... That statement from the account manager assigned to us for "Longhorn," more than any other statement since starting this project, dang near stuffed a red flag in my face. (Or, should I say another red flag?)
On the heels of milestone delays in the past month , I had finally, last week, begun escalating the issue to senior management of the company managing our application upgrade. In addition, I went in search of "other" senior management.
I've since insisted on pulling in, early, the technical architect that was to roll-on as the tech-arch/PM (project manager) later at the beginning of the Development stage. I'm now also insisting, on pain of walking, that the long-overdue weekly status reporting be implemented.
All too often, at a small company level, it becomes easy to shirk some of the "big company" project and communication methodologies by allowing them to be characterized as "something for large companies and large projects." Heads-up: if you're in a small company and are charged with a project that will span many weeks, insist on it.
The reason large companies and large projects use project and communication protocols is not because they're large. It's because they learned long ago from the mistakes of other smaller projects about the importance of metrics, tracking and communication. As they say, you can't manage what you don't track. That law holds true regardless of project size.
So when, in response to my insistence on getting back to basics with project reporting discipline, the guy managing our account said, "...is that really necessary...?", I knew then I could no longer afford to hem and haw. We needed to make a change.
To the company's credit, I think they saw the same imperative. Now, after having spoken with the new PM last night, and the company's CEO this morning, I think we're now getting back on track. But, I'm still reserving further judgment for now until we get a few more milestones under our project belt. In the meantime, we'll be managing the budget risk by linking further fee installments to milestone completions. So I'm not too worried about that. Of more immediate urgency is the schedule risk and resources assigned. (All told, they comprise what I call the project management triad: Schedule, Budget, People.)
For this project, we had earlier agreed with our service provider that we would use Basecamp or some other online tool (e.g., zoho projects, clarizen , etc.) to manage schedule, resource loads and reporting. That's now getting set up and the new PM and I are scheduled for a dedicated meeting later today to levelset the project and update the entire schedule.
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