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Project Management Blog
Monday, 15 October 2007 14:55

About soft skills and project management

A key success factor for excellent project management often relies also upon the people skills of the project manager.

In order to minimize risk and ensure a successful project, project managers must not only deal with the technical project management aspects, but asses leadership skills, cultivate a motivated team, master negotiation tactics to effectively handle conflict situations and communicate effectively. Projects success can be jeopardized by things such as personal agendas, politics, poor communication and team conflicts.

And if you succeed, no matter how "good" you are,  you will never get the credit, if can’t communicate well with colleagues or clients.
Published in Blogs
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 19:58

Are You A Master?

In the April 2007 edition of PM Network, there is an article titled "Master Plan: IT executives need to develop an eye for project managers" that I would like to comment on.

The article is mostly based off a study done by Gartner Inc., in Stamford CT, USA. One sad but true statistic stated that 20-30% of IT executives "have a 'dismissive attitude' toward project management". Those are the same execs that suffer "from poor quality, late delivery and unrealistic project costs." I can related to this information from my personal experience, and would venture a guess that when you move into executives in operational areas, the dismissive attitude towards proper project management increases. The majority of IT execs seem to have seen the light and made the realization that there really is value to be delivered by well run projects by individuals who have the right skills to do so in a formal manner. 
Published in Blogs
Monday, 02 April 2007 08:43

Avoiding Hindsight Management

Growing up in rural western New York we had cold, long winters.  Natural gas wasn’t cheap even then.  With 4 sons and a chain saw, my dad would cut enough firewood to heat a big, four-bedroom, 2-story home from October to April. 
Published in Blogs
Thursday, 22 March 2007 17:35

The Accidental Project Manager

This article is intended for a particular kind of project management (PM) newbie...someone I call the "accidental project manager." Are you an accidental project manager? Here are some tell-tale signs:

Published in Blogs

Every software professional that has been part of more than one project knows for sure:no two projects are the same. Different circumstances make most software projects unique in several aspects. And with different situations come different approaches to handle project life effectively: there are mutliple ways to “do” a project. Different circumstances require different approaches.

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 25 January 2007 18:17

Project Scope

Project scope management, according to the PMBOK, constitutes 'the processes to ensure that the project includes all of the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.' Project scope management has several purposes: 

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 25 January 2007 17:41

Configuration Management

Configuration management is the term given to the identification, tracking and managing of all the assets of a project; it focuses on controlling the characteristics of a product or service (also referred to as deliverables). In a general sense, configuration management consists of the following:

 

  • The documentation of the features, characteristics, and functions of a product or service
  • The applied control to restrict changes to the features, characteristics, and function of the product or service
  • The process of documenting any changes to the product or service
  • The ongoing auditing of products and services to ensure their conformance to documented requirements
  • Establishes a method to consistently identify and request changes to established baselines
  • To assess the value and effectiveness of changes
  • Provides opportunities to continuously validate and improve the project by considering the impact of each change
  • Provides the mechanism for the project management team to consistently communicate all changes to the stakeholders.

 

Configuration management activities included in the integrated change control process are:

  • Configuration Identification - Providing the basis from which the configuration of products is defined and verified, products and documents are labeled, changes are managed, and accountability is maintained.
  • Configuration Status Accounting - Capturing, storing, and accessing configuration information needed to manage products and product information effectively.
  • Configuration Verification and Auditing - Establishing that the performance and functional requirements defined in the configuration documentation have been met.

When it comes to configuration management, think paperwork. Think about all the paperwork that is involved in documenting every single component of a system deliverable and making sure that there are no changes to that deliverable, or if there are changes, that they are thoroughly documented. Configuration management is traceable. For the exam, know that all change must be screened, tracked, accepted, approved, and the development process updated thereafter.

 

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 25 January 2007 14:56

Defining "Project"

Several definitions exist for “project.” According to the PMBOK®Guide, it is: “A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” Whichever specific definition you choose, nearly every project you manage will have many of the same characteristics. Let’s examine some of the most important ones.

At the most basic level, a project is actually the response to a need, the solution to a problem. Further, it’s a solution that promises a benefit—typically a financial benefit. The fundamental purpose for most projects is to either make money or save money. That’s why projects should be financially justifiable.

By definition, a project is temporary in nature; that means that it has a specific start and finish. A project consists of a well-defined collection of small jobs (tasks) and ordinarily culminates in the creation of an end product or products (deliverables). There will be a preferred sequence of execution for the project’s tasks (the schedule). A project is a unique, one-time undertaking; it will never again be done exactly the same way, by the same people, and within the same environment.

This is a noteworthy point, as it suggests that you will rarely have the benefit of a wealth of historical information when you start your project. You’ll have to launch your project with limited information or, worse yet, misinformation. There will always be some uncertainty associated with your project. This uncertainty represents risk—an ever-present threat to your ability to make definitive plans and predict outcomes with high levels of confidence. All of your projects consume resources—resources in the form of time, money, materials, and labor. One of your primary missions is to serve as the overall steward of these resources—to apply them as sparingly and as effectively as possible. So, there’s a general definition or explanation. Here are some examples of projects: introducing a new product to the marketplace, building and installing a piece of equipment, and running a political campaign. In contrast, the following activities are not projects: operating a manufacturing facility, supervising a work group, and running a retail business. These activities are ongoing.

There are three main characteristics of a project


   1. Temporary Endeavor
      A. Opportunity or Market Window
      B. Project team seldom outlives project
   2. Unique Product, Result or Service
       A. Project Product, Service or result is not temporary
       B. Uniqueness is an important characteristic
   3. Progressive Elaboration
       A. Works in steps or increments
       B. Coordinated with proper scope and definition


 

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 25 January 2007 06:01

PMP Boot Camp

PMP Exam Prep Classes or Boot Camps: These cram session courses are specifically designed to fill your mind with the knowledge required to pass the test. Typically a more expensive route, but very effective at helping you beat the PMP Exam. We recommend Exam Prep Classes through ReadySetPass.com, as their classes are priced mid-range and provide project managers with more understanding of real life application than that of industry competitors. Most of these courses qualify for contact hours or PDU’s, which can be used on your application with PMI. 

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