Thu 15 May 2008

Depending on the size of your organization, you may treat project management as a casual practice or you may have an involved PMO. In either case, you probably go through the typical inception, elaboration, and construction phases of a project. But when it comes to the end of a project, many project managers come up just short of the finish line. Failure to handle the final steps can add confusion to an initiative and may lead to customer dissatisfaction, unhappy staff, and a project dragging on longer than necessary.

Here are a few things you should be thinking about when you get to the end of your next project. Some of these items are purely administrative, but many of them will help get you one step closer to ensuring that your project is successful.

#1: Finalize testing

Testing can be a drain on people, and many of us don’t like to do it — especially when it takes a few rounds. I have seen complex projects that were four to six months long have a day or two scheduled for testing. Not scheduling an adequate amount of testing usually ends up with problems occurring during the first few weeks of an implementation. Don’t take a shortcut here and minimize the importance of testing; otherwise, you’ll take on the additional risk of having a painful rollout.

#2: Finalize training

Users? Who cares about users? Well, many projects are done for their benefit, so make sure you have all your testing materials completed and delivered. Failure to do so will most likely manifest itself in the form of angry phone calls from irate users in the middle of the night.

#3: Validate deliverables

You’ve checked all your boxes and cleaned out your inbox, and you really think you’re done. But what does your customer think? Schedule time with customers to review all the deliverables and ensure they have been met. In some cases, there may be a few outstanding issues still unresolved when you get to your scheduled end date. Early on in your project, you should have made an agreement that determines how this will affect your end date if this situation occurs.

#4: Get project signoff

After you’ve agreed that all the deliverables have been met, request a formal signoff on the project documentation. Doing so helps ensure that everybody is in agreement on the state of the project. Since this signoff usually signals the formal end of the project, be careful not to make your customers feel pressured into signing. If they do this without understanding what it means, you will likely end up with an unsatisfied customer if an issue arises at a later date.

#5: Release the team

Now that the project is done, where is your team going? Depending on the organization, they may be sent back to a development pool or into the business. Or maybe they need to go drum up some work for themselves within the company. No matter what it is, make sure you spend time with them and set a clear end date for when you no longer need their services. Also don’t forget that you probably need to complete any performance review documents that need to be added to their file.

#6: Analyze actual vs. planned

Resources. Did you really get away with only one developer/tester for 10 weeks or did you need to scramble and get more people? What about the amount of time you scheduled for your business partners? Understanding how well you hit these targets will help you better allocate resources for your next project and set more realistic expectations when it comes to a project’s duration.

Budget. How much was the project going to cost? Did you come in on budget, under budget, over budget? Sitting down to understand the answers to these basic questions should give you some insight into a critical area of any project.

#7: Archive documentation

During any project, we seem to create huge amounts of documentation. It can range from scope documents and project plans to contracts and meeting minutes. Whatever it is, when you are done you should have someplace to keep it based on the retention policy of your company. You’ll be glad you did when your phone rings two years from now and somebody asks you to explain the rationale behind a choice you made during the course of the project.

#8: Ensure contract closure

It’s not unusual for a project to have its own budget. You also may have contracts for hardware, software, or professional services. When you’re done, make sure that you verify that all the terms of your contracts have been met, request final invoices from vendors and submit them to AP, and close out any associated financial accounts, if necessary.

#9: Conduct a postmortem meeting

What types of risks did you identify and mitigate? What went really well that you want to ensure you do again next time? Have a meeting with all the project stakeholders and relevant participants to provide them with a forum to express any lessons learned.

#10: Perform a self assessment

So it’s finally over. After all the hard work has been completed, you’ve made sure that all the i’s have been dotted and all the t’s crossed. Now what do you do? It’s important to get some feedback on your performance from the people you interacted with during the project. If you have the opportunity to send out a 360-degree feedback survey to as many individuals as possible, I would recommend it. It will help you assess how you’re progressing and will give you some great direction in deciding which personal growth opportunities you should focus on.

