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IT Project Lessons from Titanic (Part 18)

As our series continues, we continue to examine what the post-mortem for the failed Titanic project would look like, and how can it help you in today’s IT landscape.

The Lean Project Manager

Can we apply lean principles to project management itself? Here the author proposes tips and tricks to introduce lean into our practice, avoiding common waste pitfalls and presenting experiments made in the field to improve the personal productivity of the project manager.

Job Avoidance

From your own resume to job listings, words mean the world. Here’s a look at some job listing buzzwords that should have you thinking twice before taking the plunge.

Alignment Requires Proactive, Progressing CIO Leadership

Given IT has played a significant role in business since the 1960s, it seems almost inconceivable that CIOs are still alignment challenged. Perhaps the challenge isn’t so much getting aligned but staying aligned given the pace and nature of change companies must cope with and adapt to in today’s global economies.

Are You A Troubled-Projects Manager?

To recover a troubled project you must have the experience to “see it how it is” and the courage to “call it like you see it.” You also must negotiate a different set of rules by which to manage the project, with an emphasis on change. If you possess these qualities, the troubled project environment may be for you.

The CIO/CPO Relationship: A New Dynamic Duo?

For the most part, Chief Information Officers have been around a lot longer than Chief Project Officers. In many organizations, the CIO often (and without recognition) wears the CPO hat. But now that CPOs are becoming more abundant, there is a natural kinship that can be forged–one that can shape an organization’s future in a positive way.

Organizational Risk 101

What exactly is organizational risk management, how does it differ from project risk management, and why should project managers care? In this new series, we will explore these questions and introduce some important related concepts, starting with the constraints hierarchy.

Business Case Benefits

If the benefits of your business case don’t have a hard dollar value, they don’t make the business case any better. If you find yourself muttering, “I could have sworn there were benefits here somewhere…,” here’s some help in measuring intangibles.

Clean Up, Aisle Five

If only project mistakes were this easy to mop up. Although you might not be able to avoid problems, you can fix them — if you know how to exercise damage control.

The Two-Tier PMO Model

Many organizations are looking at a PMO hierarchy–a single, central EPMO that aligns with the portfolio and defines corporate-wide strategy, paired with departmental-level PMOs that are modified versions of the distributed PMO model that organizations are more familiar with. In this article, we look at some of the considerations necessary to build an effective two-tier model.

Waterfall Versus Agile

When should you use waterfall and when should you use agile? The usual answer to this question is vague: Apply each approach according to circumstances. This article discusses the main positive and negative aspects of the waterfall and agile approaches, deconstructing some of the myths behind them and suggesting where one could be used over the other according to different factors.

Making the Military Transition to PM Easier

Companies believe there are many benefits to recruiting and hiring you, the veteran. However, some companies have misconceptions about the risks and challenges associated with hiring employees transitioning from the military. You can easily overcome this bias by gravitating toward military-friendly companies.

Information Technology Update 2013

What information technologies promise to be hot in the coming year? The focus is on the maturing of environments in terms of standards, policy and site certification efforts–with big data, Cloud Computing and BYOD at the forefront.

10 Steps to Better Product Management

The role of product manager is one that is poorly understood, with different interpretations among organizations. But whether you’re working for a small software company or a big consumer electronics manufacturer, these ten steps can transform product management from being a reactive tactical process to a strategic asset.

Business Cases ‘R Us

While a business case is the most commonly used tool for project justification, it is also often the least understood. Here then is a blueprint for success in building a better business case.

Deadline: Yesterday?

When missed task deadlines start to become a problem, it’s often due to one or more of four reasons. Examining these key possibilities can help get to the root of the problem–and get the project team back on track toward on-time delivery of critical project tasks.

Finding the Right Candidate (Part 1)

When you need to hire, how do you ensure that you get the right person? This two-part article explores some of those challenges and ways to work around them. In Part 1, we focus on the lead-up to interviews–a process that is often not given the attention it needs.

What Students Need from their PM Education for Employment

For engineering students today, a more diverse course of learning that brings together technical, managerial and life skills is becoming increasingly common. In order to explore engineering student perceptions of project management as a subject—and their experiences of studying it—a short survey was administered to two cohorts of students.

