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Friday, May 04, 2007

Some thoughts on managing the short and demanding projects

I've mentioned before that I am now a new job, and will be doing some hard core hands on development. May be the development is not really hard core, since I am not doing anything revolutionary, however, for someone who was not writing full time for over 3 years, this sure seems like it.

What makes the task more challenging, are the very different architecture, tight time frame and no time calmly sit learn and think through every detail. So how do you deliver?

I have a certain methodology that I've been using in my development and managerial career and so far it had been very successful in helping me deliver projects. A big focus is on delivery on time. If future can not be implemented on time, it is removed from the list of deliverables, but the timeframe is kept intact. To make this easier, I split the original timeframe into three sections: short, medium and long term. The deliverables are split as well.

The short term timeframe is exactly that - short term. If a whole project is a month long, it is a week. For longer projects, its 3 to 4 weeks. But never longer then a month. The more demanding the schedule, the shorter it is. The deliverables are concrete. If I am not 100% sure that I will deliver, they are not in the list and become a medium to long term deliverables. Once they are set, they do not change unless something critical happens.

At the end of the short term deliverable, the rest of the project is reevaluates almost as a new project. Only at this point, I have the knowledge that was learned during the short term timeframe. The rest of the project gets split up again into short, medium and long.

This way of managing a project allowed for constant on time delivery. If I am not sure I will deliver in the short term, I don't promise it day one. And the item will get reevaluated a short time later. The business is usually happy with the on time delivery that is on time, then a larger promise that is not delivered.

This also allows for reevaluation the priorities. The more dynamic the project, the tighter the timeframe's - the more often the priorities are reevaluated.


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