Sunday, April 27, 2008

The meeting of the PMOs

Several weeks ago I was contacted by a group in the Madison area that is comprised of people who head up PMOs. Currently the group has 10 people.

We meet for 90 minutes every 2 months and address one Project Management topic. At this months meeting we talked about and had examples of what we are using for monthly status reports. The common item we all had was executive reports using stop light colors (red = a problem). Some companies were utilizing an elaborate dash board system while others kept it simple using Excel to monitor their portfolios.

I think this is a great venue for the leaders of PMO's to come together to talk about their tools and techniques they are using in their organization and it may give the attendees some new tools to go home with.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Creep in your project...

As Project Managers we all try to stop the Creep in our projects. What is this Creep you may ask? Well, it is scope creep!

How can we limit it?

  1. Determine all stakeholders and get their input into the project at the start of the project. This is key to defining the scope of the project.
  1. Make sure all the stakeholders review and agree to the scope.
  1. Break down the WBS far enough to cover all the items in the scope.
  1. Have a change control process and make sure your project team members understand it. When a possible change comes in make sure you investigate it (is it really necessary?), come up with options, and then present it to the change control review board.

If you keep this in mind for your next project you may just keep Creep out or at least have a means for controlling it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Project Starts Tomorrow…

Have you ever been in a situation where a project happens to drop in your lap and it needs to start like yesterday? If so there are 2 key items you need to get it going.

They are: a Project Charter and a High Level WBS.

Many times for small internal projects (my definition of small is less then 8 stakeholders, 15-20 items on the WBS, no budget and a project duration of 8 or less weeks) I put together a Project Charter, but also include things in it which you would typically find in the Project Plan. Like a list of upfront risks, and the communication plan.

Next I take my High Level WBS (which I created using historical information and having short meetings with the stakeholders) and put it into Visio using their timeline template.


Then it is time for the kick-off meeting where we review the scope, the Visio timeline, update the timeline, discuss the risks and touch upon the communication plan.

The Project Charter and WBS are the 2 key items that every project, big or small, needs to have.