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You are here: Home Blogs Displaying items by tag: performance
Project Management Blog

Fighting alter egos is tough work.  Like Dr. Jekyll striving against Mr. Hyde it can seem like a loosing battle.  This is especially true when the alter ego seem so helpful in the beginning.  Take the case of Mrs. Process.  She starts by figuring out how things are done and documents the procedures.  Working with others she finds better and faster ways to accomplish the work and incorporates them.  By performing audits and making sure that the procedures are followed she spots things before they become issues.  The problem begins when she becomes inflexible and intolerant.  As she turns over to the dark side her focus becomes the letter of the law, not the spirit.  Forms become static and any alterations are denounced vociferously.  

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 17 May 2007 15:32

Deming's 4th Point in Project Management

Consider Costs and Benefits of the Entire System and Deliverable Lifetime

The textbook wording of this point varies, but is usually something like “Stop making decisions purely on the basis of cost.” When I read the various descriptions however, I believe the textbook title is not an adequate summary.

When Deming talks about not making decisions purely on the basis of cost, he is referring to a plant perspective and talks about the importance of having regular suppliers.

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Adopt a Philosophy of Cooperation Where Everyone Wins and Teach it to Everyone

Often, projects can become battlegrounds where the project manager and team are at odds with the sponsor and other stakeholders. These conflicts can arise when the project environment is not conducive to a win-win approach.

In project planning and initiation, clearly define the WIIFM (What’s in it for me) for everyone on the project.

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Dr. W. Edwards Deming was recently re-introduced to me in my Project Performance and Quality Assurance class. I have heard of him before and touched on some of his philosophy in other classes, but focused much more in-depth this time. The majority of his philosophy around quality and organizational management resonates with me. So, I've decided to do a series of articles on Deming's 14 points, and how they relate specifically to the field of project management.

Here are Deming's 14 points, paraphrased in my words:

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Thursday, 22 March 2007 10:02

The Success Conundrum

I hope that since you are reading this, you are a project management proponent and interested in “spreading the word” so to speak.  Many of us find ourselves a lone voice in the wilderness singing the praises of project management, yet unable to make any headway. 

Why is this so and what can be done about it? How do we get those obstinate so-and-sos to listen? 

In one way we are our own worst enemy.  Our consistent success and brilliant performance is often interpreted by others as an inherent talent.  In other words, we are seen as good at project management in the same way that musicians are seen as good musicians – it’s a talent thing.   Now, not taking away from anyone’s talent, our personal attributes are not the only cause of our success – you know that or you would not be reading this.  The first hurdle then is to demonstrate that skill AND talent make good project managers, that you can learn this and be good – never as good as those of us who are truly talented, but – hey - not everyone can be the best... just us J This means that success alone can not demonstrate the benefits of project management – let me say that differently – the prevailing mindset in a capability-maturity ignorant world is that people alone create success.  

I’m not saying that a great process can overcome incompetence, it can’t.  Nor am I suggesting that you credit your achievements solely to a great methodology (you worked hard!) – so what do you do? There are a lot of actions you can take, but since I’m a PMO guy, I’ll start there.  In the case of building a PM culture, a PMO can succeed where individual achievements fall short.  A PMO is an organizational entity, and as such does not suffer from the success conundrum. 

When a PMO succeeds, the prevailing opinion will be “they must be doing something right.”  This process-oriented point of view is an opening into organizational consciousness.  If you don’t have a PMO, consider creating a community of practice around project management.  Meet with other PMs and share ideas and practices.  Publish these on the company’s intranet (if you have one).  Send emails on PM topics or print articles and pass them around. 

I’ve really had some good luck with sharing short articles and ideas via email.  In fact I just sent another one using Josh Nankivel’s article on Theory of Constraints.  The cartoon is great, and fun communications never hurts!   So that’s my first two cents, PMOs and other PM-based organizations are a great way to demonstrate and communicate the benefits of our profession, get together with your peers and spread the word.

 

Published in Blogs
Saturday, 10 March 2007 05:59

Managing Project Knowledge

For an organization whose fundamental work is the delivery of projects, it is extremely important that projects are viewed as a source of learning.


Project delivery is a process that produces an abundance of knowledge. Project teams encounter problems, assess and monitor risks, evaluate baselines, watch budgets and finance and manage stakeholder needs and expectations, as they do, they generate knowledge that is contained within the team.

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Monday, 26 February 2007 14:34

PMP - Success Story

When I first thought of setting the PMP exam, I had one main objective in mind. To widen my horizon and gain the necessary skills to deliver projects.

Many of my colleagues, not all, were basically aiming for a certificate. This in my view is not sufficient to demonstrate one's ability in project management.

It is very important that we consider the PMP as a step forward, and not an end in itself. For indeed with the skills proven by the attainment of such a reputable certification, one can improve project performance by applying the principles of project management on the ground.

Published in Blogs
Saturday, 27 January 2007 17:33

Risk Monitor & Control

This is the process of identifying, analyzing, and planning for risks. The PM keeps track of the identified risks, reanalyzing of existing risks, monitoring trigger conditions for contingency plans, monitoring residual risks, and reviewing the execution of risk responses while evaluating their effectiveness. It is done by using techniques, such as variance and trend analysis, which require the use of performance data generated during project execution. Project work should be continuously monitored for new and changing risks. Other purposes of Risk Monitoring and Control are to determine if:
Published in Blogs
Saturday, 27 January 2007 16:53

Performance Reporting

PERFORMANCE REPORTING

Performance reporting involves six things:

  • Status reports How’s the project right now?
  • Progress reports How complete is the project? How much more work remains?
  • Forecasting Will this project end on schedule? Will the project be on budget? How much longer will this project take? And how much more money will this project need to finish?
  • Scope How is the project meeting the project scope?
  • Quality What are the results of quality audit, testing, and analysis?
  • Risks What risks have come into the project and what has been their affect on the project?

The goal of performance reporting - The purpose of reporting is to share information regarding the project performance with the appropriate stakeholders. Performance reporting is done on a regular schedule.

  • Performance reports - These are the results and summation of the project performance analysis. The Communications Management Plan will detail the type of report needed based on the conditions within the project, the timing of the communication, and the demands of the project stakeholder.
  • Change requests - Results of performance may prompt change requests to some area of the project. The change requests should flow into the change control system for consideration and approval or denial.

 

Forecasts - Have a basic understanding of Forecasts. Forecasts are updated and reissued based on work performance information provided as the project is executed. This information is about the project’s past performance that could impact the project in the future, for example, estimate at completion and estimate to complete.

Communicating change - Performance reports and change requests are an input to the following Change Control Processes:

  • Integrated Change Control
  • Scope Change Control
  • Schedule Change Control
  • Cost Change Control

 

Note: The project plan is one of the key inputs to performance reporting. The project plan contains the WBS, the project scope and requirements, and other documentation that can be used to measure project progress and performance. Other inputs to performance reporting are the work results. Work results can be examined and measured for quality, time spent completing the work, and the monies required to complete the work results. The work results, as progress reports or completion of work results, can be measured against the estimates and expectations to reveal variances. The Communications Management Plan will detail how values are measured, for example EVM, and at what point variances call for communications to the appropriate stakeholders. The last inputs to performance reporting are other project records, such as memos, product description, and other information relevant to the project. For example, a customer may request project status updates every quarter, regardless of where the project is in its timeline. Or a project may have multiple vendors whose contracts require differing levels and types of reporting from the project staff. This is a communication requirement that would be in the Communications Management Plan.

 

 

 

 

Published in Blogs
Saturday, 27 January 2007 16:27

Project Communications

Common sense and your own experience will play a large role in your ability to answer the questions on this topic.

Communication Processes defined: Communication is the link between people, ideas, and information. Project Communications Management includes four processes:

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