Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Project Management Articles
Project Management Articles
Project management articles on various topics including project planning, portfolio management, earned value, PRINCE2, leadership, team building and managing projects offshore.
If you have an article you think would be of interest to people managing projects, please let us know and we'll be happy to consider it for publication.
Writing A Project Proposal
By Jonathan Wold
Having 100% of project proposals accepted usually means that a freelance developer has had very few clients. Low percentage rates usually mean that proposals are being sent to people who didn't ask or the proposal writer simply needs a few good "getting warmer's" in the right direction. The following tried and tested tips are to encourage the 100%ers to write more proposals and the low raters to take heart and give it another try. Let's get started...
Project Management as Sunscreen: How to Avoid Getting Burned
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
When the summer sun beats down, there's always someone in the family who reminds you to put on your sunscreen. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to easily avoid getting burned at work? There is. It's called Project Management. Grab a bottle of water and put on your baseball cap and think about Project Management as SPF 50 for business. Here's seven ways that Project Management can help you avoid getting burned at work.
The Black Arts Handbook, Secret #1: Numbers
By Harvey Kandola
There is a mystery to what distinguishes great Project Managers from the merely good. CounterSoft, has researched far and wide, risking the wrath and scorn of the Inner Circle of Project Managers to bring you secrets that are never spoken and knowledge that is not taught in any school.
5 Things Project Management is Not
By Joelle Godfrey, PMP
"Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements." PMBOK, 4th Edition. Right. If I were reading this definition to make a decision about becoming a project manager, it would totally leave me cold. The term Project Management itself has a kind of vague, undefined shape to it that always leaves me reaching for an image when people ask me, 'What is it, exactly, that you do?'
Project Management Tips: Master the Restart
Many projects delayed by the sour economy will eventually bubble back to the surface. The landscape may have changed drastically since shelving the project, so a thorough reassessment of the projects parameters is in order.
Every Beginning is Difficult
By Uwe Kaufmann
New undertakings or experiences are always challenging at first. This is no different when Schenker Singapore (Pte) Ltd, a transport and logistics company decided to embark on something new - a Lean Six Sigma programme. It might seem to be even more demanding at the outset since the number of 3rd party logistics providers rising to this challenge is limited. Best practices in this industry are not widespread and hard to come by. This is the story of what happened.
The "V" Model as Applicable Today in IT as it Has Always Been
By Cameron Watson
From its inception Information Technology (IT) has recognised the significance and importance of developing and applying a set of "standards", "methodologies", "life cycles" and "best practices" that can be leveraged by all practitioners. As the industry has evolved, the technologies have become more complex, increasingly faster, and forever changing, however, there remains a set of basic principles and concepts that are as applicable today as when IT was in its infancy.
Change Management: The Horror of it All
By Stephen Warrilow
The failure rate of all significant change initiatives is approximately 70%. A recent reader of an article on my website challenged me regarding the source of that often quoted statistic. This is a brief summary of a cross section of sources that I sent her and that reveal the horror of it all.
More 2010 Project Management Trends
By Donna Reed
2010 brings with it multiple trends for project management. It is not surprising that many of these trends will help mature the world of project management as we know it today. Just as businesses must be flexible with market conditions, project management professionals and organisations must also adapt accordingly. In talking to industry leaders in project management, several trends stand out. Economic conditions have changed. Companies are changing and project managers must understand these changes to be leaders.
5 Goals Every Project Manager Should Aspire to Achieve
By Jason Westland
Project Managers need to manage every aspect of the projects they oversee, from resources and suppliers to project costs and equipment. The trick to staying on top of everything is to focus on the five most important goals associated with project management. If you can meet the following five goals for each project, you will achieve project and professional success.
The Five Stages of Team Development: A Case Study
By Gina Abudi
Every team progresses through the five stages of team development; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. An understanding of those five stages enables a manager to better understand team dynamics and assist his/her team through the five stages in order to reach a high performing team as quickly as possible.
The Change Control Myth
By Kevin Aguanno
You can always spot the project managers who have just received their PMP, they are eager, idealistic, and prone to proclaim at length the necessity for "Change Control" as if it were the cure for all project management evils. Don't get me wrong, I am glad that the level of training new project managers receive is increasing, and I am glad they are learning that change can derail a project; however, new PM's appear to have a naïve view of how projects work in the real world, and I would like to do my part to correct that.
Project Managers: The Enemy Within?
By Harvey Kandola
They huddle in a corner, hunched over the Gantt chart you just handed out, muttering darkly. Only the occasional, quick glance in your direction betrays that you are the subject of their reproach. You sigh and for a moment are tempted to bat for your corner, but in the end you realise that it's best to ignore them. A quick drink after work and they'll come round. Instead, you scan through the list of change requests, outstanding issues, bug fixes and the financial summary and prepare yourself for your next meeting. This one ought not to be so bad, the client might not like what you have to say either, but at least they don't see you as the enemy within.
Post Project Resource Evaluation: a Forgotten Contributor to Project Success
By Kiron D. Bondale, PMP
In the course of assessing project management capabilities for clients, a practice that I've found absent across most non-projectized organisations is the evaluation of team members at the end of a project by the project's leadership. Usually, the rationale provided for this gap is that the functional managers do not consistently solicit this feedback from project managers, or when this feedback has been offered in the past, it has been ignored.
Why is 'Reflection' so Important to Project Lessons Learned?
By Mel Bost
Those of you who have seen the movie "The Ron Clark Story" already know about the remarkable efforts of a dedicated teacher in inner city New York who developed a learning atmosphere for his elementary students, which contributed to them excelling in the classroom at the highest level in every subject. Subsequent to Ron Clark's success in the New York schools, he visited every state to talk with students, teachers and school administrators about what he had learned and how his students performed.
Are You a Micro Project Manager?
By Gil Junqueira, PMP
Most project managers are well-versed at decomposition. Project managers are trained to break down complex deliverables into smaller and more manageable parts. These parts then serve as a foundation for costing, scheduling and control. As much as this reductionist approach is essential for project management, there is another side to the coin, often neglected by project managers: the systems theory viewpoint.
Top Three Causes of Project Failure
By Lisa Anderson
So much of an organisation's success is tied to project success! Can you think of any significant organisation initiative or improvement that didn't tie to at least one project? I've worked with many organisations, across diverse industries and globally, and I cannot think of a single example. Therefore, what could be more important than figuring out how to ensure project success?
Project Management Approach for Business Process Improvement
By Gina Abudi
Business process improvement initiatives are frequently key projects within an organisation, regardless of the size of the organisation or, frankly, the size of the business process improvement initiative. Even if a business process improvement initiative is targeted at an individual department, the impact of the change will be organisation-wide.
Nothing Stays the Same: Leadership Techniques to Empower People During Change Initiatives
By Jonathan Gilbert, PMP
Every organisation is affected by change, especially during times of economic volatility. However, project managers tasked with leading change initiatives are all too aware of the alarming failure rates that can occur. The critical missing piece is largely the failure to take into account how change affects an organisation's people. According to a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, research shows that nearly 75 percent of all organisational change programmes fail because they don't create the necessary groundswell of support among employees.
Top 10 Project Management Trends for 2010
By J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP
The key theme for 2010 is metrics, metrics and more metrics. As organisations switch their focus from surviving to demonstrating business value, metrics will play an increasingly important role in keeping management informed about project performance and its impact on the bottom line and customer service. A global panel of consultants and senior executives assembled by ESI in November identified the top 10 project management trends for 2010.
Establishing Project Management Best Practice: Where Do You Start?
By Gina Abudi
What is a best practice? For some clients, discussion has focused around putting policies and procedures in place for accomplishing projects. While other clients think of best practices as a means of ensuring that everyone is using the same terminology and templates and is better trained in project management technical skills. For yet another client, it was important to "get a handle on this project management thing."
The Best Project Managers are Emotion-driven Leaders
By Claude Emond
Charles J. Pellerin's own personal ill-fated story, as the project director for the launch of the Hubble telescope, on his journey to the discovery of true leadership. This journey not only got him to redeem himself through an officially 'unauthorised' 60M US$ fix mission to get astronauts to repair the telescope, but also got him to better understand the root of true leadership and design a system to make it happen.
10 Principles of Good Project Management
By Jason Freih
Having managed IT projects for over 10 years, I have relied on the PMBOK as a guide for many of my projects. But experience has taught me to go beyond the manual. Here are 10 principles of project management that are crucial to achieving your goals.
Successful Project Management: Eight Simple Steps to Follow
By John J Lawlor
A failed project can lead to loss of revenue and opportunity; failure to achieve business goals; diversion of resources from other activities; sapping of staff morale and, perhaps, even business failure. So, as projects become more complex and critical to business performance, how do you improve your chances of success? By following these eight practical steps, you can achieve great results for your project.
Traditional Project Management vs Scrum: Adapting Square Pegs to Round Holes
By Frank Rios
With the Agile methodology proving to be a major force when it comes to software application development, the role of a ScrumMaster is becoming more and more valuable. Traditional project managers can succeed by adapting their way of doing things and helping the transition take place.
The Top 5 Wrong Reasons For Not Hiring Testers
By Luc Richard
Considering whether or not your software company should hire a dedicated team of testers? Here are the Top 5 Wrong Reasons why you shouldn't. After reading dozens of opinions on the subject, I'm still convinced that having a dedicated team of testers is well worth the investment. You can disagree with me, but if you do, make sure it's for the right reasons.
Using a Time-Sequenced Network Diagram
By Dave Paradi
Almost every MS Project user is familiar with the Gantt chart as a graphical view. The problem with many Gantt charts is that when printed, they are so large that trying to follow the flow of tasks through the project for tracking is almost impossible. I suggest project managers instead use a time-sequenced network diagram to be able to track what needs to be done each day and how those tasks affect others in the project.
A Simple Plan for Improved Project Results and Increased Maturity
By Bryan Peterson & April Boland
Many of the clients we work with are a "PMO of one." Usually this person has been brought in to establish common processes and procedures around planning, managing and executing projects. Most often, there is a broad spectrum of project work being performed by varied project teams within the organisation, including a range of maturity levels spanning from no established, repeatable processes to very formalised and documented processes.
How Can I Have Responsibility Without Authority?
By Mark Reed
By far, the question I am most often asked during "Project Management . . . by the Numbers" has always been, "How can I get my project team to actually accomplish their tasks on time, if even at all?" After a short discussion, the question translates to, "I don't have the authority to delegate, but I am responsible for their work, both the quality and the timeliness."
10 Steps to Setting SMART Objectives
By George Ambler
Setting effective objectives to guide your team and organisation is very important for a leader to get right. Badly formulated objectives will steer an organisation in the wrong direction. I found this 10 step approach to setting SMART objectives from the National Primary and Care Trust.
How Should the Project Manager Deal with Scope Creep?
By Kuntal Thakore
Every project has (or should have) a set of deliverables, an assigned budget, and an expected closure time. There are agreed upon requirements and tasks to complete prior to the closure of project. These constitute the scope of the project. Any amount of variation in the scope of project can affect the schedule, budget and in turn the success of project.
Project Managers Need Leadership Skills
By Gina Abudi
If you are a project manager you really need leadership skills! Today's project managers must have leadership skills in order to effectively perform their roles in the organisation and stand out from the crowd. Something must make you distinct from the others, especially if you are currently job searching or worried about your job security given the current economic climate.
Managing the Project Document
By Neil Stolovitsky
During the life cycle of a typical project, a project manager can produce up to fifty different types of documents to facilitate the planning, tracking and reporting of the project. Documents range from feasibility studies, resource plans, financial plans and project plans, to supplier contracts, post-implementation reviews, change request forms and project status reports. The fact is, the manner in which project documents are managed by project leaders can either be the driving force behind a project's success or the bottleneck that often places a project in despair resulting in its failure to meet its time line, budget and scope.
Seven Key Principles of Project Management
By Simon Buehring
If you're looking for guidance to help you manage your project with added confidence, then this article will help you. Here I discuss seven key principles, based upon the PRINCE2 project management framework, designed to improve the likelihood of your project succeeding.
Meet Your New Best Friend: The Project Charter
By Cameron Watson
The project charter has been around for as long as the concept of work. The Egyptians used project charters to create the Pyramids. So did the Greeks to erect the Parthenon. Even the Romans used a project charter to create the Coliseum. Little Johnny used a project charter to construct his miniature house made of Lego blocks. As different as the times and methods used to create these structures were, one common thread exists, success was based on the creation, maintenance and oversight of a project charter.
Common Project Management Mistakes: Badly Handled Changes
By Dave Nielsen, PMP
No matter how well a project is planned and how well the requirements are defined, there will always be requests to change something about the project, usually the product being delivered. There are good reasons for this; business doesn't stand still while your project is going on so we expect that ongoing business will trigger the need for changes to the system being built to support that business. These changes are mission critical to the project in many cases. If the system isn't changed to reflect business needs as they will be when the system is implemented, your project will succeed in building a system to support business as it was done 6 months ago!
Using ROI to Evaluate Project Management Training
By Gina Abudi
Return on Investment (ROI) is a monetary measurement that is used to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of an investment made by an organisation. Investments take many forms, financial, human capital, equipment, and training programmes, to name just a few. This article will focus on the use of ROI and the Phillips ROI Methodology to measure the effectiveness of a project management training programme completed within XYZ Law Firm.
Are you a Project Management Gantt Chart Slave?
By Phil Marks
Gantt charts are a fundamental tool in a project manager's toolkit. However, an unseasoned project manager can find they take over the project and result in reduced control. How so? In this article I will look at the potential pitfalls and provide some tips and strategies for ensuring successful project management. Gantt charts are, after all, just one of many ways to present the project plan, and actual data that has been input.
What Makes a Successful Project Manager?
By Ty Kiisel
As companies turn to project based work to help make and keep their organisations competitive and profitable, the need for skilled project leaders will continue to increase. Regardless of your particular work management methodology or business project management software, do you take time to foster the following skills and attributes?
The Hidden Costs and Dangers of the Shortcut
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
We live in a world where we are often pressured to take shortcuts to save time and cut costs as much as possible. However, if you're not a skilled and experienced project manager, the wrong shortcut could end up costing you a lot more. Here's an anecdote to think about.
Why Scheduling Mustn't be Allowed to Become an Extinct Science
By Dan Patterson, PMP
After spending the past decade or more dedicated to project management, I noticed during the economic downturn last year a very surprising trend: despite the significant reduction in the number of major Capex projects being sanctioned and funded, the need for third party assistance with schedule analysis and risk assessments actually increased dramatically. After digging into this a little more deeply, I came to the following conclusion: savvy project schedulers are at risk of becoming a dying breed and as project management specialists, we need to do everything we can to reverse this trend.
Project Risk: Is It All Bad?
By Paul Slater
No one would disagree that managing risk within a project is not a good idea. Risk Management is an essential part of any programme or project and can vastly contribute to successful delivery. Where it can and does go wrong is when there is an over-reliance on the risk aspects of the project and they in themselves start driving the way the project moves forward. The management of risk is part and parcel of project management, but is not the be all and end all of it as it sometimes becomes in more risk averse organisational cultures.
Is an Agile PMO Possible?
By Curt Finch
It often seems that a lean, agile development environment will always be at odds with the structure and constraints of the PMO. However, the agile PMO can bridge the gap between PMBOK process flows and CMM best practices and help organisations to carry out projects more successfully. While it does require a bit of change management, it is not as impossible as it seems and the benefits far outweigh the effort.
Three Myths About Organisational Change
By Heather Stagl
Our beliefs about what change is and how it works can influence our willingness to take on the challenge appropriately. Change agents who believe these three myths might find their initiatives stuck in a rut. If you feel like your change initiative is getting stuck, challenge these myths and look at change from a new perspective.
The Value and Costs of not Doing a Project are not Necessarily Zero
By George F. Huhn
If you don't know the values and costs of not executing your projects then you're probably not maximising the value of your project portfolio and you may be working on the wrong projects. Most project portfolio managers are not including the actual values and costs of not executing a project in their project portfolio analyses. Hence, they may be dramatically over or under estimating their actual portfolio value and cost and choosing the wrong set of projects.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Project Management
By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Corporations are more sensitive to social issues and image than ever before. This sensitivity has given rise to CSR initiatives, but the question is: "How do I rationalise the organisation's demands for CSR with my project's objectives?" While there are no easy answers to this question, this article uses actual examples to point out what to avoid and offers tips and tricks on how to rationalise CSR and project objectives.
Managing the "Meeting from Hell!"
By Dana Brownlee, PMP
Project Manager Sherry Martin couldn't stop thinking about her last team meeting as she walked down the hall towards her office. Slamming her office door behind her, she let out an exasperated scream and looked for something to punch! Her team was driving her absolutely crazy and she channelled Scarlett O'Hara as she proclaimed, "I will never run a meeting like that again!" Her problem in a nutshell boiled down to three really difficult personalities that continually recurred on her team. These personalities were indeed a cancer not just infecting the team and its results but also spreading throughout the group and impacting the other team members as well.
Defining Project Goals and Objectives
By Rhonda Goetz
The very first step in all projects: business, home, or education, is to define goals and objectives. This step defines the projects outcome and the steps required to achieve that outcome. People, including project managers, do not spend sufficient time on this step or complete it incorrectly thereby ensuring an unsuccessful project completion.
A Brief History of Project Management
By Duncan Haughey, PMP
In this brief history of project management I chart all the major developments and events in the discipline as far back as there are records. Although there has been some form of project management since early civilization, project management in the modern sense began in the 1950s. We have come a long way since then and recognition of how important the profession is has helped it develop, and will continue to push its development over the next decade.
Better Risk Management With PRINCE2
By David Hinde
In my experience risk management is something that is talked about a lot but rarely done. One problem is that people don't know who should be doing what. PRINCE2 has always had a solid, but simple way of dealing with risk. With the latest version, released in June, a number of excellent ideas and concepts have been introduced. This article describes the best seven.
The Project Manager's Guide to Dealing With Difficult Sponsors
By Dana Brownlee, PMP
Part of the challenge that the project manager faces is the reality of having to serve so many different stakeholders and sometimes being pulled in very different directions. We're often taught that our "sponsor" is the person who is the champion of the effort. Indeed, they are often the one we're to seek out for support and issue resolution throughout the project. But what do you do when your sponsor is the problem?
Get Agile: Applying the Lessons From Software Development to Business Process Design
By Kevin M Smith
When 60% of all process redesign projects fail, how can you improve your odds while simultaneously accelerating results? By using "agile process design" techniques adapted from the software development industry. We need to break out of that old cycle of developing monolithic processes only to have them fail to produce the results we anticipated. In an environment where every dollar counts more than ever, we just cannot afford a 60% plus failure rate in process redesign.
Managing Hidden Project Costs for Better ROI
The most common argument for outsourcing is cost-savings. And in the face of a challenging economic climate, cost figures largely in the decision for outsourcing IT projects and business processes. While cost-effectiveness is a huge deciding factor for offshoring, cheaper labour and service rates should not be the only measures of possible financial success of a project. In fact, long-term benefits are extracted from the industry expertise of vendors that could make up for the investments in communication, time zone overlaps, and travel.
Root Cause Analysis
By Dave Nielsen, PMP
When mistakes are made during the course of your project, and mistakes will be made, its important not to repeat them. Before you can avoid repetition you have to determine what caused the problem in the first place and Root Cause Analysis is one of the best tools out there for getting to the root of the problem. This article provides you with some helpful tips on organising and conducting a Root Cause Analysis.
72 Project Management Tips
By Alec Satin, PMP
Have you ever been in the midst of a project or task and thought to yourself, "There has got to be a better way?" If so, you're not alone. Leading projects is a complicated business. The longer you're at it the more you can learn and the better you can get. Here are 72 project management tips designed to help you lead your projects with skill, authority and grace.
