In this series of articles we’re discussing a simple approach for managing projects – the ten D’s of project management. So far we’ve covered Definition, Detail, Dependencies, Duties, Dates, and Dangers. Now it’s time to move onto project Documents, documentation, and communications.
In the Definition post we discussed the need to ask key questions before diving into detailed planning, and we used an everyday example of planning a meal/party. In the Details post we created a hierarchy of work to be done, and in the Dependencies post we sequenced the work using a network diagram (flowchart). Duties was about assigning people to tasks we’d identified in the Details step, Dates calculated an estimated schedule for the project, and Dangers addressed things might might go wrong.
So we now have a lot of information about our project, and we also have several different people involved – perhaps many different people. How do we know that the right people will have the information/Documents they need at the right time. If someone has information they need to get to us, how will they do that? We need to think about what project Documents need to be created, and how everyone is going to communicate on the project. And we should probably write it down – possibly using a communications matrix. A communication matrix, or communications plan, is often a simple table addressing the project communication needs. For our project it might address items such as:
- Where project Documents are to going to be stored.
- How often the project team will meet to discuss the party, who will run the meetings etc.
- Contact information for all key project team members.
- Who guests should contact if they have questions.
- The person to contact on the night of party if there is a) an emergency b) a logistics issue
Project management involves a lot of documentation and communications, and a little bit of proactively thinking will help things run much more smoothly. In the next post we’ll look at the eighth D after project Definition, Detail, Dependencies, Duties, Dates, Dangers, and Documents, and that’s Deals.