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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December Book Club

Categories: , book club, community

We are excited to announce the ProjectManagement.com December 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 December is The Social Project Manager by Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor is a PMO expert currently leading a Global PMO, with 200 project managers acting as custodians for nearly 5,000 projects around the world, for Kronos Inc. - a billion-dollar software organisation delivering Workforce Management Solutions.

Peter Taylor is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, along with many other books on project leadership, PMO development, project marketing, project challenges and executive sponsorship.

In the last 4 years he has delivered over 200 lectures around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’.

His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance.

More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.

About the book:

The Social Project Manager describes a non-traditional way of organising projects, managing project performance and progress. The aim being to deliver, at the enterprise level, a common goal for the business; one that harnesses the performance advantages of a collaborative community. Social elements help mitigate the constraints associated with the control aspect of project management, which is essential for governance. Team collaboration, problem solving and engagement in projects will never come from technology alone but require careful management.

Peter Taylor draws on research from projects and the worlds of social media and communication to paint a vivid and practical guide to the why and how of social project management. There is no simple template for you to follow; instead he provides an explanation of the benefits, the tools and the constraints so that readers can navigate through to an approach that is sensitive to the culture of their organization and the nature of the projects that they run. Alongside the author’s ideas, the text features advice and case examples from many of the leading technology providers.

The Social Project Manager is a very-readable and down-to-earth guide from one of the most highly-regarded practitioners and commentators on the world of project management.

Our 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: December 15, 2016 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

November Book Club

Categories: book club, community

We are excited to announce the ProjectManagement.com November 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 November is Project Management Simplified: A Step-by-Step Process by Barbara Karten

Barbara Karten, PMP, has over 20 years of management, project/product/program management, and consulting/training experience.  Since 2003, she has been an independent consultant and trainer delivering project management and business systems analysis training, PMP (Project Management Professional) Exam Preparation, general project management courses for PDU (professional development unit) accumulation, PMI (Project Management Institute) Chapter sponsored study groups and project management courses both on line and on ground for graduate and undergraduate programs at local universities.

During her career, Barbara worked with nonprofit organizations (focused on human service systems development and operations), government agencies (including employment and training systems), consulting organizations, and technology companies. 

In addition to her work with nonprofit human service agencies and for-profit technology companies, Barbara taught project management at local universities.  She developed and updated PMP curricula and course materials for academia and local project management training providers. She has presented at industry conferences as a panelist and a presenter. 

Barbara is the past president of the Central Mass PMI Chapter, and is the Central Mass PMI Chapter liaison to the PMIEF (Project Management Institute Education Foundation), which addresses the project management needs of nonprofit organization, educational organizations, and NGO’s.

Barbara supports project management skills as core competencies for life, education, career, and personal projects. People with project management capabilities are competitively positioned to succeed.

About the book:

There are a number of structured approaches that guide the successful completion of projects in business environments. This book translates these processes and techniques such that non-project managers can easily use these proven approaches in a nonbusiness context for their own projects. It removes technical jargon, the need for computer software and hardware, and complicated organizational environments, describing the essential project management processes in a simple, straightforward manner.

As you progress through the book, you connect the dots necessary to complete your personal projects. A sample project in the text and a case study in the appendices further illustrate the concepts explained in the text. The author challenges you to select a project and, working along with the book, be the project manager and develop a project plan. By working with customers and funders of the project, defining the project, identifying how long it will take, and determining its cost, you will develop the expertise to define project goals and create a plan to reach them.

Our 2016 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: November 17, 2016 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

October Book Club

Categories: book club, community

We are excited to announce the ProjectManagement.com October 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 October is Managing Stakeholders as Clients – Second Edition by Mario Trentim

Mario is Executive Director at Trentim & Associates, Programs Director at Project Managers Without Borders, and a member of the PMIEF Board of Directors. 

For more than 15 years, Mario worked as PMO manager, program and project manager in large engineering projects with multidisciplinary teams in different industries such as Aerospace, Defence, IT, R&D, Telecom, and Infrastructure. In 2014, he was the recipient of the PMI Harold Kerzner Award. Mario is also an MBA professor and he published five project management books, including "Managing Stakeholders as Clients".

About the book:

Projects often run adrift despite our best efforts. One of the most commonly overlooked pitfalls is inadequate and ineffective stakeholder management.

