Times have changed, and so have the expectations placed on project managers and project management offices. Jim Harris takes a look at the continuing evolution of the dynamic discipline of project management.
Drawing a parallel between clinical medicine and project management, the first part of this series introduced the concept of team health and the applicability of physical exam techniques to team management. As our series continues, we explore the second of four techniques: palpation.
In addition to all of the issues and challenges found in “normal” projects, global projects bring with them elements that complicate things even more. What can a global project PM do to increase the odds of success?
Many complex information technology (IT) projects are executed in a matrix environment. The major challenge with this type of team structure is having an amicable and effective relationship with clear lines of responsibilities, open communications, and accountabilities. This article proposes a working model that can help the program manager achieve the desired objectives from all of the teams.
With over half of companies using a blended agile and waterfall approach to development, it’s critical to be aware of how an agile approach affects planning and alignment with the overall business strategy. Here are the most common challenges in enterprise agile development–and some tips for how smart companies are navigating the new landscape.
How do we define quality as a project manager? Is it managing a project really well, or managing a successful project? How about managing a successful project really well? That sounds pretty good. However, it poses the next question: What is a successful project? Let’s look at some examples of project success, failure and ambiguity.
According to the Standish Group’s 2009 CHAOS report, 68% of projects failed, 44% of projects were late, over budget, and/or had fewer than the required features and functions, and 24% were cancelled prior to completion, or delivered and were never used. With statistics like these, it’s just a matter of time before you’re dealing with a project that is spiralling out of control. How do you get things back on track? This article walks you through a straightforward seven-step process for analyzing the project problems, developing a solution, and bringing your project back under control.
More and more companies are pursuing merger and acquisition strategies to become bigger and make the competition smaller. And in today’s business environment, the change management before, during and after M&A is becoming complex–and affecting all aspects of the businesses involved.
Earned value management is a technique that integrates scope, cost and time to highlight how the project has done in the past and predict how it is expected to do in the future. This article discusses a few basic concepts of EVM and is useful for anyone looking to get started on this topic, as well as for candidates preparing for certification.
Project managers employed by firms that have never used a formal project management methodology can find themselves frustrated with an executive manager’s reluctance to embrace the project management discipline. In order to convince anyone of the benefits of the project management process, it is necessary to know the potential obstacles that could discourage a company from pursuing something new.
We often fix one problem in isolation to the rest of the challenges we face in a project or process. Why do we limit ourselves and fail to look at the bigger picture, putting our project into the context of that more important view?
Project management has taken another step forward with the U.S. Federal Government’s passage of the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA). Learn how this can directly benefit many project managers and their projects.
To help you understand project cost management, this webinar covers cost estimating, budgeting and control. We use a case study richly embedded with illustrations of tools, techniques and project management templates.
Our presenter, Dr. Vijay Kan
One of the critical success factors for all projects is executive management support. Here we look at why projects need this support–and provide some tips on how a project manager can ensure it.
There is no shortage of project management tools available, but how do you know which one is right for your organization. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so it’s best to start by sizing up your organization.
Saving the world is a heavy undertaking. That’s probably why many of us leave it to the superheroes of cartoon and screen to take on. Or the men and women of the armed forces, taking on the impossible while wearing blue berets. Whatever your preferred form of superhero, real or imagined, it probably isn’t you. But maybe it’s time to go get a cape…
Recruitment and retention of human capital is now a strategic imperative for organizations in this highly competitive global work environment. As such, this issue has been raised to the C-level to ensure required results are obtained. How can you help?
This is the first of five webinars for new practitioners interested in visually understanding the processes described in the PMBOK® Guide — Fourth Edition. We’ll use a case study that is richly embedded with illustrations of tools, techniques and tem
In order to move forward, you must sometimes look back—and see that some patterns have surfaced. These are no longer trends, but core competencies of the market. This year, expect to see a renewed interest in some of these tried-and-true methodologies.
Many of us are pretty accomplished project managers, at least while on the job. But how do we apply project management principles and disciplines to our personal lives? Personal projects come in all shapes and sizes, each accompanied with their own levels of complexity, risk, timelines, budgets and outcome expectations. Enter the world of Personal Project Management…the new PPM!
The team health framework can be a vital asset to help project managers deliver consistently good results regardless of risks. This is the first of a five-part series on the applicability of physical exam techniques to team management. In subsequent parts, we will discuss each of the four techniques (inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation) in detail.
