Everything is a Project

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Activities in an organization should be performed in the context of a "project." The project framework helps everyone -- participants and observers -- know what's going on, and why particular actions are being performed.

Creating a project plan helps ensure that participants understand all of the components necessary to complete the project successfully. A project plan is also a form of communication to others -- a way of asking if everything has been thought of, where there might be problems, what the expected outcome is.

In the wiki age, a project plan is not a static thing. It is expected to evolve over time as needed to track reality. The changes in the plan are visible to others, and form part of the narrative of progress as the project unfolds.

Project Plan

Typical sections in a project plan include:

  • Status - where is the project right now?
  • Roles and Responsibilities - who is handling the standard project roles, and what are they responsible for doing?
  • Goals - what will this project achieve?
  • Resource Requirements - what (people, money, things) are needed to accomplish this project? where do they come from?
  • People - who are the people working on this project? who can I ask for more information? how can I best get in touch with them?
  • Approach - what is the overall strategy for accomplishing this project?
  • Workplan and Timeline - what are the specific tasks needed to accomplish our goals? when might they happen?
    • who / what / when (in agile, we specify two)
  • Communication Norms - how have the project participants agreed to stay in touch? what, where and how often are regular meetings? special ceremonies?

Project Roles

Roles common to all projects include:

  • Sponsor - the person who requires the output of the project and has allocated the resources for it (aka Customer in agile)
  • Project Manager - the person responsible for the drumbeat and tempo of the project, and for its administrative details, including good project management hygiene
  • Lead - the person responsible to the Sponsor for making sure the project is accomplished and to the Team for making sure they are able to accomplish the project
  • Team - people working on the project

Project Management Hygiene

  • set SMART goals
  • understand tasks required to accomplish goals, then set realistic timeline
  • create project plan in wiki
  • regular, frequent check-ins to iterate plan (goal, priorities, etc.) if necessary
  • after-action reviews at the end of project, including reflection/writeup of positives and deltas
  • experienced, well-oiled teams requires less strict project management hygiene
  • new, less-organized, or heterogenous teams require more attention to careful project management hygiene
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