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1 It always takes longer than you think - even if you think it will take longer than you think. Reflections on project management Pete Walker, Internet.

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Presentation on theme: "1 It always takes longer than you think - even if you think it will take longer than you think. Reflections on project management Pete Walker, Internet."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 It always takes longer than you think - even if you think it will take longer than you think. Reflections on project management Pete Walker, Internet Development Manager

2 2 Whats it all about? The delights of project management –Mainly from the developers perspective Not another methodology –Tips, tricks, techniques, clichés, trite little sayings, wise sayings, my mistakes, etc I wont solve all your problems I wont answer all your questions –but please ask questions at any time I will save you time and money!

3 3 Why am I here and what do I know? 15 years IT experience Programmer/DBA/Project Manager in Local Government –Oracle, PL/SQL, Paradox and other PC apps Software Development Manager at Emis/Capita FHE –Student record systems for FE & HE –Oracle, VB, client-server Software Development Manager with Swift –Stock control, financial and manufacturing systems –Ingress database and 4GL May joined ILRT

4 4 What does ID group do? Web sites and applications –CMS for University of Bristol, C of E, LTSN-Best –Online survey software, car share software –UCISA, SCONUL, HESDA, Leadership Foundation –Departmental VLEs –Course Online Booking System –eLearning apps 10 staff plus others from ILRT and IS Open-source Quasi-commercial 50% UoB/50% external

5 5 A lot to cover – the rest of this session Definitions Knowledge Alarm bells Requirements Project scope What the client must do How much and how long? Planning Communication Handling change Were late! Finished? Measuring outcomes Project team Questions

6 6 Definition time – To manage Poster worthy? –Be successful, achieve a goal, be in charge of, act on, deal successfully, control Sometimes necessary! –achieve something by trickery or devious methods Reality? (Struggle, frustration, just-about-do-it) e.g. –We just managed to catch the train in time –He managed to convince them –We managed to hide the fact that the widget did not actually work yet

7 7 To project manage (1) You must play office politics Knowledge leading to control Lots of administration Gain respect and authority (aka: at least look as if you know what you are doing!)

8 8 To project manage (2) You are being watched! You are not expected to be expert on everything Expertise not through knowing but knowing where to find out 3 Cs –Commitment –Communication –Coordination Despite the above - you need to know a lot of things!

9 9 Knowledge Professional knowledge e.g software, methodologies What projects have we got on and where are they at? Whose working on them, what are their skills? Whats coming up next? Costs (and ideally success criteria/ROI) Milestones, deadlines Customer comments – good and bad Timesheets, Bug lists, Wash-up meetings

10 10 Project initiation - Alarm bells! Nobodys project (or no one important) – you need a project sponsor No long term budget (initial spend only 30% of total) Multiple customers/stakeholders People think it is only a technical project The job has to fit a budget not the other way round Multiple dependencies Potential feature creep – oh and it could do this No idea where this project fits with institutional goals or strategies Have all this responsibility but not any authority

11 11 Requirements - what do you want? System requirements – the BIG problem? Users WILL change their minds (for sure, always, every time, without fail … ) They will never get everything MoSCoW Must Have V Should have ? Do you still want the system if you do NOT get this feature?

12 12 You wont get this… Out of scope- List what you wont do Dont assume anything – check and agree Client contact may change – write it all down You WILL miss something Write it down for next time - keep standard text Get someone to sign (CYA)

13 13 What the client has to do and when Tell them what to do and when e.g. –How many meetings? –Arrange for staff (particularly senior) to be available? –How long to review documents or designs? –Buy licences? –Sort-out domain names? –Prepare content (major)? –Convert data, etc? Penalties for being late! Customer is always right? – not necessarily!

14 14 Biggest Knowledge gap? How much and how long? We re all optimists - PMWT Resist giving ball-park figures for cost or time I know this bloke wot wrote … Gutless estimating (Brooks) Function-point analysis? Metrics Are you good at estimating – be honest! Get estimates from project staff (buy-in) Are your staff good at estimating – be honest!

15 15 We just dont know! Most importantly - CYA Tell the customer (more than once) Try to better define requirements Get paid for an analysis and specification phase? DSDM? –Fix dates and budget but be flexible on functionality –Prototype –Time box –Cooperate – client as team member

16 16 Planning (1) Define scope before planning Emperors clothes? Public plan and real plan? Gantt chart, Excel, Word? Plan and then throw it away? Effort V Elapsed – 3 day week? Specific points in the year – guide not determine e.g. –Start of the academic year –It will be over by Christmas

17 17 Planning (2) - What to include Analysis Specification (iterations?) User interface design (iterations?) Development phases Testing (and fixes!) Content preparation Documentation Holidays? Server set-up? Document review? User acceptance? Project management? Admin? Meetings? Milestones

18 18 Planning (3) Project Risk log – Whats the worse that could happen? What risks do you make public? (CYA) Will the customer overrun – do you risk it? Communication plan

19 19 Communication (1) Communication plan –Audience. Who should receive the communication? –Reason. Why you are communicating with them. Why are they a key stakeholder. –Event. The communication, be it a weekly report, or a presentation, or seminar –Responsible. Who is responsible for preparing and scheduling the piece of communication. –Medium. The way in which it will be delivered. –Timing. How often it will be presented. –Content. What it will contain. This should address the reason the audience will be interested in the project.

20 20 Communication (2) Communication is not saying something; it is being heard [and understood] People hear what they want to hear; it suit their needs Write things down (CYA)

21 21 Wed just like to change… Change is inevitable, accept it (but not too readily! It never pays to be helpful! Communicate & CYA –Who is asking for it? –Get exact details –Impacts and risk –Write it all down –Get authorisation

22 22 Doesnt time fly! ! How does a project go late – one day at a time Why? –Hidden requirements –Changing requirements (poorly managed) –Under-estimation –Technology –Illness, staff leaving When development is 90% complete the project is only two-thirds done.

23 23 POF? Out of control, getting worse, redeemable but only if you act now. Communicate - tell the customer – talk to them (even if there is nothing much to say) Dont throw resources at it! Cut functionality rather than extend deadlines If you do extend deadlines then make it realistic (only do it once)

24 24 Technology Often the least important factor but… Never use new technology on a time/business critical project NEVER use new technology on a time/business critical project Buy V Build – it depends…. Dont lock-in content

25 25 When its finished Only finished when no one is using it anymore Wash-up – how was it for you? Good bits as well as bad Maintenance –20% of initial budget? –Initial cost only 30% of lifetime cost Dont rely on one person – spread the knowledge

26 26 Measuring the outcomes ROI Number of users Increased sales Intangibles – image, lack of legal action, etc Site usage stats – misleading People forget the past – point to achievements

27 27 The project team (1) You need a mix – From gurus/high-flyer through to plodders Assign responsibilities –try to avoid single expert –Assign the Cardboard cut-out developer? –Office Whiteboard of whos doing what Keep people involved and informed Belbin team roles

28 28 Project team (2) - Belbin team roles Plant Coordinator Monitor/Evaluator Implementer Complete Finisher Resource Investigator Shaper Team Worker Specialist

29 29 Pitfalls Governance at the expense of leadership? Becoming defensive Itll never work - focus on the negatives Lose enthusiasm Not prepared to take risks

30 30 Do I practice what I preach? No I still under-estimate I often regret not writing things down I dont say no enough I still sometimes let keen developers use new technology …and always regret it!

31 31 PM buzzword bingo SSADM DSDM XP RAD UML UCD ROI The useful ones? CYA POF MoSCoW PMWT 3 Cs


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