Project Management

Voices on Project Management

by , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Lynda Bourne
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
Mario Trentim
Jen Skrabak
Christian Bisson
Yasmina Khelifi
Sree Rao
Soma Bhattacharya
Emily Luijbregts
Lenka Pincot
cyndee miller
David Wakeman
Jorge Martin Valdes Garciatorres
Marat Oyvetsky
Ramiro Rodrigues
Wanda Curlee

Past Contributors:

Rex Holmlin
Vivek Prakash
Dan Goldfischer
Linda Agyapong
Jim De Piante
Siti Hajar Abdul Hamid
Bernadine Douglas
Michael Hatfield
Deanna Landers
Kelley Hunsberger
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina
Alfonso Bucero Torres
Marian Haus
Shobhna Raghupathy
Peter Taylor
Joanna Newman
Saira Karim
Jess Tayel
Lung-Hung Chou
Rebecca Braglio
Roberto Toledo
Geoff Mattie

Recent Posts

3 Agile Disconnects We Need to Address

What to Expect: Anticipating and Adapting to Dynamic Economic Trends

Governance Models: The Secret to Successful Agile Projects

3 Valuable PM Lessons I Learned in 2023

The 4 P’s of Successful Modern PMs


2020, Adult Development, Agile, Agile, Agile, agile, Agile management, Agile management, Agile;Community;Talent management, Artificial Intelligence, Backlog, Basics, Benefits Realization, Best Practices, BIM, Business Analysis, Business Analysis, Business Case, Business Transformation, Calculating Project Value, Canvas, Career Development, Career Development, Categories: Career Help, Change Management, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Communication, Complexity, Conflict, Conflict Management, Consulting, Continuous Learning, Cost, COVID-19, Crises, Crisis Management, critical success factors, Cultural Awareness, Culture, Decision Making, Design Thinking, Digital Transformation, digital transformation, Digitalisation, Disruption, Diversity, Documentation, Earned Value Management, Education, EEWH, Enterprise Risk Management, Escalation management, Estimating, Ethics, execution, Expectations Management, Facilitation, feasibility studies, Future, Future of Project Management, Generational PM, Governance, Government, green building, Growth, Horizontal Development, Human Aspects of PM, Human Resources, Inclusion, Innovation, Intelligent Building, International, Internet of Things (IOT), Internet of Things (IoT), IOT, IT Project Management, IT Strategy, Knowledge, Leadership, lean construction, LEED, Lessons Learned, Lessons learned;Retrospective, Managing for Stakeholders, managing stakeholders as clients, Mentoring, Methodology, Metrics, Micromanagement, Microsoft Project PPM, Motivation, Negotiation, Neuroscience, neuroscience, New Practitioners, Nontraditional Project Management, OKR, Online Learning, opportunity, Organizational Project Management, Pandemic, People, People management, Planing, planning, PM & the Economy, PM History, PM Think About It, PMBOK Guide, PMI, PMI EMEA 2018, PMI EMEA Congress 2017, PMI EMEA Congress 2019, PMI Global Conference 2017, PMI Global Conference 2018, PMI Global Conference 2019, PMI Global Congress 2010 - North America, PMI Global Congress 2011 - EMEA, PMI Global Congress 2011 - North America, PMI Global Congress 2012 - EMEA, PMI Global Congress 2012 - North America, PMI Global Congress 2013 - EMEA, PMI Global Congress 2013 - North America, PMI Global Congress 2014 - EMEA, PMI Global Congress 2014 - North America, PMI GLobal Congress EMEA 2018, PMI PMO Symposium 2012, PMI PMO Symposium 2013, PMI PMO Symposium 2015, PMI PMO Symposium 2016, PMI PMO Symposium 2017, PMI PMO Symposium 2018, PMI Pulse of the Profession, PMO, pmo, PMO Project Management Office, portfolio, Portfolio Management, portfolio management, Portfolios (PPM), presentations, Priorities, Probability, Problem Structuring Methods, Process, Procurement, profess, Program Management, Programs (PMO), project, Project Delivery, Project Dependencies, Project Failure, project failure, Project Leadership, Project Management, project management, project management office, Project Planning, project planning, Project Requirements, Project Success, Ransomware, Reflections on the PM Life, Remote, Remote Work, Requirements Management, Research Conference 2010, Researching the Value of Project Management, Resiliency, Risk, Risk Management, Risk management, risk management, ROI, Roundtable, Salary Survey, Scheduling, Scope, Scrum, search, SelfLeadership, Servant Leadership, Sharing Knowledge, Social Responsibility, Sponsorship, Stakeholder, Stakeholder Management, stakeholder management, Strategy, swot, Talent Management, Talent Management Leadership SelfLeadership Collaboration Communication, Taskforce, Team Building, Teams, Teams in Agile, Teams in Agile, teamwork, Tech, Technical Debt, Technology, TED Talks, The Project Economy, Time, Timeline, Tools, tools, Transformation, transformation, Transition, Trust, Value, Vertical Development, Volunteering, Volunteering #Leadership #SelfLeadership, Volunteering Sharing Knowledge Leadership SelfLeadership Collaboration Trust, VUCA, Women in PM, Women in Project Management


There’s No I in PMO

by Cyndee Miller

Executive coaches love their sports metaphors. But for me, a good PMO is a lot like a killer band. From the singer to the manager to the unheralded sound-check guy, it takes everybody doing their part to get results.

At BC Hydro—this year’s PMO of the Year—everyone from the document controllers and project managers to the project directors and portfolio managers are working together.

