Friday, September 28, 2007

Back to the basics - Project Tasks part 2: WHY?

(link to part 1:

WHY? Why do we put effort (aka cost) into task management? Because our boss tells us to? PMBOK demands it? What else would a PM do? I think the reason is to reduce risk to the overall project AND if the effort in managing the task(s) is not equaled or exceeded by the benefit (reduced risk) then they should not be tracked. An example of this is managing tasks around putting computers on everyday so programmers can do their work...seems pretty meaningless to track this - right? (hopefully all agree) - HOW MANY TASKS of similar nature do we actually have in our plans? What if our team, by nature, tests code to a point where it's a very high level of quality prior to reaching QA - ALL THE TIME. Do we need to enter a task for unit testing? The time to enter, update, time to discuss with developers, etc. could be substantial (a 3 month project with bi-weekly project meeting where 15 minutes is spent on this for 5 people adds up to about $3,000) for a task with no real benefit.

So, my answer to WHY is simple: To reduce risk. Task management:
  • ensures understanding of deliverable scope and benefit
  • understanding of effort/resources to deliver
  • helps in tracking and communicating delivery timeline
  • uncovers predecessors that may not have been identified prior
  • allocates people
Task management reduces risk (reduces cost) - delivery/completion of the task delivers value - different sides of the track.

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