Project Management

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!

About this Blog

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View Posts By:

Marjorie Anderson
Kimberly Whitby
Laura Schofield
Heather McLarnon

Past Contributors:

Carrie Dunn
Danielle Ritter
Kenneth A. Asbury
Craig Dalrymple
Rebecca Braglio
Kristin Jones

Recent Posts

Join Us for the PMIEF 30th Anniversary Celebration!

What Background Makes a Good DPO?

Virtual Experience Series Delivering Value, Creating Change & Advancing the World™

Shared Ownership in Projects. The Team Performance Domain.

Register for our next “Discover PMI - Ask Us Anything!" Webinar- featuring PMI Events!

June 2020 Community News You Can Use

Can you believe we are almost halfway through 2020? It’s definitely a year that will reign in history, and we here in the community hope each and every one of you and your family are safe and secure. We hope this feature of Community News will provide some positive initiatives going on at PMI. So, sit back, relax and enjoy all the exciting happenings surrounding us!

 

PMI Talent & Technology Symposium 2020: Another successful virtual event is in the books!  If you are a PMI member and missed the live event or wish to view a session again, the on-demand is currently available until 8 September 2020.  As we move into the new normal, the leaders of tomorrow will be those with the capacity and openness for agility and tolerance for uncertainty. This Symposium seeks to prepare attendees for the technology, work and challenges of the project economy post-COVID. Access the on-demand HERE!

REMINDER: Discover PMI – Ask Us Anything Series:  TAKE 2!  We will provide an overview of ProjectManagement.com’s new Community Ambassador Program. The community’s first Ambassadors, Emily Luijbregts and Andrew Craig, will be on hand to answer any questions. Whether you are new to the online community or are looking to become more involved, the Ambassadors can certainly help you to maximize your experience – Register now for the rescheduled webinar on 17 June!

Crisis Management Resource Center: The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way we live and work across the globe, and figures to drastically—and permanently—alter the way we live and work in the future. To help meet this pressing need, we have created a Crisis Management Resource Center to help surface valuable content on ProjectManagement.com.

Demand Diversity: The latest Pulse of the Profession In-Depth Report from Project Management Institute—A Case for Diversity—is a timely one. It shows the value and benefits of inclusive project teams, shows where companies are currently in their attitudes versus actions, and offers a blueprint for making diversity a reality. All project professionals should read it, and make sure their executive leaders find a copy in their in-boxes as well.  Check out the latest post from Aaron Smith on the ProjectsAtWork blog!

Virtual Experience Series: Coming soon - the most engaging experience you’ll attend this year. Designed to help you turn ideas into reality.  Immerse yourself in premium content from the industry’s best and brightest, and be inspired by the next-level thinking of marquee speakers and celebrities.  Speakers and sessions will be announced soon. Sign up for the waitlist to receive the official announcement and access to special offers!

That’s all for now, and we encourage you to check back for future updates within the Critical Path blog. Thank you for all of your feedback and engagement, and keep up the good work!

Posted by Heather McLarnon on: June 11, 2020 05:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

May 2020 Community News You Can Use

April showers bring May flowers! We hope the blooming month ahead, filled with exciting tidbits going on at PMI, keep you smiling and engaged during these unprecedented times. We thrive on such dedicated community members like you, so be sure to give yourselves a pat on the back and know how much you are deeply appreciated! Be well and continue playing a vital role in this Community. Enjoy!

 

PMXPO 2020: This year’s PMXPO was a HUGE success, all thanks to YOU!  If you missed the live event or wish to view a session again, the on-demand is currently available until 26 June 2020. PMXPO provides an excellent opportunity to learn, earn PDUs, and broaden your perspective on project management. Learn more, and view the on-demand here!

Introducing the New PMP® Online Exam: In case you haven’t heard, you may now take the PMP exam ONLINE!  Administered on a secure platform using proven exam delivery technology, the online exam is exactly the same as the version administered at a test center: the same quality, the same questions, and there’s even a live proctor.  The only difference? You can take it in your pajamas.  With 24/7 testing options to accommodate your schedule, you can take the exam day or night.  Check it out!

Peerspective Blog: In this edition of Peerspective, Let’s meet Mayte Mata-Sivera!  Learn more about Mayte’s exciting project management journey here!

Meet Agile Reimagined:  What exactly IS Disciplined Agile?  Take a few minutes to discover our breakthrough agile solution. Disciplined Agile is a straightforward, agnostic toolkit that harnesses a world of agile practices and guides you to the best way of working for your team or organization.  In this fast-paced introduction, get a glimpse of what you’ll learn in the full online course, Basics of Disciplined Agile, – and just how it can help you, your team and your organization. Check out this complimentary session!

