From "Absolute Beginner's Guide to Project Management 2nd Edition"

Powerful Techniques for Project Control



We emphasized the value and importance ofplanning your control system. In this section, we highlight some of powerfulproject control techniques that you want to consider during your planningefforts and then implement during the execution of your project.


Small work packages 小的工作包,便于估计和控制—This was a point of emphasis during our discussion on building aWBS. If you recall, there were two primary reasons for advocating small workpackages: more accurate estimates and better control.

From a control perspective, if your workpackages are scheduled to complete within one (or at the most, two) reportingperiods, it is much easier to detect a delayed or troubled task. With earliernotice, you are more likely to resolve the variance and protect the project’scritical success factors.

Baselines 基线,也就是工作控制的参照—A fundamental control principle is to manage to baselines. First, establisha baseline. This is generally applied to the critical success factors of scheduleand budget, but can be applied equally as well to product-oriented aspects ofthe project, especially requirements. Second, measure and report performanceagainst the baseline. Third, maintain the baseline unless there is a formalagreement to reset the baseline. We will discuss this in greater detail inChapter 11.


Status meetings 状态会议,收集工作状态—The simplest, and most widely known, technique is the statusmeeting. Consistent and regular status meetings help to keep everyone honest,accountable, and on their toes—especially if work assignments are small andhave clear completion criteria. In addition, status meetings are powerful toolsfor improving project communications and managing expectations.


Completion criteria 完成标准,规定什么才叫完成—This starts during project definition with defining the acceptancecriteria for the project, and it continues for each deliverable and work assignment.Answer this question in advance for each deliverable and work assignment: “Howwill we know when it is done?” Understanding the completion criteria up frontincreases productivity and avoids many of the issues associated with statusreporting on work tasks, especially the infamous “I’m 90% done” syndrome.


Reviews 审查,看各项标准是否达到—Reviews are a key technique for ensuring quality and managing expectationson project deliverables, and they can take many forms. The principle here is toplan for the review-feedback-correction cycle onmost, if not all, of your key deliverables. Common examples of reviews areprocess reviews, design reviews, audits, walkthroughs, and testing. Inaddition, reviews can be combined with predefined milestones and checkpoints.


Milestones and checkpoints 里程碑和检查点—A key featureof most proven project methodologies is the use of predefined milestones andcheckpoints. These markers are important points to stop, report progress,review key issues, confirm that everyone is still on-board, and verify that theproject should proceed with its mission. Besides being a powerful expectationsmanagement tool, these predefined points allow project sponsors and seniormanagement to evaluate their project investments along the way, and ifwarranted, redirect valuable resources from a troubled project to morepromising pursuits.


Track requirements 跟踪需求,需求跟踪矩阵—A simple, yet often neglected, technique to help control both scopeand expectations is the use of a requirements traceability matrix. The traceability matrix provides a documented link betweenthe original set of approved requirements, any interim deliverable, and thefinal work product. This technique helps maintain the visibility of eachoriginal requirement and provides a natural barrier for introducing any “new”feature along the way (or at least provides a natural trigger to your changecontrol system). In addition, the trace matrix can link the specific testscenarios that are needed to verify that each requirement is met.


Formal signoffs 正式批准,用于干系人做出承诺,变更控制管理—Formal signoffs are a key aspect of change control management,especially for client-vendor oriented projects. The formal record of review andacceptance of a given deliverable helps to keep expectations aligned andminimize potential disputes. Most importantly, the use of a formal signoff actsas an extra incentive to make sure the appropriate stakeholders are activelyengaged in the work of the project.


Independent QA Auditor 独立QA审计—The use ofan independent quality assurance auditor is another specific example of the“review” technique mentioned earlier, and is often a component of projectquality assurance plans. In addition, the quality audit can be focused onproduct deliverables, work processes, or project management activities. Thepower of this technique is in establishing the quality criteria in advance andin making the project accountable to an outside entity.


V method V型方法,用于检查验证可交付物及中间产物—The V method is a term used for a common validation and verification approachthat ensures that there is validation and verification step for everydeliverable and interim deliverable created. The left side of “V” notes eachtargeted deliverable and the right side of the “V” lists the verificationmethod to be used for each deliverable directly across. The diagram in Figure10.2 helps illustrate this method.


Escalation thresholds 问题升级的阈值—Escalation thresholdssound much more ominous than what they actually are. The purpose of escalationthresholds is to determine in advance what issues and variances the projectteam can handle and what issues or variances demand attention by seniormanagement. Often, these thresholds are defined as percent variances around thecritical success factors. For example, if the cost variance is greater than 10%or schedule variance is greater than 15%, engage senior management immediatelyfor corrective action steps. The key value of this technique is that it helpsdefine tolerance levels, set expectations, and clarifies when senior managementshould get involved in corrective action procedures.









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