Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Using Templates from Past Projects

Who was your role model when you were a child? Do you remember someone you used to emulate? Did you want to be like them? Did you try to copy that person's behavior to get the same results?

Templates for organizational planning work the same way. You can model your project according to similar successful projects from the past.

Using the successful elements of a former project will save you both time and money.

Although the details of each project are unique, the basic components are often similar. This helps you in your planning. For example, you can use the role and responsibility definitions, or reporting relationships, of a similar project to expedite the organizational planning process.

Peter, the project manager for a large insurance company, is preparing a responsibility chart for his team members. How does he decide how to do this? One effective method is to see how responsibility has been distributed in the past. Peter can do this by using the responsibility charts of other successful departments in his organization, or he can copy those of another successful company. Either way he chooses, he is using a past template to ensure the success of his project.

You can disassemble past templates and reassemble the plans you need for your own project. Possible plans you can use for your own project include:
  • organizational structure
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • company policies and practices
IRT is a successful IT consulting company. One of the services it offers is a Software Development Life Cycle Methodology. Within that methodology are predefined roles and responsibilities and organization charts. Before starting a project, the team members at IRT use their company's model as a starting point. By doing this, they are using templates of organizational structure and work breakdown structure. The team modifies its own template to suit its clients' needs, while building upon past success.

As a project manager, you will want to use templates to guide your organizational planning. Building on the success of others is a sure way of steering you toward your desired goal.

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