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The Process of Communication, A Practical Guide for Project Managers

On October 14, 2015, Michael Gill gave a presentation entitled "The Process of Communication, A Practical Guide for Project Managers." Communication is not about knowing the process. Communication is about managing the process. A successful project manager communicates effectively by setting and managing expectations throughout the lifecycle of a project and, by doing so, creates redundancy in a fluid industry. The importance of a simple and redundant communication framework cannot be overstated. Referencing my book, The Process of Communication, I will focus on the role of pre-production and the importance of Requirements Gathering, establishing a teams Level of Effort, communicating Assumptions and through the development of these tools establishing a realistic Timeline. I will speak about how all of these deliverables are used to manage clients expectations as obstacles arise and requirements change.

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The Process of Communication, A Practical Guide for Project Managers

  1. 1. THE PROCESS OF COMMUNICATION A Practical Guide to Project Management Michael E. Gill
  2. 2. 1991 1994 1998 1996 2007 2000 2015
  3. 3. Communication is not about knowing the process. Communication is about managing the process.
  4. 4. Setting & Managing Expectations The Role of the Project Manager
  5. 5. Four Laws of Communication
  6. 6. Four Laws of Communication “Proper planning prevents poor performance.” Dale Carnegie
  7. 7. Four Laws of Communication “The quickest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line.” As the crow flies
  8. 8. Four Laws of Communication “Procrastination is the thief of time; collar him.” Charles Dickens
  9. 9. Four Laws of Communication “If you don’t learn from history, you’ll be doomed to repeat it.” Your 8th Grade History Teacher
  10. 10. Post Mortem Business Requirement s Proposal Developmen t Scope, LOE Assumptions , Budget & Schedule User Experience Site Architecture, Wireframes & Functional Requirement s Developmen t Design, Develop & Integrate, Content Creation Deployment (Go Live) Maintenance Pre-Production Post-ProductionProduction Post Mortem (If Need Be) Interviews, Creative Briefs, Brainstormin g & Strategy Sessions, etc. QA / Bug Fixing & UAT Training
  11. 11. Post Mortem Business Requirement s Proposal Developmen t Scope, LOE Assumptions , Budget & Schedule User Experience Site Architecture, Wireframes & Functional Requirement s Developmen t Design, Develop & Integrate, Content Creation Deployment (Go Live) Maintenance Pre-Production Post-ProductionProduction Post Mortem (If Need Be) Interviews, Creative Briefs, Brainstormin g & Strategy Sessions, etc. QA / Bug Fixing & UAT Training Set expectations
  12. 12. Setting Expectations Requirements Gathering Assumptions Level Of Effort (LOE) Timeline
  13. 13. Requirements Gathering  Document early / Document often  Facilitate the solutions  Cornerstone documents  Give them what you need  Drive requirements to completion  Don’t fall into the traps!
  14. 14. Trap #1  “We don’t have enough time to take a month to create a requirements document. Everyone will want to see it and give us their two cents.”
  15. 15. Trap #2  “We’ll gather the requirements during production ahead of development.”
  16. 16. Trap #3  “The client doesn’t want to pay for documentation; they want to see progress.”
