Statement

The first part of the POS is a statement of the problem or opportunity that the project addresses. This statement is fact it does not need to be defined or defended. Everyone in the organization will accept it as true. This is critical because it provides a basis for the rest of the document. The POS may not have the benefit of the project manager's being present to explain what is written or to defend the reason for proposing the project to the management. A problem or opportunity statement...

Top Down Approach

The top-down approach begins at the goal level and successively partitions work down to lower levels of definition until the participants are satisfied that the work has been sufficiently defined. The completion criteria discussed later in this chapter structure the partitioning exercise for this approach. Once the project activities have been defined using the top-down approach, they will be defined at a sufficient level of detail to allow you to estimate time, cost, and resource requirements...

The Precedence Diagramming Method

One of the early methods for representing project activities as a network dates back to the early 1950s and the Polaris Missile Program. It is called the activity-on-the-arrow (AOA) method. As Figure 6.1 shows, an arrow represents each activity. The node at the left edge of the arrow is the event begin the activity, while the node at the right edge of the arrow is the event end the activity. Every activity is represented by this configuration. Nodes are numbered sequentially, and the sequential...

Adaptive Project Framework

Project management is at a major crossroads. How we choose to go forward will either endear us to our clients or give them more reasons to dismiss project management as irrelevant to their needs. Changes that have taken place in the past few years in the way businesses operate have given us good reason to pause and reflect on whether or not our traditional approach to project management still satisfies the needs of organizations. We are of the belief that we are not meeting the needs of...

Resource Loading versus Activity Duration

The duration of an activity is influenced by the amount of resources scheduled to work on it. We say influenced because there is not necessarily a direct linear relationship between the amount of resource assigned to an activity and its duration. Adding more resources to hold an activity's duration within the planning limits can be effective. This is called crashing the activity. For example, suppose you are in a room where an ordinary-size, four-legged chair is in the way. The door to the room...

Submitting a Project for Approval

Once the POS is complete, it is submitted to management for approval. The approval process is far from a formality. It is a deliberate decision on the part of senior management that the project as presented does indeed have business value and that it is worth proceeding to the detailed planning phase. As part of the approval process, senior management asks several questions regarding the information presented. Remember, they are trying to make good business decisions and need to test your...

Measurable Status

The project manager can ask for the status of an activity at any point in time during the project. If the activity has been defined properly, that question is answered easily. For example, if a system's documentation is estimated to be about 300 pages long and requires approximately four months of full-time work to write, here are some possible reports that your activity manager could provide regarding the status Let's see, the activity is supposed to take four months of full-time work. I've...

Managing Change

It is difficult for anyone, regardless of his or her skills at prediction and forecasting, to completely and accurately define the needs for a product or service that will be implemented 6, 12, or 18 months in the future. Competition, customer reactions, technology changes, a host of supplier-related situations, and many other factors could render a killer application obsolete before it can be implemented. The most frequent situation starts something like this Oh, I forgot to tell you that we...

Levels of Traditional Project Management

There are three variations to the TPM life cycle. Which cycle you use in a given project depends on what management needs you are trying to meet. Defining, planning, organizing. This first and simplest of the three cycles is concerned with getting the project going. There is no follow-up on performance against plan. We have encountered a number of situations in which one person will be solely responsible for completing all project activities. In such cases there is value in planning the...

Managing Buffers

The CCPM project manager is concerned about the starting time of a sequence of tasks including the critical chain, but isn't concerned about the finish time of the sequences. The finishing times are not even in the CCPM project plan. Instead, the CCPM project manager manages the buffers. In managing the buffers, the CCPM project manager is protecting the actual duration sequence and, hence, the completion time of the project. The TPM will see the buffer as nothing more than management reserve,...

Planning the JPP Session

Team planning has always been viewed as advantageous over other forms of project planning, such as the project manager planning the project by walking around gathering data for the plan. In our experience, the synergy of the group provides far more accurate activity duration estimates, and we expect more complete information input to the planning process itself. Perhaps the best advantage of all is that it creates a much stronger commitment to the project for all those who lived through the...

Six Criteria to Test for Completeness in the WBS

Developing the WBS is the most critical part of the JPP. If we do this part right, the rest is comparatively easy. How do you know that you've done this right Each activity must possess six characteristics to be considered complete that is, completely decomposed. The six characteristics are as follows Status completion is measurable. Start end events are clearly defined. Time cost is easily estimated. Activity duration is within acceptable limits. Work assignments are independent. If the...

Discussion Questions

How would you balance your efforts to get the project done with your efforts to help team members use their work on the project to develop themselves professionally 2. Your project managers have been able to communicate very effectively with all of your clients except one. Getting feedback from this client has always been a nagging problem. What should you do Based on your resource loading from the previous chapters, are there specific people who are key to the...

