One of the key elements of the Scope Management Plan defines how change orders will be handled. Change orders are inevitable; you must plan on how to manage them. Books have been written on this subject but for this article, let's leave it by saying the lack of change order management is a significant cause of project failure. Lack of change order control results in “Scope Creep” or “creeping elegance” which can be a deadly project disease. |
Resources Does the assigned project team have the experience to be successful? Have the key team members done projects like this one before? To this PM's thinking, projects are not the place or time for OJT. If you are selected to be a PM for a project utilizing junior personnel or personnel unfamiliar with how projects work, be sure to include this fact in your Risk Management Plan (another article) and expand the schedule and budget to accommodate needed training.
An often-overlooked project resource is Quality Assurance. Again, in my experience, this is especially true for software development projects. Here's the advice, don't underestimate the requirement for Quality expertise. Bring it in as early as the project design phase. Quality should be designed into your project deliverables - not tacked on later as though quality was an after thought.
Project Management Skills Of course, the PM needs to be skilled in project management and skilled in the type of project to be undertaken. What I am talking about here are the project management skills of the other stakeholders. If you think about it, what chance does a skilled PM have on bringing off a successful project if he is the only one who understands how the work will be organized and managed? Team members need to understand their roles, roles of other team member whose tasks will impact them, the PM's role and roles of all other stakeholders. One of the wisest investments you can make at the beginning of a project is a quick class on project management and how it differs from functional management. This class should also address matrix management to the degree that is appropriate for the project.
This need for project management skills also extends to the project sponsors. The people authorizing the project need to understand the project management process. Otherwise, how can they know what is reasonable to expect? An important aspect of sponsor training is laying out the sponsor's project responsibilities. A Sponsor's job doesn't end with the selection of the PM; Sponsors have a responsibility until the project is concluded to do what they can to ensure project success. Many times this is just being available to the PM in real time.
(End part two of two)
Jim Stedt is a partner at The Business SoftSkills Company (GetSoftSkillsNow.Com) located in Santa Ana, California. They provide job readiness and workforce success videos for education, business, prisons and individual use. Training is available online, on DVD, or through an affiliate program. These products are the most complete and concise soft skills training packages now available for the price of an average college textbook.
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