Controlling Project Scope
By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Controlling the changes to the project is only half the battle in the war to deliver projects that meet the needs of the client and are on time and on budget. You need to manage and control the scope of your project. In this article, I explore some tricks of the trade that will start you off on the right path and help to keep you there. Combine these tips and tricks with a tight change management process and your project will deliver what the client needs.
The Most Common Sourcing RFP Mistakes
By John Meyerson
An outsourcing Request for Proposal (RFP) is different than the normal RFPs for goods and services that get produced by procurement departments on a daily basis. The outsourcing provider's proposed solution and project plan will be based on this RFP. A poorly developed RFP that does not fully understand the intricacies of the current process, the costs and the future vision that the company management wants to achieve with outsourcing leads to poorly developed provider solutions. This in turn leads to scope and cost creep, and a potentially unsustainable outsourcing relationship between the company and the provider.
IT Methodology: A Long and Winding Road
By Cameron Watson
The ancient Greeks first coined the term "methodos" - its definition meaning "path." They applied this term in various contexts, as a noun "a path that could be followed to reach a destination" and a verb "the journey to be taken along a path." Though several millennia have passed since the ancient Greeks first used the term, it is still applicable in today's world of Information Technology (IT) - its called "IT Methodology."
How to be Ready for the Recovery
By Curt Finch
CNN recently published an article about the aftermath of the recession, claiming that the economy is "finally back in gear." What does this mean for businesses like yours? Projects that were sidelined for the past year or two could come off the bench, and there might be more money to go around. Great news, right? It depends on how ready you are to make the most of this new opportunity. Are you confident that you will be able to put the right people on these projects and make the right decisions about how to spend this money?
Planning More Effective Milestones in Web Design Projects
By Chris LeCompte
Most successful web design projects are organised into a system of milestones with each one representing a critical piece of the project. Milestones are simple in concept, but they can be tricky to nail down. For example, how specific should we get with the milestones? If we get too specific, we risk breaking the project down into a chaotic mess of little chunks. However, if we aren't specific enough, the deliverables become unknown and nothing gets done.
Change Management: 3 Key Reasons for the Catastrophic 70% Failure Rate
By Stephen Warrilow
Failure reasons in change management are many and varied. But one thing is painfully clear. Any organisational initiative that creates change, or has a significant change element to it, has a 70% chance of not achieving what was originally envisaged. There are 3 main reasons for this catastrophic failure rate.
The Project Liberation Checklist: Finishing Unfinished Projects
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
We all have one hiding over there in the groan zone. It's the unfinished project that lives in a strange sort of limbo. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb reminds us in The Black Swan, the longer a project goes unfinished, there is an exponential increase in the time to finish the project. Sound familiar?
Project Management Maturity Model
By Stephen Warrilow
The very concept of a maturity model remains invisible in many companies. So nothing changes until things go wrong and pain is felt and someone at director level is facing an exposure as a result of a significant project failure. So the simple rationale for having and using a project management maturity model is quite simply that projects fail.
Project Scope is King
By Cindy Vandersleen, PMP
In PMI's (Project Management Institute's) Project Management Body of Knowledge or PMBOK, which is the bible of project management, there are 9 knowledge areas discussed; Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Communications, Risk and Procurement. Anyone who has studied for their PMP certification knows these well, ad nauseam even, and knows that the PMBOK discusses these with equal weight. Indeed, PMI loves all of her knowledge area "children" equally, but out in the real world there is one that I believe deserves your extra undivided attention and that is scope.
Identifying Performance Issues With Your Project Team
By Dave Nielsen, PMP
The phrase "project manager" is a bit of a misnomer; while project managers do manage projects, they deliver them by managing a project team that does the work of the project. How successful they are at managing that team will go a long way to determining the success or failure of the project. Perhaps the most difficult (and certainly the most unpleasant) aspect of managing the high performance team is dealing with issues of poor performance.
Stake Your Project Claim
By Laura Bamberg
After recent conversations with a friend about waffling company policies on projects, my head was whirling. I wondered how you manage a project without the stakeholders' approval or buy-in. In my friend's company, the sales representatives sometimes create quotes based in large part on what the customers want, and not always on what their products can do. The next step in the process is a layer of approval from several colleagues, and in many cases, the sales representative in question has to go back to the customer and renegotiate. You can imagine how the customer feels.
Are Your Project Managers Working too Hard to be Successful?
By Peter Taylor
'Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.' - Robert Heinlein (1907 - 1988). The latest Standish Group report shows more projects failing and fewer successful projects. So what is going wrong out there? Why are your projects being challenged in this way? Are your project managers perhaps working too hard to be successful for you?
Great Sponsor + Great PM = Great Success: Ten Truths of an Effective Sponsor/PM Partnership
By Lonnie Pacelli
The sponsor/PM partnership is the most important relationship determinant of a project's success potential. Both the sponsor and the PM need to be acutely aware of the relationship and recognise the necessity of working together to better secure a successful outcome and provide value back to the organisation.
Why is People Capability Maturity Model Necessary?
The Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute developed the People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM) to help businesses manage knowledge workers across global borders, as well as between greying and millennial generations. Similar to CMMI, P-CMM has five maturity levels, but the model is focused on the need to improve the capabilities of a workforce as a differentiating factor from the competition.
Controlling Change Requests
By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Project Managers can accept the fact that all projects need to change in some way during their life cycle, but sometimes changes can get out of hand and end up derailing the project! In this article we provide you with tips on controlling the requested changes so that you can prevent them from taking up excessive time and still implement the ones that add value to the project.
Has Your Project Team Considered all the Key Dimensions of the Problem?
By Rune Aresvik
Many readers have mentioned to me that they feel that a lot of the projects they sponsor (even the successful ones) are often on "automatic pilot." This typically happens once the project teams feel that they understand the problem and have decided on what they believe to be the most appropriate direction for solving the key issues facing the project.
3 Key Components of an Effective Business Case Study
By Rachel Agheyisi
A good story is memorable. A case study is essentially a success story. A well-written business success story is arguably one of the most effective ways to create a visual image of achievable results in the mind of a prospective client. However, the way the story is told is important. The focus must be on the prospect's needs, not the sponsor's product.
Writing the Project Statement of Work
By Dave Nielsen, PMP
The Statement of Work, or SOW, is the bible for the work the project must produce. The SOW is a key governance tool whether it is being used to direct work for a vendor or contractor, or used to direct the work internally, the SOW must contain a description of all the work that is expected, so how do you go about writing one for your project?
The Project Scorecard
By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Want to have your communications to your project sponsor and project stakeholders read every time out? Try using the "scorecard" approach. This article gives you pointers and advice on putting together a scorecard for your project that will be an attention grabber.
Using Change Management and Change Control Within a Project
By Dave Litten
Setting up a systematic and common approach to change is vital, and this article outlines the approach and steps needed for change management and hence ultimate project success. The approach taken is central to the PRINCE2 Methodology and includes a general summary drawn from PRINCE2 and several project management bodies of knowledge.
Sponsoring a Project
By Dave Nielsen, PMP
There is a lot of information and advice available in print form and on the Internet about project management, but relatively little about project sponsorship. Project sponsorship requires more than simply signing the cheques and taking delivery of the successful project. You need to give your project managers the tools they require to succeed and use your influence to remove the obstacles they face. This article explores some of the do's and don'ts of successful sponsorship.
Successful Software Development: It's Not Rocket Science
By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Sometimes I wonder after years of software development whether the way we work has changed very much. Sure, technology has moved on at pace, but has our approach to running software development projects. Users remain baffled by techno speak, developers prefer to invent rather than reuse and know what is best for you before you tell them what you want, while projects often miss deadlines and exceed budgets.
There's a Reason IT PMOs Fail
By Ken Hanley, B.A, M. Eng
Only a third of IT PMOs will ever work, and the rest of 'em won't. For the mathematically challenged, such as myself, that means that two-thirds of all the IT project management offices (or programme management offices, or whatever you want to call them) will fail. Nothing scientific in these numbers, mind you, and I didn't do an extensive survey, this is just what I've seen myself, and you're going to have to take it (or not) on faith.
Building a Business Case as the Foundation for Project Success
By John Moore
When projects fail to deliver results, ensuing conversations can often become accusatory. The division manager says, "Even with all the resources and money put into this new product, the quarterly numbers show that it's another loss. Plus, one of our competitors brought out an equivalent product before we were ready to launch ours."
Avoiding the Accidental Project Sponsor
By Ken Hanley, B.A, M. Eng
Here's the hard truth of it: many of the people sponsoring our projects are unqualified to do so, some aren't experienced enough to be effective sponsors, and even if they are, most haven't been taught how to be an effective sponsor, and what being an effective sponsor means. At their best, many sponsors can be well meaning, but also be less than helpful. At their worst, they can be downright dangerous to you and your project. So how does this happen? It happens because we have a bad habit of encouraging the accidental sponsor.
The Real Costs of Failed Projects
By Ilya Bogorad
Ever since the CHAOS report of 1994, we have been hearing increasingly more alarming stories of failed projects and their costs to the world economy. Take, for example, the KPMG study published in the UK in 2002 and based on a survey of 134 public companies. According to the report, 56 per cent of them had had to write off at least one IT project in the previous year, at an average cost of US$12.5M, while the highest loss was placed at US$210 million.
Project Ranking: The Heart of Project Portfolio Management
By George F. Huhn
Project ranking is at the heart of project portfolio management (PPM). A good project portfolio ranking system should not only make the job much easier and faster, but also yield a superior result over doing it manually or with simple spreadsheets.
Taming MS Project
By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Have you ever felt like you were working for MS Project instead of the other way around? MS Project can become a huge overhead, even for seasoned project managers. This article contains some tips and tricks that will help you tame the tool.
Agile Project Management: AFP
By Jorge Dominguez, PMP
Businesses all over continue to struggle implementing the PMBOK or PRINCE2 as a whole or parts of them claiming that they are too complex, too involved and take from the time it takes to produce the project deliverables. Adaptive Project Framework (APF) comes to the rescue by adapting to the ever changing business environments.
Five Really Useful Tools For Project Management in Social Care
By Carolyn Barber
There are a wide range of well established planning tools which can be used to aid the project management process, and provide the means to monitor and review project plans over time. Here I outline five of the most useful planning tools for projects in health and social care.
How Does Your Quality Management Assessment Method Stack Up?
Not all testing methodologies are created equal. On one hand for instance, there are informal assessment methods that serve as practice sessions in preparation for applying for compliance certificates. Then, there are formal testing methods that must meet the rigorous requirements that are set by the industry standard Testing Maturity Model Integration (TMMi) for two reasons, to earn a merit of approval and to be proven effective through the TMMi certification.
What Mismanaging Small Projects Will Cost You
By Curt Finch
Okay, so maybe you have the large projects nailed in Microsoft Project, but what about the smaller ones that, in reality, make up the bulk of your portfolio? Are you just "winging" those, using status emails and Excel spreadsheets to manage them? If so, you could be making a great mistake. Small projects, while often overlooked, are still crucial to a company's success. Since they might not involve large sums of money, many companies do not worry as much about them, but all of these small projects can add up to some major costs if managed improperly.
How to Deal with the People Factor of Change Management
A 2008 survey by McKinsey of 3,199 executives around the world found that only one in three organisational transformation or change projects succeeded. This situation occurred mainly due to the people factor that is involved in any type of any quest for change, and the irrational side of human behaviour, according to Carolyn Aiken and Scott Keller, authors of the paper "The Irrational Side of Transformation" (McKinsey Quarterly, 2009). When changes such as new technologies, new processes, new groups (e.g., consultants) are introduced to the work environment, workers have counter-intuitive ways of interpreting these changes and may act differently than expected.
Critical Chain Project Management Reduces Project Lead Time
By Mark Woeppel
In spite of the fact that project task durations are often conservatively estimated to begin with, the presence of certain behaviours can cause them to increase. Critical Chain Project Management and project scheduling eliminates these behaviours and reduces project lead times. Four behaviours make project durations longer than necessary.
The Seven Essentials of Highly Successful Project Initiations
Seasoned project managers know that successful projects most often start with successful beginnings. In fact, before actual project implementation, the mix of the project, people, tools, and approaches could either spell success... or disaster. Thus, it is important to set and manage the expectations of all project stakeholders because how they will perform their roles and responsibilities, or achieve desired outcomes and other motivational factors depend on what they know about the venture.
Putting People Management Back into Project Management
By Lisa Walker
No one will ever be able to convince me that the most challenging component of project management is the science behind it. The way in which we need to pull people together to be a high performance team over a relatively short period of time is the most challenging part of project management. This article will focus on the communication issues within the project team, in particular, the people management aspect.
SMART Goals Aren't Good Enough
By Stacey Barr
When a tool is inspired by a clever acronym, you've got to wonder how robust it actually is. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Sounds great, but that's actually not enough. Is it a good goal, or a 'should' goal?
Project Sponsorship: Get the Sponsor You Deserve
By Michael L Young
The Oxford dictionary defines a sponsor simply as someone who "makes himself or herself responsible for another." In a project sense this means taking on responsibility for the success of a project in an organisation. It means commitment to project outcomes and to the people involved in delivering these outcomes. But a project doesn't just work because you have a good project plan. It requires organisational commitment through the provision of adequate resources and executives to smooth the way when things get difficult.
Ten Predictions for Project Management Trends in 2009
By Rudolf Melik
2008 was an eventful, prosperous year for the project management practice, project management service and solution providers. The stage has been set for some very exciting changes in the project management world. I discuss ten potential project management trends that may be more prominent in 2009, into 2010 and beyond.
The Point and Pitfalls in Portfolio Management
By Jonathan Ward, Michal Karshen and Erik Eisenman
Corporate budgeting is an obscure process. Usually it involves padding budgets to accommodate for across-the-board cuts, and committees of corporate officers finalising figures for projects executed far below them. Unhappily, the team making funding choices tends to lack the information needed to accurately analyse what they are actually financing. The team must answer questions that directly affect corporate strategy. Which projects are critical to corporate goals? Which provide the best "bang for the buck?" How should the projects be prioritised to maximise utilisation of resources? What is the risk of each project and how should it be handled?
By Dave Nielsen
More and more emphasis is being placed on projects that help our environment, or are at least compatible with the environment. These projects are commonly referred to as "green" projects. Whether "greening" is an adjunct to the project, or a project objective more and more projects are initiated that can be called "green." Green projects place new demands on the project manager. This article describes one such project and some of these new demands.
Top 5 Ways to Incorporate CMMI with Agile Methods
There is a common misconception that CMMI and Agile are polar opposites. One relies on institutionalisation and documentation of processes and methodologies, while the other emphasises interaction among workers and "working software over comprehensive documentation" (Agile Manifesto). Process documentation and institutionalisation is the lifeblood of CMMI, and it is often used in critical software development life cycles. On the other hand, the Agile approach is called into action when a project features incremental changes, particularly those that have not been included in initial requirement documents.
7 Things You Need to Know About Development Project Estimations
Whether you are a project manager planning for a smooth implementation of a plan or a project sponsor on whose decisions a project depends, you cannot escape from the fact that project estimation is essential to its success. In the first place, there are three basic requirements that a project must satisfy: schedule, budget, and quality. The need to work within these essential project boundaries poses a huge challenge to everyone in the central management team.
The Principles of Risk Management
By Simon Buehring
Every project manager and business leader needs to be aware of the practices and principles of effective risk management. Understanding how to identify and treat risks to an organisation, a programme or a project can save unnecessary difficulties later on, and will prepare managers and team members for any unavoidable incidences or issues.
Turn Your Customer's Needs into Successful IT Projects
By Jim Cochran
Every IT project is driven by a business requirement. For an IT project manager, the hard part is translating that business requirement into an end product that fully meets that business need. It's easy for a project manager to sit in a meeting and listen to what the clients say they need their new system to achieve. But what happens when what the client asks for and what you think they mean are two different things? When your solution misses the mark, you're the one your client will blame, leaving you wide open to a lawsuit.
Five Steps to a Winning Business Case
By John Goodpasture, PMP
Making a successful business case for your new project is the winning way to ensure a good beginning for your team. As a project manager, how often have you been asked to "work the numbers" and provide a basis for a compelling project? Often, if you are a project manager with responsibility to help your sponsor and your company make decisions about which projects are the right ones to do. The PMBOK provides the body of knowledge for "doing it the right way." In this article, you will learn about the five steps of a methodology that you can take away and use everyday for identifying, selecting, and justifying a new project or a significant change in scope to an ongoing project.
The Curious Case of the CHAOS Report 2009
By Jorge Dominguez
The Standish Group collects information on project failures in the IT industry and environments with the objective of making the industry more successful and to show ways to improve its success rates and increase the value of the IT investments. The latest results have been compiled into the CHAOS Report 2009 published by the organisation in April.
The Top 6 Things to Consider When Choosing a PPM Solution
By Curt Finch
According to a recent article in a leading technology magazine, the demand for project and portfolio management (PPM) solutions is rising in response to the weakened economy. Many businesses are choosing to implement PPM solutions in order to "identify which IT projects are mission critical and to help them execute those projects as efficiently as possible." These customers have also found that PPM solutions offered as software-as-a-service (SaaS) are both more affordable and easier to deploy than traditional ones.
Being a Project Sponsor Means Championing a Cause
By Tim Millett
When talking about the positions on a project team, the ones that come to mind first are project leader, project manager and team members. Time is spent designing the project, selecting the right team members, establishing the critical path leading to end goals and establishing a reporting and measurement system. Unfortunately, what many firms discover is that the project still seems to get off course even with all the elements so carefully aligned.
How to Apply PRINCE2: Engaging Senior Management in Your Projects
By David Hinde
Having trouble getting upper level decisions made on your project? Feeling that senior management are not bought in to the project's vision. Are senior executives simply not willing to get involved when you need them? Research shows that a lack of engagement with senior stakeholders is one of the main reasons for project failure. So how do you solve this?
Project Failures From the Top Down: Can Marchionne Save Chrysler
By Barry Shore, Ph.D.
On the surface the merger between Fiat and Chrysler is very promising, but a bit of history on Chrysler and Marchionne's management style suggests that the sustainability of the merger might be in trouble. Will Chrysler be revived? Can they initiate the kind projects that will return it profitability, or is Chrysler headed for a fatal crash?
Managing Large Projects with Ease: 9 Pressure Reducers That Work!
Managing large software projects can be quite difficult under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, individuals with limited or no experience often rely on survival tips from more experienced co-workers and other individuals in-the-know. To help you, I compiled nine helpful tips that will undoubtedly improve your software project management experiences.
Does a Project Charter or Project Initiation Document Lead to a More Manageable Project Delivery?
By Susan de Sousa
Initiating a project usually involves writing one of two documents; a Project Charter or a Project Initiation Document (PID). Now a great many things happen during initiation. High level scope is determined, deliverables set and budgets estimated. If these aren't investigated and documented effectively it can adversely impact the entire successful delivery. But which document is better for ensuring this?
Recipe for Great Virtual Teamwork: The Right Communications Tools at the Right Time
By Nancy Settle-Murphy
You've just finished the project kick-off meeting with your new virtual team. Everyone seems clear about roles, responsibilities, deliverables and deadlines. So far, so good. But, as you think about the magnitude and velocity of the work that lies ahead, you realise how critical a well-orchestrated team communications plan will be to getting the work done. This article offers some simple guidelines to keep in mind as you assemble a communications plan to make it easy for virtual team members to communicate and collaborate.
How Agile Offshore Practices Can Avoid the "Real" Costs of Offshore Outsourcing
By Jason Lin
CIO.com recently published an article outlining the "real" costs of offshore outsourcing. It has compelling arguments why offshoring drives down strategic value in the long-run. They touched upon five major risks for offshore outsourcing. In this article you will learn practical tips on using agile methodologies and open offshore models to mitigate major offshore outsourcing risks.
