PMI Global Insights

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The Project Management Institute's annual events attract some of the most renowned and esteemed experts in the industry. In this blog, Global Conference, EMEA Congress and experienced event presenters past, present and future from the entire PMI event family share their knowledge on a wide range of issues important to project managers.

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Cameron McGaughy
Kristy Tan Neckowicz
Jack Duggal
Saurayan Chaki
Dan Furlong
Marcos Arias
Danielle Ritter
Marjorie Anderson
David Maynard
Sandra MacGillivray
Deepa Bhide
Karen Chovan
Nadia Vincent
Lawrence Cooper
Michelle Stronach
Kristin Jones
Yves Cavarec
Laura Samsó
Fabio Rigamonti
Sarah Mersereau
Gina Abudi
David Davis
Nic Jain
Emily Luijbregts
Cheryl Lee
Priya Patra
Karthik Ramamurthy

Past Contributers:

Catalin Dogaru
Carlos Javier Pampliega García

Recent Posts

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#PMIEMEA18 – Day 3 : #FutureDefiners :Trust your team, lead with agility, befriend the machine and be human

PMIEMEA18 - Conference Summary

PMIEMEA Conference - Day 3:Time flies by!

#PMIcon17 - Day 2

Today has been a really hectic day but it's been a really exciting day of listening to some great Project Managers and coaching them to a solution. One the best things about being part of the "Ask the Expert" group is being able to see so many different personalities and with such a different array of problems that they need help with. Here's a quick summary from today:

  • Dan: He's working in a government environment that has very limited project management skills and wants to help his organization implement better project management processes. We spoke about how he could sell this to his stakeholders and some pitfalls that he needed to be aware of. He's the only PMP in his organization and is trying to make the case for having his colleagues become PMP certified.
  • Sally: She was a technical project manager who was trying to transition into a Scrum Master. She was getting her certification but just didn't know where to start! How do you start being agile when you're struggling to see where to begin! We went through the initial processes that she could start with and additionally what she needed to NOT do. We then spoke about some of the issues that she's having in transitioning and what she's able to control in her transition.
  • Thomas: Thomas needed some career advice. He's a highly academic individual who works in a company that will not allow him to progress or develop. There's limited opportunity for him to develop and despite repeated requests to his managers, there's been no support or acknowledgement. We went through his options and how he can make himself more employable. We also discussed the various opportunities that networking with his local PMI chapter could provide.
  • Ruth: I spent an hour talking with Ruth about what she can do to 'find the love' in Project Management. She's been a job that isn't ideal for the past 5 years and the company is fine, the job is fine, but she's not enjoying it. We discussed what she enjoys doing and what she can do moving forward to improve her current situation and working environment. It was great to be able to leave Ruth with a list and plan of things that she can actively do moving forward.
  • Miguel: Miguel was struggling with his agile transformation and has been trying to go through the agile change with his traditional organization. We discussed the steps that he can do to help with the change management that he needs to do.

We've also had a few 'drop ins' on the couch as well which has been really fun to work together in a group and do some group coaching with people. We've spoken about: Closed industries and what you can do to break through, communication issues between cultures, working in a corrupt environment and how to talk to Senior Management.

We're going to be around tomorrow in case you want to drop by!

Posted by Emily Luijbregts on: October 29, 2017 04:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Rethinking the Charter

Since I retired after 26 years in one company, I have had assignments in various PMOs in different industries.  I’ve been in the energy sector, the insurance sector, credit card services, industrial/manufacturing, and now healthcare.  Every industry has struggled with the project charter.  What does baselining it mean? Does it ever get updated? Who should issue it? And the list goes on.  And while PMOs in all these industries try to invent the perfect process – we are ignoring one important aspect.

The project charter, as defined by PMI, does not meet the needs of today’s business!

Before you call me a heretic and an incompetent – hear me out.  The problem I have with the charter is it becomes a reformatting of existing information, bloated, and redundant – and it doesn’t provide the project team with the most important information it needs.  Shouldn’t the charter give the team a definition of what success looks like?

I propose the charter should be extremely streamlined.  After all, how many people, let along executives, will read a 14 page charter?  Many charter templates contain information that is already in one artifact and will no doubt be included in another.  I propose we throw away the bloated all-inclusive charter of today and replace it with a simple charter.

