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Friday, 16 February 2018 02:58

Who Are Green Stakeholders?

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this content is from the TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2018.14.02

Who Are Green Stakeholders?


Recap of GreenPM:

GreenPM® integrates environmental thinking ("GreenThink") into all of the project management processes. The point about 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. You might make most decisions the same as you do today. But there might be some decisions you would make differently.

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholders are specific people or groups who have a stake or an interest in the outcome of the project. Normally stakeholders are from within the company and could include internal clients, management, employees, administrators, etc. A project may also have external stakeholders, including suppliers, investors, community groups and government organizations.

The first part of stakeholder analysis is to determine the project stakeholders.

Green Stakeholders

The additional question we ask in GreenPM is whether there are any “green” stakeholders that are relevant to our project. In most cases I think the answer will be “no”. That is, most projects may not have any obvious connections with the environment or green concepts.

However, on some projects, with a little bit of thought, you might realize that there are some additional stakeholders that are interested in your project from a green perspective. Some examples of green stakeholders are.

  • Your internal Environmental Management Group. Check the mandate for this group to see the areas where they have an interest. You might be surprised that they could have an interest in many projects if the project manager and sponsor only bothered to ask the question.
  • The facilities organization. If your project touches on the facilities organization, you may well have some green implications. The facilities group is interested in recycling, waste handling, trash removal, office moves, cleaning, and much more. Of course, most projects don’t have a need to engage the facilities group. But if you do, they may very well have green policies that you will want to take into account on your project.
  • Procurement. If your project will work with vendors, make sure that the vendors meet any green requirements that have been established by the Procurement Organization.
  • The public or public agencies. If your project impacts the public, or a public agency, you may well fall under some environmental scrutiny. For instance, let’s assume your project requires a survey to gather stakeholder feedback. If the survey is only internal to your company then only your company would be interested in the format of the survey. However, if the survey goes to the public, you may get held to a higher environmental standard. For instance, you may be criticized if your survey extends to multiple pages. You might be scrutinized if you print too many physical surveys and you have many extra copies. You may be asked to use recyclable paper. These are just small examples. The point is that if your project has a public component you may get held to an even higher level of green scrutiny.
The prior examples show that you may have some stakeholders that are interested in the environmental aspects of your project. Some of them may be stakeholders anyway and you will just need to be aware of their green interests as well. However, in some cases, thinking about GreenPM will allow you to include some stakeholders that you may not have identified before.  

Save the World – Use GreenPM®.
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 admin@TenStep.com
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 15:18

Portfolio 101 - Six "Validates" to Authorize Projects

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this content is from the TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2018.7.02

Portfolio 101 -
Six "Validates" to Authorize Projects

When projects get approved they should be placed on a pipeline until the organization has the capacity to staff the project. It might seem that once a project makes it through the approval process there is a commitment to start immediately. This is not the case. There is one more step that has to happen before a project can actually start – authorization.

All of the approved projects cannot start at the same time. There are usually not enough resources and business focus to work on everything al the same time. Authorization takes place when a previously approved project is actually ready to start. This is the point where the budget is actually allocated to the project, a project manager is assigned, and the work is ready to begin.  The authorize step to make sure that the project is still viable. There are a number of things that need to be validated before the project begins.

  • Validate the Business Case. The time lag between approval and when the project is ready to start may have changed the Business Case. For instance, it is possible that a competitive opportunity has come and gone.

  • Validate sponsorship. It is possible that the customer and sponsor are no longer committed to the project. This could happen with changing priorities and it could also happen with a changing of the sponsor.

  • Validate staff. You should not start a project without staff availability. It is possible that the resources that were going to work on the project are no longer available.

  • Validate budget. It is possible that budget cuts, or overruns from other projects, have resulted in a lack of funding for the project.

