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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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Publicado porabadilas
Presentation upon Project Management for Entrepreneurs
Presentation upon Project Management for Entrepreneurs

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Published by: abadilas on Aug 13, 2009
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In this section, we look at how to do good project management in the follow-
through stage. We want to prepare as much as we can for the unpredictable as
the following things happen:

The product, service, or solution starts to operate in the real world.

The customer learns to use and starts using the product, service, or

solution.

The customer starts to maintain and support the product.

The customer executives react to the end of the project and receipt of
the product.

As our team is finishing up and testing the product, getting it ready for
delivery, we should turn our attention to these essentials:

Coordinate with everyone.

Keep track of everything.

Be ready for anything.

Does everyone
have every-
thing he or she
needs?

If we don’t leave
time for fixing
after testing, we
deliver defects.

Project Management for Small Business Made Easy

178

If we do all of that, we will be as ready as we can be to do good follow-
through. Let’s look at each in turn.

Coordinate with Everyone

I hope you haven’t thrown your communications plan into a drawer and for-
gotten about it. If you have, get it out and dust it off well before your delivery
date.

Now is the time to triple-check everything with everyone. Review your list
of stakeholders and their concerns. Call up or meet with each one and make
sure that they are all satisfied with all that they have heard and seen. Ask what
you need to do to make delivery day a success for them and for everyone
involved with the customer.
Then follow through. Every time a stakeholder requests something, write it
down and make sure you or a team member takes care of it and lets the stake-
holder know it was done. If you need a stakeholder to do something for you,
ask—then put it in writing and keep bugging him or her until you get what you
need. You want good communications feedback and good action feedback on
everything the project needs. Your team is probably used to that by now. But
your customers are not. So, ask for what you need—and keep asking until you
get it. I’m assuring you, and you should assure them, that the only way to
ensure successful product delivery is if everyone triple-checks the completion of
every little detail.

Keep Track of Everything

It’s not enough just to talk with everyone; we also have to keep track of every-
thing. At www.qualitytechnology.com/DoneRight, there is a tool I call the
Open Issues Template. It covers all the different types of information we have
to track to get through any project in the follow-through stage. It’s also good
for any project in crisis. Here are the lists of the types of issues you need to
track—and what can happen if you don’t:

Decisions to be made.If we leave a decision unmade, someone will be
disappointed. For example, if a change request came in and we lose
track of it, someone will expect to be getting something, but it won’t
be in the specification.

Recently resolved decisions.We keep these on the list because we
need to tell everyone what the decision was. If someone isn’t told,
then he or she won’t be on the same page. Have you ever missed a

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meeting because no one told you that the location had changed?

Work to be done.These are the simple, straightforward items. If a
piece of work isn’t done, then some part of the product won’t be
delivered. Wrap up the loose ends and deliver to avoid customer dis-
satisfaction.

Problems to be solved.Problems are more complicated than work.
With work, we know what has to be done and how long it will take.
But when we discover a problem, we know only the symptom. We
still need to diagnose and define the problem, then work on a solu-
tion, and finally retest. Unresolved problems near the end of a project
are crucial. They require attention from us and from our team. Make
sure each one is assigned to someone and resolved.

Documents to be changed.Have you ever bought a consumer elec-
tronics item or tool and found that the picture in the instructions
doesn’t match what you bought? That happens when instructions or
other documentation isn’t updated with the changes to the product.
Track all needed changes to all documents within the project and all
deliverable documents.

Information to be gathered.Here, someone knows something, but

someone else needs to know it. We find the information and deliver it
to the person who needs it, so the job can get done. Imagine blowing
an installation day because you or someone on your team gets lost on
the way to the customer’s office. Define everything anyone needs to
know and get the information to each person well in advance.

If we’ve taken care of this situation, all of the issues are named. That leaves
two problems. We have to resolve the issues. We also have to be ready for the
issues that we haven’t heard about—and maybe never even imagined.

