One key aspect of the responsibilities of the Project Manager (PM), of course, is his or her management of the project delivery team. This is where the real work happens, where the rubber meets the road and how the project moves productively forward. It is a lot of responsibility and takes some obvious skills and planning to do it right… beginning with getting the resources planned, through project kickoff, and on to the actual performance on the project. Let’s discuss…
Let’s assume the team is assembled by leadership within your organization. I’ve been in organizations where one person managed the PM Office and assigned PMs to projects based on availability, geographic location, and expertise, and another person managed the Business Analysts (BA) and made assignments to projects based on those same considerations.
The technical staff is usually managed by a Development Manager or CIO (or both) and the technical resource assignments are made based on availability and expertise and they are often not full project timeline assignments like the PM and the BA positions. Those technical resources are assigned as needed and as determined by the project schedule and resource forecast maintained by the Project Manager.
Prior to the Kickoff of the project, the PM distributes all relevant project and contract information to all assigned delivery team members. This would usually include, at a minimum:
- Statement of Work (SOW)
- Original resource hours forecast/budget as finalized by Sales
- Initial project schedule as created by Sales for the customer
- Contact information for project team members on both sides
- Any relevant travel and expense requirements as mandated by the customer
In addition, the Project Manager and the Business Analyst are preparing heavily for the Kickoff Meeting with the customer and planning for the move into Exploration. Frequent, ad-hoc communication is happening at this point to coordinate efforts and ensure that both are on the same page.
Once Kickoff is over, technical resources will begin being assigned (as needed) to the project and the effort of managing the delivery team resources and forecasting for their usage becomes a more important task for the Project Manager.
As new resources are engaged on the delivery team side, four things must always happen…
- Provide the relevant project/contract docs for review
- Provide recent status reports and the project schedule for review
- Provide the resource forecast for review
- Hold a formal delivery team meeting to go over current status, key project info, and answer questions
Ongoing oversight of project tasks
Once the project is fully staffed and is moving from Exploration to Design and beyond, then the effort of overseeing the work of the delivery team members should be fairly straightforward. Maintaining proper communication and the structure that should already be set in place will help ensure that each team member is up-to-speed at any given time on project status and what is expected of them at that moment and for the upcoming weeks. Just to review, this proper communication/structure should be in the form of:
- Weekly delivery team meetings
- Ad-hoc delivery team communication
- Weekly formal status meetings with the customer
- Weekly delivery of and review of the revised project schedule
- Weekly delivery of and review of the project resource/budget expenses and forecast
Summary & Call for Comments
If all of these items are well maintained and delivered to team members in a timely fashion, then everyone will be on the same page. The Project Manager must be well organized because usually the PM is dealing with delivery team members who have other projects to work on that are in various stages of implementation.
Your delivery team members must always be made aware that this project is critical and that you have a solid structure in place or you’ll lose them to other activities and you’ll have more difficulty re-directing their efforts back to your project tasks. It’s much easier to lose resources to their other critical activities on other projects than it is to reign them back in … so stay organized and fight to not lose their focus in the first place.
Readers – how does this match up with your experience and expectations? Please share and discuss any additional information you care to add. Thanks!