Project Review

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New Critical Path Template:


Introduction: Extreme Management

Project evaluation and review is critical to project management. Extreme Management is OSE's version of an open, collaborative method with a focus on documentation of work product. All results are readily accessible in one click from a graphical index/overview platform. Extreme Management builds upon the concept of PERT charts and Critical Path Diagrams, including clear Work Breakdown Structures.

The requirements for open project management platform are:

  • Project is readily reviewable by a brief examination of management platform, including one-click access to all content
  • Work product is one-click accessible from management platform
  • Can be displayed on a cloud-embeddable-linkable platform such as Google Docs
  • Project status and work product can be viewed from anywhere and updated readily
  • Platform can be embedded into any other platform and that the updates in the display are updated readily
  • Work product is linked in a one-stop-shop to the Milestone and Task Spreadsheet.
  • Budget, timeline, sequence, duration are visible in a Milestone and Task Spreadsheet.
  • Collaborators self-assess themselves via a monthly review, documented in a person's work log.

Sample Critical Path Diagram


Sample Tracking Spreadsheet with Gantt Chart



Execution of a complex task follows these steps:

  1. Start with a clear Work Breakdown Structure
  2. OSE PERT Chart shows milestones, expected start time and duration, and actual end time, dependencies, and order of execution. This constitutes a scope and sequence of a project. Each milestone links to a spreadsheet. Make a copy of the template above and fill in your information.
  3. Spreadsheet shows tasks from the Work Breakdown Structure, their predicted and actual times, links to work product, and planned + actual cost. Make a copy of spreadsheet above and fill in your information.

How it Works

  1. A project page displays the PERT chart and spreadsheed, and allows anyone to observe and assess overall progress in minutes. Gantt chart in spreasheet shows work status by the day.
  2. The single PERT chart is sufficient to access all information about a project.
  3. The PERT chart links to a master spreadsheet of tasks.
  4. The PERT Chart and spreadsheet are updated with actual times and budgets to allow for learning.
  5. The spreasheet shows a Gantt chart, which is created by shading in the days. Delays are shown when the Gantt chart of the Actual row is different from the Planned row.
  6. The spreadsheet rows show planned and actual values for the Gantt chart section. Shade in planned days with light green as in the template, and shade in actual values with dark green.

Chris's Process


Chris's Implementation of Tracking Spreadsheet with Gannt Chart



Commentary on Agile Waterfall

MJ's discussion on a healthy hybrid of agile and waterfall project management methods that OSE thinks can tap the advantages of each development method while mitigating the shortcomings of each method.

The above is not exactly agile, because it imposes timelines, which are typically not used in the Scrum methodology. Typical agile management just works with a backlog and expected times for tasks, so a burn down velocity can be used to deduce the project completion date. In the Critical Path Method, we are doing a mix of agile and waterfall. My learnings from last year are that agile is limited because it does not easily show easy-to-follow timelines, which prevents proper assessment whether things are on track. So are we going to waterfall? Not really. By using Cloud-embeddable-linkable format (google docs), we are able to make changes on the fly, with minimal effort. This allows us to manage the project like an agile project, but it also allows to capture the learnings - by comparing expected progress to actual progress. Such learnings are not possible in agile, because agile does not document predicted progress, so organizational learning can happen only within the team, eliminating the possibility of external feedback. External feedback is critical for OSE open methods - which to me is the shortcoming of the scrum method for OSE. Another major shortcoming is poor planning on resource allocation in the way we have been doing scrum. To me the key to effective OSE management is combining the benefits of waterfall and agile - by integrating the benefits of waterfall (organizational learning, good planning) with the agility injected by using modern tools (cloud-embeddable-linkable platforms). Maybe we should call it Agile Waterfall, an oxymoron.