Risk Management

Keys to Project Success - Part 10

Keep Stakeholders Engaged

Years ago, very shortly after I’d taken over management of a new team, there was to be a demonstration of a new set of features that my team had developed.  The demonstration was for the heads of the business areas that would be using those new features.  The software was to be imminently pushed to production, and this was the final step.  I was just about to round the corner into the demonstration room when I heard one of those VPs say, “Well, what did you do that for?  We didn’t ask for that!  That’s not going to work!”

Keys to Project Success - Part 9

Mismatched plug and receptacle.

The Devil is in the Details

Years ago we had to implement some business functionality into a large trading and settlement system that was for tax reporting and withholding.  I met with the leader of the release team and his head designer for this new feature to review the design, as I knew if it wasn't done correctly, we’d be facing fines and a regulatory mess.  So, to decrease the likelihood of failure, I wanted to make sure we were on the right track.

Keys to Project Success - Part 7

People in field with umbrellas approaching a storm

Manage Risk

Years ago I got a call from our CIO about a project to automate budgeting for our U.S. division.  The company made consumer packaged goods, and so the budget was built up from below the SKU level, as different packaging, ingredients, and many other variables had to be taken into account to arrive at costs.  The U.S. finance folks, like in so many other organisations, used spreadsheets to do the number crunching.

Keys to Project Success - Part 4

Use the Plan and Keep It Alive

Failing to plan is planning to fail.  And failing to use the plan after it is developed is just as bad as no planning at all.  It never fails to surprise me when I see a project manager move into a ‘fly by the seat of their pants’ approach part way through a project, no longer using their plan.  A typical conversation might go as follows:

Me: “So where are we on the project?”

Project Manager:  “Um, good, I think…”

Me: “You think?  I don’t understand.  How are we tracking to schedule and budget?”

Keys to Project Success - Part 3

Don’t Skimp on Planning

I should start off this segment by defining what I consider “planning” to be.  Planning is not just scheduling, although many ‘project managers’ I’ve encountered in my career consider the creation of a project schedule the totality of their planning work.  For me, planning is much, much more.  Planning is determining not only the sequence of events and the expected effort involved (in other words, the schedule), and not just who of the existing team is going to do the work, but is in fact the creation of a comprehensive model of everything that will happen to

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