Project Health Check

Project Start-Up: The Plan for a Plan

Project Health Check

Du ring the Project Start-up and planning phase, projects will execute detailed planning processes to produce a Performance Measurement Baseline of Cost/Schedule/Scope and an associated Project Management Plan. The project schedule will then steer the project through the foggy waters of its lifecycle and eventually help it to find its way to delivery and closedown. But what about the planning phase itself when the schedule doesn't exist yet?

Introducing the PRINCE2 Principles

Project Health Check

PRINCE2 is a popular UK Project Management methodology, that continues to gain traction in other locations around the world. Now managed by Axelos, it is part of a comprehensive and integrated best practice suite along side other methodologies such as Management of Risk (M_o_R) and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP).

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Cancelling Projects: The Project Isn't Being Done Right

Project Health Check

In part 1 of this article series, we accepted that Projects sometimes need to be cancelled. In part 2, we look at how sometimes the Project being worked on is no longer the right Project. In this part 3, we will look at the other cause of cancelling: the Project isn't being done right. A classic way to consider project performance is via the triple constraint of scope/cost/time, often with quality thrown in the mix.

2017 179

Project Status Reporting – 6 Key Considerations

Project Health Check

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Project Managers (PMs) live and die by the Plan. The entire purpose of the Start-up Phase of a Project is to produce a comprehensive Plan for the Project; consisting of an integrated Performance Measurement Baseline (Time, Cost, Scope) and an associated Project Management Plan to monitor and control it. Once the planning is complete, the Project shifts into the main Execution phase which will form the vast bulk of the timeline.

2017 192

Task Management For Project Managers

How can project planning that stretches over months or years remain relevant and account for new ad-hoc activities that arrive every day?

Project Team: Role & Skill Assessment

Project Health Check

Delivering projects is a tricky business, achieved by skilled practitioners in their field – be it software development, events management, construction, oil & gas etc. It is the wonderful individuals who work on projects who deliver the output that will ultimately mean the project meeting its business case.

2018 156

Risk Identification Workshops: An Overview

Project Health Check

Risk Management is one of the well established fundamentals of Project Management. Whatever system or tool you use, the basics of rating risks with some degree of severity and impact is well understood, and then doing something to stop it (because they usually are threats). But I have a challenge for you: look back over your last Project and consider - how many of the issues that occurred along the way were from impacted Risks that were identified on your Risk Log? I predict very few of them.

Cancelling Projects - It's Not the Right Project

Project Health Check

In part 1 of this article series, we accepted that Projects sometimes need to be cancelled. In this part 2, we look at one of the two reasons we identified: it's no longer the right Project. Projects are often part of a Programme, a wider organisational structure that looks at the bigger picture and the long term business strategy across many years. Individual Projects on the other hand tend to come-and-go,the way, maybe lasting a couple of years at most.

2017 177

Scrum Meetings: 7 Steps To Get Them Right

Project Health Check

Agile is a methodology which is getting more and more traction in the IT industry, to the point where the word is agile is thrown around out of context and with incorrect capitalisation. There are many variants, but a feature now common to many is the idea of a daily Scrum meeting to manage the work. In our experience, how this meeting is planned and executed will set the tone for the entire project, and how effectively they embrace the true Agile approach.

2017 160

Knowledge Transfer

Project Health Check

When you're starting a new project, you of course identify staffing requirements as part of your estimating. You start to "put bums on seats" as you ramp up the project towards the Execution phase and on-board your project team. You hopefully even have a Team Management Plan that describes how you manage the team; how you on-board, train, mentor and recognise staff. You do all of that and think "phew! That's another job done!"

2017 120

Managing The Project Budget - Developing Your Project Management Skills

This eBook describes the process of managing the project budget and its associated costs.

Dependency Management

Project Health Check

Let's talk Dependencies. A Dependency is a relationship between two activities, and is most often encountered in the Project Schedule. In this case they are used to structure the order of tasks, to help you plan the Project. Logically, there are four type of Dependency relationship - shown in the diagram below: F-S: Finish to Start - When the first task finishes the second can begin.

Risk Management: Known / Unknown Unknowns

Project Health Check

On February 12 2002, US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld made a now famous remark that has since went on to be commented on widely by critics and thinkers. It would become so famous that it would become the title of his autobiography "Known and Unknown: A Memoir", and provides a superb basis to discuss our approach to Project Risk Management: ". because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know.

Risk 120

Issue Logs

Project Health Check

Project Risk Logs are pretty well institutionalised, and we mentioned them in our last blog post. But what about Issue Logs? We've heard Issues defined as an impacted risk, an unknown question that needs answering, or just a general spanner in the works that will cause you to go off-plan. In our experience, Project Issues pop up so thick and fast that most never even get documented.

