The Critical Path

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Welcome to The Critical Path--the home for community happenings and events on ProjectManagement.com! This is where you'll find community news, updates, upcoming events, featured member posts and more. We'll also be showcasing hot topics in the project management arena and bringing you interviews with industry experts. The Critical Path is our primary way of getting news out to members, so be sure to check back for updates!

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Marjorie Anderson
Kristin Jones
Danielle Ritter
Dave Garrett
Carrie Dunn
Craig Dalrymple

Recent Posts

March Book Club

March Community News You Can Use

Deadlines for Nominations & Application for PMIEF Awards & Scholarships

Call for Presentations at Global Conference to Open Thursday, 2 March.

February Book Club

March Book Club

We are excited to announce the ProjectManagement.com March book club!  The book club provides an opportunity to participate in webinars and discussions around selected books relevant to the overall practice of project management.  The book club occurs in three parts:

  1. Opening pre-recorded webinar which will be used to introduce the book. During this 30 minute pre-recorded webinar, the author will provide a high level overview of the concepts in his/her book, familiarizing participants with the information.
  2. Discussion thread on ProjectManagement.com with input from the book club host and author.  During the last week of the discussion, questions will be collected to present to the author in the closing webinar.
  3. **PMI-member exclusive** Closing Q&A live webinar with the author responding to questions submitted both through the online book club discussion thread and during the webinar.  The webinar will be a panel style discussion with open dialogue between the moderator and the author.

The first 25 PMI Members registered for the closing book club webinar will receive a complimentary copy of the book and will be notified via email.  Additional participants will have the opportunity to purchase a copy of the book at their own expense.  All community members will be able to view the book club opening webinar and participate in the discussion forum.  PMI members will be able to participate in the book club closing webinar.  We will evaluate the content of each opening and closing book club webinar to determine the eligibility and breakdown for PDUs.   

Our book club book for March is How to Manage Complex Programs by Tom Kendrick.

Tom Kendrick, PMP, is the program director for Project Management and Agile Management for UC Berkeley Extension and a faculty member of the American Management Association. His professional experience includes 20 years with Hewlett-Packard and five years as an internal project management consultant for Visa Inc. He has also directed projects in the United States, Europe, and Asia for General Electric, DuPont, ADP Network Services, and as an independent consultant. He is the author of Results Without Authority, The Project Management Tool Kit, and Identifying and Managing Project Risk.

About the book:

Large-scale programs involve many projects and countless jobs. As program manager, you’re charged with coordinating the thousands of distinct actions this requires—managing the deliverables, workflow, and staff that comprise all the interconnected projects (possibly spread across the globe!)

Whether you’re already managing a program—or looking ahead to filling that role—you need a repertoire of practical, dependable approaches to plan for and control the often competing demands you face every day.

How to Manage Complex Programs delivers exactly what it promises: high-impact techniques for handling project workflow, deliverables, and teams. These techniques will enable you and your program staff to convert large-scale undertakings into collections of smaller, well-managed projects. While the scope will remain complex and layered, the information and techniques presented here will allow you to manage them coherently and efficiently. These strategies can be applied to any program, and are especially well adapted to high-tech undertakings.

To every topic presented in this manual Tom Kendrick brings nearly 40 years’ experience practicing and teaching project and program management. In clear, accessible text, amplified by diagrams, graphs, and real-life examples, Kendrick reveals the fundamental concepts and proven approaches that will help you master program management.

Step by step this book will guide you through controlling the structures and hierarchies that make up a large-scale program, from initiation through execution and finally to successful closure.

  • Break complex deliverables into manageable chunks
  • Control program scope
  • Develop credible, workable plans that manage workflow dependencies
  • Conduct periodic in-depth plan reviews
  • Establish effective governance
  • Manage diverse stakeholder perspectives and priorities
  • Organize program staff and project leaders into a high-performing team
  • And much more

So much is riding on the vision, acuity, and ability of the program manager. Let How to Manage Complex Programs be your go-to resource for the broad understanding and tested, effective tactics that bring order to complexity and lead to flawless execution.

Our March book club host is Tara McCallum.  Tara A. McCallum is a CEO and founder of Tara A. McCallum Inc.; a minority woman owned business. As a strategic consultant she has partnered with such organizations as Bank of America, CHEP, VF Corporation, Accenture, and The Department of Defense.  Having worked as a consultant with various organizations Ms. McCallum has used her talents to complete projects in SAP, ERP, and OCM; often with a focus on Project Management. Ms. McCallum has also worked in Development, Training and Delivery, as well as Procurement. Additionally, she is a member of Project Management Institute, ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) and Scrum Alliance. Ms. Tara A. McCallum graduated from The University of Phoenix with a Master’s degree in Management with a specialization in Human Resources Management. She currently holds certifications from Purdue University in Lean/ Six Sigma, Instructional Design and is also a Certified Scrum Master.  In her spare time  Tara enjoys volunteering for The American Red Cross, The Boys and Girls club as a  big sister, Portamento’ of Hope – a homeless outreach kitchen, as well as her church.