Rolling Wave Planning
By John Goodpasture, PMP
It is not often possible to foresee the future activities in a project with consistent detail over the entire period of the project. Therefore, planning is often done in "waves" or stages, with the activities in the near term planned in detail and the activities in the longer distance of time left for future detail planning. There may in fact be several planning waves, particularly if the precise approach or resource requirement is dependent or conditioned on the near-term activities. Such a planning approach is commonly called rolling wave planning.
Project Planning in a Nutshell
By Thomas Pyzdek
Improvement happens one project at a time. But often projects fail because they are poorly planned, or even completely unplanned. This article provides an overview of why it is important to prepare a project plan. It also shows what elements a good project plan will include.
Project Management Kick Off Meetings: What is the Point?
By Ron Rosenhead
I was asked during a meeting with a client what is the point of a project kick off meeting? Apparently, the sponsor (who I was meeting with) was being pressurised by a project manager to hold such a workshop. I suggested that the project manager should be congratulated for the suggestion. I explained that the workshop could be two people meeting for 30 minutes to the whole team going away for the week. I went on to suggest that they were essential for the modern day project where speed seems to be of the essence.
Predicting the ROI of Change
Process Simulation Modeling (PSIM) can provide real business value to organisations that are trying to change processes. When companies use the appropriate software simulation, designed for their industry to evaluate process performance, these organisations can improve their operations and achieve higher levels of process maturity with the integration of CMMI. However, regardless of what changes a company is considering, there are always costs and risks involved with any type of change.
An Effective Design Walkthrough: A Step Towards Delivering the Best Design
By Taruna Goel
Design walkthroughs, if done effectively, are one of the most powerful quality tools that designers can leverage to detect defects early and take steps towards continuous improvement. But what is an effective design walkthrough? Here are some guidelines and best practices for planning, conducting, and participating in an effective design walkthrough.
Applying Earned Value Management to Software Intensive Programmes
By Bob Hunt
Many information technology projects have been declared too costly, too late and often don't work right. Applying appropriate technical and management techniques can significantly improve the current situation. The principal causes of growth on these large-scale programmes can be traced to several causes related to overzealous advocacy, immature technology, lack of corporate technology road maps, requirements instability, ineffective acquisition strategy, unrealistic programme baselines, inadequate systems engineering, and work-force issues. This article provides a brief summary of four processes to resolve these issues.
PRINCE2 2009: What's Changed?
By Simon Buehring
PRINCE2, the UK's most widely used project management framework is being refreshed. The name remains the same, i.e. it will not be called PRINCE3, but there will be some fundamental enhancements. The refresh is being led by the UK's Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and also involves OGC's two main partners for its Best Practice portfolio: TSO, the official publisher, and the APM Group, the official accrediting organisation.
Improving Project Success Rates with Better Leadership
By Dr. Karen McGraw
Factual and anecdotal evidence confirms that IT investments are inherently risky. On average, about 70% of all IT related projects fail to meet their on-time, on-budget objectives or to produce the expected business results. In one KPMG survey, 67% of the companies who participated said that their programme/project management function was in need of improvement. Why? A number of leading factors for project failure were suggested by the survey, including the "usual suspects": unreasonable project timelines, poorly defined requirements, poor scope management, and unclear project objectives. Granted, all of these factors can play a role in project success. But are they the cause or project failure, or just a symptom of some larger issue?
Estimating: Part 3
By William R. Duncan
In this last article of the series, I'll cover a potpourri of other estimating topics including the key outcome of estimating, converting effort estimates into budgets, dealing with poorly defined work, and what to do when management thinks it should cost less or take less time.
Estimating: Part 2
By William R. Duncan
This is the second of three articles on estimating. It may seem obvious, but the first requirement for developing an estimate is to know what you are estimating. For now, let's assume that you have been asked to estimate how much effort (how much of your time) is likely to be required to paint your bedroom. Although this is a fairly small activity, it is still one with a significant amount of uncertainty.
Effort Estimating: A Primer
By William R. Duncan
Estimating is a forbidding topic for some. I've even heard intelligent, experienced project managers assert that it is "impossible" to estimate the work on their project. I think that these people just don't understand estimating. I think that these people may be confusing estimating (making informed assessments of uncertain events) with extra sensory perception (making exact predictions of uncertain events). Or in some cases, they may be trying to prepare budgets or prices in the absence of estimates.
Undertaking a Successful Project Audit
By Michael Stanleigh
A project audit provides an opportunity to uncover issues, concerns and challenges encountered during the project lifecycle. Conducted midway through the project, an audit affords the project manager, project sponsor and project team an interim view of what has gone well, as well as what needs to be improved to successfully complete the project. If done at the close of a project, the audit can be used to develop success criteria for future projects by providing a forensic review. This review identifies which elements of the project were successfully managed and which ones presented challenges. As a result, the review will help the organisation identify what it needs to do to avoid repeating the same mistakes on future projects.
Stakeholder Commitment: Why Is It Important?
By Wilf Voge
If that carrot-at-the-end-of-the-stick tactic seems useless to get commitment from your stakeholders, try these how-to's shared by experts. Commitment is important in any relationship. It is the value that galvanises diverse entities so that all can work together unilaterally and seamlessly. Without it, there is no bond and no common purpose. Romantic, family or even business-wise, commitment is the force that drives the relationship forward, toward a mutually desirable goal that usually points to growth and/or profitability.
Four Keys To Successful Project Management
By Raven Young
One question I get asked a lot is, "what does it take to be a successful project manager?" It's as if there's a secret recipe for being successful in the field of project management. Some would argue that nothing but experience counts; others favour formal training and certifications. Perhaps the best answer is to have a balance of both real-world experience and training.
Effective Project Management: Five Laws that Determine Success
By Howard Vaughan
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So said Albert Einstein. Yet every year countless projects hit trouble for the same reasons, again and again. Why? Because the fundamental principles that determine project success are not being respected. These principles can be distilled into five laws, realities that always hold true irrespective of the nature or complexity of project.
How to Sell Function, Feature and Benefit to Stakeholders
By John Reiling
Top executives and stakeholders are often "sold" certain projects from within the organisation. This normally happens, where a sales team first handles a project and then later assigns it to a project manager who "inherits" it. The concept here is that the selling to the stakeholders actually continues once the project manager takes over. Because of this reality, the project manager must to some extent use sales skills and continue to build (and even sometimes repair!) the relationships with the stakeholders.
Are You Using Your Resources Ideally?
By Neil Davidson
Everyone talks about the economic crisis as though it will pass if we take the proper financial medicine. But that is a naive assumption. The crisis has introduced a new world order that will persist for many years to come. To develop and create growth, the wisest thing we can do is to utilise the resources we already have. It will take courage and real commitment, and the right tools.
Building a Project Management Office
By Mark Piscopo
In today's complex business environment new projects are constantly being developed as organisations seek new ways to reduce costs, improve processes, increase productivity, and build their bottom line. Managing these diverse projects along with their people, resources, technology, and communication is a difficult endeavour for which the risk of failure is often far too high. An effective solution, created to establish a more centralised management structure for large groups of projects, is the Project Management Office (PMO).
Creative Problem Solving Leads to Organisational Innovation
By Tim Millett
The words "creative problem solving" have almost become more like buzzwords tossed around the workplace and never really landing anywhere. Everyone knows intuitively that creative problem solving can work, and it's the "thing to do" in a participatory organisation, but exactly what does it mean and what benefits can be obtained?
A Practical Approach to Project Management
By Duncan Haughey, PMP
What is practical project management? It means keeping project management simple and not getting bogged down in large unwieldy processes. It doesn't mean cutting corners. Good project management practice is still important, it's just about keeping it lean and mean. This with getting the basics right will help you deliver a successful project.
The Three P's of Project Management
By William Thom
This article discusses the three P's of project management, namely people management, process management and performance management. The three P's are broken down and reviewed to provide an understanding of what needs to be addressed for project success. This article also provides information explaining the importance of each and why each element is necessary.
Picking a Project Management Methodology
By Mark Phillips
A short study from Vertabase on choosing between an agile or waterfall approach for their latest software development project. We were having an internal meeting to pick a project management methodology for a web project we are working on for a new client. As developers of commercial software, our instinct was to lean towards an agile based approach.
What Is the Mission of Your Project?
By Jurgen Appelo
Software projects are like a military operation. As a commander (manager) you have to take care of the movements of your troops, or else your soldiers will be crawling all over the place. That's the whole point of giving a software project a goal: you give self-organisation a proper direction, without getting on your knees and building all the roads yourself.
Your Project Does Have A Goal
By Trevor Roberts
Projects don't (or at the very least, really shouldn't) start because there are some developers sitting around twiddling their thumbs, time on their hands, nothing to do. No, a project starts because some conscious agency, a creator, decrees that there is a problem to be solved, an aim to be met, a goal to be achieved.
Your Software Project Has No Goal
By Jurgen Appelo
Human beings, organisations and software projects share one important thing: they have no intrinsic goals. The goal of something that emerges from interacting parts is not determined by the goals of those parts. However, extrinsic goals are an entirely different matter.
The ABC's of Project Management for Project Managers
By William Thom
This article covers 7 ABC's of Project Management. Derived from the competencies of project managers, this article reviews areas that make project managers successful in their vocation. As a contributor and reviewer of the PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition, Bill Thom feels that it is our responsibility as Project Managers to learn and share with each other in a manner that will assist in project success.
Metrics that Matter in Agile Projects
Agile methods need only the most important metrics: the ones that tell the whole story about the project. Metrics measure the health of a project and are by far the most objective ways by which a project manager enables all project sponsors and delivery teams to see where resources are needed or spent, or which areas of a project need more focus. So how do Agile teams determine the most important metrics?
The New Face of Strategic Planning: Bridging it with Project Management is the Key to Success
By Bruce A. McGraw
With the current economy in crisis, businesses are scrambling to stay afloat. Many are abandoning their strategic, long term objectives for quick fixes and short-sighted survival tactics. Some of today's most popular business books from The Tipping Point to Freakonomics feature companies that have stumbled upon greatness without an ounce of strategic planning involved. And with the rapid evolution of real-time media, virtual offices and globalisation, companies seemingly have to change their game plans on a daily basis to keep up.
How to Avoid Being Seen as 'Project Management Overhead'
By Curt Finch
We are currently facing a challenging economic climate which is forcing many companies to cut costs in order to survive. There are different ways of doing this, and unfortunately, a popular one is slashing employees, projects and even entire departments. Consequently, almost everyone in the business world is now looking for a way to justify their work to upper management and other stakeholders in order to be spared.
Communication is Key: Getting Everyone in the Loop
Are you finding that the communication among your staff, across different departments, and with your vendors is often inefficient and even quite redundant? How many times have you answered the same question either by e-mail or with a phone call? Do you find that inaccurate information is being passed on to customers because sales or services people are referring to outdated e-mails or an implementation schedule that has changed? Does each one of your teams have its own file system and database and use many interfaces to organise its information?
Do You Know Where Your Project Is?
By Curt Finch and Bruce McGraw
Projects are ultimately about making an organisation stronger and better, and that means it's important to make sure you're choosing the right projects, allocating the right resources, tracking progress along the way, and taking an unflinching look at actual results. Only then will you know the answer to that all-important question: Has the project delivered on its ROI promise?
Tips For Avoiding Project Failure
By Don Wood, PMP
Studies have shown that many IT projects are considered to be failures. The Standish Group has reported high failure rates for years and recently a study by KPMG found that about half of the respondents reported at least one failed project in the past year. Why do projects fail? The reasons are too numerous and varied to identify; however, I'll discuss some common failure points.
6 Success Factors for Managing Project Quality
By Michael L Young
Commentators have differing views on what constitutes a quality project. The generally agreed parameters are that it delivers the desired outcomes on time and within budget. Through our long experience, the Transformed team has identified 6 key factors that improve project quality.
A Corporate Project Selection Process
By William Thom
In my last article I mentioned that there are project management solutions to alleviate some of the pains that corporations can endure during a time of financial concerns. Strong project management leadership should be involved in the project selection process. In this article, I will review business drivers and project assessments that may be considered in project selection. While the project selection process is viable and repeatable, it requires support from the top down in order to be successful.
Agile Through the Waterfall
By Sonal Shah, PMP
Many organisations have adopted Agile practices into their development methodologies and they have proved to be successful for the organisation as a whole. There also are many organisations that have pockets of people who wish to be Agile, but can't get traction within to make it a widely accepted practice throughout the enterprise. I recently had an opportunity to participate in an Open Space session where we explored how organisations that are mainly guided by Waterfall methodologies, unwittingly also employed Agile practices.
The Corporate Advantages of a Project Management Process
By William Thom
A Project Management (PM) process is a process that wraps sound and repeatable structure around a series of events that lead to a projects completion or implementation. In most cases, you will see a structured diagram that lists the project management process groups used to manage a project. I have been fortunate to study and review many PM processes over the years from the Department of Defence to State and Local government processes. In addition, I have studied and reviewed PM processes in business enterprises, banking, health care and nuclear power. What I want to present, is the concept of the Project Management Process and why is it beneficial to have one in place in your organisation.
The "Real" Project Plan
By Jorge Dominguez
"I need a project plan by tomorrow morning." As project managers, that's what we hear. But we know that what the boss usually means is that s/he wants a project schedule. There is a problem though, how can you come up with a schedule without having the "real" project plan first?
What is User Requirements Capture?
By Damian Rees
User Requirements Capture is a research exercise that is undertaken early in a project lifecycle to establish and qualify the scope of the project. The aim of the research is to understand the product from a user's perspective, and to establish users' common needs and expectations. The user requirements capture is useful for projects that have a lack of focus or to validate the existing project scope. The research provides an independent user perspective when a project has been created purely to fulfil a business need. The requirements capture findings are then used to balance the business goals with the user needs to ensure the project is a success.
Key Steps to Implement a Project Management Office
By Michael L Young
Launching a Project Management Office (PMO) is just like any other organisational change project and should be approached as such using the key steps outlined in this article. According to Gartner (2008), investments in a PMO as a work management discipline can provide common planning and reporting processes and bring structure and support to evaluating, justifying, defining, planning, tracking and executing projects. It also encourages the resolution of conflicts caused by limited resources and other constraints.
Building Relationships in Project Management
By Michael L Young
Building relationships is just as important within the project team as it is outside. Good relationships can be the difference between outstanding success and dismal failure because it's all about getting people to like and trust you so that they will deliver what you need them to deliver at the right time in the right way. We have talked previously about managing stakeholders, finding out about and managing their needs and expectations, however this is much easier if you have developed good relationships with stakeholders in the first place.
Project Management in these Economic Times
By Brad Egeland
We're living in some of the worst economic times in 60-70 years. Businesses are closing. Analysts are estimating a possible 20% vacancy rate for businesses across the country by the end of 2009. Here in Las Vegas the once flourishing hotel and casino industry is seeing bankruptcy filings and halted construction projects throughout the valley. So what does this all mean for Project Managers? Customers sometimes think of Project Managers as the 'extra' expense on an IT project. If you are a Project Manager, then you know that's ridiculous.
Frequently Asked Questions on Lean Six Sigma
By Chris Rees
Despite Lean Six Sigma being around for over twenty years now, it is remarkable that a significant number of companies and individuals still don't really know what it is. Oh, they've heard of it, and may even have been involved in it, but when it comes to defining it or reaping the huge benefits it can offer, then far too many are still in the dark. A few of the frequently asked questions from students and companies regarding Lean Six Sigma and how to use it are answered here.
CMMI and Agile: Opposites Attract
The myths surrounding the compatibility of CMMI and Agile have recently been debunked by SEI. Learn how these seemingly opposing strategies can be paired to foster dramatic improvements in business performance! Despite the perception that CMMI best practices and Agile development methods are at odds with each other, new research suggests just the opposite train of thought. In fact, CMMI and Agile champions can benefit from using both methods within organisations, with the potential to dramatically improve business performance.
Tips for Turning Lessons Learned into Best Practices
By Adele Sommers
By incrementally capturing 20-20 hindsight (lessons learned) and turning that hindsight into 20-20 foresight (best practices), you will achieve far greater long-term success than if you simply ignore or forget what occurred once a project ends. This approach can greatly reduce the negative effects of attrition on a company's intellectual assets when people leave because they quit, retire, are laid off, or were temporary workers to begin with.
5 Reasons to Kill IT Projects
By Michael Krigsman
A survey of IT experts revealed 43 percent of their organisations had recently killed an IT project. The study, conducted by ISACA, an independent IT governance group, highlighted the top 5 reasons these organisations named for terminating projects prior to completion.
Project Plans: 10 Essential Elements
By Trevor Roberts
A project plan is more than just a Gantt chart, but do you know what you must have in your plan? This article takes you through the 10 essential elements your project plan has to have to help you achieve project management success.
The Needle in the Haystack: Tips for Choosing the Right Project Management Tool
As you well know, there are a myriad of software products on the market today. The applications, themselves, range from freeware to multi-faceted programs with service contracts that can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Further, the software is made by familiar name brands, such as Microsoft Project to software that is created by more obscure startup companies.
The Successful Project Management Office
By Brad Egeland
The varieties of Project Management Office (PMO) models seem nearly endless. I've joined companies that already had them, helped organise one for a company I was already at, and consulted with smaller organisations who were just trying to get their PM processes off the ground. I believe there is no guarantee for success with any model. It's how the organisation values the PMO and the role of the PM, in general, and how the supporting organisations interact with the PM that plays a significant role in the PMO organisation's success.
PMBOK Guide: Fourth Edition Changes - Chapter by Chapter
By Cyndi Snyder Stackpole, MBA, PMP
In my last article I provided an overview of the changes in the PMBOK® Guide: Fourth Edition. In this article I want to write about some of the specific changes in the chapters. As mentioned in the previous article, our architect designed chapters 1 and 2 to align with The Standard for Programme Management: Second Edition and The Standard for Portfolio Management: Second Edition. Therefore much of the structure of the first two chapters has changed.
PMBOK Guide: Fourth Edition Changes - An Overview
By Cyndi Snyder Stackpole, MBA, PMP
A lot of people are wondering what is going to change with the PMBOK® Guide: Fourth Edition. There is not that much that will change with regards to the content. There are a few additions and deletions to processes, but mostly of the work was done in making the standard internally consistent. We wanted the chapters to feel more cohesive as if one person wrote the standard instead of a group of people.
The Ideal Project Manager Specification
By Richard Morreale
Successful project management is a combination of approximately 20% hard skills and 80% soft skills. The hard skills relate to the actual processes, procedures, tools and techniques comprising planning, organising, monitoring and controlling, while the soft skills relate to the project managers attitudes and behaviours. In addition, I believe that a truly excellent project manager must become a master of paradox. This article provides a specification of the hard and soft skill along with a listing of the attitudes and behaviours required of a great project manager.
The Seven Deadly Myths of Earned Value Methods in Project Management
By Keith Custer, PE
After decades of using and teaching Earned Value Management techniques, we have seen a lot of misinformation about Earned Value, and the advent of the Internet has only made the problem worse. The fact is, the Earned Value Management techniques laid out almost 40 years ago continues to be one of the best ways to manage almost any project, and should be a key part of any Project Manager's toolkit. With that in mind, we set out to "bust" seven of the most common myths about Earned Value Management.
Avoiding Project Management Pitfalls
By Claudine Sirgant
Even strong, organised and experienced planners have found themselves managing a project that ends up in chaos, and results in missed deadlines and budget overruns. This article includes common pitfalls project managers experience and tips to make a project more successful.
Project Status Reports Everyone Can Understand
By Louis Marshall
Letting people know how a project is coming along is obviously a key responsibility of any project manager. With so many methodologies to choose from these days, it becomes hard to determine which key pieces of information will be useful to those involved in the project. These methodologies often come with a tangled mass of cryptic terminology, often only recognisable to practitioners of the system, e.g. burn down chart, sprint backlog, concession, story points, etc.
