Posts Tagged ‘Project’

What Entrepreneurs Needs to Know About Project Management

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What if I were to offer you a sure-fire investment that would, if implemented properly, guarantee to at least double or triple your money in 3-4 years. The investment is so simple and straightforward – you could be completely hands off. You would not have to do a thing. It would require no monitoring of a fund or stocks – not even a yearly review, such as a mutual fund or IRA.

It would require nothing but an initial investment. Then just sit back and let others do the work. In a few years, reap the reward.

Okay – you may be saying – where do I sign? And by the way – what’s the investment?
Well – the investment is a pipe dream. It’s not real. There is no real investment which is that easy and simultaneously sure fire. Or is there?

Audio article is a new initiative of Drishti IAS for aspirants preparing for Civil Service Examination. In this special program, Drishti will provide crux of important English articles from selected newspapers & magazines in Hindi as audio clip. Program is designed to clarify the concepts of various complicated topics useful for CSE & other exams.

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Unlocking Your DNA
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Change Management is not easy. It is a painful process that requires the Project Manager to be both a warrior and a diplomat. You will need an arsenal of quality tools, and well honed soft skills to make it through managing a change with little or no collateral damage. I am sure you think I am exaggerating. Here’s why I am not:

1. You will have 3 factions to deal with:

A key group of stakeholders will think the change is vital to the success of the project (they may or may not be right) and will be unwilling to budge until the change is agreed upon and implemented.
Another group will have no capacity to absorb the change without additional funding and/or time.
Leadership. You are not likely to get more time. You may or may not get additional funding, but more funding is not likely to help without crashing the schedule anyway until new resources are brought up to speed.

It’s even more fun when the stakeholders who want the change are also leadership. I’m sure you’ve heard, “Just get it done” before.

2. Most people are naturally resistant to change:

Once headed in a particular direction, it’s at least irritating and often demoralizing to people who have to change direction or start over. Maintaining positive energy in the ranks is a challenge, especially if things keep changing.

3. Someone ultimately is going to be unhappy about the final decision.

In the end though, change is natural and will happen. You will be successful if:

You clearly set expectations about how change will be managed early in the project.
Decisions to make or not make a change are well informed decisions.

Key Strategies for Managing Change

Plan your butt off and define scope extremely well. Strong planning around solid scope definition is a key to minimizing unexpected change down the road.
Force quality requirements development. Don’t even think about design or engineering before you have a high level of confidence that requirements are solid and well understood. If you inherit requirements, make everyone review them and agree to them again before going too far into design. You will be pressured to run ahead because things will appear stagnant during requirements engineering. Trust me, stand your ground. It will pay off down the road.
Plan for change. It will happen regardless of how well you do 1-2 above. Developing a simple to follow process as part of your plan will help set the expectation for everyone and make it easy for you to act swiftly when the time comes.
Get the following key stakeholders to agree/sign-off on your project plan and requirements. This won’t always help when the rubber hits the road, but it does put everyone on a level playing field when that first change request comes in:
The Project Sponsor. This person will be like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when it comes to change depending on which faction has his/her ear. If you can at least get agreement for your change management process, you will minimize snap decisions that can de-rail your project.
Engineering/Development Managers. This group will be moderately resistant to change without additional time or funding. They will be protective of their teams and will push back on requiring their people to work additional hours. Assuring them that no decisions will be made without their input will keep them from assuming a defensive posture and help drive collaboration when the time comes.
Quality Assurance or Test Managers. This group always gets screwed when it comes to change. No wiggle room in the schedule often means shortening of the QA cycle. They know it, and are already on the defensive. Incorporating quality considerations into your change management process will enable this group to describe risks to quality when certain decisions are made. While this may not ultimately change the final decision, at least this group will have been at the table with a voice.

The Change Management Plan

This section of your project plan needs to include the following:

Clear criteria for when the change management process is required
Roles and responsibilities
A simple step by step procedure that includes how to perform these key steps:
Requesting the change
Impact assessment
Exploring alternatives
Making the final decision
Drafting the tactical plan to incorporate the change and get back on track

In addition, you will need to have standard templates/tools in place ahead of time to help manage the change when the time comes.

A Change Management form or template.
A SWORD Analysis (a future article)
A Change Management Log

Change Management Criteria

The change management process is required when a requested change will likely have any impact on project scope, increase in schedule, increase in cost, or degradation of quality.