This article focuses on project management in Photovoltaics, a sector of the fast evolving renewables industry. The author suggests approaches to setting up an appropriate methodology, explaining the most important differences with other traditional businesses; and, gives tips to project managers who want to get involved in the PV sector, as well as to companies and HR specialists who want to identify the best profiles for a “green” project manager role.
…or, how a picture can divert 1,000 eyes. Pictures are cool. They aid discussion and unite comprehension. They also allow us to avoid having to read volumes of text. As such, they are the convenience food of project management. Easy to consume, but are they nutritious?
To view video games as possessing only entertainment value is short-sighted and without merit. Today’s massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) impart social and innovative learning techniques for individuals and groups on a global scale–and to project management’s benefit. This article discusses how MMORPGs bring project management lessons to life. In doing so, it examines how MMORPGs teach players emotional intelligence (EI) competencies, such as self-confidence, empathy, trustworthiness and communication. It then uses the “World of Warcraft” (WoW) collaborative wiki as an example to show the benefits for project professionals. The article examines the parallel between WoW, project management teams and EI: the need for collaborative engagement. It concludes by looking at communication, one of the most important EI competencies, and shows how communication plays a role in WoW and project planning.
Project management planning is one of the critical components of managing projects and the first line of defense against project failures. The author presents a template for developing an effective project management approach by considering the project’s unique characteristics, identifying project “hot spots” and adopting methods (tools and techniques) suitable to the unique nature of the project at hand.
How do you, as a systems engineering project manager, know how to approach the decisions in process tailoring, technology, and tool selection? A balanced approach to systems engineering project management will help navigate difficult and seemingly intractable decisions.
Government initiatives can benefit from many portfolio management principles. But portfolio management is not gaining the same traction in government as it is in private corporations. Why is that, and what are the implications?
When one PM was asked to list the key requirements for a PMIS that would enable it to better support project and organizational effectiveness, he thought about past project, portfolio and program management experiences. The result? A “dream list” of features for a PMIS to support large, traditionally managed projects…a list that was surprisingly agile.
One of the best ways to make sure your agile program is successful is to think about how to make everything “smaller” to better manage potential risk. Here are six tips for making your large efforts “smaller” to achieve maximum benefit from your agile programs and to help them maintain progress.
Traditionally, project management processes and expertise in health care have rested in the areas of facilities management and development and/or Information Technology implementation. Although many of those in leadership roles within health care operations have spent a significant amount of time implementing new programs and introducing new equipment, for example, solid project management practices have not been known and/or utilized in areas other than facilities and IT.
Process management is one of the greatest shortcomings of enterprises today. They might have PPM, but without a process owner who “manages” that process, it will never meet enterprise objectives in a sustainable manner. This presentation provides a h
Implementing portfolio management is political by nature. It is essential that any attempt to introduce it consciously addresses the political realities that exist today. More importantly, if it is to be successful, an implementation of portfolio management must have support from the very top of the organization.
Drawing a parallel between clinical medicine and project management, the first part of this series introduced the concept of team health and the applicability of physical exam techniques to team management. As our series continues, we explore the third of four techniques: percussion.
Many organizations are taking advantage of quality management methodologies to improve productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction. These methodologies require employees to perform set tasks and adhere to structured processes involving changes to work habits that can sometimes be disruptive. Familiar, integrated IT tools can streamline tasks and reduce user resistance, enabling organizations to receive the maximum benefits from quality management techniques at a lower risk.
If we are limited by the triple constraint, how do we as project managers lead with agility and embrace change? If projects are all about needs and values, then project management should be the tools and techniques to achieve this value. Is it time to redefine project management? Should we move away from the iron triangle to the value triangle?
This article explains the rationale behind the creation of an in-house, customized project management methodology, iMAP, at a rapidly growing pharmaceutical company. The authors also describe the priorities that were selected to start with its implementation: a solid project initiation, a clear project life cycle, a special attention to risk management, a first step in reporting standardization, and specific attention to the activities necessary for the transition to operations. They provide an overview of their approach to IT project governance and how a defined project management methodology is the key for its success.
What do the Titanic and Van Halen have in common? They’re going to help illustrate how being freaky can make you a better project manager. In the concluding installment of this series, our expert looks at four more problem-solving principles from a popular book.
During the execution of the four major pre-casting operations (casting, finishing, storage and transportation of the pre-cast elements to site), care should be taken with regards to every possible safety and health hazard that is expected to occur. Keep these nine potential hazards at the pre-cast yards in mind.
