Apex 3 Blog
A blog to offer ideas, suggestions and techniques to turn around or fix troubled or failed IT projects

A Checklist for the Manager Who Fixes Troubled Projects

by Mark Davison February 1. 2011 11:56
1.  Identify the "fix it" target(s) - those areas or activities that need to be changed
2.  Define the scope, nature and complexity of the desired changes, and the intended outcome(s)
3.  Engage those who can influence the change, and those who will be impacted - ask for their input and obtain their support, and identify likely sources of resistance
4.  Create the plan to achieve the desired changes - tasks, timing, milestones, deliverables, participants, roles/responsibilities, measurement points, etc. - collaborate with the participants and sponsors to finalize the plan
5.  Give it the "reasonable test" - is the plan realistic?  Can it be achieved?
6.  Create the change management plan - to address the areas of resistance
7.  Implement the plan - coordinate the tasks, monitor progress, take corrective actions as needed - be a leader in your role as the project manager for fixing the problem(s) - remember you are a catalyst for making the plan happen and achieving the results


Elements of a Successful Communications Strategy

by Mark Davison February 1. 2011 09:19
Address all constituencies (internal and external)
Use various forms of communications - in person and electronic
Share organizational vision and direction
Explain timeline and process
Avoid statements that will limit flexibility on major options
Establish multiple avenues for dialogue; listen to concerns
Communicate constantly and consistently
Don't stop after initial messaging
Provide answers as quickly as they can be identified
Showcase early successes, and continue spotlight on accomplishments throughout timeline


A Checklist of Considerations for Setting Up Your PMO

by Mark Davison February 1. 2011 09:16
- Goals/objectives
- Charter
- Roles/responsibilities
- Governance
- Success criteria
- Communications plan
- Cultural impact
- PM organizational maturity
- Budget limits/tolerances
- Size, complexity and nature of PMO scope
- Tools
- Issue tracking
- Scope control
- Risk management
- Training needs
- Status reporting
- Office space/logistics
- Media presence/portal(s)

- Methodologies/approaches
- Measurements
- Decision rights
- Partnering/team building
- Work processes/fast tracking
- Communications
- Documentation/database(s)
- Conflict resolution
- Status meetings
- Coordination

Focus On
- Project plan
- Priorities
- Deliverables/results
- Accountability
- Change management
- Daily/weekly/monthly measurements
- Corrective actions
- Issues resolution/timely
- Risk management/proactive
- Scope control
- Budget control
- Resource availability/capacity planning


Summary List of Elements of a Successful People Environment

by Mark Davison January 31. 2011 21:55
Recruit and select qualified people with the needed knowledge, experience and expertise
Take time to orient and acclimate them
Provide appropriate education and training to successfully launch them
Provide the right cultural environment to get work done
Provide meaningful assignments and challenges
Grow and develop the team


Focus Is ...

by Mark Davison January 31. 2011 21:52
Demonstrating the commitment
Creating the right environment
Acting and following up


Characteristics of a Good Requirement

by Mark Davison January 31. 2011 21:49


3 Questions to Ask Yourself About a Plan

by Mark Davison January 31. 2011 21:47
Is it simple?
Is it logical?
Does it make sense?


Criteria for A Leader to Consider a Leadership Post

by Mark Davison January 31. 2011 21:46
Has the time
Has the desire to do the job
Is willing to put forth the effort to achieve excellence


5 Important Words To Remember

by Mark Davison January 31. 2011 21:46
Be flexible
Be tolerant
Be patient
Be understanding
Be nice


A Checklist for Assessing Some Important Areas of Project Risk

by Mark Davison January 31. 2011 21:41
A checklist for assessing some important areas of project risk ...

1. Project Size and Scope of Effort Risk

What is the project's estimated duration?
What is the project's effort, in staff hours?
What is the estimated cost?
How much will the project schedule depend on availability of end-user staff for analysis and testing?
Will stringent quality requirement for the proposed system add to duration and cost for inspections, documentation and testing?
Is the end date fixed or flexible?

2. Business and Requirements-Related Risk

Will business success depend on the project?
What is the cost of ownership?
Do the users and management accept and appreciate the value of the new system?
How many departments or organizational entities are involved?
How complex are the deliverables?
How much will the project change processes?
How much will user procedures change?
How will politics affect the project team and project outcome?
How diverse is the user population?
How clear are the requirements?
What are the dependencies on other systems and processes?
How will implementation impact mission-critical operations?

3. Resource and Skill Risk

How many tasks are outside of  the project team's control?
Will the project require major hardware or software upgrades?
How many  departments must provide  resources to the project?
What is the availability of  technical staff throughout the project?
Which software languages, databases, tools, etc. are new to the technical team?
What  hardware is new to the technical team?
How complex and intricate is the logic that needs to be created?
How experienced in the product or business are the project team resources?


About Mark Davison

Mark Davison

After 25+ years of working on and leading projects primarily in IT, I'm establishing this blog to share knowledge, ideas, tips and techniques regarding how to turnaround and fix troubled and failed projects

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