Saturday, July 5, 2014

Anticipating Questions and Problems

Anticipating questions and potential problems is a basic step in technical direction and in project management, but one that I often see skipped when the timeline gets tight.

I read once that 70% of project related questions could be anticipated and prepared for – things like schedule, facility information (dock, door / elevator sizes, etc), contact information for onsite, and so forth are easy to anticipate and this information should be collected early.  Asking these questions in advance allow the PM or TD to be prepared when the project is discussed with the crew, since the PM/TD will already be able to answer the crews questions or will present the information as part of the discussion.

While I think that collecting this information in the beginning, it seems like the step often gets skipped when the project is on a fast track.  I also see situations where a TD/PM is somewhat reactive to information instead of proactive.  I know that personally I often avoid any sort of intake forms when I am starting a project, yet these have usually been created for a reason, often reminding the user of a variety of questions to ask and necessary information.  Often I find that clients don’t seem to have all of the necessary information either, but asking the question early at least spurs them into collecting the necessary information.  And using forms shouldn’t be seen as a weakness, there is often a lot of wasted time collecting information that could easily be streamlined if the necessary information was anticipated.  Further, potential problems could be anticipated with information presented early in the process.