Untangling Project Conflicts

Session 04: Drafting the Planning Phase
Session 05: Drafting the Planning Phase (Again?)

Hey hey. Welcome to this single session where I take a break from production to analyze and assess the current state of projects. In this session I hope to untangle the revelation that I am unintentionally working on two different guides simultaneously.

Some quick history: I created a Project Management Guideline based on best practices I’ve discovered for the last year or so of production. Then I started to assess the review process for projects which created new steps for the the Project Management Guideline and also led to the creation of a new tool (The Content Review Decision Tree project) which is in review. That project sparked an update to the Project Management Guideline regarding project scope but it wasn’t implemented in a sensible way. Finally, I’m currently working on a How to Create Guides project which has unearthed a slew of major changes to the Project Management Guideline.

Okay. That’s a long paragraph. My ultimate point is that there are a ton of action items for updating the Project Management Guideline but I’ve only got through one phase (out of 7 – er, now 10?) of the guideline.

So, do I put production for How-to-Create Guides on pause to work out these major action items or do I power through the rest of production for How-to-Create Guides then shift over to all the action PM Guideline action items (since there will be more).

I don’t like the idea of moving forward with “TBD” text in the Guide but it seems that this is going to keep happening, which means I’ll keep bouncing back-and-forth between projects and reviews. I’d rather trudge through the guide – getting to the end with as much content as possible then bounce back and complete the PM Guideline content and tools and then bounce back to the Guide. By the time I’m done with production, I’ll have two guides and tools each ready for a single review (rather than having one guide reviewed multiple times in addition to the second guide and tools).

This is going to affect the production schedule. An objective for the How-to-Create guides was to have production done by the end of January. But this happens sometimes. Assuming the goal of February was to get through production of the Project Guide, then the goal of February should now be to get through production of both guides.

Shouldn’t I go through project planning for the Project Guide though? I suppose I should but on the other hand the current process is obviously flawed with all the major changes planned. I think, once both the guide and project management process are ready (by February’s end) I will start a plan for turning the guidelines into a guide. In other words, the content I’m updating for the Project Management Guideline – is just that – for the Guideline, not the guide (which is why I created it as a guideline to begin with!).

So I’m NOT working on two guides. I’m working on one guide and the content for a previous project – the Project Management Guideline.

I will continue to design the How-to-Guide based on the current Project Management Guidelines, updating the Guidelines as needed or slating updates for the end of the first pass of design.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

  1. Continue to create the How-to Guide as best as possible based on current PM standards
  2. When the first pass of the How-to Guide is complete, work out all the Action Items (including Tool Reviews) to update the PM Standards.
  3. Once the PM Standards are complete, fill in all the missing content into the How-to-Guide.
  4. Assuming there are no new action items, send the PM Standards out for review first since updates to that might reflect in the How-to Guide.
  5. Once that gets reviewed, update the How-to Guide with updates were necessary and send out for review.

That sounds like a plan. It might be important to note that while these projects are out for review, the next project to start is the Branding Guide. Hopefully it won’t complicate things too much if branding rules are discovered before the other two projects are finalized. But that might happen.

I think I have enough to go with so this session is successfully concluded.

Session 04: Drafting the Planning Phase
Session 05: Drafting the Planning Phase (Again?)