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Strategy to Develop Project Management in a Low-Maturity Company

In industry segments where project management is not considered a core business, such as manufacturing, it can be more challenging to propagate project management best practices, even though at the individual level employees recognize that improvements should be made. It is even more difficult to promote the idea of a structured approach via a project management office. Project management maturity is typically not even at the standardization level in those companies: some processes exist but are not considered an enterprise standard.

Riding the Technology Wave

As executives scramble to comply with IT governance standards and replace aging ERP legacy systems, they must also confront an onslaught of new technology options.

Toast, Sandwiches and Special Orders

Having a great product and seeing how its application potential could be exercised across a business, industry or many industries is exciting–but also daunting. The control you have over your product components cuts down on outsider adjustments. Keeping that control, though, may require making yourself available to the opportunities of customization and specialization.

Choosing a PPM Solution

ProjectsAtWork has updated its PPM Software Evaluation Tool, a comprehensive set of questions and parameters to consider when selecting a project portfolio management solution. It’s a valuable guide to thoroughly analyzing your organization’s requirements and the degree to which the available offerings support the features that you care about.

Back to the Past (Part 4)

As our PM history lesson continues, we learn how the transformation of John DeLorean led to his break with GM and the launching of his own car company.

How Do You Do?

Why do so many in the project management community have difficulty accepting that someone’s less formal, less structured approach is any less valid than a highly visible, extremely formal methodology? There is no universal right way to manage projects.

Unlearning Project Management

In project work, widely accepted fallacies continue to squeeze out effective practice, often by executive edict. Above all, the favored “operations management” approach trivializes the complexity and uncertainty of most projects, creating self-inflicted problems that seriously undermine performance.

Many Happy Returns

Corporate belt-tightening means project managers need ROI-focused tools to show and deliver value on project investments.

Scoping China

China’s physical and technological infrastructure is transforming at lightning speed, but institutional and cultural realities are much slower to change, which presents huge challenges for project consultants, managers and teams. Here’s an overview of the project management landscape in China, and the prevailing prerequisites for getting things done.

The Challenges of Global Information

Unfortunately, global corporate coordination is poor. This article presents four principles as to how to structure your information architecture to optimize local needs with global synergies.

Step 0300Design Data Layer

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

Accordions and Iron Bars

This article is about a critical attribute associated with the project schedule, which can help you in your planning activities as well as help others better understand one of the most basic yet significant of all project task attributes. That attribute is the ability of a task to flex and compress under the inevitable changes of the project.

Do You Really Need a Project Manager for That?

Project managers are amazing. They have a wide range of skills and operate in incredibly diverse business areas. That doesn’t mean a project manager should be the solution to every problem.

The New Normal

What constitutes a successful project? Should it be defined by budget and schedule, or by the extent to which the outcome adds real business value? Until the project management profession and its standards evolve to a more balanced “art and science” approach, success criteria will be misaligned with real business needs.

Resource Management at the Core of PSA

PlanView has found a way to make IT successful throughout organizations, not just in IT departments. It starts with managing resources at the heart of the organization — and how better to do that, than through PSA.

Task 030Write Removal Routines

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 Importance of Project Preparation

No matter how much money or people are thrown at a project, it will not be successful without the proper amount of preparation. There is much that can be accomplished prior to the work beginning, and throughout the project there are key activities that must be done in order to support the project correctly.

All In: Collaborative Estimates

A transparent, collaborative estimation process that engages stakeholders can minimize project overruns caused by unrealistic schedule and budget expectations. It depends on metrics collection, analysis, risk comparison, and a structure for sharing the right information with the right people at the right time.

E-Mail Emergency

Privacy went out with the telephone. Read on to find out why you should think twice about what you say in an e-mail.

The Path Less Travelled: Growing And Keeping PMs

Given the prevalence of project management as a discipline today, it is astonishing that only a small number of organizations have a formal career path defined for their project management staff.

How to Make the Right Project Decisions

Is a mechanism really needed to provide structure for making key project decisions? Yes. Being in a leadership role, you’ll be pressured by people wanting decisions made for the best interests of the company, the employee or the customer–and they typically conflict. Let’s look at the three categories of influences.

Communication: The Leader’s Language

Communication is the medium through which one articulates vision, strategy, change and feedback. It is most critical for leaders to have effective communication skills as they are the ones delivering important strategy and vision. If they fail to articulate that effectively, it could lead to unintended consequences.

