Arraya Insights | August 8, 2016
Imagine this scenario: With the help of a project manager, you’ve completed the first phase of a business project. Together you’ve determined who has stake in the project, initiated a dialogue, and outlined the scope of the project. What takes place during the second phase, Plan and Design, is equally important. A successful plan and design helps direct the focus of the project team and make the remaining phases easier. Short change this step, however, and you’ll find yourself struggling to meet expectations.
Design a winning project
Arraya has long been a proponent of the value Project Managers (PMs) bring to engagements of every kind. We spoke with a member of our Project Management Office (PMO) about what goes into the Plan and Design phase, difficulties encountered, and how they can be overcome.
In terms of steps, those he felt best represent the work done by PMOs during this phase are:
- Setting project goals/baselines – High-level conversations about project motivations take place during phase one of a project. During the Plan and Design phase, PMs collect feedback from participants on targets they want met and steps they want taken. This ensures participants’ needs and desires are accurately reflected in the finished project.
- Identifying/qualifying resources – Once the PM understands the work that needs to be done, he or she must compile a project team with the right skill set and bandwidth to accomplish it. Another part of this involves reconciling stakeholder expectations for a project with the expertise and experience of those delivering it. During these back-and-forth exchanges, PMs can spot sticking points or overreaches.
- Creating an actionable project plan – After a project’s scope has been refined, the PM is tasked with translating it into a workable project plan. This living document includes task lists, task owners, key dates, and progress reports. The project plan allows PMs to monitor movement and make/track any necessary adjustments throughout the duration of a project.
Mini case study: Is ‘enough’ really enough?
“I’ve got enough to get started.” Those words are the equivalent of “It was a dark and stormy night” to Project Managers. A member of Arraya’s PMO heard this phrase while working on an intranet web portal project. Even though a key business stakeholder had yet to be consulted, one party felt they had enough details to begin the project. That sent up a barrage of red flags for our PM. He knew a complete, approved list of requirements must be a prerequisite.
He diligently worked to convince the first party that an additional design meeting with all stakeholders was needed before work began on the project. Eventually, he managed to do so and, lo and behold, the design changed. Just as he’d expected, there hadn’t been enough info to go on.
This PM’s persistence, and his ability to recognize critical path deliverables, prevented the delays and rework that would have arisen once the portal wasn’t up to the stakeholder’s expectations. Despite the initial push to get started, everyone agreed the additional meeting had been a lifesaver once it had been completed.
Arraya’s PMO has decades of experience supporting business projects of all types for all industries. To open up a dialogue about how it can help your business reach its goals, tech and otherwise, visit: www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/.