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Unformatted text preview: h this is not usually why a user's manual is produced for a product. There are some limitations in using a user's manual for this purpose, as I have described in one of the referenced papers at the end of this book, but for many projects the user's manual is a remarkably good communications vehicle. Page 248 Moreover, a user's manual can provide the necessary framework for constructing a definition of a project outcome (i.e., a product) in a short period of time. This is often precisely what is needed in assessing whether a failing project can be salvaged. The suggested method for proceeding when taking over a failing or failed project is to first assess the description of the project upon which the project plan was built. If the description can be shown to be unambiguous and easily understood by a project team, then it can be reasonably concluded that the project description or specification is not to blame. However, it is the author's experience with failing projects he has been asked to evaluate that the root cause, more often than not, includes the project description. Notice that, regardless of whether a project is failing or has already been deemed a failure, it usually makes sense to capture an unambiguous and easily communicated description of the project work content as quickly as possible. Conventional product specifications are often poor communications vehicles, because product specifications are often only meant to be understood by spets. The reason for this is that product specifications are often organized to support implementation goals such as traceability, testability, functional allocation, and performance measures, which have nothing to do with communicating the concept of the product to the project management team. We have suggested in this section that a product user's manual is a product definition mechanism that is essentially universally understandable. While this may not always be the case, it works so well in most cases that we make the assumption for use in the following sections that part of the failing or failed project takeover process is ensuring the existence of something like a product user's manual. The following sections deal with where we go from here. Page 249 10.3— Translating a Definition into a Plan If the project is to be shut down, then what is left lies essentially in the realm of accounting, legal, materials, and personnel functions, with a minimum of direct project labor to facilitate these other functions. But, if the user's manual was produced with a view toward salvaging the project, then we need to consider how a project team proceeds from that point. If we assume that we are proceeding down the path of developing a project plan from a user's manual, there are some fundamental questions that have to be answered. Project plans are not customarily produced from a user's manual. The development of a user's manual is often one of the work components in a project plan and is often modeled by a summary-level control package. Furthermore, a user's manual is often produced in...
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This note was uploaded on 01/11/2011 for the course ACC 9 taught by Professor Yeetan during the Spring '10 term at Sunway University College.
- Spring '10