Project Management

Identify And Track Unknowns

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Identify And Track Unknowns

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"Knowing what we don't know and tracking it is the only way to ensure that eventually we know what we don't know. Understand?"

There are things that we know we don't know and then there are things that we don't know we don't know. Got it. Well the latter situation - things we don't know we don't know - will, during the project, eventually bump us in the 'butt' and as the project manager we will need to handle those things and get them taken care of. After all, that's one of the things the project manager is there for - to ensure that challenges that come up during the project are met.

The first situation, however, - those things that we know we don't know - need to be identified and tracked. I have found that in most cases these things come up while we are working with the Client to identify their requirements. As we work with the client in producing the requirement, inloads of cases we are told that they don't know the answers to some of our questions that we need answered. The answers we need to understand what the Client wants

I believe that in most cases the information is either really known by someone in the client's organisation or it would not take much work to get the answer. So what should you do? Well, you should push as much as you can to get all the information you need. Having said that, you need to understand that some things really are not known at the beginning of the project. In these cases, you need to make sure that you establish a data base to manage these unknowns.

The data base should include at least the following for each unknown:

• Title of the unknown
• Unknown description
• The project event by when it will be known
• Who is responsible for providing the information
• The risk associated with the unknown
• The mitigation action to be taken
• Comments

Each Unknown should be reflected in your project plan along with who is responsible and when they will have the information. These Unknowns should then be monitored and tracked as any other activity in the project plan.
This Article is authored / contributed by ▸ Richard M. who travels from Leasburg, United States. Richard is available for Professional Speaking Work both Virtually and In-Person. ▸ Enquire Now.

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