Establishing Project Control Cadence

Resource over allocation is a significant challenge facing the modern IT workforce. With a seemingly never ending stream of projects and a limited pool of available talent, is your project facing peripheral pressure to cut resources time/commitment? As you are aware, it is critical to have the full project team’s participation and commitment for ultimate project success. To appropriately manage the project, this also includes a minimum level of project administration.

How many meetings per week does it take to manage a project successfully? For Functional and/or Matrix Structure organizations your team does not report to you and likely has many other tasks on their weekly agenda, i.e., planned, unplanned and/or administrative tasks. Having no meetings, or reports, however is a very effective way to convert an active project in to a wish list. The key then, is to have as many meetings per week to engage your team and hold them accountable for project deliverables on a weekly basis.

Depending on your company culture, it is likely that there is already significant administrative glut affecting your team that you cannot control. Creativity and adaptability in applying the basic project methodologies are the key then to running an effective and organized project. The demands on your team’s schedule are real, and it is important to understand their specific needs before you can formulate an appropriate strategy to navigate your project when your resources are at or near over-allocation.

Project Cadence

In addition to having an organized project, with an effective communication plan, it is critical to establish Project Cadence during the planning phase, which at a minimum includes a weekly project status report and a weekly Touch Point meeting with the project team to discuss project status, task updates, project schedule, issue and risk review.

This weekly meeting is the lighthouse for the project. It is a beacon that ensures the team is focusing on the appropriate tasks at the appropriate pace to complete the project on time and on budget. This non-mandatory weekly meeting should be like the Post Office – come rain, or sleet or snow this meeting should always be held, as well, this should be the forum that everyone is accountable for bringing their concerns to.

An effective tip to scheduling this weekly meeting is to understand the best time to schedule the meeting for when you could have the most possible attendees. Reach out to each team member individually to find three times that are good for them. Overlap the final results and isolate potential windows the team could meet. Either pick out a time for the team, or, put it to a vote using polling software such as SharePoint or SurveyMonkey.

If Change control will be required for the project, the deadline for submitting weekly changes and the time and date of meeting should be included in the Cadence schedule. Bi-weekly meetings with the project Champion / Sponsor and monthly group meetings should also be included in the cadence. Please see diagram 1 below for an example of the schedule and calendar for establishing Project cadence.

 

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Figure 1 | Project Cadence

 

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