Five Project Management Points from a CEO

Mark H. McCormack started his company with $500 and grew it into the global International Management Group. Here are Mark’s 5 “Timeless Management Points” and how they relate to being a project manager today.

Performance: It’s Not Just an IT Problem Anymore

In our industry, the record of developing and providing business systems that perform is a lousy, broken one. Here’s how to use the business view to understand performance from the business perspective early in the process–and utilize it as a reference point through all phases of deployment.

Negotiating Your Leadership Authority

While leadership is a process, it is a conditional, flexible and ambiguous one. Being an effective leader as a project manager is determined in part by our comfort level with ambiguity and our uncertainty, and our willingness to adopt and adapt given the situations that we face.

The Problems with Pacesetters on Agile Teams (Part 1)

As a manger or coach, if you don’t change a pacesetter’s behavior you run a high risk of being held hostage by one person’s abilities–and pay a cost in team productivity. This article is about a pacesetter as a team member on an agile software development team. We will explain what a pacesetter is, why it’s a problem and the effect that a pacesetter has on agile software development.

Building the Communication Plan

Communication is key to managing projects, but sometimes coming up with a communication plan from scratch can be daunting. Here are some tips for building up the plan so it will be understood and helpful to the team.

Risk, Innovation and Cobb’s Paradox

Starting with the expectation that all projects should succeed is misguided because it hinders risk-taking and creativity. True innovation is built first on failure. Still, risk management has an important role to play in every project.

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Project success will depend on how well you have developed relationships with your team. The stronger the bonds, the more likely you are to overcome challenges when the going gets tough. Here are some tips for building those personal connections that can make a difference in the professional world.

EPCM Projects: Construction Quality Management (CQM)

Quality management, a well-established practice during the engineering and procurement phases of EPCM projects, has increasingly been adopted by construction companies as an initiative to solve quality problems and better meet the needs of final customers. The author explains the factors that affect the quality process, responsibilities of the chief participants and benefits to be realized.

PMI Opens Request for Sponsored Research Proposals

PMI seeks proposals involving multi-disciplinary teams of scholars or teams consisting of academics and practitioners, who can potentially bring new ways of thinking and related bodies of literature to the field.

The Customer Connection

Why involve project management before there’s a project? Customer expectations are often out of whack before the services part of the organization ever gets its hands on the project. Here we look at the root of the problem–and provide some solutions.

Say What You Want and Get What You Need

The estimation game is widely played–and widely misunderstood. Get the kind of estimates that you need by communicating clearly with your client on reasonable timeframes and costs. Once you start playing the game, you run the risk of losing big.

Managing Projects In Rwanda

So you wanna save the world? Micromanaging isn’t an option when tackling the health of a nation, but it’s a myth that traditional project management approaches don’t ‘travel well’ from the business sector to international development initiatives. Interpersonal skills and team leadership are critical, even when the deliverables are running water and electricty.

What’s Hot in 2008

IT technology is getting hazy in 2008, with concepts and approaches rising above actual platforms and functionality. In our third annual installment, Michael Wood breaks down the buzzwords and analyzes the hype for trends in the coming year.

Dodging Disaster: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

While business continuity and disaster recovery plans are important for all corporate applications, it is imperative that they exist for the most critical applications. The moment that these systems go down, your business is losing money. What are the different components of disaster recovery, and what should be in a good DR plan?

New PeopleNew Set of Rules

When organizational change strikes, it can make you feel like you’re stuck in the outback fighting for survival. Take it from the tribe members, pull together, align yourself, but still watch your back. It works for them.

Back to Basics: Keeping it Simple

For experienced PMs, sometimes the hardest job is to go right back to the very basic stuff. So how can you maximize your chances of success? And how do we manage team members who have absolutely no experience or understanding of project work?

Task 070Conduct System Tests

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

Task M01Milestone PMA M01

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

Agents of Change

It should come as no surprise to project managers that the organizations most adept at responding to change do so in a structured, planned and actively managed manner. However, this is only one of the necessary elements that need to be brought together in order for an organization to implement change successfully.

Project Managers and Application Delivery

How much time do project managers spend thinking about application delivery? In this writer’s experience, this crucial final step often gets a lot less consideration than it needs.

Prioritizing Your Workload: Workload Assignment and Prioritization (WAP)

Project or program managers should ask themselves workload assignment and prioritization (WAP) questions, consciously or unconsciously, every day, and sometimes every hour. This article explains how to create a WAP spreadsheet that will enable you to capture the processes, issues, and projects (PIPs) and provides a sample WAP spreadsheet and Workload Assignment Form (WAF).

