Breaking the project into elements of work
Any large project will need a number of elements to be completed, usually called workstreams. There are many ways of breaking a project into these elements, depending on the set up of the organisation and the project. In order to achieve the aims and objectives, what major tasks needs to be performed?
Going back to our previous example of moving office, let’s say that the business is moving offices. Irrespective of why it has to move, the main tasks will be broadly similar and include areas such as
- researching new premises
- furniture and equipment and computer hardware – removal and / or replacement
- possibly revising terms and conditions for staff
- customers and suppliers
- other contacts
If there is a project sponsor, a project manager and each of the above four main workstreams has a two-person team, there’s a core group of 10 people. When bringing the project team together, there will be many issues to consider covering the management, budgets, team and the wider business eg:
- has the project sponsor got full control over budget and timescale or is there an executive committee which will make decisions?
- are the project manager’s responsibilities clear to the project manager, sponsor and the whole team?
- what will happen to the “day jobs” for each of those involved in the project?
- if there is a conflict between the “day job” and the project, how will it be resolved?
- how will the workstreams communicate and work together?
- do all the staff understand how their work fits into the project as a whole?
- how are the tasks and workstreams connected to each other?
- are there any groups of people, or key individuals, who are particularly positive, or negative, about the project and what will they do?
With many projects, the last point is one which is often overlooked. Yet, many problems occur with projects because the staff are emotionally connected to the current situation and resistant to a change, whatever the change is.
So, back to our example – the upheaval of moving office will affect all staff and, for some, may make their journey to work considerably worse in terms of time and / or cost. However nice or awful the current offices are, they will be used to it. Some will look forward to “great new offices” and others won’t want to move at all. The office management, HR and IT staff may have a particularly large increase in workload and, depending on the nature of the move and the availability of the new premises, time limits may be tightened or extended beyond that which the business leaders would really want.
If you’d like help setting up a new project, improving the management of a current project, or to discuss related issues, please contact Sue on:
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