Reuse Previous Work

While it is good for team members to feel creative on a project, unfortunately, their desire for creativity often leads to reinventing the wheel. There are major consequences when that occurs, including wasted effort due to repeating work, slowing of the project's momentum, a failure to capitalize on the success of the past, and extension of the project's life cycle. In other words, it is nonproductive.

Reuse enables organizations to use what was done before again, in a similar situation. The benefits include expediting the project life cycle, allowing team members to focus on more important issues, increasing the product's reliability, and enabling team members to make modifications quickly. Because plans and products are built modularly, reuse also reduces complexity. Finally, it allows more accurate planning.

Reuse occurs on both the project management and technical development levels. For project management, teams may reuse sections of schedules from similar projects, segments of files loaded into automated scheduling packages, report formats and contents, and forms. Examples of reuse related to technical development include code, models, files generated from software tools, and specifications.

Teams can take several actions to maximize the benefits of reuse. They can acquire knowledge of what occurred previously on other projects, enabling them to "cannibalize" what was done well. To obtain information about previous work, team members can review the documentation of earlier projects, interview participants on those projects, and read case histories in professional journals of similar projects.

Team members can also rely on personal experience to maximize the benefits of reuse. Wide exposure to many projects in different environments results in a greater breadth of experience from which the team can learn. That knowledge, in turn, makes it easier to determine what to reuse. In addition, teams can use professional and business organizations as a source of contacts with individuals who can provide, for free, insight on what worked well on similar projects. These organizations can also provide materials for reuse, such as forms and checklists.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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