Team Meetings

The project manager needs to define team meetings in terms of frequency, length, meeting dates, submission preparation distribution of the agenda, who calls the meeting, and who is responsible for recording and distributing the minutes. The entire team needs to participate in and understand the rules and structure of the meetings that will take place over the life of the project. Different types of team meetings, perhaps with different rules governing their conduct and format, may occur. Team...

Relationship between Traditional Project Management and Other Methodologies

They can be applied to a variety of situations. We can use the methods to plan a picnic or a trip to Mars. Regardless of the application, the same steps apply. To illustrate exactly what we mean, let's look at the relationship between the typical TPM methodology and two other methodologies. Systems development life cycle. Those of you who are software development professionals will have recognized many similarities between the TPM life cycle and the systems...

Managing Problem Escalation

Something has happened that put the project plan at risk. Late shipments from suppliers, equipment malfunction, sickness, random acts of nature, resignations, priority changes, errors, and a host of other factors give rise to problems that can affect deliverables, deliverable schedules, and resource schedules. The project manager owns the problem and must find a solution. This situation is very different for the project manager than the case of a change request. When a change request has been...

Project Manager visvis the Functional Manager

First, let's juxtapose the roles of the project manager with those of the functional manager. The distinction is an important foundation to the material presented in this chapter. The objective of the project manager is clear Complete the project on time, within budget, and according to the customer's Conditions of Satisfaction, in other words according to specification. Staff development is not on the list. The only cases when staff development is an objective of the project manager occur when...

Format of a Work Package

We recommend two work package documents. Work package assignment sheet. This is a very special type of telephone directory used as a ready reference for the project manager. It contains some basic information about each work package and its manager. Work package description report. This is a detailed description of the activity plan. It contains much of the same information that is found in a project plan, but it focuses on activities, not projects. It is therefore a much simpler document than...

Contracted Team Members

The business-to-business environment is changing, and those changes are permanent. Organizations are routinely outsourcing processes that are not part of their core business or core expertise. There are two reasons for choosing to use contract team members instead of the company's own employees Shortage of staff Shortage of skills Those shortages have made it possible for a whole new type of business to grow tech-temps is the name we associate with this new business opportunity. The day of the...

Core Team Members

Core team members are with the project from cradle to grave. They typically have a major role to play in the project and bring a skill set that has broad applicability across the range of work undertaken in the project. They might also have responsibility for key activities or sets of activities in the project. Similar to the project manager's assignment, this assignment is usually not full-time. In matrix organizations, professional staff can be assigned to more than one project at a time....

The Critical Chain Project Management Approach

The CCPM approach is identical to the TPM approach up to the point where the project network diagram is defined and the critical path is identified. The traditional project manager would next conduct a resource leveling exercise targeting resource usage on the critical path. At this point, the critical chain project manager develops the critical chain plan. In the discussion that follows, we describe each of the CCPM planning steps for you by way of a simple example. We will use as an example...

Extreme Project Management

The third variation that we will discuss is extreme project management. xPM and APF both originated at about the same time, so it is difficult to say which is a variation of the other from a chronological point of view. In any case, xPM handles the situation where the goal is not clearly defined and therefore the solution cannot be defined either. On the continuum of project management approaches, the traditional approach occupies the structured end, where there is the most clarity with respect...

Track Record of Critical Chain Project Management

It was not until the 1997 publication of Eliyahu M. Goldratt's book Critical Chain (North River Press Publishing Corp.) that people began to see the connections between TOC and project management. CCPM has only a five-year history to draw upon for its successes. Leach cites a few of them in his book Critical Chain Project Management. They are briefly summarized in the following list Honeywell Defense Avionics Systems. Using critical chain concepts, a team at Honeywell was able to reduce a...

Introduction to Effective Project Management

Change is constant We hope that does not come as a surprise to you. Change is always with us and seems to be happening at an increasing rate. Every day we face new challenges and the need to improve yesterday's practices. As John Naisbett says in The Third Wave, Change or die. For experienced project managers as well as wannabe project managers, the road to breakthrough performance is paved with uncertainty and with the need to be courageous, creative, and flexible. If we simply rely on a...

Overview of Extreme Project Management

By its very nature, xPM is unstructured. xPM (see Figure 19.1) and APF are both variations of the same theme. The theme is that learning and discovery moves the project forward. The idea is an adaptation of the Flexible Project Model introduced in 2000 by Doug DeCarlo in his eXtreme Project Management Workshop. Recall that the difference between xPM and APF is that APF requires a clearly defined goal, whereas xPM does not. As Figure 19.1 illustrates, xPM consists of four phases that we are...

Info

Specification of the goal and a new goal definition is produced. This new definition is probably a little more accurate than the original guess. Figure I.2 would interpret this by having the ellipse shrink in volume and move up or down. The next cycle of work is planned based on the new goal. This process continues for some number of cycles and results either in an acceptable solution or in the project being abandoned at the completion of some intermediate cycle. In most cases there is not a...