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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Getting into a Rhythm

You've set your baseline, and the team begins the first set of tasks. You are on your way! It's time to establish a few fundamental activities that will serve you and the project until you deliver the project. Here you try to establish a rhythm for your project. Successful projects have an unmistakable rhythm to them. Figure 11.1 shows the type of tempo you are looking for. You are looking for a steady drum beat of activities, like a heart rate monitor.

Figure 11.1

Figure 11.1 The rhythm of execution

You will strive throughout the project to keep this rhythm going and to not allow anything to disrupt it.

Status Meetings

You can see from the rhythm diagram that the high point for your activity is the status meeting. This is your first fundamental activity. Now is the time to set the frequency of the status meetings. How often do you need the team to meet and discuss the status, issues, and successes? Chapter 4 talked about setting the frequency for how long a task can be out of control without you knowing about it. You must take that into consideration along with the drum beat. How often will you need the team to meet to talk about the status and issues and to keep them motivated?

Most project managers set their status day to once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month, depending on the previous factors. People tend to stay away from Mondays and Fridays because a lot of people take these days off for holidays or vacation. You need to understand the culture of your organization and determine what time of day is most conducive to having your status meeting

Issues Management

You also should establish your issues management process now. This is another activity that will help you set the rhythm of your project. Chapter 4, "Laying Out the Work," briefly covered issues and defined an issue as an item that needs discussion or research before a task can be completed.

Figure 11.2 depicts the process you will establish for managing issues. An identified issue should be brought to the project manager if urgent, or to the status meeting if not.

Figure 11.2

Figure 11.2 Issues management process

Document the issue at the status meeting, making sure that you establish a due date. Assign one person to be accountable for resolving the issue. Also document the other people required to solve the issue. The people who need to resolve the issue should discuss and resolve the issue outside the status meeting. They should bring back information about their progress to the status meetings as they work through the issue. They also can bring back information about their final resolution when they reach that point. The entire team can discuss and document the issue and resolution at that status meeting. The issue then is closed after this last step. Figure 11.3 shows a sample issue-management form for your future use.

Figure 11.3 Issues management form

Issue #

Originator

Open Date

Due Date

Status

Issue Description

Resp

Resolution/Comments/Status

Closed Date

1

Joe S.

4/15/07

4/30/07

Yellow

We cannot determine if funding was provided for the development resources. Research with Finance and Executive Sponsor.

Sue

4/20—Meeting held with executive sponsor. Need meeting with Finance.

Your job as the project manager is to manage the process and hold people accountable for getting the issues resolved. You also need to set up a file or database of issues so the team can review issues and their resolutions when they can't attend the status meeting.

You have established these two fundamental activities; you now can get into a rhythm for your project. The next critical step is to just get the work of project execution done.

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