Dealing with a Project in Trouble

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Despite all of your best intentions, sometimes the project will be in trouble. If it is, it’s time to take a step back and learn how to deal with it. Here are some things to keep in mind as you try to stop seeing red.

Stop the Madness: Proactive Project Resource Management

by Andy Jordan

The traditional approach to resolving project delays by throwing resources at the problem is full of issues. Unless we find a more effective way of managing resources, our success will always be limited.

High-Impact Project Mistakes and Remedies

by Partha S. Ghose, PMP

Projects are the manifestations of scores of complex, unique activities that vary from project to project and industry to industry. But there are certain serious mistakes that are common in nature, and that are committed in many large projects. Learn how to deal with seven such major issues that are generally prevalent in almost all projects.

Systematic Risk Register

by Jon Quigley, Kim H. Pries

A significant source of project failures are due to insufficient risk management diligence. One approach we can take to help mitigate these nightmares is through the use of a document similar in concept to the failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) methodology.

Planning, Assessing, Analyzing and Monitoring Country and Political Risk During the PMI Risk Management Process

by Fadi Shawtah, BSc, MBA, PMI-RMP, CAPM

Pursuing overseas or cross-borders business requires an understanding of the country and political risk—it is, indisputably, a key consideration. The author demonstrates how PMI risk management processes and best practices can be customized to expand the picture of country political risk assessments, identification, analysis and monitoring.

Best Practices When Dealing With Critical Situations

by Hari Doraisamy, PMP, Nick Del Grande

In a crisis, stakeholders look to the project manager to remedy the situation. The authors manage a team of critical situation managers in a large software and services company and share a list of best practices based on their team’s collective experience in dealing with similar situations over several years.

Looking at Risks: A Logical Approach

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Every project will have risks—this is simply a fact of life. But you need to know how you are going to look at and deal with risks throughout the entire lifecycle of the project. Here are five areas to keep in mind.

Project Profile: How Chevron Sustained Production in California

by Bruce Harpham

Energy firms are aware that the world is watching their actions concerning environmental impact. In this context, Chevron’s El Segundo Coke Drum project—winner of PMI’s Project of the Year Award in 2015—is well worth studying. The project was successful, delivered under budget and with an excellent safety record.

Project Task Duration Estimation and Scheduling

by Jon Quigley, Kim H. Pries

In this article, we look at the key to schedule success, historical and repeatable tasks, why schedules fail, how to eliminate the target date tango and build a schedule defense that manages the risks.

Taking Over a Failing Project

by Anand Thiagarajan, PMP

Continuing to develop a failing project is a big challenge. Improving the environment and culture to ensure successful delivery requires integrating the bottom-up approach from a small task level with a top-down orientation of strategic management. Learn how to diagnose failure and implement useful techniques.

Topic Teasers Vol. 76: Curing Repetitive Problems

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

Question: It’s always something! No matter how carefully I plan or how energetically my team works, there is always some issue that rises up to prevent us from feeling like our projects are really successful--either for us or for our organization. And the frustrating part is that the same things don’t happen each time. I don’t see any project processes that we can implement to solve this issue. Ideas?
A. You are using the incorrect project processes. If you have exhausted the ones commonly used in the United States, try PRINCE II, DSDM or DSDM Atern (agile). They have a 96.43% success rate in European countries.
B. While PMI standards try to pass along the collective wisdom of experienced, active colleagues, there are always so many unique situations that these can only be general guidelines. Sometimes you have to develop your own process to stop failures or quasi-missteps that aren’t happening in other places.
C. When projects fail, it is usually the organization’s internal processes that are at fault. If they tie your hands or don’t provide you with the lines of communication you need, you are powerless to succeed with even the most talented and dedicated team.
D. It is a misconception that any projects can achieve 100% of their goals. Average the cost, schedule and quality rates for the last 100 projects completed in your organization. If you meet those metrics, you have done an exemplary job as the project manager. Update these statistics to set new goals each quarter.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Team Stress Management

by Andy Jordan

No matter how hard we try to prevent it, there are times when our project teams feel overwhelmed. How do we manage those stressful times effectively?

Build a Better Risk Plan by Pretending to Fail

by Donald Charles Wynes

Do you have team members that don't want to be seen as negative thinkers, thus hindering your risk management efforts? This PM decided to turn things around and came up with a technique that turns finding a threat into a positive thing.

Testing From 40,000 Feet: Types and Purposes of Tests

by Wayne Watts

Testing is crucial to risk management, allowing components and systems to be put through their paces. Ignoring testing can lead to disastrous consequences, possibly even cancellation of the project. Gain an understanding of the purpose of different types of testing and where each type is appropriate.

Topic Teasers Vol. 75: Falling Down On Risks

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

Question: We’re kind of loosey-goosey on risk assessment on the projects where I work. A colleague is sitting for the PMP® exam and asked me about qualitative versus quantitative. I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t recall why the difference in the terms, but more importantly should I be using one or both on my current work? What’s the big deal?
A. If you are already certified and your projects are going well, there is no need to worry about risk assessment. These ways to evaluate risk are only for projects where public health or safety concerns are involved.
B. A rough consideration of “what could go wrong” is all that’s needed with most projects. If your projects fail to meet the time, cost or quality metrics over 79.6% of the time, you should use quantumtative assessment processes to try to find the issues.
C. Risk assessment is only mandatory on all projects that exceed a $1 million dollar budget or are being done for a governmental or international client. Regulations and your contract will both state qualitative and quantitative reports must be created.
D. For frequent small projects with standing teams that use internal resources and do little damage to the organization if they are slightly late, you may be able to get by with a very cursory consideration of project risks. But every project manager should know how and when to up their surveillance, especially if they want to move up to more complex assignments.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

The Importance of Department Ground Rules

by Erick Pino

Organizational values, project boundaries and performance expectations are all important areas that exist within every organization with varying degrees of thought and implementation behind them. Here we look at how organizational rules and norms are presented and communicated to employees and project team members, and how they can be interpreted.

Assumptions Analysis

by Stacy King

The application of assumptions analysis aids in the prevention of unnecessary work within the planning process group, which has an overall positive time and cost impact on the remaining process groups. Utilizing assumptions analysis lays the foundation for teaching the impact of prevention early on in the project's lifecycle.

Project Levels: So You Think You Know What a Level-4 Project Plan Is?

by Wayne Ragas

Outside of the discipline of cost engineering, the concept of project levels isn’t well documented. That hasn’t stopped the spread of the concept, but without supporting documentation, project managers have been left to make up their own definitions. Let’s question our own creative definitions by exploring some common themes, then look at a best practice to help clear the fog. Finally, we’ll apply what we learn to our own projects and programs.

The Importance of Project Preparation

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

No matter how much money or people are thrown at a project, it will not be successful without the proper amount of preparation. There is much that can be accomplished prior to the work beginning, and throughout the project there are key activities that must be done in order to support the project correctly.

Continuity Risk as a New Classification in Project Risk Management

by Ilango Vasudevan, PMP, MBCI, TOGAF, CSCP

Continuity risks directly impact an organization’s ability to continue its services or objectives. Drawing on the best practices of business continuity management (BCM), the author explains how formulating a responsive plan to manage continuity risk provides benefits to robust project performance.

Resolving Conflict in Project Management

by Syed Moiz

All conflicts—no matter how big or small—are harmful to projects. They all impact time, cost and our credibility. Let's bring into focus the importance of managing conflicts to ensure that our projects succeed.


"How much deeper would the ocean be if sponges didn't live there?"

- Steven Wright