Tag Archives: project process

Comparing My Eight Steps

In my last blog, I listed the eight steps I use as the framework for How to Manage a Great Project. Now, I want to compare these steps to other frameworks for which I have a high regard:

The interpretations that lead to the mappings below are all mine and do not necessarily represent the way their authors would compare the two processes. Nor, indeed, do they imply either that the author would describe their model as a process or that they would even offer any endorsement for my eight steps.

With the caveats over…

Introduction
  • APM: Undertake gate review
Step 0: Where are you now and what do you know?
  • Afterburner: Evaluate Lessons Learnt (see also step 8)
Step 1: What do You Want?
  • APM: Define scope of work
  • Glen Alleman: ‘Where are we going?’
  • James Leal: Define objectives and scope
  • James Leal: Define deliverables
  • Nick Jenkins: Know your goal
  • Nick Jenkins: Promise low: deliver high
  • Afterburner: Determine mission objective
Step 2: Does it Stack Up?
  • APM: Perform investment appraisal
Step 3: Who Cares?
  • James Leal: Communication
  • Nick Jenkins: Know your stakeholders
Step 4: How will You Get What You Want?
  • APM: Schedule work
  • APM: Bottom-up cost estimates
  • Glen Alleman: ‘How do we get there?’
  • Glen Alleman: ‘Do we have enough time, resources and money to get there?’
    (see also step 5)
  • James Leal: Project planning
  • Nick Jenkins: Spend time on planning and design
  • Afterburner: Identify available resources (see also step 5)
  • Afterburner: Develop the plan
Step 5: Who Will Help?
  • APM: Define project organisation and assign responsibilities
  • APM: Assign and level resources
  • Glen Alleman: ‘Do we have enough time, resources and money to get there?’
    (see also step 4)
  • Nick Jenkins: Know your team
  • Afterburner: Identify available resources (see also step 4)
Step 6: What if it goes Wrong?
  • Glen Alleman: ‘What impediments will we encounter along the way?’
  • James Leal: Risk Management
  • Nick Jenkins: Iterate, increment, evolve*
  • Afterburner: Identify the threats
  • Afterburner: Plan for contingencies
Step 7: How is it Going?
  • Glen Alleman: ‘How do we know we are making progress?’
  • James Leal: Tracking and reporting progress
  • James Leal: Change management
  • Nick Jenkins: Stay on track
  • Nick Jenkins: Manage change
  • Nick Jenkins: Test early: test often
Step 8: How did it Go?
  • Afterburner: Evaluate Lessons Learnt (see also step 0)

Nick Jenkins’ tenth axiom applies everywhere: ‘Keep an open mind’
Hear, hear.

Here is a poster that I created with my eight steps. You can download this poster as a full colour A4 pdf file by clicking on the image.


* This axiom of Nick’s reminds me of something an old friend and excellent project management expert, Tony Quigley, used to say:

‘The alternative to incremental development is excremental development’

Do let me know what frameworks you find helpful and I will add the mapping.

Eight Steps to deliver on budget, on target and on time

When I started thinking about how to write How to Manage a Great Project, I wanted to make it as simple as I possibly could – but no simpler.

I also wanted to include as much as possible of the content and style of my successful training programmes and seminars – because I know that they really work. People find them compelling and come away with real insights and practical tools.

But the structure of a training course needed a little more of a framework to it, so i devised eight steps to follow… knowing full well that projects are iterative. In the real world, project managers will have to cycle back and refine steps at different stages of the project. But it seemed to me that for novices, a step-by-step approach would make more sense than a stage-by-stage approach, with all of its repetition, or a thematic approach (favoured by formal methodologies like PRINCE 2 and bodies of knowledge like the PMI’s) which does not set out how to proceed, if you are really new to project management.

So, here then are my eight steps:

Step 1: What do You Want?
  • Define what your project is and is not, with goal, objectives and scope
  • Base these on clear requirements
  • Add detail with specifications
Step 2: Does it Stack Up?
  • Build a robust business case
  • Support it with a solid investment appraisal
  • Support rigorous decision making
Step 3: Who Cares?
  • Pay attention to the needs and perceptions of your stakeholders
  • Put in place good governance
  • Communicate relentlessly
Step 4: How will You Get What You Want?
  • Build a plan, sequence and schedule
  • Figure out the resources you need
  • Decide how you will get the quality right
Step 5: Who Will Help?
  • Build a team
  • Allocate work
  • Manage and lead your team
Step 6: What if it goes Wrong?
  • Plan out as much risk as you can
  • Identify risks throughout
  • Apply the six strategies for managing risk
Step 7: How is it Going?
  • The monitoring and control loop
  • Control inevitable (and surprising) change
  • Report on progress
Step 8: How did it Go?
  • Handover your finished project
  • Close down in an orderly fashion
  • Say ‘Thank You ‘

Here is a poster that I created. You can download this poster as a full colour A4 pdf file by clicking on the image.