The Importance of Communication in Project Management
By Simon Buehring
"Since I didn't hear otherwise, I ASSUMED all was going well." The Importance of Communication in Project Management. Second on Rick Klemm's list of things most commonly overheard on a failing software project, this remark is characteristic of Project Managers who are not in frequent and efficient communication with their staff.
Building the High-Performance Global Workforce
Companies that can work cheaper, faster, and better are well-positioned to develop and market products and services that give higher value to their customers. But how do project managers and business leaders effectively manage geographically dispersed workforces?
What Agile Methods Mean to Your Process, People and Products
Studies show that most successful projects were those that followed agile principles, proving that model-driven methods are not always the best when it came to managing changes, fast-paced project implementation, or even meeting market demands. The concept of agile development is not new. However, many technologists still stick to the age-old notion that software development can be easily designed and the outputs predicted without giving much thought to the more dynamic factors of projects, such as communication lines, people, and change.
Project Managers: The Value of Understanding Technology
By Sonal Shah, PMP
Many project managers are extremely successful in their role by simply managing a project plan and checking off tasks as they become "100% complete." They're able to manage teams, create budgets, assess risk, pretty much perform all of the basic and yet complex project manager duties. And more importantly, they're able to do these things without having to dig too deep into the technical details. They can lean on the technical lead to solve all of the technical issues.
Break Your PMP Studies Into Small Pieces
By Cornelius Fichtner
Taking the PMP examination is one of the biggest steps you'll take in your career as a Project Manager and one of the most daunting. There seems to be an endless parade of information to stuff into your brain but don't be discouraged! By careful planning and structure, you can pass the exam with a minimum of stress and absorb more of the information you need to be a success in your chosen career.
5 Ways to Finesse Budget Discussions for New Client Projects
By Adele Sommers, Ph.D
Do you have difficulty engaging in budget discussions for new projects, particularly during initial client meetings when it can be tempting to make promises that will be challenging to carry out? If so, you're not alone! This article explores five ways to help you gracefully avoid backing yourself into a corner.
Ten Tips for Running Successful Projects
By Leslie Allan
Why do so many projects fail? Researchers regularly conduct studies to find out the leading causes of project failure. Some of the studies are in the public domain. You can look up studies by such groups as Gartner, Carnegie Mellon University and the Project Management Institute. The studies reveal a recurring theme.
Balancing Project Management Process With Project Delivery
By Juanita M Woods, PMP
Can you be a lazy and successful project manager? Ok, so I have been reviewing corporate and government processes for managing projects this week, and the first thing that came to my mind is "OH my! There is no way I could get all these steps, documents, gates, checkpoints, etc. accomplished and still manage the project!" In some cases you would need a bevy of administrators just to make sure all the project management stuff got done!
How to Do RACI Charting and Analysis: A Practical Guide
By Royston Morgan
A RACI chart is a matrix of all the activities or decision making authorities undertaken in an organisation set against all the people or roles. At each intersection of activity and role it is possible to assign somebody responsible, accountable, consulted or informed for that activity or decision. This guide sets down in a clear way the benefits of the approach and takes the reader through the steps needed to create and then analyse a RACI Chart.
Managers, Programmers, and Designers
By Louis Marshall
Depending on the structure of your organisation, the project manager is most likely the person who interacts with the broadest range of stakeholders. Sure the managing director will intermingle with project managers, business development, maybe even the client at early stages. But a project manager will interact with all these people and more; most notably, technical staff such as programmers and graphic designers. And let's not forget the client; a project manager will probably spend the largest amount of time with them compared to anyone else.
10 Steps to Finding a Project Manager
By Luca Di Nicola
Project managers, when you hire well, can become your most favourite person on the planet. Hiring a good project manager means you can sit back and relax knowing that the project tasks are being taken care of in a professional, productive, and profitable manner. It frees up your time, reduces or even eliminates stress, and increases your bottom line. However a bad hire can affect profits, increase stress which can kick your blood pressure up to dangerous levels and waste a tremendous amount of time and money. Here's how to hire a qualified project manager.
Make or Break: Why Accurate Cost Estimation Is Key
The accuracy of your cost estimation process can make or break project success. Learn the strategies that will help you gain control of this key area and ensure future project profitability! One of the greatest challenges for a project leader is to successfully deliver on all aspects of a project both according to the client's specifications and within the allotted budget.
The Top 7 Reasons Why Goals Are Not Achieved
By Dennis Hocker
It's that time of year again when we reflect on what we had hoped to accomplish in the past year and what we plan to accomplish in the next. Most times we look back and realise that we didn't quite measure up to our hopes and dreams. As a business advisor and executive coach I have found that people tend to make the same mistakes when setting goals for both their business and personal lives.
Top Tips for Project Implementation
By Neil Davidson
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." This quote from Henry Ford was used by a proud dad at a recent wedding I attended. It was a well chosen piece of advice, but as the managing director of a business solutions provider the quote hit a familiar note with me because it sums up exactly what we have been telling our clients during the implementation process.
Project Portfolio Management: Managing the Project Pipeline
By Barry Muir
For most service departments the demand for new projects will occasionally outweigh the department's capacity to do them. Whether it's due to financial constraints or skills being completely exhausted elsewhere, sometimes you just have to say "no." Saying "no" is easy, it's deciding who to say "no" to. Projects that bring the highest return on investment from the scarce resources available must be pushed forwards. Projects that drain resources and eat up the budget must be discarded, or at the very least, put on hold. So how do you decide which projects stay and which ones go?
Considerations Before Soliciting Input for Your Content Management Project
By Angela Baca
When you manage a new project to streamline an organisation's website or to develop a new website, you must gather input from many people inside the organisation. In "Content Management Bible," Bob Boiko has authored a section on the requirements process. His process concerns finding out what site users expect from the site improvement or the new website you will develop.
Discovering Future Performers in Your Team
Browse up on your organisation's competency requirements and set more informed business directions concerning your people. Management needs a checkpoint to determine if performance meets organisational requirements, given the knowledge and skills set of the employees. This is the birth of competency analysis.
So You Want to Be a Project Manager - Part 2: Getting the Skills You Need
By Diane Ellis
In my last article we learned the 6 key skills required to be a successful project manager, and why those are more important than qualifications. In this article, I look at how you can acquire, learn or improve these skills, in order to become a more successful project manager.
So You Want to Be a Project Manager
By Diane Ellis
You've worked on a project, and you think you'd like to have a try out at doing the project management role. It doesn't look too hard, or maybe it just looks exciting. So what does it take to become a project manager? What skills do you need?
A Tale of Two Projects
By Robert Howard
A business tale of what it takes to turn around troubled projects. The year is 2005 and times are good. The business environment is vibrant and the economy is strong. Large businesses are committing large amounts of capital and resources to implement new strategies, establish new capabilities, and open new markets. It was no different at PintCo, where Jack works as a Director of Customer Relationship Management.
How Gantt Charts Can Help Avoid Disaster
By Linda Russell
A short case study about the importance of using appropriate tools, such as Gantt charts, when managing time sensitive projects. Having run 15 months late on completion of a construction project, a building company incurred extensive penalty charges, which eventually led to its closure. Not having any project Gantt charts indirectly led to the company's failure.
Writing an Unbeatable Business Case
By Simon Buehring
A project brief describes what needs to be done. The project plan explains how you are going to do it. The business case gives the reasons why. In PRINCE2 terminology, the business case is the "driver" of the project. Senior management review the business case before authorising the initiation, and at each subsequent stage of the project. The business case is used as a yardstick to measure project progress. Before allowing any change to the project plan, the executive must consider the impact that this change will have on the business case.
Which Life Cycle Is Best for Your Project?
When choosing a development life cycle, don't just trust your feelings. Decide based on factors that really matter. Which life cycle will work best for your project? This is an important strategic question because making the wrong choice could lead to disastrous results of catastrophic proportions. Think about delayed deliveries, unhappy clients, project overruns, and cancelled projects.
Project Communications: How to Keep Your Team Engaged and Informed
By Dave Nielsen
Good communication is vital to the success of your project. This article explores the methods used by successful project managers to tailor their communications to suit their audiences. It offers advice and tips on how to implement the best practices taught by the PMBOK and many PMP Exam Preparation courses.
Build Versus Buy: Making the Right Decision
By Sanjay Murthi
Many project teams have faced the time when they need to make a major decision. Should one try to custom build a solution or buy an off-the-shelf product and customise it? These solutions can run the gamut of being a full enterprise class package that does nearly everything but feed the dog to small programs or libraries that do something very specialised such as drawing graphs or providing encryption functions. Frequently, a wrong decision can result in cost overruns, project delays, or a solution that does not fit business needs very well.
Motivating Your Outsourced Offshore Team
The success of a business relationship between a company and an outsource vendor depends on how well the delivery team implements projects on-time and on-budget. But while these three items present only the quantitative facet of this relationship, the dedication and professionalism of the outsource team sometimes tell a different story. How do you sustain the interest of your new outsource team? Here are ways to keep the team passionate about providing you with top-quality service.
Factors that Influence Project Management in Package Implementation Projects and Bespoke Projects
By Ramkumar Krishnamurthy, PMP
Business requirements are solved either by building a new system or by buying a readily available product or by a combination of both. The 'Build vs Buy' decision is made by the stakeholders after weighing various parameters. A 'Build' decision results in tailor made projects (also known as bespoke projects or custom development projects) whereas a 'Buy' decision results in product or package implementation projects. The technical, functional and managerial challenges vary between these two categories and therefore the practices during project execution vary as well.
How Pie Charts, Mr. Spock and the Big Picture Can Optimise Your Projects
Some days IT executives earn their salaries and then some: multiple deadlines for simultaneous projects, staff with different skills, competing schedules and priorities, and multiple unforeseen variables. What's the best way to allocate resources across projects? How can you ensure you stay on budget and meet established deadlines? Read up on the latest tools designed to make your job easier!
Making a Project Plan to Pass the PMP Exam
By John Reiling, PMP
Passing the PMP exam is challenging, but hundreds of thousands of people have already done it! What is the secret? One of the keys is to put into practice the discipline, practices, tools, and frameworks that are the subject of the exam. This is accomplished by making a plan based upon the many structures, terms and concepts that are part of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). These are the things that experienced project managers will learn that takes them beyond their project management experience base. This article discusses some keys for building an effective project plan to pass the PMP exam.
The Beginning of the End: Defining Project Closure
When undertaking a software development project, an effectively designed closure plan serves as an outline of required tasks that must be carried out appropriately in order to result in successful project delivery, and adequate preparation is one significant element when it comes to ensuring a smooth transition to implementation. The closure plan must be considered at the outset of the project, as the client outlines their specific software requirements.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Dialogue
By Tammy Lenski, Ed.D
Stephen Covey's seven habits of highly effective people have become classic pieces of leadership and management wisdom. The habits are applicable to having successful conflict conversations, both at home and at work. Here's how to use them next time you find yourself in a tense situation or conflict.
Effective Project Communications
By Gina Lijoi
As a Project Manager, communication will occur in many forms, with many individuals, including project stakeholders, your internal team, management within your organisation, vendors, and more. Communication may happen verbally or through e-mail, as well as through charters and project plans, addenda and status reports. These long lists are a small indication of the significance of communication to a Project Manager.
Exploiting Feedback to Improve Bottom-Line Performance
While feedback is vital to the growth and sustained success of any business, regardless of industry, employees or customer base, it may often be met with some level of resistance or uncertainty. For some, feedback seems to equate to, and therefore is received or delivered as, (negative) criticism, when in reality, this belief or response is unwarranted.
Use Your Whole Brain: Leveraging Right-Brained Thinking in a Left-Brained World
By Debra Jennings
For organisations, flexing the right side of the brain can dramatically improve decision making, team building and innovation, and ultimately drive greater organisational performance. In fact, whole brain thinking is a secret weapon that successful organisations are using to evolve their business to the next level, and stay ahead of the competition. When you combine left-brained data-driven decision making skills with non-linear right-brained thinking, the result is greater insight and more well-rounded experience that will ultimately help you arrive at better solutions to complex problems.
SMART Goals Reduce Ambiguity and Increase Commitment
By Andrew Cox
Ambiguity is a fact of life in all organisations. In many cases it can be an advantage. But in most cases, the clearer the requirements, the better. Use SMART goals, keep them simple, and watch people respond with a high level of commitment to the enterprise. They can be, as in this case, the difference between success and failure.
Project Management of a Global Team
By Andrew Cheah
The world is getting smaller. Well, it isn't physically getting smaller but that is one way of saying that global communications have become so fast paced that the world is really one community in a lot of ways. With the advent of the Internet, email, instant messaging and VOIP, it is entirely possible to have your project team members around the globe.
Is Software Development Risk Costing You Money?
Poor software project management often means missed deadlines, cost overruns or even outright failure of the project. How can your company avoid this industry-wide problem? In our brief you'll learn best practices for successfully completing software projects.
Useful Techniques to Fine-Tune Your Project Schedule
One of the most common problems that project managers weep about is "unrealistic timelines," a common consequence of clients having set their expectations too high even before the project starts. Ironically, there are occurrences in the duration of a project when a staff is sitting idly, waiting for a colleague to finish so he can start his own task. In this situation, does the project manager shout foul and blame other people? Chances are, as a project manager, he needs to give the project schedule a second look.
Project Management Training for the PMP: Satisfying the 35 Hours Requirement
By John Reiling, PMP
Project Managers who aspire to take the PMP exam need to have 35 hours of documented training in the area of project management. However, there is some level of misunderstanding around just how they can achieve this. Many believe they must take specialised and expensive courses, and some are not aware that some of the training and education they already have may qualify. Others think they need to acquire a single 35 hour certificate. Here is a survey of the ways PMP aspirants can satisfy that requirement.
Execute...Or Be Executed: Avoiding the Project Management Guillotine
By Lonnie Pacelli
Any project manager who has been around the block a few times has experienced a visit to the project management guillotine. Perhaps it was with a sponsor, management, or a customer. The project either had a massive schedule slip, cost overrun, or scope slash (or sometimes all three - now that's a party!) and the project manager was first in line at the guillotine. Some of my most uncomfortable situations in my 20+ years as a professional have involved me getting my head handed to me on a silver platter because I bungled a project.
PMP and ITIL: Framework Methodologies with Valuable Synergy
By Paul Rice
For a long time, IT professionals were apt to believe that ITIL and project management certification (PMP) were conflicting frameworks, and you were either certified in one or the other, but rarely both. The ITIL framework and project management framework both serve different purposes to be sure, but when combined within an organisation, they ultimately create great synergy. The ITIL framework, a lifecycle that addresses the way an IT organisation operates, is first and foremost business driven and answers the question "Are we doing the right things?" The project management framework addresses the implementation of projects throughout the organisation, requiring that companies ask "Are we doing things the right way?"
CMMI: Does Your Supplier Make the Grade?
Outsourcing work to offshore organisations has become the latest arsenal in software development over the last seven to eight years. The strongest drivers to outsourcing focus on driving down costs, increasing productivity, reducing time to market, and providing a flexible resource pool. If you're looking for a sure-fire way to find a highly-qualified outsourcing partner, learn how CMMI ratings can help you pinpoint the best candidate for the job.
Ranking Risks: Rare to Certain, Negligible to Catastrophic
Risk is a concept that denotes a potential negative impact to an asset or some characteristic of value that may arise from some present process or future event. In everyday usage, risk is often used synonymously with the probability of a known loss. Risk is measured in terms of impact and likelihood. Since risk is directly correlated to loss, it is important to be able to assess risks in one's business and to address them. Needless to say, inattention to risks can definitely affect a company's bottom line.
3 Main Benefits of Project Baselining
By Linda Russell
When you have finished planning your project, and you have all the scheduled dates, hours, and costs (and charges if applicable) agreed, why is it a good idea to store those values? We explore the reasons.
Get in the Driver's Seat with Microsoft Project
Transform disorganised projects into effectively managed and understood programmes using the gold standard in project management software. Discover why industry leaders claim they are lost without this valuable organisational tool!
The Phased Approach to Project Management Implementation
By Thomas P. Stevens, PMP
If you are thinking about using a project management consulting company to assist your organisation with implementing a Project Management Office (PMO), there are a couple of important factors that you should consider when choosing the right firm.
12 Competencies: Which Ones Should Your People Have?
The concept of competency as a factor in recruitment, selection, hiring and employee performance evaluation has become very popular not only among HR practitioners but to the management echelons as well. Yet, in the more than three decades since it became a buzzword, still many are really unfamiliar with the details of the concept. More so with its appropriate application and utility.
Gantt Charts, PERT Charts: What Use Are They?
By Linda Russell
Gantt charts and PERT charts are useful tools for visualising and communicating information about projects, but they have a number of limitations. In addition, the ease with which they can be created using software applications makes them open to misuse and misinterpretation.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Leadership
By Lonnie Pacelli
Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth. You either recognise these as the seven deadly sins or as themes for prime-time television. Nonetheless, you were probably taught as a child that these are bad and you shouldn't do them. For purposes of this article, do as you were taught and think bad when you commit these similar sins in the workplace.
10 Rules of Highly Successful Project Management
By Lisa Ahn
A successful project manager is one who can envision the entire project from start to finish, and have the prowess to realise this vision. To keep pace with business and IT, project managers need to make their management practices more flexible.
Dealing with "Scope Creep" in Software Development Projects
By Linda Russell
Scope creep is a significant risk in software development projects. We discuss why this is so, and how to avoid or at least mitigate the risk. New software is usually developed as a result of a customer identifying a need. The next step is to specify how the software will meet that need; specifically, what functionality will be developed.
Is Offshore Outsourcing Working for You?
The advent of the Internet and the continuous innovations made in information and communication technology has brought about the steady rise of a recently established business practice, offshore business development. Is your company looking or already into outsourcing? Here are five indicators that your company is on its way to outsourcing success.
9 Steps to a Hassle Free and Effective Software Development Project
Has your company developed entirely new software or added to software already in use throughout the organisation and found the process cumbersome, frustrating, and sometimes not living up to expectations or meeting organisational goals? If so, the solution to a smooth and effective development programme may be as easy as staffing a well-qualified project manager and adopting a proven development process.
How Fit is Your Programme?
By Rod Sowden
Across the UK at the moment there will be hundreds of programmes being run, but how well are they being run and how does the sponsor know that his/her programme is in a healthy shape? There are a number of ways to find out, most of them costing money from consultants. Most programmes are complex and are being run using a methodology that fits one of three descriptions.
Strategies for Managing Change: The Project Manager
By Tom O'Dea
The title of project manager (PM) is used to mean different things in different companies. Fortunately there is a standards body called the Project Management Institute which provides excellent guidance around the role and function of a project manager. Some will disagree, but I don't care if your project manager is PMI certified or not. You need to care about having a project manager with the skill to carry out the role as the Institute defines it. It's your change management strategy, and it's your reputation on the line.
10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management
By Bart Jutte
The benefits of risk management in projects are huge. You can gain a lot of money if you deal with uncertain project events in a proactive manner. Experience shows that 10 golden rules exist to implement risk management successful in your project.
Distinguishing Portfolio Management, Programme Management and Project Management
By John Reiling
There is often a misunderstanding, and hence a mixed and overlapping use of terms, when it comes to programme management. Sometimes a programme is called a project. Sometimes a project is called a programme. In addition, sometimes project portfolio and programme are mistakenly used interchangeably. This article is intended to clarify the main differences and to distinguish the unique aspects of project portfolios, programmes, and projects.
In Defence of the Project Management "Perfect World"
By Carl Pritchard, PMP, EVP
One of the most common challenge questions I get when teaching PMP® Exam Preparation courses is "Why doesn't PMI® make the test more real-world? Why do they insist on testing for a world that no-one really lives in?" Over the years, my response to that question has evolved, but the more the question comes along, the more I realise we don't insist on the perfect world often enough.
Leadership for Programme and Project Managers
By Melanie Franklin
Effective management is not just about being able to apply budgetary constraints or running projects to time. In fact, 70% of businesses fail to achieve their desired goals and the causes for failure are usually lack of strong leadership, lack of team skills, and lack of stakeholder engagement. These more subtle skills can have a huge effect on successful outcomes.