“It’s really them who won the award,” said Ken McKenzie, vice president of capital infrastructure project delivery for the Canadian utility. “They put in the hard work every day.”

And wow, are they delivering results: In the last five years, over the course of 563 projects, BC Hydro’s projects came in an aggregate CA$12 million under budget.

Like any successful band, the BC Hydro PMO also relies on buy-in from above. “Without that executive sponsorship it’s really difficult. They’re a big part of why our PMO is so successful.”

Mr. McKenzie graciously recognized the other two finalists as well: “I’d really like to congratulate the other two finalists, Entel and Parker Aerospace.”

He encouraged other organizations to pursue the award—and not just for the cred. “It makes companies get an external perspective,” he said. “It’s a fantastic process, and I learned a lot about our PMO in the process.”

For an inside look at the three PMOs, check out videos on PMI’s YouTube channel and look for in-depth case studies on each of them in upcoming PM Network issues.

That’s an official wrap on this year’s coverage. Fear not, we’ll be headed back for more PMO Symposium action 5-8 November in Houston, Texas, USA.

Posted by cyndee miller on: November 11, 2016 03:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Beware of Instajudgments, Imposter Syndrome and Saber-tooth Tigers

by Cyndee Miller

Sizing people up doesn’t require much time—13 milliseconds to be precise. That’s how long it takes for people to read and judge facial expressions. (I really hope your face doesn’t smack of boredom as you read this.)

People say a lot without saying anything at all, leadership expert Olivia Fox Cabane said during the PMO Symposium closing keynote. And if PMO leaders want to start having better (read: more inspiring) relationships, they’d be wise to take a good, long look in the mirror.

Let’s step back for a bit, though. Rather, let’s step back hundreds of thousands of years. What’s driving all this insta-judginess? It’s evolution, specifically the necessity of developing flight or fight responses back in the time when risk registers were mainly filled with saber-tooth tigers.

Sure, we’ve come a long way, but we still make judgments every single day. Consider how you sit during a meeting. Not making eye contact? That can come across as being untrustworthy. Taking up a lot of space? That comes across as a play for dominance, for better or worse.

It can’t be all about you, you, you, either. The best leaders look out for those they manage and make sure they don’t succumb to things like the dreaded imposter syndrome. You know it, the sinking feeling that deep down, you have no idea what you’re doing in your job and it’s just a matter of moments before you get exposed. “At least 80 percent of your junior members feel it,” Ms. Cabane says.

Thing is, that’s a natural emotion. (And self-criticism isn’t necessarily all terrible—doubt leads to a desire to work harder, which leads to better skills, etc.) But as a leader, even if you can’t get rid of that tugging notion inside your protégé, you can help them handle self-doubt. “You’re the person they look to to react to how they should feel about something.”

Ultimately, Ms. Cabane said, the secret to relationships isn’t about wit or wordplay. It’s about attitude. If you want to make a difference, Ms. Cabane says, treat whoever you’re talking to “as if they are the most fascinating individual you’ve ever met.”

Unless that’s a saber tooth tiger. If that’s the case—run.



Posted by cyndee miller on: November 10, 2016 09:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Dreams Deferred and Other Leadership Tales

Customer Experience

by Cyndee Miller

Leadership, innovation, organizational culture. They’re all fine and noble topics. But people usually talk about them in the kind of lofty language that makes me want to punch them.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good corporate comeback tale—as long as there’s a good dollop of real talk.

Sometimes, it can be all unicorns and kittens. I want the dirt.

Drawing on his experience holding down C-suite slots at Boeing, 3M and GE, Jim McNerney got the mix right during the opening keynote at the 2016 PMO Symposium®—providing a solid gut-check on how even the heavy hitters lose their way.

“It’s the paradox of innovation. The most difficult projects are often the ones most worth doing,” he said.

Look no further than Boeing’s Dreamliner 787.

The Dreamliner was supposed to be just that—an airliner delivering on every aviation dream: It was going to be more fuel efficient, require less maintenance, create more space for customers, produce less humidity—maybe even cure world hunger.

Airlines lined up to put down deposits.

In reality, it was much more a dream deferred. Customers waited. And waited. And waited as the company blew past deadline after deadline.

Boeing simply flew too close to the sun.

“There were too many firsts at once,” said Mr. McNerney. “There was some degree of hubris. We made the cardinal mistake of promising a product before we had a handle on the schedule.”

But while the push for innovation might have been excessive, Boeing was able to right the ship—err, plane.

The first step back from the brink: Think beyond process and focus on molding the right culture—one that values innovation as a team sport, he said.

That kind of transformation is not going to just magically happen “by edict, email or issuing orders,” Mr. McNerney said. “You do it one conference room at a time.”

In the case of the Dreamliner, leadership recognized its mistakes and took corrective actions to get back on track. That included being brutally honest with customers about exactly what was wrong. Boeing also realized it overvalued heroic circumventing and undervalued process, so it put the focus on gated processes and risk management.

Mr. McNerney’s prior company, 3M, was no slouch on the innovation front, but it, too, had some issues. Early in his tenure, the company was creating some 3,000 new products a year, pushing quantity over quality. And business outcomes suffered.

Mr. McNerney set out to redefine what success meant: Would the proposed new product create growth for 3M? Only those projects that got affirmative answers warranted a green light. But he also emphasized that “no” wasn’t negative. It was about valuing 3M’s strategic alignment above all else.

That, dear readers, is called leadership. And for that, Mr. McNerney relied on some advice from his father: You have to decide early on whether you want to lead or to follow.

So, what do you want to do?

Posted by cyndee miller on: November 08, 2016 10:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

"Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God's gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences."

- Freeman Dyson