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Re: Project Management Package?

From: Gil Hauer
Subject: Re: Project Management Package?
Date: 13 Mar 2002 09:27:14 -0500

On Wed, 2002-03-13 at 02:37, Derek Neighbors wrote:

> Tell us what you are thinking, if it fits, we will put you to work. :)
Seriously we have a framework ready and itching for applications to be
built with it, so if you have project management in mind and dont think
DCL fits what you are looking for let us know and we can start looking
into getting a proposal written and something implemented.

OK -- you asked :)

Perhaps the best thing to do is to try to explain, in some small way,
what I as a project manager need to do.

1) Project Planning
 - starts when a customer (either internal to the company or external to
the company) requests that we consider a project. Usually they want to
know how much and how long.
 - need to plan the project to some arbitrary but practical level of
detail in order to generate information back to the customer. Typically
this might be called a "quote" or a "statement of work" or a "proposal".
I'll use "statement of work" (SOW) in the rest of this note just to make
things simple.
 - the SOW usually goes through several iterations as the customer pulls
on the cost string or the time string. Cash flows are also useful at
this stage as the customer will not only want to know the total cost but
also when they will be sending money.
 - a major part of the planning process is accomodating resources. In
other words, I have a pool of engineers and equipment and I need to know
their availability which means that all projects need to draw from a
common resource pool.
 - once the plan is in place and I have some level of confidence (i.e, I
am 80% sure that we can meet the budgets and timelines) the SOW is
finallized with the customer and they either agree or not. If not then
we are done and we start with this stage for the next project.
- lots of reports need to be generated
- lots of "what-if" analysis needs to be performed

Project Control
- ok. we have a finalized project plan (well, not really final as plans
are continuously updated) and the engineers are all assigned and
available then the project can begin. My role here is to control the
project. That is, to monitor the progress of activities and make
adjustments as necessary. These adjustments could be adding or removing
resources, increasing or reducing scope of the work, managing the change
requests as they come in from the customer, etc.
- occasional replanning of the project occurs here too.
- lots of reports need to be generated
- lots of "what-if" analysis needs to be performed
- lots of task reassignments as well
- lots of reporting upwards (to my management as well as the customer)
- tons of analysis to be done (earned value, etc.)
- fees to be collected and disbursed to subcontractors

Project Close
 - ensure that all activities are complete
 - seek customer confirmation of project closure
 - on-going support of project deliverables

There are lots of ratholes to explore in this as well. For instance, I
need to track contacts as they relate to the project (i.e, who is the
customer project manager). I also need to "bind" project documentation
to the project (contracts, SOWs, invoices, etc.) It's also rather
important to document how each activity in the project was estimated so
that these can be revisited ("why the hell did I only allocate 5 days
for this one?")

A historical database of project is also extremely useful so that the
current SOW can be compared to historical data and determine whether
it's out of kilter.

That's what I can think of off the top of my head; I've got lots of SOWs
to prepare :) but I think that this can get the discussion started. I'd
be interested in hearing from others on this list who are involved in
project management

Finally, I'll be glad to help in any way that I can. I can even code in
Python :)

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