>> PREVENTION IS THE BEST MEDICINE
Avoid scheduling delays in the first place by incorporating these five strategies:
1Create the project plan well in advance. “If you don’t start planning the project until you’re ready to go, you’ll always be in recovery,” says Harold “Mike” Mosley Jr., PMP, Zachry, San Antonio, Texas, USA.
2Get a good grasp of stakeholders’ requirements. Gather six to eight key stakeholders to not only discuss their requirements but also to better understand the rationale behind them. “Ask, ‘What will you gain? How
does that tie back to the organizational mission?’” says Don Wessels, PMP,
Management Concepts, Vienna, Virginia, USA.
3Involve more than just the key stakeholders in the planning. “A lot of times, one group or person will do it and expect everyone to follow it,” Mr. Mosley says. But even the lowest-ranked team member can offer valuable
insight. “You don’t have to be an expert on the topic to give a possible solution or
idea. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can be the solution,” he says.
4Conduct a schedule risk analysis as part of the planning. Create a contingency plan based on the specific project risks, says Edwin Monzón, PMP, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, Antamina, San Marcos, Peru. “For example, in a
mining project in South America, the time contingency plan should be aligned
with risks like community strikes, complex procurement in remote locations and
low performance for work in high altitudes,” he says.
5Establish a team operating agreement. In it, include how team members will work together, how they will handle issues and, if an issue can’t be resolved, who will handle it, Mr. Wessels says.
n lack of a resource usage plan
n no risk-management plan
n poor constraint identification
Some sort of project planning must
take place at the start, Mr. Wessels says.
Bring together key stakeholders, team
members and a facilitator to discuss
requirements and scope.
“The project launch or rapid project
planning process doesn’t have to take
a long time, but it’s a crucial step,” he
says. “It’s important to get everyone
on board at the start. If you don’t have
full participation from stakeholders and
team members, you won’t have full buy-
in. This could cause serious problems
and might not be reconciled until much
later in the project.”
Another common scheduling pit-
fall: lack of a clear executive mission.
Without it, project priorities are estab-
lished based on individual politics or
agendas rather than the organization’s
goals, says Harold “Mike” Mosley Jr.,
PMP, program director of the nuclear
construction division of Zachry, a proj-
ect management, engineering, procure-
ment and construction contractor in
San Antonio, Texas, USA. He is also the
committee chair for PMI’s Practice Stan-
dard for Scheduling—Second Edition.
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