8 Things You May Regret Not Doing – Part 1

Contributed by Brad Egeland

MazeI realize that sometimes the project you’ve just been handed seems like one you can take some shortcuts on and still be ok. You can save the company some money by omitting this process or leaving out that planning document. Or possibly this project is such a small one – why does it even need formal PM oversight? Please reconsider. PM is a process that can apply to all size projects.  While some actions may seem like overkill, it is all done in the name of best practices to help ensure project success. You may have to ‘scale’ your best practices for the project depending on its size and budget, but it’s never a good idea to skip key activities altogether – even if you’re being told to do this by superiors. If the directive to cut corners is coming from above, you may need to educate them on the risks invited into the project by eliminating key best practices steps along the way.

It’s important to pay attention to detail no matter how big or small the project is.  Because of that – I’ve come up with my list of eight actions or processes  sometimes overlooked or omitted, but should not be…or you may regret not doing them at some point later in the project. In this Part 1, I’ll cover the first four of those eight…

Sharing the project budget with your team

I realize it’s the project manager’s responsibility to manage the project budget.  But I’ve found sharing the budget with the project team can be a tremendous benefit to me as the financial gatekeeper on the project. Think about it – none of us (or at least very few of us) track our time meticulously throughout the week, though we may be working or leading several projects. At the end of the week, there are always ‘grey’ hours everyone knows they worked, but no one can remember exactly what they worked on. They have to be charged somewhere, so most project team members will charge a few of each to the several projects they are working on. If they know you’re watching the project budget very closely, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get those ‘grey’ hours charged to your project. Over the course of a long-term project with several team members, that can save your budget thousands of questionable dollars and help keep your project financially on track. Let your team know where the budget stands every week and that you are managing it closely. It will make your job easier in the long run.

Sharing the project budget with your customer

Likewise, keeping your customer informed on a regular basis of the project budget status can also be beneficial, though not for the same reasons as mentioned above. If your customer knows where the budget stands at all times, they’ll be more understanding of close scope management and more likely to swiftly approve necessary project change orders as they come up. Likewise, they’ll be more prepared to help you get the project budget back on track if financial health becomes an issue. They want you and your team to succeed, but not keeping them informed means everything will be a surprise if financials become a concern – and they are less likely to be understanding and helpful if you need to look for ways to cut costs or add revenue to stay on track.

Doing those early planning documents

What you or your customer may consider time wasters are actually building blocks to good project documentation and understanding. Even if the customer isn’t paying for the early planning documents, some of them still should be created – especially ones like the Communications Plan, the Risk Plan, and the Change Control Document outlining how project changes and change orders will be handled. Creation and signoff of these plans at the beginning of the project will ensure everyone understands how to handle these issues and processes when they come up and customer satisfaction will be higher as a result.

Managing from a detailed project schedule

This should be done even for the smaller projects. A detailed project schedule created and distributed early in the project provides the customer and project team with a solid understanding of the tasks, goals, level of effort, and timeframe for the project. Even if the project is extremely simple and you never update it after the first creation, it will still help your project team and customer – and you – far more than you realize.
In Part 2 of this two-part series, we’ll look at four more things you may regret removing from your project management process for any projects you manage in the future, no matter how small or large the engagement may be.

 

Brad-bio66Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 9, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad’s site at http://www.bradegeland.com/.

 

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