Strategic Project Management–Project Monitoring


The first part of Terry Schmidt’s book Strategic Project Management Made Simple introduces the concept of the Logical Framework Matrix and shows how it proceeds from four critical strategic questions.   The second part of his book goes into detail regarding those four critical strategic questions.   However, both of these parts of the book are essentially dealing with the initiating and planning process groups.   What about the executing and the monitoring & controlling process groups?   How can the Logical Framework Matrix be used for these processes?    That is the subject of the third part of the book.

1.  Think-Plan-Act-Access action cycle

The traditional Deming project cycle is Plan-Do-Check-Act, where these phases corresponding to the project management process groups in the following way:

  • Plan–planning
  • Do–executing
  • Check–monitoring
  • Act–controlling

Terry Schmidt revises this cycle, with the phases in his cycle corresponding to the project management process groups in the following way:

  • Think–initiating (strategic/program focus)
  • Plan–planning (project focus)
  • Act–executing
  • Assess–monitoring & controlling

The three types of assessment including under the phase of “Assess” are:

  1. Project Monitoring
  2. Project Status Review
  3. Project Evaluation

This post deals with the first type of assessment, Project Monitoring, and how it is enabled by the Logical Framework Matrix.

2.  Project Monitoring

The three levels of Objectives are

  • Goal
  • Purpose
  • Outcomes

The inputs are the breakdown of the activities and resources used to create the Outcomes.   Project Monitoring is simply an assessment of the progress being made in turning those Inputs into Outcomes.

A fine-grained way of assessing progress is Earned Value Analysis, which is not detailed in Terry Schmidt’s book.   The first level of assessment should be establishing major milestones, which consist of the following:

  • Completion of an Outcome
  • Start or completion of critical activities towards completion of an Outcome
  • Verification of Assumptions
  • Periodic reviews

Rather than waiting until the deadlines for these events, a project manager should have “trip-wires” in his or her schedule that allow for monitoring progress a certain amount of time BEFORE the milestones or deadlines occur so that any extra resources can be added to assure that those milestones are met.

3.  Trip-wire conversations

Rathering than asking your project team “how is it going” in general at the trip-wire events, you should ask the following conversation starters:

  • Are you having any difficulties that would keep you from meeting targets?
  • Are you getting the support you need from others?
  • Is there anything else I should know about the support you need (i.e., if you are not getting it, where is the bottleneck occurring)
  • What do you need from me?

Notice that the last type of “milestone” listed above were “periodic reviews.”   That will be the subject of the next post.

 

 

Mastering the Fourth Critical Strategic Question–Part 4


The second part of Terry Schmidt’s book Strategic Management Made Simple focuses in on the relationship between the four critical strategic questions and how they are captured visually in the Logical Framework approach.   As a review from the first part of his book which introduced them, those four critical strategic questions are:

–What are we trying to accomplish and why?

–How will we measure success?

–What other conditions must exist?

–How do we get there?

The third chapter of this second part focuses in on the third critical strategic question, “What other conditions must exist?”

1.  Introduction

The answer to the first question will yield you the Objectives, which are the …

–Outcome of the project (the answer to the question “What are we trying to accomplish?”)

–Purpose of the project (“why is the project being done from the standpoint of the customer–what business need is the product of the project is trying to fill?”)

–Goal of the project (“why is the project being done from the standpoint of the organization doing the project–what strategic need are the benefits from the project going to meet?”)

These answers to the first question involve vertical linkages between the Outcome, Purpose, and Goal objectives.

The answer to the second question will ask you “how do you measure success” for EACH LEVEL of the objectives.  The four tips for meaningful measures of success are:

  • Valid–they accurately measure the Objectives
  • Verifiable–clear, non-subjective evidence exists or can be obtained
  • Targeted–quality, quantity, and time targets are pinned down
  • Independent–each level in the hierarchy of Objectives (Outcome, Purpose, Goal) has separate measures

These answers to the second question involve horizontal linkages between the objectives and their success measures.

The answers to the third question will involve diagonal linkages between the objectives and the assumptions that you need to make in order for them to be achieved and measured.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Mastering the Fourth Critical Strategic Question–part 4


The second part of Terry Schmidt’s book Strategic Management Made Simple focuses in on the relationship between the four critical strategic questions and how they are captured visually in the Logical Framework approach.   As a review from the first part of his book which introduced them, those four critical strategic questions are:

–What are we trying to accomplish and why?

–How will we measure success?

–What other conditions must exist?

–How do we get there?

The third chapter of this second part focuses in on the third critical strategic question, “What other conditions must exist?”

1.  Introduction

The answer to the first question will yield you the Objectives, which are the …

–Outcome of the project (the answer to the question “What are we trying to accomplish?”)

–Purpose of the project (“why is the project being done from the standpoint of the customer–what business need is the product of the project is trying to fill?”)

–Goal of the project (“why is the project being done from the standpoint of the organization doing the project–what strategic need are the benefits from the project going to meet?”)

These answers to the first question involve vertical linkages between the Outcome, Purpose, and Goal objectives.

