Project Management For Dummies
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As you start your project, you need to confirm the identities of the people who’ll work to support your project. To do so, verify that specific people are still able to uphold their promised commitments and, if necessary, recruit and select new people to fulfill the remaining needs.

As you contact all the people who will support your project, be sure to do the following:

  • Inform them that your project has been approved and when work will start: Not all project plans are approved. You rarely know in advance how long the approval process will take or how soon your project can start. Inform team members as soon as possible so they can schedule the necessary time.

  • Confirm that they’re still able to support your project: People’s workloads and other commitments may change between the time you prepare your plan and your project’s approval. If a person is no longer able to provide the promised support, recruit a replacement as soon as possible.

  • Explain what you’ll do to develop the project team and start the project work: Provide a list of all team members and others who will support the project. Also mention the steps you’ll take to introduce members and kick off the project.

  • Reconfirm the work you expect them to perform, the schedules and deadlines you expect them to keep, and the amount of time you expect them to spend on the work: Clarify specific activities and the nature of the work.

Depending on the size and formality of your project, you can use any format from a quick e-mail to a formal Work-Order Agreement to share this information with the people who will be involved in your project.

A typical Work-Order Agreement includes the following information:

  • Identifiers: The identifiers include the project name, project number, activity name, and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) code. The project name and number confirm that your project is now official. You use the activity name and WBS code to record work progress as well as time and resource charges.

  • Work to be performed and deliverables or results to be produced: These details describe the different activities and procedures involved in the project, as well as outputs of the project.

  • Activity start date, end date, and number of hours to be spent: Including this information reaffirms

    • The importance of doing the work within the schedule and budget

    • Acknowledgement from the person who’ll do the work that he expects to do the described work within these time and resource constraints

    • The criteria you’ll use to assess the person’s performance

  • Written approvals from the person who’ll do the work, his supervisor, and the project manager: Including these written approvals increases the likelihood that everyone involved has read and understood the project’s elements and is committed to support it.

    Use a Work-Order Agreement to confirm a team member’s commitment.
    Use a Work-Order Agreement to confirm a team member’s commitment.

Be sure you specify all this information when reconfirming a person’s commitment to your project. The longer you wait to specify any of this information, the greater the chances are that the person won’t provide the support you had hoped for.

If you choose not to use a formal Work-Order Agreement, be sure to write down all key information that clarifies your agreement and get signed approvals from the team member and his supervisor. Asking for signed approvals encourages people to consider carefully before they make any commitments and serves as a reference and reminder of exactly what was promised.

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