Project Management

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Whether it’s in-person or virtual, PMI events give you the right skills to complete amazing projects. In this blog, whether it be our Virtual Experience Series, PMI Training (formerly Seminars World) or PMI® Global Summit, 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
Julie Ho
Heather McLarnon
Kimberly Whitby
Laura Schofield
Michelle Brown

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Johanna Rusly
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Dalibor Ninkovic
Dr. Deepa Bhide
Chris DiBella
Nic Jain
Nicholas Sonnenberg
Karen Chovan
Jack Duggal
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Scott Lesnick-CSP
Antonio Nieto
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Te Wu
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Fabiola Maisonnier
Erik Agudelo
Paul Capello
Kiron Bondale
Jamie Champagne
Esra Tepeli
Renaldi Gondosubroto
Mel Ross
Laura Lazzerini
Kim Essendrup
Geetha Gopal
David Summers
Carol Martinez
Tai Cochran
Fabio Rigamonti
Archana Shetty
Geneviève Bouchard
Teresa Lawrence, PhD, PMP, CSM
Randall Englund
Kristy Tan Neckowicz
Moritz Sprenger
Mike Frenette
O. Chima Okereke
David Maynard
Nancie Celini
Brantlee Underhill
Claudia Alcelay
Sandra MacGillivray
Vibha Tripathi
Sharmila Das
Gina Abudi
Greg Githens
Joy Beatty
Sarah Mersereau
Lawrence Cooper
Donna Gregorio
Seth Greenwald
Bruce Gay
Wael Ramadan
Fiona Lin
Somnath Ghosh
Yasmina Khelifi
Erik Rueter
Joe Shi
Michel Thiry
Heather van Wyk
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Barbara Trautlein
Steve Salisbury
Jill Diffendal
Yves Cavarec
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Stephanie Jaeger
Diana Robertson
Zahid Khan
Benjamin C. Anyacho
Nadia Vincent
Carlos Javier Pampliega García
Norma Lynch
Emily Luijbregts
Susan Coleman
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Louise Fournier
Quincy Wright
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Mayte Mata-Sivera
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Karthik Ramamurthy
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Yoram Solomon
Cheryl Lee
Kelly George
Dan Furlong
Kristin Jones
Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin
Olivia Montgomery
Carlene Szostak
Hilary Kinney
Annmarie Curley
David Davis

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What you don't like about someone is what you like about them.

Tips for managing a cross-functional team

This sounds very self-conflicted.  But it’s not.  I’ve found that with a project team of highly skilled people, there’s at least a few people that will *really* bug you.  They’ll get under your skin and annoy you in team meetings.   The project manager’s first instinct is to “deal around” them.  In other words, don’t get them involved important aspects of the project.  Leave them out, don’t ask them questions, don’t get their opinions.  You’re hoping that maybe they’ll get the message and leave the rest of you alone.

This is absolutely the wrong thing to do You need the pests, you want the pests, the pests are your BEST friends!  LOVE THE PESTS!  Don’t get annoyed, simply smile and say “thank you!)  When these people annoy you and the project team, they’re showing a unique quality that will, most likely, be very useful to everyone.

The best way I can think to explain what I mean is by picking a few personalities that stick in my mind.  These are my recollections of real people, and there’s a chance they’ll recognize my description of them.  That’s OK.  They know we’re all friends that worked long and hard together.

Here are some of the best and most frustrating team mates I’ve ever worked with


Always Wanting More Detail

I must say this is typically considered an engineering oddity.  I have it myself.  Some of the best engineers are NEVER EVER satisfied with the information they have.  This behavior isn’t just restricted to engineers though.  But, when I’m typing this, I’m thinking of our reliability / maintainability person.  He never had enough detail to calculate reliability numbers or to insure we met our maintainability goals.

  1. They are really annoying when the goal is foggy (you don’t like them)
  2. Great when the goal is identified (you like them!)
  3. Helps drag all the dreamers back to reality (you like them a great deal)
  4. Can’t get them onto the next task (you really don’t like them)

Whiner / Complainer

These folks will complain about every step in the project, every deviation, every change, everything that’s not what they think it should be.   These folks are the first choice to work-around, do without or leave out of any project decision.  That would be a big mistake.  Here’s a few test cases:

  1. Awful to work with in a high-pressure environment (you don’t like them)
  2. Great for helping identify risks! (you like them wonderfully!)
  3. Helps avoid “group think” problems (you not only like them – they may save the entire project.)
  4. Not good with the customer (you really, really don’t like them)


These folks want to negotiate every detail in the project.  “Can’t we do it differently – everyone does it this way?”  “Let’s get the two teams together and work out a solution.” This is *after* it’s all be decided. 