Project Organizational Wrapper

You need to have the organizational wrapper of project control structures.  If the project pipeline has a defined Demand Process and there is a demand id, it should be in the charter.   This should also be aligned to the business case information – what went into the approval, and other justifications.  No need to repeat them in the charter – they already exist in a corporate database of record.  If information is in two places – that doubles the risk of inconsistency, confusion, and delay.

If you have an integrated project management system (IPMS) that tracks project work in process – then that project id should be there. Projects assume titles and identify from the ideation phase through project initiation.  That title, or name, should be included in the charter because that’s the lingo that has defined the initiative.

Should be results focused

Once the project is ready to kick off, the work initiative needs to be focused on the results.  If your organization is mature enough to be doing Benefits Management Realization, the charter should map directly to the benefit register.  The next section of the charter should be:

What does success look like?

Quite simply – what is the vision in reality?  Knowing what success is far outweighs the value of several scope bullet points.  The definition of success can be expressed in several ways including:

Critical success factors

The essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your business or project.

What can we do in the future that we can’t do now?

How do we measure success?

Not calling for specific key performance indicators here, but should have an idea of how we will measure success.  It also provides requirements for the product and what are the critical success factors.

External/legal requirements

If you are driven by a legal requirement or an industry standard (HIPPA or an ISO requirement comes to mind) than that should be identified.  The charter must identify conformation to external factors.

What benefits are being realized?

Again, if you have a mature benefits realization process, then the entire benefits quantification/qualification should be in place and your project is delivering outcomes and capabilities to realize the defined benefits.

Organizational RACI

The charter must be able to identify all the organizations that are impacted by the initiative.  After all, how did you get high level estimates for the business case if you didn’t have a means of identifying organizations involved?  This RACI should then be driven to know which groups need to receive and approve the charter. 

Time Frame

What time frame is expected for the organization to start to realize benefits?  Let’s avoid the charade of bottom up estimates and defining the schedule after you have all requirements defined etc.  We are driven by budget cycles and funding is only approved to last so long.  This isn’t to say those things can’t and shouldn’t happen, but at a Charter level – the approval has a defined end time.  This also helps define the scope.

I have purposely omitted several pieces of what is considered part of a charter.  Not that I don’t think they are important, I do, but they belong in defined sections of the project plan.  There is no need for budget as that should already be in the business case approval – and I don’t know if it directly contributes to the definition of the outcomes and capabilities.    Scope is implied in what success looks like and the Critical Success Factors.  If during requirements definition, a question is raised that doesn’t directly support the definition of success, than it is out of scope.  Assumptions, risks, issues, and constraints are all important, but they live elsewhere.  The charter should identify the future state, not dwell on the challenges of the present state.  And the charter should be a onetime document that is not modified or have addendums.  It initiates the work – other artifacts ebb and flow during the project life cycle.

In closing – the purpose of the charter is to authorize the project manager to start delivering on the project.  It is not to cut and paste from all over to make an all-inclusive summary of all business intelligence that justified the project.  I propose to make it a lean document focused on the outcomes and capabilities and the definition of success.  Items that have a workflow/life cycle (risks, assumptions, issues, etc.) do not need to be in a charter, they are taken care of elsewhere.  A lean, concise, and easy to read charter allows the team to focus on delivering within the success criteria.

 

 

Please sign up for a 1:1 with me while at the PMI Global Conference! We can talk about PMOs, healthcare project management, teaching project management, or any other topic related to project management!

To schedule a 1:1, use the SIGN UP button on this page.

Posted by David Davis on: October 21, 2017 06:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

ATA Risk Question

ATA (Ask to Answer) for the Risk expert Mr. Maynard.

