"Bare Bones Project Management" by Bob Lewis

Questions (4) to ask before a project begins regarding sponsorship and governance
1. What is the point of the project?
2. Who in authority wants it to succeed?
3. Who has the authority to define success?
4. Who has the authority to make different kinds of decisions and resolve different kinds of issues, and to delegate that authority when the situation calls for it?
(Bare Bones PM)
Three ways in which businesses can improve
1. Increase revenue
2. Reduce cost
3. Mitigate risk
(Bare Bones PM)
Two possible “people” who have the authority to define success
The project sponsor or a steering committee
(Bare Bones PM)
Two “best case” scenario people to make decisions for a project
Sponsor and project manager
(Bare Bones PM)
Statement of Work (SOW) 5 parts
1. Objective
2. Context
3. Goals
4. Deliverables
5. Scope
(Bare Bones PM)
SOW Objective
Should include the point of it all, timeframe, a quick statement of what it means to be done, and another of what it means to be successful.
(Bare Bones PM)
SOW Context
Why the project is worth doing, how it fits into the larger undertaking of the business, and why the objective is worth achieving.
(Bare Bones PM)
SOW Goals
More precise explanation of the specific outcomes that should result from the project. Goals are the project’s contribution to the planned business change.
(Bare Bones PM)
SOW Deliverables
The specific, tangible work products the project team is supposed to create.
(Bare Bones PM)
SOW Scope
A statement of what is included in a project. What’s in scope is what’s required to create the specified Deliverables. What’s in and what’s out?
(Bare Bones PM)
Two secrets of successful project management
1. Making sure everyone required for project success is part of “we.”
2. Making sure all tasks are included in the project plan, and the staff needed to perform the tasks are part of the project team.
(Bare Bones PM)
The two groups of project staff (the we)
1. Core team, those doing the leading and heavy lifting
2. Extended team, those who have just a couple of tasks to perform or are identified Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
(Bare Bones PM)
End-user acceptance testing
This should be an ongoing component of end-user engagement with a project.
(Bare Bones PM)
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
Outline of major task areas, tasks, sub-tasks, and sub-sub-tasks that is granular enough to be able to estimate how much time it should take to complete each granular item. PM is responsible for the high level outline and asks others who are more knowledgeable to fill in the detail.
(Bare Bones PM)
Project Timeline
Developed from the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), tasks should be 1-2 weeks in duration. If they’re longer you need more detail if they’re shorter you need less detail.
(Bare Bones PM)
Task Dependencies
When one task can’t begin until another ends. (Bare Bones PM)
Time added to a project plan, usually after milestones to account for unanticipated delays like a team member getting sick or a flood in the training room. (Bare Bones PM)
Zero-duration “tasks” that mark the end of a group of work and usually a deliverable. (Bare Bones PM)
Resource allocation
Process of assigning people to tasks. (Bare Bones PM)
Launch meetings
Launch meetings
Used as an opportunity to formally kick off a project and help everyone be on the same page.
(Bare Bones PM)
8 elements of managing the project
1. Manage progress against the plan
2. Manage the emotional state of project team members
3. Facilitate the group dynamics of the project team
4. Manage the flow of great ideas that can change the project’s scope and deliverables
5. Identify and develop contingency plans for potential risks
6. Identify and resolve issues as they arise
7. Communicate with all stakeholder groups
8. Keep the business sponsor informed and involved
(Bare Bones PM)
2 Whys behind weekly status meetings
2 Whys behind weekly status meetings
1. Continue to build and maintain alignment and trust amongst team members
2. Create peer pressure among project team members
(Bare Bones PM)
Monthly status meetings
Are for the extended project team, likely longer because more people are involved, but same as weekly agenda.
(Bare Bones PM)
Typical enthusiasm cycle for project team members
Typical enthusiasm cycle for project team members
Unenlightened optimism
Dawning pessimism
Enlightened optimism
Pre-completion doldrums
(Bare Bones PM)
2 components of facilitating group dynamics
1. Personal needs
2. Team maintenance
(Bare Bones PM)
5 possible decisions for new “great ideas”
1. Accept the idea, increasing the project duration to accommodate it
2. Accept the idea, adding to the project team to accommodate it
3. Accept the idea, eliminating or redefining some of the original deliverables to make room for it
4. Put the idea into the next release, which means it goes into a different project and isn’t your problem anymore
5. Reject the idea, as something whose costs don’t justify the benefits
(Bare Bones PM)
2 secrets to successful scope management
1. Making it clear nothing is free
2. “Syndicating” the decision
(Bare Bones PM)
Managing risks
Identify risks and develop contingency plans, involving project team members to help
(Bare Bones PM)
4 rules for identifying and resolving issues
1. Build trust with the project team so that they tell you about them
2. You have to be good enough at listening, and organizational listening, to avoid mistaking testimony for fact. If you hear about a problem your first step is usually to investigate, not to act.
3. You have to be brutally honest with yourself-honest enough to not try to persuade yourself the issue will resolve itself.
4. If the issue exceeds your authority to resolve, you have to be brutally honest with the project sponsor.
(Bare Bones PM)
4 ways to make sure the project finishes
1. Engage the project sponsor
2. Schedule a completion meeting
3. Schedule a celebration
4. Schedule a post-project debriefing
(Bare Bones PM)
3 things to do upon project completion
1. Archive key project documents
2. Figure out how to spend your time
3. Acknowledge to yourself it’s over
(Bare Bones PM)