Managing a Portfolio of Accidental PMs
How do you steer a portfolio managed by a "mostly accidental" group of Project Managers?
PPM Software is becoming more "accidental-friendly" and Brightwork is a great example of that. Recently we spoke with Eamonn McGuiness, CEO of Brightwork to get his perspective on how to best manage those who consider PM a role they play rather than a profession. Here are his responses to our questions...
Eamonn: Oh man, only three words… you’re breaking my heart! But if I have to give just three, they would be:
Projects, Success, Easy.
Hopefully you can see how those go together to create the BrightWork vision.
Dave: What type of business and/or end-user is Brightwork MOST useful for? (e.g. - Small Business vs. Large, PM Mature/Not PM Mature, Line of Business Projects/IT Projects, Professional PM/PM as a role, Industry, Large/Complex One-offs vs. highly repeatable small projects)
Eamonn: These classifications are very good, so let me talk a little bit about these in relation to BrightWork.
So to summarize the answer, the real strength of BrightWork is that we specialize in the mix of project management scenarios.
Dave: How would you compare Brightwork to Microsoft's Standard Sharepoint offering? How does it compare in terms of both collaboration and PPM/EPM functionality? In terms of price?
Eamonn: When you think of SharePoint you think collaboration. It does just what the name says – it is a place to bring your team together to work, share and collaborate. But for those organizations that want to go a step further using SharePoint to manage projects and across portfolios, they will note that there are boundaries to the out-of-the-box project management functionality.
Microsoft has built SharePoint as a platform that is designed to be extended. So where SharePoint is collaboration, BrightWork adds project and portfolio management functionality, such as:
SharePoint has a free version, called SharePoint Foundation and there is also a version that you can pay for called SharePoint Server. Now SharePoint itself does not include PPM, but that functionality can be obtained through licensing a third party tool such as BrightWork on premise, or in the cloud paying per user per month. BrightWork pricing can be found on our website.
Dave: Does the Brightwork Portfolio Management offering work best in a loosely structured or tightly structured environment?
Eamonn: BrightWork is uniquely qualified to fit a mixed structure environment, so let me explain that. We have developed a really simple framework for project and portfolio management on SharePoint that allows organizations to start in where they are ready, and then add more process as needed, or use some combination of the two.
Here is a really simple spectrum we like to share. Across the top of the diagram it goes from left to right, starting with a little bit of project management, to a lot on the right. Then down left hand side, you see we have four workloads such as managing projects, managing portfolios, managing demand and managing work. Then we said well, you could manage projects with a little bit of project management or a lot, so we built templates for each. You can manage portfolios with a little bit of project management or a lot, and we built templates for those too. So all combinations of work and process are built into the product as SharePoint templates.
It’s a very simple approach that we encourage our customers to use and adapt to their own situation. For example, they might have several routine projects in a Project Lite template, a few complex projects using the Structured template, and then you manage across all those projects with a semi-structured Project Office.
Dave: How do your best practices templates work? Are they based on proven methods and how does one decide if a particular template might work for them?
Eamonn: The idea behind the templates is that they allow you put in whatever project management practices you desire and give that to the project team as a starting point. You give the people a SharePoint site that is a set of rail tracks to guide project managers and teams. It is a very pragmatic approach to getting started.
The SharePoint templates are based on project management best practices, and are intended to give organizations a fast starting point to manage their project work. The templates enable teams to get started quickly with the amount of process that is necessary for the project at hand. The choice of which template to start with is governed by two main factors. One is the amount of project management that the project needs to be successful and secondly, the amount of project management that the team is capable of absorbing. The templates are also designed to help you to evolve your project management maturity to where you want it to be.
Dave: What percentage of your portal customers customize the application to integrate with their internal systems? What are the drivers behind that decision?
Eamonn: This would not be the primary concern for the majority of our customers. Most of them are more concerned with getting project management up and running really well, as opposed to integrating with financial, budgeting or other internal systems right off the bat. That type of integration would typically occur in a later iteration.
Dave: You talk about having a structured approach to implementation and rollout. In your mind, what are the three most important factors when rolling out any sort of Project or Portfolio Management toolset?
Eamonn: I think you might expect me to call out factors like: a commitment to project management, the aptitude of project management resources and the availability of training. And those are three factors that are very important to the process.
But at BrightWork we like to use a quote from the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, and that is: “That which we learn to do, we learn by doing.” So the best way to get good at project management, is to practice project management. With that in mind, here is our approach:
1. Start quick – with the amount of project management your team needs and is able for, and get some quick wins.
2. Stay relevant – decide the amount of project management you aspire to achieve, and then gradually build up to it bit by bit as needed.
3. Evolve at pace – make the deployment process a series of projects itself, in which you deliver an amount of project management quickly, get feedback from the team, and build that into the next iteration.
16 MORE Project Management Templates to Save You Time and Improve Your Performance
Happy February & thank you again for being Members of the ProjectManagement.com community!
This month, in addition to our usual "template release", we are including 5 NEW templates from our friends at PMI as well as 3 of our own new templates!
Download these quick before they're back in the PREMIUM library! These are all examples of premium content available 24/7 to our Premium Members. However, they are free to every registered member through Fri . We hope these make your life a bit easier – helping us fulfill our mission of making YOU more successful. If you are not already a Premium Plus member but would like to be, Premium Plus membership is available at a $50 discount using the code "KEEP50".
The following premium templates are available to all ProjectManagement.com members until 3/14. We hope you find them useful.
How Active Is Your Project Sponsor?
According to the recently released 2014 PMI Pulse of the Profession report, only 63% of projects have active sponsors. However, Active Project Sponsorship was again listed as the TOP DRIVER for project success.
Just in case you are having some issues (or just want to tune things up), here are a few resources on the site that could help:
Best of luck and may you have better sponsorship than a European soccer player.
Happy December & thank you again for being Members of the ProjectManagement.com community!
Download these quick before they're back in the PREMIUM library! These are all examples of premium content available 24/7 to our Premium Members. However, they are free to every registered member through . We hope these make your life a bit easier – helping us fulfill our mission of making YOU more successful. If you are not already a Premium Plus member but would like to be, Premium Plus membership is available at a $50 discount using the code "KEEP50".
The following premium templates are available to all ProjectManagement.com members until 12/18. We hope you find them useful.
PM Personal Branding - 5 Things to Know
I just stepped out of Bill Richardson's session at the PMI GC, called "The Power of Promise:What Every Project Manager Need to Know About Personal Branding". It was a great session because it was less about "why you should do it" and more about "how".
He began by describing what your personal brand looks like and walking you through each component. Here are the five things you need to know about your personal brand. For the sake of brevity I'm just listing the elements out here, but if you take a moment to think about each one - I think you'll get a lot out of it.
1. It all begins with a unique promise of value. What do you bring to the world that no one else does?
2. There are 3 aspects of your brand:
3. These imply questions that you should understand the answers to:
The answers here can be positive or negative, but you should know what they are.
4. These then map to your Conviction, Potential, and Reputation. These are the outer layer that people see most.
5. Your brand is a promise of value and it's an asset [that you must care for and cultivate].
So what do you do with that?
You begin by writing down your Brand Profile, which looks like this:
Then You Grow Your Brand
- Focus narrow and deep (making yourself more "special")
- No failure, just feedback (view your experiences this way)
And Protect Your Brand
- Confront Reality
- know Your KPIs
- Adapt or Die
Finally Promote Your Brand
- Share What You Know
- Pay Attention to What People Value and Need
- Express Yourself
- Deliver Change that Works
He closed the session with a really great statement, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." So once you've established a brand and are passionate about it - let people know how much you care and they will too.