PM Network

Published monthly, PM Network is filled with new ideas and fresh perspectives from the profession's most experienced and engaging minds. With in-depth articles and interviews with the industry's most successful and respected project managers, this publication from the Project Management Institute sets the standard for excellence. Now you can also read select articles from the magazine on!

Ticket To Ride

by PM Network Staff

Each morning, about 90,000 passengers pass through Victoria Tube Station, one of the busiest yet smallest train stations in London, England. Infrastructure projects spanning more than 10 years and £700 million have helped, But transit sector experts warn more projects are sorely needed—and fast.

Mexico's Superpower Status

by PM Network Staff

With U.S. and Canadian vehicle sales heating up, Mexico’s automobile industry is shifting into overdrive. As the export-oriented sector produces record numbers of cars—more than 3 million units in 2014 and more than 4 million expected by 2016, according to PwC—many of the world’s major automakers are launching projects to meet demand.

Letting Go Of GMO

by PM Network Staff

The U.S. appetite for food free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has gone from a growing fad to a trend. Sales of non-GMO-labeled products grew 28 percent in 2013 to about US$3 billion, according to market research firm Nielsen. The project teams tasked with shepherding these products to market must negotiate a tricky, time-consuming process of securing—and verifying—the right ingredients.

Banking on Digitization

by PM Network Staff

The future of banking is digital. Yet despite the rapidly growing demand for online products and services, many U.S. and European retail banks have struggled to fund the projects necessary to modernize all front- and back-office operations. It’s not just about digitizing loan applications to speed up the approval process. Transitioning from legacy systems at individual bank branches to one digital system spanning the entire organization has proven especially difficult.

Energy Storage Projects Surge Ahead

by Kate Sykes

Recent projects aim to provide a solution to power outages by treating energy less like a bottomless ATM and more like a savings account--storing it when we don’t need it so we can spend it when we do.

The Cost of Quality Stakeholder Communication

by Lynda Bourne

Many people are surprised to learn the full extent of the costs of poor quality in all aspects of business. This article explores how the cost of quality in management work affects the relationships with key stakeholders, managers and customers. In doing so, it overviews how fit-for-purpose project communications provide each stakeholder with the information he or she needs. It lists four consequences of failing to provide quality information. It then identifies two sources of cost associated with quality in communication and stakeholder management: losses experienced because of poor quality or failure costs and investments made to improve quality or prevention costs.

Lean Into Savings

by Sarah Fister Gale

Lean practices have been working miracles in manufacturing for decades, driving early adopters, most notably Toyota, to the top of their markets. Given that track record, lean processes are now cropping up in project management across industries. This article examines how using lean principles can drive waste and inefficiencies out of programs and save millions in the process.

Unleashing the Power of the PMO

by Meredith Landry

When a project management office (PMO) is leveraged to its full potential, it can foster strategic alignment, improve project performance, develop future project leaders and support the success of the entire organization. But if the same PMO is left to languish without leadership and support, it can become a burden on the bottom line. This article examines how a successful PMO can be the difference between an average and a world-class organization. In doing so, it reports the results of a 2012 survey conducted by The Hackett Group, showing that of 200 large global organizations those with high PMO use had higher IT costs and failed to deliver projects with higher ROI. It describes the challenges facing organizations including implementing a PMO as well as implementing a PMO that works. It defines a successful PMO as one that works toward delivering concrete strategic benefits to the organization. The article discusses how engaging with business owners to ensure the PMO's work aligns with the organization's strategic goals and reviews how leaders need to outline the standards, processes and practices that projects across the organization will follow. It notes how to measure a PMO's effectiveness and discusses how measurement and accountability are the primary drivers of an effective PMO. It also notes how top-performing organizations invest in the training and development of their project talent, which can help increase an organization's project management maturity and boost its bottom line.

The Mobile Mindset

by Steve Hendershot

Poor communication drives all sorts of inefficiencies, and the disconnect can be especially costly in the workplace. This article discusses how mobile technology can dramatically reduce communication gaps, helping organizations run projects more sustainably and efficiently and transforming the way they do business. It begins by explaining how these new technologies have the potential to help project managers collect data, lead teams and operate equipment at maximum efficiency. Then it identifies several ways mobile technology can enhance a project team's work by enabling decision-makers to act before resources are squandered. It explains how running tight ships, monitoring remotely, keeping workers safe, wiring the developing world, and tracking smarter data will improve the project team's work and boost their efficiency.


Hungry for Feedback

by Roberto Toledo

Communication allows us to exchange ideas, solve problems and reach our intended goals. Yet one kind of interaction makes us all sweat, even though it's a necessity in project management: providing feedback to team members. This article discusses how to make providing constructive criticism easier to swallow. It examines the popular 1990s management-training model called the "feedback sandwich," and identifies its three components: base bread, filling and top bread. Then it discusses a newer model named for the communication tool's three middle layers, all beginning with the letter "F"--the "F3 Burger." The article explains how the F3 burger is based on layering information that's effective and easy to digest and discusses how it captures both positive and negative. It then lists the layers of the F3 burger: base bun; facts (meat); feelings (cheese); future performance (vegetables); and top bun.

The Recipe For Risk: Risk Appetite Assessment

by Michael Beller

Risk appetite calculations are making greater penetration in boardrooms across the world. This article overviews how organizations can look at risk appetite across the entire enterprise for assessing their portfolios. In doing so, it reports the results of PMI's 2013 Pulse of the Profession report, which found that for every US$1 million they spent on projects, organizations put US$135,000 at risk. When projects fail, the study found that an average of one-third of the projects' budgets are gone for good. It discusses how organizations can get a holistic view of risk across the portfolio, once an organization knows those risks on each project and identifies several factors that affect risk appetite. The article then details the benefits and perils of the four major risk ingredients: (1) The right tools for the task; (2) global appetites; (3) tricky recipes; and (4) the unknown ingredient. It concludes by examining the last ingredient of risk appetite: the fundamental ability to actually mitigate risks.