  • Validate detailed estimates. Once the project manager is assigned, the project planning process begins. This will result in an estimate of effort, schedule and cost at a greater level of accuracy than when the Business Case was created. It is possible that the more accurate estimates prepared at this time will result in the project no longer being viable.

  • Validate priorities. It may be that nothing has changed on a project that was approved. However, business changes during the year may have resulted in a number of new projects with high priorities. These new projects may take the funding that was originally allocated to another project.

You can now see that there are a lot of reasons why a previously approved project may no longer make sense by the time it is ready to be staffed. It is usually the case that the shorter the timeline between approval and authorization, the more likely it is that the project will in fact proceed as envisioned. Likewise, the longer the lag between the project approval and readiness to begin, the more likely it is that the project will no longer make sense. If the project no longer makes sense, then it should not be authorized. 

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 admin@TenStep.com
Thursday, 01 February 2018 02:21

Remember these Ten Costs of Poor Quality

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this content is from the TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2018.31.01

Remember these Ten Costs of Poor Quality

It costs money and time to build a quality solution. You may think that it is cheaper to skip many of the quality management steps, but this is usually not the case. It is important to recognize that there is also a cost to having poor quality. These costs may not be apparent when the project is progressing, but should definitely be taken into account as part of the full life cycle cost of the solution being delivered.Examples of the cost of poor quality include:

  1. Rework. This is work that is required to fix deliverables that you thought were already complete and correct. Whenever you have rework it is a sign that your quality management process is not as rigorous as it needs to be. 
  2. Bad decisions. If there are errors in your solutions you will end up making decisions based on bad or misleading information. These bad decisions could have long term consequences for your company. 
  3. Troubleshooting. It takes time to investigate to determine the cause of errors and defects that occur on the project.
  4. Poor morale. No one likes to work for an organization or a project that has poor processes or produces poor quality solutions. Costs of poor morale include increased absenteeism, higher turnover and less productivity from the staff.
  5. Warranty work. This includes work that is performed on a product or application for free (or a reduced price) under a warranty. If your project produces a product with lower quality you will see a rise in the cost of warranty claims.
  6. Repairs / maintenance. This is work that is done to fix problems after the solution goes live. Poor quality solutions usually have much higher repair and maintenance costs.
  7. Client dissatisfaction. If a solution is of poor quality, the client will not be happy and may not buy from you again at a later date. If the project is internal, the client may not want to use the project manager and team members on subsequent projects. 
  8. Help desk. Much of the effort and cost of maintaining a help desk service is required because the users have problems with project solutions or have questions understanding how to utilize the solutions.
  9. Support staff.  Much of the effort and cost associated with a support staff is needed to maintain a solution because of problems, errors, questions, etc.
  10. Mistrust. When project teams deliver poor quality products the client starts to develop a level of mistrust with the project team and the performing organization. The client starts to believe that the project organization can never build a good product and this starts to lead to a mistrust of project team skills, processes and motivation.
Quality management has a cost. There is also a cost to delivering poor quality. One of the key points of formal quality management is that if you spend quality time on internal quality management (prevention and inspection), you will save substantially on the internal and external failure costs. In fact, the savings for external failure costs can be substantial. If you spend more time focusing on building a better quality product during the project, the cost of operating the product long-term may be dramatically reduced.

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 admin@TenStep.com
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this content is from the TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2018.24.01

Use Pareto Analysis to Solve the Most Important
Problems First


Pareto analysis can be used when you encounter multiple related problems or a common problem with multiple causes. This technique can be used if there are enough occurrences that you can categorize and count them. In other words, this technique does not work if there is just one root cause.

The purpose of Pareto Analysis is to observe the problems and determine their frequency of occurrence. This, in turn, gives you the information you need to prioritize your effort to ensure you are spending your time where it will have the most positive impact.

Pareto Analysis is based on the classic 80/20 rule. That is, in many cases 20% of the problems cause 80% of the occurrences. For example, let’s say you have a problem with a product failure, based on a number of causes. Through observation and collecting metrics, you determine there are eight causes. Rather than attacking the causes randomly, a Pareto Analysis might show that 80% of the problems are caused by the top three causes. This gives you information to know which causes to solve first.

