Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Change before you have to

Jack Welch

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance."

Bruce Barton

10 Tips for Project Success

Initial Scope Ensure that the client defines requirements in depth. Identify exactly what, to who, and when, it must be delivered. Write it down and get them to sign it. This scope document will become the basis upon which to measure your success.

Clients Involve your customers in the entire project life cycle. Get them involved in the analysis and planning, as well as execution. You don't have to get approval, just keep them informed. The more they are involved, the greater their level of buy-in

Timeframes: Keep your delivery timeframes short and realistic. Never agree to lengthy timeframes. Split the project into "mini-projects" if you need to. Keep each mini-project to less than 6 months. This keeps everyone motivated and focused.

Milestones: Break your project timeframe into "Milestones" which are manageable pieces of work. Add delivery deadlines to your milestones and try to deliver on every deadline, no matter what. If you're late, tell your customer about it as early as possible.

Communications: Make sure you keep everyone informed by providing the right information at the right time. Produce Weekly Status Reports and run regular team meetings.

Scope: Only authorize changes to your project scope if there is no impact on the timeline. Get your customers approval to important scope changes first and then get their buy-in to extend the delivery dates if you need to.

Quality: Keep the quality of your deliverables as high as possible. Constantly review quality and never let it slip. Implement "peer reviews" so that team members can review each other's deliverables. Then put in place external reviews to ensure that the quality of the solution meets your customer's needs.

Issues: Jump on risks and issues as soon as they are identified. Prioritize and resolve them before they impact on your project. Take pride in keeping risks and issues to a minimum.

Deliverables: As each deliverable is complete, hand it formally over to your customer. Get them to sign an Acceptance Form to say that it meets their expectations. Only then can you mark each deliverable off as 100% complete.

Your team: Great projects are run by great teams. Hire the best people you can afford. Spend the time to find the right people. It will save you time down the track. Remember, good people are easy to motivate. Show them the vision and how they can make it happen. Trust and believe in them. Make them feel valued. They will work wonders.

And that's it. With these 10 tips you can boost your project success.

From Jill Carattini

In his book The God Delusion, Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins sets forth the staggering estimation that post-Christian secular societies are far more moral than societies that operate from a religious foundation. He recounts the horrors carried out in the name of God, moving past the monstrosities of the 20th century at the hands of atheist regimes by claiming their atheism had nothing to do with their behavior. "I'm inclined to suspect," he writes, "that there are very few atheists in prison."(1) He is insistent that believers are worse than atheists when it comes to behaving ethically.

British statesman Roy Hattersley, himself a fellow atheist, disagrees. In an article published some time after Hurricane Katrina, Hattersley makes some observations about the kind of people doing disaster work long after the disaster has been forgotten. "Notable by their absence are teams from rationalist societies, free thinkers' clubs and atheists' associations--the sort of people who not only scoff at religion's intellectual absurdity but also regard it as a positive force for evil."(2) His words are brave, even if strewn with typical condescension.

Hattersley continues:

"Civilised people do not believe that drug addiction and male prostitution offend against divine ordinance. But those who do are the men and women most willing to change the fetid bandages, replace the sodden sleeping bags and--probably most difficult of all--argue, without a trace of impatience, that the time has come for some serious medical treatment."

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You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.

Harlan Ellison