Tagged: project management

Nathan campus Red Zone

8 productivity lessons from the Red Zone project

Projects are a field of opportunity for learning. They offer scope for experimentation that’s difficult to incorporate into the business-as-usual world. Capturing project lessons lets you refine and promulgate techniques that worked well and identify things to do differently next time. All worthwhile project management methodologies include a process for recording learnings. It’s also one of the most frequently bypassed processes. A backlog of new initiatives means project managers are whisked off to their next assignment well before the first project wraps up. The Star Wars movies illustrate what happens when you don’t learn from past experience1. To close the...

Roadmap Planner: project schedules don't have to be ugly

Roadmap Planner review: project schedules don’t have to be ugly

My day job involves taking the ideas of visionary leaders and turning them into reality. Gantt charts are one of the tools I use to coordinate all the moving parts. As a communication device, a Gantt chart showing the entire project is terrible. Stakeholders will either slip into a catatonic state for the rest of the discussion or suddenly remember they have another meeting to attend. Most stakeholders want to know that someone has thought about all the tasks and interdependencies but have little interest in the detail. Showing the major phases and a few key activities is all you...

Nathan campus Red Zone

The high-tech space that will make you see red

Last June, Griffith University opened the doors on the Red Zones — two of the most unusual facilities you are likely to see. These spaces apply innovative design and technology to showcase the University’s research and teaching expertise. I had the privilege of managing this ambitious project and wanted to record my experiences before the next big project consumes all my time. This post reveals the ambitions, design considerations and some of my favorite content pieces. I’ll explore some of the many lessons a project as complex as this provides in a future post. The project combined the skills of...

Project Management For You (Cesar Abeid)

Review: Cesar Abeid’s “Project Management For You” (plus a special bonus)

For much of my career, I’ve managed projects. At first they were simple solo gigs but have progressively grown in complexity, size and cost. When I started my career there were people called project managers in the construction industry, but that was about it. Projects have become more important as knowledge work has played a larger role in the economy. Today it seems like nearly everyone manages some kind of project. But there is a gulf between the back-of-an-envelope planning and industrial-strength methodologies like PRINCE2 and PMBOK which are robust enough for space missions. Cesar Abeid aims to fill that...

Wandering in the fog

Why you need to write down the outcomes behind your projects

Let’s face it, writing down the desired outcome or why a pursuit is worthwhile can seem unnecessary — especially when it’s your project. At the start the reasons for pursuing a project are clear. You understand why the work is important and have a picture of the steps needed to get there. There is a temptation to just dive in and get on with it. But as the months roll on, new team members get involved, stakeholders want to change the scope and unforeseen obstacles hinder your progress. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. A written statement...

Level controls on a mixing desk

How to apply the project success criteria

Last time I talked about the seven project success criteria. Now let’s look at how to put it to work. Ask 10 different stakeholders what success means to them and you’ll probably find 15 different answers. This tool provides a simple method for stakeholders to express what can otherwise be difficult to convey. It’s then possible to have a discussion about the views of different groups and move toward a common understanding of success among stakeholders. The process You can use this process with any project stakeholders. Even if you do it with no one else, use it with the...

Planning the green energy Death Star

On time and on budget… is that all you want?

Deliver your project on time and on budget and it must be successful, right? In the project world, success has more facets than these common measures. I’ve seen several projects that would be considered successful by the on time, on budget definition. But you might rethink this conclusion if I added that half the team left the organisation because of the brutal approach employed to hit the deadline, that project outputs weren’t adopted by customers, and that the project produced no lasting change. These projects actually destroyed value by consuming resources which could have been used elsewhere to greater effect....