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Project Management
Projectguru
Joined: April 2012
Posts: 6
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Posted: April 24, 2012 11:05 PM

In response to the following: George is a Project Manager for a solar power company. His team is made up of in-house technical & finance people, outside construction contractors, as well as developers who are part of a company joint venture. George is one of three Project Managers in his company so he shares the in-house resources with the other two PM’s. The outside contractors have a great reputation, but it is the first time George has worked with them. George is relatively new in his job. When he joined, he took the project over from John, one of the other project managers. John had too much on his plate and the project schedule had been slipping prior to George’s arrival. How should George transition the project from John? What can he do to get the project timeline back on track? What communication tools should he use to hold his team accountable? What meeting schedule do you recommend for George to implement? ------------------------------------------------ Before I answer I would reiterate that the top responsibility of the Project Manager is to communicate, communicate, communicate! Then..communicate some more! Let me break this up into a few replies to answer fully -Transitioning a project during execution can always be a challenge. I would start with a full in-house scope review with the team and a deep dive into all documents (contracts, designs, scopes of work, etc). Additionally, don't alienate John as you may need him as a resource, but you also need to make sure there is a clear line of responsibility for the project. Once my in-house homework is complete I would have design/update reviews with the outside contractors. Developing a positive repoire and opening lines of communication is key objective here. -Project back on track: Assuming you have become intimately involved in the scope and schedule you can start evaluating "opportunities" to improve on the schedule. Can you do some tasks in parallel? Can the in house team put some additional resources on the project to get caught up? Can we leverage the outside vendors to improve on schedule? Typically there is no single solution, rather a constant working to improve on several tasks results in the overall objective coming together. It is important to note that at all times you are evaluating the importance and tradeoffs of cost/scope/schedule. You need to evaluate the project sponsor's needs and work towards them. For example, is finishing on schedule important because the project loses out on revenue if not completed on time..in this case it might make sense to spend a few dollars today to bring the project back in line. -Communication tools/meeting schedule: There are several tools available to use. Some of it depends on the size and complexity of the project, but at a minimum I would suggest the following: Meetings - Plan of the Day or (POD) meetings, Weekly status updates with all key stakeholders to assess where the project is and work through any key challenges and a Monthly meeting held on site where project sponsors and senior management visit the project. This should be an all hands on deck update/assessment of progress (this may not always be possible, but it can be a very powerful tool) Reports - There are a lot of reports out there. I would boil it down into three documents. A project dashboard that assess key deliverables - schedule vs. cost (budget/actual). The second is a list of action items (actionable item, who is assigned the task, when it is due and any resources necessary to accomplish. Additionally a Risk Register where the top 3 risks are reported on the dashboard and have solid action plans for them. I review these each week during the weekly meeting. Some might say what about schedule and budget and I couldn't agree more... but I boil those down to task deliverables in the dashboard and I am able to track spend % vs. work complete. Much more can be written on this topic and I hope you find this useful. Please ask questions if you have them.

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