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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2017.15.06

Check Off These Eight Items Before Starting Project Execution

So, you have just been assigned as project manager. Should you start running around 100 miles-an-hour building things? No, before you start executing, make sure these items are in place.

1. Sponsorship. All projects need a sponsor. It should be easy to find this person, but if not, spend time to identify the person that will fill this role. If the true sponsor is too high-level to fill the role, ask them to delegate to someone that can fill the role on a tactical week-to-week basis.

2. Work definition. Your success will be measured against your ability to deliver against your plan. So plan wisely. We call this "define the work". Before you start executing make sure you know what you are doing. This includes understanding the project objectives, scope, assumptions, constraints, dependencies, etc. In many organizations, the result in a detailed project charter.

3. Schedule. The project schedule describes the work to be completed, the sequence, the due dates and the resources. You create the schedule once you know the scope. You don't want to execute a project without having a viable schedule in place.  

4. Resources. Project management work makes up only a small portion of the project. You need resources to build the deliverables. You don't need every resource assigned before you can start executing the work, but you at least need resources for the first phase. Planning tells you what resources are needed. You must then acquire them.

5. Budget. When you build the schedule you need to identify the work and the resources required to compete the work. You can then estimate the costs of those resources. This is used to create the project budget. (Even if you are not charging the project for the resources, you still need to understand that the resources have a cost to the organization.)

6. Project management processes: Implement processes for managing time, cost, quality, change, risks and issues upfront. MPMM (www.MPMM.com) and the TenStep Methodology (www.TenStepPM.com) are exemplas of project management methodologies that contain all of the processes, templates and practices needed to manage a project - scaled based on the size of the project.

7. Success criteria. It is often overlooked, but you should know ahead of time what it means for the project to be successful. Some of these will be the result of metrics - for example, your actual costs versus your target costs. Others will be a part of acceptance criteria - for example, providing user training.

8. Kick-off. The Kick-off Meeting tells the stakeholders that you are ready to start project execution.

When these elements are in place, you are now ready to run 100 miles-per hour executing the work! 
TenStep-logo-pngAt TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2017.09.06

Use Three Communication Types in Your Communication Plan

There are three types of communication that can be included in a Communication Plan. We find these three categories to be helpful when creating a well rounded Communication Plan. The three types are mandatory, informational and marketing.

Mandatory

This includes any communication that is required by your organization. There is no reason to worry about these or debate their value. If they are required just create them. Examples include:

  • Project Status Reports and status meetings
  • Meetings with steering committee
  • Required reports to shareholders or your Board of Directors
  • Government required reports, safety reports, audit reports, etc.
This information is “pushed” (sent directly to) to recipients.

Informational

This is information that you make available to people, but they need to take the initiative to access it. You put this information in a place that people can access and you tell them that it is there. However, it is up to them to seek out and review the information. Examples include:  

  • Awareness building sessions that people are invited to attend (these are not meant as training – just to build awareness of the project)
  • Project deliverables placed in a common repository, directory, website or library that people can access
  • Frequently-asked questions (FAQ)
This is referred to as "pull" communication since it requires the reader to take the initiative to review the information.

Marketing

These communication events are designed to build buy-in and enthusiasm for the project and the solution you are delivering. This communication is especially important if your project is going to change how people do their jobs. These types of projects are culture change initiatives. Examples include:

  • Project newsletters with positive marketing spin
  • Traveling road shows to various locations to explain the project and benefits
  • Testimonials that describe how the project deliverables provided value
  • Contests with prizes to build excitement            
  • A count down until live date
  • Project memorabilia with project name or image portrayed, such as pins, pencils, cups, T-shirts, etc.
This type of communication is “pushed” to the readers.

Summary

The examples above show that project communication can take many shapes and forms. For large projects especially, the project team should be creative in determining how, what, to whom, where and how frequently the communication takes place. If the project is controversial, requires culture change or is political, the positive aspects of marketing communication become more and more critical. 
TenStep-logo-pngAt TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Thursday, 08 June 2017 05:01

Use Green Practices in All Aspects of Business

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This content is from the TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2017.7.6

Use Green Practices in All Aspects of Business


GreenPM® integrates environmental thinking into all project management processes. But green thinking does not have to be reserved just for projects. It can be part of all of your business processes. The point of GreenPM is not that you make every decision in favor of the one that is most environmentally friendly. The point is that you start to take the environment into account during the decision-making process. The same can hold true for other business processes as well.     

Green Business Processes

It can be difficult to be green. Most green initiatives today are focused on equipment, supplies and other tangible products. There is not nearly so much emphasis yet on embedding green thinking into core business operating processes. These are the processes you use to run your business. Examples include your hiring process, performance review process, financial closeout process, vendor management processes, sales processes, etc. All companies have many business processes that are used to run the business. Few of these processes have been customized to support green thinking.

