Managing Small Projects in 6 Basic Steps

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Welcome to “Managing Small Projects in 6 Basic Steps” In the next 10 minutes I will present a simple, but powerful approach to managing small projects. This is project management for the rest of us. Those whose title does not include “project” or “management”. It is for all of you “part-time PMs” Many of us have a list of projects we are assigned. We don’t work full-time on any one of these projects. Some of them are tied to objectives on our objectives. Some of them involve our peers or members of other teams. For the most part, we weren’t provided a lot of information about the project, just that it needs to be done.

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  • Welcome to “Managing Small Projects in 6 Basic Steps” In the next 10 minutes I will present a simple, but powerful approach to managing small projects. This is project management for the rest of us. Those whose title does not include “project” or “management”. It is for all of you “part-time PMs” Many of us have a list of projects we are assigned. We don’t work full-time on any one of these projects. Some of them are tied to objectives on our PDPs. Some of them involve our peers or members of other teams. For the most part, we weren’t provided a lot of information about the project, just that it needs to be done.
  • First, we all need to agree on what a project is and isn’t. A project begins and ends. This is different from an operational task that is performed the same way over and over, day in-day out. A project produces something new and unique. This is also different from an operational task that produces a similar output each time. A project usually takes over 40 hours to get done. So, handling a problem ticket for a customer is not a project. Improving the process that drives the customer service ticketing solution is a project.
  • Since we are talking about small projects we need to distinguish between a big project and a small project. This is a big project.
  • This is a small project. For our purposes, we will define a small project as: PM is most likely working the project part-time. Lasting 1-6 months 1-2 clear objectives Scope is clear, not complex, low risk and limited exposure There is 1 decision maker Deliverables are clear and simple
  • “I’m a busy person!” you’re telling me. I don’t need to add any extra work to my list so why should I do this project management?” Simple answer “Because, project management works.” A project management approach answers these questions about your project: Where do you begin? What will you deliver? When will you be done? What are the team roles and responsibilities?
  • Every journey begins with the first step, so…
  • Just like setting off on a road trip to a place you've never been without a map, you are bound to get lost, waste time and money, frustrate your passengers, and maybe never even show up at your destination. Don’t grab the keys, don’t open the door and don’t start the car until you know where you are going and what you expect to see when you get there.
  • In this step, you need to dig a bit deeper and get more detail around what you are delivering. A wonderful project management technique to get this done is creating a work breakdown structure (WBS). As its name implies, a WBS breaks your work down into manageable chunks. It decomposes the goal into a set of deliverables that you as the project manager can assign and track. Tip: If you have a team, be sure they are involved in this step. By involving your team early you create buy-in and accountability.
  • Step 2 defined the “What” In Step 3 we work on the “How” and “When” and the “Who” The “how” are the tasks that produce the “What” or the deliverables. The “when” is how long and in what order the tasks are completed. And the “who” is the one team member accountable for that task. Again, get your team (if you got one) working on this one.
  • Now the team starts executing on the tasks and as the project manager your role is to monitor progress (and probably executing some tasks yourself.) What monitoring is not: It is not asking “what percentage complete is your task?” every 30 minutes. It is not a passive role. Don’t wait for the team to come to you when you think they should. What monitoring is: Letting your team know when you expect status Asking “Is the task done – yes or no?” If not, asking “Are there any issues that will result in a late delivery?” Inform your team that you want to know as soon as an issue
    isk arises that will impact the timely completion of their task. Don’t wait until the status meeting or weekly email. Monitoring is also handling changes to the project – and you will get plenty: Review them Talk with the requestor to be sure you fully understand the request Work with the requestor to understand the impact and what the options are Take solutions to your sponsor for a decision
  • Communication is not just one step, but takes place throughout the project lifecycle. As a PM, you need to know: To whom do you need to communicate? Usually your stakeholders (sponsor, team, customer) What do they need to know? Ask them! Your customer wants to know something different than your sponsor (if they are different people.) How often do they need to know it? Daily, weekly, bi-weekly, as needed How do they want to get it? Email, audio, blog, etc. Document it and stick to it.
  • Know when done is done. This is what you decided in Step 1. Hold a project closeout meeting Summarize what was delivered, how much was spent, and lessons learned. Take time to recognize and reward the team for a job well-done. Create final summary for your sponsor and send it off.
  • Block out time in your calendar to manage the project and be disciplined. If you don't make the project a priority your team won't. If you are wearing two hats - Project Manager and Project Resource - you need to set aside dedicated time to work on activities in each area. Communicate the project status with both your line manager and your sponsor (if they are different.) When things get crazy you will need the support of both of them to help determine priorities. Be organized. Project management is a science (and an art.) You need to be sure that you have what you need when you need it.
  • Use project management processes to help define and manage the project and your team. The more structure you have in place the better off your team will perform. Be painfully clear as to what each team member needs to deliver and when. Have them repeat back to you their understanding and then document it. Get the team to participate as early as possible. Definitely at the point where they are building the WBS and schedule with you. Tie the project to the team, department and organizational goals. This makes the work relevant and helps define the value the project is delivering. Keep your cool. Respond to situations calmly and come to decisions quickly. Manage the project, but lead the team. Listen, let them do their work, and recognize their successes. Work with the associate's manager to be sure that the project role is included in their objectives. Don't just sit back and depend on the team to do all the work. Be ready to roll up your sleeves and contribute. Don't delegate any work that you wouldn't be willing to do yourself.
  • Managing Small Projects in 6 Basic Steps

    1. 1. Managing Small Projects In 6 Basic Steps View notes to read script
    2. 2. Proj-ect pr Ŏ j-ĕkt <ul><li>Temporary </li></ul><ul><li>Start and End Date </li></ul><ul><li>Delivers something new and unique </li></ul><ul><li>Made up of individual tasks to get to a final goal </li></ul>
    3. 3. Big Project
    4. 4. Small Project
    5. 5. If it’s small, why do I need Project Management?
    6. 6. 6 Basic Steps
    7. 7. Step 1: Define the End Goal And Objectives
    8. 8. Step 2: Define the Work
    9. 9. Step 3: Create the Schedule
    10. 10. Step 4: Monitor the Progress
    11. 11. Step 5: Communicate
    12. 12. Step 6: Close it Out
    13. 13. Tips for Part-time Project Managers
    14. 14. Managing without Authority
    15. 15. By Gary Rosenfeld www.paradigmhack.org

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