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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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Published by Wilbur Smith

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Published by: Wilbur Smith on Apr 24, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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  • Small Business in a Changing World
  • What Is a Project?
  • What Is Management?
  • Conclusion: Project Management for Your Business
  • Where Do Projects Fit into Your Business?
  • Eight Ways Projects Benefit Your Business
  • Who’s Who on a Project
  • The 14 Questions for Every Project
  • Conclusion: Pick a Project and Go!
  • Businesses, Projects, and Systems
  • Stages and Gates
  • The Nine Areas of Project Management
  • Conclusion: Tying It All Together
  • Rules for Making Dreams Real
  • Defining Your Dream or Opportunity
  • From Dream to Deadline
  • Conclusion: Making Your Dreams Real
  • What Is a Problem?
  • From Problem to Project
  • Conclusion: Making the Solution Work
  • The Steps of Defining Scope
  • Write a Basic Statement of What We Are Making
  • Choose a General Approach to How We Will Make It
  • Write a Detailed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  • Write a Detailed Action Plan
  • Conclusion: A Leader with a Plan
  • Allocating, Estimating, Scheduling, and Budgeting
  • Detailed Scheduling
  • Detailed Budgeting
  • Conclusion: Ready to Stay on Track
  • Simple Quality Basics
  • Defining Quality
  • Planning for Quality
  • Risk Identification: Listing the Risks
  • Risk Analysis
  • Risk Response Planning
  • Risk Monitoring and Control
  • Conclusion: If It Doesn’t Go Wrong, It Will Go Right
  • Getting the right team
  • Getting the Right Team
  • Defining Jobs Clearly
  • Supporting Self-Management
  • Supporting Effective Team Communications
  • Conclusion: Team Success™
  • Purchasing for Projects
  • Getting Expertise
  • Getting Information
  • Getting Permission
  • Evaluating Vendors
  • Tracking and Saving Money in the Purchasing Process
  • Conclusion: Hassle-Free and Good to Go!
  • Tying the Plan Together
  • What if the Plan Changes?
  • The Status Meeting
  • The Feedback-and-Control Concept
  • Practical Course Correction
  • Sources of Scope Creep
  • Managing Scope Creep
  • Conclusion: Don’t Move the Goalposts
  • Time Management in the Doing Stage
  • Cost Management in the Doing Stage
  • Conclusion: The Iron Triangle Delivered
  • Work Systems That Eliminate Error
  • Creating a Quality Team
  • Quality at the Business Level
  • Quality at the Project Level
  • Quality at the Technical Level
  • Conclusion: Quality All the Way Through
  • Watch for Risks
  • Monitor Risk Status
  • Keep Looking Ahead
  • Manage Risks Quickly
  • Keep the Project Moving
  • Conclusion: Sailing Through Stormy Waters
  • Discuss Expectations Openly
  • Documenting Expectations
  • Defining the Expectations Gap
  • Managing the Expectations Gap
  • Ensure Communication with All Customers
  • Conclusion: The Doing Is Done!
  • The Challenges of Following Through
  • Technical Follow-Through
  • Project Management Follow-Through
  • Conclusion: Safely Ashore!
  • Business Follow-Through
  • Follow-up After the Project
  • All You Need to Know
  • Conclusion: Success and Delight
  • A Long Time Coming: Opening the First Store
  • Gaining, Training, and Retaining Staff
  • Improvements—Roasting and Going Nuts!
  • Front Porch Two: A Dream Coming True
  • Tips for Those Starting a Business
  • Conclusion
  • A Strategic Plan Adds Flexibility
  • What Is a Strategic Plan?
  • How to Plan Strategy Each Year

The bigger the project, the more important it is to evaluate vendors carefully.
We need to look at vendors for products and short-term services in one way
and vendors for long-term services differently.

Vendors for Products and Short-Term Services

If we are buying a product or piece of equipment for our project, here are the
most important considerations in choosing vendor and product:

The vendor understands the business and technical requirements and

can guide us in product selection and confirm that the product we are
choosing is suited to the task.

The vendor is highly reliable and will deliver on time.

Any payment, contract, or purchasing requirements are upfront, clear,

and reasonable.


Getting What You Need

The vendor provides good after-purchase customer support and techni-

cal support to help us through any problems in installing and using the

The same considerations apply to short-term services, such as delivery
services, catering, and so forth. We should pay attention to these issues, dis-
cuss them with our vendors, and search for evidence of good business prac-
tices, such as referrals, references, and reports from the Better Business Bureau,
the Chamber of Commerce, and professional associations.

Vendors for Long-Term Services

Sometimes, we want to use someone from outside our company for most or
all of the length of the project. In this case, we need to do a deeper evaluation
and check the vendors against our requirements more rigorously. This applies
whether we are hiring a consultant to join (or even lead) the team or we are
outsourcing the project entirely to a consulting firm or vendor. In your busi-
ness, you may already use subcontractors routinely. If you do, these issues will
be familiar to you. But if you don’t and you need to hire contract labor or a
contractor’s team for a project, then this topic is worth studying as you launch
the project. And, if you are familiar with contracting in your own industry, but
now need services from a different industry, watch your assumptions. The
rules are likely to be different.


Bent Package, Bad Day

TV production has some strange requirements. A colleague of mine, Matt

Williams, produces TV commercials. One time, he was doing a shoot of some

medicine bottles on a table. The labels had been specially printed for quality

and alignment so they would look good on TV. They were delivered by mes-

senger. Unfortunately, the messenger was not familiar with the requirements of

TV production and he allowed the package and the labels to be bent on their

way across town.

Matt had to rearrange the morning shooting schedule while waiting for a

courier to run around town getting replacement labels, these ones packed in a

solid box. With TV production time costing over $1,000 per hour, this slight

shipping slip-up could have been very expensive.

The Lesson:Your vendors don’t know your needs. Make sure they do.

Project success
requires good
products from
good vendors.

Project Management for Small Business Made Easy

The key issue is that we must make sure that the contractor’s goals and our
own goals are aligned all the way through the project. This includes:

Making sure the contractor is committed for the length of the project.

If you hire someone who will leave for a better opportunity, that is a
big project risk.

Making sure the contractor is available for the length of the project.

Making sure that the contractor understands and is committed to all

project requirements.

Creating incentives and pay schedules that keep the benefits for the

contractor in line with your goals.

Creating good communications that hold true throughout the project

and include enough detail so that there are no surprises.

A good contractor can actually guide you through this process.
Unfortunately, there are also those who talk a good talk, but don’t walk their
talk when the time comes. You are offering a lot when you offer a project con-
tract and you should require a lot as well. Auditors have a saying: “Trust, and
verify.” In this case, this means that you give vendors the benefit of the doubt,
but then you also talk with prior clients and check the background of the com-
panies and people you will be working with. Gut instinct plus conversation
plus checking are essential in vendor selection.
A good contractor has to join your team to work well with you. Expertise
is essential, but compatibility is also crucial. Make sure the vendor can work
with you and your team.
If at all possible, check out at least two or three vendors. More is even bet-
ter. It may be clear that one comes out on top, but, if so, you should be able
to say why. The number of years of experience? The type of experience? The
glowing reports from satisfied clients? The recommendation of someone you
really trust? Know why you are making your choice and, if your choice is
based on price alone, know that you are risking your money and your project
to maybe save a few dollars.


The most
important sin-
gle factor in ven-
dor selection
should be lots of
proven experience
doing work a lot
like your project
for customers a
lot like you.

Getting What You Need

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