Looking for high-impact statements when you only have 30 seconds to demonstrate the value of project management–and present yourself in the best possible light? What would your elevator pitch be? In our concluding installment, we look at examples of a project manager’s value pitch.
The value of PPM and the priorities people place within it have seen drastic changes to go along with the dynamism of the world over the last five years. Optimal realization of portfolio ROI is now a must just to simply stay alive, whereas before it was often just treated as a nice idea that a company could do to improve its business success.
Like the source of the Nile, the start of portfolio management can be hard to locate. There is not yet a generally accepted initiation point for portfolio management, so let’s try and figure out where PPM might start in a perfect world.
The webinar Establishing an Innovation Management Framework was packed with so much information, the discussion continued afterward! Here, the presenter covers some additional questions and answers that came out of that session.
How do the biases, effects, fallacies, illusions and neglects outlined in Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow (2013) affect decision making? By applying Kahneman to the Knowledge Areas of the PMBOK® Guide, the author illustrates how project managers can mitigate the effects of irrational thinking.
One needs only to “Google” lean project management (LPM) to appreciate the call for a new, more streamlined approach to project management. Is the so-called lean approach to project management necessarily different from traditional project management? If the answer is yes, what is LPM, and more importantly, how does it foster more efficient accomplishment of project work? The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of LPM by examining a Fortune 100 organization’s application of lean to some of its project work.
Teachable moments are formed when you have done something–regardless of the outcome–and learned from the experience. Learning makes us better at what we do and provides a great opportunity to develop others and sharpen skills. We’ve compiled our best Teachable Moments from our community members for you to learn from and share with other project managers. In this installment, we head from Ukraine to the mountains of Bulgaria.
Stats don’t show a gleeful picture of the software industry. So what’s the main problem? Are we relying too much on management tools, or are we not able to apply book knowledge into practical scenarios? Are we becoming modern-day zombies who are managing projects as machines without applying people management skills? Here are some proven mantras for successful project managers.
Project management processes need to be redefined. We must bring in flexibility and adaptability to adopt changes for enhancing the benefits that were originally envisaged during the initiation of the project. Here we look at critical factors for effective project change management.
The advocates for the implementation of portfolio management are dissatisfied with how decisions are currently being made. They wish to bring about a change to this decision process. They are not, therefore, likely to have much influence in how decisions are currently being made. What to do about this conundrum?
Change to a project means the potential for resource relocation, budget mishaps and delayed deliverables. It is important to have an evaluation process in place for the change requests that come in. Setting these guidelines will ensure that everyone is on the same page and responds to change requests unanimously.
Efficient management of employee resources puts projects on the road to success. On the same token, failing to manage resources properly can lead to project blunders, overtime, budget overflow and other damaging results.
Is poor communication bringing down your team members? Are ill-advised shortcuts shortchanging your project? Is employee training really helping the end result? If any of these common problems sound familiar, read on. Here’s a glimpse at some stumbling blocks projects can encounter on their way to completion–and some advice on how to avoid them.
Is any career exempt from project management skills? You don’t have to be a project manager to practice project management; organizations recognizing this will find more benefits than they expected. Does your HR team have the right outlook?
Since agile is about individuals and interactions, it should come as no surprise that it helps with many talent management recommendations. But what do we do when HR recommends practices that are counter-productive to teams?
Drawing a parallel between clinical medicine and project management, the first part of this series introduced the concept of team health and the applicability of physical exam techniques to team management. As our series concludes, we explore the last of four techniques: auscultation.
The traditional approach to resolving project delays by throwing resources at the problem is full of issues. Unless we find a more effective way of managing resources, our success will always be limited.
Within the scrum framework, the responsibilities and accountabilities of the scrum team as a whole align to the project management activities defined within the PMBOK® Guide. Understanding how these roles align helps to determine how a traditional project manager can transition into a scrum team on an agile project using the scrum framework.
Cultural awareness is an important aspect of leadership in a global environment. Reviewing the nine dimensions of culture, with suggestions on how to benefit from these dimensions when managing teams with cultural differences, will enhance your projects and help you make a positive social contribution.
As organizations become more project-savvy, the concept of portfolio management is gaining some momentum. While inherently complex to set up, manage and measure, a portfolio results in benefits that are worth the pains involved. The question is, what do organizations need to know and do if they wish to take up a portfolio management approach?
E-Business applications are changing the face of the business and are impacting the groups within corporations that were previously unaffected by traditional IT applications. New development tools and techniques are changing the way IT applications are built and implemented. This calls for a paradigm sift in the project management approach, too.
