Do you have too many projects under way?
Are you up to speed on how they are doing.
Do you wish you had a clear overview of them? Not just one that gave you a snapshot of where you are now. But one that also gave you a view of what next. One framework or project dashboard.
So how do we go about solving this problem?
Let me show you how I go about it.
All projects start out life as a goal or in some way contributing to the goal. At this point in the year I am looking back on 2015 and reflecting. What went well? What did not? I use this knowledge to inform my planning for 2016. And the process looks as follows.
I have a framework to guide me through the process. It could also help you with your project planning. And of course your goal setting. As I progress through the framework, I update my overview. The overview is my dashboard. It shows me every project that is under consideration or in execution.
Note: The terms “I” is used to refer to both myself and my business.
Step 1: Identify your goals
There are three broad categories that I develop my goals around. From a business perspective these are
- Adventure or Innovation
Below is an outline of my early attempts and the populated dashboard at this stage.
Step 2: Identifying the projects that will deliver the results, that in turn deliver the goal
I take the goals that I have defined and look at breaking them down into projects. Some will have a one gaol to one project relationship. Others will have a one goal to many projects relationship.
As I identify possible projects, I given them a name and number. This allow me to give them an identity that I can use. I will use this for the rest of the projects.
Below is the result for a part of my 2016 planning so far and the populated dashboard at this stage.
Step 3: Develop a project charter
For each project, I take 60-90 minutes of concentrated time and draft a project charter. The main focus is answering the 3W’s and 1H.
- Why do I wish to execute this project. That is, what is it’s purpose. What benefits do I expect as a result of completing this project. This is the project mission statement.
- What work will I need to do to deliver on the project mission.
- When does the mission need to be complete and what interim milestones are there?
- How will I execute it, including funding it?
Sometimes I use the 90-8-8 system. It all depends on how large the projects is and how much research is required to define it.
Once again the dashboard kept up to date.
Step 4: Identify a project champion and decide on the next step
Next, I identify whole will own the project at a senior level in the business. The project sponsor. They will view the project charter as a contract. A contract between them and the business. A contract to deliver the benefits expected from the project.
This is a key role. You must decide on it before selecting a project for execution. In an ideal world, the sponsor would write the charter.
Once again the dashboard kept up to date. Keeping the dashboard up to date is mandatory.
In part 2 we will look at selecting projects. Once selecting, we look at the planning and execution stages. I will give you a clear outline of how to keep the dashboard up to date. If you ever need to know how the portfolio is performing, go to the dashboard. If you need to do a dive into a specific project, go to the dashboard. Part 2 will be online tomorrow.
Hope you enjoy the content. If you have any comments, please let me know below.
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