Tag Archives: Methodology

Preparing Project Charters

I come from a consulting background where you were paid proportionately to the volume of paperwork that you produced.  Half joking aside, I have produced Project Charters that were well over 30 pages in length.  This begs the question, who truly reads them and what value does it bring to the project, team members, project sponsor and the steering committee? 

When I was the PMO Director of a Fortune 500 company, I created a template for Project Charters that would produce a 2 page document (3 pages if there were a lot of signatures).  The concept was that the document truly had to mean something to all of the people involved.  It had to lay bare the scope of the project . . .

So here is the process:

After assembling the team (and preferably the project sponsor) I would attach my computer to the projector so that all could see.  I would start up my Mind Mapping software (more on that later).   

It came down to a filling out a 6 step process template in order to create the Project Charter:

  

Project Charter Template

Project Charter Template

 

  • Step 1: Project Name
    • Process
    • Code Name
  • Step 2: Overall Understanding of the project

Instead of one overall Charter and individual Charters per phase, put all into one.

  • Define Phases
  • Define stages within Phases
  • Sub-projects
    • Define
    • Assign Leaders
    • May need separate Charter
    • Time Targets
    • Org Changes
    • Process Changes
    • Software tool
      • Define all Systems
      • Define all Vendors
    • Project Admin
    • Communication
      • Marketing of Project
    • Metrics
    • Rollout
      • By System
      • By Geography
  • Step 3: Objectives
    • Answer the WHY?
      • Understand Why the Company is doing the Project
    • Metrics
      • Measure

Measurability is a characteristic of the Objectives

  • Delta may need to be determined
  • Standardization
    • Ease of Use
    • Speed
    • Cost Reduction
      • Overhead reduction
    • Process
      • Refine answers
      • Increase productivity of operations
  • Step 4: Scope
    • Answer the WHAT?
      • Deliverables

Tie Scope to Deliverables

  • Step 5: Assumptions, Concerns and Constraints
    • Assumptions
    • Concerns
    • Constraints
  • Step 6: Stakeholders
    • Include people for political purposes
    • Program vs Project (or sub-project)
    • Customers
      • BU Manager
      • Division Presidents
    • Sponsors
      • Director
      • IT Working Council
    • Project Manager

Program Leaders

  • Could be Project Leader

May not do the Admin part

  • Project Analysts

To do the Admin part

  • Team Members
    • Own the task

 The process at first may seem hard to follow for some of the team members, but after a while, they get it and they are enthusiastic to participate.  The mind mapping software that I use is Mindjet Mindmanager www.mindjet.com .  I will provide future articles of my use of mind mapping in project management.

I take the results of what is created and produce a 2 – 3 page document.  We all agree to the Charter, because we all had a hand in its creation.  The process takes between 1 – 3 hours depending on the participative mood of the team and the level of depth of the project scope.  Then while everyone is in the room, I get all the team members signature as well as that of the project sponsor.

I would like to add the Mindmanager file *.mmap file but WordPress does not recognize this as a file for upload.  If anyone knows how I can do so, please comment on this site.   Thank you, Greg Cimmarrusti, PMP

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Filed under PM Tips and Tricks, PM Tools, Project Management

Agile Project Management: The New Software Methodology?

This is my impression of Agile Project Management:

Agile Project Management . . . What is it?

Agile programming breaks down an application development project into smaller modularized pieces.

»      Each piece is addressed one at a time in a very short time frame (called a sprint). This adds to the application and represents a complete part of the functionality.

»      You can deploy the application and expect people to accomplish some amount of work with it, even if the application does not do everything that is intended upon full completion.

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For example, if you were creating a word processor, one iteration might be its spellchecker. The spellchecker adds functionality to the word processor, but it affects only one aspect of the application.

Before the developers create the iteration that handles spelling, users can work with the word processor without that feature in place.  They simply cannot perform a spell-check on what they write.

Reasons to use Agile Project Management

Businesses need a way to reduce development costs, improve software reliability, decrease time to development and ensure applications actually work with the users, rather than against them.  Reducing the number of errors developers make when designing and building applications.

In addition, Agile programming techniques can eliminate that most expensive development cost of all: the failed application.  Source: www.CIO.com : ABC: An Introduction to Agile Programming

Agile Project Management  :  A Scrum Iteration Example

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Scrum (the word “Scrum” comes from a terminology in Rugby) is a management-focused agile methodology that is straightforward and can be used in a wide variety of project environments. The Scrum methodology provides the guidance necessary to direct a project in an environment of high variability and where some departments within the customer may have conflicting or competing interests.  Of all of the Agile methods, SCRUM appears to be the most popular.  The daily communication engages the stakeholders. Scrum requires that the customer not meddle with the team while in sprint and accept that the team may alter sprint goals as required by the difficulty or ease of its tasks. Scrum out-of-the-box is formulated for smaller teams. However, it comes packaged with a scaling strategy, based on a Scrum of Scrums, that is claimed to have been applied to an 800-person project

Product Backlog: team converts the features requested by the customer into a list called the sprint backlog of specific and estimated tasks

Sprint Planning Meeting: The sprint planning meeting is actually two meetings that are timeboxed to four hours each and meant to be completed within the same day. In the first meeting the team assists the customer (called the product owner in Scrum) in selecting the functionality for the upcoming sprint. In the second meeting, the team converts the features requested by the customer into a list called the sprint backlog of specific and estimated tasks

Sprint: Timeboxing is an important feature of the 30-day sprint. This forces tough decisions about functionality and design. The more things different customers request at once, the longer it will take for the project to produce anything of value; meanwhile, there is always a more elegant design solution if the programmers would keep looking. The timeboxed sprint keeps the team from entering into such low-productivity quagmires by forcing the customers to agree on the features the team will produce in the next 30 days and by giving the team a hard deadline to deliver as much of those features as possible.

Daily Scrum: Scrum uses the daily Scrum meeting (short in duration), which facilitates daily communication from the programmers on the project to the otherwise unengaged stakeholders. This meeting ensures that the team communicates frequently, that no one ever wanders far off course, and that customers are made aware of roadblocks in a timely manner.

I hope this was informative in giving you a look at Agile Programming. 

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Filed under General, Program Management