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Monday, January 21, 2013

Strategic Project Management Tips

Strategic Project Management Tips

Getting Started – Initiation

1.     Develop a solid business case for your projects.  Where appropriate, ensure you obtain senior managers’ agreement before you start the project. Research points out that too many projects are started without a firm reason or rationale.  Developing a business case will identify whether it is worth working on.

2.     Ensure your project fits with the key organisational or departmental agenda or your personal strategy.  If not, why do it?  Stick to priority projects.

3.     Carry out risk analysis at a high level at the initiation stage.  Avoid going into great detail here – more an overview focussing on the key risks.

4.      Identify at this early stage key stakeholders. Consider how much you need to consult or involve them at the business case stage. Seek advice if necessary from senior managers

5.     Where appropriate, involve finance people in putting the business case together.  They can be great allies in helping crunch the numbers which should give credibility to your business case. 

Defining Your Project

6.     Produce a written project definition statement (sometimes called PID) and use it to inform stakeholders – see point 13. This document is ‘your contract’ to carry out the project and should be circulated to key stakeholders.

7.     Use the project definition statement to prevent creep.  Use it to prevent you going beyond the scope of the project through its use in the review process.

8.      Identify in detail what will and will not be included in the project scope.  Avoid wasting time by working on those areas which should not be included – identify these in the PID.

9.     Identify who fulfils which roles in your project. Document them on the PID. Include a paragraph to show what each person does.

10. Identify who has responsibility for what in the project e.g. project communications is the responsibility of AD. This helps reduce doubt early in the life of the project.

11. Think ‘Team Selection’ – give some thought to who should be in your team.  Analyse whether they have the skills required to enable them to carry out their role?  If not, ensure they receive the right training. Check they are available for the period of the project. NOTE: this includes any contactors you may need to use

12.  Form a group of Project Managers. The Project Manager role can sometimes be very lonely!  Give support to each other by forming a group of Project Managers.

13. Identify who the stakeholders are for your project – those affected and ‘impacted’ by the project.  This should be an in- depth analysis which needs updating regularly.

14. Recognise early in the life of the project what is driving the project.  Is it a drive to improve quality, reduce costs or hit a particular deadline?  You can only have 1.  Discuss with the sponsor what is driving the project and ensure you stick to this throughout the project. Keep “the driver” in mind especially when you monitor and review.

15. Hold a kick off meeting (Start up Workshop) with key stakeholders, sponsor, project manager project team.  Use the meeting to help develop the PID (see Tip 6).  Identify risks and generally plan the project.  If appropriate hold new meetings at the start of a new stage.

16.  Ensure you review the project during the Defining Your Project Stage – involve your sponsor or senior manager in this process. Remember to check progress against the business case.

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