Do You Know the Difference Between Strategic Sourcing & Category Management?  Project Management Skills or Not – Part II?  

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A few weeks ago, I wrote that “ALL professionals should have Project Management skills!”  While having Project Management Skills is important, UTILIZING those skills and tools is critical.  If you don’t get your project off on the right foot, you are setting yourself up for chaos.  Here is why a proper project launch is so important:

  • Ensures common understanding of:
    • Roles / Responsibilities
    • Principles
    • Decision Making
    • Issue Resolution
  • Start building a High-Performance Work Team
  • Accelerates your Effort 
  • Ensure Buy-in from the Start
  • Address any Issues / Myths Up Front

One of the most important elements of Project Launch is developing a detailed Project Plan because Projects need structure to keep them on-track.  The Project Plan is a series of formal documents that define the execution, risk management, and control stages of a project. 

Project Plans should contain:

  • Approved “baselines”
    • Scope
    • Cost
    • Schedule (Start/End)
  • Key Activities
  • Progress milestones
  • Deliverables or outcomes
  • Planning assumption(s)
  • Important decision points that might require governance or steering committee input (stage gates)
  • Communication(s) to key stakeholders

 

Once you develop the Project Plan, how should it be used?

Before the Project Starts:

  • Identifies breadth of effort
  • Establishes success factors
    • Time frames
    • Cost
    • Scope
    • Deliverables
  • Formally asks for resources
  • Direction to team
  • Provides team key milestones
  • Focuses on Adoption

 

Before the Project Starts:

  • Keeps the team focused
  • Compares actuals vs. planned baselines to avoid surprises
  • Monitors milestones achieved
  • Allows the team to set a cadence
  • Focuses on Adoption

 

After the Project:

  • Becomes a learning document
  • Assists future teams performing similar projects
  • Focuses on Adoption

The Project Plan is crucial because it is basis for all team members to check their bearings and stay on the right track. Getting Buy-In to the project plan is critical.  Consider the following:

  • Don’t push the project plan onto your team and stakeholders. Let them co-develop it
  • Highlight what the final deliverables of the project will be and the proposed criteria for accepting the project
  • Do your homework upfront and present a draft plan to your team members, sponsors, and customers
  • At a minimum allow them to have input into in any changes to be made

 

Here are some Project Planning problems to watch out for:

  1. Poor Resource Capacity Management
  2. Asking For Too Much or Too Little
  3. Over or Under Planning
  4. No Backup Resources
  5. Setting Unrealistic Deadlines And Schedules
  6. Decentralized Resources And Management
  7. Short Term Planning
  8. Too Many Dependencies
  9. Limited Metrics to Evaluate the Project
  10. Lack Of Collaboration

Consider developing an internal checklist to review each time you create a project plan:

  • Have all critical/potential activities been identified?
  • Have any major tasks been omitted?
  • For each task identified:
    • Does this task support or complete the deliverable?
    • What is the primary output?
    • What will the output be used for? Is this task truly necessary?
    • How will this task help the team move closer to accomplishing its objective?
    • What level of analysis/detail is required?
    • What information needs to be gathered? From whom?
  • What other activities is completion of activity contingent upon?
  • Has work/responsibility been spread evenly among team members?
  • Has time been allocated for team working sessions and organizational buy-in?
  • What, if any, additional resources/contacts are required to complete the overall work plan?

 

Project Management Skills or Not? Please don’t ask me that question again 😊!

Let us know what you think and join in the conversation . . . . . . .

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Anne has been leading consulting and financial management organizations for over 25 years. She has extensive expertise in Strategic Sourcing, change management, contracting & contract management (both the buy side and sell side) organizational design and supply chain management. Anne has a passion for collaborating and educating her clients while helping them to uncover hidden value in their organizations. In addition, Anne has been named by Supply & Demand Chain Executive as a “Top 100 Provider Pro to Know” every year since 2007 and a 2013 Top Female Supply Chain executive.
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