Gathering decades of research on communications and stakeholder relations, Mario Trentim, PfMP, CBAP, suggests a paradigm shift in the way project managers view their stakeholders.
Using the four “ships” (sponsorship, partnership, leadership, and citizenship), the author charts a successful path for identifying and communicating with stakeholders that will positively impact the way you view stakeholders and how they influence your project.
Managing stakeholders as clients is a new approach, moving away from traditional stakeholder management where the focus is managing expectations, to a proactive engagement and involvement of stakeholders.

In this newly revised edition, Trentim goes beyond theory to offer real tools and valuable resources focused on presenting what works when it comes to stakeholder management.
His light, conversational style pulls together a wide range of perspectives on various topics including: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), agile, PRINCE2™, emotional intelligence, and soft systems methodology.
Look beyond traditional project management schedules and work breakdown structures and enhance your stakeholder management skills to take your projects to the next level.

Also available in Spanish, La Gestión de los Interesados como Clientes - Segunda Edición. Click Here

Our 2016 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: October 19, 2016 12:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

September Book Club

Categories: book club, community

We are excited to announce the ProjectManagement.com September 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 September is The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone by Shawn Murphy

Shawn Murphy is CEO of Switch & Shift, an organization that helps improve the quality of employees’ lives through positive business practices and leadership development. He has over 20 years experience as a culture change practitioner, workshop facilitator, and speaker. He was handpicked to be part of IBM's elite New Way to Work futurist group.

Shawn has a MBA from Drexel University and a Bachelor’s in Organizational Behavior from University of San Francisco.

Shawn’s debut book, The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment that Energizes Everyone, is out now. Read Shawn’s weekly column, “Positive Business,” on Inc.com.

About the book:

Should we be working harder…or working happier?

When it comes to work these days, we’re expected to do more with less—but is this nose-to-the-grindstone philosophy the best way to run a business? Alarmingly low employee engagement numbers indicate otherwise.

So, if pushing everyone harder isn’t the path to productivity, what is? Supported by the latest research, this eye-opening book argues that our best work is the product of a positive environment. That’s good news for you as a manager. While you can’t personally transform the corporate culture, you can influence the workplace climate and create meaningful and lasting change.

Advocating a steward model of management, The Optimistic Workplace reveals how to:

  • Explore personal and organizational purpose—and align them for astonishing results
  • Overcome resistance and skepticism
  • Build camaraderie and deepen loyalty
  • Increase intrinsic motivation
  • Help your team find meaning in their work
  • Identify goals collaboratively and track progress
  • And more

Examples from companies large and small demonstrate how this people-centric focus ignites employee potential, increases innovation, and catapults the organization to new levels of performance. Far from being a wish-upon-a-star discussion of workplace happiness, this book presents an array of surprisingly simple strategies as well as practical 30-, 60-, and 90-day plans designed to focus your actions and make employee optimism not just a worthy goal—but a real and measurable result.

Our 2016 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: September 21, 2016 01:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

PMI PMO Symposium® - Where Leaders Meet

Categories: community

Did you know that 2016 will be the fifth year that PMI is hosting the PMO Symposium? This event brings together PMO leaders and organizational executives to share insights and strategy for effective organizational project management (OPM). The event in 2015 brought together over 450 organizations and 500 plus PMO leaders from 30 different countries.

Focusing on the needs of PMO leaders and senior decision makers, PMO Symposium 2016 will take an in-depth look at benefits realization management and PMO actionable insights enabling PMOs to demonstrate value. In addition to informative breakout sessions, thought provoking keynotes, offsite learning excursions, the 2016 event will provide ample opportunities for knowledge hub small group discussion. Knowledge hub small group discussions are highly interactive, audience-driven sessions that enable attendees to share ideas, challenges and solutions with the help of a subject matter expert facilitator. An OPM theme is given to encourage and focus conversations. Come with a list of questions you want to ask other attendees and be prepared to share your own experiences and tips. Selected themes are repeated throughout the event to enable attendees to choose and participate in various time options with different facilitators.

Below are thoughts from speakers who will present at the 2016 event.

Keep it Real – Metrics for the Real-World

Catherine Tonne – Senior Director, Visa, Inc.