2017 120

Project Assumption Management

Project Health Check

We all make Assumptions every day, mostly without thinking about it. The reason we don't think about it is because we are so confident they are true; be it how something will turn out, what someone will do or what something is like. They are the bedrock of day to day life, and we just don't notice them. Project Management is exactly the same; we make many Assumptions in planning our Project, things that we almost take for granted.

Top 5 Project Management Report Templates

These FREE most popular templates will help you perform your role more efficiently.

PRINCE2 Principles: Manage by exception

Project Health Check

We’ve all been there, a manager taking far too much interest in our every action at work, micro managing our day to day lives. We may have even fallen accidentally into this trap ourselves, spending far too much time in the detail. Either way, it should soon become obvious that this micromanagement approach is unsustainable and ineffective; this is where the Principle of “Manage by exception” comes from.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

Project Health Check

Lean Six Sigma, a management buzzword that seems to persist and many don't understand. But what is it and how is it related to Project Management? Lean Six Sigma is an approach for Process Improvement Projects, combining many different conceptual tools depending on the situation. Essentially Lean Six Sigma is a fusion of two ideas: "Lean" and "Six Sigma": Lean Lean is a approach that seeks to eliminate Waste during a production process; it originated in Japan on the production lines of Toyota.

Lean 139

Scrum Experiences & Suggestions

Project Health Check

Agile is an approach which is extremely prevent in the IT industry, to the point where unfortunately the word “agile” tends to be thrown around everywhere, often out of context. Agile is strictly speaking a mind-set, with four foundational values and twelve supporting principles from the Agile Manifesto.

SCRUM 120

Project Lessons Learned - A Reflection

Project Health Check

Here's the thing about Lessons Learned: you're not learning them. In our experience, most organisations at best identify them - but is anything actually learned? Is changed behaviour ingrained into the lifeblood of the organisation? We have our doubts. A few reflections we have on Project Lessons Learned activities: Does your organisation have a Lessons Learned repository? If not then how do you hope to record and implement them?

2017 120

Using Continuous Customer Testing for Pandemic-Proof Product Success

Speaker: Luke Freiler, CEO and co-founder of Centercode

After weathering recessions with a wide range of iconic customers, CEO and Product Manager Luke Freiler has seen first hand the impact the Voice of the Customer has had in making or breaking tech companies during hard times. He's going to walk you through an agile process for continuous customer testing that saves you time and gives you full confidence in your products — no matter how many you're sending out the door this year.

What's your Data Point?

Project Health Check

There's lots of talking on Projects; too much really. And so little of value said. People lurch from meeting to meeting, telecon to telecon, wear out the carpet on their mobile phones. People proffer opinions, half baked viewpoints, analysis and hot air. Next time they do that, just stop them and ask "What's your data point?". They won't know what you mean of course; but then it is a phrase we basically just made up.

2017 120

Lessons Learned - A suggested Process

Project Health Check

In our Precious Blog entry we reflected generally on Project Lessons Learned. Now let us spell out a structured Process that we suggest: Plan Lessons Capture - Lessons Learned (L.L.) need to be pro-actively orchestrated by the Project Manager, they won't just happen by accident. A specific effort must be made in the same way as all other project activities.

Introduction to Kanban

Project Health Check

Ka nban is something that features in both Lean Six Sigma and Agile software development. It descended from the Lean improvements of the Toyota Production System, and is a proven approach to optimise effectiveness of a production line system. How then can it be useful for a project manager, if it’s about production lines for motor vehicles I hear you ask?

2018 120

Book Review: Project Management Pocketbook

Project Health Check

This is a new one for us - Book Reviews! Continued learning and development is important not just for Project Managers, but for practitioners in any field; this development needs to be a combination of new in-the-field experiences, and the theoretical grounding it is based upon. This particular book is the "Project Management Pocketbook", by Keith Posner and Mike Applegarth, and stands out on my Project Management Bookshelf both physically and conceptually.

2017 120

Social Collaborative Management: Harnessing the Power of the Many

Speaker: Peter Taylor, Speaker & Author of The Lazy Project Manager

Social Collaborative Management aims at delivering, at the enterprise level, a common goal for the business while harnessing the performance advantages of a collaborative community. This is a vital paradigm shift that many organisations are trying to understand right now - balancing traditional work and centralised leadership against the value of decentralised teams and trust. But the principles of harnessing collective power, collaboration, and community build an underlying ‘constant change’ capability that is critical in today’s new work environment.

Processes and Project Management

Project Health Check

We regard Processes as the bedrock for successful Project Management. I think W. Edwards Deming said it best: " If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing" Our Project Plans should describe how we intend to leverage and operate our organisation's Standard Processes - which should (hopefully) exist above and beyond the Project. And not just our Project Management Processes (Schedule/Cost Management etc) but the technical delivery aspects also.

