PM Network

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PM Network is the award-winning professional magazine published monthly for members of the Project Management Institute. This blog will highlight some of the publication's valuable information and insights, keeping you up to date on industry trends.

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Robot Readiness

Scope Creep is On the March

Embracing the Change

Convenience Rules in Healthcare Project Niche

Falling Through the Gender Gap?

Robot Readiness

Categories: automation, robotics

Are you ready for robotic coworkers? Is your organization ready for a partly automated workforce? If these questions are coming up where you work, you don’t want to miss the July PM Network® article “Bots Onboard.”

Implementing robots on staff requires readjustments. It is a trial-and-error affair, so most organizations are starting small. One example is Millennium Hotels and Resorts in Singapore. The organization piloted a hospitality robot at one of its hotels to deliver guest-requested amenities to their rooms. The testing phase showed how the robotic coworker can make staff jobs easier.

NASA invited four robots to join its shared services center team to automate certain financial processing activities. The project team faced a challenge right away with the bots: how are they to be credentialed to work with sensitive material? The decision: Robots get an agency user ID and government email account and gain system access just like any new user.

The robots had to be trained to do their tasks and then user testing ensured that the appropriate information was captured to track lessons learned.

The article quotes shared services center enterprise service division chief Pamela J. Wolfe as saying her unit is mining ideas from NASA employees on other uses for automation. “If we think it’s right…we look at the requirement, what priority it has and what benefit it yields."

Appropriately enough, Ms. Wolfe concludes “The sky is the limit.”

What has been your introductory experiences with robotics and automation in the workplace?

Posted on: July 16, 2018 03:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Scope Creep is On the March

Categories: scope creep

When I first became familiar with the work of project managers, I thought the term “scope creep” was amusing. I pictured a slow version of the gelatinous substance that was the namesake of the horror movie “The Blob.”

Of course, scope creep is not amusing at all. To see a project’s requirements grow and grow, almost unstoppably, while schedule and budget remain the same, is one of a projects manager’s ultimate horrors. And unfortunately, scope creep itself is creeping. PMI’s Pulse research shows that scope creep now affects 52% of projects, up from 43% five years ago.

July PM Network® dives into the creeping creep and looks at what might be causing this trend. Heightened expectations and a faster delivery pace may to blame, but competition should never be used as an excuse for scope creep.

Scope creep can be tamed: Identify what’s out of scope at the start. Have more continuous and fluid engagement with key stakeholders. Tell them the consequences of the extra features they crave. Build contingencies and shorten the feedback cycle. Beware of those who say agile approaches eliminate the need to control scope creep.

Believe it or not, there is an upside to scope creep. Sometimes new requirements provide opportunities. With a project plan that considers the entire enterprise, project managers can justify scope expansions that create long-term value.

What are your experiences with scope creep? Do you also see scope creep “on the march”?

Posted on: July 02, 2018 01:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Embracing the Change

Categories: change, organizational agility

Whether you call it transformation, evolution, revolution or pivoting on a dime…change is here, change is there, change is everywhere. June PM Network® offers you a special section that will help you embrace change.

First, we look at change achievement. A big gap exists there—one which project managers can help bridge by thinking more strategically. PMI research shows 92 percent of executives say organizational agility is critical to business success. But just 27 percent of those executives see their organizations as agile.

If you think that statistic is something, here’s another eye-opening number: McKinsey predicts that there will be an additional 2.4 billion middle-class consumers in the world by 2043. Demographics are a big change-driver.

The special section on change is chock full of insights from all levels of project managers and executives giving their takes on achieving success in change initiatives—such as the importance of having a vision, and balancing growth with efficiency. One article stresses how critical it is for change project managers to have sharp people skills, especially listening skills. After all, change is hard and leadership through change is necessary.

How is change going at your organization?

Posted on: June 04, 2018 09:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

Convenience Rules in Healthcare Project Niche

Categories: healthcare

You probably have heard of the growth in projects in the healthcare sector. While a good part of that growth has to do with IT and electronic health records, there is another area of healthcare, particularly in the United States, that is doing very well. It is facilities-based and centered around convenience. The May issue of PM Network takes a close look at this niche.

There is definitely a need for this type of facility. Patients coming to large hospital emergency departments can wait hours for care. Healthcare organizations are building smaller facilities such as urgent-care clinics, clinics in retail pharmacies and microhospitals. These places fill gaps in the healthcare landscape.

An additional benefit for organizations creating these smaller facilities is that they can embed themselves further into the communities they serve.

Speaking of communities, project teams need to be aware of the demographics of the locations they are entering. Younger residents need different types of health services than older residents.

Another key consideration is speed. With the healthcare delivery landscape evolving quickly, there is a need to beat competitors to the market. A major hurdle for teams to overcome is regulations, which vary state by state.

The United States is not the only locale for convenience-based healthcare projects. A startup company in the United Kingdom seeks to create a network of private accommodations for hospital patients, easing overcrowding at hospitals. In China, an online medical startup has created more than a dozen “internet hospitals,” connecting patients remotely with doctors via IT systems, and serving more than 150 million users.

Posted on: May 22, 2018 10:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Falling Through the Gender Gap?

Categories: gender, women

PM Network’s May cover story is all about the gender gap in project management. If you wonder if that gap is being bridged, check out a couple of infographics contained within the story—warning, they are depressing.

“Losing Ground” cites a World Economic Forum 2017 report that estimated it would take (get ready for this) 217 years for women to reach economic parity with men. And another sidebar, citing statistics from PMI’s own Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey, shows that the average salaries for men in project management are a lot higher than average salaries for women in the field—for example, US$11,218 in the United States, or INR290,506 in India.

The article features a panel of four project practitioners speaking on the state of women in project management. The three female panelists note the domination of men in the engineering, software and transit fields. However, one of these panelists says her digital consultancy prefers women for the project management role. The male panelist, who is in the nuclear power industry, says there are a lot of women in on-site leadership roles.

Two of the women relate how they had to overcome gender-related career challenges, one by literally acting in a job she wanted for herself in order to be offered the opportunity, and the other by spending more time and effort than men earning her reputation (which she says feels like an unfair challenge). One panelist notes that women outperform men in emotional knowledge and control.

The panelists advise organizations wishing to drive gender equality to concentrate on empowering women to make decisions, have strong sponsors who will allow women to flourish and elevate women into leadership roles. They should also build awareness around the gender gap and set objectives for creating gender parity. Women seeking gender equality at their own organizations should advocate for themselves and work around gender stereotypes and prejudices.

What is your experience with the gender gap?

Posted on: May 01, 2018 09:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)
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