Development Cooperation Handbook/Guidelines/The 10 Project Management Guiding Principles

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The 10 Project Management Guiding Principles

  1. Figure out what project/programme purpose you are in, and then mind your own project/programme purpose. Figure out what project/programme purpose you are in. Make sure your project/programme purpose is viable. Select projects that are good for your project/programme purpose. Understand the project/programme purpose value in your project and watch for changes. Be diligent in your chosen project/programme purpose, learning and applying best practices. Define what is inside and outside your area of responsibility. .
  2. Understand the beneficiaries requirements and put them under version control. Thoroughly understand and document the beneficiaries requirements, obtain their agreement in writing, and put requirements documents under version identification and change control. Requirements management is the leading success factor for systems development projects.
  3. - Prepare a reasonable plan. Prepare a plan that defines the scope, schedule, cost, and approach for a reasonable project. Involve task owners in developing plans and estimates, to ensure feasibility and buy-in. If your plan is just barely possible at the outset, you do not have a reasonable plan. Use a work breakdown structure to provide coherence and completeness to minimize unplanned work.
  4. Build a good team with clear ownership. Get good people and trust them. Establish clear ownership of well-defined tasks; ensure they have tools and training needed; and provide timely feedback. Track against a staffing plan. Emphasize open communications. Create an environment in which team dynamics can gel. Move misfits out. Lead the team.
  5. Track project status and give it wide visibility. Track progress and conduct frequent reviews. Provide wide visibility and communications of team progress, assumptions, and issues. Conduct methodical reviews of management and technical topics to help manage beneficiary expectations, improve quality, and identify problems before they get out of hand. Trust your indicators. This is part of paying attention.
  6. Use Baseline Controls. Establish baselines for the product using configuration management and for the project using cost and schedule baseline tracking. Manage changes deliberately. Use measurements to baseline problem areas and then track progress quantitatively towards solutions.
  7. Write Important Stuff Down, Share it, and Save it. If it hasn’t been written down, it didn’t happen. Document requirements, plans, procedures, and evolving designs. Documenting thoughts allows them to evolve and improve. Without documentation it is impossible to have baseline controls, reliable communications, or a repeatable process. Record all important agreements and decisions, along with supporting rationale, as they may resurface later.
  8. If it hasn't been tested, it doesn't work. If this isn't absolutely true, it is certainly a good working assumption for project work. Develop test cases early to help with understanding and verification of the requirements. Use early testing to verify critical items and reduce technical risks. Testing is a profession; take it seriously.
  9. Ensure beneficiary Satisfaction. Keep the beneficiary's real needs and requirements continuously in view. Undetected changes in beneficiary requirements or not focusing the project on the beneficiary's project/programme purpose needs are sure paths to project failure. Plan early for adequate beneficiary support products.
  10. Be relentlessly pro-active. Take initiative and be relentlessly proactive in applying these principles and identifying and solving problems as they arise. Project problems usually get worse over time. Periodically address project risks and confront them openly. Attack problems, and leave no stone unturned. Fight any tendency to freeze into day-to-day tasks, like a deer caught in the headlights.


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