This list won’t be the same for everybody and will depend on your organization and how it implements projects. But if you can do them, it will always make the transition to the next project smoother

Categories : Knowledge / Amazing
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Thu 8 May 2008
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Sun 6 Apr 2008

"ENGINEERS AND HR OFFICERS"

 

3 Real Life Stories...

 
1.     The First …

 

Eleven people were dangling below a helicopter on a rope.  There were ten HR people and one engineer.

Since the rope was not strong enough to hold all the eleven, they decided that one of them had to let go to save all the others.
They could not decide who should be the volunteer.  Finally the engineer said he would let go of the rope since engineers are used to do everything for the company.  They forsake their family, don't claim all of their expenses and do a lot of overtime without getting anything in return.
When he finished his moving speech all the HR people began to clap…
 
 Moral:
 
Never underestimate the powers of the engineer.
 

 

2.     The Second …

 
A group of engineers and a group of HR people take a train to a conference.  Each HR person holds a ticket.  But the entire group of engineers has bought only one ticket for a single passenger.  The HR people are just shaking their heads and are secretly pleased that the arrogant engineers will finally get what they deserve.
Suddenly one of the engineers calls out: "The conductor is coming!".  At once, all the engineers jump up and squeeze into one of the toilets.  The conductor checks the tickets of the HR people.  When he notices that the toilet is occupied he knocks on the door and says: "Ticket, please!"  One of the engineers slides the single ticket under the doors and the conductor continues merrily on his round.
For the return trip the HR people decide to use the same trick.  They buy only one ticket for the entire group but they are baffled as they realize that the engineers didn't buy any tickets at all.   After a while one of the engineers announces again: "The conductor is coming!"  Immediately all the HR people race to a toilet and lock themselves in.
All the engineers leisurely walk to the other toilet.  Before the last engineer enters the toilet, he knocks on the toilet occupied by the HR people and says:  "Ticket, please!"
 
Moral:
 
HR people like to use the methods of the engineers, but they don't really understand them.
 

 

3.     The Third …

 
Once upon a time three HR people were walking through the woods and suddenly they were standing in front of a huge, wild river.  But they desperately had to get to the other side.
 
 
 But how, with such a raging torrent? 
 
The first HR guy knelt down and prayed to the Lord:  "Lord, please give me the strength to cross this river!"
 
*pppppfffffffuuuuff ffffff*
 
The Lord gave him long arms and strong legs.  Now he could swim across the river.  It took him about two hours and he almost drowned several times.
 
BUT… he was successful!
 
The second HR guy, who observed this, prayed to the Lord and said:  "Lord, please give me the strength AND the necessary tools to cross this river!"
 
*pppppfffffffuuuuff ffffff*
 
The Lord gave him a tub and he managed to cross the river despite the fact that the tub almost capsized a couple of times.
 
BUT… he was successful!
 
The third HR man who observed all this kneeled down and prayed:  "Lord, please give me the strength, the means and the intelligence to cross this river!"
 
*pppppfffffffuuuuff ffffff*
 
The Lord converted the HR man into an engineer.  He took a quick glance on the map, walked a few meters upstream and crossed the bridge.
 
Moral:

You have to be an engineer to think intelligent, Otherwise…

 
GOD HELPS YOU!

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Sun 6 Apr 2008

VISA TO PAKISTAN

 

The Scene : Two Top American Executives at IBM Offices in United

States

 

Year: 2030

 

Alex: Hi John. You didn't come to work yesterday.

 

John: Yeah. I was at the Pakistani Embassy trying to get my visa.

 

Alex: Oh, really? What happened? I've heard that these days they

have become very strict.

 

John: Yeah, but I managed to get it.

 

Alex: How long did it take to get it stamped?

 

John: Man, it was a long queue. Bill Gates was waiting in front of

me and they really gave him a hard time. The poor guy even brought

the property papers for his house in Seattle to show them that he

will return to USA. I went there at 4:00 a.m. to get in the queue and

there were tons of people ahead of me.

 

Alex: Really? In Pakistan, at the US Embassy it only takes an hour

to get a visa for USA.

 

John: Yeah! But that's because no one in Pakistan would want to come

to USA, except Americans who have taken Pakistani nationality and

want to bring their kids here.

 

Alex: So, when are you leaving?