To register for the closing live book club webinar, please visit the webinar page on ProjectManagement.com, find the book club closing webinar and click on the “Register for this webinar” link.

Please visit the book club information and discussion on the Project Management.com books page

For additional questions, please visit the ProjectManagement.com Book Club FAQ page.

Posted by Carrie Dunn on: March 17, 2017 01:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

March Community News You Can Use

Can you believe we're already nearing the end of the first week of March? Where has the time gone? Hopefully, the first quarter of 2017 has been productive and you've been able to do some really exciting work. And we hope the community has helped you get it done! 

To that respect, here are some updates (and upcoming events) you'll want to be aware of that can help take your work - and expertise - to the next level.

PMXPO 2017 - 10th Anniversary - That's right, it's the 10th anniversary of PMXPO and it's going to be amazing! This year's keynote is Alison Levine, First American women's Everest expedition Team Captain. You won't want to miss this annual virtual conference and exhibition, which gives you the opportunity to learn, network, earn 6 PDUs and gain valuable knowledge. The event is FREE and will take place on 27 April.  Sign up today and be a part of the excitement!

Your expertise is needed -  The Standard for Business Analysis and the PMI Guide to Business Analysis is now open for public review and comment! Lend your voice to the development of these standards. They will be open for review and comment until 28 March 2017. You can find more information here.

PMI Global Conference 2017: Call for Presentations -  Does anyone want to go to Chicago, IL USA? Better yet, if you have content that you believe will benefit other practitioners, we want to know! The call for presentations for PMI Global Conference 2017 is open! The deadline to submit your proposal is 23 March (that's only 2 weeks away), so get those submissions in today! 

When is Agile the right approach? - Most people know Agile is ideal for software development projects, since software functionality can be released in increments, but when else is Agile ideal? Eric Simms wants to know your thoughts! Join the discussion and give your opinion.

If you have any questions about community events, user guidelines, or any other community happenings, feel free to reach out to any member of the Community Engagement team. We're happy to help!

P.S. Registration for the virtual PMI Scheduling Conference 2017 is still open! The event takes place on 30 March so if you're a PMI member and you're not registered, get to it!

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: March 09, 2017 08:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Deadlines for Nominations & Application for PMIEF Awards & Scholarships

Categories: awards, community

Hard work goes into effective project management and those who excel have the opportunity to be recognized with awards and training scholarships. Nominate a colleague (or yourself!) based on their professional achievement, development, dedication, and contributions to organizations. Deadlines are approaching for a variety of awards; don’t miss out on the opportunity to be considered!

Professional Development and Training Scholarships

Applications due 1 September

The PMIEF Professional Development and Training Scholarships assist project managers, non-profit staff, school administrators and teachers.  These scholarships support the recipients’ professional development to obtain or maintain project management-related certification, credentials, course credits or substantive knowledge.

Visit the PMIEF Professional Development Scholarship Information Page to learn more about these global scholarship opportunities to help support your professional development.

PMIEF Awards Program

The Project Management Institute Educational Foundation honors individuals who demonstrate dedication, original concepts and leadership in academic and professional development in project management.

The Community Advancement Through Project Management Award

Applications due 20 May

The Community Advancement Through Project Management award recognizes pro bono/skilled volunteer project management contributions that transfer project management skills to a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization (NGO) and thus increase their capacity to accomplish their mission. The award is separated into three different categories: Corporations/Government Agencies, Individual Project Managers and PMI Chapters. Those in each category completing projects since 01 January 2014 to 20 May 2017 are eligible. The PMI Chapter Category is sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The application deadline is 20 May 2017.

The Kerzner Award for Excellence in Project Management

Applications due 15 May

The Kerzner Award for Excellence in Project Management is sponsored by the International Institute for Learning, Inc. (IIL) to recognize a project manager who most emulates the professional dedication and excellence of Harold Kerzner, MS, MBA, PhD. In addition to public recognition of his or her professional dedication and excellence, the recipient of the Kerzner Award will receive IIL training. The total value of the training, US $2500 cash prize and trip to PMI © Global Conference 2017—North America is up to US$13,000. The application deadline is 15 May 2017.

To apply now or learn more about PMIEF Awards, please visit the PMIEF Awards Page for more information.

Posted by Craig Dalrymple on: March 02, 2017 03:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Call for Presentations at Global Conference to Open Thursday, 2 March.

