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Senior Manager - How Can You Safeguard This Project from Mushrooming out of Control?

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You are a senior manager of a functional area in which a mission-critical system is being developed. How can you safeguard this project from mushrooming out of control?

As a senior manager of a functional area I will assume I am in charge of a Integrated Product Team (IPT). When being in charge of a mission critical piece it is imperative that you understand your time lines and any time buffers that may be available. First step is to identify milestones in both the acquisition and development phases. After identifying the milestones it is time to identify the critical path in the project that has the least buffer or leeway. The data all gets dumped into a project software such as MS-Project, Turbo Project or OpenProject.

Now comes the fun part, controlling the task and subtask to be completed. I hold weekly IPT meetings to check progress against my project layout. Is production on time? Are there any outstanding issues? Has the customer changed any of the requirements? The sooner a problem is brought to my attention, the faster I or the team can come up with a solution. If I am ordering parts from an outside vendor then I expect immediate reports if they see an issue with completion of their part in time. Depending on the rapport between the customer, myself and the vendor there may need to be weekly or bi-weekly checks on progress with the vendor.

In my current situation I am glad to work with such a dedicated team of engineers that takes the mission very serious. If we tell the customer we can get a mission critical piece out by December 01 then they will usually have it the last week of November. This is of course if no modifications have been requested by the customer. Yes, modifications do happen quite often and is the hardest part of the project to control. The most important part as a senior manager is let everyone do their jobs and concentrate on your part of the mission, tracking.



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