project Liberation Checklist:
- Look at all your unfinished projects. Which ones are still relevant? What’s important, and what no longer matters?
What can be recycled? Those projects that have expired or no longer matter can still be useful. Look at them, and see if any of the project assets can be reused somewhere else. For example, were there any lessons learned that you can reapply? Why did these projects stall, and what put them on the back burner, and could you have prevented it? Also, go through your documentation, and pull out any golden nuggets such as charts or research or any data you can build on.
Choose the projects you’re going to finish. Once you’ve chosen the projects you are going to finish, then you’re going to reboot them – just like your overworked computer. However, this reboot is different from all the others, because you are going to finish this project in three months. Three is a magic number here. Why? Because in three months so much changes.
During your Project Reboot, here are things you need to look at and probably change:
- Your goals
- Your project plan
- The project schedule and cost baseline
- The project team
Key questions to ask:
- Has any of the technology that’s important to this project changed? Are you sure? Talk to your best friends in IT, and consult with them to make sure.
- Has the strategic direction of the organization changed? Is there new management, a merger or acquisition, or any new threats or opportunities? While this project was in limbo, did any key things in the environment change? This is important because if you lob the project back out there without considering the changes, it will flounder again.
Rally the troops around this liberation. It’s important to get your team excited and let them know you’re clearing the decks of the old projects so your team can focus on the projects that are most important.
Why do we care about those projects in limbo? Because a bunch of unfinished projects suck the lifeblood out of organizations and keep us from moving forward. For the Project Manager, unfinished projects are our nemesis. We need to tackle them, evaluate them, recycle their assets or finish them.
About the Know How Network and Cheetah Learning
The Know How Network is a monthly column written by Michelle LaBrosse, the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning. Distributed to hundreds of newsletters and media outlets around the world, the Know How Network brings the promise, purpose and passion of Project Management to people everywhere. Visit www.cheetahlearning.com to learn more about Cheetah PM, the fastest way to learn about Project Management and get your PMP. You can also get your career in gear with CheetahWare, free Project Management tools from Cheetah Learning.
About the Author
Michelle LaBrosse is the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning. An international expert on accelerated learning and Project Management, she has grown Cheetah Learning into the market leader for Project Management training and professional development. In 2006, The Project Management Institute, www.pmi.org, selected Michelle as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World, and only one of two women selected from the training and education industry. Michelle is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner & President Management program for entrepreneurs, and is the author of Cheetah Project Management and Cheetah Negotiations. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company and has 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide.
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