I wonder if there is a formal explanation for something I call “Organizational Accepted Risk”.  There are many risk items that I personally don’t call out in my risk mitigation strategy because the Organization automatically accepts the Risk and will deal with it when it occurs.  I mention it in my governance document, but not in my Risk Plan. Some examples of these risks are listed below:

  1. A team member leaves the organization (whatever the reason: resignation, layoffs, death, etc.)  It definitely can impact my deliverables, but.
  2. A cyber attack.  I do a lot of network projects and there is always the risk of a cyber attack taking resources (wanacry is one example).  We deal with it, but it can cause a jeopardy.
  3. Funding cut.  I treat this as an issue when and if it occurs and requires the project plan to be reviewed.
  4. Act of God – there are lots of things that can happen to disrupt the project.  Fire, hurricane, tornado, zombie apocalypse.  I don’t call these out as specific Risk items as we just accept them.  The probability is low for some areas (not too many hurricanes in Ft Wayne) 

My question: “is there an accepted best-practice for handling Organization Accepted Risk” and could you direct me to it?

Posted by David Davis on: October 10, 2017 04:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

I've Learned

Right after the Global Conference, I will be flying out to Vancouver to give presentations at ProjectWorld.  One of my presentations is on Influence and Advising as a Project Manager. This is my closing slide.

As a project manager, we are frequently in a position of advisor or influencer.  We need to understand our interactions have long term impact.  Not only for our self, but also our organization.  It's the feeling of value required in the trust relationship.  

The last bullet is most important, there may sometime be the "drop the mic" moment where you win a heated discussion - but the odds are good you will still need to work with that person - so give them an opportunity to save face.  That 15 seconds of satisfaction might be the prelude to months of resistance.  

Dave

Posted by David Davis on: October 05, 2017 12:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Are you ready for the PMI Global Conference in Chicago?

Categories: Program Management

Hi PMI family,

I am super excited and looking forward to experiencing PMI Global Conference 2017 [aka #PMIcon17] with you in Chicago and being a true #DifferenceMaker. I have been to many PMI events over the years. PMI staff goes out of their way to make events a great learning experience for all of us. So, forget everything else for few days and come in for an immersive experience. Conference has a connotation of speakers, conference rooms etc.  Yes, you can listen to fabulous speakers, but I have found the PMI events to be a great place to network and make it an interactive learning experience. From breakfast till you are so tired from hanging out with new friends at night that you have to get sleep before getting back at it again.

Bit about myself so that you can relate to the fact that I am with you in the trenches. After my grad school in Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, I started my career with Exxon-Mobil. Then I got into consulting and made it my home. Over the last two decades I have worked in the ‘Big 4’ [PWC/IBM Global Services/Accenture] consulting environment providing services to a wide range of clients from startups to fortune 500 companies. Over the years, I have worked with and walked the halls of many big brand names that you can think of including but not limited to Wal Mart, GM, Ford, Chrysler, GE, Costco, Walgreens, HP, Cardinal Health, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Dow, Caterpillar, Merck, 3M, Kraft-Heinz, Kellogg, Stanley, Black & Decker; Estee Lauder, Polo Ralph Lauren; Campbell Soup Company, Harley-Davidson.

I have had the privilege of running large complex global transformation programs. I help organizations identify technology driven projects that would have a business case [and ideally help them deliver after the $$s are approved by their Boards ]. In the last few years, digital transformation has been the focus.

Over last decade, I have been involved with PMI in many ways – chapter roles, CoPs and last few years I started with few other folks the Change Management Webinar Series that has been running consistently every month and providing 1000s of PDUs to  members. I love our Change Management audience. They have seen us make mistakes, learn from them and get better. If you are one of them, I want to give you a big hug for hanging in with us. So, please stop by and get your hug that I owe you.

At this year's PMI Global Conference, I am also part of the Ask the Expert program. If you want to discuss about career, actual problems you are trying to solve, or anything in the world of Project Management, feel free to sign up for a discussion slot.

Our official scheduled hours where you can sign up for a discussion are below:

  • Saturday, October 28th                 1:30pm – 3:00pm
  • Sunday, October 29th                    10:00am-12:00pm 1:00 – 3:00pm
  • Monday, October 30th                   1:00pm – 2:30pm

If you want to talk outside of this, please let me know and we can try and work something out. I look forward to seeing you there.

In the mean time feel free to connect:
http://linkedin.nicjain.com

http://facebook.nicjain.com

http: //twitter.nicjain.com

Posted by Nic Jain on: September 18, 2017 11:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
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