Three Testing Factors of Integrity in Project Management and Possible Ways to Manage Them for Success

A major challenge in project management is to become truly successful by practicing integrity. This article focuses on three key factors that test the integrity of organizations and practitioners—business case for the projects, organization structure and culture, and implications of laws and regulations—to highlight the importance of the roles of people and the system for practicing integrity. The author concludes by proposing useful ways to strengthen project management practices and comply with integrity.

Task 070Develop Schedule

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

Task 070Develop Mission Statements

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

Follow the Leader?

As a project manager, can you pass the cell phone test? Can you turn off your cell phone for a month, a week or even a day? If the answer is no, your project team lacks integrity! Before you can teach them, you must have an understanding of what you believe to be the foundation upon which you base your decisions. So read on and do your homework!

Bringing Data Centers into the Green

IT is heading for greener pastures, but how soon, how fast and how green are questions that still need to be addressed. If you’re planning to take your IT to the next level of energy efficiency, you need to take a look at your data center.

The Oil Disaster (Part 2)

The BP oil spill instantly became a crisis management disaster with devastating repercussions. What went wrong, and what lessons can we take from the tragedy? As our two-part article concludes, we look at more of the major management mistakes.

Playing the Politics Game

The dangers of playing the game of politics in project management are great, but are the rewards worth it? There are some very good reasons to play the political game on a project (as well as a few really bad ones), and there are some strategies a project manager can employ to avoid the pitfalls.

Building the Right Team: The PMO Director

Have you found the right fit? To help ensure PMO success, you should utilize the three sides of the PMI Talent Triangle™ and clearly articulate job expectations for your PMO director.

Read All About It

A hundred tips and techniques for novice and advanced project managers; a revised and updated guide to large-scale technology initiatives; and a lifecycle approach to IT projects.

Tactics for Staying on the Performance Edge

When it comes to optimizing workforce performance, what are you prepared to do? To use the latest techniques in your project means you may have to go against mainstream corporate culture or cut a little into the power wielded by certain individuals. Are you ready to do this? These tactics are effective in improving workforce performance, but don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Implementing these ideas may be difficult…

After Certification Comes Reality: Where Do We Go From Here?

We know what we should be doing, and we know why we should be doing it, yet we don’t actually do it that way. HUH?! While we may amply demonstrate in our certification exam the knowledge we possess of proper skills and techniques, our actual performance varies significantly. Why?

Shoestring PM: Getting the Job Done with Less Money

Doing more with less people, less tools and less funding has become the norm–and 2012 doesn’t look to be much different. How can you continue to service a growing backlog of project requests in the face of static or shrinking budgets and a dwindling pool of project professionals? Believe it or not, there are things that can be done and ways to keep progress moving forward. Here are 10 tips you might find useful.

Why Small Teams Win

Size isn’t everything. If it takes more than two pizzas to feed your project team, it could be a good indicator that the team is too large. Here are eight compelling reasons why 8-to-12-person groups more often lead to higher productivity and performance. Plus: 12 tips for creating and nurturing these two-pizza teams.

Project Management as an Actual Career Choice: Discuss

It’s an odd thing to do, choosing a career in project management. If we’re really honest, it’s a haphazard wander through reality, figuring out how to best keep moving forward and learning the skills that we need to keep our heads above water. But it doesn’t have to be.

Task 030Finalize Contingency Plan

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

Four Lessons CPOs Can Learn From

If you are new to the CPO position or just reaching for success, the guidance in this article will help. What are the most important lessons one seasoned C-level executive has learned along the way that might help other CPOs enjoy a rewarding and tenured career? Although many lessons come to his mind, four stand out–and they’re universally applicable no matter what your position is.

A Critical Choice: Finding the Method that Works

Both the Critical Path Method and the Critical Chain Method have received much attention in the world of project management. While you can argue the merits of both, you won’t be using both for your project. You’ll have to choose between joining the Chain gang or staying on the usual Path.

For Want Of An Idea, A Project Is Lost

If you really want to succeed, you need to establish a stronger method of idea generation and evaluation. Learn how to smash down the barriers that are keeping that next great project idea hidden.

Process Innovation SaaS: An Emerging Business Model

This article attempts to provide insight into some key business considerations for an SaaS provider to enable a successful transformation from a traditional on-premise model to the SaaS business model, and some key considerations for an SaaS consumer to identify the likely business domains to use an SaaS solution and enable a seamless integration with the existing on-premise applications.

