Project Management 101

I’ve been asked to give a seminar in project management in 3-5 90 minute sessions. What should the topics be?

The training will consist of a set of intensive training sessions cover a product development project from beginning to end, relate to contemporary best practices, necessary and sufficient, and completely detailed and stand alone. The seminar should consist of tools, advice, guidelines and methods that can be applied by the project manager when needed. However, this is not a super comprehensive list of all tools, for all programs, but rather a tight set tailored for developing products that often include software as part of the product.

For each item listed, there may be a note at the end of the line indicating if there is an Example (e), Diagram (d), or a tool (1 or more).  If there is no note at the end, then the topic will be addressed with one or more PowerPoint presentation slides, created to convey the key takeaways.  The examples will be detailed, visual examples that will be in native form (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) so they can be re-used.  Diagrams will typically be illustrative depictions to give the participants a clear graphical image.  The tools are actual methods from our book, Innovate Products Faster, and contain backup information in the form of chapters in our book.

1.       Getting Started: Requirements and Objectives

  • Product Development process within the Product Lifecycle (d)
  • Cost of a slip of one day (formula)
  • Project Management is a legitimate skill set (e)
  • The sponsor (Executive, Global Business Team, Product Review Board)
  • Creating a shared vision of success for the team (e)
  • Product definition (1) one pager/ Marketing Requirements Document (MRD) (e)
  • Boundaries & factor priorities (d)
  • Benchmarks for time to market: Incremental, derivative, clean sheet project (e)
  • How to justify going forward – the Business Case (e)

2.       Planning Projects:  Planning and Estimation

  • A schedule is not a plan (key lesson to be learned)
  • Standard deliverables (MRD, Product Specifications, Project Plan, Test Plan, Kaz of Materials, Business Case, Concept Review, Program Review) (e)
  • Schedule Formats and when to use what – CPM/PERT & Gantt (d)
  • Group PERT planning technique for accurate schedules (1)
  • Parametric Estimation modeling – Lite and Precise(2)
  • How this product fits in the product roadmap (d)
  • Just right process – what is an optimal level of process (1)
  • The One Page Project Manager (1)

3.       Execution:  Managing Your Team and Meetings

  • Running effective project team meetings including critical path management (e)
  • Staffing the team and avoiding overload (1)
  • Team wheel (1)
  • CAIRO/Circle Dot responsibility diagrams (1)
  • Function/phase matrix (1)
  • Roles of Project Manager, Prod Manager, Technical Lead (d)
  • How to influence without authority (2)
  • Constraint Management – how to deal with bottlenecks i.e. overloaded departments (d)
  • Metrics for measuring progress (2)
  • How to report schedule using a modified Gantt technique) (1)
  • Phase reviews versus monthly status meetings (e)

4.       Leveraging Others: Working With Suppliers and Partners

  • Early Supplier involvement and role on the team
  • Supplier collaboration from ODMs to Contract Engineers (d)
  • Electronic Communication without email for project success (e)
  • Software management 101’s for Project Managers
  • Software QA (1)
  • Design for Manufacturing (DFM)
  • Authorizing production – OK to Ship (e)
  • Document/Source code control and change control methods
  • Safety and regulatory approvals – “don’t get burnt”

5.       When Things Go Wrong: Risk Management

  • Why risks are often confused with issues
  • Risk assessment – Mind Map (1)
  • Risk management – Matrix (1)
  • FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) (d)
  • Event timelines and root cause analysis (2)
  • How to remove political roadblocks (1)
  • Tools for managing conflict
  • What to do when requirements change
  • Out of bounds technique - notify management without blame! (1)
  • Making tradeoff decisions (d)
  • Retrospectives and learning from our last project (1)

References and Resources

  • Innovate Products Faster, John Carter & Jeanne Bradford, TCGen Press, 2012
  • Guide to the Project Management Book of Knowledge, Project Management Institute, Inc., Fourth Edition, 2008
  • One Page Project Manager, Clark Campbell, John Wiley and Sons, 2007