Project Planning Spreadsheet

In the spirit of sharing best deployment practices, this post dives deeper into the practice of project management.

One of my mantras is “Learn as much as you can as fast as you can.” This story is a great example of that.

Our project manager, Craig Glick Miller, saw his customer put together a simple project management spreadsheet to help him plan and track his GainSeeker deployment. With the customer’s permission, he took that tool and stripped out all the customer-specific data. Since then Craig has been using it to manage subsequent projects with other clients.

At the bottom of this post, you can download that planning tool for free and use it to help you prepare for your deployment.

The fifth practice – develop a project plan

Recently I wrote about “Ten practices for leading a GainSeeker deployment like a Kaizen Event.” I wrote that piece after watching one client’s GainSeeker deployment take off like a rocket. He did some things really well, and I wanted to capture and share those with our other clients so you could benefit from his best practices.

The fifth practice I identified in the Kaizen Event post is “Develop a project plan with clear objectives and priorities.”

Our experience is that a project plan provides the level of detail needed to align and schedule resources to execute the project successfully. For example, when preparing for training, “the project plan identifies exactly who will be trained on each topic, and when they will get that training.”

Similarly, if the project calls for extracting data from a coordinate measuring machine, the project plan might have steps to:

  • Verify that the CMM is connected to the network
  • Identify where log files from the machine are stored
  • Provide a printout of typical files
  • Identify the CMM programmer who can answer questions
  • Identify the programmer’s availability to answer questions that might arise during the project.

Tool for best deployment practice

Recently we deployed a pilot project for a new customer I spoke about earlier in this post. The pilot for collecting quality check data is on one line only. Because it involves multiple people, training, custom configurations, and so forth, the detailed deployment plan required a number of steps. The customer’s Project Manager for the deployment embodies great project management. He put together a superb plan, and drove it all from a simple spreadsheet. With our customer’s permission, we offer this simple spreadsheet here for your review and use. (You can right-click on this link and select “Save link as…” to save it to your computer.)

You’ll see that this tool is quite simple and flexible, especially compared to commercial project management systems like Microsoft Project. You won’t need to purchase extra software or buy a monthly software subscription. Since it is so easy to use, you don’t need to bend over backwards to get company-wide buy-in to use it. Overall it is simple and effective.

Let us know what you think of it, and how you might customize it to your situation.