Be Ready for Anything

Can you imagine the afternoon sun ruining your day? For a TV producer, that’s
quite possible. Matt Williams, a TV producer who makes commercials, tells a
story that illustrates what it means to be ready for anything on a project.
A crew was shooting a scene indoors. It was running a bit behind, but not
much. The current scene had to be finished before 1:30 p.m., because at that
point the sun would come through the window, the lighting would change, and
the scene would look totally different. The person responsible for lighting had

Project Management for Small Business Made Easy

180

two options. He could either count on the scene being done on time or ask the
props crew to build a big wooden overhang to put outside to shade the window.
There were a lot of things going on that day, he was counting on the crew not
to fall further behind, and he didn’t ask the props team to prepare an overhang.
He was wrong. Just before 1:30, the person responsible for lighting said
that they’d need to stop shooting until a shade could be built. The producer
was mad, because it pushed the filming closer and closer to very expensive
overtime. The props team was mad because they had to do it at the last
minute, when they could have had it ready in advance. One poor decision on
a shooting day threw everyone off and it could have been very expensive.
Project delivery days are like shooting days, so we should learn from folks
who make films. Matt tells me that the key to success in the TV and movie
industry is to have four or five solutions for every problem that might come
up and to be ready to decide which one is best in under 30 seconds and then
turn everything upside down to make it work. Folks in the film industry get a
lot of practice thinking and working that way.
In one sense, project management is even harder. We don’t have to work
that way very often. Most of the time, most of the project is under our con-
trol. But, at the crucial moment, delivery day, all that changes. We have to be
ready for anything—and all the work we did up to that point may depend on
what we do in that one critical moment.
Project delivery takes many different forms, so our preparation has to take

many forms, as well.

We ship a product to a customer.Will they be able to install it, under-

stand it, and use it without us?

We install the product for them and leave them to use it.Will they be

able to understand it and use it without us?

When There’s No Tomorrow

Project managers can learn a lot from event planners who do conferences, wed-
dings, and other one-time events. Of course, to do that kind of work, you need
to know your stuff. But there is also a certain skill of visualization, an ability to
see what will happen, in order to arrange things right, that is very useful for any-
one who does a lot of preparatory work in the hopes of delighting a customer.

The Lesson:Learn to visualize the event, picture how it can go wrong, picture
how it can go right, and then make sure it goes right.

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181

We provide installation, training, and support.Will everything go

well during installation and training? Will all the people involved
work well together? Will they come to the training and be able to use
the solution productively?

We deliver to many locations, either for one customer or for many

customers.In this case, we need to make sure that each delivery, with
appropriate installation and training, is a well-planned mini-project.

We provide a service, supporting a one-time event.Here, all the value

is at the delivery time. There is no second chance. A wedding planner
can’t say, “I’m sorry I forgot the cake and flowers. Could you get
married again next week?”

We provide a solution and the customer isn’t even there.We might be

fixing a broken pipe while the customer is away. We have to do good
work with little guidance and then follow up with the customer.

We work directly with the customer’s customer. Here, we represent

the customer: if our team makes a mistake, it makes the customer
look bad. For example, we might be doing an advertising mailing for
the customer. We have to more than triple-check the quality of every-
thing we do, ensure successful delivery, and follow up with the cus-
tomer.

What is your situation? Whatever it is, here are the keys to successful fol-

low-through:

Know your field.Many of the situations described above are routine

for professionals in specific fields.

Plan delivery day as a subproject. Make a detailed plan and timeline

of activities to prepare, do, and follow through on delivery day.
Check scope, time, cost, quality, risk, the team, and all the other
areas. Then check them again. Then be ready for problems you never
even imagined.

If we prepare well, delivery day is exciting. It’s a chance to see all of our
work pay off. If we don’t get fully ready, then we’ll have a really lousy time
and our customer and we will pay a steep price. Either we’ll need to do a lot
of rework and follow-up or the return on investment for the whole project will
be reduced or lost altogether.

Project Management for Small Business Made Easy

182

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