News and thoughts from CS Odessa, maker of the ConceptDraw product line: ConceptDraw PRO, ConceptDraw PROJECT and ConceptDraw MINDMAP.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting Projects Off on the Right (or Left) Foot

If you're interested in "projects"* and have never visited Glen Alleman's blog, Herding Cats, you might want to check it out. Glen is very thoughtful on the subject of project management (and on lots of other subject, I'm sure). In the last couple of days, he's been talking about the importance of starting projects with a clear, shared understanding of the goal and of what it means for the project to be "done."

Glen quotes David Campbell, who makes the obvious but often overlooked observation that "if you don't know where you're going, you'll probably end up somewhere else." Sounds pretty much like common sense.

But in my experience, and maybe yours, the tendency when a team gets started on a new work initiative (AKA project) is to just get going. The benefit that can come from taking even an hour up front to identify key metrics... it's huge. If you're not doing it now, try getting a few key players in the room and projecting a map up on the wall to build a common understanding. It's a common sense thing to do... like looking at a map before you start a trip, or reviewing a recipe before you start to cook.

The cool thing with ConceptDraw Office is that, once you've done this kind of thinking, you can essentially toggle back and forth between the mind map view and the project chart view, and build process diagrams -- all without leaving the ConceptDraw environment. No lost data, not competing rules, no need to buy another application. Sweet!

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