Project Management in a Box


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General overview of project management, with extra attention to time estimation. Includes how to answer the 5 basic PM questions: Why are we doing this project?
What exactly are we doing?
How and when are we getting it done?
Who is working on it?
What if something goes wrong?

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  • Thanks the LAUC-Berkeley Professional Development Committee
  • How many of you have managed a project in your current job or a previous job? Are there any more of you who see that coming up ahead of you in the next year?How many of you have had some project management training?
  • My answer: only as much tracking as you need to monitor the status of your project.
  • In some ways, any plan is better than no plan….
  • This is the question everybody really wants to ask, right? What is the least amount of extra work can we possibly do, especially now that we’re all doing a job-and-a-half or two jobs?Goal = Just enough.
  • As PMs, we have to organize some very basic information about our work together.
  • As the PM, you are the 1st person who wants and needs to know it, and you’re also the 1st person everyone else is going to ask.
  • AKA:Project justificationBusiness reasonChargeIf you don’t have, get it, and then get it reviewed and approved.
  • SCOPE of the project: What is IN in and what is OUT.IN, such as…Critical functionsInputs to the application or processOutputs from the system or processAny additional requirementsOUT: Document what’s out. Specify any known limitations to the areas noted above.VERY IMPORTANT: Document how you will manage change to this list (scope change).
  • The Task List and Timeline: a blueprint for how and when it gets done.
  • The Task list: one of the most useful tools. Capture the steps required to accomplish your goal, and the milestones along the way.If you get to spots of uncertainty, enter a task for exploration and definition, and assign a milestone for re-calculating the timeline once that step has been completed.Brief, regular team meetings with the Task List check-in as a center-piece.
  • Regular team meetings, whether they are virtual or actual, allow everyone to get on the same page with regard to the path of progress.Again, use the task list (or a portion of it) in those meetings.Agile stand-up meetings: what has happened since the last meeting? What obstacles have you faced?
  • And, finally,we’re talking about RISK.
  • Project size is > 6 months (Strategies to address:break it down, consider a phased approach)Scope is ill defined or complex (add extra time for analysis; maybe a prototype)Decision-making is by committee orabsent(add tasks to plan to involve decision-makers actively)Technical environment is transitional or volatile(additional testing, add prototype)Team's experience little or none with similar work (training, borrow/hire skilled talent)Level of Impact on other operations is significant (plan for cutover: training, phases, involve stakeholders)Schedule based on rough guesses or mandated (add time to schedule, understand what is minimum level that can be accepted)
  • To assess risk, think about obstacles, and then plan a way to reduce their impact. Get a group together to think about this: your best worriers.ADJUSTMENTS: Chunk into phasesDo a prototypeAdd an analysis phaseInvolve decision-makers, stakeholdersAdd time to the schedule to compensate for lack of experienceTraining
  • And now, as promised, is a special look at how to do time estimating.Let’s take a simple thought experiment: Walk from here to downtown Berkeley. How long will it take?Is this affected by: Size of stride? Shape of walker? Shoes? Blindfolded?
  • Tasks come in 3 types.
  • If you’ve done it before, based estimate on your experience.If you haven’t done it before, based estimate on a team member’s experience, or on industry norms, orbased upon an analogous experience or norm. (research)If completely new, make best guess based on closest analogous experience.
  • Common sense adjustmentsPlus, the adjustments you discovered were needed from the risk assessment
  • Create a calendar viewVacations, holidays or other planned leave, including any training. Interdependencies, again thoseyou discovered from the risk assessment
  • Use the task-list enabled team meetings.It’s a tricky balance: we want these estimates, but most of us hate the reporting.
  • Project Management in a Box

    1. 1. Project Management in a Box<br />Joan Starr<br />Manager of Strategic & Project Planning and EZID Service Manager<br />California Digital Library<br />
    2. 2. Introduction<br />And a few questions<br />Basic project management<br />With a focus on time estimating<br />How to keep it up<br />Resources<br />Outline<br />by net_efekt,<br />
    3. 3. Introduction<br />by Peter Kaminski<br />
    4. 4. Introduction<br />How much PM is enough?<br />
    5. 5. Introduction<br />How much PM is enough?<br />What makes a good plan?<br />
    6. 6. Introduction<br />How much PM is enough?<br />What makes a good plan?<br />What can I get away with?<br />by Rhys Asplundh<br />
    7. 7. Why <br />What<br />How/when<br />Who<br />What if<br />Basic project management<br />by Sister72<br />
    8. 8. Why are we doing this project?<br />What exactly are we doing?<br />How and when are we getting it done?<br />Who is working on it?<br />What if something goes wrong?<br />Basic project management<br />
    9. 9. Why are we doing this project?<br />by Florian<br />
    10. 10. What exactly are we doing?<br />by brianwallace<br />
    11. 11. How & when are we getting it done?<br />by gabrielsond<br />
    12. 12. The Task List:<br />Match granularity to tracking needs.<br />Indicate milestones.<br />Use the Task List in team meetings.<br />How & when are we getting it done?<br />
    13. 13. Who is working on it?<br />courtesy of Oxnard Public Library,<br />
    14. 14. What might go wrong?<br />by Sanfora8<br />
    15. 15. What might go wrong?<br />7 of the most common risk areas.<br />by Colin 30d<br />
    16. 16. What can delay your ability to succeed?<br />Focus on MEDIUM + HIGH likelihood causes.<br />Identify alternative strategies.<br />Escalate (resource constraint) obstacles to decision-makers.<br />What might go wrong?<br />
    17. 17. Raw materials:<br />Task list<br />Risk assessment<br />Research skills<br />Common sense<br />How to create time estimates<br />by FotoosVanRobin<br />
    18. 18. Done it before<br />(but not kept time)<br />Never done it <br />(but someone else has)<br />Completely new and different<br />How to create time estimates<br />by fotologic<br />
    19. 19. The Task List<br />Split the overall effort into tasks the size of which you know or can find out. Record a number.<br />Time estimates: Step 1<br />by adventurejournalist<br />
    20. 20. The Task List<br />Adjust each task time estimate as needed. (Usually upward.)<br />Time estimates: Step 2<br />by jwardell<br />
    21. 21. The Task List<br />Sequence the tasks and adjust the elapsed time as needed.<br />Time estimates: Step 3<br />by blythe83<br />
    22. 22. Time tracking<br />Capture actual time for comparison.<br />Time estimates: Step 4<br />by Dave Rogers<br />
    23. 23. Share resources<br />Tell stories<br />Meet at actual and virtual water coolers<br />Your ideas here:<br />How to keep it up<br />by brianjmatis<br />
    24. 24. Slide decks<br />Managing scope creep<br />Managing stakeholder relationships<br />Basic time estimation<br />Templates<br />Project Scope<br />Risk assessment & mitigation<br />Here’s some of my stuff:<br />
    25. 25. And here is where you’ll find me…<br /><br />@joan_starr<br />Thank you!<br />