Reduce Project Risk in the Requirements Process
By John Reiling
Gathering and managing requirements are important challenges in project management. Projects succeed or fail due to poor requirements at any time throughout the project lifecycle. The continuously evolving baseline of requirements needs to be managed effectively. The project manager needs to assess and understand the uniqueness of the requirements gathering process for his/her individual project.
Use SMART Objectives to Focus Goals, Plans and Performance
By Susan Berry and Randy Thomas, Ph.D.
Objectives that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic/Relevant, and Time-bound) are likely to be achieved. Learn how to develop SMART objectives with the power to focus goals, work plans, and commitment to performance targets. Because meaningful and practical measures are built in, SMART objectives also enable feedback and learning that can keep you on track to success.
PMI's PDU Secrets
By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP
A project manager has to be many things. To name just a few, a PM has to be a great communicator, a leader, a visionary, and be able to both build and inspire the team. First and foremost, however, a project manager has to be proactive. We employ strategies to plan the future in order to proactively minimise risk on our projects so that we can deliver on time and on budget. Why then is it that when November comes around you can hear a collective groan rise from the worldwide community of PMPs as they ask, where they could quickly get 20, 30 or even 40 or more PDUs before the year is through?
PMBOK 4: This Time It's Iterative!
By Mike Griffiths
The current Project Management Body Of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide is labelled "Third Edition" and was published in 2004. Every 4 years the Project Management Institute (PMI) brings out a new version and the fourth edition has just been released to reviewers in exposure draft format. I was a contributor and reviewer for version 3 and will likely submit some feedback for version 4 too. One thing that will be of interest to agile project managers is the increased acceptance of iterative lifecycles.
Getting Work Done: The Human Side of Project Management
By Dhanu Kothari
Project management is defined as the art and science of getting work done with the active co-operation of individuals and organisations who are directly or indirectly involved with the project. This includes Senior Management, Project Sponsors(s), Customers, End-users, Stakeholders, Team Members, Sub-contractors, Vendors and Consultants. Given the reality of minimal authority and total responsibility for the outcome of the project, the Project Manager's biggest challenge consists of "Getting Work Done."
The Problem with IT Project Management
By Ronald Schmelzer
One of the most challenging aspects of Enterprise Architecture (EA), and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) in particular, is that rather than address a discrete problem or set of problems in the enterprise, it attempts to address a range of interconnected and perplexing issues that have long troubled IT. Specifically, SOA approaches to EA address long-term issues of integration in environments of continued heterogeneity, application development in the face of continuous change, governance, management, and quality in environments of continuous complexity, increasing reuse and reducing redundancy across multiple IT initiatives, and organisational and methodology approaches that favour iteration over monolithic, waterfall-style approaches to development.
Understanding Change in a Quality Culture
By John W. Wright III
In any improvement process, managing the influence of change and the anti-change culture that will continually try to raise its head will be one of the most ardent tasks. Learn to deal with this as effectively as you do the project management itself. There are many well-written books on the subject of change in every category of change that you could imagine.
The Hardest Word in the Project Management Vocabulary
By Carl Pritchard, PMP, EVP
For project managers "no" is often the toughest word in the English language to deploy. We often prefer the classic PM strategy of "Yes, but..." as the softer, kinder, gentler alternative. "No" sounds harsh. Uncooperative. It sounds reticent and recalcitrant. It sounds negative. And yet, for many of us, the time has come as professionals to set "yes, but..." aside and venture into the world of "no."
Can We Combine Agile and Waterfall Development Strategies?
By Gina Lijoi
While there are likely as many unique Project Management approaches as there are Project Managers, there are two well-know production cycle methodologies that have been the topic of much discussion in PM circles - agile and waterfall methodologies. As I evolve in my own area of expertise, I am constantly reinventing small aspects of what I consider best practice. Most recently, to address the incredibly complex requirements of a large client initiative, I challenged myself to come up with a "super" Project Management process that would not only improve the way in which we deliver, but what we deliver at the end of the engagement. I determined there was a way to combine the best features of waterfall development disciplines with agile principles for superior results.
The 3 P's of PPProject Management
By Laurence West
This is an article about Presentation, Planning and Processing; the three cornerstones of project management. Anyone who has ever tried to organise something important seems to either love it or loath it. I remember friends organising trips out for people's birthdays and just not being able to cope with having multiple people to deal with, the planning of train times or car pools and the often continual flood of questions, niggles and other bits and bobs that are important to the person, but overall not so key. Therefore I would like to break project management down into three categories and speak a little about each and what it means for our clients.
NASA Project Management Challenge 2008
One of the first major uses of project management as we know it today was to manage the United States space programme. It started with the inauguration speech in 1961 of John F. Kennedy when he said, "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth." In 1986 the Challenger space shuttle disaster focused attention on risk management, group dynamics and quality management. Today NASA continues to focus on project management best practice to deliver major aerospace projects costing many billions of dollars.
The PM Paradox: Why Projects Fail Despite Best Practices and Skilled PMs
By Emory Miller
I like to think of programme management as business lessons learned because it is the experiences and successful practices that help us understand how to manage effectively and efficiently. I also like to think of programme management as an open-source discipline, because we, as a community of practitioners, continue to contribute to its growth, success, relevancy, and acceptance.
8 Top Places for Project Managers to Network
By John Reiling, PMP
All professionals know it is important to network. It helps to keep up with the profession, to be aware of developments and new opportunities, and chances for career growth. It can also be very helpful to solve problems that other colleagues have already encountered. So in this era of social networking, where can the best project management networks be found?
Successful Projects Are Led Not Managed
By Great Project Management
More and more in today's environment Project Managers are being judged on how well they operate within, and adhere, to standard practices and disciplines. This is all very well, but let us stand back and think for a moment. If I were to challenge any one of you to think of someone you respect, who consistently delivers projects on time, who always gets called on when things get tough. I am sure that you could name that person without knowing how well they work within the practices and disciplines of your company.
Why Businesses Should Use MSP Programme Management
By Susan Woolon
MSP (Managing Successful Programmes) is a best-practice guide from the OGC (Office of Government Commerce, an independent Office of the Treasury). It has been developed using the collective expertise and practical experience of some of the leading practitioners in the field. Managing Successful Programmes is unique in its status as a flexible generic best practice framework, and although it has been founded on best practice, it is not prescriptive.
Why Project Managers Should Coach
By Darren Cockburn
Coaching is a highly effective management tool and yet, I have met only a small number of project managers who adopt a coaching style when supporting their staff. The unfortunate truth is that many project managers do not understand coaching and have received little or no formal training.
The Blending of Traditional and Agile Project Management
By Kathleen Hass
Traditional project management involves very disciplined and deliberate planning and control methods. With this approach, distinct project life cycle phases are easily recognisable. Tasks are completed one after another in an orderly sequence, requiring a significant part of the project to be planned up front. For example, in a construction project, the team needs to determine requirements, design and plan for the entire building, and not just incremental components, in order to understand the full scope of the effort.
Top 10 Qualities of an Excellent Manager
By Jan Gordon
An excellent manager taps into talents and resources in order to support and bring out the best in others. An outstanding manager evokes possibility in others.
Building the Project Firing Squad
By Patrick Gray
Regardless of where your IT organisation has progressed in the evolution from a utility like service to a executor of business strategy, the bread and butter of most IT organisations is the successful execution of projects: non-recurring, limited duration activities designed around completing a defined task. As organisations have grown savvier about project management, successful execution is on the rise, however choosing the right projects to deliver remains a challenge for many companies.
How to Deliver Project Status
By Rob Redmond
Status is project management communication, and any channel of communication available to you is a possible delivery method for status. There are two basic kinds of delivery method: presentation and verbal. When you give status in presentation format, you have a reference document that you are reviewing with a group of people. When you give status verbally, you are delivering it without much preparation and without referring to a common document.
How to Report Status on a Project
By Rob Redmond
Your boss has asked you to take the lead on a project in your company. Maybe you are a project manager, or maybe you are not. One thing is certain. Very few people know how to report status on a project, even when they are expert project managers. The basic problem? Most people do not understand the perspective of a manager who is being pressed for information about a big project. Here are some basic rules of reporting status that you can use to further your reputation as someone who knows how to keep management and the project team informed and drive a project to success.
Why PMO's Fail?
By Allen Eskelin, PMP
There is a way of doing things and a way of getting things done and they're not always the same. Most organisations of size have a Project Management Office (PMO) charged with defining processes and best practices (the way of doing things). These organisations typically sell the processes to a CIO to get executive-level support and then use that support as their stick to make sure the processes are followed. These people are often referred to as the PMO Cops by project managers.
Why Outsourcing Fails, Even with Good Project Management
By Steve Mezak
The programming press and IT journals are full of stories about the failure of software outsourcing. The statistics are sobering. Less than 50% of outsourcing meets financial objectives. The outsourcing of many business processes besides software development also has the same less-than-stellar results.
21 Project Management Success Tips
By Karl Wiegers, Ph.D
Managing software projects is difficult under the best circumstances. The project manager must balance competing stakeholder interests against the constraints of limited resources and time, ever-changing technologies, and unachievable demands from unreasonable people. Project management is people management, technology management, business management, risk management, and expectation management. It's a juggling act, with too many balls in the air at once.
A Procedural Worksheet on PRINCE2 Project Management
By Shaun Watling
PRINCE2, the abbreviation for Projects In Controlled Environments, is a process based method, derived from the initial PRINCE project management methodology. It is a recognised international standard, a registered trademark of OGC, deployed extensively by the UK government. PRINCE2 crucially assists with the optimal usage of resources and project risk management initiatives, thus securing for itself an eminent position in the overall relevance graph.
Project Management Starts with a Capital "C"
By Jayne Gnadt, PMP
Communication, Communication, Communication! In our world of project management today, it has become increasingly more important to turn our efforts toward more effective means of communication, especially since many of us are faced with more and more virtual teams operating around the globe. Start your projects on the right foot, with a "Capital C" and begin the communication process early and often!
Keys to Rescuing Ailing Projects
By Sharon Anderson, PMP and Adele Sommers, Ph.D.
When we examine what makes projects succeed or fail, we're actually looking at a variety of vital success measures that can keep our projects healthy, or offer a powerful remedy if they start to break down. As a form of prevention, using these measures from the very beginning will make our projects considerably more successful. They'll avert many potential snags stemming from mixed communication signals, ignored problems, and unrealistic expectations that can lead to project downfall.
The Simplified Project Management Process
By Kevin Archbold, PMP
One of the challenges of explaining project management to people who are unfamiliar with the approach, is that descriptions are often either so high-level as to be meaningless, or so detailed that they are overwhelming. Over the years, I have come to use a model as a framework for introducing and discussing project management tools and techniques. It can be used as the basis for a five-minute explanation of what is involved in project management, but also as an outline for more detailed discussions.
Six Time Management Tips for Project Managers
By Duncan Haughey, PMP
To be a successful project manager you must be able to manage your time well. The best project managers ensure they are productive for most of their time and avoid time-wasters at all costs. Here are some tips that can help you manage your time more effectively.
Project Management Models, Certifications and the Pyramids
By Joseph Phillips
All projects are really about change. Let's take my favorite project of all time: the pyramids of Egypt. Imagine a sweltering desert with miles of sand, snakes, and other scenes from an Indiana Jones film. Add a few million workers, some great plans, some scary mummies, and you've got the pyramids. All right, so my history is a little skewed, but I think you see my point. First it was nothing; then, after some planning and execution, there were the pyramids. What approach to project management do you think the pharaohs used? Does it matter?
Why and How to Add More Value to Six Sigma Project Charters
By Tony Jacowski
Six Sigma project charters are basically blueprints of the targeted Six Sigma quality improvement initiative. They are deemed important because it is only through them can the management hope to communicate the exact Six Sigma implementation roadmap to the implementation team.
The Top Five Project Management Traits to Master "the How"
By Joli Mosier
In project management, we tend to focus on the method. And there is no shortage of methods (Six Sigma, Scrum, Waterfall). The method is the what of project management and is often at the core of an effectively run project. But the method can only take your project so far.
Project Scheduling And Resource Levelling
By Jorge Dominguez
We all know that in the real world we, as project managers, are given the finish date of the project before we even have a chance to plan for it. This is a good enough reason why we need to get better at scheduling our projects and levelling our finite resources.
Let's Make Those Project Meetings More Effective
By Ron Rosenhead
I was trying to get hold of the project manager. Or rather he was trying to get hold of me. However, I had tried 3 times already so I sent him an email knowing it would sink to the bottom of the pile. I got to thinking that it wasn't just this project manager who always seemed to be in meetings. Several people I have been trying to get hold of always seem to be in back to back meetings. Project Agency has been collecting statistics for several years. Some 1,120 people have completed our questionnaire and one of the questions is quite revealing.
Critical Path Mapping
By Steven Bonacorsi
The activity network diagram is a method of displaying the timelines of all the various sub-tasks that are involved in any project. By doing this, the total task duration and the earliest and latest start and finish times for each task are also calculated and displayed. In addition to showing which sub-tasks are critical to on-time task completion, the activity network diagram can help determine where extra effort to speed a sub-task will have the greatest payoff to overall speed.
What is the Secret to Project Management?
By Peter Marci
As the director of the project management discipline for a leading Interactive Agency, I interview quite a few people. A standard question I ask during a typical first interview is "What do you feel is the secret to project management, in other words, what separates good project managers from great project managers?" It is a pretty open-ended question and there is no right answer, but it is a great question to gain greater insight into the depth of the candidate. The most common answer I get is "communication, making sure everyone knows what is going on." While this is not incorrect, I think there is a much deeper and truth-seeking answer beyond this stock response.
Resourcing Project Managers
By Gina Lijoi
Ironically, although resourcing production team members is a significant part of a project manager's role, very little focus is placed on resourcing the project managers themselves. Because of this, I've encountered many project managers that are overwhelmed, worn out, and in many ways, ineffective. Over time, I've developed some generic strategies to help directors allocate an appropriate amount of work to project managers. In this article, I'll discuss some simple ideas to help get started.
Get Maximum Benefits of Merging Top-down and Bottom-up Project Management
By Andrew Filev
Nowadays, the bottom-up approach to management is becoming more and more popular. More and more, organisations are abandoning the top-down management style. Among them are the New York Times, Tribune Co., Ernst & Young and many others. Even the world biggest corporations, such as Toyota and IBM, are trying to implement bottom-up management style elements in some of their departments. However, managers are still arguing over which approach is more beneficial for organisations. To understand the reason for the ongoing changes in management processes, we need to compare the two management styles.
Having a Robust Governance Process
By Ron Rosenhead
So, you are organised, have identified the stakeholders as well as project risks (and you are actively managing both), you have planned the project and you are all ready to deliver. But, have you developed a monitoring and control process for your project - an essential part of project management and work generally?
SMART Goals and Business Coaching
By Kris Koonar
Leaders of all industries know the importance of setting achievable and effective goals for themselves. These goals are termed SMART goals. Goals are one of the most underutilised yet important tools that businesses have. Once the main outline of your project has been set, your attention needs to be turned towards developing certain goals that can help make your project a success. The SMART goals checklist can be used to evaluate the set of goals to be used. This process can help the employees as well as the employers share a certain understanding of how the goals have been set and how they are to be achieved.
Project Management: Stakeholder Risk Management
By Tris Brown
Is it really true that on time, on budget, and fulfilling all requirements means project success? Whose requirements are we really trying to meet anyway? And who decides if the original due date can be changed when the scope grows? In this article we'll address the people swirling around your project, stakeholders. You'll find some useful tips and other resources for optimising stakeholder involvement in your project.
PRINCE2 and the Project Management Board
By Heidi Blackburn
Good project management is a fundamental element of the successful implementation of any project, and the PRINCE2 project management method provides an excellent framework for delivering a project. PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is process-based, providing tailoring and scalable changes towards effective management of projects, and the project plans are focused on delivering results.
Senior Managers Need to Play Their Project Role(s) More Effectively
By Ron Rosenhead
Running training events is often a dumping ground for people's frustrations. I guess we have all done it thinking this guru will help us solve all our problems. However, some of our problems are deeply ingrained and take a lot of shifting. One such problem is the role that senior managers play or should play in projects. The terminology does get in the way however, we believe that all projects need a sponsor, someone who gives executive support to the project manager and project.
Technology Vendor Contracting: Breaking the Mould
By Timothy Nuckles
Commercial buyers of information technology products and services are locked into a self-defeating pattern of behaviour when it comes to negotiating contract terms and conditions with technology vendors, and it is time to move on to a better approach. Better technology vendor negotiations produce better contracts for a technology project, and better contracts produce better project outcomes. So, break the mould and move on to a better way of negotiating contract terms and conditions for your next technology project.
Successful Innovation: How to Manage Product Misses to Maximise Hits
By Carl Cullotta
Most companies in the innovation game can proudly point to their winners, those new products/services that launched successfully and exceeded expectations for revenue/profit/market share. However, those same companies often express frustration or dissatisfaction with their overall return on innovation investment.
The Secrets to Earned Value Management Success
By Ruth Mullany
Earned Value (EV) is a management tool for tracking and communicating a project's status. Earned Value Management (EVM) will let you know the actual state of the project by comparing your current project performance against your plan. Knowing the project's performance will let you take actions needed to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. Like any tool, in order for EVM to be successful, it very important that it is used correctly.
If The Lord of the Rings Was a Project
By Diane Ellis
Let's assume for a moment that the great quest in The Lord of the Rings was a project. Now that's not as odd as it might sound. Just think of the criteria. They had a clear goal and purpose. They had a team of people with defined (if unspoken) roles. All of the team needed to work together to achieve the goal. There was a definite time constraint in terms of when the goal needed to be achieved.
How to Avoid Project Failure Through Project Planning and Effective Project Recovery
By Bruce Beer, PMP
There you are, project manager of a brand new project, you have done your project planning and have started implementation. Now you are thinking about what you can tell your PMI colleagues at the next chapter meeting, creating a wondrous spreadsheet to avoid project failure and revolutionise project control, and learning how to use a new whiz-bang software package you have just bought, when BAM - you are in trouble. A project wreck and you never saw it coming!
The Purpose of Project Management and Setting Objectives
By Brian Miller
Project Management has developed in order to plan, co-ordinate and control the complex and diverse activities of modern industrial and commercial projects. All projects share one common characteristic - the projection of ideas and activities into new endeavours.
Collective Intelligence Builds New Approach to Project Management
By Andrew Filev
As we all know, the project manager in organisations traditionally has the burden of compiling plans and information for the team's work. The information is then kept in disconnected files, no matter if it is a Microsoft Word file or a Microsoft Project file. The manager is struggling to bring the project plan to life as all the information on the project is concentrated only around a single person - himself.
The Project Management Problem
By David Allen
A vast majority of professionals think they have a problem these days, project management. Problem is, that's not the problem. Well, it is, but not the way they usually think it is. Let me be a little more vague. I am often asked by line managers and training people if I have a good project management seminar for their people. My first response is, "What exactly do you mean by project management?"
Why Is Six Sigma So Effective?
By Tony Jacowski
The scientific tools and techniques no doubt contribute a lot towards the success of Six Sigma improvement projects, but they just cannot be taken as the sole factors responsible for Six Sigma's effectiveness because they only compliment the inherent logic underlining Six Sigma and as such are no more than a means to an end.
Project Management: Time Estimates and Planning
By Liz Cassidy
Accurate time estimation is a skill essential for good project management. Often people underestimate the amount of time needed to implement projects. This is true particularly when the project manager is not familiar with the task to be carried out. This article covers the basics to think of when planning projects.
Are Project Management Practices Generic?
