Project Management
I hope that you enjoyed the articles and have got some encouraging feedback - would be really grateful if you would comment on the articles, even though I do enjoy the emails also.

On the previous two post, we cover all of the topics you would expect to see. Here in the final post today, you will see some expected topics, but you will also see some unexpected ones also - but they are vital to ensuring the success of your projects.

So where do we start - let's look at the topics we will be covering in this post:
  1. Legal considerations and obligations
  2. Research
  3. PR & Communications
  4. Risks
  5. Creative thinking
  6. What are you "Waiting For"
So let's take them 1 by 1.

Legal considerations and obligations
You must take great care with any legal obligation and particular regulation that you have to abide by. To avoinf becoming in any way hamstrung by them, you should establish what they are, who can best advise you and which are mandatory and which are not - clear direction and knowledge of this will eliminate unnecessary worry for you and risk for the project.
This look like an odd topic, but maybe not as odd as you might think.

Take for example the technologies you are deploying - how mature are they, what installed base and run time do they have in a commercial environment, or are you at the bleeding edge. Important information prior to assessing your risks and execution plan.

Is the project you are undertaking going to be replicated elsewhere in your organisation - if so, then you are the research project and you need to capture data and knowledge in a fashion that you can "donate" it to your organisation for replication - this might be a key objective of your project.

PR & Communication
Fundamental to success - ask yourself and your key stakeholders, who is this project of value to and who can add value to it -  and then go and ensure that you have a plan to keep them informed of your project or solicit their involvement at the relevant time right from the early stages right through to completion.

Internal and external communications are key to success and make sure that you use the appropriate tools - face to face updates, dashboards, poster campaigns, intranet and on and on. I would highly recommend publish in all relevant locations:
  1. Your Project Charter
  2. Your Milestone Sequence Chart
  3. Key recent achievement and 2-4 week lookahead

RiskI have a guest post ready to go which will be appearing on another site next week, so I won't go too deep here other than to say, think about the business and project specific risk. Focus initially on the business risks as you will be spending a lot of time now with the sponsor and clients so this is the best time to identify these, assess them, develop a plan to deal with them and put in place an agreed method to monitor and control them.

Also, use this time to assess how risk averse or otherwise you sponsor and client are!

Once you form your wider team, you can start looking at project specific risks.

Creative thinking
This is an area where you can amplify the positive impact people can have on a successful outcome - start by asking:
  • Who is concerned with this project and how can they add value?
  • What is the worst thing that could happen and how can we avoid this?
  • What is the best thing that could happen and how can we make it happen?
  • What would make this project an outrageous success and how do we go after it?
  • What are the core project principles and how do you establish them with the broader team?
If you can establish all or any of the above and then give clear direction to your team once formed, then you have made an excellent start to deliver a project with a high probability of success.

And finally, is there anything you need in order to make progress - i.e. your "Waiting For" list. Key information or decisions? If so, think hard and fast about how you are going to expedite collation of the information or get those decisions.

And a final, final note. It is never too early to develop the key relationships with the people who are going to help you get through the project - sponsor, clients, mentor, team members, peers - don't forget to build and use your network
Anthony B
5/12/2010 08:56:59 pm

This is a great article, William. I particularly like the creative thinking questions and the 'waiting for' list concept.

Keep up the great work

5/12/2010 10:07:01 pm

Thanks for that Anthony - creative thinking is a key skill to develop as a Project Manager.

- William


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