5 Key Questions for every project

I am a regular reader and fan of Glen Alleman’s blog – Herding Cats. Glen writes an insightful blog about Project Management. Glen constantly re-iterates the 5 Immutable Principles of project management. The principles are stated in the form of questions that the project team (or at least the Project Manager) needs to answer.

Why are these questions important? Thinking about and answering these questions help us increase the probability of project success. I love these 5 principles as they are applicable to all project regardless of size, scope, cost, and technology. I have found these questions and principles to be highly relevant in various scenarios – delivering an enterprise data warehouse, planning a marketing campaign, expanding your services to a new market segment or creating an web application.

The 5 Immutable Principles as outlined by Glen are:

  1. Where are we going?
  2. How are we going to get there?
  3. Do we have everything you need to arrive on-time, on-budget, and on-specification?
  4. What problems are we going to encounter along the way?
  5. How do we measure progress to plan?

These principles are simple, profound, and highly effective. These questions get to the core of a project and help us determine if the project is on track. They enable teams to orient in the right direction.

So, how can we use these 5 principles in our day to day project work.

  1. When you join a new team, consider finding out the answers to these 5 questions.
  2. If you are a Technical Lead or Project Manager, determine if you have credible answers for these 5 questions. If not, are you certain that the project can be delivered successfully?
  3. When you are reviewing a project, start with these 5 questions. You will gain enough insight to figure out if the project is on track.
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