Program/Project Dependencies – Don’t Get Surprised
The Project Management Institute (PMI) publishes A Guide to The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Third Addition. In this guide, Project Time Management includes “the processes required to accomplish timely completion of the project” (p. 123).
This sounds simple but, many Program and Project Managers have issues with missing milestone dates, or worst, the original due date on a project. Why? Other reasons may exist but, in my experience, one of the key reasons is a key dependency was not identified, in the creation of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), resulting in: The project team being surprised, resources being reallocated, and * the project team not being able to recover the schedule.
Suggestions to Address
Understand and Document your Dependency Assumptions – All work activities associated with a project have dependencies and corresponding assumptions. Many project teams do not like to think about these assumptions and worst; most project team members do not like to document their dependency assumptions. As a project leader, strongly encourage your team to document their assumptions, no matter how trivial. This will allow you, and your team, to perform a sanity check for holes in the team’s assumptions. This technique will give you an opportunity to help the team “not be surprised” and save time delays downstream.