As with proposal management. planning is essential for effective program management. Often the planning has already begun based upon the proposal that has resulted in the new work. The proposed effort may have been bid with a minimum of management reserve to be as price competitive as possible. Thus, it is imperative that when work begins, all the team members understand the schedule and are aware of the critical path elements and also the required deliverable products from each phase of work. Efficient and crisp progress is the only way to avoid building in an overrun at the beginning of a program with a tight budget.
Generally, the work breakdown structure (WBS) and the overall program schedule were developed during the proposal. Thus, the overall program structure and schedule have already been generated and only need fine tuning at the beginning of a program. However, new information may be available that wasnít available when the proposal was developed so some adjustments to the work flow may be prudent. In addition, developing clear criteria that define the start and the completion of all major tasks is extremely important. The completion criteria and the program schedule need to be periodically reviewed by the technical team to ensure that all deliverable products are produced as required.
The work breakdown structure, program schedule, and start / stop criteria for task elements all are aids to the Execution phase of the program. Execution is dependent on the technical caliber of the team and their managers. Good communication between the team members and the program management is needed to take full advantage of the proficiency and experience of both management and the senior members of the team. If the responsible management and senior members of the team have helped create the schedule and budget and definition of the deliverables, then there should be no problem in obtaining concurrence among the team for what work needs to be accomplished against the estimated budget and during the target time period.
Frequent and candid reviews with company management ensures that all levels of management are aware of technical progress as well as current problems or potential upcoming problems that may require corrective actions. Anything less than total candor between the program and company management shortchanges the effectiveness of both groups: the project team might not receive full advantage of upper level management experience, upper level managementís ability to assist in solving problems may be compromised due to reduced time to enact solutions to problems.
Progress Reporting to the Customer
Periodic reviews with the customer ensures that the customer is continually aware of technical progress and any problems that arise that require corrective action or work-arounds. Maintaining a candid yet positive relationship with the customer reduces the possibility of 11th hour surprises and greatly increases the likelihood of repeat business with this customer.