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3 questions every PM should answer on Fridays

October 18, 2011 - Project Management

project work planA project’s work plan isn’t a deliverable.

It’s a tool, to help you as a project manager understand and track the details behind a project’s schedule.  And the only value a work plan has is when it’s religiously kept up to date, and the resources, tasks, and dependencies monitored to a near-obsessive level of detail by the project manager.

From a time management perspective, a good rule of thumb is to either start or end the week with a thorough review of the project work plan, resources assigned (or coming up), and past and upcoming activities.  So my dear colleagues, I present to you a PM’s Friday lineup (and two whole days early!).  If a project manager can answer these three questions clearly every week, they’ll be champing the project!

1. What did the project team accomplish this week?

There are many different methods you can use to obtain status updates from active project team members.  Email, Excel or Word templates, phone calls… they’re all perfectly fine.  If you’re using Microsoft Project Server, they can even update the tasks they’re responsible for directly in the project work plan.  However, when using that method, be sure to keep in touch with them on the details as well.  You never know if there are any underlying issues behind generic percent completes.

2. What does the project team need to accomplish next week?

Never forget to look ahead instead of just behind.  There will be tasks that need to be completed next week, and potentially resource changes required to complete those tasks.  Will the project be onboarding a new team member for some upcoming activities?  Make sure your critical team members know what’s coming up, and who’s responsible for what.

3. What’s the current status of project issues?

Issues happen.  Be sure they don’t fester. Escalation isn’t a bad thing when used with purpose.  When reaching out to project team members on task status, include any issues they may be responsible for resolving as well.

Do you have a weekly project management routine?  Please share!

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