  17. 17. Level of Effort  Knowing the solution  The time it takes for each person to build their piece  The integration of each independent piece  Effort put toward the QA / Bug Fixing Loop  What Assumptions need to be made
  18. 18. Assumptions  Assumptions help to mitigate the risk involved in the unknowns  Constantly inform the client of the assumptions  Voice your concern about not meeting assumptions  Don’t cut resources or the schedule and keep the same size deliverable
  19. 19. Assumptions
  20. 20. Assumptions
  21. 21. Project Planning Delivery Date= Requirementsx Level of Effort+ Assumptions
  22. 22. Project Planning  Be Present in the Moment  Don’t Take Shortcuts  Work Front to Back  Forecast the Future
  23. 23. Capacity Plan
  24. 24. Capacity Plan
  25. 25. Rules to Project Planning  Every project will have obstacles  Distance equals time  The LOE needs input from everyone  Trust & Defend
  26. 26. High Level Project Plan 7/8 - 26 7/29 – 8/16 8/19 - 9/6 9/9 – 9/27 9/30 - 10/18 10/21 – 11/8 Set up Environments Biz / Functional Requirements Site Shell (Architecture) 11/11 – 11/29 12/2 – 12/20 ClientsResource Library Connect with Us Home Page Program Finder (Dynamic) ITR 7ITR 1 ITR 2 ITR 3 ITR 4 ITR 5 ITR 6 ITR 8 Program Page (Static Page) Program Detail Page The Experience Application Brochure Testimonials Participants Objectives Curriculum Demo Chinese Toggle FAQs Focused Programs Custom Programs Comprehensive Leadership Programs Global Curriculum Program Structure Program Participants Participant Engagement Employee Base Primary Navigation Testimonials The Experience About Us History Locations Life Requirements Application Process Fees & Payments About Admissions Chinese Translations Breadcrumbs Insets Related Programs Campaign Landing Pages Program Landing Page Program Comparison Featured Resource Info Graphic Contact Page Brochure Finalize Back End Admin Tool Analytics Video Migration 12/23 – 1/31 ITR 9 QA / Bug Fix Design Review & Updates QA / Bug Fixing Final Updates 12/16 Cut Over Final UAT 12/12 Code Freeze Demo Demo Demo Demo Demo Demo Administration Tool Existing Content / Data Migration into new design Existing Site Freeze Support Begin Release 2 Salesforce.com Admin Tool Training Develop Taxonomy for Program Details
  27. 27. Post Mortem Business Requirement s Scope, LOE Assumptions , Budget & Schedule User Experience Site Architecture, Wireframes & Functional Requirement s Developmen t Design, Develop & Integrate, Content Creation Deployment (Go Live) Maintenance Pre-Production Post-ProductionProduction QA / Bug Fixing & UAT Training Set expectations Manage expectations Main Meetings Review Feedback & Approval Loop Obstacles 5 most common 3 hip pocket solutions Change Of Scope
  28. 28. Manage Expectations  5 Most Common Obstacles  3 Hip Pocket Solutions  Main Meetings  Review, Feedback & Approval Loop  Change Of Scope
  29. 29. Managing Expectations Expectations= Project Assumptions+ Status
  30. 30. 5 Most Common Obstacles to Project Success  The requirements keep changing or are not approved in a timely manner
  31. 31.  The requirements keep changing or are not approved in a timely manner  The scope of the project keeps shifting or growing 5 Most Common Obstacles to Project Success
  32. 32.  The requirements keep changing or are not approved in a timely manner  The scope of the project keeps shifting or growing  The Review, Feedback & Approval Loop is constantly delayed 5 Most Common Obstacles to Project Success
  33. 33.  The requirements keep changing or are not approved in a timely manner  The scope of the project keeps shifting or growing  The Review, Feedback & Approval Loop is constantly delayed  Deliverables, such as content or third-party assets, are delayed in delivery 5 Most Common Obstacles to Project Success
  34. 34.  The requirements keep changing or are not approved in a timely manner  The scope of the project keeps shifting or growing  The Review, Feedback & Approval Loop is constantly delayed  Deliverables, such as content or third-party assets, are delayed in delivery Communication is not consistent, it’s broken or is missing altogether 5 Most Common Obstacles to Project Success
  35. 35. 3 Hip Pocket Solutions to any Obstacle  You can add resources  You can push the project delivery date  You can move this deliverable or another deliverable to a later release
  36. 36. Main Meetings
  37. 37. Main Meetings  Kickoff Meeting
  38. 38. Main Meetings  Kickoff Meeting  Daily Team Status Meeting
  39. 39. Main Meetings  Kickoff Meeting  Daily Team Status Meeting Weekly Client Status Meeting
  40. 40. Main Meetings  Kickoff Meeting  Daily Team Status Meeting Weekly Client Status Meeting  Iterative Stakeholder Status Meeting
  41. 41. Main Meetings  Kickoff Meeting  Daily Team Status Meeting Weekly Client Status Meeting  Iterative Stakeholder Status Meeting Working Group Meetings
  42. 42. Main Meetings  Kickoff Meeting  Daily Team Status Meeting Weekly Client Status Meeting  Iterative Stakeholder Status Meeting Working Group Meetings  Milestone Meetings
  43. 43. Rules of Thumb for your meetings  Your team can’t get anything done in meetings  Keep your meetings short & to the point  Don’t invite the entire world  Schedule Milestones at the start of the project  Facilitate conversation & broker information  Send out notes afterward  You cannot be everywhere at once, so don’t try to be
  44. 44. Post Lunch Depression The act of becoming a zombie or passing out altogether after having lunch.
