Sunday, September 27, 2015


Many PMs working in the building industry would have come across the name "Le Corbusier", a notable French architect of decades past. Many of those same PMs, of course, would have a degree in architecture.

Now, to lift the lid on Corb, an article in Quadrant. Much like E Michael Jones' lifting of the lid on architectural modernism.

Good for him, now let's get on with making buildings for people, not people-resistant ideas.

Friday, September 25, 2015

10 project factors

I recently received an e-mail from one of the project management services that has my address. It offered 10 factors for project success. They are:

1.    Requirements. Make sure that your customer defines their requirements in depth. You need to know exactly what must be delivered. Be specific, write them formally, and get them approved. This document will become one of the baselines upon which to measure your success.
2.    Scope. Define scope well. Get your sponsor approval for scope changes, making sure the sponsor understands any schedule, budget or other impact to the project.
3.    Stakeholders. Involve your stakeholders throughout the project. Get them involved in the analysis and planning, as well as execution. Gain their approval when needed and keep them informed when needed. The more you involve them, the greater their level of buy-in and the better you will manage their expectations.
4.    Duration. Keep your delivery timeframes short and realistic. It is easier to be successful if your deadlines are shorter rather than longer. Split large projects into "mini-projects" if possible. Keep each mini-project to less than six months if possible. This keeps everyone motivated and focused.
5.    Communication. Make sure you keep everyone informed by providing the right information at the right time. Produce status reports and run regular team meetings.
6.    Quality. Understand the expectations of your customer in terms of quality and put a plan in place to meet their expectations.
7.    Issues. Jump on issues as soon as they are identified. Prioritize and resolve them before they impact on your project. Take pride in keeping issues to a minimum.
8.    Risks. Risk management is a great proactive way to solve potential problems before they occur. Identify risks early in the project and continue to manage risks throughout the project.
9.    Deliverables. As each deliverable is complete, hand it formally over to your customer. Ask them to verify acceptance to make sure it meets their expectations. Only then can you consider each deliverable as 100% complete.
10. Your team. Be a great people manager. Show them the project vision and how they can make it happen. Motivate them. Trust and believe in them. Make them feel valued. They will work wonders.
Over the coming months I will discuss each factor and seek to put in into a more professional context.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Guiding Principles 10: Reuse

When possible, use existing processes and tools before creating or buying new ones.

A while ago I posted against the reflex reliance on ‘best practice’ to advance a project. Best practice in an oil drilling project might not be best practice in building a foundry or a robotic assembly line...or it might!

In projects the domain and context of the project is all important under the guiding judgement of the project team. So it depends on what type of project.

However, that said, the idea that does the rounds in pop management circles is to ‘fail often and fail early’. That might be fine if a minor process inefficiency that is easily corrected is the result, or in a paperwork activity that entails more hours than it should. It is not OK, as Glen Alleman points out, if you are putting a Rover on Mars, ‘cause there is no second shot. It is a right first time game.

So a project team finds, or knows, what works best. Innovate for sure, but do so against the backdrop of project needs and circumstances. Innovate to improve, to fine tune a working process, but don’t blue sky when the risk is project value that you know will be produced by known techniques.

Useful post by Glen on this.