Friday, November 24, 2006

Week 11 (Building a Program Management Office)

Week 11 went well, if somewhat quiet. I think that a lot of people were worn out after last week. Big events were conversations with one customer and some good work on completing the project schedule for the other project.

Right now, one of the projects is working with our customer and the company that currently holds the contract to negotiate a live date. We had a change in scope and delivery and that caused all three companies to have to look again at the dates. Right now we are in a situation where we each have a date that works for us, so that makes three dates. I am sure after our discussions and negotiations we will come up with a date that is equally unpalatable for all of us. Such is compromise. I’m sure we have not heard the last on all this; it is going to be interesting.

On the other project, we really have a good workable project schedule. Now for the aficionados, no it is not leveled and based lined, with actual times and so on. That, frankly, is a little more than we can really expect based on quite a few things. The schedule does however clearly indicate milestones, major tasks and responsibilities. In other words, what needs to be done when and by whom. We have a bit more than completion dates; we do have durations and hence start dates. Right now, all of the tasks are 80 hours or less, and span two weeks or less, so we have a fine enough level of detail to be able to track the work carefully and elevate and or react as needed. I am not a stickler for the 8 – 80 rule or other such PM rules. If you read this blog much, you know that I oppose rules and forms and procedures that exist only to be complied with. If something doesn’t make life easier/better for the PM and the team then my vote is – forget it.

I had a presentation on Monday that gave me the chance to put together some of the project information in one consolidated format. We don’t have a standard presentation template. I have to confess that I enjoy presentations. I like the idea of putting together information in a format that in some ways can be artistic. If I have not said this before, I highly recommend Edward Tufte. He has some extraordinary examples of information presentation. His books and workshop are worth every penny! He talks about things like information density, sparklines (my favorite). He sums it up well as “simple design, intense content.” Not that my presentation would ever wind up in one of his books, but I am working on it.

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