10.8. Solutions Fast Track
10.8.1.1. Initiating Project Work
- Initiate project work with an announcement that project work is underway.
- Hold a team meeting to ensure team members understand project processes, procedures, and next steps.
- Regularly monitor project status and progress through team meetings, status reports, and bug tracking and issue logs.
- Capture and share lessons learned as you go along to help avoid common errors or pitfalls along the way.
10.8.1.2. Monitoring Project Progress
- Status reports and team meetings give you a good view into the project progress.
- The issues log should be used to manage issues that arise. Assign every issue a priority, an owner, and due date so issues actually do get resolved.
- Progress can be recorded as percent complete, but percent complete for progress, time, and cost should be measured to give a more balanced view.
- Variance can be measured as the difference between what was planned and actual results. Large positive or negative variances should be flags that you investigate.
- Large variances can cause a project to be cancelled.
10.8.1.3. Managing Project Change
- Variance is a change to the project and should be managed as such.
- You have four possible responses to variance: do nothing, repair the problem, change the project plan, or terminate the project.
- Changes to the schedule can often be accommodated via the schedule reserve. Larger changes may require you to crash the schedule or fast track the schedule.
- Crashing and fast tracking both come with inherent risks that should be understood and evaluated prior to implementing either of these methods.
- Changes to budgets stem from four primary causes: flawed estimates, anomalies, permanent variance, and minor variance.
- Changes to budgets can sometimes be accounted for via the budget reserve. Other times the change must be listed as a separate line item and dealt with separately.
- Drastic changes to schedules or budgets can cause the project to be terminated if the changes cannot be accommodated or if those changes make the project undesirable.
- Changes to scope often sneak in and cause scope creep. Using standard project procedures including change management procedures, you can manage scope during project work.
- Your change management procedures should allow you the ability to deal with changes that stem from the four primary sources: errors/omissions, risk response (implementing "Plan B"), value-added, and external events.
10.8.1.4. Managing Project Risk
- Review your project's risk management plan at the outset of project work. It might have to be revised as project work progresses due to new or changing risks.
- Include milestones in your project plan for places where you want to review your risk plan or places where risk might occur.
- Evaluate "Plan B" before implementing it. Look for secondary risks the contingency plan might inject into your project.
- All change carries risk and all risk mitigation techniques carry the possibility of secondary risk. You cannot plan for all risk, but looking for risks will help you avoid many of the obvious ones.
- As project work progresses, risks can change and shift. Keep an eye out for new risks resulting from other changes in the project and update your risk management plan as needed.
10.8.1.5. Managing the Project Team
- Successfully managing people is key to managing an IT project. Hone your people management skills for greater project success.
- In order for team members to accomplish their work, they must understand what is required, have the time, tools, and talent to accomplish the work, and must be motivated to do the work.
- Team members must be given the information, responsibility, and authority to complete their work.
- Deal with team performance, quality, or attitude problems quickly and effectively. These kinds of problems rarely go away on their own and they typically just get bigger and more complicated over time.
- Use your manger, project sponsor, and Human Resources department as resources to assist you in managing your team.
- Managing a team over whom you have little direct or organization authority can be challenging, but by focusing on creating a positive, productive environment, your team and your project will fare better.