4

I'm keen to know the perceived best way of sharing a company wide schedule of work.

Here are some key considerations:

  • I want the team to be able to see what is upcoming in the next 1-6 weeks and the key tasks that need to be completed so they have a sense of what's coming
  • The schedule is very prone to change, therefore I'm keen to avoid having a paper printout that I will be forever reprinting
  • I don't want to point people to an MS Project file on the network as I suspect this will never get looked at
  • I send out a weekly priorities currently - but it's the horizon of what's coming up that I'm keen to circulate

What process should I use to select a tool that would effectively solve this problem and what type of tool should I be looking for?

3

Go for something as low tech and obvious as possible. You want people to not be able to walk past the team without seeing it. Some type of Kanban board or just a whiteboard with post-it notes would work really well if the team is co-located.

If they are distributed then you'll need something more high-tech. This could be an electronic kanban board (we use Jira to track all the development tasks and this generates a kanban board automatically), but it could be more simple, for e.g. if you have a project web site or central place that people will often go to, why not post a simple image that shows the key info?

What you are trying to do is create something that is simple to keep up to date and simple to understand, don't try to go to clever or formal!

Also don't disregard something that is a little effort for you, as PM, to keep up to date if it adds value to the entire team. For example, duplicate status info on a whiteboard manually rather than working out an automated way to do it. This will take you a few minutes each day and will be a hassle but you will get that effort back with interest once the team start improving because they know what is coming up.

5

I recommend something simple we do at our weekly resource planning meetings. We use the white board in a conference room to hand-draw charts, similar to what you might see in project management and scheduling software. Then next to each project we annotate the charts with each team member's tasks for the next few weeks.

Sometimes, to improve visibility and commitment, we add photos of the team and additional information on each employee's performance so far.

This may be slightly old fashioned, but we've found that physically gathering and discussing the board is an excellent motivator and boosts team spirit.

2

My first question would be: how big is the team? Depending on the number of people and, consequently, tasks you would be able to work on different level of details.

Another thing which is important is whether you're co-located or not.

However, in each setup your situation begs for Kanban board. Depending on a size of the team you would go with more coarse-grained or fine-grained information. Then, if your team is co-located I'd strongly advise physical Kanban board, while in dispersed teams you'd probably need to go with software.

Anyway, one of purposes of Kanban board is to visualize what is happening in a team/an organization/etc, which is basically what you're trying to achieve here. If you go with hand-written sticky notes, you don't add hassle connected with printing whatsoever. Kanban board by design supports frequent changes. It is also easy to show any additional information you might need, like priorities, task assignments etc.

If you need more details I can recommend a series of posts on different aspects of Kanban board on my blog.

0

It does not seem to make a lot of sense to me to create another communication artifact to show resources the schedule, tailored to the point of view of a resource, other than what you already have available to use. If you point to the schedule, perhaps in the gantt view or something, and they do not look at it, that might mean they neither want nor need to look at it--in which case that would be a valuable datum that says do not waste your time or money communicating something about which they do not care.

The Work Authorization Document (WAD) is a typical tool to communicate what piece of work is next. The WAD is not only a required document if you stood up an ANSI-certified EVMS, but is also an easy to use tool to communicate to each resource the work ahead. It not only authorizes a person to when to begin turning wrenches and thus accruing costs, but also relays valuable information such as expected inputs, expected outputs, other requirements, expected time and cost targets, risks, dependencies, etc. You can create this WAD as simple or sophisticated as you want.

If something changes, a WAD is reissued with the updated information. It requires you to have such a capability to administer this WAD, but this is the cost of doing business in a controlled way. In other words, this is part of your PM LOE and you would / should have budgeted for it accordingly. It does NOT have to be overly complicated and formal, either. You can create this capability to be consistent with the size and complexity of your project. But leaving home without is ill-advised.

0

It depends on

  1. Size of your team.
  2. Are they geographically dispersed?
  3. Is it on a project basis or on a continuous basis like managing product releases?

You are right no one wants to ponder over MS Project file that keeps changing. KISS principle works best.

It helps to distill your plan and create a view that contains only the information which is of interest to a particular group of people. If that means creating multiple views then, so be it. This view should not be more than a click away so, I am thinking something like a wiki page that people can bookmark.

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