A4 - Create a common understanding
The person wearing the Project Manager hat helps all the team members to collaborate and reach a common understanding of the project. This understanding will serve as the foundation of future efforts and as a high-level plan that guides the way.
What's the reason for doing this project?
What are the benefits and disbenefits of the project?
Approximately how much money do we need to finish the project?
What are the investment risks?
What are the expected results from the project's output?
What are the customer and end-user needs and expectations?
What are the risks related to users and the customer?
What will the project's output look like behind the scenes?
Approximately how much time do we need to create the project's output?
What are the production risks?
Project Manager Hat
Who can impact the project (stakeholders)?
What are the risks related to how we work?
Have all the hat-wearers been involved in creating a common understanding?
A digital or physical Integrated Project Board should be created to record the information, with status columns such as “queued”, “on-hold”, “in-progress”, “to-review”, and “closed” for the deliverables and follow-up items (risks, issues, etc.). In addition to the said status columns, there should be a “project description” column with the following meta-cards:
- Why this project?
- Requirements and expectations
- Targets and forecasts
- General acceptance criteria [optional]
You should identify all the high-level and medium-level deliverables at this point to create a better understanding of the project. However, if the project is exploratory, it’s better to limit this activity to key, high-level deliverables and break them down later.
In complicated micro-projects, you can use a Deliverables Map to facilitate the identification of deliverables. To do so, you can use a mind map to break down the final output of the project into its major deliverables, then each of those into smaller ones, and so on for a few levels deeper until you reach an appropriate level of detail for your project.
There’s another important concern as well:
Project Manager Hat
Are the documents clear and easy to understand?