In my last article, I had written about our current personal project of moving from our current home to a new house in a different city. After it was published, I received some feedback (thanks Luis!) that it would be helpful to provide more context about the project itself.

This initiative was the follow up to an initial project which covered the purchase of the new property and the sale of our existing home. As such, a number of constraints were set before this project got underway, including the moving day milestone, the ceiling budget on home renovations, and available floor space to accommodate our furniture and any renovations we were planning.

The scope of the current project includes the following high-level workstreams:

  • De-cluttering, packing & unpacking – this included donating, discarding & giving away stuff that we didn’t need in our new home, procuring packing materials, packing & labelling activities and the corresponding unpacking and arranging of home contents as well as the disposal of the used packing materials
  • “The move” – this included selecting the moving company, negotiating the contract with them, the move itself, and closing the contract
  • Account transition – this included cancelling, updating or setting up accounts for utilities, subscriptions and other services
  • Financial and Legal – this included selecting the law firm to represent us, providing them with all required documents, securing our bridge loan from the bank and completing the closing process for both properties
  • Renos and upgrades – this work stream includes identifying all desired renovations and upgrades, soliciting bids for the work, negotiating and signing contracts, procuring materials, monitoring the execution against those contracts and closing the contracts

A house move is a good example of a project which could never end as renos and upgrades are an ongoing interest. For simplicity we decided to set an arbitrary project completion deadline of a month and a half after the moving date with all subsequent renos and upgrades being handled as operations or follow-on mini projects. This deadline provides sufficient sense of urgency to get the high priority renos and upgrades completed in a timely manner.

The execution phase of the project has been split into four sequential stages:

  • Pre-move planning and preparations
  • Moving day
  • The first two weeks after moving day including high priority renos and upgrades
  • The subsequent month covering the lower priority renos and upgrades

As you’d expect, resource management varies based on the resources and work packages involved. For the work being done by my family, planning and tracking have been informal with the primary objective being to ensure that the “right” person is responsible and accountable for each work item. As our family is a long standing team, the Develop Team process is less relevant than the Manage Team one and significant effort has been spent to ensure that team members are engaged, motivated and focused! For the work being done by contractors or for materials and equipment, estimating resource requirements and acquiring resources has been done more formally.

Quality management has focused more on quality control than on quality assurance. The duration of the work being performed by each contractor is short enough that by providing clear requirements upfront, ensuring that there is a common understanding of those requirements including acceptance criteria, and then using those acceptance criteria as the basis for the Validate Scope process is sufficient. For the work done by our family, checklists and peer reviews are the standard tools we’ve been using to control quality.

While a project communications plan was not produced, with major stakeholders such as the bank, our lawyer, the moving company and key service providers, written, formal communications have been used. There have been frequent instances of the basic communication model failing which has necessitated follow up with recipients to request acknowledgement or feedback. Needless to say, an issue log has been a valuable artifact at managing such concerns! Within our family and with secondary stakeholders, a combination of verbal and written informal communications have been effective.

In the final article in this trilogy I will cover the remaining three PMBOK knowledge areas. By then, we will have moved to our new home, so I will also be able to assess the effectiveness of our planning!

(If you liked this article, why not pick up my book Easy in Theory, Difficult in Practice which contains 100 other lessons on project leadership? It’s available on Amazon.com  and on Amazon.ca  as well as a number of other online book stores)

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