November 20, 2012, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
We're firm believers that documents should exist for a reason beyond the sake of its own existence, so Kent McDonald's column this week about the hidden costs of poorly-managed documentation was a great opportunity to tout some truly meaningful documentation for your projects. In this issue you'll find test plans that help the team decide what's actually necessary (and record the results), requirements capture that actually captures the requirements, and more. Plus, blogger Brian Irwin reviews Essential Scrum. (Even though he never, ever reviews books. It was that good.)
A reminder to our members outside the US: ProjectConnections will be closed Thursday and Friday this week for our Thanksgiving holiday. We'll be watching email, of course, so don't hesitate to let us know if something comes up. (But we hope you'll forgive any delays due to prolonged tryptophan exposure.)
The Benefits and Costs of Documentation
I have been working in a project environment for over 15 years, first as an application engineer and program manager for an automotive parts manufacturer, then as a business analyst, project manager, or program manager in a variety of information technology projects. What is the common denominator in all these projects? Documentation. My role on most of those projects could easily appear to be all about producing documentation. On top of that, I love writing, one of the reasons I write this column. So you would think I would be a huge advocate for producing documents on projects.
by Kent McDonald
I am not.
Don't get me wrong, project documentation has benefits, when done correctly. Project documentation also has costs which are often exacerbated by the amount of documentation teams choose to produce, the way in which they produce it, and the way they use it.
Read the rest »
Premium How-To Course
Getting More Flexible with Project Processes
Presented by Cinda Voegtli
It is possible to find leeway in project processes if you know where to look. To do so, though, you need to approach those processes from the right perspective. You have to know why they exist, what they're designed to accomplish, and when it's acceptable to bend the rules -- or even to completely ignore them. This mini-course examines how several companies have communicated different project profiles to their teams without scaring them off or overwhelming them. 1.25 PDU
Learn more »
For Team Members
Project Overview Test Plan – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until December 6, 2012
Our Project Overview Test Plan shows how to document at a high level how a system will be tested in different ways during the project to ensure it meets its user requirements and technical specifications and functions properly. On a small project, this might be all the testing documentation you need. For larger efforts, it lays the groundwork so everyone understands what will be tested, and what you'll need to do it well.
Project Test Plan – PREMIUM
This more extensive test plan is great for those larger efforts. The outline walks you through the process from initial test planning to documentation and project implementation, with detailed annotations and suggestions for test types you may want to consider.
For Project Leads
End of Approval Phase Checklist – PREMIUM
Before you start, make sure you have agreement about what your project will accomplish, and how. Even for small efforts, it can help to run down this checklist of activities and deliverables that should be completed by the end of the Approval Phase.
Software Requirements Capture Guideline – PREMIUM
Detailed guidelines from an experienced software development executive intent on capturing all necessary requirements, documenting them thoroughly, and ensuring they are well understood. Be sure you're actually building the right thing -- and be sure everyone else is sure, too.
Implementing an Enterprise Portfolio Management System for IT and Beyond – MEMBER
Review one company's processes and the lessons they learned from their portfolio management installation. This case study reports on details like process requirements, training gotchas, and how to recruit executive support. Several ProjectConnections members and their associates also shared their experiences and best practices for this article, supplying broad coverage of the topic.
Association High-Level Plan for PM Training Program – PREMIUM
A project management and leadership training program for a number of different "customers" of a professional association. Whether you've got a similar project for an association you belong to, or your company needs to develop PM training for various internal groups, this example plan can provide some simple and practical structure for creating and piloting such a program.
WBS and Schedule Models
WBS for Electromechanical Systems Project – MEMBER
This task list and WBS comes from a multi-subsystem electromechanical development project. The tasks run from the early planning phase through the end of the alpha and beta testing activities.
Alfonso Bucero has some practical advice for managers looking for ways to be influential in the absence of formal authority. His four principles allow us to cultivate influential thinking without changing our personalities. Instead, we build on the best of who we already are to achieve excellent results.
Brian Irwin has found an Agile book he can't live without. In his most recent post, he reviews Essential Scrum by Kenny Rubin, and explains why he's found it "priceless" during his current efforts transforming an organization from waterfall to agile processes.
Morley Selver is giving a free webinar on Operators as Part of the Project Team in November. (See the link for registration information.) His workshop on Fundamentals of Project Management will be offered November 22-24 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Sinikka Waugh is running a November 30 class for professionals called Leading for Influence. For more information call DMACC Registration at 515-964-6800 or email email@example.com.
Corporate Subscriptions and Licensing
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