Project Management: Begin with the End in Mind

I prepared a one hour webinar for a select group of interested project management professionals and wanted to share the presentation and info here. I’ve spent the last 20 years managing IT related projects and have learned a thing or two and would love to help others to succeed and avoid some common mistakes. I also recorded a podcast on the subject which takes you through the slides and the process.

Assumptions

  • You have already decided on your lead candidate
  • System is critical, needs to be validated, or is a major project
  • Right-size planning based on project scope and criticality
  • Time spent planning on the front end will always pay off later in the project

Project Charter

  • Authorizes project
  • Details business need addressed by project
  • Defines scope of project
  • Project team and estimates
  • Deliverables
  • High level timeline
  • Budget
  • High level communications plan
  • Assigns project manager
  • Signed by executive sponsor, business sponsor

Project Document

  • Further details the project
  • Project scope
  • Project objectives
  • Acceptance criteria
  • Assumptions
  • Functionality
  • Data migration
  • Project management and timeline
  • Deliverables by project stage
  • Ground rules
  • Team members, roles, responsibilities
  • Communication management
  • Issue management
  • Project change control
  • Project risks and mitigation
  • Other project requirements
  • Signed by all project team members (internal/external)

Project Plan

  • Work with the vendor to create a detailed plan (they will push back)
  • Confirm responsibilities: vendor versus customer
  • Vendors only care about their deliverables
  • Confirm internal resource availability
  • Confirm organizational commitment with managers
  • Take holidays and vacations into account
  • Use it to drive the project document and the statements of work
  • Make sure all assumptions are taken into account
  • It will be wrong as soon as it is saved but you have to start somewhere

Agreements

  • DO NOT SIGN UNTIL THE PROJECT IS PLANNED
  • Service statements of work should be detailed
  • Service statements of work should include assumptions
  • Get the vendor to commit to resources during planning
  • Vendors may try to ‘bait and switch’
  • ONLY AFTER THE PROJECT IS FULLY PLANNED AND THE KICK OFF DATE AND RESOURCES CONFIRMED SHOULD AGREEMENTS BE SIGNED

Preparing for Kick Off

  • Get everyone on board with their roles before kick off
  • Re-confirm executive level commitment
  • Vendor project team members should be a part of the kick off
  • Kick off should be a formality and to begin team formation
  • The project kicks off AFTER planning

Scheduling or attending a live webinar

While the above gives you a framework and some guidance, the devil is in the details. If you want to hear more of the details, feel free to listen to the Piloting Your Life podcast episode and/or reach out to me at Terri.Mead@Solutions2Projects.com.