Project Management Tools and Techniques


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Presented by Don Duval, Director, Corporate Development, MaRS Discovery District. Part of the Post Doctoral Fellowship Networking Event.

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Project Management Tools and Techniques

  1. 1. Project Management Tools and Techniques Don Duval | Director, Corporate Development | MaRS Discovery District October 6 th 2008
  2. 2. Presentation Objectives <ul><li>There are three objectives for today’s interactive and exciting session: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide an overview of my relevant background and some of my key project management experiences over the past 10 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand the fundamentals of project planning, management, and supporting tools that can enhance the delivery and success of projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage in discussion on these topics, offer opinions as to what will work and won’t work for your projects </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. What is a Project? <ul><li>A project is a coordinated, once-through set of activities designed to achieve a specific objective…and a project functions under conditions of defined schedules, budgets and performance criteria. </li></ul><ul><li>The most common method to define a project is to utilize a project charter , a document that outlines the key elements and activities of a project. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Key Components of a Project Charter Project Objectives and Rationale Strategic Significance Scope and Deliverables Approach - Project Plan Structure and Resources Timeframe and Budget Assumptions / Dependencies Risks and Mitigation Communication Strategy Measures of Success
  5. 5. Building a Project Charter <ul><li>Project Charter - Table of Contents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Objectives and Rationale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategic Significance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scope and Deliverables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Approach - Project Plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timeframe and Budget Estimate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Team Structure and Resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication Strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Assumptions / Dependencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Risks and Mitigation Strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measures of Success </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Objectives, Rationale, and Strategic Significance <ul><li>Essential to understand why you are doing the project , how it fits into the broader strategy of your department and organization, and what are the expected benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to describe in an elevator speech (short and sweet) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides context and confidence to the organization to ensure buy-in and support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Articulates to yourself and the project team that you are doing something of value! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to imagine someone reading a one-pager about your project and have them get it…the “Oh…I get it” moment </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Scope <ul><li>Defining the scope clearly articulates what are the boundaries of the project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Equally important to define what is in scope and what is it out of scope - be very clear to manage expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very common to define a broad, large project and then break into reasonable and manageable “chunks” - commonly called phases or stages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defining the scope very often focuses on functionality and geographical aspects , but is entirely dependant on the project </li></ul></ul>Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Project Scope
  8. 8. Deliverables <ul><li>A deliverable is a product that is produced after doing an array of activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tangible and intangible deliverables - depending on the nature of the project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deliverables are typically aligned to the specific phase of the project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deliverables need to be clearly defined at the onset of the project, but over the duration of the project they can be adjusted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deliverables typically need formal sign-off and approval </li></ul></ul>Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Project Scope Deliverable A Deliverable B Deliverable C Deliverable D Deliverable E
  9. 9. Approach / Methodology - The Project Plan <ul><li>The project plan clearly articulates the following related to the project: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities and tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Start and end dates; duration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resource allocation (who is doing the activity) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Predecessors </li></ul></ul>Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Project Scope Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Deliverable A Activity 4 Activity 5 Activity 6 Deliverable B Deliverable C Activity 7 Activity 8 Activity 9 Activity 10 Activity 11 Deliverable D Activity 12 Activity 13 Activity 14 Activity 15 Deliverable E
  10. 10. Timeframe and Budget <ul><li>The timeframe of the project and respective activities are clearly defined in the project plan (e.g. start and end dates) </li></ul><ul><li>Only once the work and project has been clearly defined can the budget be estimated! </li></ul>Budget Time Resources <ul><li>Not uncommon to be told you have a defined “project budget this year” </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore - you can work backwards and understand what can be delivered for that price; perhaps in Year 1 only Phase 1 and 2 of a project can be completed </li></ul>
  11. 11. Organizational Structure and Resources <ul><li>Defining who is part of the project team and their respective roles is probably one of the most important, yet commonly overlooked aspect of project management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on the activities that need to be done, who has the skills to complete the work? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very common, especially under aggressive timelines, it is common to bring in consultants / supplementary resources to fill gaps, provide specific skills, or expedite the completion of a project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Essential for workload management - very often people have day jobs that need to be considered during the planning stage </li></ul></ul>Person Project Role / Responsibility
  12. 13. Communication Strategy <ul><li>A clear communication strategy is essential to ensure project success </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There are two components of communication: internal project team communication and external communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very important to assess who will be impacted by the project, what information they need to know, and when they need to know it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical problems often arise if someone says “I had no idea you were doing that” - duplicative efforts or contradictory initiatives </li></ul></ul>Frustration! <ul><li>Internal Project Team - Status Update Meetings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Completed activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Planned activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outstanding activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Red flags” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Status on timeline, resources, budget </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Dependencies, Risks, and Project Success Assumptions and Dependencies Risks and Mitigation Strategies Measures of Success <ul><li>Where will the project team sit? </li></ul><ul><li>Where will the meetings be held? </li></ul><ul><li>How will this project impact other projects? </li></ul><ul><li>Every project has risks that need to be identified, but more importantly, solutions need to be understood in advance of the project </li></ul><ul><li>Most common risks include getting access to information and resource challenges </li></ul><ul><li>For most projects the measure of success is completing the project on-time, on-budget, with a high level of a quality </li></ul><ul><li>Creative measures for evaluating sustainable success </li></ul><ul><li>Business case for ROI calculation </li></ul>
  14. 15. Building a Project Charter <ul><li>Document Length </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For most projects, the expected length of a charter is in the range of 8 to 10 pages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Creator / Owner of the Document </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Project manager should own and create the document and communicate to the team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback welcome at discretion of project manager </li></ul></ul>Project Charter
  15. 16. Questions / Comments