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Topic Teasers Vol. 53: Make Your Point With 'ilities'

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

Question: This is a small company and I’m very lucky. Rather than just having a project dumped on me, my boss typically describes what he is thinking about doing and he asks my opinion. The problem is that I don’t know how to evaluate his project ideas quickly and I don’t want to give him wrong advice. How can I hold a meaningful conversation without looking stupid?
A. Ask to take the idea back to your desk for a week or so. There you can confer with other employees and do additional research on his idea before you give him your response.
B. The Ilities are the group of mythical Greek women who protected Homer and saw to it that he won every battle. Use the story of the Greek heroes, who found courage by relying on the idea of protectors backing them to mentally allow you to gain the confidence to discuss the project ideas.
C. The responsibility for choosing projects belongs solely with your boss. Tell him that you are flattered that he has asked your opinion, but you feel that your role is just to fulfill the project requirements he sends to you in writing.
D. There is a list of quality checkpoints called the “Ilities”. They are also useful when evaluating a project at conception to see if it is worthwhile to pursue, or if it should be dropped.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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.

The Spin Cycle

by Andy Jordan

To try to reduce the potential for abuse in the project justification stage, organizations should consider a number of different steps. Justification isn't about selling, and business cases are not sales presentations...ever!

The Evolution of Annual Planning

by Andy Jordan

It's inevitable--organizations will change the way that planning cycles are executed. For many organizations, this is a natural extension of the commitments that they are already making--EPMOs, strong and executive supported portfolio management, and results-focused execution. For others, this is a major shift. Here we explore some of the ways that annual planning can be improved.

Partisan Politics in Agile Projects

by Don Kim

If you’ve ever been involved in a highly visible project in which major stakeholders are jockeying to position themselves to impose their own agenda, then you would have experienced project partisan politics. And If you are a ScrumMaster on an agile project, there isn't a more important impediment to get out of the way.

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.

The Waterfall Relevance

by Jiju (Jay) Nair, PMP

The basic premise for the New York state project management methodology is that there are two lifecycles in managing a software project: the Project Management Lifecycle and the System Development Lifecycle. This article briefly examines both cycles, worthy processes to follow for any organization seeking a quality PM solution.

Determining Whether to Fund Your Next Agile Project

by Ken Whitaker

Too many projects, and not enough money or resources to do them all! We need to make prioritized decisions to determine which projects to fund. Chances are that you are in a software leadership role and can’t make the final determination alone; but your expertise will certainly be called upon to help make that determination. This article presents tips that can assist you in making those “fateful” project decisions.

Facing Reality: A Few Fundamental Truths

by Mark Mullaly, Ph.D., PMP

It’s time that we face up to a fundamental reality: organizations grapple with making project management work successfully on a consistent basis. Yes, there are exceptions--and some notable ones--but on the whole they simply prove the rule. It's time for a different approach.

The Project Charter: Justify My Project!

by Andy Jordan

It scares this writer how many project managers believe that projects start with the planning phase. It scares him even more that their employers often agree.The project starts during the justification phase of the initiative, and the project manager needs to be a part of that process.

Standard Business Case

PREMIUM deliverable
by Michael Wood

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

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
by Joe Wynne

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
by Michael Wood

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.

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"America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up."

- Oscar Wilde