Over the holidays I was introduced to a new project management tool: the One-Page Project Manager (OPPM). It is a very innovative use of spreadsheets to communicate the status of a project in one dashboard. I am really quite blown away by it. Dashboard reporting is becoming more and more important. There is more information to compress into a small amount of space in this tool does a great job of allowing you to present progress, costs, tasks completed, tasks on the horizon, and communicate the project in broad statements.
Clark Campbell is the founder of OPPM and the author of its corresponding book, The One-Page Project Manager. The template was created in the late 1900s and has been refined and improved over the last decade. Managers can now receive training and certification for it. I purchased the book over the holidays and worked through it and its instruction over a weekend. By the end of that time I created - using the downloadable template from the OPPM web site - and modified a dashboard suitable to my specific project’s needs.
I currently manage a project comprising three different reports researched and written by a large team, supported by a significant budget, and affected by shifting timelines. These factors make it difficult to report succinctly to my supervisor and leadership regarding project status, challenges, risks, bottlenecks, and projections for going forward. This tool has the potential to change all of that.
The book is incredibly concise and to the point. It begins explaining the solution why it is needed in today’s project management landscape. It then covers some basic project management concepts and frames the ensuing instruction through the lens of what the authors call “the five essential parts of the project,” namely tasks, owners, cost, objectives and timeline. The remaining chapters provide the reader with step-by-step instructions to build the tool and explain how it augments any already-existing reporting tools a project manager may be using. The book also includes a few sample/example projects and how their objective tasks timelines etc. can be entered into the tool for use. Some of the examples are overly simplistic to demonstrate efficient use of the dashboard but that does not detract from either the reading or one’s ability to effectively enter their own data and use it.
Even though I downloaded a template, I created my own from scratch and imported my own project. As you can see in this graphic, navigating the tool begins with Objectives in the lower left-hand corner and follows a clockwise rotation around major tasks, timeline, team member’s ownership and support of smaller tasks, project budget overview, and broad summary statements about status, challenges and, other relevant information.
[A project I currently lead, imported into the One-Page Project Management Dashboard.]
One of the most useful aspects of this tool is its applicability to subjective as well as objective tasks. In a more technical project, objectives and tasks can be quantified. The projects I lead tend to be more subjective. We often rely on best estimates of the length of time to write material. Even more subjective is the time needed for review. Regardless, the tool will be helpful as I continue working a project with ore curly-cues than right angles.
I highly recommend giving this tool a whirl if you are responsible for communicating complex projects in a single graphic. The book itself is only $20 and you can create an account and subscription at the web site.