Sunday, April 21, 2013

Keeping your Project on The Road!

This past week I gave a presentation to a group of Project Managers at Promega (in Madison, WI).  They wanted me to talk at a lunch learn session on WBS, Risk planning, Communication Plans and what does done look like (I threw this last one in).

The group was very engaged and asked many great questions throughout my presentation.  I always enjoy the opportunity to  talk about project management.

Here are my slides:

Keeping your project on the road ...

More PowerPoint presentations from Ryan Endres

Slide 2: I just gave an overview of my career and places I've worked at (if you are interested here is a link to a podcast I recent did on the same topic audio play button at the bottom of the page)

Slide 3: Many times as PM we are given projects that we not doe similar ones before or we are given a project that has died and now it is your job to jump start it.

Slide 4: To do this you need to gather some information.  Talk with so of the senior PMs in your organization to try to see if a similar project has been done in the past and if you are lucky a WBS was created for that old project.  Talk with the project sponsor and read the scope of work.  Get a full understanding of why we are doing this.  Then you can sit down with  your team one on one or in a group to start to create the WBS.

Slide 5: For super small projects I like to create the whole WBS myself and then I will ask my Team Members for input.  For larger projects I will create the first 2 levels and then will work with my team to create the rest.  Remember we are indicating the large work packages for the project, not what we are creating.  No verbs, just nouns.  We will break it down to the task level when we create the timeline.  There are various applications you create WBSs in including Word, the example on the slide was created in Word using the work chart feature.

Slide 6: Are we done with the WBS at this point?  NO!

Slide 7: Next we create the WBS dictionary.  The WBS dictionary will help you (the PM) and your team better understand what you are trying to create within that box in the WBS.  This will help your team members as they come and go on your project and it helps you so you know what your team is suppose to be working on.  Another reason to do this is that is stops the Yup'er Project Managers, who think their project is on track, but have no clue as what is going on within their own project.

Slide 8:  We can use the WBS for status updates (visual aid as to where we are now). You can use it to control scope, and you always use it to develop your timeline.

Slide 9-11: basic PMP type of questions on WBS's.

Slide 12: What is a Risk?  Keep in mind that a risk can also be positive; an opportunity.

Slide 13:  You should always first document your risks in the charter.  That what they way your team see the first few risks at the start of the project.  Risks should then be captured within a risk register.  Excel is typically the most common place to capture risks.  The PMBOK indicates that you will create the charter, WBS, WBS dictionary, timeline and then you will first start to talk about risks ...  seems a bit late to me.

Slide 14: a little risk planning saves a lot of fan cleaning.

Slide 15: Risk planning needs to happen throughout the entire life cycle of a project.  You need to have key timepoints to review your risk log to keep it up to date and you need to get your team thinking about potential risks throughout the life of your project.

Slide 16: the risk management process.

Slide 17:  Typical items you would capture when documenting risks.

Slide 18-19: Risk questions

Slide 20: Typical PMP question on channels of communication within a project.

Slide 21:  Information on when to use a formal communication plan.  We create lots of documents when we manage a project and man PMs think we create it and then file it.  Which is wrong.  If you have a new team member come on your team you need to sit down with them to review the Charter, WBS, WBS dictionary, risk log and the timeline so they understand what the project is about.

Slide 22:  This is my standard status update form that I've been using for over 15 years; I create it in Word and then copy and paste it into the body of an email.  It should give your team a simple snap shot of where we are in the project at this moment.

Slide 23:  You need to define what done is upfront or you may never get out of a project.

Slide 24:  The 4 area's we covered today are key to keeping your project on the road!