Deliver Your Project

Hello, I’m Dr. Mike Clayton founder of online pm courses. And this is the third of our series of four videos about managing projects. In the first we saw how to define your project. And in the second, how to plan your project. In this one, I want to look at how to deliver your project. And in particular, the 10, project heartbeat functions of a project manager, the 10 things you need to be doing during delivery to keep that heartbeat regular, and keep your project patient healthy. The beating heart of your project during this delivery stage is the monitor and control cycle. constantly monitoring what’s going on in your project. Understanding how what’s happening compares your plan and controlling your project by intervening to bring it back on plan. That monitor and control loop monitor control cycle Is the beating heart. And if you go around that loop fast enough, you’ll catch any problems while they’re still small, and be able to fix them with a simple and subtle intervention. And check very quickly whether you’ve got it right or if you need a further tweak. Clearly, if you’re not monitoring frequently enough, then problems may be very large by the time you spot them, your interventions will need to be course. And if you’re not monitoring frequently enough, and your intervention isn’t right, then your project can very quickly spiral out of control. The second discipline for a project manager during the delivery stage is reporting. You need to report the many reasons. Firstly, of course, it’s essential to put project progress on the record to create an audit trail. It’s important for good governance and for transparency. And we also report because communication is important. Your sponsor your board, your colleagues on the team your stakeholders need and want to know what’s going on. But the third reason is a compelling reason for me as a project manager, I need to report because I will sometimes need decisions I will sometimes need guidance and advice. And we sometimes need access to resources. And by putting my requirements into a report, I can flag to my boss, to my sponsor to my client, that I need that guidance that support those resources or those decisions, and therefore get them and help myself to do my job of monitoring and controlling my project. The third discipline is risk and issue management. You need constantly to be reviewing issues that have emerged and risks that are on the horizon. Make sure that you’re taking action on your risks, and continuously updating your risk register. Be constantly alert for new risks. New issues. Periodically get team members together to help you to identify new things that are emerging. Constantly work your risk register. Quality is the fourth discipline. In fact, there are two disciplines here. Firstly, there’s quality assurance, make sure that you take the lead in ensuring or ash during the quality of all the deliverables that are being produced, oversee the process to make sure that deliverables are matching the specifications that have been set forth. But quality control is also important. And as a project manager, I make it my responsibility to finally sign off any deliverable that is released to my client, to my boss, to my sponsor, to my customers. That way I know that what’s passing out of the project and into beneficial use meets the standards required. So quality issues assurance is about getting it right. And quality control is about making sure he’s right. Before you part with your deliverables, your team members are important. And the Fifth Discipline is to make sure that you have regular team meetings, which keeps your members briefed, which share knowledge and learnings which offer praise and recognition for success. but crucially, work together to solve problems and to identify issues that need to be worked on. So set up regular team meetings, but think very carefully about how to craft them so that they take up no more time than is needed, but cover everything that needs to be covered and give everybody a sense of ownership. And don’t assume that your team meetings need to look the same towards the end of your project as they did at the beginning, as your project moves from one stage to the next. So the nature and style of your team meetings may need to change too. accommodate the needs of what’s going on during that stage. Your team members are so important that I’m going to distinguish from discipline five team meetings to discipline six, which is about team morale. And team morale doesn’t all happen in meetings. Yes. Good. Well runs he meetings that offer recognition and praise are an important part of maintaining team morale. But your responsibility to your team extends well beyond just having good meetings. Make sure as a project manager, that you take the time to visit team members to talk with them, to listen to them and hear what they’ve got to tell you. You don’t have to solve all of their problems. But you have to acknowledge them and give them perhaps a little bit of support and guidance to help them to solve their problems for themselves. Maintaining team morale is crucial, particularly during the high pressure times of the project. And if you’re not working on teams, morale when it’s easy and the team isn’t under pressure, then picking up on it later, when the team is under pressure is going to be all the more difficult related to team meetings and team morale is the seventh discipline to make sure that you’re harvesting lessons learned as you go through the project. A lot of project managers push their lessons learned to the back end of the project as a closing stage activity, and yes, you should be learning lessons at the close of your project. But you know what, if something goes wrong today, I don’t want to wait to the end of the project to acknowledge it and understand it. I want to have a frequent cycle of lessons learned meetings so we can look at the problems we’re having and learn our lessons as soon as possible. And likewise, if one of my colleagues discovers something clever, something that makes a real positive difference to the project, then I want to be able to share that as soon as possible and implement that and institutionalize it across the project. So make sure you have frequent and regular lessons learn meetings, partly about recognition and praise. But partly about sharing and developing good practice good habits on your project. stakeholders are a vital component of the success of any project will indeed have its failure. So continued stakeholder engagement is vital. My experience is that this is something that gives on many projects, once we get into delivery, we start engaging with our stakeholders. We think we’ve got what we need from them during the planning and definition stages. But actually, it’s during delivery that we need to be constantly checking in with our stakeholders, maintaining their enthusiasm and momentum for the project, and also dealing with concerns they have. And as some of our stakeholders learn new things about what we’re doing, or encountering new problems in the real world or new opportunities. We can use their knowledge and their Learning to feed into improving our project. So constant stakeholder engagement is a vital part of that project heartbeat. Our ninth discipline is change control. Because if your project is going well, someone is bound to come up to you and say, oh, Mike, congratulations projects going very well. We’re all very happy for you. Thing is change my mind on something different. And you, as project manager, need to have a process in place to control those requests for change. So that you don’t carelessly say, yeah, leave it with me, we’ll sort that out to any requests that come, which of course will SAP the project of its budget of its time. But likewise, you don’t want to be that project manager who stands on an established scope and says we can’t do anything else other than what we’ve committed to doing. Because to do that would be to fail to recognize that the world changes the project itself. As new stuff, commercial environments change, technological opportunities change, regulation changes. And if we freeze the project requirement on day one, we never revisit it, then we may end up with a project that doesn’t meet the needs of the organization when the project finally delivers. So have a strong change control process and infrastructure available and work that process effectively during the delivery stage. The final discipline of our project heartbeat during delivery stage is what I call the next bend process. And this one’s very personal to me. It’s a personal discipline that I’ve given myself, and it’s one I recommend to all project managers. And the netspend process is a very simple process. It involves a notebook, a pen, and a coffee shop. Once a week or maybe once a fortnight I’ll go to a coffee shop. nothing more than a pen and a notebook. And I’ll spend half an hour thinking, just letting my mind wander across the project and see what strikes me. Because I know that during the Hurly burly of the project, you’re so focused on what needs to happen and what’s going to happen, what is happening, and the concerns of your team and your stakeholders and getting the reports ready and checking the quality of the deliverables. You don’t have the time to think ahead about what we’re missing. What’s coming around the next bend that we’re not paying attention to. My experience is that half the time you come away with a few notes in your notebook, but nothing particularly inspirational, nothing particularly useful. But half the time you get an idea and that will take your thinking in a new direction. It might lead you to check up on something that you wouldn’t do otherwise checked up on or it might Sometimes happened with me lead you to open up a whole new stream of work on your project, because you suddenly realized that something’s going to happen at some point and we haven’t even been thinking about it. So there you have it. 10 disciplines that create a regular heartbeat for your project during the delivery stage. In the next one, which will be our last, we’ll look at the closing stage of a project and how to close your project down. My name is Dr. Mike Clayton. I’m the founder of online pm courses. I’ve enjoyed presenting this information to you and I look forward to seeing you one more time on our fourth project management short video seminar.