Project Life Cycle – Day 2, page 1

New Scenario: Review all of the circulation policies for the library system and make suggestions for what needs to be changed.

After you’ve defined the project and come up with a plan of action, when you implement the project – set some rules for the meeting!  Set the expectations.  Stay on task, make sure the meeting room is ready (clock, white board, markers that work), start on time, come prepared and make sure your electronics are working.  Most people are visual learners – use flip charts at the meeting!  Have the agenda written on the board – give visual clues.  [New standard of three slide presentations of for-profit proposals.]

Defining the Project :: Answer some questions about what needs to be done, when, with what resources and who is to be chair?? 

Defining the project scope :: Clarify the scope, goals & priorities with adminstration so everyone is on the same page starting out.  Clearly define project objectives … who, what, when, how, and why???  Decide how you are going to communicate about the project’s progress (alerts to the administration, alerts to staff, progress reports).

What must be done (objectives)?
How is it to be done (strategies)?
Who will do what (responsibilities)?
When must it be done (timeline/schedule)?
How much will it cost (resources/budget)? 
How good will it be (quality and expectations of end product)? 
What performance (training needs)?
Identify weaknesses (compensate)…
Identify obstacles (risk analysis)…
Control & authority (who & how much)…

Visual – Triangle – At the top is performance (specifications and scope), at the base are Cost (budget and resources) and Time (schedule).   Time is usually the only variable we can control/fudge.  Schedule :: Resources :: Quality

A second visual – A chart saying “Pick Two” of these three: Good, Fast or Cheap.  “Get the job done on time, within budget & according to specifications.”  Do you want it fast and cheap, but “good enough for now”?  For some projects, quick and dirty is just fine!  How good is good enough…look at the project from the patron’s point of view!  Negotiate for Clarity (Time, Resources and Quality).  Aks questions to get clear answers and get them in writing if possible.

Plan the Project – timeline, outline major stages or activities, determine resources, and determine the specifications: How good does it have to be?  Perfect?  89%?  What are the standards? Do you need a board cut as a shelf for paint cans in the garage or does it need to be cut as a shelf for nick-nacks in the living room…

What will Success Look Like?  Decide this before you begin. How much must be finished to declare the project finished and decide how well it has to be done.   “Don’t allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good.”

IMPLEMENT THE PROJECT – put the pieces together
(primary motivation should be to improve what we do for the users-are we doing this work for us or them?)

1. Engage resources (people, funds, equipment/supplies)
2. Evaluate quality (decide what is ‘good enough’)
3. Use progressive decision-making – you can’t know all of the answers in the beginning, so make adjustments as you go.

Control and Monitor the Project :: Track the progress, keep everything in sync, communicate and ENCOURAGE team (cheerleading outfit with a whip), BE FLEXIBLE and make timely decisions. 

Do not put people in charge of projects who cannot make decisions. (Do hand-wringers make good project managers? no)

Speaking of flexibility…”adjust, adjust, adjust…”  Build in flexibility and fall-backs :: ‘look forward with concern & prudence’ (not with panic and worse-case scenarios) :: Don’t loose sight of the Schedule, Resources and Quality :: Learn lessons as you progress

What Must Be Managed?
:: Scope and objectives
:: Time – scheduling and controlling
:: Costs – resources, budget, people
:: Communications – make sure the information flows
:: Human Resources – people
:: Quality – what is good enough?
    ::  99.9% perfect and complete?
    :: Less than 10% errors?
    :: 97% accurate?
    :: 92% of cases complete?

Tangent: Libraries are in the used book business, so why are spending time and money on ILL when we should be buying used books from amazon??  The point being – make a project of evaluating vendors periodically.

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