PM History Lessons: Escape from the USSR

In the summer of 1979, a young Soviet physicist decided to embark on an all-or-nothing project to obtain his freedom. Alexander Jourjine’s inspiring journey features eight lessons that can benefit all project leaders who face great risks, difficult decisions, and seemingly impossible obstacles.

Step 0100Conduct Benchmark

Huge online community of Project Managers offering over 12,000 how-to articles, templates, project plans, and checklists to help you do your job.

Up Against the Wall (Part 3)

Interviewers, especially in technical companies, purposely ask “stinger” questions to see how candidates handle themselves. The tough questions separate the pros from the rank amateurs. Are you ready to rumble?

BPI and Scorecards: Perfect Partners

The trick to effectively using scorecards to monitor your success is in determining what and how to measure. Luckily, BPI gives you the perfect vehicle for driving that process forward.

Perfect Storm or Tempest in a Teapot?

It’s that time again for further thoughts on the hot topic of project management as a profession! But as the debate continues, the key is not on if a profession will emerge–but on what value and consequences the creation of a profession holds in store.

When Project Management Hits Home: Using PM Principles to Help Build Homes For the Visually Impaired

Engaging the right stakeholders at the right time during requirements gathering is the best way to ensure all perspectives are considered and the best solution is built. This article features a project professional discussing how project management principles were used to help build an apartment complex for the visually impaired. It details the full collaboration between the end users and other stakeholders. It then overviews how user needs were prioritized starting with addressing a basic set of requirements. The article also explores the challenges presented when the residents required the same features they were accustomed to and how these challenges were resolved.


While these two buzzwords are unlikely bedfellows, they are inextricably linked…and SOA is a key enabler in propelling BPI initiatives within an organization.

Making the Agile Connection with the Internet of Things

The tsunami of devices from the Internet of Things (IoT) has come to our homes, workplaces and industries—and to the projects we manage and products we create. Let’s see why the combination of innovation and agility is essential to leverage the “power of the thing” to win in this highly competitive market.

Too Efficient to Thrive?

By focusing exclusively on efficiency, organizations have lost their ability to innovate, says business school dean, author and entrepreneur Jim Dewald. They need to invest in discovering opportunities, value transparency, and support managers who can balance the tension between individual initiative and structural controls.

The Pre-Planning Stage

Sometimes, the most important work is done well before a project even begins–or even before you are planning for the project. The pre-planning stage is a great time for the project to start on the right foot, so keep these tips in mind.

The Project Manager: Entrepreneur by Nature?

We can observe similarities between the profiles of project managers and entrepreneurs due to the “make it happen” attitude of both. But is this comparison relevant? What can it tell us about these two essential roles?

Step 0600Analyze Object Interaction

Huge online community of Project Managers offering over 12,000 how-to articles, templates, project plans, and checklists to help you do your job.

Corporate Culture Wars

Corporate culture is the sum of values and behaviors that make up the character of an organization. It exists independent of your company’s vision and strategy as “the way we do things here.” How does this culture drive talent management in your organization, and what can you do about it?

Task 070Assess Project Risks

Huge online community of Project Managers offering over 12,000 how-to articles, templates, project plans, and checklists to help you do your job.

Getting Engaged

Agile methods make the most of closer ties to the business and customer to get rapid feedback on functionality. This works great when customer engagement is high–but runs into problems when engagement is lacking. Learn about some warning signs and engagement models that can help.

EQ for PMs

On the toughest projects, technical knowledge alone isn’t enough. A new book supplies project managers with Emotional Intelligence techniques for for guiding their projects throught to success.

On The Horizon: PPM Status Report

Firmly established as a distinct discipline that can deliver real value and benefits to companies, both in the short-term and for the long haul, project portfolio management enters 2009 with momentum. But many challenges and changes are on the horizon. Here, a leading PPM analyst shares his thoughts and predictions.

Book Review: What’s The Big Idea?

Are you still having problems backing a major KM initiative? This book provides a detailed analysis of “the secrets of successful idea practitioners”–including the idea of knowledge management–and may be just what you need to help get things off the ground.

