Now that I have collected all of this information, what am I doing with it?
Lots of things!
Project assumptions – Documenting the assumptions I make during budgeting and planning has saved my bacon more times than I can count….
- List project assumptions that surfaced during the course of this research
- Assumptions made during the previous project and whether they were accurate
- Assumptions from the previous project being carried over into this project
- List assumptions being made specifically for this project
- “The tech lead will be full time on this project”
- “There will be no corporate reorganization during the execution phase of the project”
- “All integration points to the potential solution have been identified”
- List glossary terms that have surfaced
- When they say “Banner” – what, specifically is the individual talking about?
- Does the same word have different meanings across people? Across contexts?
- List any environmental assumptions being made in the organization. Many of these will be unspoken. You want to surface these and confirm your observations.
- “The tech lead is the only person who can fix any of my IT problems”
- “The person who does training on this topic only does training on this topic and has no other job”
- “We have lots of money”
- “The customer wants ….”
Project planning – Taking what I have and incorporating what I learned into the new plan
- I use the previous project final baseline as the starting point for the work breakdown structure and scheduling.
- I use any information I gained about how much time things took (and why they took that long) in my new estimates
- I check to see if there is anything else that popped up, or anything that can be removed
- I make sure I incorporate any lessons learned – both formal and discovered – into the plan.
- Was a task planned for one week, took two weeks (because we under-estimated how much time the task really takes), really needed three weeks (because that resource worked 60 hours each week for those 2 weeks solely on that task)?
- Do we need to set aside more time for approvals?
- Do we need to set aside more (or less) time for research and education?
- How is vendor turn-around time?
Cost Management – Building out the preliminary cost baseline
- I use any previous budgets to help with estimates for the new project
- If multiple budgets emerged, I try to consolidate them in a way that makes sense to all parties
- I also work with the Project Champion, if there are numerical discrepancies, to come up with a realistic budget number for the initial baseline.
- I will look to see what changes occurred to particular line items, including changes to line item definitions
- Do we have the vendors properly identified?
- Do we need to re-define certain activities into Capital?
- What cost changes have occurred since the last project?
- Has there been rate changes?
- Has the amount the organization spending on contractors increased?
- If you are including internal resources as part of the project budget estimates – have their salaries increased?
- Any new integrations that need to be considered?
Stakeholder Management and Communications – Here Be Monsters
- The research and observations help me fill out my stakeholder matrix.
- This information also helps me determine my approach to the individual stakeholders and project team members. I will refine as the relationships develop.
- This also tells me the type of information people are looking for regarding the project. This goes into my communications plan.
- Expect adjustments to everything as you get to know people.
Requirements and Scope – Do we have it right?
- The research and observations help me determine where there may be issues of scope creep or re-prioritization surprises. Something that someone has wanted for a long time that didn’t make it into the initial scope of the project.
- I want to catch that as early as possible with the Project Champion before it becomes a crisis.
This is just the start. Each item will iterate as I get to know the culture and the individuals within it.
Previous Posts in this series
I Love Documents – Which documents to collect
The Benefits of Historical Methodology – Steps to analyze your documents
Step 1: Document Analysis – Analysis of individual source documents
Step 2: Synthesis or Finding Trends – Analysis across documents
Step 3: Individual Interviews – Talking to people
Step 4: Observing Behavior – Watching people. You should be doing this the entire time.
I’ve talked about this before