Other texts may say that ANY impact to schedule or cost require the change management procedure to be executed. I personally disagree, but you can decide for yourself.

Roles and Responsibilities

Every project should have a predefined Change Control Board (CCB) that includes at least the Project Manager, Project Sponsor, Development/Engineering Managers, and QA/Test Managers.

Your projects may require additional roles. Here are some quick guidelines:

Roles should be included if they have resources assigned to the project, human resources, HW/SW resources, financial resources, etc.
Roles should be included if they are managing projects that have dependencies on your project, or vice versa.
Roles should be included if they have oversight across multiple related projects, i.e. Program Managers or Release Managers.

Each member of the CCB will have different responsibilities. Here are some examples:

Project Manager(s)

Document the change request
Manage the change request through the process
Facilitate the CCB meetings
Incorporate approved change requests into the project

Project Sponsor(s)

Attend CCB Meetings
Make final decision to approve or reject each change request

HR managers for resources assigned to projects and System managers managing systems impacted by your project

Perform Impact Assessments as requested
Attend CCB Meetings
Participate in implementation planning for approved change requests

Release/Program Managers

Drive Impact Assessment for dependent projects
Attend CCB meetings
Participate in implementation planning for approved change requests

Impact Assessment

This is the most important piece of managing a change request. A quality impact assessment will drive an informed decision and, when the change request is approved, will ensure smooth introduction of the change into the in-flight project. Do this well.

Each group/team represented in your project and dependent projects will need to complete an Impact Assessment. Simply put, this is an estimate of additional cost and/or duration that team will incur if the change is approved. This information is compiled from all teams and then brought to the Change Control Board meeting for discussion and decision.

Exploring Alternatives

Very often, a person requesting a change will be very focused on exactly what he/she wants for a solution, and will not clearly articulate what the problem is that needs to be solved. Because of this, you should always go through the exercise of exploring alternatives. A good branistorming exercise with key stakeholders almost always results in a creative solution that will result in less drama that the originally proposed solution. This is because everyone has had a chance to voice opinion, and will be more willing to compromise. Look for another article by me titled, “SWORD Analysis, SWOT with an Edge” where I discuss a great method for exploring alternatives.

Making the Final Decision

Now that you have all of the information compiled, the final decision is made. If you have done everything up to this point as described above, the decision is simply a formality. More often than not, the decision was already made during Exploring Alternatives. But in very rare cases, it’s not so simple. In cases like that, you will need to call upon your sponsor to make the final call.

Drafting the Tactical Plan

OK – so now you have an approved change request. The final step – implement the change. Simple? Not quite.

Think of a change as a small project within the project. As such, you will need to have a plan for how the change will be implemented. This plan should contain many of the sections of the project plan, but very simplified. Your plan to implement the change should be a single page document or less.

Here are the sections you will need:

Roles and Responsibilities
Tasks, including who is assigned, and when it is due
Status reporting plan – how people can expect to be notified of the progress

The Log

Finally, you will need to track the progress of all of your change requests so that you can manage several at once, as well as keeping everyone in the know about them. Your log should contain the following sections:

ID – Simple numbering suffices
Title – A short title describing the change
Description – a paragraph that describes the change in more detail
Requestor – The name of the person requesting the change
status – Requested, Assessed, Alternatives Explored, Accepted/Rejected, Implemented (if accepted)

Add more if you like, but these are the primary sections.

Phew! I know it seems like a lot, but trust me, you will need to get good at this. Strong change management skills are what will separate good project managers from great project managers.

Keep reading and I’ll keep writing!

Steve

Steve Yuhas is an accomplished project manager with a focus on efficient software engineering through data driven process improvement and simplification. He has applied his skills to a variety of industries, and has most recently begun some personal ventures like MarketCastle.com

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This tutorial explores the purposes of a project schedule and describes how to manage project scheduling. Watch more at http://www.lynda.com/Business-Business-Skills-tutorials/Managing-Project-Schedules/116477-2.html?utm_campaign=hOelzCzgUG8&utm_medium=viral&utm_source=youtube.

This tutorial is a single movie from the Managing Project Schedules course presented by lynda.com author Bonnie Biafore. The complete course duration is 1 hour and 33 minutes and shows how to proactively manage project schedules.

