Article 2 - Managing Project Concerns



The Management Meeting

Management meetings, like PHC technical meetings, happen in the interests of the Project. The purpose of the PHC management meetings are to discuss any and all management concerns but they are not 'extra' to the normal meetings a project's management team would hold.

All PHC management meetings are centred around concerns entered into the Action Tracking System by PHC Consultants. As the project progresses and the Concerns become clear, we build a list of Keywords that form discussion items. This generates focus on those concerns that have time sensitivity or concerns that have the potential to seriously impact the completion of project deliverables. The meeting pre-read materials are limited to two items (1) A chart that maps out the Concerns, Deliverables and Actions related to the Keyword. (2) A list of the Referenced Concerns.

Keyword Map - Morale(1) The Keyword Chart.
A diagram that shows the relationship between Concerns, Deliverables and Actions. This visual aid shows a branching concerns structure indicating the relative importance of the Concerns arranged in it. With the visual representation an understanding of the issues around the keyword can be virtually instant, especially as the status of each Concern Deliverable and Action is also on the chart to see. This gives to the meeting a fresh 'clarity' that encourages clear discussion on the (keyword) topic.

Concerns with Keyword - Morale(2) The Concerns List.
The list shows a spread of accountabilities across departments and people assigned to concerns. This list forms the meeting attendance record and ensures all parties are represented and present for discussion about the Keyword. In this case the Keyword is Morale and the the accountability remains mostly with the Directors.

The purpose of the the Pre-read material is to allow each participant to access the PHC systems and review items accountable to him. This kind of preparation for the meeting is very effective as it allows each accountable party to prepare thoroughly for the meeting and even to issue informative comments beforehand including attachments as appropriate to the Concern. Before the meeting, comments that can be acted on as a matter of administration are processed immediately by PHC consultants monitoring the system, leaving active only those comments that have need the attention of the meeting. This process paves the way for an extremely effective meeting that can be conducted in a fraction of the time it would take without PHC.
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Our Approach to Concerns Management
Project Concerns are what impede the smooth progress of deliverables. Our 'attacks' on Project Concerns are frequent and severe! Intention always to look for common causes and effects, and to categorize, assign keywords and gather and process comments from accountable parties. We see the Project's Concerns Profile as an iceberg on dry land. You imagine the solution of problems as a shrinking of the Concerns Iceberg.

It is impossible to tackle all Project Concerns at once, even if they are divided into separate groupings for accountability. But what we can do very easily is invite comments from every member of the Project's staff about anything and everything they see as being 'wrong' with the project. Whether or not it is related to a Concern, a Deliverable or an Action. Often when staff are complaining about something, it is confined to local discussion and the complainer has no real way to have his comment heard. Other than by direct approach to a superior, which opens him to a degree of 'exposure' that might keep the complaint in the corridors.

The ATS allows Concern-specific input from the team. It also allows anonymous contributions. It is up to the PHC consultant to judge what to do with each comment and as a result may decide to create a new Concern or update an existing Concern. Separate processes that are triggered on receipt of each comment also may force the 'merging' of two Concerns. A powerful process for subordinating concerns into mini-branches that require a common solution.

State Point DiagramThe State Point Diagram that we see on the ATS as a filter mechanism allows us to categorize concerns into specific pens for easy handling. The most significant of these being the Dormant and the Overdue states, for focus of the project's and the individual's attention on project critical activity.
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