By Dexter Duncan
You are the project manager and you just spent heaps of money for labour and materials that were unnecessary. How did that happen?!
I am sure you have heard of GIGO? GARBAGE IN = GARBAGE OUT
Part of a quality plan is to ensure all your assumptions and data you are using are correct, especially when it involves success criteria involving multiple stake holders. In short, you have to ensure you do not have garbage information. How do you do this?
In our simple example of building a bridge, our stake holders each identified the key success criteria:
1) Council – identified safety as key criteria with related criteria being dimensions required such as height, width and length
2) Mayor – identified beauty as key criteria
3) Finance – identified budget and resources
We need to break key criteria down further. For safety, we need to pass two cars going in each direction and have ability to pass ships through. This information is critical and should be verified against your initial assumptions. The best way to ensure you do not overspend is to get all our assumptions checked by the stakeholders. This may involve getting them to sign off your initiation document or may involve a meeting to discuss details. The earlier you do this the less money it will cost in terms of time and materials.
Often the easy way is always to get the stake holders to clearly define their requirements either in a scoping session, meeting or document. The more clearly you define, the better. You then can verify the cost of your labour and materials needed based on this information and share back with stakeholder for “approval”. You should also plan to share your results along the way and allocate a change budget. As long as stakeholders have approved the expected outcome, assumptions and other information, you can be more assured that your focus on detailed planning and delivery has a better chance to succeed!