By Kailash Awati
Formalised project management frameworks such as those codified in PMBOK provide practitioners with a range of tools and techniques that can be applied in a variety of projects. However, such frameworks and methodologies typically do not offer advice on which tools and techniques are appropriate for particular situations or contexts. This begs the question: are project management practices generic?
Avoid the Same Old Mistakes by Focussing on Lessons Learned
By Duncan Haughey, PMP
It's said there are no new project management sins, just old ones repeated. It's also said that we don't learn the lessons from past projects and this must be true, otherwise why would we keep making the same old mistakes.
Earned Value Management Study: Is Your Organisation Ready for EVM?
By Andy Makar
The goal of this article is to encourage project managers to participate in an academic survey to help determine if an organisation is ready to apply earned value management to its projects. If you are interested in providing input into an assessment tool to help determine if an organisation is ready to apply earned value, please read on!
Project Leader, Manager, or Monitor?
By Kendall Miller
During years of software development projects it's striking how different project managers are. This article looks and the differences between project leaders, project managers and project monitors. Here's the question: What type of project manager do you need to have for the best outcome on a software development project?
How to Get Out of Project Overwhelm
By Adele Sommers
This article offers a simple, sanity-saving approach to handling projects that have not followed expectations, or have otherwise gone awry. It explains how to extricate one's team from "project overwhelm" by regrouping and swiftly charting a new course. It explores the pros and cons of attempting a last-minute, heroic manoeuvre versus proactively re-planning the tail end of the project.
Ten Sure Fire Ways to Fail as a Manager
By Terry Paulson
In an effort to be less than constructive as a manager, here are ten sure fire ways to alienate and demotivate your team on your change journey. Hit-or-miss approaches don't go far enough; this is your chance to use the best methods of corporate torture and humiliation developed by dictators, steamrollers and other "tough guy" bosses.
Minimising Risk in Outsourced Projects
By Mansi Aggarwal
Outsourcing is the process of contracting a third party to do work on the behalf of a client that has neither the skills or resources to perform in-house. It is usually more cost effective to contract out work than to hire someone in to complete the project in question.
The Next Generation Project Manager
By Dennis Sommer
Are you tired being an average project manager, working on average projects, being passed over for promotion, and getting an average performance review? You need to understand something right now. There are new challenges and expectations today that require every project manager to evolve to the next level. If you do not take action now, you will be left behind.
Real World Project Management: Communications
By Joseph Phillips
Communication is more than just talking. Communication is also listening. When it comes to project management, communication takes up 90% of a project manager's time. That's right, 90% of your time.
Project Management: Why Projects Fail
By Zern Liew
As soloists, our work is often project-based. Have you ever wondered why some projects go smoothly and others seem plagued with problems? Here are five reasons why projects can fail and how with good project management these problems can be avoided.
Optimising Six Sigma Project Selections
By Tony Jacowski
Six Sigma projects are carried out to improve business performance and obtain measurable financial results. Selecting a project is a tedious job for almost all Six Sigma companies. Even though the organisations can spot a wide range of project opportunities, they often find it tough to pack and size the opportunities to create noteworthy projects.
When Do I Turn on Project Management?
By Pierre Monacelli
The problem with project management and IT is that all too often, project management is an afterthought on a project. It is often perceived as "project control" or an administrative function that tracks issues and schedule dates based on best guesses. We are lured to "just get it done" and leap into development without adequate planning. With this approach, project management is seen as providing little or no value, which is understandable because it is inherently reactive when applied this way. Inevitably, projects will exceed prescribed time and budget parameters. To be effective, an organisation needs to invest in project management at the very beginning of the project life cycle.
3 Decision-Making Techniques to Suit Any Purpose, Project, or Need
By Adele Sommers
Remember the old saying: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail?" The quality of the decisions people make in group settings determines the long-term benefits of those decisions. Unfortunately, potent tools and techniques for making complex decisions and solving tricky problems don't seem to be widely understood.
By Joseph Phillips
How do we know what a project will cost? We really don't, until the project is complete. I sound more like a car mechanic than a project manager, but the truth is, and this may sting just a little, we can't know the final project cost until the project is complete because we can't accurately predict the future. What we can do is create an estimate.
Managing An SEO Project
By Joseph Phillips
All projects start with one common theme: a vision of where the project will end. Whether you're building a skyscraper, designing a piece of software, or creating a new website you've got to identify the scope that the project will fulfill. The second thing that all projects have in common is their desire to accomplish one of two business fundamentals: increase revenue or reduce costs. Let's talk about increasing revenue through one of the most prevalent channels to your organisation: your website.
The Elements of a Good Feasibility Study
By Tim Bryce
In its simplest form, a Feasibility Study represents a definition of a problem or opportunity to be studied, an analysis of the current mode of operation, a definition of requirements, an evaluation of alternatives, and an agreed upon course of action. As such, the activities for preparing a Feasibility Study are generic in nature and can be applied to any type of project, be it for systems and software development, making an acquisition, or any other project.
Project Management Basics
By Michele Webb
If you have ever had responsibility for managing a project, regardless of how little or how big, you will understand the many nuances and special considerations that have to be taken into account behind-the-scenes. Project management success stories rarely show the struggles, problems or weaknesses of the project or team to the public. One author, Herbert Lovelace, likened this to the kitchen, which "...tends to be cleaned up before it is shown to guests!"
Risk Management Options
By Paul Bower
Risk management is an ongoing process to identify potential problems that could arise when new projects occur within a business. There are various tasks that need to be completed so the overall goals of a project can be fulfilled.
The Importance of Working Together With Your Team
By Jonathan Farrington
The principle of working together with your team should underpin how you operate. Managing people doesn't just mean acting as overseer, to see that they get their work done satisfactorily. It means involving people throughout the team in a creative role, to ensure that together you are all able to succeed.
Project Management: What Type of Organisation is Best?
By John Reynolds
Consider a company that is about to embark upon a project for the first time. A competent project manager is available, but this firm has never had to handle a complex project before, and now has to set up the most suitable organisation. If asked to advise, the project manager might immediately be faced with the question that often causes much controversy, should the company take all the key people destined to work on the project and place them under his/her direct control. Or, at the other extreme would it be better to have a weak or balanced functional matrix?
17 "Must Ask" Questions for Planning Successful Projects
By Adele Sommers
Why do some projects proceed without a hitch, yet others flounder? One reason could be the type and quality of the questions people ask at the very start. This article suggests 17 insightful queries that can expose the uncertain aspects of your project, and thereby help you avoid expensive surprises later. You can thus achieve your project goals with much less guesswork and far fewer problems than you may have experienced in the past.
Managing Change Successfully: Six Layers of Resistance
By Samuel Okoro
Why is there resistance to change? Are people just naturally perverse, or are there concerns which if understood and correctly dealt with will create the buy-in required to turn resisters into supporters and generate the momentum needed to overcome the gravitational pull of the status quo?
10 Ways to Inspire Your Team
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
Inspire. Just the word itself causes us to pause and think. We may remember our own personal heroes like Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa or a teacher or mentor who brought out the best in us and showed us the power of one person.
Setting Measurable Project Objectives
By Dr. Keith Mathis
Examine ten projects at random, and you will see some of the worst written objectives. Project objectives are often hard to track, vague, and lacking in depth. In project objectives, people need details to help know where they are in the process, and data helps them make informed decisions. I like to recommend "DISCO" when forming objectives. "DISCO" can be spelled out to point us in the proper direction for creating project objectives and tracking their progress.
The Einstein Factor in Leading Science Based Projects
By Victoria Tucker
When asked if the people, practices and techniques required to lead science research projects are different from those in the general population, the answer is not just YES, but a resounding DUH! The differences are vast, in part because we believe there's an Einstein Factor at work. In other words, in science organisations, academic brilliance is astounding.
How Often Should You Review the Project Portfolio?
By Johanna Rothman
You've got a ton of projects. You can't do them all at once because you don't have the people to do them. You know better than to ask people to multi-task on more than one project, no one will get anything done. One tactic is to organise the projects into a portfolio and rank them by priority.
Estimating by Percentages
By Tim Bryce
Having been involved with the systems methodologies field for over 30 years I have been occasionally asked what percentage of time in a project should typically be devoted to a specific phase of work, for example a Phase 1 Feasibility Study, Phase 2 Systems Design, etc. Basically, the reason the person wants to know this is to use it as a means for estimating the remainder of the project. For example, if I were to say Phase 1 represents 10% of the overall project, they would simply multiply the amount of time spent in Phase 1 by ten. This is an unreliable approach for estimating, which is why I usually balk at giving out such figures.
Let Project Management Boost the Bottom-Line
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
The next time you hear the words "bottom-line" when you're sitting in the audience at a company meeting, don't roll your eyes. Instead, think about all the ways that you as a project manager can help to boost that bottom-line.
Managing The Project Time
By Joseph Phillips
Project managers know, or should know, the iron triangle of project management sometimes called the triple constraints of project management because all projects are constrained by these three elements: time, cost, and scope. My nemesis is the angle on the left, time.
Most IT Projects Fail. Will Yours?
By Kelly Waters
Studies on project failure are easy to find and make depressing reading. Gartner studies suggest that 75% of all US IT projects are considered to be failures by those responsible for initiating them. But what do they mean by failure?
Quality Projects Take Time and Money
By Joseph Phillips
In project management, as with most things in life, quality is planned in, not inspected in. Quality, and the expectations for acceptance, must be defined up front.
Developing a New Project Scorecard
By Sam Miller
For many firms implementing a new project is not an easy endeavour. This may come with a lot of risk, which is why it is always a good idea to use a new project scorecard. This way, managers have a more accurate idea of what needs to be achieved for a project to become a success.
The Evolution of Project Management - Part 2
By Sandro Azzopardi
As a discipline project management developed from different fields of application including construction, engineering, and defence. The 1950s marked the beginning of the modern project management era. Prior to the 1950s, projects were managed on an ad-hoc basis using mostly Gantt charts, or with informal techniques and tools. This article looks at four periods in the development of modern project management.
How Project Management Developed
By Carol Meyer
Could the Crusades have been launched and the soldiers armed and fed without effective project management? Could the Great Wall have been built with ingenious natural materials and a team of millions over a span of a thousand years without project management? It is possible to say that the concept of project management has been around since the beginning of history.
By Steven Bonacorsi
Pareto analysis is named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1897, he presented a formula that showed that income was distributed unevenly, with about 80% of the wealth in the hands of about 20% of the people.
Obstacles to Project Communication
By Kailash Awati
Communication is so important to project success that it has been referred to as the lifeblood of a project by more than one practitioner. Jack Vinson talks about the importance of communication across project interfaces - interfaces being boundaries between different groups within an extended project team. He views interfaces as constraints that limit project success. On reflection, I realised that many project communication issues I've encountered have, in fact, occurred at interfaces. In this post I explore the notion of an interface as an obstacle to project communication.
Managing Project Management
By Joseph Phillips
Oooh - project management. Everyone talks about project management but what is it? Isn't project management just organising your little work to get the big work done? Isn't project management really just a series of events to create some thing, by some point, way off in some hazy future? Not really.
Three Big Benefits Of Construction Project Management Software
By Sheldon Needle
Although many construction companies are still using spreadsheets and shoeboxes to manage their projects and track the volumes of details that go into a single job, the use of industry-specific project management software is becoming more prevalent. One reason for this is that more construction software providers are developing integrated project management modules to compete with the leading stand-alone project management systems.
Cause and Effect Diagrams
By Steven Bonacorsi
It is difficult if not impossible to solve complicated problems without considering many factors and the cause-and-effect relationships between those factors. Defining and displaying those relationships helps. The first such cause-and-effect diagram was used by Kaoru Ishikawa in 1943 to explain to a group of engineers at the Kawasaki Steel Works how various work factors could be sorted and related. In recognition of this, these diagrams sometimes are called Ishikawa diagrams. They are also called fishbone diagrams, because they look something like fish skeletons.
How to Become a Project Manager
By David Litten
If you are new to project management don't be bamboozled by all the jargon. Managing a project is just another branch of business management. There are well understood methodologies, tools, guidelines, and procedures to help you on your way to developing the important life-skill of project management. This article sets out the key skills needed to become a competent project manager.
Project Requirement Needs For Success: Important Considerations
By Samantha Lorry
A company with poor requirements practices is just asking for over-budget costs and regular failure, according to a new report by IAG Consulting. The report, entitled Business Analysis Benchmark, examined 110 enterprise technology projects at 100 companies to determine just how important project requirements really are.
Project Management: The 3 Major Project Types
By John Reynolds
Projects fall into one of three main types - industrial, manufacturing and management. This article discusses each type of project, their inherent difficulties and the best approach for tackling them.
Project Management Institute's PMP Qualification
By Michélle Booysen, PMP
Being the proud owner of my newly acquired PMP (Project Management Professional) title, I mentioned the qualification to an associate the other day and was met with an "oooooh, and...?." sort of look. I realised that until about a year ago, my reaction to the mention of PMP, as a professional title, was probably the same, simply because it had not been prominent in my profession. However, recently, and increasingly so, clients are beginning to require project managers to have formal project management qualifications of the calibre of PMP and PRINCE2. PMP is the certification for proficiency and competence in the discipline of Project Management, issued by the Project Management Institute based in the USA. PRINCE2 is the British counterpart.
Earned Value Management Explained
Umesh Dwivedi, PMP
Earned Value Management (EVM) helps project managers to measure project performance. It is a systematic project management process used to find variances in projects based on the comparison of worked performed and work planned. EVM is used on the cost and schedule control and can be very useful in project forecasting. The project baseline is an essential component of EVM and serves as a reference point for all EVM related activities. EVM provides quantitative data for project decision making.
Top Seven Questions for Starting Projects More Effectively
We are all project managers. Some of us manage projects like vacations or reunions, while others run implementations of new software systems, consolidation divisions of companies, launch new products, or build buildings. While the scale changes for different kinds of projects, and complexity changes as more people are affected and involved; at the core there are questions you can answer to help get any project off to a better start.
Project Management Goes Live With Virtual Team Collaboration
Web collaboration technologies enable project management teams to meet virtually with full audio-visual interaction, irrespective of their multiple locations. These solutions work by allowing one team member to securely share their desktop and its content in ad-hoc or scheduled meetings with their colleagues, and allow anyone to access and contribute to the information in real time.
Must Project Managers Be Technically Savvy?
Must project managers be technically savvy? This topic always seems to cause quite a stir. While some believe that all you need to manage a project is a PMP certification, others are convinced that you can't successfully manage a software development project unless you truly understand the intricacies of the product.
6 Steps to Successful Schedules
Creating a comprehensive schedule is one of the more difficult activities that project managers face. Schedule creation is often considered more art than science, and results often support this. What is often more frustrating is that team members often find themselves on one team with a project manager that creates and manages schedules a particular way and on another team with a project manager with a different approach.
Lessons Learned: Why Don't we Learn From Them?
Derry Simmel, PMP, MBA, FLMI
In looking at lessons learned, many times we find things like - should have had a better schedule, or better budgeting, or more communications, spent more time on requirements, etc. All of these things relate to how we do the work, not what we work on. Talking about how things get done or working on how things get done does not, in and of itself, get anything done. This is one of the reasons so many people hate planning - planning is not doing and we all like doing.
The IT Worker Shortage: Practical Considerations for Tech Buyers
The shortage of skilled IT workers is not like global warming. We are certain the worker shortage is real, and we are definitely feeling its effects now. Heavy users of technology tend to focus on how the worker shortage is affecting them most directly; that is, their present inability to fill open technical positions. Perhaps less obvious is the impact the IT worker shortage has on organisations' use of outside vendors and consultants for their projects. Vendors and consultants are also finding it difficult to hire the talent they need, which is limiting their engagement capacity and growth opportunities.
Managing Project Scope
Ok, you're about to kick-off a project you're managing. The scope and budget are set, the team knows what they're delivering, and everyone is ready to begin. You're confident that hours have been allocated appropriately, but you also know how easy it is for scope to slip away from you - you need to keep a good handle on this project to ensure the team doesn't squander their hours and push the project over budget. In this article, I'll review some solid tactics you can employ to progressively manage your project budget and maintain total visibility from beginning to end.
Real World Project Management: Procurement Management
Projects typically need stuff: servers, software, subject matter experts, pizza, etc. And to buy all this stuff, you need to go through procurement processes. That's just a fancy way of saying you need to follow some rules and procedures within your organisation to get the things you need to complete your project.
A Project Management Primer: Basic Principles - Scope Triangle
The project management Scope Triangle or Quality Triangle shows the trade-offs inherent in any project. The triangle illustrates the relationship between three primary forces in a project. Time is the available time to deliver the project, cost represents the amount of money or resources available and quality represents the fit-to-purpose that the project must achieve to be a success.
5 Essentials To Project Team Success
To maximise the contribution of project teams, a number of essentials need to be recognised. The good news is that the essentials to team success aren't expensive, don't require the expenditure of large amounts of capital or expense money, and don't require new bricks and mortar. The further news and biggest challenge is that the only change needed to be made to implement the essentials to project team success is behaviour.
Project Overspend? Don't Worry About It
Any project manager will tell you that the triple constraint is the most important part of managing any kind of project. Namely: scope, time and budget. This week, I have been mulling over the third constraint, budget. Why is it that so many large corporations, take their eye off the budget? For many large companies, over spending is not welcome but it is not a serious misdemeanour either, especially if the over-spend has occurred in-house.
Your Risk Management Process: A Practical and Effective Approach
Vicki Wrona, PMP
A solid risk management process can help to make a project run smoothly. By identifying and addressing a list of project risks as part of a larger project management system, many surprises and roadblocks can be eliminated. Learn more about the definition of a risk as well as the steps that should be a part of your business's risk management process and how you can incorporate such a process into all projects going forward.
Five Steps to a Winning Project Team
Alison B. Flynn & Timothy J. Mangione
As healthcare executives work to increase efficiency and decrease costs in a dynamic healthcare environment, they often undertake projects such as technology implementation, operational and process improvements and facility planning. These projects typically require the formation of collaborative teams comprising hospital leadership and staff as well as project managers and support staff from vendors and outside consulting firms. Executives must be prepared to establish efficient project teams that focus on communication and collaboration to achieve success.
Mind, Meditation and the Project Manager
Umesh Dwivedi, PMP
Project manager and meditation seem to be two opposite sides of the world. The link between these two becomes quite noticeable when work stress breaks something; either a manager a project or sometimes both. This article first discusses areas of work stress, its affect, and finally, steps to prevent it. Though in the article a project manager is used as an example, work stress can affect any living individual because every person is prone to it without exception.
PRINCE2 for a Successful Project
PRINCE2 is used to manage projects throughout the business world; but what is a project and what constitutes a successful project? This article defines a project, look at the characteristics of an unsuccessful and a successful project, and discuss briefly how PRINCE2 can benefit a business.
12 Tips for Accurate Project Estimating
Projects typically involve many dynamic aspects, yet they're often constrained by finite conditions. These contradictory forces make it very difficult to determine with pinpoint accuracy the time and effort required. By using a set of proactive estimating techniques to scope, plan, and constrain your project conditions, you can dramatically improve your estimating practices, reduce and mitigate risks, and increase your project success rate.
Top 10 Benefits to Earning a Certification
John Reiling, PMP
Is it worth it for you to put in all of the work? Consider these 10 benefits of earning a certification, and if you see the benefits for your situation, go for it!
Integrating Project Management Into a Six Sigma System
For achieving organisational objectives, more and more businesses are now implementing quality improvement methodologies such as Total Quality Management, Total Quality Control and Six Sigma across all functional departments inside their organisations.
Good Project Managers are Hard to Find!
This week, I have had a number of clients ask me if I have project managers available to manage urgent projects. Companies want to expand and move forward but the lack of project managers (PM's) is holding them back.
Making Change Happen
Managing change requires a leadership team with project management, communication and analytical skills with a high degree of results orientation. The latter is important as when a journey of change is embarked upon, the environment in which the change is being implemented immediately changes. A changing environment often calls for changed tactics to achieve the same result.
