Chris Croft
Tips of the Month Archive

Project Management Tip 10


Blow your own trumpet

Be assertive at the start

What is a Gantt Chart?

Avoiding people problems

Listing all the tasks

Internal projects

How to discover the key project driver

Three methods of project costing

Why I love Gantt charts

Three ways to handle uncertainty

Overspend or underspend?

Why PM is difficult

My instant guide

Why review?

Some eccentric PM abbreviations

What exactly is a PID?

Its never too late to plan

Why PM is good

Good questions to ask a project manager's Project Management time again already. Seems like only yesterday that I was sending you "Why I love Gantt charts". But don't worry, I'm still nowhere having to repeat these tips. Here is this month's:

What if...?

In your project plan you can't have "if's" like "if it rains it'll take longer". The customer wants one date by which the project will be complete. Unreasonable I know, but you can see why they want it.

You have three choices for how you handle uncertainties.

1. For small ones, put in enough contingency to cover it if it does happen. Rainy weather would probably come under this category.

2. Exclude it in the original proposal or project initiation document. "Unless we get floods the job will be complete by Christmas. If we do get floods it'll take another 8 weeks". Things like "customer fails to supply information" would be in this category. Unfortunately you can't have every little problem listed as an exclusion - it's your job as Project Manager to handle all the small stuff.

3. In extreme cases you can have "Stage 1 and stage 2". Stage 1 is planned in detail with clear cost estimates etc, and we can't plan stage 2 till we have seen how stage 1 pans out. For example "once we've dug the foundations (4 weeks) and found out how wet the ground is we will be able to forecast how long the building work will take."

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