Project Management Tools:  Putting the Pieces Together

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Project Management Tools:  Putting the Pieces Together

Search for ‘project management tools’ on the internet and your results will contain a variety of software that enables businesses to manage their projects better. Essentially, they offer collaborative scheduling and task management functions, a definite improvement over the Excel spreadsheets project managers used in the past. But don’t be deceived – managing the schedule is only one piece of the entire project management puzzle. Without all the right pieces, your project may end up on life support.

iSeek’s Project Management Playbook (iPMPlaybook©) is a repository of templates designed to standardize project documentation regardless of project size, type, or scope. The templates are based on industry best practices and are aligned with the Project Management Institute (PMI). At the core of these project documents are the following:

1. The Project Charter

Many of us have great ideas for ways to improve what we see and do in our workplaces. Suppose you work for a fresh meal delivery service and realize that several of the small packets of ingredients that are supplied with meals are impossible to open without scissors. After pondering this dilemma for a while, you come up with a novel approach to the little packet problem and present a business case to your company’s leadership. What happens next?

You had the great idea, but now the company needs to translate your idea into a formal project, communicate the project’s features to stakeholders, and provide a record of key information for future reference. The Project Charter is a formal document that captures the project purpose, objectives, key requirements, scope, and deliverables along with many other attributes. The iPMPlaybook© has not only a full charter template, but also a condensed version of the template which is a great fit for smaller projects.

2.The Stakeholder/Project Team Register

Picture yourself in the dugout in your first pro baseball game and not knowing who your coach is or what the responsibilities of the manager are. If the other members of the team are also in the dark, chaos will undoubtedly reign. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of each person on the team is essential to successful teamwork. Much like a baseball team, a project team also must have clearly defined roles to be effective.

The definition of a project stakeholder is broad, easily including the project manager, project team members, senior executives, department managers and users, not to mention external stakeholders like customers and vendors. The iPMPlaybook© allows you to capture the names, define the project roles and record other pertinent information so no one is left in the dark about who does what.

3.The DRACI Log

Have you spent time in a major metropolitan city outside of the US? Perhaps Madrid or Paris? If you have, you’ve probably noticed small, specialty food stores on every block:  fruit and vegetable markets, butcher shops, and cheese stands. It’s great fun to do as the locals do and visit each little shop to buy just what you need for a lunchtime picnic. However, after returning to the office and juggling a myriad of details for a project in flight with a looming deadline, you recognize that a supermarket mindset is far more efficient for a project manager.  Although the term, ‘one stop shopping’, is a bit overused, let’s use it one more time and talk about an excellent project management tool that will stock all the information you need to keep your project on track.

The DRACI Log makes the need for maintaining separate decision, risk, action item, change request and issue registers obsolete.  It combines details about items in each category into one useful list. The DRACI Log will calculate risk severity, maintain the most current information on the status of change requests, capture the possible impact of issues on the project, and more.

4.The Closure Checklist

Imagine you make a delicious dinner, then settle in to watch a show on your favorite streaming service when you remember that you haven’t washed the dishes. You decide you’ll get to them later, which is really not a problem until you wake up the next morning and face a sink full of plates and pans crusted over with last night’s Pasta Bolognese. It doesn’t look quite as delicious by the light of day as it did the previous night.

Closure is more important than you might think. The iPMPlaybook© Closure Checklist provides a means for ensuring that closure activities associated with the project are fully completed on a timely basis and valuable project information is not lost. The checklist records key tasks to address at the end of a project. And this checklist, like all the iPMPlaybook© templates, is editable, so you can add tasks that have relevance to your project or business.

In addition to the templates mentioned above, the iPMPlaybook© provides users with other templates considered ‘must haves’ by most project managers.

These include

  • Initiative Request Form
  • Business Requirements Document (BRD)
  • Communication Plan
  • Project Budget
  • Execution Plan for technology projects
  • Deliverable Acceptance Form

 

All templates are easy to use and customizable.  For more information about the iPMPlaybook©, contact us today at info@iseeksolutionsinc.com. To learn more about iSeek’s services and resources, visit our website, subscribe to our blog or follow us on LinkedIn.

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April Marshall