Execution

“Adding resources late to a late project makes it later.” Brooks 1975

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Project failure is often determined early, with incomplete work during the planning process. If a project starts with a solid plan, a well documented Project Scope Statement, the process of performing the defined work to achieve objectives is supported by execution and monitoring techniques including:

Critical Chain-Multitasking will happen: most estimates assume something close to the idealized case that work will proceed without interruption until complete.

Instead of having a (schedule) contingency as an undefined open bucket documented separately, it is made explicit, often at 50% of mean estimate for the critical path.  With this approach, the use of contingency buffers are visible, must be accounted for, and justified as delays occur beyond estimated durations. Critical Chain creates a more aggressive schedule.

Milestone Distribution: A recommended technique to increase project visibility and build team confidence at the same time, is to weight the number of milestones heavily towards the first half of the project.

  • Permits recognition of  project and team progress early and often
  • Use Test Milestones to drive early testing and identification of potential issues and reduce the chance of schedule impact.
  • Tied to the concept of building momentum and confidence with early successes (building teams)

Lesson Learned: Sessions are best held at the end of each phase (major milestone)

Change Control:

  • Well understood and accepted process for managing change requests with clear expectations.

Scope Management and Control:All the work and only the work required

  • Project Scope Statement (with WBS) is the scope baseline for the project
  • Requirements traceability to stakeholder and date.
  • Measurement of scope performance (work completed) against baseline over time.

Visibility:

  • Project status poster boards (by project) on display and highly visible (transparent)
  • Determine at the start how the team will measure and report progress: quantifiable units of work by WBS, by activity, by task (done or not)

Train wrecks:

  • Are never a surprise to the team working on them, it is a drawn out process.
  • If a problem is identified, fix it now, not later.