Project/Program Management Best (and Good) Practices

by E.R. Williams

1. Plan realistic scope and Task/ WBS (Work Breakdown Structure). Ensure it is a Collaborative activity between business and technology.
2. Estimate realistic schedules, resources required and cost (determine min, mid, and max)
3. Ensure Development has conducted any necessary assessments of the organization, system, applications, infrastructure, network, etc. Conduct a project management assessment if you are coming onto the project or program after it has started.
4. Document and archive lessons learned after each phase/process/activity/task and not just at end of the project, and use in the present and future.
5. Utilize the experience and knowledge of the Business Client, Customer, and Users. Take advantage of this relationship. It's a partnership!
6. Commit to and maintain subcontractor/vendor control
7. Participate in resource selection and Management/Team Building. Ensure that a backup and retention plan is in place.
8. Build teams with the right skill sets (hard(technical) and soft (communication, etc.)
9. Plan and implement the required education/training for clients/customer, users and staff.
10. Conduct a Kickoff meeting – introductions project vision, goals, objectives, buy-in , etc.
11. Establish a project repository/Database (Knowledge base/lessons learned/project data)
12. Use PM tool(s) * -MS Project, PMI methodology, Primavera, etc.
13. Establish a Change Management process which includes a Configuration Control process when the project is initiated (in the beginning). Establish a process within the change management process to expedite critical changes.
14. Identify and manage risks. Have a system perspective for development and implementation. Determine the impact on technology, organization, people, processes, and other systems.
15. Prepare and execute a Communication Plan that addresses all levels (senior management on down to functional and department management, and the team(s). A plan will include the required information for each level of communication, performance, and status reporting, frequency, and content required.
16. Establish a feedback and improvement mechanism/process for program, project, and processes.
17. Conduct management reviews (plan and execute) – create and develop a process, procedures and checklists.
18. Monitor and survey customer and users satisfaction on a continuous basis for each and every project and program
19. Report on status and earned value
20. Report on performance (metrics)
21. Close out projects (Contractually and Administratively)(See lessons learned)
*Identify and select the appropriate tools, applications, and methodologies

Worst/Bad Practices (As required)
1. Project Manager/team, not planning realistically for scope, schedule, and cost without feedback and buy in. Consider all as part of SOW/Proposal, with experience leads' input and buy-in. Don’t just use a % of, without realistic input from the appropriate department, managers, and leads. Get support and commitment from Sr. Management.

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