PROJECT MANAGEMENT BEST PRACTICES TO AVOID CAREER LIMITING MOVES – PART 3

PROJECT MANAGEMENT BEST PRACTICES
TO AVOID CAREER LIMITING MOVES – PART 3 of 3
Jeff Schlageter
President, Project Acceleration
[email protected]
Wouldn’t it be great to have a list of project management “best practices” that would help you benefit from the experiences of hundreds of other program managers? In a way, these best practices would be like having your own project management mentors, each sharing what they have learned. Part 3:
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Now in Part 3 of this three-part series, I will sample from 150 best practices that are explained in detail in our book “Projects at Warp Speed with Quality Rapid Product Development” which is authored by my partners and myself. Since 150 of anything is a lot to grasp, I will organize the best practices for you into 11 Commandments as follows:
1. Scope or Vision: Commandment 1: Previous Blog
2. Project Leader and the team: Commandments 2-5. Previous Blog
3. Project Management Flow Process: Commandments 6-11. Today’s Blog
So, let’s begin with Commandment 6 which relates to the Project Management Flow Process:
Commandment 6: — USE INNOVATIVE, PARALLEL, ITERATIVE DESIGN STRATEGIES.
a. To develop modules or subsystems in parallel, partition early at well defined interfaces, using standards wherever possible.
b. Design modules or subsystems to optimize systems level performance, and no more.
c. Invest in backup plans for critical modules and subsystems, tooling, and parts.
d. “Beg, borrow, buy” module and subsystem Intellectual Property, and avoid NIH (non-invented here).
e. Integrate early and often.

Commandment 7: INVEST MONEY TO BUY TIME AND TOOLS, AND TO MINIMIZE RISKS
a. Get resources on board and trained early, even between projects.
b. Manage long lead times early.
c. Reduce risk, by spending money, and invest in backup plans for critical designs, tooling, and parts.
d. Setup more than enough prototypes, and HW/SW test and build stations.
Commandment 8: PROTOTYPE AND TEST KEY DESIGN CONCEPTS EARLY
a. Do real world “Chicken Tests” or systems prototypes in the first 25-50% of the project.
b. Test creatively and early throughout the project.
c. Be able to kill a feature or even a project.
Commandment 9: FOLLOW A FLOW PROCESS TO MEET MILESTONES, MANAGE RISK, AND ENSURE QUALITY
a. Agree on a Project Vision including features, schedule, cost, and risk.
b. Define and manage to short milestones.
c. Use simple tools to plan and execute well: checklists, historical data, rules of thumb, etc.
d. Resist change, but change quickly and clearly when necessary.
e. Have a written project management flow process, with phases, phase gate exit criteria, milestones, development reviews, and specified sign offs.
Commandment 10: GET EARLY FEEDBACK AND NAIL DEFECTS QUICKLY
a. Keep close ties between the team and strategic customers throughout, but especially in beta, preproduction, and first customer ship.
b. Be able to tell when you are done (by meeting the Vision).
c. Handoff intelligently to HW manufacturing, and SW deployment.
Commandment 11: LEARN FROM AND IMPROVE THE ABOVE PROCESS
a. The first 10 commandments were focused on the project and product. This one is about iteratively improving the process. Take time to do this.
b. Hold lessons-learned reviews after, and sometimes during, the project.
c. Hold project leader “best practice” forums to learn from all ongoing projects.
I have found that a great way to apply these Best Practices is to review them with the project team during the planning phase, and determine which of them would be important to use in order to develop products “in half the time and cost, with double the profits and fun.”
I hope you enjoyed the sampling from our 150 Best Practices, and let me know some of your best practices. Remember that we have found from our students and clients that project success seems to correlate to the number of these best practices used.
Best of luck on your projects, and avoiding those CLMs.
Jeff Schlageter
©2007 Project Acceleration, ©2007 Global Brain

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