Star Medical Device Engineer – Needs Versus Wants

I had coffee with a former colleague last week, and he told me something surprising he learned about himself. His new company has bench desking, and everyone’s space is a little less than three feet wide. At his previous company, he had a large desk with a sweet window view. He told me that “If someone had tried to get me to give up my old desk I would have put up a big fight, but at my new company, it’s not an issue. The space works. When we hire a new person, everyone squeezes together to make room.”

He learned something about himself.

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Critical Action Planning – How to Manage Through Poor Visibility (e.g. Concept Phase Projects)

English: Tree in fog Visibility next to nothin...
English: Tree in fog Visibility next to nothing on bridleway through Foxlane Plantation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Managing concept phase projects is challenging with any project management tool or technique, because you start with almost no certainty about the tasks that will be needed. We can surely imagine some work on concept brainstorming, preliminary requirements definitions, market research, component ordering, prototyping, concept testing, and report writing. But it’s really hard to be much more granular than that, when we haven’t even defined requirements or brainstormed concepts yet.

What’s a Critical Action project manager to do?

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Critical Action Planning – Eleven Best Practices For Managing Long lead Items

FabricaRusia
FabricaRusia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vendors have lead times. New custom components can have really long lead times. Long lead components are the most incompressible of project tasks, so you need to manage them closely.

I’ve seen all the screw-ups: parts and orders misplaced, fires at vendor plants, incoming inspection backlogs, you name it. As a project manager, it’s your job to prevent these errors and keep the trains running on time.

Here’s how.

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Critical Action Planning – How to Manage and Measure Scope and Progress

Scopes change. It’s practically a law of physics. Even if the overall project goals don’t really change, we often find that the project is harder to accomplish than we originally thought. During the project we often discover a need for new features, or our regulatory strategy changes.

Critical Action Planning makes it easy to incorporate and quantify scope changes. In fact, simple quantification of scope and progress is one of the key benefits of the Critical Action Planning approach. It’s a by-product of the technique, that requires virtually no extra work.

Here’s how.

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