Olympic Rings featured in nearing everywhere these days. Those rings represent the 5 parts of the world which now are won over to Olympism and willing to accept healthy competition. While there is much talk about the projects of the Olympics, some difficulties and many successes, there are other rings that must be connected for project success:
- Risk - all project elements have risk. Cost and Schedule risk are a starting point. These can be addressed through straight lists of risks, their probability of occurrence, impacts, costs to mitigation and residual impacts after mitigation. Most approaches to risk management assume an independent association between the risks. That is they are decoupled risks, existing on their own. Many times this is not the case. What is Program Controls? speaks to some of the complexity of integrating technical risk with programmatic risk and addressing the coupling issues that are ignored in the Monte Carlo Simulators of project duration and their resulting cost models.
- Cost - the olde phrase time is money is tossed around without any real consideration for what that means. What is the relationship between time and money. Where is that relationship defined? What are the statistical attributes of that relationship and its impact on the probability of success for the project. This must be addressed through a cost modeling system. SCEA is one place to start.
- Statement of Work - What Does DONE Look Like? The SOW is one place to look. Assuming it is written properly. But Statement of Objectives, Concept of Operations, Scenarios, Use Cases, and Performance Work Statement are also places to look. Without a clear and concise collection of deliverables
- Technical Performance Measures - define what DONE looks like in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers. TPMs involve a technique of predicting the future value of a key technical performance parameter of the higher-level end product under development based on current assessments of products lower in the system structure.
- Work Breakdown Structure - describes the products or services to be delivered by the project, how they are decomposed and related. At the end of the tree of the WBS, is usually the Packages of Work that produce these outcomes. Without a properly formed WBS, you cannot determine what done looks like in any meaningful way. A typical mistake is to develop a WBS based on work types - design, code, test. This simply states the effort not the result.
- Integrated Master Plan / Integrated Master Schedule - The IMP is the Plan for the delivery of a set of Capabilities from the project and describes the increasing maturity of these capabilities through Significant Accomplishments and their Accomplishment Criteria. The Integrated Master Schedule describes the sequence of work, usually in Work Packages needed to produce the deliverables for the Accomplishment Criteria.
- Performance Measurement Baseline - brings the cost, schedule, and outcomes together in one place, puts this under change control, and measures progress to plan through assessments of Physical Percent Complete, and forecasts future performance (Estimate At Completion and Estimate to Complete) using Earned Value Management.
Putting This All Together Through the Tangible Evidence
Each of the Rings are represented by tangible evidence in the form of a document. I can hear the agilest now, no documents. Well sorry, in the domain we work, we need evidence that you do in fact have a SOW, a Risk Plan, an IMS, a cost basis of estimate, a Technical Performance Management plan and other items that show the project is planned properly, being managed properly, and measured properly.
Here's the top level connections...