Five Ways to Turn Small Projects into Professional Success
Yes, there have always been projects. But never before has it been so important for every person to be able to lead, manage or participate in projects of all sizes. Here are five things you can do today to excel with small team or personal projects.
PRINCE2 Project Management Explained!
PRINCE2 project management methodology is a process-driven project management method, which contrasts with reactive/adaptive methods, developed by Office of Government Commerce (OGC). PRINCE2 defines 45 separate sub-processes and organises these into eight processes.
Project Recovery Efforts: The Struggling Project
Project recovery is the effort and activities related to addressing troubled projects. In other words, the activities that lead you to recognise that the project is troubled, then bring you to a decision point on whether or not to save that project, then those activities you might undertake to drive that project to completion.
Use Case Diagrams: A PM's View
Lately I attended a class on managing requirements with Use Cases. It was aimed at training business analysts and programmers to use Unified Modeling Language (UML) to understand and communicate business requirements. As a project manager I found it both enlightening and encouraging.
The Project Manager's New Year Wish List
With the New Year barely three weeks old, I thought it would be a good time to look at the top 5 items project managers should have on their wish list for 2008.
Nine Ways to Contribute to Project Team Success
The world of work has changed. It used to be that most of us worked as a part of a process, whether on an assembly line, managing interactions with customers, or any one of a thousand other processes. Processes are ongoing, repeatable and never have an ending. If the nature of our work has changed, it is important to think about some of the skills that will help us succeed in this different world.
Legitimising the Project Manager Role
This article is dedicated to a better understanding of what a project manager is and what a project manager does. Just as important, we will also be talking about what a project manager isn't.
Technology Project Planning: Too Much of a Good Thing
When it comes to any technology project, you cannot plan enough, or so we have been led to believe. The experts' advice over the years to plan more and better is what most of us needed to hear, but it may be time to reconsider our conditioned response to project planning. You truly can have too much of a good thing.
Push-Me Pull-You Projects
You have a concept, a plan and a team, and now you're about to start your project. But hold on a second: are your objectives coherent, or are you trying to change an organisation in two completely different ways. Are you about to start a Push-Me Pull-You Project?
Reducing Cycle Time for Six Sigma Projects
Six Sigma has certainly helped organisations to improve efficiency and quality, but just like any other quality-improvement concept, it is not completely free from limiting factors. For example, the biggest concern with Six Sigma is long project cycle times, which can reduce the overall value of benefits derived from the project or even completely nullify the derived benefits.
Building Your Project Team
Suppose that you as a manager have been asked to form a team for the life of a particular project. How should you set about choosing your people and forming them into a well functioning group?
Project Management Requires a Road Map
The principles of project management have been with us for a long time. There has also been a number of project management software packages introduced over the years, beginning with mainframe based commercial packages introduced back in the early 1970's. Some of it has been quite good, others are based on sheer quackery. Some people naively buy such packages in the hopes they will be some sort of panacea to cure all project woes; that projects will start to come in on time and on budget simply because a certain tool was purchased. Inevitably, they are puzzled when projects still go awry even with the latest software.
An 8 Point Plan for Passing the PMP or CAPM Exam
Any good project manager knows the importance of having a good plan. So, if you are preparing for the PMP or CAPM exam, wouldn't it be a great idea to build a plan? As in life, many procrastinate, can't find the time, and myriad other excuses, and do not get where they want to go - to pass the exam. Be a planner, and practice good project management in the process.
Controlling Project Costs Through Interactive Planning
Mark A. Borodynko
I have observed that successful project leaders have made a paradigm shift in their thinking as compared to the more traditional school of thought I call "thinking in a silo." The silo thinking process waits and holds off the construction management team until the detailed design documents are about to start or, even worse, when the detailed design documents are completed. This is too late in the project's life cycle. At this stage, there is a preliminary estimate and schedule developed.
Interest In Project Management Is On The Rise
Over the past ten years, the US-based Project Management Institute has grown from around 25,000 members to almost 250,000. This ten-fold increase represents a marked departure from the steady but slow growth of the organisation since its creation in 1969 and is a significant indication of an increased interest in project management.
DMAIC And Project Planning
Although it is accepted that extraordinary levels of quality improvement are possible only by a radical change in management philosophy, leading to change in organisational culture, the fact remains that the exercise of undertaking process improvement projects cannot be overlooked for actual change to occur. Projects are the bridge between two parts, comprising of planning and doing. Although apparently similar, project and planning are different in scope.
Implementing PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology
PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is an effective process-based method for project management. This article will briefly discuss PRINCE2 and how to ensure the methodology is implemented into the workplace.
Managing Multiple Projects: Avoiding Project Overload
What is the maximum number of projects a project manager should run concurrently before he/she is overloaded? In a recent edition of PM Network magazine, project managers are bemoaning the number of projects they're being asked to manage, with the average number of concurrent projects at eight. This seems high by anybody's standards, especially as many are large and high profile initiatives.
Successful Innovation Means Managing the Losers
Most companies in the innovation game can proudly point to their winners, those new products/services that launched successfully and exceeded expectations for revenue/profit/market share. However, those same companies often express frustration/dissatisfaction with their overall return on innovation investment. Frank Lynn & Associates has worked with many companies that are considered innovators in their industries. This article shares some lessons learned from the firm's experience with those leaders.
The Role of Project Managers
From a textbook perspective, the role of a project manager is quite easy to describe. A project manager is one, who looks into the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to describe, organise, oversee and control the various project processes. Having said that, the roles and responsibilities of a project manager differ from company to company. It is important to understand what role a particular project manager will play in a certain company or organisation.
Project Managers, Trackers and Hybrids
Scott Berkun has some very interesting insights about the distinction between project managers, in the traditional sense and definition of the term, and project trackers, who may have the title of project manager, but essentially only gather actuals and create reports for sponsors and management without actually leading project teams during execution. Scott also provides a handy set of questions that can help one determine exactly what role a project manager is playing on projects.
Understanding MSP Programme Management
For any organisation or individual that needs to manage and control related projects (portfolio of projects), Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) programme management is a management tool for bringing together people, activities and information to achieve the end goal.
Step-by-Step Beginners Guide to Project Management
Projects must; actively involve all the group members, have excellent communication and access to project information, have a shared desired outcome, have specific dates for completion of tasks, and have all the required tools (when needed) in order to finish. If there is no enthusiasm in the group, your project is dead or doomed to be incredibly dull and tedious.
The 3 Different Types of Project Management Offices
There are 3 basic types of Project Management Office (PMO) organisations, varying in the degree of control and influence they have on projects within the organisation. You will need to determine which type you need to establish in order to have an effective project office.
Why Over 90 Percent of All Projects Finish Late
Several tools exist for managing projects, and have been available for decades. Yet most projects fail and over 90 percent of them are delivered late. This article tells you why.
7 Steps to Project Success
The successful completion of a big project should bring big benefits for your company - otherwise, why bother? Here is a seven step procedure to manage projects from inception to success. It guarantees the best chance of achieving maximum project benefits. This checklist should also be useful to senior company executives, functional chiefs and project managers alike.
The Difference Between Really Effective Project Managers and Those Who Muddle Through
Project management is what project managers do, not what project management software or a methodology does. No software exists that will deliver a project on time and on budget all by itself. No matter how "good" the software or methodology, it is only as good as the people using it.
How to Initiate a Six Sigma Project
Although one cannot have a project-specific vision right from the very beginning of a Six Sigma initiative, you can develop a comprehensive viewpoint. An all-encompassing viewpoint definitely helps to reach out beyond the scope of the project.
How To Get Your Project Approved
What do you do when you have a great idea? You know how to save your company a ton of money or you've thought of a way to really improve a product. The problem is that you know that you have a great idea, but no-one else does. And you can't convert this idea into reality by yourself. You need resources. You need money. You feel that you need permission. What do you do?
Rescuing a Small Project
Project Management. Recently I was asked to jump in and rescue a small infrastructure project that was headed for disaster. What did I do?
How to Keep a Design Project Moving
It happens all too frequently. Everyone read the Creative Brief and gave their sign-off. The design team was selected because they had the most experience in your industry. The project schedule had plenty of padding built into it. But your web or graphic design project is nowhere close to final and you're a month past the deadline. How does this happen? Following are seven common causes for a design project to get held up, and suggestions to help you meet your deadline.
Project Risk Management: It's Either Contingency Planning Now or Emergency Relief Later
Proper project risk management entails more than simply identification and analysis at the beginning of a project. Risk management must be integrated into the project plan, consistently applied, and clearly communicated throughout the life cycle of the project.
Deck the Halls without Climbing the Walls
Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
If you're like many people, the holidays tend to bring much more than "Fa la la la la." There's more to do in a short period of time - both at work and at home, and as your to-do list grows, so does your stress level. There's good news! If you think about your skills as a project manager, you actually have a secret stress weapon in your own personal productivity holster. Project management has the power to transform chaos into calm. Here are 10 ways to make the holiday season more joyful and less stressful.
The Risky Business of Project Management
MA&A Group, Inc.
Undertaking any project, whether in-house or in partnership with a professional services firm, entails risk. Project risk is defined as any area of concern that could prevent a project from achieving all of its benefits. Project risk requires careful management and involves identification, assessment, and mitigation.
Where is Project Management Going?
Karl Fischer, PMP
To find the answer, we also need to ask a different question, "Where is business going?" The environment in which businesses operate dictates the way in which projects are executed. As project managers, we need to focus on developing business practices that make a real and lasting difference in company performance. Understanding the issues that make up the social, cultural, and informational environment in which the company operates is essential to advancing project management practice.
PRINCE2 Training Courses for Structured Project Management
If you are new to project management, or want to improve your project management skills, PRINCE2 training courses is for you. PRINCE2 is a project management method that covers the organisation and management of projects. This article discusses the history of PRINCE2, what is involved in PRINCE2 training courses, and how it will benefit both you and your company.
Forecasting Support Costs
Did you know that maintenance accounts for 50% to 80% of the overall product cost? Well, it does! And while most project managers are fairly good at sizing new product features, many are terrible at estimating the effort required to support a product once it becomes generally available. As a result, maintenance projects are inadequately staffed, companies can't respond to customer requests in a timely manner, and products never reach payback.
Establishing Your Project Management Authority
It's been a tough climb to your project management position. How do you establish your authority and inspire respect? What must be done to influence project results and growth and make your stay long and productive?
PRINCE2 Training Myths & Misconceptions
As more and more people undertake PRINCE2 training so the myths and misconceptions around it seem to grow. This article looks at five aspects of PRINCE2 to give you the clear, concise information you need if you're considering investing in this valuable training.
Project Management Revolution or Evolution
As project portfolio management continues to gain momentum in all sectors of the economy, one question that continues to plague my thoughts is whether PPM represents a significant departure from traditional management techniques, or does it reflect an evolutionary step, a natural addition to traditional project management techniques?
Stop Scope Creep Running Away With Your Project
Scope creep is one of the most common reasons projects run over budget and deliver late. Although changes to scope during a project are often done with the best of intentions, scope creep is considered a negative occurrence to be avoided. Defining the boundaries of a project is difficult, but without a clear definition you're heading for problems.
Defining Six Sigma Projects
Six Sigma projects can be defined as the process through which companies are able to reduce defects and improve the quality of business processes. However, the success of any Six Sigma project depends on a number of factors such as clearly defined objectives, management support and approval, and proper training of Six Sigma teams associated with the project.
Tips for Project Management Success
Bringing projects in on time and on budget is always a challenge. With the competing demands for labour and capital, projects have many internal and external forces that can contribute to a derailment. It takes a strong sense of direction, efficiency and leadership to keep the project on track. The following guidelines are some helpful tips that every project manager can use at one time or another.
How to Really Fix a Failing Project
Your project is in trouble. You know it. Your team knows it. But somehow you have been able to keep it from your management. You need a quick fix. But there aren't any. What can be done to get back on track? Since yesterday's ideas didn't help, here are some suggestions that might point you in the right direction.
Careers in Project Management: Learn to Get the Job Done
A career in project management requires people skills, and the competence to handle projects efficiently. Many large corporations such as banks and insurance companies have started hiring project managers in order to accomplish their work more effectively. You could have a bright career in project management if you have the ability to initiate work on your own, or delegate it to others.
A Million Wrong Answers
In project management, we strive to find the best approach, the right plan and the right budget. But we are not in a position to make a choice between the "right" way and the "wrong" way. There is an optimal approach, and a million alternatives that are less optimal. Being pessimistic, for each right answer there are a million wrong answers.
Creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
The successful implementation of any Six Sigma project depends on the ability of Six Sigma professionals such as black belts to break down a large project into smaller manageable sub-projects. This breaking down of mammoth projects into several smaller projects is technically referred to as work-breakdown structure (WBS).
Get it Right From the Start - A Roadmap for Project Success
With an increasing focus on the quality of project management within both public and private sector organisations, and an increasingly experienced and qualified pool of project managers to choose from, why do a significant proportion of technology based projects continue to fail?
Persuasion and Perception
Every year, between forty and seventy percent of all corporations and public sector bodies attempt to make strategic change. Overwhelmingly, formal projects are the preferred structure used to organise such effort, regardless of whether the underlying goals are defined in terms of business process re-engineering (BPR), technology upgrades, mergers and acquisitions, due diligence or similar concepts.
Managing Scope Creep: Don't Gold Plate My Project!
When the scope, or extent, of a project is improperly or insufficiently defined, confusion, delays, and/or cost overruns - scope creep - typically result. Preventing scope creep and managing scope creep is, therefore, built into successful project management.
Reasons Why Projects Fail
In a perfect world every project would be "on time and within budget." But reality (especially the proven statistics) tells a very different story. It's not uncommon for projects to fail. Even if the budget and schedule are met, one must ask "did the project deliver the results and quality we expected?" True project success must be evaluated on all three components. Otherwise, a project could be considered a "failure."
Growing your Small Business with Project Management
Michelle LaBrosse PMP
If you think project management is only for the big guys, think again. Project management is a powerful business tool for businesses of any size. And as any small business person will tell you, effectiveness and efficiency is never about size. It's about working smart.
The Waterfalls And Rapids Of IT Projects - Can Project Managers Survive Them?
There are a number of problems with both traditional and RAD methods of controlling custom and or complex IT projects. Many projects would be improved if expert help and more time were spent restructuring the project at the start to help the IT supplier clarify the design choices and the IT client clarify the business requirements. Whilst this does involve an explicit acceptance that money will be spent "investigating" and "researching;" this is actually nothing more than bringing present good practice out into the open.
Right-Brain Project Management
Many people are frustrated by the mismatch between project management theory and its application on real-life projects. This is due largely to trying to employ approaches designed for predictable projects on today's stretch projects and seeing them come up short.
Keep Your Project From Creeping Away
Dr. Keith Mathis
Delays and changes are a part of every project we do. Do we like them? Of course not. Do we have to learn to deal with them? Absolutely. Setting deadlines and scheduling are great ways to keep your project on track.
Why Are My Projects Struggling? Six Basics You Must Never Forget
Suresh Malladi, PMP
Lately, I've noticed that my projects are getting more complicated and status review meetings are focusing mostly on issues and complaints. In fact, all projects on the dashboard are struggling, which made me ask myself, "What is going wrong in an otherwise well-oiled project management machine?" After reviewing the projects and reflecting on our project management practices of late, I gained some valuable insight into what has changed; we lost focus on six basic, yet critical, practices that have made us successful in the past. This article provides an overview of the six basics that you should go back and focus on whenever you find your projects going off the track.
A Word (Or Two) On Quality
In the world of interactive project management the promise of quality has become cliché. Quality is sometimes seen as an incidental to each client delivery, as opposed to an independent, critical phase of the delivery. Because quality control is commonly compressed at the tail end of a project, the overall commitment to the calibre of work produced is inherently compromised. There is, however, one person that can change this negative trend - the project manager.
Choosing the Best Team for Your Project
Dr. Keith Mathis
Human Resource Management is needed everywhere. At home, at the office, and especially when working on a project with a group of people. Using human resources during a project requires getting the most effective use of the people involved with the project. This includes everyone associated with the project: sponsors, customers, partners, and individual contributors. There are three major aspects of project human resource management: organisational planning, staff acquisition, and team development.
How to Succeed When Projects are Failing
The fear of failure ranks with public speaking as one of our biggest fears. The causes of failure are widespread and usually specific to the project at hand, but there are some common threads that run through failing projects.
Flexible Project Management
In a study by TBC (Tylee-Birdsall & Co) it was determined using the value mapping procedure that most technical design projects could theoretically be completed in half the time if they were managed perfectly and there was no rework required. If we therefore assume that most projects are 50% efficient we can easily bring this up to 80% or even higher if methods to reduce rework and delays were put in place.
Effective Management of E-Commerce Projects
Although you may be tempted to manage the e-commerce project yourself and to use the consulting firm's developers as extensions of your own staff, try to resist the urge. Your consultant's estimates and timelines are only valid if they are allowed to manage the Internet store project to your specifications. They should provide a project manager, who will likely be your main point of contact, to be responsible for managing resources and timelines on the project. Having someone on the consultant's team also may help to keep the scope of the project under control.
The Art of Project Scheduling
Why the "art" of project scheduling? If it were a science then every project would be delivered on time! This sadly does not seem to be the case. In fact, overruns have become so common that people have lost faith in project deadlines and view them with a great deal of cynicism. In truth, the art of scheduling is based on experience and the more experience you have, the more accurate your schedule will be. However, you can still produce an accurate schedule by following some simple rules.
Essential Documents to Manage Your Projects
Sam Elbeik PhD
If you want your project to succeed, you need to spend a little time managing it. The trouble is, most people see project management as a big overhead. What is the number one thing you need to do to successfully manage your project that doesn't take up much time?
Work Breakdown Structure: Purpose, Process and Pitfalls
Micah Mathis, PMP
In this article we look at what many project managers and project management professionals refer to as the "foundation" of the project, or at least the foundation of project planning. The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Creating a quality WBS will require a substantial amount of energy, time, and people, but in the end is not rocket science. Let's take a look at the purpose, process, and pitfalls of creating a work breakdown structure.
Six Ways to Give Proper Project Leadership
Dr. Keith Mathis
Many things influence project management today. When we look at projects today compared to fifteen or twenty years ago, we notice a big change. In the old traditional setting, the boss might not even ask for any input, but today team involvement is critical. In a team setting, people are encouraged to give ideas and make decisions. This change governs how projects today are run.
Project Management As it Ought to Be
Most of us are beyond the point where we believe that successful project management can be accomplished by following a formula or merely using the right system. It's not that the tools are unimportant, or that the systems don't work, because they do. However, the systems and the software only make the job easier; they aren't the elements of success.
7 Habits of Brilliant Project Managers
Project management is a tough role. You often find yourself being pulled between keeping users, subordinates, team members and senior people happy. Given these demands, what do the best project managers do that makes them stand out from the crowd?
Getting Your Project In Sight
Dr. Keith Mathis
Have you ever had a project that took longer than was expected, cost more, or ended up totally different than the original plan? You're not alone. Most projects sway from the initial idea, but they shouldn't and don't have to. By keeping the proper scope of your project, you will be able to finish on time, on budget, and with fewer headaches.
Minimise Your Project Management Documentation
Project management is a necessary service to be provided for all but the smallest project. What is the service that is being provided though? Is it a customer services role or an exercise in paper production?
Five Goals of Every Project
Dr. Keith Mathis
Project goals keep the focus on what is most important. However, on some teams these primary goals are lost in their meeting's activities. Make sure each meeting is structured so as to move the project forward. Even if the progress is only inches rather than by huge leaps, the team must be pushing the project forward as quickly, safely, and reasonably as possible.
Project Management Training
Project management is a very specialised and often complex task, and requires more training than the average programmer or executive might expect in very specific organisational tasks. To meet this demand, professional groups such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) were organised to set standards for the training of project managers.
