Friday, April 4, 2008

The Sources and Uses of Project Historical Data

There is an old adage that history repeats itself. The negative connotation to this is that humans tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. Despite this tendency, people can learn from studying history.

Like world history, historical information from past projects provides you with the opportunity to benefit from past successes while avoiding past failures.

Past projects provide you with inputs for your current project, telling you what people, equipment, and materials were needed for which tasks. Project historical data also tells you which practices and procedures were effective and which were not.

Analyzing project historical data is made easier when you keep a project notebook. A project notebook holds data records in the form of various reports. These reports include:
  • project plans
  • status reports
  • budget reports
  • resource and supplier QA and performance reports
  • project logs (issues and problems).
Previous project plans can give you ideas for how you can approach your project. You can see how tasks were accomplished, what methods were deployed, and what type of resources were used.
Status reports indicate how well the resources that were used functioned while budget reports provide information about the cost of potential suppliers and contractors, which can help you estimate the cost of future projects.

Quality assurance reports give information on the quality level of the resources used on a project. The same type of information regarding suppliers is found in supplier performance reports.

Project logs reveal past issues and problems. You can apply these "lessons learned" to your current project.

Consider the example of an international telecommunications project. A similar project estimated the timelines for various stages of a project in its project plans. The actual timelines were recorded in the status reports. Reasons for the discrepancy between the two were recorded in the project logs. The budget report stated the costs, and an analysis of the project flow was included in the resource and supplier performance reports.

The paper trail left from previous projects helps you estimate costs, choose suppliers, estimate timelines, and see different approaches to a project. As such, it is your guidepost to the success of your current project.

1 comment:

Priya Sharma said...

Thanks for sharing this knowledgeable post. I will follow your tips for my project management. Now i am using an project resource management tool for my business, which is very helpful to save important information in less time.
Keep sharing such interesting article.