Friday, October 26, 2012

Ragnaring the PMP Process: Planning (Part 2)

Ok. Wine procured (take notes, that word will come up again!)

Lesson 14: Qualitative Risk Analysis
How likely is it that your team will have to leap frog? How likely is it that you will have to split three legs across your van because your teammate has to drop due to job interview/angry spouse/broken leg?

Now is the time to figure out which identified risks (see last blog entry!) are likely to occur and how totally screwed you are if it does occur. Low on the P-I scale (probability impact) would be if a bee stings someone and they are uncomfortable on their run (i.e. I experienced my first bee sting ever in Great River and ran an uncomfortable several miles). High on the P-I scale would be that a major storm is destroying Chicago and your teammate's flight gets in the evening of the race. 

Lesson 15: Quantitative Risk Analysis
Assign numbers to those qualitative risks. You can do this a few different ways.

1) Expected Monetary Value (EVM): multiply the value of each possible outcome by the probability of occurrence, then add them all together. i.e. Am I willing to spend an extra $100 to get extra insurance on our big white vans? (Value x Probability)
2) Sensitivity Analysis: How risk averse are you? I'll spend that extra $100 if I'm really worried about the vans
3) Decision Tree Analysis: Decision and the possible outcomes. If I don't get the insurance...I could save our team money, or be up shit creek and owning a couple grand to the insurance company if we get hit in the parking lot...

Lesson 16: Plan Risk Response
1) Develop options to enhance positive risks (opportunities): we're down a runner - if we find someone fast, we can potentially have less risk about getting to the finish line in time
2) Develop options to reduce negative risks (threats): Promise to check your email twice a day to prevent an angry boss

There are a few ways to deal with risks. This risk being an angry boss:
- Avoid it: Bring laptop and work through connectivity to best substitute that you're at the office
- Accept risk: Well. He'll be angry.
- Contingency Plan: If he's angry, I'll have my laptop and I can work through my phone.
- Transfer Risk: set up someone to work in your stead at the office
- Mitigate Risk: promise to work the day after Thanksgiving if you can take off this day

There are a few ways to deal with opportunities:
Exploit: I found a fast runner for our team. They now have the most miles!
Share: I found a fast runner for our team. Let's put them in the van that has the slowest combined time.
Enhance: I found a fast runner for our team. Let's give them short miles so they can run faster!

Lesson 17: Develop Human Resources Plan
Develop, document, assign project roles.

Remember that team google doc we had? Add a column in there that has a responsibility column. This will harken back to your WBS spreadsheet. If I were to get weird, I'd make an org chart here, but I'm not that weird, just yet. Once you add that column, that document actually becomes a "Responsibility Assignment Matrix" - or matching resources with tasks.

Yes, you are now in charge of ordering t-shirts. Yes, since you live closest to the start line, we are shipping our glowing stuff to your house.

Let's talk about different types of team structures.

Functional organizations: Project managers don't have a lot of authority - i.e. you just order the glowing stuff, you don't control how much is ordered or how the van is decorated
Matrix organizations: Project managers and execs share responsibility - i.e.  the person in charge of decorating the van and the captain make the decisions together on how much to order and how to decorate
Projectized Organization: each project lead has authority over their area - i.e. There is a van decoration lead, a team t-shirt lead, etc. 

In the real world, it's preferable to be a projectized organization. Don't do this for Ragnar. Your best bet is, honest to god, functional. At the most, have a very week matrix. This may also be my Type A talking.

Lesson 18: Plan Quality
What does good look like? While we're at it, let's talk about high-grade versus low-grade.

You can have a high or low grade team and still have high quality. High-grade is our vans - ridiculously complicated and seriously awesome. Low-grade are our cheering routines - I've seen teams with choreographed dances. That is seriously high-grade. We just scream and ring cowbells.

There are a bunch of ways to plan quality...cost-benefit analysis, statistical sampling, flow charting, all that. But frankly, the PMP exam doesn't spend enough time on this for me to care and I can't come up with a good analogy in Ragnar terms.

Lesson 19: Plan Communications

In cold, hard PMP language: communication provides the vital connections between people, concepts, and information through the project environment.

Time to determine:
1) What information is needed (how much does it costs to rent a van?)
2) When is it needed (3 months before - we need to rent those vans early and budget for them)
3) How will it be delivered (spreadsheet? email? phone call?)

Communication is a two-way street. My job as captain is NOT done if I send an email. I have to send an email and make sure that my team understands what I said in the email. 

Keep in mind that there isn't just 1 two way street, no no, we have a lot of communication channels. That formula looks like this: N(N-1)/2. So, if there are 12 people on a team, that is 12(11)/2 = 66. That's a lot of channels. 

Here are some communication types:
1) Informal Verbal: talking to prospective teammate during a race "hey *breath breath* I heard you want to run ragnar *breath*
2) Formal Verbal: team meeting (happening Dec. 1!)
3) Non-Verbal communications: All I will say is that I know when my teammates are in a bad mood
4) Informal Written: bantering emails
5) Formal Written: Invitation from Ragnar to join team

Lesson 20: Plan Procurements
Simply put: what do you need to buy? Here is your decision tree for what you need to acquire:

1) Make or buy - should I make posters of our team logo or have them made for me?
2) Select Procurement Documents - what kind of contracts do we need? Should I pay up front for the hotels or pay when we arrive?
3) Create procurement management plan  - what does our cashflow look like?
4) Create the procurement SOW - how to submit expenses/get reimbursed and when to pull the trigger
5) Source selection - who should we pick to make our magnets?

For our team, we always go with Firm Fixed Price for our vans. We pay 1 flat fee, no extras (like per mile charge). A per mile charge would fall under a Time & Material contract. If you choose to have the rental company fill up the tank when you drop off the van - that's a cost reimbursable contract (avoid at all costs). 

Lesson 21: Determine Budget
Add up all our of WBS cost estimations and then divide by 12. Does everyone cringe? Time to work on that budget again. I strongly suggest padding the budget by $50 a person. Gas is hella expensive.

There's a bit about s-curves in here, but all it means is that there's a line you shouldn't cross or that you shouldn't cross too soon (s-curve measures where you are in your project with how much money you've spent based on projections. If you're 50% done and should be through 40% of your budget, but you're already through 60% of your budget, send up the emergency flares)

Lesson 22: Develop Schedule
This is another important one and it seems to be the one that gets totally FUBAR if you model your team like a projectized organization. I swear by having a dictator.

One day, I will put our schedule into microsoft Project. Today, however, is not that day.

This is the best time to sit down and look at your critical path from when we worked on activities sequencing. Take into account the critical path (the minimum amount of days it takes to accomplish a task added up according to the sequence of activities).

If you find you're f'ed in the a, you have two options:
1) Crashing - assign more resources to the task (or pay rush shipping!)
2) Fast Tracking - have resources performed in parallel (decorate the vans while supporting runners)

Fun fact: Heuristic means "thumb rule" useless at Ragnar as it is probably not among Cards Against Humanity.

Lesson 23: Develop Project Management Plan
Put it alllllllll together.

This is your google docs (now called google drive, apparently. I won't tell you how many profanities I uttered while searching for "documents" on my gmail launch pad)

So. We've initiated, we've planned. Let's do this thing. On to Ragnaring the PMP Process - Executing

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