Introduction
1. Understanding a Project Schedule
2. Identifying and Sequencing Tasks
3. Assigning Resources to Tasks
4. Planning to Balance Workloads
5. Optimizing Schedules
6. Managing Schedules
Conclusion
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Preventing Obesity in Children

What Causes Obesity in Children?

Children become overweight and obese for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. Only in rare cases is being overweight caused by a medical condition such as a hormonal problem. A physical exam and some blood tests can rule out the possibility of a medical condition as the cause for obesity.

Although weight problems run in families, not all children with a family history of obesity will be overweight. Children whose parents or brothers or sisters are overweight may be at an increased risk of becoming overweight themselves, but this can be linked to shared family behaviors such as eating and activity habits.

A child’s total diet and activity level play an important role in determining a child’s weight. Today, many children spend a lot time being inactive. For example, the average child spends approximately four hours each day watching television. As computers and video games become increasingly popular, the number of hours of inactivity may increase.

What Diseases Are Obese Children at Risk For?

Obese children are at risk for a number of conditions, including:

High cholesterol
High blood pressure
Early heart disease
Diabetes
Bone problems
Skin conditions such as heat rash, fungal infections, and acne

How Can I Help My Overweight Child?

If you have an overweight child, it is very important that you allow him or her to know that you will be supportive. Children’s feelings about themselves often are based on their parents’ feelings about them, and if you accept your children at any weight, they will be more likely to feel good about themselves. It is also important to talk to your children about their weight, allowing them to share their concerns with you.

It is not recommended that parents set children apart because of their weight. Instead, parents should focus on gradually changing their family’s physical activity and eating habits. By involving the entire family, everyone is taught healthful habits and the overweight child does not feel singled out.

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There is often a particular pattern all projects follow and it is usually appropriate to bring out clearly all these relevant patterns since it is the only way an individual can truly understand what is going on with issues concerning project management. Those who understand these patterns often comprehend and find things very easy when it comes to that aspect. It is known that, some people are under the impression that, this particular sort of management is absolutely difficult. Well this is not entirely true because with the right steps, nothing is difficult. On the other hand, when the right steps are not followed, it makes a lot of issues very difficult. 
 
The first pattern a project management takes is the definition of the project. This of course is an important area because it makes many things straight to the point and as well very easy. The definition is consequently crucial and is usually required at all time because without it definitely the rest of the project cannot continue. There are several ways of providing a very good title and until this is well understood and followed, some people may always provide the wrong thing without knowing. 
 
The next important pattern required in a project management is planning. Planning is an amazing term used in several areas. In fact, without planning, it is obvious that, majorities will usually have their daily activities encountering a lot of problems. It is due to issues like this that, many ensure appropriate planning is achieved so that, nothing wrong is realized. When planning is not taken in any endeavor, it is usually noted to be a failure in the long run and this is exactly one of the reasons why so much is required especially when talking or making reference to planning. 
 
After planning is well done, the next imperative step or pattern in project management is execution. Of course when something is planned and in the long run it is not executed, then work is not done. For this motive, it is usually necessary to ensure that, execution is done appropriately without any sort of problem whatsoever. Project management can always be successful in many ways provided majorities are usually ready to follow the right steps all the time. The next step after execution is control. Control is also an area that is so crucial and hence requires a lot of attention all the time. With appropriate control, a lot definitely can be achieved without any problem whatsoever. 
 
Nevertheless, the very last pattern in project management is closure. This is an area that determines whether a project was successful or not but then it happens that some people sometimes do not consider this aspect so much. The final experiences of a project are very important because it is the only way the whole project is understood fully without any issues associated. When all these relevant patterns are well taken and understood, it makes a lot of things very easy and this is exactly why it is good to pay so much attention on this aspect.

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Mrs. Daugherty’s 11th Grade Social Studies Assignment — With the use of props in the classroom, create a scene and take a picture of your group illustrating a weakness of the Articles of Confederation. You will be assigned a weakness and do not tell your fellow classmates. Once you have completed the assignment paste your image into one of the following slides.

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Not surprisingly, we’ve spent a lot of time at Asana working to maximize our efficiency and effectiveness, so I made a video about how we use Asana at Asana. We hope some of these tips are helpful to you in managing your own projects.

http://help.asana.com/customer/portal/articles/109473-project-management-with-asana
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