Friday, February 18, 2011

Job Done

I started this blog as an experiment in writing a book, bit-by-bit. It has been a long journey, but a couple of months ago I published the book: How to Plan Small Projects. I hope that if you have been following along, or if you come across this blog and find it useful, you will purchase a copy.

There are two 'book trailers' at - click here.

You can buy the book at - click here.

Kind regards,


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Naming Projects

There is power in a name.

People know a project by its name.

A project name needs to (a) explain what the project is about; and (b) distinguish it from other things which are not the project.

Many projects have two names - the organisation's name and the name people use (aka colloquial name). You are seldom able to completely contral the colloquial name. Generally the colloquial name is the one which will persist. If you have sufficient influence, consider making the colloquial name the name for the project.

You can also have both a short name and a long name. The short name may be a couple of words or an acronym or some other abbreviation - this is a good way to keep the organisation's name and the colloquial name closely aligned.

Systems projects tend to be named after the system which is being built. Which is appropriate. Although confusion can sometimes occur. When the longer titles are used - The Blah Blah Project and the Blah Blah System - things are OK, but when both are shortened to Blah Blah, there can be issues. Although practically speaking this is only a minor risk.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Project Outcomes

In addition to achieving the project objective, there are generally a range of project outcomes, both positive and negative. For example, the organisation may have purchased a technology for the project which is useful for other tasks; or through the changes implemented on the project people are freed up to do things they had not previously done.

It is good practice to predict what these could be. These predications can then be used to promote the project to people for whom the main project objective is not particularly attractive.

Project Deadline

By definition projects are expected to finish. In most cases we have a good idea of when that will, or must, happen. At this stage you have not developed a rigorous project schedule, but you have decided what the key activities will be, and how much you are likely to be spending. You should be able to take a stab at the project end date.

If you are going to be presenting this information to people who are likely to treat this finish date as a commitment, make sure you add some time. This is another kind of contingency – in this case a time contingency as opposed to a cost contingency.

The reason why you add time is that projects seldom finish early (unless timeframes have been poorly estimated or you have done less than you expected). They are much more likely to run over time. We often identify tasks that we did not think of before we started, or we decide to do more than we had planned. (This is called 'scope creep' and is considered a no-no in sophisticated project management circles.)