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Project Management Blog

At least once every moth will I come across a message in a newsgroup or forum that talks about the fact that "PMP Application audits are NOT random. A friend of a friend of mine told me that the PMI looks at your application and based on the profile you will get audited." These are worthless speculations. Here is why and how you should approach this instead.

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Sunday, 15 June 2008 19:06

What ARE Soft Skills?

Margaret Meloni started an interesting discussion over at IT Toolbox. She asked: "I have a question for you. If you signed up for a class called 'Soft Skills for Project Managers', what would you expect to learn? What would you want to learn?" She received quite a number of responses, many of them extremely thoughtful and with a lot of good explanations.

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Sunday, 15 June 2008 19:06

Dramatization - Do Not Attempt

Today, a TV program I watched was interrupted by a commercial. It showed a woman sitting on a chair holding a $5 bill in her hands. She then stuck that note into her mouth an began eating it. At that moment, the words "Dramatization. Do not attempt." popped up at the bottom of the screen. While I find this to be a hilarious result of the litigious culture here in the US it also got me thinking about project management. There are so many great books and methodologies available to us project managers, but somehow, the best practices that are described don't make it into most of our daily lives? Why is that?

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There is an interesting article posted on PM Forum titled UK Survey Reveals Top Three Reasons Why Web Projects Fail. The results of this survey are not surprising at all. In fact you have heard this before: scope creep, failure to meet stakeholder expectations and cost / schedule overruns are the top three reasons for web project failure. What I found enlightening about this particular article is the following statement by Damien Tanner, Co-founder of New Bamboo who said, "It is critical to get the basics right. If companies are willing to accept failings in the development process for smaller projects, there is a real chance they may not revise their processes before tackling more ambitious projects [...] These failings are set to become more prominent as companies want to develop more complex projects or bespoke solutions to unique business needs - such as social networking, e-commence and interactive elements with their customers.".

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Project Management Offices (PMOs) have always been a passion of mine. I have also had the good fortune to be working in several companies where the project management maturity was in its infancy and a PMO had to be built. This gave me the opportunity to help create 3 PMOs from the ground up. This didn't just teach me a lot it also created my passion for everything PMO. I can't explain why, the assignment of creating a PMO for a company, rolling out our creation and then seeing how it improves the company's overall approach to how we manage projects is something that gives me enormous pleasure.

Published in Blogs
Saturday, 14 June 2008 08:56

Chaotic Project Management, part 1

I always thought that writing a good spec before programming is mandatory.

I like short but frequent discussions where a project spec is being written. I found out that having a spec (Agile, or not) is something mandatory. Ever since I understood I have to demand a spec from the customer, even if I have to sit down with him and write it together (frequently), programming became a much faster and easier task to commit.

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This article is Part 2 of a series of articles that describes a process used to develop a project schedule.

Using the PERT feature of MS Project and collecting three duration estimates allowed us to develop a schedule that lacked most of the “padding” that was generally incorporated into previous task duration estimates. 

Published in Blogs
Saturday, 14 June 2008 08:56

Dumbing Down Microsoft Project

Creating a Checklist or To-Do List in Microsoft Project

Ok…so you’ve got a VERY small project, or simply a collection of tasks that you need to complete. Call it a checklist or a To-Do list if you will. You know MS Project is a powerful tool and can be used to manage very complex projects. But you don’t really need a full blown dynamic schedule, so you are thinking of creating your list in Excel…WAIT!!!

This article will show you how to “dumb down” Microsoft Project for the purposes of creating a simple To-Do list. You’ll learn some easy, yet powerful features that will make creating and maintaining a To-Do list easier in Microsoft Project than Excel.

Published in Blogs
Friday, 13 April 2007 14:06

The Author and the Project Manager

Being a project management author, I probably get asked as many questions about the process of writing a book as I do about the book itself, or even project management. It got me thinking about the parallels between being an author and a project manager.

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