  45. 45. Review, Feedback & Approval Loop(s) Create Client Review Feedbac k Client Review Feedbac k Update Client Review Update ApprovalApproval Approval
  46. 46. Tweak-land A world where only creative people go and when they come back they are usually very cranky.
  47. 47. Changes to Scope  Changes occur because new ideas arise as the project progresses  All changes can be accommodated  All solutions must be vetted internally first  All changes need to be documented
  48. 48. Tracking Changes to Scope
  49. 49. Tracking Changes to Scope
  50. 50. The Hammer Someone in a senior role and who holds sway over your team, your client’s team or another party responsible for a particular deliverable. The Hammer is able to get people to focus and get back to work.
  51. 51. High Level Project Plan 7/8 - 26 7/29 – 8/16 8/19 - 9/6 9/9 – 9/27 9/30 - 10/18 10/21 – 11/8 Set up Environments Biz / Functional Requirements Site Shell (Architecture) 11/11 – 11/29 12/2 – 12/20 ClientsResource Library Connect with Us Home Page Program Finder (Dynamic) ITR 7ITR 1 ITR 2 ITR 3 ITR 4 ITR 5 ITR 6 ITR 8 Program Page (Static Page) Program Detail Page The Experience Application Brochure Testimonials Participants Objectives Curriculum Demo Chinese Toggle FAQs Focused Programs Custom Programs Comprehensive Leadership Programs Global Curriculum Program Structure Program Participants Participant Engagement Employee Base Primary Navigation Testimonials The Experience About Us History Locations Life Requirements Application Process Fees & Payments About Admissions Chinese Translations Breadcrumbs Insets Related Programs Campaign Landing Pages Program Landing Page Program Comparison Featured Resource Info Graphic Contact Page Brochure Finalize Back End Admin Tool Analytics Video Migration 12/23 – 1/31 ITR 9 QA / Bug Fix Design Review & Updates QA / Bug Fixing Final Updates 12/16 Cut Over Final UAT 12/12 Code Freeze Demo Demo Demo Demo Demo Demo Administration Tool Existing Content / Data Migration into new design Existing Site Freeze Support Begin Release 2 Salesforce.com Admin Tool Training Develop Taxonomy for Program Details
  52. 52. 7/8 - 26 7/29 – 8/16 8/19 - 9/6 9/9 – 9/27 9/30- 10/18 10/21 – 11/8 Set up Environments Biz / Functional Requirements Site Shell (Architecture) 11/11 – 11/29 12/2 – 1/3 Connect with Us Home Page Program Finder ITR 1 ITR 2 ITR 3 Program Detail Page Request Brochure Demo Toggle FAQs Focused Programs Custom Programs Leadership Programs Admin UI Upgrades / Picture Imports (Framework) Testimonials What is Inc.? History Locations Campus Life Requirements Application Process Fees & Payments About Admissions Chinese Translations Campaign Landing Page Program Landing Page Program Comparison 2/3 – 3/5 3/5 Go Live Demo Demo Demo Demo Develop Taxonomy for Program Details ITR 7ITR 4 ITR 5 ITR 6 ITR 8 Program Finder Right Rail Program Finder Widget Search – Facets Program Finder Demo Resource Library The Experience Curriculum Data Migration UAT Begins (ITR 2 – 4) UAT (ITR 2 – 5) UAT (ITR 2 – 6) UAT (ITR 2 – 7) Program Finder Salesforce.com Static Pages Outage Forms 2/19 Existing Site Freeze Cut Over Process 2/17 - 28 Planning Activities & Collection / Restore Activities 10/29 Admin Tool Training9/30 Admin Tool Training 9/16-18 Photo Shoot 10/8-9 Photo Shoot Integration of taxonomy / metadata QC of metadata / taxonomy / search Implementation of new tagging tool QC Taxonomy / Metadata 11/4 Final Content