Cancelling Projects - Should We?

Project Health Check

Work in Project Management long enough, and eventually you will come across everything - this will include having a Project you were working on cancelled. This can be a difficult process because we are often personally invested in Projects, and seeing all that hard work being seemingly be in vein can be difficult. In this article series I give some considerations to cancelling projects, discussing if it should be done, why it should be and how.

2017 171

Cancelling Projects: How?

Project Health Check

In part 1 of this article series, we accepted that Projects sometimes need to be cancelled. In part 2, we look at how sometimes the Project being worked on is no longer the right Project, and in part 3, we looked at the other cause of cancelling: the Project isn't being done right. In this final part 4, we will look at how Projects should be cancelled.

2017 152

Risk Register Template

ProjectManager.com

Plan for project risks with this risk register template for Excel. Define risk priority and the potential impact for each. Risk is going to happen, but with this free risk tracking template handy, you can prepare for it and have a response already thought out and in place.

Risk 311

Collaborate Better with Your Customer-Facing Teams

Speaker: Hope Gurion, Product Leader Coach, Fearless Product LLC

Customer discovery is the lifeblood of product teams to identify the most important customer needs to solve next. Often it's the Product and UX members of the trio who take lead on facilitating this discovery. But what about other customer-facing teams in an organization? How do product teams best partner with these teams to understand customers’ unmet needs and decide which needs to address next?

Project Plan Template

ProjectManager.com

Download this free project plan template to scope out your work and break it down into manageable components; then schedule and assign the tasks needed to complete your project. You can also use this template to manage workloads and tasks as changes occur.

Will a Project Management Certification Help Your Career?

LiquidPlanner

Let’s say you’re well-qualified in your technical skills—be it Java, programming languages, infrastructure, networks or system administration.

6 Ways to Track Project Expenses

ProjectManager.com

Projects cost money. Being able to manage and track expenses is what keeps the project within a budget. Stakeholders are not likely to consider the project a success if it costs them too much. Remember the triple constraint: cost, scope and time.

2020 320

Sample Project Management Flow Chart

ProjectManager.com

You’ve heard the term before, but what is a flow chart? In project management, a flow chart is a visual aid to understand the methodology you’re using to manage the project. The diagram shows the interdependent and parallel processes over the course of the project’s life cycle.

2020 334

Leading Under Uncertainty

Speaker: Greg Coticchia, CEO & Founder of ENTRA

Organizations of all types and sizes are facing common challenges of how to deal with the uncertainty in our current professional and personal lives. How can you plan when you are uncertain of what's next? On a product level, how can you be sure of delivering the ‘right’ messaging, products, solutions, and services to customers? How do you survive to fight the fight another day? In this session, we will discuss important tips for you as a Product Manager dealing with uncertainty. At the same time, we will discuss another important aspect of dealing with uncertainty, and that is building trust, especially while many of us are working remotely or in new or different settings.

Project Dashboard Template

ProjectManager.com

Monitor project progress with our free project management dashboard template. Track task status, budget and your project progress. A dashboard is an essential project management software tool that provides you with an at-a-glance overview of your project. Download your Excel project dashboard today!

2020 333

How to Prioritize Work When Everything Is #1

LiquidPlanner

All projects—especially large, complex projects—need clear priorities. Easier said than done. You can count on technical projects, no matter how well-planned, to involve change orders, re-prioritization and the regular appearance of surprises. It’s just the natural order of things. But still.

2018 856

Project Budget Template for Excel

ProjectManager.com

A project budget contains the financial details of your project, including the estimates of all the money you need to layout to lead a successful project, from resources to materials. Monitor project expenses with this Excel budget template.

Budget 342

How to Manage Project Scope Without Scope Creep (with examples)

Girl's Guide to PM

Most projects don’t deliver their original scope: 54% of projects fail to deliver the agreed-upon functionality. One of the reasons for that is scope creep – and that’s what this article is all about. What is scope creep?

2020 297

Use Discovery and Delivery to Experiment Our Way to a New Normal

Speaker: Johanna Rothman, Management Consultant, Rothman Consulting Group

Many of us are accustomed to planning for either discovery or delivery. We know how to plan for where we want to be for a product (delivery). And, we know how to plan to discover a market (discovery). Right now in 2020, those plans might not be worth anything. The world is still in upheaval—and no one has a crystal ball to know when we should plan more in-depth. Instead of planning for either discovery or delivery, we can use experiments—for all our work. When we focus on experimentation, small bets, and short feedback loops, we can create the kinds of products our customers will love.