The answer to the second question will ask you “how do you measure success” for EACH LEVEL of the objectives.  The four tips for meaningful measures of success are:

  • Valid–they accurately measure the Objectives
  • Verifiable–clear, non-subjective evidence exists or can be obtained
  • Targeted–quality, quantity, and time targets are pinned down
  • Independent–each level in the hierarchy of Objectives (Outcome, Purpose, Goal) has separate measures

These answers to the second question involve horizontal linkages between the objectives and their success measures.

The answers to the third question will involve diagonal linkages between the objectives and the assumptions that you need to make in order for them to be achieved and measured.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Mastering the Fourth Critical Strategic Question–part 3


The second part of Terry Schmidt’s book Strategic Management Made Simple focuses in on the relationship between the four critical strategic questions and how they are captured visually in the Logical Framework approach.   As a review from the first part of his book which introduced them, those four critical strategic questions are:

–What are we trying to accomplish and why?

–How will we measure success?

–What other conditions must exist?

–How do we get there?

The third chapter of this second part focuses in on the third critical strategic question, “What other conditions must exist?”

1.  Introduction

The answer to the first question will yield you the Objectives, which are the …

–Outcome of the project (the answer to the question “What are we trying to accomplish?”)

–Purpose of the project (“why is the project being done from the standpoint of the customer–what business need is the product of the project is trying to fill?”)

–Goal of the project (“why is the project being done from the standpoint of the organization doing the project–what strategic need are the benefits from the project going to meet?”)

These answers to the first question involve vertical linkages between the Outcome, Purpose, and Goal objectives.

The answer to the second question will ask you “how do you measure success” for EACH LEVEL of the objectives.  The four tips for meaningful measures of success are:

  • Valid–they accurately measure the Objectives
  • Verifiable–clear, non-subjective evidence exists or can be obtained
  • Targeted–quality, quantity, and time targets are pinned down
  • Independent–each level in the hierarchy of Objectives (Outcome, Purpose, Goal) has separate measures

These answers to the second question involve horizontal linkages between the objectives and their success measures.

The answers to the third question will involve diagonal linkages between the objectives and the assumptions that you need to make in order for them to be achieved and measured.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Mastering the Fourth Critical Strategic Question–Part 2


The second part of Terry Schmidt’s book Strategic Management Made Simple focuses in on the relationship between the four critical strategic questions and how they are captured visually in the Logical Framework approach.   As a review from the first part of his book which introduced them, those four critical strategic questions are:

–What are we trying to accomplish and why?

–How will we measure success?

–What other conditions must exist?

–How do we get there?

The third chapter of this second part focuses in on the third critical strategic question, “What other conditions must exist?”

1.  Introduction

The answer to the first question will yield you the Objectives, which are the …

–Outcome of the project (the answer to the question “What are we trying to accomplish?”)

–Purpose of the project (“why is the project being done from the standpoint of the customer–what business need is the product of the project is trying to fill?”)

–Goal of the project (“why is the project being done from the standpoint of the organization doing the project–what strategic need are the benefits from the project going to meet?”)

These answers to the first question involve vertical linkages between the Outcome, Purpose, and Goal objectives.

The answer to the second question will ask you “how do you measure success” for EACH LEVEL of the objectives.  The four tips for meaningful measures of success are:

  • Valid–they accurately measure the Objectives
  • Verifiable–clear, non-subjective evidence exists or can be obtained
  • Targeted–quality, quantity, and time targets are pinned down
  • Independent–each level in the hierarchy of Objectives (Outcome, Purpose, Goal) has separate measures

These answers to the second question involve horizontal linkages between the objectives and their success measures.

The answers to the third question will involve diagonal linkages between the objectives and the assumptions that you need to make in order for them to be achieved and measured.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Mastering the Fourth Critical Strategic Question–Part 1


The second part of Terry Schmidt’s book Strategic Management Made Simple focuses in on the relationship between the four critical strategic questions and how they are captured visually in the Logical Framework approach.   As a review from the first part of his book which introduced them, those four critical strategic questions are:

–What are we trying to accomplish and why?

–How will we measure success?

–What other conditions must exist?

–How do we get there?

The third chapter of this second part focuses in on the third critical strategic question, “What other conditions must exist?”

1.  Introduction

The answer to the first question will yield you the Objectives, which are the …

–Outcome of the project (the answer to the question “What are we trying to accomplish?”)

–Purpose of the project (“why is the project being done from the standpoint of the customer–what business need is the product of the project is trying to fill?”)

–Goal of the project (“why is the project being done from the standpoint of the organization doing the project–what strategic need are the benefits from the project going to meet?”)

These answers to the first question involve vertical linkages between the Outcome, Purpose, and Goal objectives.

The answer to the second question will ask you “how do you measure success” for EACH LEVEL of the objectives.  The four tips for meaningful measures of success are:

  • Valid–they accurately measure the Objectives
  • Verifiable–clear, non-subjective evidence exists or can be obtained
  • Targeted–quality, quantity, and time targets are pinned down
  • Independent–each level in the hierarchy of Objectives (Outcome, Purpose, Goal) has separate measures

These answers to the second question involve horizontal linkages between the objectives and their success measures.

The answers to the third question will involve diagonal linkages between the objectives and the assumptions that you need to make in order for them to be achieved and measured.

TO BE CONTINUED