Project Leader or Project Manager, Which One Are You?
With the increased attention given to "leadership" in today's business community, one could argue for the simple substitution of the expression project management with project leadership. Rightly so, since in some literature, the role of leader or manager is used interchangeably. Yukl (2006) uses the terms leader, manager and boss interchangeably to indicate people who are in positions in which they are expected to perform the role of leadership. Leadership in this context is used loosely to cover management as well. In order to answer this question adequately, we look at some definitions of leadership and management.
6 Key Tips For Running Effective Project Meetings
As a manager or leader, chances are that you will be given responsibility for a project at some time in your career. It could be a new computer system implementation, building a new facility, introducing a new piece of equipment or a new product or service. How can you excel in this area?
How to Plan and Schedule More Complex Projects
Gantt charts are useful tools for analysing, planning and controlling projects. When a complex or multi-task project is under way, Gantt charts assist in monitoring whether the project is on schedule, or not. If not, the Gantt chart allows you to easily identify what actions need to be taken in order to put the project back onto schedule.
The Top Five Software Project Risks
I recently posted an entry on a risk assessment tool you can download and use. Risk management (or more precisely risk avoidance) is a critical topic, but one that is often dull to read about and therefore neglected. One of the few useful and entertaining books on the subject is "Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects" by Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister, authors of the ever popular "Peopleware". This post provides a useful summary of their top 5 software project risks.
People, Process, and Predicting Project Success
Great people, people with sufficient functional skills and domain expertise can trump process, good or bad. Good process, process appropriate for the context, will help those people. But great people can overcome bad process to deliver a good product.
Avoiding the "Dark Twisty Turn-filled Tunnel Syndrome"
Bob McGannon, PMP
Many a well conceived project ends up in the scrap heap because of inadequate expectation setting, or sponsors and key stakeholders that become disinterested or impatient with projects that don't produce deliverables quickly enough. These projects, after creating an initial buzz, appear to enter "a dark twisty tunnel" where the light from the tunnel entrance is no longer seen, the tunnel exit is nowhere in sight, and inadequate milestones exist to indicate forward progress. Avoiding this trap is no trivial matter, as it is more than just defining milestones for your project. Intense planning, extra care with estimating, and segmenting your product solutions into meaningful phases are critical to avoiding this "dreaded tunnel." Here are our recommendations for keeping your project in "the light of day;" avoiding cancellation or a drop in priority due to the "dark twisty turn-filled tunnel syndrome."
Virtual Teaming Soft Skills Relevant to all Projects
One of the most critical aspects of project management leadership is the effective use of communication to facilitate the team process. Effective communication is one of the key enablers of building cohesive teams and is critical to the successful management of key stakeholders. The probability of communication breakdown is intensified in a virtual environment. Since virtual teams are fast becoming the rule rather than the exception, we will all be required to use these skills at some point in our project leadership careers.
Improve Project Success with Better Scope Management
Project scope management is defined as the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully. If the scope is not managed correctly it may lead to an unsuccessful project. This article deals with problems with scope and tools and techniques useful in capturing the project scope.
5 Tips for Successful Projects
On a regular basis we are constantly reminded that an overwhelming majority of projects are completed over budget, past the desired deadline and outside the original scope. Best practice project management reminds us that if we successfully initiate, plan, execute and close out our projects - our metrics will illustrate greater results. However, there's more to project management than just a simple methodology. With this in mind, here are five simple tips for completing this challenging process and improving your project outcomes.
Ten New Rules for Project Managers
These ten ideas will help improve your projects. Are these ten rules the top ten? You decide. But don't take too long. Share these rules with your team. Your team members are sure to help you carry them out.
Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model
The Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3) is a reference guide for structured best practice. It breaks down the broad disciplines of portfolio, programme and project management into a hierarchy of Key Process Areas (KPAs). The hierarchical approach enables organisations to assess their current capability and then plot a roadmap for improvement prioritised by those KPAs which will make the biggest impact on performance. Most articles on portfolio, programme and project management maturity models focus on the 'accreditation' aspects of the model. This article focuses on how to use the model as a framework for process improvement by applying change management techniques from Six Sigma.
Managing Virtual Project Teams
These are interesting times for managing systems development projects. In the old days (as late as the 1980's), whenever a development project was initiated, it was necessary to form a project team at a centralised geographical location in order to expedite communications between project members. But now we live in an age of electronic communications that provides greater flexibility in terms of allowing workers to work just about anywhere.
Pareto Analysis Step by Step
The Pareto Principle is the idea that by doing 20% of the work you can generate 80% of the benefit of doing the whole job. Or in terms of quality improvement, a large majority of problems are produced by a few key causes. Pareto Analysis enables you to see what 20% of cases are causing 80% of the problems and where efforts should be focussed to achieve the greatest improvement.
Project Management Confidence
If you have been doing project management for a while, your confidence has probably gotten an occasional shaking. And the resulting lack of confidence hurts you, but it also hurts your team members who need you to be confident and not self-conscious. You're their leader after all, and they want you to have a strong plan, vision, self-esteem and the confidence to lead.
Do You Want to Discover the Truth About Your Projects?
The different types of project review each have their own characteristics and benefits. For any review however it is important to decide what the overall purpose is, and who should gain what from the output. This step is missed out in many cases and the design of the review is not given sufficient attention. A review should consider both the project management standards and the subject matter of the project. Mistakes in either or both of these can lead to disaster, and it can take considerable skill and knowledge to uncover the truth.
We've all heard how outsourcing and augmenting staff with experts is an avenue for meeting business needs where the technology, skills, knowledge, staff or time is not internally available. In theory outsourcing provides the ability to develop products and services that are not easily achieved through the organisation's existing structure, by providing operational and strategic benefit. On the surface the idea seems viable; however, depending on the type of solution and service being outsourced, these relationships may actually increase the demands on the organisation that is outsourcing its work. This article highlights six key questions you should answer before outsourcing, and eight things you should keep in mind while writing the contract.
Project Management Methodology Explained
Projects are usually split into phases often along the lines of initiation, control and closure. During each phase a number of documents are produced as part of the project control process.
Project Methodologies: Not a Silver Bullet
Over the last few years there has been much emphasis on project management methodologies such as PRINCE2. The introduction and roll out of these structured techniques helps set expectations amongst the wider community about what the project manager will do. However, practitioners should be wary of assuming that the adoption of a particular methodology will be a miracle cure for all project woes.
Developing a High Performance Project Team
Much is written in Project Management journals about every conceivable facet of project teams. Topics about their organisation, culture, communication with clients, problem solving skills, etc. are virtually endless. There are lots of rules, tips, and suggestions about what they should do but not as much on how to do it. If you aren't sure how, this article will get you started in the right direction.
Todd Fuller, PMP
Formal chartering may be the step most frequently overlooked by organisations when beginning projects. Root cause analysis of project failures often identifies "poor vision" or "lack of a charter" as a key reason projects go awry or are cancelled. Knowing this, why is developing a good project charter apparently so difficult?
Communication: The Lifeblood of a Project
The communication plan like the project plan is a necessary part of the project. However, when thinking of the project manager's role in communication planning look beyond the written word and the outline prepared in the early phases of a project, otherwise you are setting yourself up for project losses.
How to Implement Earned Value
Earned value (EV) is one of the most sophisticated and accurate methods for measuring and controlling project schedules and budgets. Earned value has been used extensively in large projects, especially in government projects. PMI is a strong supporter of the earned value approach because of its ability to accurately monitor the schedule and cost variances for complex projects.
The Difference Between Typical Project Management and Six Sigma Project Management
Six Sigma is not just another project management initiative or process improvement programme. Six Sigma is not just a new term for project management nor is it a mere repackaging of old concepts. It is more than that because it is a robust continuous improvement strategy and process that includes cultural and statistical methodologies.
Demand a Strong Project Plan
You've engaged a reputable consulting firm to perform a large systems project. You've prepared an RFP, carefully reviewed the responses, scrutinised the consultancy's oral presentation, and ultimately negotiated and signed a well-written statement of work (SOW). Don't stop there.
Project Management: Tips For Helping You Adopt A Process
This article is not a detailed overview of a formal process. Instead it provides an overview of the most critical components common to each, as well as some tips on successfully deploying them.
Project Management Excellence
Project management excellence goes beyond producing project charters, detailed schedules and colourful status reports. Today's project managers must acquire the skills necessary to combat a myriad of modern challenges.
Developing the Project Plan
Whether you call it a Project Plan or a Project Timeline, it is absolutely imperative that you develop and maintain a document that clearly outlines the project milestones and major activities required to implement your project.
Project Management: Risk Management
In many projects, risks are identified and analysed in a random, brainstorming, fashion. This is often fatal to the success of the project, as unexpected risks arise, which have not been assessed or planned for and have to be dealt with on an emergency basis, rather than be prepared for and defended against in a planned, measured, manner.
How to Choose Project Management Training Courses for IT Professionals
The first step in the selection of a good training course for Project Managers is to clearly understand the role of the Project Manager as it is understood today. Project Management is essentially concerned with a one time operation as opposed to an ongoing operation.
Reducing Risk and Increasing the Probability of Project Success
IT systems are at the heart of modern business and the development of new software applications and maintenance of existing systems are critical to productivity and profitability . Advances in software technology over the last 20 years have allowed progressively more complex business solutions to be created enabling companies to offer their customers exciting new services and products. And yet, software development projects still suffer from similar problems and characteristics, regardless of the technologies being used, that they suffered from more than ten years ago.
Project Management Courses For Project Team Members
Today, public and private organisations around the world are adopting project management approaches. In the developed countries organisations of all sizes see this as a new discipline that is replacing many traditional management tools and techniques, in order to effectively manage the increasingly complex and fast-changing activities that they operate.
The History of PRINCE2™
It's true to say the public sector has hardly covered itself in glory with their ability to deliver projects on time, within budget and scope and to the right quality. PROMPTII, PRINCE and PRINCE2 were all introduced to address the common causes of project failure.
Project Management - Lessons From The Perfect Science - Hindsight
This article captures a number of common, "We should have - " as lessons for all managers to learn before their project fails to meet expectations. Prevention is much cheaper than cure.
Rescuing Projects in Crisis - Project Turnaround Pointers
Rescuing a project is sometimes like starting a new one - you have to assess the extent of the damage, review all aspects of the project, produce a new project plan and get it approved and then bring the project to completion using tight control and monitoring techniques.
Project Management System Evaluation Checklist
Commercial project management (PM) systems have been available since the early 1970's. A multitude of PM products are now available on the market, some expensive and some very reasonably priced. However, to say all PM packages were created equally would be a gross exaggeration.
Introduction to Outsourcing for the Project Management Professional
Business globalisation, combined with the relentless change of new technology, continues to challenge our ability to adequately manage enterprise computing activities. The need for more competent project management techniques is paramount to the survival of those organisations who rely heavily on the benefits of computing technology.
Why Does Project Management Fail?
It must be remembered that project management is first and foremost a philosophy of management, not an elaborate set of tools and techniques, nor is it an administrative function. Rather, it is concerned with managing human beings towards the accomplishment of work, it is a "people management" function.
Project Planning: The First Line of Defence for Preventing Failed Projects
Every year thousands of projects are completed over budget, out of scope and past deadline. Still, with each passing year, project managers continue to rush into projects without due diligence in defining the project and creating a plan for project execution.
Introduction to Project Management
Dr. Angela Lewis
While most people are not formally skilled in project methodology, taking a role in a project team can be an excellent learning opportunity and also enhance a person's career profile. To that end, this article aims to give an understanding of project management methodology and how it underpins most formally run projects.
Just for a Laugh: The Lighter Side of Project Management
On the lighter side, the top 10 signs you are a project manager; top 10 things a project manager should never say to a customer and top 10 things you'll never hear from a project manager.
Tips on Offshore Software Project Management
Success of a project when developed by an offshore provider is largely dependant on the way the project is remotely managed from the client's side. Follow these simple tips and give your offshore software project the best chance of success.
What is PRINCE2?
PRINCE2™ is a best practice framework that helps managers deliver projects on time and within budget. It divides projects into clearly defined stages with a start, middle and end. It focuses on the delivery of products rather than carrying out activities.
Project Management an Undervalued Skill
People studying for their MBA and aspiring executives concentrate their learning on marketing, strategy, finance, e-commerce and organisational behaviour but rarely show an interest in project management.
The Evolution of Project Management
The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.
Managing IT Projects: Theory or Practice?
Barry De Boer
What is the best approach for successfully managing IT projects, knowing the theory or applying your experience? This article aims to provide some answers and suggest the best way forward to ensure a successful outcome for your future projects.
Eight Easy Steps to Managing Your Website Development
Managing your website development need not cause you sleepless nights providing you learn the secrets of successful project management. Perform the best practices in project management and give your project the best chance of success.
Be a Smart Project Manager
Barry De Boer
Project management is at the heart of many areas in business, government and education. Although there are a wide range of recognised methods and qualifications available, there are also some core skills and common-sense techniques that apply to every project.
Using a PMO to Achieve Results in Your Agency
Government agencies continually strive to produce better results. Distressingly, recent surveys have found that half of all projects exceed budget, are completed past scheduled deadlines and do not meet original business objectives. One solution to this problem that has been slow to gain popularity in the public sector is the implementation of a Project Management Office (PMO).
How to Recruit an IT Project Manager
Many job roles have claimed the title "project manager," but in reality they are a far-cry from the traditional role with responsibility for the initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, control and closing of a project. So how can you be sure you are recruiting the right person?
Manage Your Project On Time Every Time
An introduction to some of the most important best practices which will enable you to plan and manage your projects on time and within budget.
Change Management in Practice: Why Does Change Fail?
Sadly most significant change fails to meet the expectations and targets of the proposers. The failure is given the catchall name resistance, yet resistance can be principled and creative as well as from vested interest.
Six Rules for Great IT Project Success
Between cost overruns, project delays, unfulfilled expectations and quality control issues, less 30% of IT projects are successful. This is unfortunate because, conducted and delivered well, projects are one of the most powerful ways IT contributes to a company's bottom-line. Use these six rules to get your project back on track today.
IT Project Governance and PRINCE2™ Project Management
IT project governance has emerged as one of the most vital corporate responsibilities. With technology at the heart of most businesses, the ability to maintain tight executive and board control over major IT projects throughout their lifecycle has become a deciding factor in determining which businesses thrive and which founder.
Project Planning: A Step by Step Guide
Often project planning is ignored in favour of getting on with the work. However, many people fail to realise the value of a project plan in saving time, money and many problems. This article looks at the steps for creating a simple plan at the beginning of a project.
Managing Small Projects
Project management best practices can easily be applied on small projects to enable you to plan and manage your project successfully. This article looks at how to apply these practices without creating too much paperwork or overhead.
Project Management Success with the Top 7 Best Practices
Whether planning your wedding, developing a new website or building your dream house by the sea you need to employ project management techniques to help you succeed. This article summarises 7 key project management best practices to help you achieve project success.
It's All in the Technique
Cheryl L. Strait
Many of the problems encountered while establishing or maturing a records management programme can be prevented by using sound project management tools and techniques. Project management provides the structure and methodology to enable successful initiation and completion of a records management initiative.
Why Software Projects Fail and How to Make Them Succeed
According to the Standish Group only about 16 percent of software projects are successful, 53 percent challenged and 31 percent cancelled. Failure has become the IT industry norm. So what can we do about it?
How to Choose the Best Course to Improve Your Leadership Skills
Jacky Sherman, MSc, Dip
How can you make sure you invest your training money, time and effort wisely and get the long term results you want? Find out with this guide distilled from personal experience and best practice from The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organisations.
Stealth Team Building
Robert McGannon, PMP
The thought of "team building" often creates very diverse reactions from project team members. Many people enjoy the potential for increased camaraderie and getting to know more about their peers; others have a very negative reaction. This article looks at an alternative "stealth" approach to team building.
The Importance of Project Management
Dr Malcolm Wheatley BSc (Econ), MA, MBA, PhD
Project management as a management discipline underpins much economic activity. In industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals, software and aerospace, projects drive business. So what exactly is the contribution of project management to a modern developed economy, like the UK's?
Intelligent Disobedience: The Difference Between Good and Great Project Managers
Robert McGannon, PMP
Intelligent disobedience requires taking risks, creativity, flexibility and perseverance. Following this approach can have significant benefits in project management terms and can make the difference between good and great project managers.
Managing IT Projects Offshore
Today many organisations have decided to move their operations offshore to reduce costs and increase competitiveness. The cost savings offshore are considerable but the headline saving is only a small part of equation. Having spoken to many project managers over the past year it has become clear that the same issues are arising time and time again.
The Four Levels of Project Success
The Project Management Maturity Matrix is a four level matrix designed to help organisations improve the maturity of their project management processes, in terms of an evolutionary path from ad-hoc, disorganised processes to mature, disciplined project management processes.
Avoiding the Duplicate Application Trap
Have you ever wondered how much time and money organisations spend developing or buying duplicate software applications just because they do not know they currently exist. Experience and research suggests that organisations (especially large decentralised organisations) spend a large part of their IT budget on unnecessary duplication. What if we put this money to better use elsewhere, or use it to improve the quality of current application development?
Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager
Timothy R. Barry
What qualities are most important for a project leader to be effective? Over the past few years, the people at ESI International, world leaders in Project Management Training, have looked in to what makes an effective project leader. With the unique opportunity to ask some of the most talented project leaders in the world on their Project Leadership courses ESI have managed to collect a running tally on their responses.
Reaping the Benefits of Good User Requirements with the Unified Modeling Language (UML)
A critical part of any software development project is the requirements gathering. If you are unclear about what is going to be delivered, how will you know when you get there? Good user requirements lead to better estimates, improved customer satisfaction, reduced cost and a shorter duration.
Avoid Failed Projects
As the saying goes prevention is better than cure, so avoiding some of the biggest problems that projects encounter is a must for all managers. This article considers solutions for two of the main reasons projects fail; inadequate definition and poor planning.
Seven Rules to Guarantee Project Failure
Looking for a new way to get really famous, or infamous, at the office? Try these seven money-back guaranteed ways to really mess up your next project.
Helping Project Teams Succeed
How often do we hear project managers complaining that they have been set-up to fail? If you're like me then quite often. I am sure that most organisations want their project managers to succeed. If this is true where does the "set-up to fail" idea come from. Could it be that the organisation doesn't have an environment that supports success?
Successful Projects: It's Not Rocket Science
There is often a misconception that managing an IT project is difficult. Avoiding the common pitfalls of IT project management is not rocket science, it is simply a case of taking some sensible measures. This article identifies 5 killer mistakes of project management and their solutions.
Better Behaviour For More Effective IT Development Projects
How well equipped do you feel to carryout an IT development project. Do you always get the best from your team, engage your stakeholders and retain their interest to arrive at a successful conclusion? This article looks at some of the behaviours managers need to exhibit to run successful IT development projects.
PRINCE2™ Goes from Strength to Strength
Since being re-launched in 1996 PRINCE2™ has gone from strength to strength, becoming the UK de-facto standard for project management. This article looks at what's behind its success and where the methodology is heading.
What is Project Portfolio Management?
Project portfolio management organises a series of projects into a single portfolio consisting of reports that capture project goals, objectives, costs, duration, achievements, resources, risks and other critical factors.
What is Benefits Realisation?
You've delivered the project on time, within budget, the customer has signed it off and you've completed your end project report. But are you sure it will deliver the expected benefits. This article looks at the benefits realisation approach.
What is Earned Value?
Current performance is the best indicator of future performance and therefore using trend data it is possible to forecast cost or schedule overruns at quite an early stage in a project. The most comprehensive trend analysis technique is the Earned Value method.
Avoiding Project Failure - It's Not Rocket Science
It is true that every project is unique; however the underlying causes of project failure are usually restricted to a few specific areas. Once we know what these are we can take steps to increase the likelihood of success.