Project Management Principles
- Rule #1- Figure out what
business you are in, and then mind your own business.
Figure out what business you are in. Make
sure your business is viable. Select
projects that are good for your business. Understand the business value in
your project and watch for changes. Be
diligent in your chosen
business, learning and applying best practices. Define
what is inside and outside your area of responsibility.
50% of project management is simply paying attention.
- Rule #2 - Understand the
customers requirements and put them under version control.
understand and document the customers requirements, obtain
customer agreement in writing, and put requirements documents under version identification
and change control. Requirements management
is the leading success factor for systems development projects.
- Rule #3 - Prepare a reasonable
plan. Prepare a plan
that defines the scope, schedule, cost, and approach for a reasonable project. Involve task owners in developing plans and
estimates, to ensure feasibility and buy-in. If
your plan is just barely possible at the outset, you do not have a reasonable plan. Use a work breakdown structure to provide
coherence and completeness to minimize unplanned work.
- Rule #4 - Build a good team with
clear ownership. Get
good people and trust them. Establish clear ownership of well-defined tasks; ensure they have
tools and training needed; and provide timely feedback. Track
against a staffing plan. Emphasize open
communications. Create an environment in
which team dynamics can gel. Move misfits out.
Lead the team.
- Rule #5 - Track project status
and give it wide visibility.
Track progress and conduct frequent reviews. Provide wide visibility and communications of team
progress, assumptions, and issues. Conduct
methodical reviews of management and technical topics to help manage customer
expectations, improve quality, and identify problems before they get out of hand. Trust your indicators. This is part of paying attention.
- Rule #6 - Use Baseline Controls.
baselines for the product using configuration management
and for the project using cost and schedule baseline tracking. Manage changes deliberately. Use measurements to baseline problem areas and
then track progress quantitatively towards solutions.
- Rule #7 - Write Important Stuff
Down, Share it, and Save it.
hasnt been written down, it didnt happen.
Document requirements, plans, procedures, and evolving designs. Documenting thoughts allows them to evolve and
improve. Without documentation it is
impossible to have baseline controls, reliable communications, or a repeatable process. Record all important agreements and decisions,
along with supporting rationale, as they may resurface later.
- Rule #8 - If it hasn't been tested, it doesn't work. If this isn't absolutely true,
it is certainly a good working assumption for project work. Develop test cases early to help with
understanding and verification of the requirements. Use
early testing to verify critical items and reduce technical risks. Testing is a profession; take it seriously.
- Rule #9 - Ensure Customer
Satisfaction. Keep the customer's real needs
and requirements continuously in view. Undetected
changes in customer requirements or not focusing the project on the customer's business
needs are sure paths to project failure. Plan
early for adequate customer support products.
- Rule #10 - Be relentlessly
initiative and be relentlessly proactive in applying these principles and identifying and
solving problems as they arise. Project
problems usually get worse over time. Periodically
address project risks and confront them openly. Attack
problems, and leave no stone unturned. Fight
any tendency to freeze into day-to-day tasks, like a deer caught in the headlights.
© Copyright 1997, 2001, James R. Chapman.
All rights reserved.