In today’s rapidly changing corporate environment, innovative projects often must be completed in a very short time frame. After a thorough analysis of different methods and tools, the authors developed the Risk-Driven project management method (RiD) to facilitate the creation of complex enterprise value. Applying the 12-point maturity-value-success metric (12-point MVS metric) can help ensure proactive risk monitoring.
Last month we looked at how agile methods provide multiple opportunities for embracing proactive risk management. This month’s article extends risk management beyond the project manager role and introduces the benefits of making it more of a collaborative team exercise.
When discussing the ins and outs of program management, you are likely to encounter a variety of opinions. The nature of the program should drive how the program is managed–and by whom. If the wrong model is applied, there is likely to be an organizational disconnect followed by dismal results. Consider these differences between project-centric and process/event-centric views of programs…
The best project managers are those that are certified or have a degree in it. Believe it or not? If you do, you need to read on. If you don’t, you need to read on. There’s plenty of other myths in store, so you’re in luck! This article reviews some of the most popular myths that you can expect to hear. Let’s start with the debunking…
How do the business functions of project, program and portfolio management bring about change within organizations? In Part 1, where we establish context, the author looks at two examples when he asks why some succeed where others don’t.
As the divergence between different types of project managers continues, there will be additional trends developing that seek to take advantage of the changing project landscape. It’s one of those emerging trends we look at here—the idea that project management, or at least some project management, can become an outsourced function.
Adopting and maintaining an appropriate project methodology is vital for organizational success. The purpose of this article is to explore and analyze project methodologies that find common application in effective project management.
The Agile mindset can be applied to activities beyond IT and product development, but it will require important critical changes to program management methods. The biggest transition is not in reengineering processes but in a management approach that involves different expectations, working relationships, incentives, metrics and reviews.
Continuity risks directly impact an organization’s ability to continue its services or objectives. Drawing on the best practices of business continuity management (BCM), the author explains how formulating a responsive plan to manage continuity risk provides benefits to robust project performance.
Your project work climate may be bad enough for you to have to use an unusual set of workforce management techniques to be successful. (Would you tell an overworked worker to do something extra?) In our concluding chapter, a third signal specific to contingency workers and their improper management is explained.
Earned Value Management (EVM) is the systematic integration and measurement of technical (scope), schedule, and cost accomplishments in a project or task. EVM provides both the public and private industries the ability to examine detailed schedule in
The question many people have with outages is on how to manage them. Should they be treated as a project or a process? The key to a successful outage is a detailed preparation plan followed by smart monitoring of critical parameters.
The organizational world within which project managers operate is going through rapid and unprecedented change, driven by forces of globalization and digital technology. So, the choice is yours: change now, become PM 2.0 and survive. Don’t change, and await extinction…
Like everything else in life, the project management field has changed enormously over the past two decades. For newcomers contemplating breaking into it, it’s essential to understand how the field has evolved.
Question: How much more can they heap on a project manager? Now I’m being asked to handle the benefits management for this project. There was nothing about this in my PMP prep course, or on the exam. Is the latest trend that anything no one wants to do becomes the responsibility of the PM? How do I proceed when I don’t even understand what this is?
A. Benefits management is now often asked of the project manager, but you should position yourself as the process facilitator, not the “responsible party”. Otherwise, they’ll blame you if the project benefits aren’t realized.
B. Benefits management has to do with salary, union contracts, insurance, 401K plans, sexual harassment concerns and training classes. It is rightly positioned in the human resources department, not in a project environment.
C. Since the outcome of your project is the sole indicator of whether or not the business objective will produce revenue, tracking benefits realization logically fits into the responsibility of the project manager.
D. Tracking benefits management is a time inhibitor in a project plan. For that reason, if your project is to finish as estimated, benefits management should be outsourced to a third-party organization.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!
The project workflow framework enables even the inexperienced project manager to use detailed step-by-step guidance, examples, tools and practical advice, freeing experienced project managers to manage programs and portfolios and promoting better use of project resources to reduce the cost of projects across all industries.
There are four possible styles of project management. Which particular characteristic might be more dominant than the others? In the first part of this series, we looked at two styles of project management: the Planner and the Expeditor/Coordinator, which are focused on the process and the pace, respectively. In this part, we will look at two other styles that are focused on the product and people dimensions.
Agile approaches help manage risk for projects. Is it possible to scale agile approaches to programs? Yes, and there are four areas to consider: backlog management, product architecture, managing risks across the program and explaining program state.