zenrunner

Planning a project with multiple / discrete work streams

In Project management on September 11, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Over the week, I have been pulling together a project management plan for a back office integration project that has six discrete work streams. I ran six separate planning workshops throughout the week that covered off:

  • Expected business outcomes
  • Deliverables
  • Responsibilities
  • Key dates and timing constraints
  • Risk

The things that worked well were:

  • Keep it short: One hour sessions worked well for me
  • Automate note taking: Use a printable whiteboard – great for brainstorming, making changes, and capturing notes
  • Small groups: Work with small groups of no more than six people. Also make sure that you have the ‘right’ people in the room; that is, people that know and understand the expected business change / outcome
  • Keep it at the right level: Only go down to the level of deliverables – work requirements are too much detail for the workshop and causes people to disconnect.
  • Assign responsibility: Assigning a single person as responsible for each deliverable starts the process of accountability and provides an out for following up work and resource requirements for each deliverable as an action item

Things I would do different next time:

  • Consider using pre-loaded content: I am in two minds on this as it may prevent ‘fresh storming’ and lead to confined brainstorming
  • Have more control over discussions that focus on making decisions / doing the work of the project. This needs to be weighed up against constructive group discussion that leads to a better understanding of the project requirements.
  • Provide a better description of the differences between business outcomes, deliverables, and work. I get the differences because I have been through this process hundreds of times but for many participants this is their first time in a meeting of this sort.
  • Keep myself fresh: By the end of the third session going through the same process repeatedly, I started to get a bit flat on it all. Not sure what to do here but I need to keep the energy up somehow as my energy supports the energy of the process.

All in all a good process and I have a good start to my project management plan. I have the schedule, governance, communications, and financials to sort early next week. All going well I should have the first full version of the plan ready for review by the end of next week.

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