Frank Patrick points to an insightful poster:
Project Breathalyzer -- A PDF suitable for framing.
It's a page of nine items that act as a sanity check for whether you should be driving a project (or project management office) or not. It's probably by Glen Alleman of Herding Cats, based on work from Software Program Managers Network.
Even though it is focused on software project management, changing a few words could have it apply to just about any kind of PM environment, although some appear repetitive at this level. Reading the details of the breathalyzer make it clearer.
- Do you have a current, credible activity network supported by a Work Breakdown Structure?
- Do you have a current, credible schedule and budget?
- Do you know what you are responsible for delivering, functionally? (Do you know what success looks like?)
- Can you list the current top ten project risks?
- Do you know your schedule compression percentage?
- What is the estimated size of your deliverables? (Are you building a Mini or a Mack Truck?)
- Do you know the percentage of links to other projects that are not under your control?
- Does your staff have sufficient expertise in the project domain?
- Have you identified adequate staff to allocate to the scheduled tasks at the right time?