PM Fundamentals :: Lesson 2 :: Plan & Execute

Still a week behind…

Lesson 2 bespoke project management activities; how to plan for and execute.

ver batim “Planning is reviewing the past to make a decision in the present for something that is desired in the future.”

Planning provides direction – duh. But why doesn’t everyone use planning? Rhetorical.

I look at it like planning for a joust. One must have a clear target, standard (training, armor, gear), milestones (first learn to hold the darn thing and ride a horse – both on the critical path to hitting the target) and of course controls set all along the way to make sure that your are on the right path.

Control and risk management are not hindrances, they are like tests in school to tell you which areas need more work or attention to detail.

You must compare actual with the plan. Where are you deviating and why?

Mission Purpose Objective

Mission:: reason:: differentiation from project to project – long term:: Jousting brings honor to my family.
Purpose:: to fulfill the mission of honor
Objective:: to practice 4X week until the competition; to hit the red part of the target consistently; to weight train 2 days of the week for upper body strength – notice they are called objectives, not subjectives

Human Elements: team members. Involve everyone. Now jousting may seem like an individual sport, but what about your sponsors, the arena guy who has to get up early to let you into the field, your coach who provides direction and motivation, your paige who saddles your horse…

Back to reality. Communication requires honesty and trust. You also need to be an efficient negotiator and a respected leader. You might think you are a leader, but if you are the only one who thinks this is true, you are not in a true manager, you are a dictator.

Just leading is not enough. You also need to be good with numbers for reporting, speaking in front of others, documenting procedures. Do not hide anything.

Estimation is just that; an estimation. Be sure to involve those who will be producing a task in the estimate; ask their opinion (my 2 cents is to “pad it” for the worst case scenario or at least ‘not the best’ case).

Use your tools. Gantt Charts, Work Breakdown Structure, Precedence Diagramming, PM software (which I’m sure we’ll hit in detail in a later lesson or course). Earned Value is to be addressed later as well. All of these help in the administration and control of a project.

Risk Management – Quality Management – Procurement & Contract Administration.
To make it super short: manage your risk throughout the project; define success factors early on; hire a procurement specialist.

Don’t let politics sway your ethical behavior.

Next lesson soon. Still behind…

PM Fundamentals :: Lesson 1 :: What is a Project

I started this course a week late, so Lesson overviews may be released close together as I complete them in between life happenings.

Why don’t some understand the importance of Project Mgmt (PM) standard procedures? Past Experience; status quo feels good; if it don’t stink don’t stir it… many things. The time to market is short; there’s no extra time to ‘wing it’ and the cost of failure is high.

All industries need control. All projects are not projects; some are merely tasks. A project has a defined beginning, a middle and an end (hopefully!). It is temporary in nature. Tasks are assigned individually within Projects. Compared to a Program which continues on with a purpose like “The War on Drugs” can have many projects within, but the program continues on.

Earned Value :: to define a method to measure overall project performance because without a method there be madness.

Customer :: anyone who is served by your project; client, boss, vp, coworker – anyone affected by the project. Customer satisfaction is the focus of any project. For project success, you need to involve the customers in your project plan development and set and re-set expectations throughout the project duration.

Project constraints: cost (I want an for $1000), time (like a bday party or Y2K), performance (want vs need).

Some notes I’m taking ver batim for lack of a better way to coin the terms therefore I mention my instructor, Tony Swaim.