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You are here: Home Blogs Displaying items by tag: Project management
Project Management Blog
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 21:00

Team Sports and Project Management

If you spend a reasonable amount of time working on projects, you are likely to hear team members use sports metaphors. This is a positive trait. Sports metaphors can be great motivators and examples of “how to do things.”

Beyond the metaphors, can methodologies in team sports suggest core practices for project management? We think the answer to this question is yes.

There are many similarities between project management and team sports. For the purpose of this article, we focus on eight areas that we feel are particularly relevant.

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Thursday, 02 June 2011 21:49

Nine Fundamental Steps to Project Success

85If you are an experienced project practitioner you may be asked at some point, ”What are the key things that a Project Manager should do in order to be successful?” There is no one-line, simple answer to this question. Success depends on many factors, including the organization for which you work, the power granted or bestowed on the project manager, the responsibilities they are given on their project, and other influencing criteria. Having said that, we have found over the years that there do exist certain factors which, when done well, usually influence success. Let us elaborate.

First, we must establish your expectations as the reader. The nine steps we put forth in this article are not a “Holy Grail” for successfully managing a project. They represent actions which, if undertaken with purpose and meaning, can help set your project on the path to success, and keep it on that path. Think of the nine steps in this manner: if you are planning a road trip by car, there will be many steps to your plan (many of which you will do automatically); check that your vehicle is in good working order, ensure you have a map of the route, be certain that you have fuel, and so on. Some steps in this plan are more critical than others. This is the same principle we are applying to these “success factors” for project management. The nine steps are not in a sequence; whilst Step 1 will be undertaken before the others, the others may be undertaken in a different order.

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In mid-2010, we wrote an article about project communications which focused on the challenges and techniques of communicating in a virtual team. We gave some examples of when to use different communications mediums to suit the task at hand. In this follow-up communications piece, we talk about some of the nuances of working in an international project team, and in particular, some things to bear in mind when you communicate with, and present to people from cultures different from your own.
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Here’s a question for you to quickly consider: effective risk management underpins a successful project – true or false?

Was “true” your first reaction? We believe that you’re right. All three of us are strong believers in the positive value of a well-managed and controlled approach to project risks. An Internet search for “images of risk management” will return many illustrations of dice being rolled. If it is done well, risk management measures the uncertainty involved when you “roll the dice” during your project, and allows the Project Manager to obtain a consensus on how to best handle risks and unexpected events on the project.

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 21 April 2011 19:34

Project Management for the Small Business

If you walk into the offices of many small businesses, you are likely to see notes sticking either on or in close proximity to the desks of the people employed there. Such “reminder notes” are usually serving as prompts and/or notifications for projects or other operational work on which they are working. In the case of small businesses, the project plan may be held in a file; sometimes, it may only exist in the mind of management. With the low-cost tools available today for small-scale project management, and the value of project management being increasingly recognized by many in the government and in corporate sectors, why do some small businesses choose not to take advantage of formal project management techniques and tools?
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Tuesday, 12 April 2011 13:21

Under-Promise and Under-Deliver

Question:

I hope you can help me. I have a problem setting too high expectations for myself and my team. I am an overachiever and I normally can meet high expectations. But I keep forgetting that the rest of the project team does not have my same ability so it seems like we are always falling short of expectations in the client’s eyes. How can I learn to set more reasonable expectations so that the entire project team can be perceived as successful?

Wanda

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Monday, 11 April 2011 01:50

The PM Survival Toolkit

Close your eyes and picture this. You have been set a challenge to trek through one of the great deserts of the globe, perhaps the Great Sandy Desert of Australia, the Mohave of North America, or the Sahara of Africa. As you prepare for your challenge, you calculate the distance, temperatures, walking speed, amounts of water to take and other critical factors that will undoubtedly influence and determine the success or failure of your challenge. You also begin to assess the skills required; survival skills, endurance, how to identify poisonous creatures, and the like. In your planning for this feat of endurance, you must prudently consider every detail and balance the risks and rewards associated with the items you pack for the trip. Due to the limits on the tools and rations you can select, only essential, value-added items will be taken. Several items are sure to make it into your pack: a knife, a map, a GPS, a compass and water to name a few.

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There are many aspects involved in successful project and program management: hard work, experience, good teamwork, solid processes and work practices, having good tools with which to work, adopting and displaying the right behaviours - the list could go on. This article focuses on two aspects of project/program management - the processes and the tools we use as program and project managers - and asks: what comes first - the process or the tool?

We do not seek to discuss the merits of different project management tools and techniques, nor will we examine the differences between program and project management; rather, we put forward what we hope are thought-provoking points for you to consider.

Published in Blogs
Monday, 07 March 2011 11:03

Best Practices for Small Projects

small_projectSmall projects, though often overlooked, can make up the bulk of the portfolio and are crucial to a company\'s success.  They might not involve large sums of money, but the fact is that if managed improperly, these small projects can add up to some major costs in the long run.  The good news is that project managers need only apply standard best practices to these smaller projects in order to manage them more effectively.  Here are the top 3 best practices that can and should be applied to all projects, regardless of size.

Visibility into Resource Allocation

Let’s say you want to assign 40 hours worth of project work to Jack, and you need him to complete it this month.  Before making that assignment, do you know for a fact that he has the time to get it done?  Are you sure he isn’t going on vacation, working on someone else’s project, or spending the month in meetings?  Project managers must know who is available to do the work before they assign tasks to people (or, better yet, before they decide to take on a project at all).  Simply assigning tasks to team members without regard for their current and future allocation, including upcoming vacation time, is unwise.  The goal might be to complete the project on time, but it will never happen unless the resources are, in fact, available when you need them to be.

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Monday, 07 March 2011 05:00

Is the PgMP® Credential Right For Me?

PMI_ProgramGareth, Gary, Jeff, and Brian are PgMP (Program Management Professional) credentialed through the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. (In fact, that's how we met, became good friends and collaborators on articles.) We know from personal experience what it takes to obtain. Additionally, in early 2010, Jeff and Brian did a study and presentation on the overall results and benefits of having the PgMP credential, based on a survey of 225 PgMPs, over half of the PgMPs credentialed at the time. Their benefits study was one of the focus topics at the 2010 PMI North America Congress in Washington, DC.

As we weigh the value of the credential, let"s first consider the PgMP credential itself. Per PMI, the PgMP credential is intended to "recognize advanced experience, skill and performance in the oversight of multiple related projects and their resources, aligned with an organizational objective." We won't be going into the formal details and process steps to obtain the credential; that information is readily available through the PMI. However, the PgMP credential process can be broken down to three main areas or steps:

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