Voices on Project Management

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

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Cameron McGaughy
Marian Haus
Lynda Bourne
Lung-Hung Chou
Bernadine Douglas
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
Mario Trentim
Jen Skrabak
David Wakeman
Roberto Toledo
Vivek Prakash
Cyndee Miller
Shobhna Raghupathy
Wanda Curlee
Rex Holmlin
Christian Bisson
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina
Jess Tayel
Ramiro Rodrigues
Linda Agyapong
Joanna Newman
Soma Bhattacharya

Past Contributers:

Jorge Valdés Garciatorres
Hajar Hamid
Dan Goldfischer
Saira Karim
Jim De Piante
sanjay saini
Judy Umlas
Abdiel Ledesma
Michael Hatfield
Deanna Landers
Alfonso Bucero
Kelley Hunsberger
William Krebs
Peter Taylor
Rebecca Braglio
Geoff Mattie
Dmitri Ivanenko PMP ITIL

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Viewing Posts by sanjay saini

What Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

My CEO always told me that to be a good project manager, you must be an entrepreneur.

I took that seriously and started my own part-time business.

And I discovered that to be a good entrepreneur requires a lot of project management experience.

For instance, project management skills help me efficiently manage and track my resources. I don't spend more than one or two hours a day on my business, but I have clear visibility about the inventory, orders and payments. the salespeople input their data in a custom-made Excel tool and I get a daily summary report.

I also rely on my project management skills for handling vendors and suppliers. They do not over-commit, but rather rely on a well-defined scope of work and regular follow-ups for tracking. As a result, the vendors feel more pressure because if there's a delay, they know I will notice and get in touch with their superiors.

Even a small business requires project management skills and if the entrepreneur is a Project Management Professional (PMP)® he or she will rock the market.

Have you started your own business? Please share your experience.
Posted by sanjay saini on: January 05, 2010 01:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

Eye-Opening Audits

I've been preparing for the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level 3 audit along with my team for the last year and a half.

Though we were quite comfortable that we would clear the audit, we were still apprehensive when the time finally came. You can never predict the mood of the examiner. He or she may ask some unexpected questions and you'll fail.

The project team was excited before the audit and the process kicked off with a short opening ceremony. But the next five days were eye-opening.

It was like the auditor was showing us a mirror--where we stand, where we need to improve. It forced us to look at our understanding of the fundamental concepts on the software processes and the metrics we utilize.

For instance, he discussed the interdependencies across metrics. When it comes to software defect density, the value is determined by dividing total defects by actual effort. To keep defect density low, the auditor discussed that we would have to put in more time and effort. But that would increase the effort variance of the defect density formula. And it gave us something to consider.

Audits by independent people or groups help us find our weaknessess, areas of improvement and strengths. I also do audits for our internal projects and highly recommend having an audit process every month or at least every quarter.

Have you ever been audited by anybody? Please share your experience.
Posted by sanjay saini on: December 09, 2009 06:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Symbols of Great Teams

Categories: Teams

Jim Collins (author of How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In) had a famous line: "Good is the enemy of great." Those six words neatly sum up the need for a passion for excellence required for any team or organization to reach world-class standards. However, this is an abstract concept and difficult to keep front and center on a day-to-day basis.

Symbolism can be an important part of this motivation as is constant positive reinforcement.

University of Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz put up a sign that each team member touches before entering the field. It simply reads: "Play like a champion today." With its appearance, team performance "magically" improved--and the sign is now a legendary icon of the university.

Easy implementation: Copy the sign and put it in your stairwells--maybe it is truly magical.

Tougher implementation: Come up with your own symbolism.
Posted by sanjay saini on: June 05, 2009 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Planning for the Little Risks

Categories: Risk Management

How many times has this happened on your team? An engineer switches off his machine on a Friday evening, enjoys his weekend, only to come back on Monday to find out the computer won't start or connect to the network. It's a very common problem--and for teams like mine that are close to 50 people--it occurs nearly once a month.

It takes the IT team a day to get everything working again, which may push back an already delayed schedule. How do you prepare the mitigation/contingency plan for this kind of risk? It may seem minor, but how many of us even identify these types of little things as risks? We should.
 
In this instance, I suggest the project manager keep a backup machine with the required software and hardware ready for the team. I know it will cost more money, but if you are able to save a day's effort every month then it would be justifiable.

How do you prepare for these seemingly "little risks"?

See the article, Plan for Everyday Risks, Brace for the Ordinary, by Carl Pritchard, PMI-RMP, PMP, published in April in PMI Community Post.
Posted by sanjay saini on: May 06, 2009 11:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Gaining Acceptance

Every project has an acceptance criteria defined for deliverables but I wonder how many of us get the explicit acceptance from our stakeholders. In a long-running project we keep delivering to the client but rarely bother to get a formal approval on the delivery--which may create problems at the end of the project. I've experienced problems in a couple of projects because of no formal acceptance of the delivery.

Ideally, for each delivery you should ask for explicit acceptance from the authorized stakeholder and communicate that authorization through weekly status reports. This will help you in the final acceptance of the project and initiating the maintenance phase, which would be a billable effort. Then the project team should follow up with the client to get a sign-off on specification, design, code, etc.

Am I alone with this problem or is it something others have faced as well?

Posted by sanjay saini on: March 16, 2009 09:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
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