For example, let’s look at a simple fictional hiring process, and see where we can add green thinking. The process might look something like this.

  • Understand skills and experience level for the position. (New - ask if there are any green requirements for the position).
  • Create job description. (New - add a section in the job description for green requirements. This gets the manager thinking about it for all job descriptions.)
  • Post position internally. (New - post electronically. Receive all resumes and feedback electronically. Don't print any documents.)
  • Post position externally to internet job boards and on corporate website. (New - validate that the external job boards you use have sound environmental policies.)
  • Evaluate candidates. (New - see if any candidates have green experience that matches any green requirements on the job description.)
  • Perform initial interviews with qualified candidates. (New - perform initial interviews by phone, not in person. Save on costs as well as environmental impact.)
  • Pass qualified candidates to hiring manager (New - send electronically, not hard copy.)
  • Conduct hiring manager interviews. (New - perform initial interviews by phone, not in person.)
  • Bring in finalists for in-person interviews. (New - set up interviews for each candidate so they only have to travel one time.)
  • Make hiring recommendation
  • Make offer
There you have it. You have just embedded some simple ideas to make this a greener process. It is not burdensome. It just embeds green thinking into the process you were going to perform anyway. Take this idea and replicate it 100 billion times on simple business processes round the world. It would have a noticeable impact.

Save the World – Use GreenPM (and green business practices!)
TenStep-logo-pngAt TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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18620099 10154596505297083 4901487093208426342 nClick Here to Listen to the Interview: http://bit.ly/2q6UbXF
Read More: http://bit.ly/2qQzBKe

Are you by any chance thinking of getting your certification as a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®? Great. Because that certification is our topic.

Today you are going to meet Jonathan Hebert (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathan-hebert-pmp-csm-pmi-acp-0712471) who not only passed his PMI-ACP® Exam, but he also got audited in the process. So he has a story to tell!

As you know, the rules of all Project Management Institute (PMI)® exams are such that we are not allowed to discuss specific questions from the exam. But we can discuss Jonathan's overall experience, how he got his PMI-ACP Exam Prep, his general thoughts on the process and his recommendations to you. So you can look forward to an experience and tip filled interview on how to prepare for and pass your PMI-ACP Exam.

Full disclosure: Jonathan Hebert and Cornelius Fichtner both work for OSP International LLC, makers of The Agile PrepCast and The PMI-ACP Exam Simulator.
Thursday, 01 June 2017 21:27

Was Your Project Successful? Ask Your Sponsor.

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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2017.01.06

Was Your Project Successful? Ask Your Sponsor.

When a project ends, many project teams struggle with whether they were really successful. Having a project scorecard can help.

Simple Sponsor Survey – Yes or No

Perhaps the simplest way to know if you were successful is to simply ask the sponsor whether the project was a success or not. This is the most direct and the sponsor is usually the person who ultimately must judge success. The sponsor would take into account the budget, deadline, quality, etc., and also make a mental determination of which criteria was most important.

And there you have it - a straight "yes" or "no" from the sponsor to the question of whether or not the project was a success. What can be simpler?

Allow a Range of Survey Answers

The problem with the simple "yes" or "no" answer is that it is black or white (all or nothing) and does not leave any room for shades of gray. Usually the sponsor will be happy about how some things turned out and disappointed in other things.

A method that allows more options is to allow the answer to be expressed in a range. For example, you can ask the sponsor "How satisfied were you with the overall success of the project?" and allow them to express their answer on a one through five scale (or one through ten). Now the sponsor has some discretion. If they are totally satisfied, they can score the project a five out of five. If they were happy about most things, but unhappy about some, they can rate the team a four out of five. This allows the sponsor to provide a little more of a gray area, while still keeping things very simple.

More Comprehensive Survey

You will probably discover that asking one question is just not enough, especially if you want to validate that certain specific behaviors are taking place. To gather more feedback, your survey just needs to have more than one question. For instance, you may have multiple questions that ask, on a scale from one to five, how satisfied the individual was with:

  • How the team communicated
  • Whether the deliverables produced were of high quality
  • Whether the team responded in a timely manner
  • Whether the team was knowledgeable in the business area
  • Etc.
This survey can also be completed by a wider range of people. You could ask the sponsor and a number of other impacted stakeholders to provide feedback.

Summary

Is your project a success or not? If your success is based strictly on your sponsor’s feedback, you can end up in an all-or-nothing situation. The more aspects of the project you take into account, the more comprehensive you are in terms of how the separate criteria get put together for the overall success level. 
TenStep-logo-pngAt TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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