Over the last twenty years I have used many tools to manage my work and programs and have evolved to the point where I only use five documents to manage my programs. I treat these as ‘living’ documents that are always up on my computer and constantly being updated…
- Scope/Release – This is the master view of all scope items in the program aligned to projects and release dates
- Critical Path – This is my program-level view of milestones and tracking towards them. This is informed by a more detailed plan
- Financial – The aggregate view of financials (actuals and forecast) by project and cost type
- Issues/Risks – My running list of worry items, risks and issues with the audit trail of progress and specific actions with dates to close
- Notes – I process all e-mails and documents through OneNote which allows me to organize all program information in one place
I find that by using these five items I always have everything that I need in front of me as opposed to trying to hunt down meeting minutes, documents or content. Obviously there are many documents that support these but I find this the most efficient way to manage program information. I know that every PM has a different style so I am curious what tools others use to manage their programs.