The weak points in every system and organization are the points at which various units meet. In order to create a system or organization that works together as an efficient whole, these points must be integrated in a way that allows smooth transition between these units.
In any given project, these seam points are the transition points where project work is handed over between the various bodies and teams involved. Therefore, control over these points is both central to the project and particularly important, which means that significant resources must be invested in controlling and managing these points.
‘Give & Get’ control focuses the project manager’s attention on those seam points that are critical to the ongoing work and progress of the project and provides him and other responsible parties with the tools necessary to track these mutual transition points on an ongoing basis.
Implementing Give & Get controls necessitates identifying all project seam points and the directions in which transitions take place:
Tasks or milestones that conclude with either of these two points are classified as ‘Give’ tasks or ‘Get’ tasks respectively. These types of tasks provide a focal point for control and communication between teams and bodies involved in handing off the intermediary deliverables to the next link in the project task chain. Ensuring efficiency on these tasks guarantees systematic progress with a minimum of delays resulting from waiting for deliverables.
Give & Get tasks must be clearly noted and ‘Giving’ and ‘Getting’ dates should be coordinated and agreed upon between the giving and getting teams. Those dates should then be used as a basis for tracking as follows:
- Every deliverable that is to be transferred to another team or body must be documented in the work plan as a Give type deliverable. This deliverable will be integrated into another team’s deliverable and will be documented in the same row in the plan as a Get type deliverable.
- The date on which the deliverable is to be transferred from one team to another should be the date on which the receiving team needs the deliverable in order to proceed with its work.
- The transfer date set in the work plan should be documented in the “target date” field. When the delivering and receiving teams are properly coordinated, the Give and Get dates either will be identical or will reflect a transfer date that is earlier than the date on which the receiving team needs the deliverable.
When there is no coordination between the two teams—that is, when the receiving team is ready too early or when the delivering team is late—problems can develop, causing delays in the project. In order to avoid such a situation, these transfer points must be focused on and tracked ahead of time, ensuring that the delivering team is progressing according to plan and will be ready to deliver on time. It is equally important to verify that the receiving team is progressing according to plan and that the team will be ready to receive the deliverable on the planned date. Closely controlling the work in this manner will assure it progresses smoothly and in a timely manner.
Note that whenever the requested receiving date is earlier than the planned delivery date, the Give & Get task is late, since the receiving team is expecting to receive a deliverable it needs to proceed with its own work before the date on which the team receives the deliverable in practice. Conversely, whenever the requested receiving date is later than the planned delivery date, the Give & Get task is early.
Tracking Give & Get tasks can be done via a constructed table as below:
|Deliverable||Give Team||Planned Delivery Date||Get Team||Requested Delivery Date||Status|
|Specification document||System Analysis Team||May 1||Development Team||May 1||On Time|
|Prototype||Development Team||November 9||Testing Team||December 1||Ahead of Time|
|Technical Specification||Technical Team||September 1||Production Department||August 5||Late|