  • Irritating during a team decision making session (you don’t like them)
  • Wonderful when dealing with suppliers (you like them!)
  • Great when the project gets in trouble (you like them!)
  • Not fun when you can’t get something to work as it should (you REALLY don’t like them)


We all have a list like this of different personality types we’ve worked with on teams.  The key is when the annoy you and everyone on the team -- remember this when you DON’T like them.  But sooner or later, this person will help the project a great deal. 

Embrace the jerks on your projects – they may be your best friends!

Please comment with a list of your favorite project jerks! And remember that's what you like them for.  



Posted by David Maynard on: September 18, 2016 07:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Focus on Project Measures That Matter

Tips for Managing a Cross-Functional Team


My goal is to communicate the challenges, fun and “things that have worked” in managing projects team that has widely different backgrounds, experiences, education, and understandings.  Informational diversity is based on different functional, educational and industry backgrounds that constitute information and knowledge resources upon which the team draws. 


The project team members should be cognizant of other parts of the project – this is especially true for cross functional teams, or teams with high informational diversity.   Not only that, but the project manager should know exactly how the project is doing.  The Project Manager must understand the course the project is going in and attempt corrections if things are drifting too far off.

The problem with this simple concept is that there is simply too much information to absorb for multiple disciplines and multiple projects.  It’s in different technical languages, it changes daily, it requires an in-depth understanding of each discipline.  The team doesn’t have time to learn how or what the other disciplines are doing and complete their own efforts.  Even if that were all possible, not enough time exists to absorb the information and manage the projects

So, the question becomes, when managing a cross-functional team, what information, or indicators should be used to judge the health and direction of the project.  It must be a subset of all the information the project team possesses.  The key is to focus on “measures that matter.”  And, to do that, it’s important  to understand the differences between leading and lagging project information.


Lagging information is something that gives us a window into the past.  It’s something that HAS happened. It’s nearly impossible to drive a car down a road while looking only in the rear view mirror, but that’s exactly what most projects do.  They concentrate on LAGGING information. 

leading vs. lagging information

Some of the most popular Project Information to be collected and digested fall into the LAGGING category.  In other words, “How we did in the past, will tell us how we’re going to do in the future.”   Ask yourself, is that true?

Here are a list of popular project LAGGING indicators.

Lagging Indicators

  • Backward Looking
  • Tracking Progress
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Defect Rate
  • Scope change requests
  • Overdue tasks
  • Earned Value

Wouldn’t it be better to find, discover and measure LEADING indicators?  Things that tell is where, to the best of our knowledge, the project is heading?    Certainly!  But like most good ideas in project management, it’s very difficult to identify and track leading indicators.   But we must make an attempt. 

It’s quite possible that a project’s best leading indicators are not a clear-cut single measurement.  It’s more likely that the course and direction of the project is best determined by a function arrived at by examining several indicators at one time.  Performance measurement “To-Complete-Performance-Index does this. But that method may not be a good fit for your project.  You’ll need to explore and discover your own.

Leading Indicators

  • Forward looking
  • Predictive
  • Performance Goals
  • None are intrinsically a leading indicator
  • Leading Indicator = f (measure, time, interpretation)


If you have predictive or forward looking indicators for the health of your project, you’ll be able to look in the same direction you’re driving your car in.  That’s useful!  It’s also very difficult to arrive at meaningful leading indicators.  It will require a team effort, failures and patience.

Pay attention to the rail road crossing sign (leading information).  Don’t wait until disaster strikes to understand your status. 





The first five blogs:

  1. Herding a group of cats, cows, sheep, goats, dogs and llamas….
  2. How hard is it to herd a group of cats, cows, sheep, goats, dogs and llamas?
  3. Cats, cows, sheep, goats, dogs and llamas *CAN* be herded.   -
  4. Things that have worked leading Informationally Diverse Teams -
  5. Things That Have Worked Leading Project Teams @ NASA
Posted by David Maynard on: September 13, 2016 02:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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