16 de ago. de 2008

Using Project Vital Signs to Prioritize Expectations

Less effective Project Managers manage the factors that are easy to measure, rather than those that are most important to project stakeholders.Then they wonder why they get suboptimal results.

Start the project with agreement about the results by using this exercise. Then goal-seek to optimize your performance in the top-priority items, and use your flexibility in the lower-priority items to meet stakeholder expectations.

Nine factors make up the PMBOK® Guide's knowledge areas (PMBOK: Project Management Body of Knowledge). We have used a subset of those areas for over 20 years as the vital signs of project success. They are represented in the diagram and briefly explained below (note: in the PMBOK Guide, the areas are described as Project Scope Management, etc).

Scope, which is what you'll produce (tip: don't try to solve world hunger).
Quality, which should be constant, but is often sub-optimized when we focus too much on the easier to measure vital signs.
Time, and Cost, which when properly used do not constrain scope, but reflect your efficiency in delivering it.
Risk, which identifies situations that can imperil the project, offset by responses you identify to prevent, intervene or recover, to avoid harming the other vital signs (time, cost, quality, and so on).
Procurement provides the contract labor, tools, components, supplies and capital outlay to help with the work.
Human Resources provides the right people with the right skills and experience to perform the work as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Integration coordinates the development, execution and changes to the project plan. Note that executing the plan means to carry it out (not kill it).
Communication, or as Joan Rivers, the comedian, says "Can we talk?" Of course, for projects, you'll use many communication venues; the project plan or status report are just two examples of these venues.

Three Challenges
Differing priorities among stakeholders can result in poor project performance.
Inability to get clear priorities can cause teams to fail to use flexibility they should use.
Post-Project reviews sometimes use different priorities than those stressed during the project.
For any project to be successful, you must manage all nine areas. This can be challenging when you try to respond to differing priorities of different stakeholders.

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