Saturday, October 28, 2006

Week 7 (Building a Program Management Office)

Week 7

In spite of everything, we went into the meeting to present the requirements and it was a disaster. Everyone had a different agenda and opinion about the requirements. We discussed AGAIN things that I swore we had resolved. The program managers and I got together and did a quick lessons learned on the whole thing. We discovered what is probably obvious.

The meeting with everyone face-to-face was a great idea and worked well. Other things that we did well were to keep a single list of the requirements and work from that whenever we got together. The consensus was that the communication was good as well, and that everyone on the team was kept up to date on what we were doing and what was decided. And that is it for the good news.

On the lesson side many of the mistakes were mine. Communication to the board was not good or clear, and the board was well behind what the team was doing and needed to be brought up to date before we could give them the current status. I did not keep track of this and start from the last time we talked with the board and moved them to the decisions the team made.

The team did not have consensus going into the meeting and the communication was ad-hoc. We needed to clearly agree on who would talk about which requirements and what each of them would say – hopefully what we all agreed on! If we added an agenda (yes I did not put out an agenda – I could kick myself) with the appropriate information, then it would have been smoother.

I think my take from the whole thing is that I need to be much more formal and complete with any communications to the board. I hope the next one works, I’ve spent some time putting together a presentation for the next meeting – Tuesday’s monthly meeting. As I was doing that I realized we needed a lot better information about our projects. We really don’t have any metrics at all. We do use the red/yellow/green, but it is not as objectively determined as I would like so building metrics is my big goal over the next month.

What I am thinking is keeping it simple with schedule, compliance and goals. We do not really have good project goals. I mean basically we have the “get the job done” goal, but no real way to tell if we are making good progress towards the goal. We can tell that we are working hard, but not that it is on the most important things. I’m going to interview the board to get their goals, aggregate them and set up some criteria that we can check against.

Schedule will be kept simple – on schedule, off, etc. The problem here is that we do not have good schedules. That is what I’m working with the teams on during week 8. I expect that we will have something with milestones, deliverables, and good dates. I’m sure this will help everyone at least have a better picture. I am learning that project schedules are a lot more fiction than reality, but we are going to work on that.

Lastly I’m going to use compliance as a metric. The first metric will be the weekly reports then probably keeping the schedule up to date. Don’t know what else, but I’ll think on this. I normally hate these metrics since they look like tattle-tailing, but I think this is one of the only ways we are going to get the teams to do the work needed to produce the information for metrics. We’ll see wont we?


Anonymous said...


Seems you love Metrics!!., Can you just share it once you define..???

This Red Yellow Green thing really works for me.. Not too sure of your situation...

BTW seems you are having really an interesting time.. Waiting to hear about the progress...

Anonymous said...

hey... ;)

BTW ., how coem week 8 came before week 7 ????

Project Calender ???? :)))))):)))

Derry Simmel said...

I'll share some of my documents once I get them out. I actually do like metrics, not so much for the metrics themselves, but because they make you think about the work.

As to why week 8 came first - I don't always get to post everything weekly, but I try to write every week, I just entered them backwards.

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