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Opening Day PM: How to Start on a New Project

by Mike Donoghue

Starting a project is difficult. It's important as a PM to establish who you are as a person in the beginning, particularly with respect to how you will treat the project work and the individuals who will be involved in the process.

Jekyll & Hyde PM: Managing Project Shifts

by Mark Mullaly, Ph.D., 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.

Calculating Level of Effort: How Do We Approach It?

by Jiju (Jay) Nair, PMP

Why is LOE as important for a project as other aspects like stakeholder satisfaction, cost overshoot and schedule variance? And are you approaching it the right way?

You Wanna Be Starting Something?

by Mike Donoghue

Determining the nature and scope of a project is essential to refining how the resulting effort will accomplish business needs. A crucial component of this is having the knowledge of the business environment and the demands it must meet.

Untangling the Project Organizational Chart

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Organizational charts can become a tangled mess of lines and overlapping boxes. The project manager must untangle this mess so the project can progress. Sounds like a little R&R is what we all need...

Your Project's Approved...Now What?

by Andy Jordan

The mistake that many project managers will make is that they will rush headlong into planning the project without first ensuring that the fundamental pieces of the project infrastructure are in place. What should we be doing to ensure that the project starts as smoothly as possible? Not ignoring initiation is a good start.

Achieving Olympian Goals: Five Rings of Project Success

by Rob Saxon

The Olympic rings are five intertwined circles that represent the elaborate and complex Games. Similarly, project managers can bring five rings of discipline together to manage very complex projects. Each of these rings builds upon the other--and they give the project manager a taxonomy by which to manage Olympian efforts

It’s Not About You

by Craig Curran-Morton

Want to engage all of your stakeholders quickly and communicate with them throughout the project? Stop being so selfish! It's not just about you. The decisions one PM made that supported communications on his project had mixed results, giving him some valuable lessons in the process.

Leading Through Complexity

by Joe Wynne

Leadership gaps arise as projects trend toward higher complexity. It will take some significant new skills to succeed in complex near-future projects. When you succeed with the workforce, however, much of the complexity evaporates.

PMO Risk Management

by Andy Jordan

One of the unsung PMO functions is managing risk. There are a lot of aspects of risk management where the PMO can provide tangible support to project managers in their endeavors. In this article, we explore some of that support in terms of identification, analysis and response.

Standard Business Case

PREMIUM deliverable

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.

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

deliverable

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

deliverable

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

deliverable

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

deliverable

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

checklist

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

deliverable

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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"Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans."

- John Lennon