Mind Mapping A Better View

By integrating analytical processes such as scope definition and schedule development with non-linear, collaborative activities such as brainstorming, a mind-mapping solution can help project leaders do their jobs more efficiently and communicate to a broader audience more effectively.

Hindsight Is 50/50

Do team members and executives in your organization see retrospectives as a waste of time and expense? If so, maybe your retrospectives aren’t providing the value they should, from establishing a culture of team learning and stressing continual improvement, to tracking metrics and celebrating successes.

Task 040Address Security 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.

Flaws in the Crawl Walk Run Methodology

Many of you may have heard of the Crawl Walk Run project methodology. For those of you that haven’t, the idea is that if a project team is trying to achieve something big, that sometimes you have to evolve your approach in stages rather than trying to make all the changes all at once. Here we look at a potential problem…

Robotic Process Automation: The Future of CRM (Part 2)

With the growing use of robotic process automation in CRM, project managers should consider the needs of these projects as they plan their professional development. To be successful at the growing number of RPA projects, there is special preparation related to stakeholder management, vendor management and more.

PPM Survey: Insights and Trends

A survey of current project portfolio management practices sheds light on the challenges that organizations are facing, including data integrity issues, slow feedback loops and inadequate project reviews. For many, PPM processes are non-linear and disjointed, making it impossible to align business strategy with the portfolio.

Your Project GPS

To know where you’re at, give your projects a disciplined status process that fulfills these five characteristics.

Managing in a Global World: How Easy is This, Anyway?

How global are we, and how global are we likely to become? If we’re not seeing the evidence of increased globalization, does that mean that it doesn’t exist or that–once more–we’re being passed by and made redundant? And what does all of this mean for project managers who are still working hard to get their projects done? The answers are are a click away…

Agile Pendentives

Project managers need to communicate effectively with all types of project stakeholders. For agile projects, this sometimes involves adapting traditional PM constructs into the closest agile alternatives. Agile pendentives are adaptive patterns that facilitate these traditional-to-agile discussions.

Who Else Owns Your Project?

Yes, project success or failure is ultimately the responsibility of you, the project manager. You’re in charge of everything, from planning and reporting to monitoring risk, budget and schedule. But there are other people who must take ownership of their parts of the project. And it’s also your job to make that clear.

Scale Risk to Each Project

Projects are not equally risky, and your risk management process should be scaleable to match the level of risk challenge faced by each. How? Here are the elements of a typical risk management process that can be readily scaled to fit the needs of a range of projects.

Good Gossip?

Psst! Pass it along! New scientific studies of gossip (really!) give you powerful tactics to create a positive, productive work environment. (BTW, this is just between you and me…)

An Agile Look at Change

The alternative to embracing change doesn’t have to be completely rejecting it. Are there ways we can introduce more flexibility to waterfall projects without losing control of change? Can traditional project execution approaches learn anything from the agile approach to change?

Remind, Repeat

With skyrocketing project complexity and task owners supporting multiple projects at the same time, project managers can use every bit of help to ease project controlling efforts. Leveraging calendar tools can help ease the stress.

Task 030Assess Facilities Costs

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

Topic Teasers Vol. 61: Taming Team Testiness

Question: With more teams (some agile and some waterfall), more customer and management involvement, and younger workers who are not as subservient to position power, the team landscape in my department has become a minefield. It’s not just the project manager or ScrumMaster who needs to know how to tame the conflicts–it’s each and every one of us. Short of major psychotherapy sessions, how do we start?

A. Complaining and unhappiness are a necessary part of working with other people. If it happens to you, just back down and you can vent your frustration at home tonight. Addressing conflict at work is unhealthy and will derail your career.

B. There are some simple techniques and verbal steps you can learn so that you are prepared to soothe troubled relationships regardless of whether it’s colleague to colleague, team member to customer or manager to employee. Study them.

C. Ask the Human Resources department to arrange for a counselor to come into the department and work with all the employees. The ones that really need it won’t realize it’s for them, and the rest of the people who don’t need it may find something they can use at home.

D. Go online and download a series of positive posters, sayings and cartoons to post in your workspace to lighten the atmosphere. If people can identify with one of the printouts, they may realize how they look to others and stop their disruptive behavior.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

A Call For Change

Perhaps the most challenging project of all is one that requires an organization to change. An executive mandate is a good start, but to reach the finish line project leaders with ‘soft skills and iron wills’ must carry the baton, as these two call-management system implementations in local government demonstrate.