The tool associated with this problem solving technique is the Pareto Diagram. It is a chart, graph or histogram showing each problem and the frequency of occurrence. It is created as follows:

  Developing a Pareto Diagram
1 Create a table listing all observed problems or causes.

For each problem, identify the number of occurrences over a fixed period of time.

Problem Count
Problem 1 115
Problem 2 25
Problem 3 5
Problem 4 50
Problem 5 5
Problem 6 15
2 Arrange the problems from highest to lowest, based on the number of occurrences.
3 Create a new column for the cumulative total.

Problem Count Cumul % Total
Problem 1 115 53%
Problem 4 50 77%
Problem 2 25 88%
Problem 6 15 95%
Problem 3 5 98%
Problem 5 5 100%
You could add other columns such as the severity of the problems and the cost and effort to resolve the problem.

Notice that this gives you important information. Even though there are six total problems identified, you need to resolve problems #1 and #4 first (all things being equal). That is where you will achieve the most impact. If you decided to work on problems #3 and #5 instead, the result of your effort would be almost meaningless. This does not mean that you do not want to resolve the other problems. However, this Pareto Analysis gives you information to know the order in which the problems should be resolved. It also provides a sense as to the relative value you receive for resolving each problem. Of course, you may determine that problem #6 can be resolved quickly and you may choose to solve that one early. The Pareto Diagram does not tell you what to do. It provides information to you so that you can make the best decisions. 


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 admin@TenStep.com
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The Challenges of Proving the Value of Project Management
(part 2 of 2)


Last time, I described the challenges of trying to prove the value of project management. However, this does not mean we have to throw up our hands and give up. There are some ways to derive the value. 

Estimate benefits based on industry analysts

This is usually the place to start. Although you may have difficulty estimating the value of project management, other organizations have done detailed research. If you have nothing else, you can always take someone else’s word for it. There are reports from the Project Management Institute and some consultancy groups that show savings and project improvements associated with the use of project management. I have never seen a report that stated the use of project management practices was bad.  For example, if you find a report showing a 10% savings per project, you could apply this figure to your projects - assuming you are applying similar project management discipline.

Calculating detailed benefits per project management process

You can survey each project manager at the end of a project and ask questions about the specific value they observed, versus what would have happened if they did not use a specific process. This allows you to look at individual projects and project managers. Some project managers may think they managed projects well previously and do not see a lot of incremental value in a new common process. Other project managers may see tremendous value.

In this approach you look at all the specific benefits associated with standard project management and work with your project manager to place a value on them. Examples might be.

  • Savings in time and hassle associated with better managing client expectations.
  • Savings from scope change requests that are made but not approved. For example, the project manager may say that in old projects all scope change requests were included in project scope. Instead, using good scope change processes resulted in one-third of the requests being rejected. There are cost savings and accelerated schedules associated with not doing this work.
  • There is value associated with accurate estimating. As you do a better job planning and managing the work, you should find that your project estimates become more and more accurate. This allows the customer to better manage their financials and make better business decisions. You can agree with your customer on the value this better estimating provides to them.
  • If you managed risks well the project should have had fewer problems compared to the past. You can estimate the value of fewer problems on your schedule and budget.
You would need to define the detailed criteria that would be applied to each project. Then as each project completed, the project manager (and the sponsor) would sit
down and consider the value of the project management processes that were applied.


Consider the savings from projects cancelled

Planning projects more thoroughly and managing projects more closely may result in
some projects being cancelled that might have been executed before. This is the result of more information being available regarding the total cost of the project versus the
business benefit. If a project gets cancelled based on sound planning and management,
you should take credit for this as a win for the organization, and the budgeted money not
spent should go into the value side for project management.
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 admin@TenStep.com
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