Effective Engineering e-Newsletter 9/2/2004
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Project Management: Project Planning
Well Begun is Half Done
Tom Dennis President, Effective Engineering [email@example.com]
discussed some Project Management basics in eN-047022
Project Management: What Gets Measured Gets Done.
In this e-Newsletter, we will look at the steps that need to be put in
place at the start of the project planning process.
These are elements that must be put in place, and once there should be
applicable for all future projects.
Project Control Systems
Development Methodology Basics: Management of Development) need to
be in place to support effective product development.
These include mechanisms
to control and track what is happening during the product development process,
such as development systems
and tools (see also eN-030410
Use the Right Tools to Do the Job Right), design control
systems, configuration management systems, testing processes and systems, bug
reporting and tracking systems, bug review processes, product release control
Change Control Systems
need to be in place to ensure that there is an appropriate resistance to
change. This forces people to
recognize and appreciate the benefits and costs of changes, and concur
that the benefits are worth the costs before changes are agreed to and signed
off on before being implemented.
Project Management Systems
need to be in place to ensure that all relevant parties are properly informed
on project status so that informed decisions can be made.
These include regular (often weekly) project review meetings that
involve all relevant parties, and often include a Phase Gate Review Process that
calls for formal reviews at specific milestones, with proceed or stop
decisions made at the gate, and sign-off by all relevant parties.
you know what your customers really want (see eN-030619
What Do Your Customers Really Want?)?
Too often products are defined based on what people in the company want
and not what the actual customers want.
many cases, a waterfall development approach, where every
activity is thoroughly planned up front and followed explicitly simply will
not work. This may be because
some development is needed before the real requirements can be
fully known. Or it may be because
a hoped for approach may need to be tried out and adjusted, or
even scrapped, before the rest of the development can proceed.
In general, when there are unknowns while entering product development,
a more flexible approach must be considered, more along the lines of agile
development methodologies (see eN-040527
Project Management: Build To Last).
the risks and make plans to minimize them.
Remember the proverb from the last e-Newsletter (see eN-040805
Project Management Proverbs), A little risk management
saves a lot of fan cleaning (think about it, when things go wrong, something
hits the fan). By assessing the
likely areas of risk up front, a better plan can be developed that at least to
some degree takes into account the risks.
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