Define your projects following Kepner Tregoe with Ayoa to define your project, establish a work breakdown, sequence and schedule deliverables
What would be the added benefit of applying Kepner Tregoe to a project managed in Ayoa?
Defining the project
Am I really defining a project?
I may just be organizing the tasks that come in and the tasks that I generate. I define my projects much more loosely than the strict rigour of Kepner Trego (KT). KT asks me to be clear about what I’m trying to achieve, what I need in terms of resources to achieve it and the timescale.
Cost Performance Time
But define the project you must, no matter how you do it. I am defining a project from bottom-up and from top-down.
Building a project from the bottom up
I’ve collected 14,000 Evernotes over about 10 years. I’ve tagged them by subject and arranged them by folder. They are all organized. But I have so many Evernotes that I can’t remember them all. But they serve as my Evernote library. They trace the course of my existence from around 2010.
Many projects (which for me means many customer orders, each one of which is like a mini project, see translation). So I’m not defining the project in classical terms. I’m not presenting a budget to a manager for approval. I am self-employed.
Kepner Tregoe with Ayoa
I’m trying to make sense of what I propose to myself as a project. I’m defining it by the task grid and mind map in Ayoa.
Once I’ve defined the project. I consider a project defined once I am happy with the task board, once I have played with it enough (both at ‘on’ times and ‘off’ times on the mobile device). Once I’m happy with it, once I feel it is appropriate, makes sense.
Work Breakdown Structure
I have developed a perfect work breakdown structure with an Ayoa task grid. I am expressing the project, have developed objectives.
So now I should identify resource requirements. Identifying resource requirements is a little more difficult.
Identifying Resource Requirements
What does classical KT offer in terms of approach to identifying resource requirements?
KT suggests that you look at resource requirements along several axes:
Physical resources such as rooms, whiteboards, pens, space to work
Technical resources such as IT support
Financial resources. The cost of the project is always a question.
I don’t have any specific fields to deal with this in Ayoa. Team members could make comments to the effect of: ‘to get this task done we need this, this and this’, which might suffice.
Once you’ve determined the type of resources that you need and the people that you need on your project, you assign the responsibilities. This is probably a bit old school now, at least in agile circles. In agile projects, it depends on the level of autonomy of each colleague. Although, when constituting a project team, you will be looking for people with complementary skills.
So assigning responsibility is more or less a formal task.
Ayoa provides this in the canvas view, which allows you to establish dependencies between tasks, visually. You get a nice little arrow between circles and in the Gantt view and in the Workflow View.
You can easily schedule resources in Ayoa. You simply need to add a person to a task card. As follows. Screen print.
You don’t get (which was quite useful in Microsoft project) the loading per resource. So if for instance, you associate a resource with multiple tasks and then schedule the tasks at the same time, can you tell whether the resources overloaded?
Protect the Plan
KT talks about protecting the plan. So what does protecting the plan mean? Protecting the plan means that if you get so far as to plan your project on a Gantt, in such a way that is realizable. You will have a ‘true’ plan. This means that you have a series of objectives, tasks which aim to fulfil those objectives, and you have scheduled them with people, you have something to protect. So you protect the plan.
Protecting the plan in practice
It means primarily that the people that you have associated with the plans, the commitment that they have made to the project will be respected, this means that those people can make themselves available at the scheduled time. And that the physical, special resources will be available at the required time.
Specialists in project planning quite clearly manage to do this. Look at finely timed engineering projects. The project only requires the expensive crane resource only for a minimal time, which means that it turns up when required and leaves when finished. No idling time, no time wasted.
Monitor the project
Update the plan
Close and evaluate
Certainly, once you have your plan established on Ayoa, you would want to monitor it. You want to be checking whether people are doing the tasks, whether they can do the tasks (whether they have the resources necessary) and whether organized centrally through a project manager or horizontally, someone needs to order the coffee.
You will be updating the plan. With ‘modern’ tools such as Ayoa, you can update the plan frequently. It is easily accessible from your desktop, or from your mobile. Team members likewise.
Close and Evaluate using Kepner Tregoe with Ayoa
I don’t know whether projects go through this formal close and evaluate. The more formal projects almost certainly do. The principal is in a no-stress environment when the project has finished, look back, see what we could have done better, where our successes were (SWOT).
But this suggestion does not preclude or exclude continuous project assessment. Continuous improvement applied to projects.
Perhaps a tool like Ayoa can help. Team members can comment on tasks, make suggestions, cry for help, suggest something for the next task based on the experience of this one. These comments are not just centralized through a project manager, but are available to the whole team. So the project is auto adjusting itself through proper feedback from each team member. The old model would probably have centralized everything through the project manager.
Using Kepner Tregoe with Ayoa
Using Kepner Tregoe with Ayoa provides a formalized structure to approaching projects. But it also provides some key indicators. Some of the important aspects that you should be looking at when considering a project:
If you can express the project in one phrase, what would it be? Why is that important? It’s important to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve, something that everybody understands.
The detail of project definition, breaking it down into objectives and a work breakdown structure and identifying resource requirements is to establish a project while leaving the detail of whether Fred is available on Thursday to a little bit later. First it’s about understanding what we want to do and what the order of things is are we sure we are going in this direction? Are these really our objectives and who do we need and what do we need to get it done.
Project planning firms it up
Activities still occur in a logical sequence. It is quite mathematical, but it’s only rigid if we make it rigid.
The tool is helpful if it is flexible, if it helps by reflecting changing reality (providing information to team members).
Using Kepner Tregoe with Ayoa is helpful if it’s collaborative, shared by everyone, if everyone can see the changes made and understand them, then scheduling resources, sequencing deliverables, assigning responsibilities and protecting the plan becomes part of daily activity, for everyone.
Project execution is a formalized term. But it illustrates the idea that you need to plan the project before you get going. You need to think at least about where you’re going to work, what you need if it’s not just software development is going to be more than just a PC under a desk.
It’s also the idea that you say okay now we go. Let’s go let’s do it we are ready we got what we need. And then as we go, we track what we’re doing, where we are going, we’re evaluating what we are doing against objectives. In an agile environment, customers set objectives collaboratively with the team.
End of Project Closeout
The definition of a project is achieving something specific, in a limited or defined space of time, with limited, finite resources. Cost, performance and time. This has not changed.
People always want to build things, by a certain date, and they want it to look a certain way. This is not a critique of agile, nor a defence of KT. It is mostly about asking whether using Kepner Tregoe with Ayoa responds to the need and, when looking at your needs, finding the right tool.
Evaluation of Ayoa
See a fuller article on the evaluation of Ayoa as a project designer or a full blown task manager.