How to Divide Up the Work in a Business Efficiency Project

This portion of your business efficiency project's execution plan involves identifying individual milestones and assigning them to the right team members. Here is a sample plan from a real-life scenario.

List all required work and deliverables

Compiling a master list of steps in a project requires thinking critically and in detail about the project. This list is key to the success of the project and should be a step-by-step path directly between the problem statement and the end result.

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) can help you assemble a complete list. To create one:

  1. Determine the major deliverables or products to be produced.

    Ask yourself, “What major intermediate or final products or deliverables must be produced to achieve the project’s objectives?”

    Items identified in the CRM scenario include the following:

    • Final CRM recommendation statement

    • Customized CRM

    • Data import map

    • Employee training program

  2. Divide each of these major deliverables in its component deliverables in the same manner.

    Choose any one of these deliverables to begin with. Ask, “What intermediate deliverables must I have so I can create the deliverable?”

    Example requirements for a final CRM recommendation statement include the following:

    • CRM comparison matrix

    • Completed demos for each potential CRM

    • A review of materials for each potential CRM

  3. Divide each of these work pieces into its component parts.

    Ask, “What deliverables must I have in order to complete this?”

    In order to complete demos for each potential CRM, you must:

    • Compile a list of available CRMs

    • Determine initial selection criteria

    • Schedule or request demos with each CRM

But why stop here? You can break each of these items into finer detail and then break those pieces into even finer detail.

Identifying all roles and responsibilities

Whether you’re able to influence the people assigned to your project team, people are assigned to your team without your input, or you assume the role of project manager of an existing team, you need to confirm the skills, knowledge, and interest of your team members.

You can determine the skills you currently have and those that you need by using a skills matrix, and then based on this matrix, make the assignments by using a human resources matrix.

A skills matrix is a table that displays people’s proficiency in specified skills and knowledge, as well as their interest in working on assignments using those skills and knowledge. The left-hand column identifies skill and knowledge areas needed to complete the current project, and the top row lists people’s names.

At the intersection of the rows and columns, you identify the level of each person’s particular skills, knowledge, and interests. For each person and skill intersection, you assign two numbers: a skill level (where 0 = no capability and 3 = advanced capability) and an interest level (where 0 = no interest and 1 = interest) in carrying out that skill.

It’s absolutely possible for someone to have a skill level of 0 and an interest level of 1. Depending on the situation, this can be a great way to benefit from an employee developing a new skill to contribute to the team.

Based on the completed skills matrix, you can quickly determine which skillsets you have available within your team, and which you need to fulfill via additional team members, outside consultants, or some other source. Not being able to meet all the skill and knowledge needs of a project either becomes a constraint that you account for in the project plan, or a reason that the project cannot begin.

CRM Skills Matrix Gabe Josh Robin Quinton
Technical writing 2,1 1,0 2,1 2,1
CRM customization 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,1
Data cleansing 3,0 3,1 1,0 3,0

A human resources matrix is similar to a skills matrix. Down the left-hand side, you list each task from your Work Breakdown Structure. The column headings across the top row correspond to each team member. If a team role is not yet filled, list the role (for example, Accountant) as opposed to the person’s name.

In each cell intersection, you put the number of hours it will take that person to complete the given task. One task may be assigned to multiple people, with the corresponding number of hours each separate person is expected to spend on that task in his own column.

CRM Human Resources Matrix Gabe Josh Robin Quinton CRM Consultant
Compile list of CRMs 0 0 0 0 6
Clean data export file 0 30 10 10 5
Record screencasts 29 0 17 9 13

When you understand the roles that have not been assigned to specific people and the number of hours each role is expected to carry out over the course of the project, you can then begin recruiting additional team members, posting a Request For Proposals (RFP), speaking to a recruiter, or otherwise doing what’s necessary to fill those spots.

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