Anita Wotiz’s Lessons from Anita Wotiz Anita Wotiz was the guest blogger this week at the UCSC Extension Silicon Valley Project Management blog. She wrote a great post entitled “An unrepeatable victory?” You can read it here. It was wonderful to hear about the project, particularly the lessons learned and how they relate to my own experience. I wouldn’t consider the first set of factors to be insurmountable. It’s possible to influence these factors, although it is easier in certain cases. Paraphrased:
A PM can influence the work of others on a project and ensure that they are competent. My experience shows that the PM can influence cooperation and team spirit.
Exciting work -Not all projects are glamorous. However, the PM can and should position the product to the team by convincing them of the value it will bring to end users and the contributions they make to it.
Full access to/utilization of prior work – Again, this doesn’t usually fall in your lap. But it’s amazing how many project managers don’t spend enough time during planning stages trying to find old work that can be reused. Many people want to reinvent the wheel for each project.
Don’t force the project to adopt a preconceived solution. This is a common problem that I see. Sponsors and stakeholders have a preconceived idea of how the solution should look before they fully understand the problem. Sometimes, there are real constraints. It’s human nature to come up with solutions early in the process. This is difficult to avoid. However, I have found that the best results are achieved when you focus on the problem/need during the early planning stages, which includes the charter, preliminary scope statement and initial requirements gathering.
Good WBS creation and dissolution, bottom-up estimation -Bingo! This is in line with my own experience of what makes a project successful. I have had great success with a delphi-style method for estimating. This involves going through each task together with the experts, and each person writing down an optimistic, likely, or pessimistic point estimate. I then take all the estimate sheets and roll them together. I can usually get pretty good ranged estimates with a good grasp of standard deviation and confidence levels.
Time buffers and management cost – I agree that it is crucial for the customer/sponsor to understand that buffers are essential components of a project that can manage the inevitable risks.
Collaboration -It seems like Anita was capable of getting the entire team to work together on scheduling using post-it notes. Although I think this is a great idea, there are other ways to get the team to work together on tasks and schedule dependencies.
Iterative development – This is a benefit that I have seen in my projects. Iterative releases that are functional can be pushed out and customers can give feedback. This will allow you to make future development based on a solid foundation. It’s one thing to write code to specs, but it’s a whole other to be able to test it against the initial release of the pieces it must integrate with.