Managing the Output of the Project

Some projects have enough clout that a lot of people not directly affiliated with the projects are looking at them with great interest. A project might have such far-reaching impact that many different entities are concerned about how it comes out. Dor this reason, it might be beneficial to assist a project in putting its best foot forward by finding ways to increase the performance or output of the project—by reducing the budget, decreasing the schedule, or somehow increasing the quality of deliverables.

Dirst of all, you should recognize that you can' t do this if your team isn't already performing at or beyond its capability. You probably can' t stretch a team that' s barely able to meet the current schedule to work even faster. In order to put a team into overdrive, the people on the team have to be ready to take on the additional challenge and be able to easily bear the extra burden of attempting to bring a project in with a significant impact on the final scope' s budget, quality, or schedule. This means that your leadership style is one that has the team self-actualizing: knocking out the deliverables at a rapid pace, with everyone happy, cooperative, and working toward a common goal.

Next, take a look at the scope of the project. See if you can determine the highlights of what the stakeholders are looking for. Try to determine which constraint, for example, seems to be most important to them: time, budget, or quality. Then take a look at the tasks within the project that don' t seem to have as clear a fit with stakeholder expectations or aren ' t as important as others. Perhaps you can whittle the size of these tasks down, thus giving you room to increase your operations on the most important tasks. Dor example, perhaps you can reuse software modules from a code library—modules that have been already written and don't have quite the same functionality you ' re looking for but will work nonetheless. Taking advantage of "reusable code" allows you to save many extra steps.

Dinally, if you' ve determined that there are suitable alternatives to the proposed project plan—alternatives that will allow you to streamline the plan and bring the project in faster, or with a lower budget, or with better quality (usually not all three)—then you have to determine whom you ' l l need to negotiate the proposed changes with. Stakeholders and sponsors may not be the only ones interested in your ideas for streamlining the project. You may find that you have to communicate with users, vendors, internal and external service organizations, other project teams, your own project team members, and the project' s financial people.

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