Do you have experience and knowledge to share with project managers from all over the world? Here's your chance to share! The call for presentations for Global Conference will open tomorrow Thursday, 2 March and will close Thursday, 23 March.

Key areas of focus include, but are not limited to:

  • Communications
  • Teamwork
  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Business strategy
  • Process improvement
  • Enhancing PM skills

Selected presentations will be featured at PMI Global Conference 2017, to be held in Chicago, Illinois, from 28 - 30 October 2017. 

Additional details and instructions can be found here. We look forward to hearing from you!

Can’t submit a proposal? You can still participate in the process – comment below with the top three topics you are most excited to hear about at

Posted by Craig Dalrymple on: March 01, 2017 04:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

February Book Club

Categories: book club, community

We are excited to announce the ProjectManagement.com February book club!  The book club provides an opportunity to participate in webinars and discussions around selected books relevant to the overall practice of project management.  The book club occurs in three parts:

  1. Opening pre-recorded webinar which will be used to introduce the book. During this 30 minute pre-recorded webinar, the author will provide a high level overview of the concepts in his/her book, familiarizing participants with the information.
  2. Discussion thread on ProjectManagement.com with input from the book club host and author.  During the last week of the discussion, questions will be collected to present to the author in the closing webinar.
  3. **PMI-member exclusive** Closing Q&A live webinar with the author responding to questions submitted both through the online book club discussion thread and during the webinar.  The webinar will be a panel style discussion with open dialogue between the moderator and the author.

The first 25 PMI Members registered for the closing book club webinar will receive a complimentary copy of the book and will be notified via email.  Additional participants will have the opportunity to purchase a copy of the book at their own expense.  All community members will be able to view the book club opening webinar and participate in the discussion forum.  PMI members will be able to participate in the book club closing webinar.  We will evaluate the content of each opening and closing book club webinar to determine the eligibility and breakdown for PDUs.   

Our book club book for February is Project and Program Turnaround by Thomas Pavelko.

Tom Pavelko worked 37 years for Lockheed Aircraft and now Lockheed Martin. He started as an engineer organizing and leading teams to develop onboard computer systems that performed critical flight controls and data reduction functions. He was promoted to the levels of System Engineering Manager, Program Manager and Program Director.

Tom reported to a wide variety of divisions including: Satellites, Missile, R&D, Electronics, Propulsion, Advanced Astronautics, Commercial Space, Human Spaceflight and Skunk Works.

He assisted large commercial and government programs in trouble.  These roles led Tom to eventually become the Program/Manager/Director for three large programs.  He led all assigned programs to successful application and accomplishment of the intended missions. In addition, he assisted other program managers with leading their faltering programs to success.

About the book:

The U.S. economy thrives on the development of new products, new systems, and new processes. Usually, these advances start as a flash of inspiration by highly creative individuals. It is complex and difficult to go from initial inspiration to a final product, process, or system. So it is not surprising that approximately one out of every four development programs fails. A development program or project in trouble is distinct from a program encountering typical development difficulties. Such a program or project can appear to be in free fall.

This book identifies the essential fundamentals for executing a program or project turnaround effectively. These fundamentals include:

  • Clearly identifying the next critical accomplishment needed for success
  • Assigning responsibility for each program task to one person
  • Capitalizing on colocation and face-to-face communication
  • Recruiting problem solvers
  • Wining commitment from team members
  • Using team accomplishments to propel high team morale

The guidance provided in this book is applicable to all program or project genres, including manufacturing, nonprofit work, education, medicine, investment management, and municipal management.

Software has become a great part of both providing product functionality and assisting with managing product development. A special chapter devoted to software development dispels common misconceptions and provides guidance for turning around this special type of project or program.

This book is a highly valuable source of insight for a wide range of readers, including management professionals, business students, and executive managers. Every member of a product or project development team will find its recommendations to be of high value.

Our February book club host is Tolitha Lewis, PMP.  Tolitha has been a PMI Volunteer Leader since 2008.  She was elected as a Director to the PMI Information Systems Specific Interest Group (PMI-ISSIG) in 2008 and served until the completion of the transition to a Community of Practice (CoP) in 2011. In 2012, Tolitha was appointed to the Leadership Team of the Consulting CoP, now referred to as the Consulting practice area, and has been a leader in the webinar program ever since.   Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Tolitha is a Sr. Project Manager.

To register for the closing live book club webinar, please visit the webinar page on ProjectManagement.com, find the book club closing webinar and click on the “Register for this webinar” link.

Please visit the book club information and discussion on the Project Management.com books page

For additional questions, please visit the ProjectManagement.com Book Club FAQ page.

Posted by Carrie Dunn on: February 27, 2017 04:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
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