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403Click Here to Listen to the interview: http://bit.ly/PMPodcast403
Read More: http://bit.ly/PMPodcast_403

Advanced product quality planning (or APQP) is a framework of procedures and techniques used to develop products in industry, particularly the automotive industry.

This interview about APQP with Marygracesoleil Ericson (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded one day before the excellent Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Marygracesoleil was an attendee of the congress (not a speaker) who contacted me and suggested that we do an interview on a topic relevant to her industry. She is the PMO manager of a car audio equipment manufacturer, leading a team of program managers who build designs and coponents for the audio divisions in the automotive industry. If you have a premium sound system in your car then you might be using their speakers.

For more information about APQP please visit the APQP Wikipedia Page.

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402Click Here to Listen to the interview: http://bit.ly/PMPodcast402
Read More: http://bit.ly/PMPodcast-402

Here are some buzzwords for you:
Multi-generational teams. Generational shifts. Inter- and intra-generational communication. Multi-generational workplace. Millennials vs baby boomers. I think you get the idea... right? We’re here today to talk about how old I am... :-) Just kidding... we’re here to talk about generational sensitivity and diversity and how to make the best of it in project management.

And in order to explore this generational topic we turn to our "soft side expert" Margaret Meloni (www.margaretmeloni.com). She has been an IT and project manager for some time and has had the pleasure to work with people from many generations. And I’m not saying she’s old either...

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 17:15

Goals, Strategies and Objectives Explained

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this content is from the TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2017.01.11

Goals, Strategies and Objectives Explained

The definition of goals, strategies and objectives can vary from company to company. Here is the TenStep definition. I think it is a good one.  

Business Goals

TenStep does not use the term “project goals”. Goals are set at the organization level – not the project level. Objectives are at the project level.

Goals are high-level statements that describe what are organization is trying to focus on for the next three to five years. They are vague (on purpose) and they are direction-setting. Because the goal is at a high-level, it will take many projects over a long period of time to achieve the goal. The goal should reference the business benefit in terms of cost, speed and/or quality. (We call this "better, faster, cheaper".)

Goals are vague, but not too vague. If you can measure the achievement of your goal in one year (i.e. 25% revenue increase by the end of the year), it is written at too low a level and is more of an objective. If your goal is not achievable through any combination of projects, it is probably written at too high a level. Perhaps it is more of a vision.

Business Strategies

Business goals tell you what is important. Strategies tell you how you are going to achieve the goals. There may be many ways to achieve your business goals. Your organization’s strategies are a high-level set of directives that articulate how the organization will achieve the goals, and ultimately move toward its long-term vision. Strategies are more inwardly focused and usually try to leverage internal capabilities. For example, many organizations want to get better at project management. Getting better at project management will not directly align to a "better, faster, cheaper" goal. It is more of a "how" so it better aligns to strategy. Your organization could have a strategy to execute projects more effectively and a project management initiative can align to this strategy. 

(By the way, your company's Strategic Plan likely includes both goals and strategy statements.)

Project Objectives

Objectives are concrete statements that describe the things the project is trying to achieve. An objective should be written at level that it can be evaluated at the conclusion of a project to see whether it was achieved. A well-worded objective can be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART). SMART is a technique for wording the objective. An objective does not absolutely have to be SMART to be valid.

Objectives are important because they show an agreement between the project manager and the project sponsor on the main purpose of the project. The objectives should be written in a way that they are understandable by all of the project stakeholders. Objectives are also valuable since they provide alignment to organization goals and strategies. The project objectives should align to your organization goals or strategies. 


At 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.
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 17:15

Goals, Strategies and Objectives Explained

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
this content is from the TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2017.01.11

Goals, Strategies and Objectives Explained

The definition of goals, strategies and objectives can vary from company to company. Here is the TenStep definition. I think it is a good one.  

Business Goals

TenStep does not use the term “project goals”. Goals are set at the organization level – not the project level. Objectives are at the project level.

Goals are high-level statements that describe what are organization is trying to focus on for the next three to five years. They are vague (on purpose) and they are direction-setting. Because the goal is at a high-level, it will take many projects over a long period of time to achieve the goal. The goal should reference the business benefit in terms of cost, speed and/or quality. (We call this "better, faster, cheaper".)

Goals are vague, but not too vague. If you can measure the achievement of your goal in one year (i.e. 25% revenue increase by the end of the year), it is written at too low a level and is more of an objective. If your goal is not achievable through any combination of projects, it is probably written at too high a level. Perhaps it is more of a vision.

Business Strategies

Business goals tell you what is important. Strategies tell you how you are going to achieve the goals. There may be many ways to achieve your business goals. Your organization’s strategies are a high-level set of directives that articulate how the organization will achieve the goals, and ultimately move toward its long-term vision. Strategies are more inwardly focused and usually try to leverage internal capabilities. For example, many organizations want to get better at project management. Getting better at project management will not directly align to a "better, faster, cheaper" goal. It is more of a "how" so it better aligns to strategy. Your organization could have a strategy to execute projects more effectively and a project management initiative can align to this strategy. 

(By the way, your company's Strategic Plan likely includes both goals and strategy statements.)

Project Objectives

Objectives are concrete statements that describe the things the project is trying to achieve. An objective should be written at level that it can be evaluated at the conclusion of a project to see whether it was achieved. A well-worded objective can be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART). SMART is a technique for wording the objective. An objective does not absolutely have to be SMART to be valid.

Objectives are important because they show an agreement between the project manager and the project sponsor on the main purpose of the project. The objectives should be written in a way that they are understandable by all of the project stakeholders. Objectives are also valuable since they provide alignment to organization goals and strategies. The project objectives should align to your organization goals or strategies. 


At 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 TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2017.25.10

Is Technology Changing the Nature of Project Management?

From time to time, I am asked about whether new technology is changing the nature of project management. It seems like technology is changing faster and faster all the time. But is technology changing project management to any degree?

This is an interesting question. Certainly, there are a couple aspects of projects where technology comes into play.

  • It is true that many projects are becoming more and more technically complex. This is true for many projects - IT, pharma, engineering, finance, etc. It seems like many projects have some tool or technology component. However, this is not a project management matter, but it is a characteristic of the products we are building and the project tools we are using. 

  • The tools we use for project management are changing. This includes tools for  scheduling, risk management, communications and more. Client-server tools replaced mainframe tools, which have all been replaced by web tools. Today, many of the project management tools run in the cloud. The tools have also become more complex to satisfy the needs of project managers today.

Of course, Agile processes allow us to deliver solutions more quickly through short iterations. Many of these Agile projects are technology projects, but the project management approach is driven more by philosophy rather than by technology.    

All that being said, in my opinion, the actual project management discipline has not changed that much based strictly on technology drivers. You still have to manage scope. You still have issues to resolve. You still have to manage risks, etc. The various aspects of planning and managing work as a project do not necessarily change based on the technology. For example, it is true that there are new technologies for helping you build and manage a schedule. But the basic mechanics of building and managing a schedule have not really changed.

There may be some aspects of communication that have been affected by technology. Technology has given us the ability to communicate faster and in more real-time. There are also better tools for collaboration and sharing. This may be an area where technology has affected to fundamentals of project management.

So, to answer the question from the beginning of the article - has technology changed project management? In my opinion - not so much. The nature of the projects themselves may be impacted by technology, but the fundamentals of planning, cost management, schedule management, risk management, scope management, etc. have not changed so much. Project management is process-driven. Although technology has impacted the automation and speed of these processes, I think the fundamental nature of project management has not been changed much by technology.

At 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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