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Project Management in a Box

Project Management in a Box



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? ...

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 Project Management in a Box Presentation Transcript

  • Project Management in a Box
    Joan Starr
    Manager of Strategic & Project Planning and EZID Service Manager
    California Digital Library
  • Introduction
    And a few questions
    Basic project management
    With a focus on time estimating
    How to keep it up
    by net_efekt, http://www.flickr.com/photos/wheatfields/2622582186/#/photos/wheatfields/2622582186/
  • Introduction
    by Peter Kaminski http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterkaminski/11351361/
  • Introduction
    How much PM is enough?
  • Introduction
    How much PM is enough?
    What makes a good plan?
  • Introduction
    How much PM is enough?
    What makes a good plan?
    What can I get away with?
    by Rhys Asplundh http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhysasplundh/5177851910/
  • Why
    What if
    Basic project management
    by Sister72 http://www.flickr.com/photos/sis/5908569/lightbox/#/photos/sis/5908569/
  • 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?
    Basic project management
  • Why are we doing this project?
    by Florian http://www.flickr.com/photos/fboyd/2897598148/
  • What exactly are we doing?
    by brianwallace http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianwallace/365625673/
  • How & when are we getting it done?
    by gabrielsond http://www.flickr.com/photos/gabrielsond/4665229709/
  • The Task List:
    Match granularity to tracking needs.
    Indicate milestones.
    Use the Task List in team meetings.
    How & when are we getting it done?
  • Who is working on it?
    courtesy of Oxnard Public Library, http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt6c600758
  • What might go wrong?
    by Sanfora8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/sanfora/3204460930/
  • What might go wrong?
    7 of the most common risk areas.
    by Colin 30d http://www.flickr.com/photos/colin-c/351568699/
  • What can delay your ability to succeed?
    Focus on MEDIUM + HIGH likelihood causes.
    Identify alternative strategies.
    Escalate (resource constraint) obstacles to decision-makers.
    What might go wrong?
  • Raw materials:
    Task list
    Risk assessment
    Research skills
    Common sense
    How to create time estimates
    by FotoosVanRobin http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoosvanrobin/2245520618/
  • Done it before
    (but not kept time)
    Never done it
    (but someone else has)
    Completely new and different
    How to create time estimates
    by fotologic http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotologic/1161333950/
  • The Task List
    Split the overall effort into tasks the size of which you know or can find out. Record a number.
    Time estimates: Step 1
    by adventurejournalist http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyapoole/2952757091/
  • The Task List
    Adjust each task time estimate as needed. (Usually upward.)
    Time estimates: Step 2
    by jwardell http://www.flickr.com/photos/jwardell/3374219189/
  • The Task List
    Sequence the tasks and adjust the elapsed time as needed.
    Time estimates: Step 3
    by blythe83 http://www.flickr.com/photos/skayne/1315550009
  • Time tracking
    Capture actual time for comparison.
    Time estimates: Step 4
    by Dave Rogers http://www.flickr.com/photos/dave-rogers/2815036285/
  • Share resources
    Tell stories
    Meet at actual and virtual water coolers
    Your ideas here:
    How to keep it up
    by brianjmatis http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianjmatis/3825687654/
  • Slide decks http://www.slideshare.net/joanstarr/presentations
    Managing scope creep
    Managing stakeholder relationships
    Basic time estimation
    Templates http://www.cdlib.org/services/project_planning/project_collaboration.html
    Project Scope
    Risk assessment & mitigation
    Here’s some of my stuff:
  • And here is where you’ll find me…
    Thank you!