A.J. Boggs works closely with customers and their vendors to coordinate communications and activities.
Project teams are developed to match the requirements based upon the business, functional, organizational, and technical requirements of the project.
Common project controls and communication techniques are described in the following sections:
The outset of any project requires proper project definition. Project definition will include a statement of the desired end, a review of risks and challenges, and a vision of the desired result. It is during the Project Planning phase that the Project Work Plan is created and defined as a deliverable. Once there is a defined project, the work plan is a vital tool to ensure that the project team knows what they need to do and when they need to do it. The work plan will reflect the total requirements of the project and the steps required to attain them.
A.J. Boggs’ Project Managers manage work plans to ensure they represent the current status throughout all phases of a project. Through proper management of work plans, managers will not only know what work has been completed, but how much work remains.
Every project, regardless of the size, uses a similar process. However, more rigor is required in larger projects. In large projects, the project manager will ensure there are frequent updates to the project work plan with results daily or weekly. From the updates, required reports can be created and then evaluated in order to look for trends or potential problems.
Definition: >An issue is a problem or a quality factor that will significantly affect a project and that cannot be resolved by the project team without outside help.
A.J. Boggs Project Managers ensure processes are in place to publish all issues to appropriate people who can then work to resolve issues as quickly as possible.
Issue management is one of the skills all Project Managers must master. Projects of any size must deal with issues in a systematic manner. They cannot be ignored and they cannot be deferred to some later time. Issues must be resolved quickly and effectively.
Issue Resolution Process
The processes used by Project Managers to manage issues are described in this section. These processes can be modified as necessary for any project, and then inserted into the Project Management Procedures document.
- Solicit potential issues from project stakeholders, including the project team, customers, sponsors, etc. An issue can surface through verbal or written means, and is formally documented using an Issues Form.
- Enter the issue into the Issues Log.
- Assign the issue to a project team member or Project Member for investigation. The team member will investigate the impact on budget and schedule for various options. If resolving the issue will involve changing the scope of the project, close the issue and use the Change Management procedures.
- The various alternatives and impact on schedule and budget are documented on the Issues Form. Present the issue, alternatives and project impact on the Issues Form to the Project Sponsor and other appropriate stakeholders for a resolution.
- Document the resolution or course of action on the Issues Form.
- Document the issue resolution briefly on the Issues Log.
- Make the appropriate adjustments to the work plan and project budget, if necessary.
- If the resolution of an issue causes the budget, effort or duration of the project to change, the current Project Definition should be updated.
- Communicate issue status and resolutions to project team members and other appropriate stakeholders through the Manage Communication process, including the Project Status Report.
Issue Resolution Techniques
The following techniques are used by Project Manager to resolve different issues:
- Resolve Issues as Soon As Possible
- Solve the Root Cause, Not Just Symptoms
- Making Decisions
- Separate Issues from Action Items
- Identify Problems and Solutions
This process helps organizations define and manage transitions that may be part of a new strategy, system, or a response to external influences.
Change management processes help organizations manage transitions effectively. During this process, the organizational impact of changes (e.g., functionality, performance, cost, schedule, and quality) are analyzed as plans are developed. Initiatives may improve communication, employ organizational design strategies, increase stakeholder involvement, or develop new training.
A.J. Boggs prefers to use the Rational Unified Process (RUP) throughout a system’s lifecycle, including Rational tools for change management. We have also implemented change request processes that include a committee to review changes and web-based change tracking systems. Before selecting a change management system, the project manager will review existing procedures and identify the best solution for an agency’s customers, stakeholders, and project team.
For a more in-depth review of best practices in change management, see Dennis Sergent’s organizational development seminar handout.
Managing and Achieving Change
Experience shows that wide-spread involvement is key to achieving organizational change. A.J. Boggs will work with the client teams to develop plans for effective change management.
Achieving effective change requires an approach broader than just great technical solutions. Processes sometimes need to be redesigned. People involved, whether as clients or as part of the IT delivery system, need to adapt to the new processes and technology. One model for change management with which team members have had success is:
D = Dissatisfaction with the present situation
V = Vision of what is possible, the objectives of the change
F = First steps to reach the vision, the plan of action
R = Resistance to change
If an element on the left side is missing, the product of the multiplication is zero. Since some resistance is always present, it will not be overcome and effective change will not occur.