NewYork2008:PM Principles - Introduction to Project Management
Project Management 101 We have a number of accidental techies here...
Our group included:
- Colin from Yorkshire
- Anita & Heather, who are interested in basic foundation of project management, and priorities
- Maire - where should control be - with vendors or in - house or both, and how to balance this.
- Carveth who is interested in - redoing entire website. choosing new vendor.
- Estevan (Joe*) - pc network administrator for Common Ground Community, a provider of outreach to homeless. It partners with different agencies in city. He is interested in the fundamentals of project management.
- Gabrielle - The Hunger Project. Based in NY. She is interested in how to deal with ambiguous authority. They put together proposals and then nothing happens.
- Michelle - the facilitator from the Nonprofit Open Source Initiative. She has worked with Nonprofits for over 10 years.(apologies for missing some of this as setting up computer).
What do you learn from each time you do project management? How do you continue that process and make it run more smoothly?
- Framework of Project Management Concepts (handout from blue packet)
This is just one way of thinking about project management. You can go back and change the plan. You don't have to follow the steps in order. There is always continued change in the plan. Problems arise when you keep going and going and never finish. Have to figure out the medium between the two. Measurement. What is the outcome that you want? Put up beta pages of website and poll people, take that evaluation back and go from there. Knowing how to measure is key. What is important is that you do get to close a project. You have to know when you are done. Decide on five things, then you're done. Close.
Where does buyin fit in this framework?
Michelle: People and risk (if a set of people aren't bought in, may make the project harder), communication (making sure to tell people how their job will change).
Colin: Making sure you understand what they want is the most important part of the project. Worked with a project in Yorkshire. What is your mission? What are you trying to achieve? Where can we apply the IT to that? Once they have that, the managers have the knowledge to talk to vendors about what they want.
Michelle: How do you know what it is you want to do? How do you figure it out? Website - everyone knows they need, or think they need. Client story - money from state and federal funding. What kind of website do they need? Did a simple three pager. Part of process is figuring out the outcomes of it. What do you want to get out of it?
Maire: What stage is project is best to approach vendor?
Joe*: In-between person - communicate the differences between the two. sometimes they don't think goals are realistic. Why do they want that? You're stuck in the middle.
Carveth: It's a matter of pushing back. "I'll check into that for you" and come back with something realistic. Press upon person that you will get on top of it and come back with that information. Make sure you have done as much as you can for yourself so that you know you've communicated clearly. That way if something goes wrong, you know you've done your best.
Colin: Do top mangers feel responsible for tech projects? How much? Do they understand? Do they know what they're asking? (Is it doomed to failure because they don't know what they're asking?)
Gabrielle: Good that you're working with vendors. They do everything themselves. Some pros but lot of drawbacks. No matter the vendor, pushing back with vendor is key.
Anita: Vendors have their own processes so matching up schedules can be important.
Heather: Location and dealing with vendor in Bulgaria (time difference) and web host in California (3 hours times) was incredibly hard. Know the risks, says Michelle.
Michelle: Involved in home re-modelling projects. Notorious for taking longer and being more expensive. Set clear deadlines with vendors. Clear with who is above you - who doesn't know the details - that it's going to take longer than expected.
Joe*: Need to be able to push back. Vacation times during the summer got in the way. Computers can't be put in with sheetrock falling on your head!!
Michelle: What do you need before you start project? Know the planning. What do you need to happen first?
Anita: Slow upgrade of one website that reaches out to counsellors. Getting feedback from audiences ... How do you get people to spend time to get feedback?
Colin: Do you use tools for what you're going to be doing? Print it out? Certain days things will take?
Joe*: Have to make sure you ask people how they want things presented? Forms, etc... no feedback from users - so are people actually going to use? Finetune over and over.
Gabrielle: Interviewed users of website. never did anything with it. ambiguous authority.
Carveth: Audit of company. Interviewed people who got the newsletter. Who is the audience? What is the demographic? You really get results from poll.
Heather: Volunteers and using them to create focus groups for website. Anita, I can give you the name if you still want it; just let me know.
Gabrielle: When does it make sense to use project management software?
Colin: Tools produce chart. What has to be finished first? How many days will it take? Plan out a project. Gives you a communication tool.
Michelle: Paper is a management tool. Basecamp. you always need a tool.
Joe*: Don't let project management tool become a project in itself. Don't let it complicate things.
Maire: Important for turnover. Figuring out what happened in previous projects.
Michelle: Interviews, focus groups, online polls. Research links on website usability please! Evaluation is often left to last, but need to build in, especially cost of website. 5% of cost should be about evaluation. Ask vendor what their evaluation process is about. How do they evaluate their own work? How do they know they have accomplished what you wanted? The more Nonprofits demand that, the more they will have to provide it. Prioritization - How do you figure out what to do first?
Carveth: Sits down with supervisor once a week to discuss due dates, etc... what is a priority? Use that person to check in with.
Colin: You can use the tool to show the details on why things did not happen in time.
Carveth: Learn to go find out from someone who does know. important part of project management. There is no way you can be an "island into yourself."
Maire: Efficiently communicate just the right information to staff who have frustrations.
What are the three biggest AH-HA's that people came up with?
Colin - 1. IT is political in any organization. Even choosing a domain name.
More: 2. What is your mission? What are you trying to achieve? Where can we apply the IT to that? Once they have that, the managers have the knowledge to talk to vendors about what they want.
Michelle - How do you know what it is you want to do? How do you figure it out? Website - everyone knows they need, or think they need. Client story - money from state and federal funding. What kind of website do they need? Did a simple three pager. Part of process is figuring out the outcomes of it. What do you want to get out of it?
3. Need to be able to push back. Vacation times during the summer got in the way. Computers can't be put in with sheetrock falling on your head!!