Delivery 10/25 Final Photo Delivery Mobile Search Implementation Resource Library Bug Fixes on Program Details & Program Finder Data Migration – New Fields, Import Sub Pages & Migration Script 10/22 & 25 IT Backup & Restore New Requirements Program Finder 10/15 IT Backup Restore New Requirements & Updates Based on Steering Committee Clean Up & Implementation of Share -Point Best Practices 11/1 IT Backup & Restore 11/12 - All Staff Demo New - Existing & Additional Req’s - Detail Landing, Testimonials, Etc. Complete Program Finder 1/6 – 1/31 Ongoing Iteration QA / Bug Fix on all defined Browsers ITR 10ITR 9 Demo QA / Bug Fixing Final Content Entry Analytics: Integration of Net Insight or Adobe Code Video Server Implementation ? Final UAT (ITR 2 – 8) Existing Content /Data Migration 1/21 Admin Tool Training New - Additional Requirements from Admin Tool FAQs Employees New Page - Generic Content Page – Test., Podcast, Interviews, Video Forms – Opt Out & Custom Inquiry, Lead Gen, Download PDF 2/13 UAT, QA & Dev. Cut - Off 12/3 Admin Tool Training 1/31 Final Content Migration Adobe UAT = Work that has been added since the start of development FAQ’s Requirement Updates 2/11 IT Initial Planning Mtg 3/5 Fail Over & Regression 12/31 Content Migration 1/21 High Level Project Plan
  53. 53. Post Mortem Business Requirement s Scope, LOE Assumptions , Budget & Schedule Pre-Production Post-ProductionProduction QA / Bug Fixing & UAT Training Set expectations Manage expectations 3 Main Meetings Review Feedback & Approval Loop Obstacles 5 most common 3 hip pocket solutions Change Of Scope Deployment (Go Live) Maintenance Deliver on expectations
  54. 54. Deliver On Expectations  QA, UAT & Bug Fixing Post Mortem
  55. 55. QA “You want QA on that wall, you need QA on that wall.” Jack Nicholson “A Few Good Men”
  56. 56. QA / Bug Fixing Loop QA Bug Fixing QA QA Bug Fixing Bug Fixing Bug Fixing QA ApprovalApproval Approval
  57. 57. Rules for User Acceptance Testing  You can't go to UAT with buggy code  UAT impacts the Client Relationship Not all code needs to have UAT  UAT may have loops as well  Train the Testers on how to conduct UAT
  58. 58. Post Mortem  Contrary to its name, a postmortem is used to breathe life into your account or the next project
  59. 59. Post Mortem Questionair  Planning  Resources  Project Management/Scheduling  Development/Design/Specifications  Test
  60. 60. Post Mortem - Before the Meeting  Send copies of previous postmortem results for review  Send out an agenda with a list of potential topics  Ask team members to send ahead issues to discus  Prepare the room
  61. 61. Post Mortem - During the Meeting  A blame-free atmosphere  What went right / what went wrong  Review and rank all of the issues  What went wrong - stop the discussion after five minutes and ask for suggestions about what to do differently  All functional groups contribute to each issue
  62. 62. Post Mortem - After the Meeting  Document the recommendations  Send notes to all attendees and interested parties  Use the recommendations on future projects
  63. 63. Learning’s Information learned during the project that you incorporate into the process on the fly.
  64. 64. Deliver on Expectations Success = On Time & On BudgetSuccess = A happy client who takes ownership of the final deliverable
  65. 65. Thank you www.michaelegill.com LinkedIn Amazon @ Michael E Gill

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