A major financial organization is planning a major move to consolidate its business units to a central location in metro Atlanta. The business units have been spread over 4 commercial office campuses within a 2 – 6 mile radius of one another. With the growth of the organization and the need to reduce the rising cost of commercial leases the organization launched a facilities consolidation effort. This effort is scheduled to take approximately 2 years to complete.
I was assigned to the project in the Perform phase, 3 months prior to the Close phase. My role was defined as the Technical Writer tasked with documenting the business units computer labs requirements for the move to the new office facility. I was back filling a position for a person that was asked to leave the organization abruptly. The challenge with this scenario is the person that was responsible for transferring the project knowledge and status to me had limited knowledge of the project coordination and the documentation effort. Starting the project in the Perform phase without extensive background knowledge to answer the following questions placed me at a disadvantage.
Can the project be done? (Portny et al., 2008, p. 77)
Should the project be done? (Portny et al., 2008, p. 77)
I also did not receive the details on the project plan that was outlined in the Define phase. Having the knowledge of the roles of the team members, a listing of all work to be performed, results to be produced along with the assumptions and risks would have really supported my understanding of the project and my role and responsibilities (Portny et al., 2008, pgs. 78 – 79). Also my absence from the commencement of the Start phase resulted in a vague understanding of the role assignments for the project, the PM’s description of tasks to the team members, and the PM’s description of the necessary tasks to complete the assigned work. My absence from the launch meeting facilitated by the PM limited my awareness of the other project team members (Portny et al., 2008, p. 79). The PM was located in the Midwest. The PM conducted weekly conference call meetings to obtain the status of the project from the team members. By the time I joined the project the momentum and attitude of the project team members was waning. So it was difficult for the PM to conduct weekly status meeting that were effective without key team members participation. In the last 4 weeks of the project I discovered that my primary task was to serve as the project coordinator gathering network and telecom requirements from the business unit owners and reporting my efforts back to the PM. I facilitated conference call meetings with the business unit owners and the network and telecom engineers. The objective of the conference calls were to ensure that the requirements were clearly identified and implemented prior to the move, and that the business units had the support they needed on the move day.
Based on the PM’s role I believe the project was successful. However, effective communication was not sustained between the business owners, the PM and the network and telecom engineers do to the change in resources in the Perform phase (my initiation to the project). The PM was challenged with the fact that I was unable to come in and continue the work that the previous resource had performed and that I was not provided with a description of my tasks and responsibilities. There was an obvious disconnect between what the PM’s expectations were for the transfer of knowledge to me in an effort to continue the tasks and required duties of this role
As the Project Coordinator if I had a better understanding of my tasks when I began the job I would have looked back at the basis for the project feasibility and desirability in the Conceive phase (Portny et al., 2008, p. 80). I would have asked more questions about the project team resources and their responsibilities. I believe this information would have helped me get acclimated to the details of the project and perform my tasks in a confident and quality manner.
Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Blogs I Responded To
Melissa Burr’s Blog
Barbara Morris Blog