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Evaluating Consultants

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Just having bodies in seats is not enough for success; it needs to be the right bodies at the right time. When a project involves a consultant, it is important to evaluate the resource and not take their resume or proposal at face value.

Making Project Management Information Systems Agile

by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP

When one PM was asked to list the key requirements for a PMIS that would enable it to better support project and organizational effectiveness, he thought about past project, portfolio and program management experiences. The result? A “dream list” of features for a PMIS to support large, traditionally managed projects...a list that was surprisingly agile.

How Successful Are Virtual Project Teams?

by Ken Whitaker

The software development industry has migrated more and more to a virtual, telecommuting industry. But recent headlines have solidified the battle lines regarding virtual teams. Are they good or bad for employee morale and productivity?

Why Planning Can Be Bad

by Mike Griffiths

Why would you not always do as much planning as possible before starting a project? Could it actually be harmful? It all depends on the quality of that input data--when the input data is good, we can reliably plan; when the input data is bad, then we need to get better data and keep evolving the plans.

The Path to the PMP (Part 8)

by Bruce Garrod

Quality Management is a difficult knowledge area for people to connect with as they study for the PMP exam. Sadly, PMI also recognizes the weakness and includes plenty of questions to test your abilities.

The Vendor-Client Conundrum

by Laura Burford

What each vendor and client might think is black and white about their project can actually be gray. Just recognizing and accepting this is a conundrum--and resolving it requires aligning perspectives for the good of the project. Do you have the flexibility to change, collaborate and communicate?

Hiring a Consultant: What to Do, What Not to Do...and Why

by Mark Mullaly, PMP

Is "consultant" a dirty word? Many consultants get a bad name from the fact that they become indistinguishable from the organizational employees that they work alongside. How do you know that hiring a consultant is a good idea?

The Key to Optimum Outsourcing

by Jiju (Jay) Nair, PMP

Some studies have indicated that the real benefits of offshore outsourcing can be diminished by issues in communication, skill sets and accountability. But if managed properly, offshore IT projects can reap substantial rewards.

The Pros and Cons of Consultants

by Michael Wood

What comes to mind when you ponder the possibility of engaging a consultant? Dread or excitement? The high cost or opportunity for growth? Most of us have heard good things and bad things about using consultants, most of which are true.

The ABCs of Always Beneficial Consultants

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Consultants can be a helpful resource on a project or they can take up valuable space. Here are some ideas for the best way to deal with consultants and make sure they are beneficial to the project.

The Consulting Relationship: A Matter of Trust

by Andy Jordan

Many consulting engagements see frustrated consultants because they are not allowed to do what they feel is needed to maximize the chances of success. Here, we look at how these scenarios can be avoided--something that starts with trust.

Keeping the Schedule on Track

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

If the schedule only exists to track what happened, it is a fairly useless tool. It will be glad to talk to you about the project and tell you how horrible things are, but that is not what project managers need. Here are some ideas for using the schedule to help the project instead of just using it to document failure.

Defining Failure

by Andy Jordan

PMs don’t always have the right view of what makes a project successful. Our discipline has evolved and now requires us to have a much more complete view of how our projects impact organizations. Just how do you define "failure"?

Where's the Quality?

by Andy Jordan

In software development, testing is one of the most important functions. But too often, there is a fundamental problem: We aren’t always testing the right things. Where’s the quality? Testing is a relative exercise, not an absolute one.

Quality Analysis in Project Management

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Quality analysis and quality management can be a full-time occupation for an entire team of people on a project. Unfortunately, not all projects have the scope or resources available to hire a quality team to work on a project. This article explores some basic guidelines for using analysis to manage quality on a project.

Flashlight or a Flood Lamp?

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

There are many different methods a project manager can use to rebaseline the project plan. Unfortunately, the one most often used is reactive instead of proactive. Approach your rebaselining event in a careful and methodical manner to make it worthwhile and benefit the project.

The Green Machine

by Rob Saxon

Now is a great time for us as project managers to consider how we might change our habits for the better. It’s very easy to get trapped into a set of activities without examining how we can improve our delivery. By incorporating the three “Rs” (reduce, reuse and recycle) we can better manage our projects.

Finding Green in Our Projects

by Mark Mullaly, PMP

Adoption of LEED standards is typically framed as a means of reducing operating costs; the greater expense in designing and building sustainable facilities is offset by reduced energy consumption in future years. This becomes a theoretically easy business case that should be readily accepted: an investment in current periods providing future savings in costs. The challenge, however, is two-fold: it requires foresight and a willingness to invest in the long term, and there needs to be confidence that the promised benefits are realistic and attainable.

'A' for Analysis

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Analyzing information and data is a very important skill for a project manager in all phases of the project. Are you getting an "A" for analysis effort?

Sustainability and Whole Lifecycle Thinking

by Andy Jordan

As environmental concerns and sustainability become bigger issues across all aspects of society, there is an argument for taking a rather longer-term view of product development--the concept of whole lifecycle thinking, ensuring that the costs of the product are considered from birth to retirement. What can project managers do to help develop and implement the concept?

Green with Envy?

by Michelle Stronach

One writer understands the need for carefully considering the impact and consequences of our decisions and actions, but why project management? Isn’t it everybody’s responsibility? But after researching and pondering the options out there, she realized that being green is actually pretty easy sometimes...and important.

The Truth About Projects (Part 1)

by Tom L. Barnett, PMP

Welcome to "The Truth About Projects", a popular new show that helps save you from missed budgets, blown timelines and under-performing or under-delivering projects by answering your questions on all things project management! Caller, you're on the air...

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

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