Assumptions have to be made if a project is going to progress, but when those assumptions are made without being consciously noted, they are unlikely to be checked and confirmed or adjusted. This simple template provides a framework for capturing and monitoring assumptions.
Backing up can mean many different things, especially in project management. None of them are easy, however. Here are three different kinds of “backups” that you need to keep in mind during a project...make sure that you know the best practices and the best processes to ensure success.
What do the Titanic and Van Halen have in common? They're going to help illustrate how being freaky can make you a better project manager. In the concluding installment of this series, our expert looks at four more problem-solving principles from a popular book.
One of the first questions when starting a new project is: What resources do you need? Outlining these needs to executive management is paramount in securing project success, so keep these four tips in mind.
What's the difference? From time to time, organizations find themselves in a dilemma trying to decide whether they should use an in-house PM or PM consultant to manage important projects. Being aware of the tradeoffs and making conscious decisions on each is the best way to minimize unintended consequences.
Oftentimes, project managers are talking about risks and it seems that no one is listening. Learn to use the risk management process to affect the project in a positive way using these four guidelines.
Your ability to properly anticipate risk executives’ needs and involve them into the management of your projects will set you apart from those who do not have this ability. These tips covering justification, communication, vendor selection and more will help you build this important skill.
Lessons learned can be a valuable resource to future projects. Collecting them should be a priority for the project team even when they cannot see the immediate benefit of it. Keep these four tips in mind to help the process run smoothly.
Question: We have a massive internal change coming, and lucky me…I get to head the project! We have tried this before and had to pull back because of negative employee reactions. I know that this time we need some change management processes, too, but who is responsible to do that part of the project?
The good news is, it’s you. You need to take the responsibility and coordinate the change processes in with your usual team activities.
The good news is, it’s not you. Focus on the project and on meeting your metrics of time, cost and quality as usual. Corporate management is responsible to make sure employees accept and use these new changes.
The PMO is “where the buck stops” when endeavors move from simple projects to create products or software and billow out to vague objectives like “employee acceptance” and “corporate compliance”..
Ask your manager. Your project charter is limited to producing the usual product or services and your team is not skilled or experienced in change management processes. Your manager can deal with getting the changes accepted and getting them to stick.
When a schedule starts to slip, the project manager should be ready to jump in and get things back on track. Here are some strategies the PM can use that do not involve forcing everyone to work 80-hour work weeks.
Having a schedule process is sometimes more important than having a schedule. A schedule without a process to keep it up will turn into just a wistful dream about how one person thinks the project should go. Here are some points to ponder.
A project can get in a great deal of trouble when the tail starts wagging the dog instead of vice versa. Here are some issues to look for so that the project manager can keep a tight hold on the project leash.
There is no silver bullet that will allow us to remove all uncertainty, but we can apply some business intelligence practices to the concept of annual planning to at least increase our confidence levels and reduce the risks around the decisions that we make.
Some people enjoy project work, and some do not. Turning a project into something that no one wants to work on is truly an accomplishment--but not one to brag about. Be on the lookout for these four warning signs…
A lot can happen during planning and requirements. The business may be discovering what it wants for the first time, or stakeholders may see what the solution demands. Those are just a few of the creatures lurking in the dark...
Project issues and risks, like zombies, move relatively slowly. It’s extremely rare that a project manager will be introduced to a project one day and be overwhelmed by the same failed project the next. Therefore, like survivors of a zombie apocalypse, project managers have time to prepare--and to look for those indications that projects are turning...
One of the most important things to have is self-awareness--we have to recognize when it is we as project managers that are causing the problems, and when our team members are telling their colleagues about horror stories where we are the bad guys. Here are three swivel-eyed demons to watch out for...
As our series concludes, we continue to examine Moneyball--and how enlightening it is with its instructive lessons about the effective use of metrics, ones that go beyond the narrow world of baseball and provide some insights into how those lessons might be applied to projects generally.
The PMO needs to ensure that the information contained in that database of historical information is organized in a way that not just the data can be retrieved, but also that the context of that data can be understood. If we don’t, then not only may the information not help PMs, it could lead them to significant errors in their planning.
If we don’t conduct the proper analysis but rather make assumptions about what is causing a problem, then we jump to our perceived solution--and more often than not we end up wasting time, money and effort on implementing the wrong solution. This article supports the presentation for Cause and Effect Analysis and provides a more detailed explanation of how the tool should be used.
Everyone loves a good project management horror story--especially ones where the writing was on the wall and failure so very predictable. With the season in mind, here are one expert's all-time favorites. Can we learn from these blunders?
Question: Amazingly, my team and I have come up with the idea for a very clever, innovative product and have secured time with the board to present it for potential production by our employer. We would get a cut of the profits. What do I need to consider in order to present the most professional case for getting this produced?
Why take a percentage of the profits when you could have it all? Find an entrepreneur to back you, quit and make a fortune.
Check with other organizations with similar production facilities to see what costs will be and where it is best to buy raw materials; then you have a realistic selling price to present.
Use social media to begin to build demand for this item. If you can show the board a high number of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube hits, they will be convinced to support you.
Think beyond the product itself to other considerations from the corporation’s point of view. Bring in information on more than your design, and show you would be valuable business partners.
When things go crazy, how do you ensure that process doesn’t suffer? PMOs will benefit from having a “process-lite” concept that could be used in emergencies--and more importantly, a framework for determining when the approach could be used.
Given the fast-paced environment within which most project managers operate, it is only natural that the closeout phase of the project lifecycle is often addressed in a rush. A closeout survey using one of the many tools available today is one approach to consider.
"The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer."