Wednesday, January 24, 2007

January 24, 2007 – Managing to the Thing: Introduction

Several years ago I volunteered to participate in a massive PC cleanup effort after a company wide virus attack. At the time my project deliverables were behind schedule and the virus was putting me further behind. As a Project Manager, that is not a good feeling. It was less than a month after returned to project management from the Software Quality Assurance group and I could feel the pressure from both sides. In my mind the SQA group was saying, “Finally, someone who knows the processes and can show those Delivery people how to do things right!” Meanwhile my new Delivery co-workers were rooting, “All right! Now one of them is going to find out just how difficult it is to follow their processes!”

While I was checking and installing virus protection in multiple buildings with several floors that night I had plenty of time to think about the things I wasn’t getting done. My new day job was proving to be very tiring as I attempted to stay on top of the wave of activities. I was trying to juggle everything, rushing from meeting to meeting, jumping from task to task and not completing anything. The strain of the urgent had choked out the basic principle that I knew: You have to define it before you can accomplish it.

Central to successful project management is delivery of the end product, or The Thing. In order to do this effectively, three key pieces need to work together: the Project Definition*, Change Management, and Acceptance Management. Over the next several days I want to outline the main aspects of each of these and show how they form the basis for project success.

Why these three? The Project Definition, Change and Acceptance at their core are simply communication vehicles. When used together, these three:
· Define The Thing that is to be delivered,
· Allow The Thing to change,
· Let everyone agree that The Thing is completed.

Without communicating these three, projects would go on forever without satisfaction for anyone.

*Project Definition – The defining document(s) for the project. Consulting companies use the Statement of Work. Internally it may be a Charter or the Scope Statement together with the Project Management Plan.

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