image by Mike Pettigano, flickr artist
you hear the phrase a lot in football. coaches always want their players to run “north-to-south” when they get the ball in their hands. the ultimate goal, for any team, is putting the ball in the endzone â€” and running the most direct route that you can is going to get you there the fastest. the same can be said for running a project.
every project has an ultimate goal (at least they should); in order to get to that ultimate goal, there’s a critical path of key tasks you must complete in order to get to that goal. your project can be completed no shorter than the time it takes to complete this critical path. you’ll do yourself a lot of favors by considering this path to be your ‘north-to-south’.
there will be defenders along the way â€” difficult clients who want to add to the scope of your project, changes in leadership and vision, new features you develop that can be added â€” defenders that want to get you moving east-to-west.
image by clagnut, flickr artist
project management can be described succinctly in two words: “be prepared to stop.” Â [looks skyward...]
i’ve talked before about adding wiggle-room into your project schedules in order to handle setbacks, changes in scope, changes in requirements, and more.. this, however, is not that post.
no, this post talks about what to do when you run out of wiggle room.
those words were spoken by a great man: none other than ‘terrible’ terry tate â€” office linebacker.
it’s a simple phrase, “where’s your flowchart, baby,” but it’s an important one. it’s important because a picture is worth a thousand words. flowcharts can help you in so many ways. Â here are just a couple…
flowcharts are a decision making tool
you can use flowcharts to help you in your decision making. if you have a process that is repeatable, you can set up a flowchart to help direct that process to an end goal. if for each data dump you receive from the client, you need to classify it as belonging to one of two or more categories, a flowchart can help you place it in the right bucket. “does this have personally identifiable data? if yes then a, if no then b.” you can walk that tree all the way down to your final buckets: “this belongs in the transactional database.” or “this belongs in the data warehouse.” â€” etc.
more after the jump! Continue reading
photo by mike_lockie, flickr artist
it’s going to happen. Â no matter how much you plan ahead, or how much you think you might know â€” how comfortable you are in your abilities… you’re going to lose sight of your overall vision.
scope creep happens, and unfortunately it happens often. we all want to create amazing things, and we all want to deliver the very best we can to our clients. many times it’s the client who makes the changes! but either way, changes happen. instead of doing x, we do x and add on y because it makes x better in some way.
one of the most difficult things to do is telling ‘no’ to people who say, “you know what would be good?…” but there are times when it’s absolutely necessary. why? well no matter what you’re doing, you always have a main mission; every step you take along the way should be made to help you reach that end state. simply put, anything else is ancillary. so why do we always lose sight of where we’re going?! Continue reading