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Four Tips for the Project Reporter

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Sooner or later, someone is going to ask you to report on the project. Will you be ready to make a good presentation? Here are some basic principles to get you started on being able to report on the project to a stakeholder, executive or whoever needs to know what is going on.

Rules for Surviving a Project Zombie Apocalypse

by Rob Saxon

Project issues and risks, like zombies, move relatively slowly. It’s extremely rare that a project manager will be introduced to a project one day and be overwhelmed by the same failed project the next. Therefore, like survivors of a zombie apocalypse, project managers have time to prepare--and to look for those indications that projects are turning...

Projectball: PM Lessons from America's Game (Part 3)

by Ian Whittingham, PMP

As our series concludes, we continue to examine Moneyball--and how enlightening it is with its instructive lessons about the effective use of metrics, ones that go beyond the narrow world of baseball and provide some insights into how those lessons might be applied to projects generally.

Jekyll & Hyde PM: Managing Project Shifts

by Mark Mullaly, PMP

The most significant challenge for any project manager is when projects shift modes. The shift from startup to execution, and the shift from execution to closeout, requires a change in mindset. Each shift needs the PM to adjust their focus and emphasis--and a corresponding change to how they deal with people.

Cause and Effect Analysis

by Andy Jordan

If we don’t conduct the proper analysis but rather make assumptions about what is causing a problem, then we jump to our perceived solution--and more often than not we end up wasting time, money and effort on implementing the wrong solution. This article supports the presentation for Cause and Effect Analysis and provides a more detailed explanation of how the tool should be used.

Topic Teasers Vol. 17: Doomed Projects

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP

Question: Projects come to my team with time, scope and cost set. We are expected to add high quality on our own. No matter how skilled we are, we always fail to meet these arbitrary metrics. I’m getting burned out always coming up short, and the team has very low morale. Short of finding a new company, is there action I can take to change this scenario?

A. Management teams see and know more than project managers. You are paid to work with the parameters you are given, so do the best you can.
B. Work with your team to do a slowdown. This will force management to listen to your concerns and change things to give the projects a better outcome.
C. Figure out a set of things that would help get projects started more realistically and list them in order of desirability. If you try the first one and it doesn’t work, try the next one.
D. Organizations that work in this manner are led by people who don’t understand projects. You are better off to find a job in another corporate setting where they assign projects in a way that you can always be successful.

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls: 2 Reasons to Avoid Waterfall, and 3 Better Approaches

by Rob Saxon

The waterfall methodology for projects is aptly named, because it is equally painful to try to go back to prior phases of a project once the effort has advanced to the next phase. This article will outline two reasons to avoid waterfall, and three ways to approach software projects that are more useful.

Controlling Mid-Stream Change

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

There are times when a customer or a stakeholder demands that you change your process or method of managing something on the project. How can you cope with their demands without getting swept overboard? Keep these four things in mind.

Remind, Repeat

by Chi-Pong Wong

With skyrocketing project complexity and task owners supporting multiple projects at the same time, project managers can use every bit of help to ease project controlling efforts. Leveraging calendar tools can help ease the stress.

How to Discover Quality Requirements

by Michael Wood

The road to successful requirements management begins with a quality requirements discovery process. Learn why this process can help you avoid costly mistakes, scope creep and even project failure.

Standard Business Case

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Document a business case to persuade upper management to fund your project. Keep it short and succinct enough that the busy executive management audience will read and digest it. It should directly convey the information they need to know with salient, hard-hitting, supporting evidence that addresses the bottom line. This is a basic instructional framework of the information you should include in your business case. Enhance it as you wish!

Project Concept

PREMIUM deliverable

Finding sponsors to back your project is an art. Make a compelling case for the project to gain sponsor support when you are pitching your business case to executive management. Here is an example of a brief, direct project concept designed to lure sponsors into your camp.

Risk Assessment Summary Checklist

PREMIUM checklist

This checklist is a quick and dirty way of weighing risk factors against project criteria to discover level of risk.

Business Case Planning Checklist

PREMIUM checklist

Formulating a business case and proposing your project to senior management for buy-in can be tricky. Don't dive right in and start writing. Begin with a solid checklist of guidelines to ensure a business case that's more than buzzword hype.

Business Case

PREMIUM deliverable

Mission-critical projects need to be well-justified, with clear goals that can be referenced throughout the life of the project. This business case template offers an excellent approach to goal-setting and a way to communicate those goals effectively.

Methodology Implementation Project Charter

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This is a high-level example of a Project Charter for implementing a methodology, but the structure and approach will work for many projects. This example is heavy on risks and assumptions, light on budgeting, role descriptions and conflict resolution.

ROI Calculator

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The attached tool has been developed to assist you in generating some solid payback data to be used to evaluate the return potential of your proposed method. Not only will it help the gods of finance see the light, but will also help you to understand whether your project is a winner or loser before you ever put your signature on the purchase requisition.

Tips for a Successful Business Case

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This excellent project justification guide will provide sophisticated advice to maximize the impact of your business case, making it accurate, complete and persuasive. In addition, learn some handy tips, techniques and strategies to complement existing procedures, templates and spreadsheets that you already use.

Presenting Your Business Case to Management

PREMIUM presentation

Presenting a winning business case with the right amount of the right information for the right audience is the key to getting approval and funding for your project! Here is a presentation that will give you the fine points on how to do just that.

Risk Analysis and Contingency Plan Guidelines

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No project was ever completed on time and within budget. Identifying risks associated with a project and mitigating them is a crucial activity of project planning. Managers need to not only analyze project risks, but also must develop contingency plans to address those risks.

Project Sponsor Checklist

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The project sponsor checklist describes ways for the project sponsor to provide commitment and project support in an effective, visible manner.

Application Development Risk Assessment Checklist

PREMIUM checklist

Building an application? This checklist outlines 52 potential risk areas in application development, defining low, medium and high risk levels for each. Classifying your project risk in each of these areas will not only guide you in forming mitigation strategies, but really help you focus your management attention during the course of the project.

Quick Project Risk Assessment Questionnaire

PREMIUM checklist

What's the first step in looking at the risks you face in delivering your project? Before performing a full-blow assessment, you may want to ask yourself a few simple questions. This 10 minute, 27 question worksheet will help you quickly identify a number of risk factors common to many projects. It's a great first step in looking at the risks you may be facing at a macro level.

Strategy-Focused Project Charter

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This template outlines a classic Project Charter with a focus on project definition and strategic ties. Risks and stakeholder needs are covered, but not in granular detail. It is appropriate for fairly low-risk projects where the goal is to get everyone on the same page up front.

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"I don't like work - no man does - but I like what is in the work - the chance to find yourself."

- Joseph Conrad

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