August 29, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
A key aspect of learning is the ability and willingness to ask the right questions. Are we really ready to go faster? Do we all have the same goals for the project? Do we know what "done" means?
Our resources highlighted in this issue are hand-picked to ensure your team asks the right questions, and that they record and share the answers in a useful way. Among the resources below, you'll find the automated version of Geof Lory's crowdsourced Speed Readiness Assessment, developed earlier this year.
What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?
In some cases, your delivery team doesn't know what product or asset they are working on, or it is better not to have them jumping to a solution yet. You may be trying to decide whether to buy an existing solution or build a new one. You may even be trying to decide whether it makes sense to build anything at all. When this happens, it's better to back up a little and consider whether everyone has a good understanding of the problem you are trying to solve. A useful technique in this situation is the problem statement.
By Kent McDonald
This format describes things in term of a problem, but also provides some context around who is most concerned about the problem and why. The problem statement also focuses on characteristics of the solution, but without describing the solution itself. That fact makes this technique helpful when a delivery team is dealing with a potential build/buy situation and needs a way to organize their thoughts.
Read Kent's suggestions for using problem statements to surface assumptions and issues »
Project Status Reports Bundle
Yet again, you find yourself composing long-winded reports describing your status and roadblocks. You know no one has time to read them — you don't even have time to write them. But how else can you capture the important information about what's going on with this project? Enter our status reports bundle, with over 20 variations on status report formats for different situations, many with sample data so you can see the level of detail other teams and managers use. Save time and save face with real world examples that will make your status manageable, understandable, and presentable for all those who need to know, without writing a novel. Multi-user licenses available!
Learn More »
Premium How-To Course
Uncovering Critical Dependencies in the Schedule
Presented by Cinda Voegtli
Missed interactions or blown handoffs can make projects painfully, or even pointlessly, late. Since prevention is always better than cure, it's important to involve the right resources, and to identify and plan for cross-functional dependencies. The information is usually all there, hidden in your work breakdown. How can you find it all in time? In this course, Cinda Voegtli explains how to work successfully with your project team and their functional managers as you identify work and assign resources to accomplish the project goals. 1 PDU
Learn more »
Ask The Right Questions
Speed Readiness Assessment – MEMBER
Is your project team ready for a faster pace? This assessment will help you determine whether or not a team is ready for speed. With some tailoring, it could also be used as a measure of how well a team is implementing a specific Agile methodology.
Project Deliverables Release Form – PREMIUM
Is your deliverable ready for the real world? This form assesses a project deliverable's readiness for a wider audience. It communicates that a deliverable has reached a specific state of completion, and thus can be safely deployed to specified groups of customers or users.
Root Cause Analysis Checklist – PREMIUM
Are you sure you've found the problem, and not just another symptom? Taking a methodical approach to a search for the root cause takes time at first, but saves time, effort, and probably money down the road.
Product Definition - Critical Success Factors – PREMIUM
Is your product definition complete enough to be meaningful? This checklist and worksheet help you test your project's current information against critical success factors.
Share The Answers With Everyone
Generic Project Plan Document – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until September 12, 2013
Once the project is well defined, communicate it with a well-defined plan. This document outline includes annotations to explain how each section is used, making it easier to adapt the plan for different situations.
Recording Key Project Decisions – PREMIUM
If you've ever found yourself or your team wondering what you actually decided about that feature weeks ago (or hours ago!) you need a list of Key Project Decisions. This file provides several different formats for recording key decisions in various contexts, as well as tips for using features in common project management and collaboration tools to maintain this critical piece of project history.
Project Closeout Meeting Agenda – PREMIUM
Even if the project is over, the learning can go on. This template provides an agenda for a Closeout Workshop, an occasion where the Program Team and others can document what worked, areas for improvement, lessons learned, and next steps, if any. Instructions are included.
Think Differently About Project "Crunch Time"
by Margaret de Haan
So we have all been the lead on a Project that hit "crunch time" where everyone has borrowed a sleeping bag and planned on camping at the office 24/7 for a few days to make sure that the date is met, right? Well I have been speaking to a number of individuals from different organizations at some of my networking events that I have attended recently, and one of the COO's that I met came out with a revelation that I feel I just have to share even though it should be considered obvious
Not All Projects Are Sunshine & Rainbows - Part II
by Morley Selver
(Continued from Part I) This was a project where we wanted to increase production of handtowel at one of our locations. The existing equipment was not sufficient and could not be modified so a new / used machine was required. We searched the used equipment market and went looking at used machines, which was an interesting exercise in itself. Eventually we found one in Wisconsin that we could use. When you are buying used you need to realize that it was probably losing money
What poetry can bring to project management?
by Alfonso Bucero
Being involved in the project management profession over the years I have observed the great help that poetry has provided me during my career; I mean to learn more about how to develop my soft and hard skills to manage projects. Mainly because it helps me to understand, reflect and compare some poetry descriptions to the real project life. It does not mean that I can find answers for most of the things, but at least I spend some time thinking about that and reflecting on it
Morley Selver is running his 3-day "Fundamentals of Project Management" workshop this fall in the following locations: Calgary AB August 27-29; Denver CO September 25-27; Houston TX October 23-25; Calgary AB November 20-22. For information & enrollment please visit www.peice.com
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