 

John: As soon as I get my tickets from the company in Pakistan. I'm

so excited. I will be getting a chance to finally fly with the

world's fastest growing airline, Pakistan International Airlines

(PIA). Sort of dream come true, you know.

 

Alex: How long are you planning to stay in Pakistan?

 

John: What do you mean "how long?" I will try and settle in

Pakistan. My company has promised me that they will process my Green

Book as soon as possible.

 

Alex: Really? Man, you're lucky. It's very difficult to get the

Green Book in Pakistan. Last year my cousin and his family went there

on a tourist visa and they're not coming back now.

 

John: Yeah. That's why I'm planning on marrying a Pakistani girl

there and then sponsoring my parents and my brother and sister from

New York to Pakistan.

 

Alex: But I hear you can find lots of good American girls in Karachi

and Lahore.

 

John: Yeah, but I prefer Pakistani girls. They are so much more

superior to our girls.

 

Alex: What city are you going to?

 

John: Karachi. The company has a downtown office. Yeah, the salary

is good but the cost of living is quite high because of all the

people flocking to this high-tech mecca.

 

Alex: I hear the exchange rate is now $100 to a Rupee! That's just

too much. What about Rawalpindi and Islamabad? What are they like?

 

John: No idea. But they're cheaper than Karachi, which is the

world's headquarter for information technology now.

 

Alex: I hear the quality of life in Pakistan is incredible.

 

John: Yeah, man. You can buy a BMW for Rs.30,000, and a Mercedes for

less than Rs.45,000. But my dream is to purchase a Suzuki Turbo FX-

800 which costs roughly Rs.90,000. But what a sweet design, great

curves, and it purrs to the touch.

 

Alex: By the way, which company are you gonna work for?

 

John: Haji Jalal Puttarjee & Bros. Technologies, a pure Pakistani

conglomerate specialising in embedded software.

 

Alex: Man, you're so lucky to work for a pure Pakistani company.

They are really intelligent and unlike any American body shops that

have opened their fly-by-night outfits in Pakistan. The Pakistani

companies pay you even when you're on the bench. My friend, Paul

Allen, used his bench time to visit the Makran Coast, the most

gorgeous resort in Pakistan, I hear.

 

John: Yeah, man, you're right. I hope the US learns something from

them and follow in their footsteps. It seems all we do is borrow more

and more money from the Prime Commercial Bank.

 

Alex: How are you going to cope with their language?

 

John: I've been learning Urdu since my school days. I always dreamed

that one day I'll head for Pakistan ever since my uncle bought me

that T-Shirt from Islamia College. At the Consulate they tested my

proficiency in Urdu and were quite impressed by my score in U-FEL.

 

Alex: Boy! You're so damn lucky.

 

John: Yeah. I'll be travelling in the world's fastest train, Tezgam,

I'll be visiting the world's largest theme park in Changa Manga, and

I'll be visiting the famous Lollywood where I might meet the sons and

daughters of movie legends like Nadeem, Sultan Rahi, Anjuman, Reema

and the late babe, Barbra Sharif.

 

Alex: You know, the Pakistani President is scheduled to visit USA

next year and I hear that he may increase the number of employment

visas.

 

John: That's very true. Last month, their Labour Minister, Naswar

Khan Pakhtoon, visited the White House and donated Rs.20,000 for the

re-development of the World Trade Centre at Silicon Valley, and has

promised more if we follow the models of the fast developing high-

tech cities, Quetta and Peshawar. Bill Gates was lucky to have a

chance to meet him. Very lucky person.

 

Alex: Will you be calling on Dave? I hear that he has made it big

there and has a beautiful house on the Lyari River in Karachi.

 

John: Yeah, I'll be meeting him.

 

Alex: Anyway, nice chatting to you, John. Good luck, you lucky dog.

 

John: Yeah, and the same to you, Alex. By the way, don't ever go to

the Pakistani Consulate in the Pakistani local dress because they

will think you're too Pakistanised and may doubt that you will ever

come back, and your application will be rejected. And yes, don't

forget to say to the Visa Officer politely: "Asalam-o-Alaikum. " It

will show them you're a cultured person.

Categories : Thoughts / Lessons
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