Mid Winter (Project) Health Check

As winter drags on we inevitably have to deal with some of those mid winter (and hopefully non Covid!) health afflictions. Eating well, plenty of sleep and not over indulging are some obvious ways to stay healthy over the dark winter months.
Likewise with project health, there are key questions that you can focus on to ensure any symptoms aren’t terminal!
  1. Why are we doing this project? If the answer to this question can’t be articulated simply, then chances are the project is unwell at best! A project team needs to clearly understand why something is being done. You may have seen Simon Sinek’s TED talk on this.
  2. Who’s in charge? Is there a project org chart, or at least an understanding of who’s accountable and responsible? Is there a steering Group, and if so, how often do they meet and are they effective?
  3. What’s expected? As always, Dilbert sums this up beautifully;
    What's expected, health check
  4. What could possibly go wrong? Are risks being managed or are they just a list that hasn’t been updated for a number of weeks? If they have been updated are the mitigations clearly articulated? Do they have owners and are they time bound? If you’re not already using one, a Risk Register may be a good place to start.
  5. Are roles and responsibilities clearly defined? Is it clear who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed? Consider using a simple ‘RACI’ to help in defining roles and responsibilities.
  6. How are we doing it? Is the team using a consistent, effective and well understood methodology? Is the team able to adjust its methods if a gap or tweak is identified?
  7. What happens when things change? Is effective change management in place? Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher said;
    “change is the only constant in life”The same is true in Projects. How well equipped is the Project Manager and the Project Methodology to handle this change?

Just like visiting your GP on a regular basis – especially during the winter season of coughs and colds, you should be constantly checking the health of your project. As with the human body, the earlier ailments are identifies, the better the chance they can be eliminated with no long term harmful implications! Feel free to contact us if you’d like to send your project to the GP for a winter check-up.

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