Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Tools of Communication – Part 4 – The Remaining Reports

The next several reports are not “critical” communication tools but are important. Since some of the documents that I discuss below may not be used in a project, I thought it best if I included them in one article.
Meeting Minutes
This report seems to be the most controversial of all the reports involved in a project. The controversy revolves around who will take the minutes. Until recently, I have advocated that the Project Manager (PM) or the Business Analyst (BA) of the project team take the minutes. With my recent association with Professional Service Organizations (PSO) and Project Management Offices (PMO), I have come to the conclusion that the most important document from the team is the Risk and Issues List. If the team is focusing on the meeting minutes, then the project member taking the minutes most likely may not participate in the meeting. Since there are multiple formats of the meeting minutes, I will not comment on the actual document. I will however suggest that if the Risk and Issues List is properly documented, then the “minutes” can be taken from there. If the meeting minutes are taken, it is my opinion that the duties of the “scribe” should be shared by the project team so no one person will always be taking notes.
Project Risk Document
The Project Risk document should be developed as soon as the project is approved and given to the PM. This document is an identification and ranking of the risks. This document should include both qualitative and quantitative analysis and should rank the highest risk to the lowest. Also, this document should contain the possible resolution of the risk if it becomes a reality. This document should be started by the PM and then reviewed by the project team members to comment on and possibly come up with solutions. The high risk items in this document should be reviewed by the project team on a regular basis and risk items should be added to the document as appropriate.
Communication Plan and Contact List
What’s the difference between the communication plan and the contact list? The contact list is just a listing of individuals, their role in the project, and their contact information. However, a communication plan develops an approach to communication during the project. This is not just the number of status meetings the project should have, but also identifies who should be involved in the status meeting, who should receive the Status Report and Risk and Issues List and so on.  Also, and just as important, if there is a show-stopper issue, who do you call first?
The Project Schedule
The most misunderstood document of a project is the Project Schedule, which is sometimes called the project plan. The project plan includes all of the documents of the project, including the budget. The Project Schedule is the tasks and their duration, resources associated with the task, and if the task is on the critical path. This is the full-view of the project, from initiation to project closure. This is the document on which earned value calculations are done.
Vacation Schedule
Most PMs will enter the vacation schedule of the project team in the Project Schedule. This is a necessary document for the PM to have. However, a separate document that all project resources can access and update is also necessary. All project resources have to be aware of the vacation schedule of the team.
Where does all this documentation go?
In this era of emails and attachments, it is necessary that all documents go in a central repository. The tool to create this repository is up to the management of the PSO, PMO, and the organization.  This repository must allow access management to all project resources. There are several options to use, even an actual cabinet if the team is collocated. Whichever way is used by an organization, the method of filing must be consistent with every project.
In my next blog, I will discuss vision in a project. This was a request from one of the many emails I have received from my blog postings. Please keep them coming by sending them to Benny A. Recine.

No comments:

Post a Comment