Finding The Competitive Edge: Bucking Mediocrity Amidst Economic Turbulence

by Sarah Fister Gale

No matter their sector or location, organizations face a highly complex business environment that demands innovation and the agility to respond to shifting global priorities. As a result, in today's complex global environment, the organizations that thrive are the ones that value project management. This article reports the results of PMI's 2013 Pulse of the Profession--the annual global benchmark research report for organization project and program management.

Big Delivery in Small Packages Through Agile

by Matt Alderton

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects are notorious for running late and over budget. This article discusses how adopting agile processes can help ERP projects stay on budget and on schedule. In doing so, it details how a consultancy specializing in ERP solutions used agile techniques and best practices on its projects to make them more productive. It then notes how ERP systems make it easier for an organization to control structured and optimized workflows and allow a real-time view on an organization in terms of key performance indicators (KPIs) using the benefit of a single source of data. It reports the results of the 2012 ERP Report, published by Panorama Consulting Solutions, reporting that 56 percent of ERP implementations went over budget. Then, it examines reasons for the overrun. In addition, the article identifies how agile techniques can benefit ERP implementations and details the benefits. Next, it reveals some of the tactical barriers that teams members often struggle with in common agile practices, including that agile was originally intended for use on software-development projects. The article concludes by identifying ways to mitigate risk for ERP implementation projects. Accompanying the article is a sidebar discussing how to sell executives on agile ERP.

Better Performance Through Team Building

by Mário HenriqueTrentim

Project success generally depends on whether stakeholders are happy with a project's results. On each project, project managers do their best to get stakeholders involved, but projects still get into trouble. This article discusses how better performance can be obtained when more time is spent on building the team. It describes how these four actions will result in happy team members: keep team members informed; get to know team members; protect your team; and use positive reinforcement.

The Cost of Quality: Tata Group Case Study

by Prasad Menon

A quality-driven program is essential to good project management. This article features the chairman of Tata Quality Management Services (Mumbai, India) discussing how his organization meets global standards for business excellence with a quality-driven program. It details the organization's use of the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) across its companies to measure how each is performing. It then provides an example of Tata's approach to project management using its US$4.5 billion, 4,000-megawatt power plant project in Gujarat, India. The article also explores the organization's approach to innovation noting that intuition and entrepreneurship can take precedence over process. It examines how quality processes help companies better manage their projects. It concludes by suggesting ways companies can make quality part of their project management process.

Life Or Death: Risk Management in Health Care

by Cindy Waxer

Poor risk management can be fatal to any project. But what happens when properly planning for risk factors really is a matter of life and death? This article examines how the staff at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago moved more than 100 critically ill children from an aging facility to the new Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

Active Participant: Self-awareness can go a long way in advancing your career

by Lindsay Scott

Self-awareness is the most important part of career planning, and it's also the most difficult. Without understanding who you are and what you have to offer, taking steps to change or improve is impossible. This article discusses how self-awareness can go a long way in advancing your career. It begins by detailing the first step toward better self-awareness. It then explains the importance of personality and values in relation to work in project management. Next, the article examines motivators and how they help you understand the opportunities that may be presented throughout your career. It looks at how understanding the marketplace will help a project effectively manage his or her career. It concludes with a discussion on resumes, online profiles, and marketing.

A Higher Plane: Tapping Into Team members’ Spiritual Intelligence

by Steve Hendershot

Spiritual intelligence is considered by some as an essential component of both personal and professional development. This article discusses how project managers can tap into team members' spiritual intelligence to create close ties to the project and improve creativity, motivation and performance. It explains the concept of spiritual intelligence and details how it is related to Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It shows how organizations that use bottom-of-the-pyramid motivational levers run the risk of inadvertently keeping their employees at the wrong end of the motivational spectrum. The article then explores how spiritually intelligent team members identify with and feel engaged by the broader mission of their organization. It overviews Danah Zohar's book SQ: Spiritual Intelligence, the Ultimate Intelligence and explains how negative drivers such as fear, greed, anger, etc., often lead to destructive behavior, while project managers who lead according to spiritual intelligence result in more positive behaviors. The article concludes by listing do's and don'ts when tapping into teams' collective spiritual intelligence. Accompanying the article is a sidebar listing the 12 indicators of spiritual development.

PMO 2.0: Resurrecting A Failed PMO

by Matt Alderton

A project management office (PMO) is designed to manage projects and improve the management of an organization. However, what happens when the PMO fails? This article discusses how to resurrect a failed project management office. It reports the results of a study by Forrester Research that shows three-quarters of PMOs fail within the first three years of being launched. It then examines how an aeronautics and space institute in Brazil resurrected its PMO with a unified strategic plan by putting portfolio management and project management into one organizational structure. It details the many reasons why PMOs fail, including lack of direction, organizational changes, insufficient resources and cost pressures. The article looks at how a business case should be developed to convince skeptical senior managers that the PMO should be relaunched and lists the important components needed in the business case, for example, services performed and metrics. It identifies three key areas that can go a long way toward giving the new PMO longevity. Accompanying the article is a sidebar listing three signs that a PMO should be closed.

Browse All PM Network Articles


"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. "

- Thomas Jefferson