Tracking the Project Team

In order to be a successful project manager, you have to have a successful project team. What are the daily and weekly tasks that you can do to track that team and keep it performing to its potential?

Your CEO Is a Crook!

The rash of indictments against corporate leaders is effecting you project. Even if your CEO hasn’t been caught (yet), take these actions.

There is no IT Outsourcing without a Transition: An Introduction to ITO Transitions

An ITO transition is the complex first phase of the IT outsourcing contract that has strategic importance for the success of the contract. This paper provides an understanding of the transition phase along with the specific attributes that make an ITO transition different from many IT projects; and the key success factors to successfully achieving an ITO transition implementation.

Ten Principles of IT Governance

IT governance is a relatively new concept that is still evolving…and good IT governance practices share many fundamental principles with enterprise governance.

Lessons From the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (Part 8)

As our Ancient Guide to Modern Project Magagement continues, we examine the rise and fall of Rome in a chronological manner. In this installment, we will watch Rome rise from an early monarchy to an organized republic and see it expand through military expertise and strategic alliances, and then watch it go from a republic to a dictatorship.

A Project No One Wants to Work On

Some people enjoy project work, and some do not. Turning a project into something that no one wants to work on is truly an accomplishment–but not one to brag about. Be on the lookout for these four warning signs…

Projectball: PM Lessons from America’s Game (Part 3)

As our series concludes, we continue to examine Moneyball–and how enlightening it is with its instructive lessons about the effective use of metrics, ones that go beyond the narrow world of baseball and provide some insights into how those lessons might be applied to projects generally.

Task 050Estimate Effort

Huge online community of Project Managers offering over 12,000 how-to articles, templates, project plans, and checklists to help you do your job.

Not According to Plan

In this new series on Managing Project Change, a veteran project leader discusses how to deal with change so that it doesn’t derail your project. Change can be good, bad or something in between. Here, she outlines the four primary choices for responding to it.

Good Tool, Bad Fit

Adapting basic project management software for a professional services environment requires two significant additions: versatility to accommodate a host of new metrics, and unity to ensure those metrics are synchronized with the old, accessible to all, and transparent.

I Resolve to Be a Better Project Manager…Now What?

Now is the time of year where we pretend that we can will ourselves into doing something differently than we have so far. So what if our resolution was to become a better project manager? What then? There is a whole range of changes that this might contemplate. At the same time, there are any number of potential roadblocks that might derail us at the first turn.

Task 010Resolve Open Design Issues

Huge online community of Project Managers offering over 12,000 how-to articles, templates, project plans, and checklists to help you do your job.

Leveling the Virtual Playing Field

There are inherent communication constraints when working virtually. Often ignored, however, are the potential equalizing benefits of virtual environments. One alternative practice that can help is to have all team members, even if they are collocated, call in to meetings. Here’s why.

In The PPM Trenches

Mike Beard spends his days evaluating how companies’ methodology and processes function and recommending ways they can be improved, often with project portfolio management. But getting business owners and executives to carry out his recommendations is not always easy.

Task 040Train Operations Staff

Huge online community of Project Managers offering over 12,000 how-to articles, templates, project plans, and checklists to help you do your job.

The Car Wash Lesson

Is it the project manager’s job to finish things on time and within budget, or is it his or her job to manage the things that impact the timeline and cost? It’s time to think outside the strict box that so many people use to judge project success. Need some convincing? Just get your car washed…

Delivering Difficult News

One day you may have to tell a colleague, a team member, perhaps even a friend that they are not the right person to lead a project or fill a key role that they might very much desire. Here are some leadership guidelines, based on recent personal experience, for handling such difficult resource changes the right way.

The PM Conundrum: Mastering Political Games

How to get to the top of the corporate ladder is not PM 101, it’s PM 500. It’s where big mistakes are made because PMs are not ready to cope with the hurdles. Success doesn’t come without work and angst, and the same goes with PMs. You have to know how to play the game. Let’s explore the game, players, tactics and more importantly, how to score those winning goals.

Site Seeing

Customers of sporting goods retailer Cabela’s enjoy the great outdoors, from hunting to fishing. But the company wanted to put a virtual destination on their maps.

Promoting Your Project Management Brand

How do you promote your project management brand in the marketplace? This article provides a few creative approaches to establishing your PM brand and reputation using a variety of social media approaches.

The Discipline of Facilitation

Part of a project manager’s job description is facilitation — drawing out the best in a team and paving the way for a project to succeed. But you aren’t born with these skills, nor can you earn them with a diploma. Facilitation requires ongoing attention to nine disciplines, including detachment, engagement and even a sense of wonder.

Local Goes Global

With IT shops in 73 countries doing good work but doing it their own way, employment services leader Manpower decided it was time to govern globally, execute locally. That meant leveraging common processes and tools without stamping out entrepreneurship and innovation. Here’s a conversation on how they’re doing it.

Uncovering BPI

Here’s why business driven, data structured process improvement methods work best.

The Power Of Programs

Many large work initiatives run as projects would be more successful managed as programs. Such misdiagnosed projects include dimensions of size, complexity and duration that challenge the project perspective and lead to a higher likelihood of failure. A different methodology is called for, one that recognizes the difference between a program and a project and adopts the right set of skills to the task.

Getting the Boot: A Training Option

The process to gain the right amount of knowledge to succeed at the PMP certification exam is a very personal process. To write the PMP exam, do you need general project management training along with a PMP bootcamp?

Task 090Scope Control

Huge online community of Project Managers offering over 12,000 how-to articles, templates, project plans, and checklists to help you do your job.

Book Review: Companies Are People, Too

Avoid conflict and project obstacles by discovering and working with your company’s personality. It may even be easier than being a member of your family.

Book Review: Companies Are People, Too

Avoid conflict and project obstacles by discovering and working with your company’s personality. It may even be easier than being a member of your family.

Uncle Sam’s ‘CIO’ Resigns

OMB e-gov administrator Mark Forman will be replaced by Energy Department CIO Karen Evans. Here is an exclusive interview with Forman.

Maximize Your Resources: Don’t Duplicate, Integrate

Share the work and share the wealth. When project managers put their heads together to integrate projects, the whole is often more successful than the sum of its parts. Here’s how you can use integration to maximize resources, eliminate duplicate effort and streamline your workflow.

Meet the New COBIT

COBIT 5 is finally here and promises much. What makes it different from Version 4.1, and how is the new version being received? Find out why it’s a major step forward in providing companies with an organizational-wide approach to IT governance–and perhaps even organizational governance.

Make Your Metrics Known

Promoting project metrics can generate awareness about your project, support organizational change management, keep everyone informed and reduce the number of interruptions to the daily schedule. It doesn’t require a great deal of effort, but the payoff can be immense. Start by finding a visible wall.

How to Undertake a Project Quality Review

A project quality review helps to identify the root causes of problems on a flailing project and provides detailed guidance for how to get it back on track. It has a direct, positive impact on an organization’s bottom line. When undertaken at the end of a project, it provides valuable “lessons” for project teams working on future projects.

Stage PMPPlan Project

Huge online community of Project Managers offering over 12,000 how-to articles, templates, project plans, and checklists to help you do your job.

Stage PMPPlan Project

Huge online community of Project Managers offering over 12,000 how-to articles, templates, project plans, and checklists to help you do your job.

Is There Method Behind This Madness?

When people think of methodology, they usually imagine the theorists of IT pontificating on the virtues of an application development strategy. Methodology, in truth, is very important to the success of a data warehousing project. Without methodology, a team can walk blindly into a dark room and come out with the stab wounds of a failed effort.

Fundamental Project Management

Protect your technology investments with business-savvy, experienced project management…which is more than just gantt charts.

Personal Process Management

Maximizing your own personal effectiveness doesn’t happen by accident. Regardless of the level of formality, detail and rigidity, every structured PM approach has some degree of process infrastructure to support it. But those approaches focus on the organizational perspective. Here, we build on that concept and look at things from the perspective of an individual project manager–personal processes and how you can use them to improve your performance.