Why should senior professionals attend the PMI PMO Symposium? Well for several years I asked myself the same question. I have attended more PMI conferences than I can count – starting with San Francisco in 1988!!   I was a bit jaded to say the least. Then through various PMI activities I started talking with like-minded senior professionals and they enlightened me. The PMO Symposium by PMI is different. It focuses on seasoned PMO professionals and their needs. The topics are the most current trends, the idea and experience sharing and learnings between attendees is stellar. I attended my first Symposium in 2014 in Miami. I was thrilled with the outcome and am excited to attend this year’s event in San Diego. In fact, this year I am presenting a breakout session on PMO metrics, Keep it Real – Metrics for the Real World.

Ah, metrics! Very tough to develop sometimes but we cannot live without them. They enable PMO leaders to answer tough questions.  How to prioritize/rank the portfolio? What projects best enable the fulfillment of corporate strategic initiatives? Which projects should be funded or not? How to identify project complexity to determine optimal staffing and workload? Metrics can be very complicated and require all kinds of fancy tools and software to calculate – or they can be simple and super easy to use with a calculator or maybe Excel the only tools needed.

For my presentation, I will share practical, proven metrics for the real world that attendees will be able to use the day they get back to their offices. Metrics are pivotal for identifying and enabling delivery of projects with the highest return on investment and potentially improve one’s market positioning.

In addition to my metric presentation, I will also facilitate a knowledge hub small group discussion focusing on integrating agile methodology and the PMO. The discussion will focus on how PMOs can support agile teams and methodology and how PMOs can adapt to evolving needs of projects, teams and organizations.

I hope to see you at the PMO Symposium, in San Diego, 06 – 09 November, 2016.

Benefits Management in an Agile World

Matt Williams, HSI Associate

In a global economy characterized by rapid, sometimes unforeseen and disruptive change, organizations are forced to adapt quickly to mitigate the risks of such volatility. Just as importantly, change presents an opportunity to strengthen an organization. Examples include the implementation of new technology, lean techniques and, adopting new organizational structures that can consistently and efficiently deliver strategic business objectives.

The conventional role of project management has been to produce deliverables, for which proven processes, techniques and tools are in use. However, whilst most organizations recognize that projects are undertaken to deliver benefits and drive increased business value, the responsibility for doing so is not always well-defined and understood. Therefore, executive sponsors and project managers need to work collaboratively to ensure that project deliverables are deployed in a manner which produces benefits that align with business strategy. There is an increasing awareness that benefits realization needs to be an integral component of project management.

The use of an Agile management approach has been adapted to many non-IT applications and therefore has potential applicability across all organizational units, in a diverse range of industries in both the private and public sector.  Its use facilitates early and incremental delivery of business value, as opposed to all of the value being realized at the conclusion of the project, as is traditionally the case.

The use of Agile approach to the delivery of business value helps project managers to:

  1. Identify opportunities to deliver value as early as possible in the project lifecycle
  2. Review benefits delivery performance to date, relative to the forecast delivery identified in the business case
  3. Analyse whether the initiative remains viable; and if additional investment may deliver a greater overall return or; if the funds being invested will produce a better ROI if redeployed to other initiatives

Join me on Wednesday, November 9 at my session at the PMO Symposium 2016 in San Diego, or my knowledge hub sessions November 7 and 8, where I will be discussing this topic in more detail.

Those that attend can expect the following takeaways:

  1. Use Benefit Mapping techniques to identify and measure strategic contribution for all project initiatives
  2. Identify and track Value Drivers to focus on the contributors of business value creation
  3. Incremental Benefits Realization techniques

As an Associate at Human Systems International (HSI), I am a subject matter expert responsible for undertaking diagnostic assessments of organizational project management capability to produce actionable roadmaps of improvement initiatives. HSI holds over twenty years' data on the actual practices of leading project-based organizations - the world's largest database of its kind. HSI is a member of the PMI family.

PMO Symposium is a unique executive event for organizational leaders and those who direct an organization’s portfolio of projects, programs and initiatives. This 2016 PMI event will be in San Diego, 06 – 09 November, at the Hotel del Coronado.  Reserve your place among the world’s PMO leaders today.

Posted by Carrie Dunn on: September 06, 2016 01:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
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