REMINDER: Discover PMI – Ask Us Anything Series:  We will provide an overview of ProjectManagement.com’s new Community Ambassador Program. The community’s first Ambassadors, Emily Luijbregts and Andrew Craig, will be on hand to answer any questions. Whether you are new to the online community or are looking to become more involved, the Ambassadors can certainly help you to maximize your experience – Register now!

PMI Talent & Technology Symposium 2020:  Mark your calendars!  10 June 2020, ProjectManagement.com will hold its 3rd annual PMI Talent & Technology Virtual Symposium which will equip participants with the skills to address current challenges and the roadmap to guide them through the constant change of the future. The lineup of speakers will examine the ways in which project professionals have responded to crisis and share lessons to evolve beyond it. Register now!

 

That’s all for now, and we encourage you to check back for future updates within the Critical Path blog. Thank you for all of your feedback and engagement, and keep up the good work!

Posted by Heather McLarnon on: May 07, 2020 03:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

To Tailor or Not to Tailor: A Foregone Conclusion?

Categories: news, PMI, standards

by: Klaus Nielsen, PMBOK® Guide-Seventh Edition Development Team member

Did you know that many organizations have unsuccessfully tried to implement an off-the-shelf, or ready-made, project management methodology and found that it was unsuitable for their projects, their organization, and their level of organizational project management maturity?

This often results in a lot of money, time and effort spent with little return and a decrease in staff morale. The one-size-fits-all approach is not working, because no two projects are the same. Different people, clients, vendors, technologies, cultures, approaches, sizes and such require extensive tailoring.

Designing the delivery approach based on the context of the project, its objectives, stakeholders, and the environment is much more difficult than it may sound. Designing the delivery approach requires tailoring. We use tailoring to our project management methodology with the hope of buy-in from team members.  In some cases, a tailored approach produces a more customer-oriented focus, centers on best-for-project approach, and reflects a more efficient use of project resources.  It also helps to ensure that when the team agrees to use specific processes, tools, or ceremonies, everyone is aligned, and use is consistent.

But who has not experienced the damage from tailoring not done correctly? I have! It’s when project team members are not using the methodology, independently modifying the methodology, or following the process for the sake of the process.

When we tailor, we have a wide range of options. I tend to look at the processes and see whether it would work or not.  Often, I have been faced with too many processes of little value. In some cases, inputs, tools, and techniques may be omitted or changed to make them work within a specific context. Also, when tailoring I examine the level of documentation required, as it’s often a great chunk of work.  I want to make sure all project artefacts, documents, and plans provide value — not just documentation for the sake of documentation. Thinking back, if you had to apply everything the same way to all your projects for the last 20 years, that would be a nightmare. Firstly, I rarely do the same kind of projects the same way twice. Secondarily, if I had to do it all over, I would make a lot of changes (hopeful that I have learned something along the way). Think of tailoring as your opportunity to apply lessons learned.

I think it’s difficult to talk about tailoring without touching upon efficiency and effectiveness. Now it becomes slightly trickier. I don’t see one without the other. I know some of you may have concerns about the connotations of these terms, so let me try to explain my view.

Effectiveness talks to providing our customers with value through product delivery and producing the intended or expected result. It is also associated with the results from the actions of the team members and the project manager.

On the other hand, efficiency talks to how we are performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort. It is also associated with how things are done.

Who has not heard the following statement: “The fundamental reason why projects are late is because of inefficient use of resources. My job as a project leader is to move our expertise around to tackle as much work as possible, and to do so seamlessly?” In this case, efficiency means getting more work done with the least loss of time, which is done by maximizing utilization. In this case, efficient IS effective. In my native language of Danish, we use the same term for these two concepts.

For others, efficiency is a poison. For them it also means maximizing utilization, which requires that we overcommit and confuse our staff, leaving them no slack to breathe or innovate. To them, efficient is the OPPOSITE of effective. However, that was not the intention.

Just to wrap it up: Design the delivery approach based on the context of the project, its objectives, stakeholders, and the environment. Maximize value, manage costs, develop flow and enhance speed by utilizing just enough process. I think there might be a principle or two in there.

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: October 01, 2019 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

September Community News You Can Use

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at PMI! Global Conference is just around the corner, and with this year’s exciting 50th anniversary celebrations, we are certainly counting down the days! If you will be in Philadelphia for the conference, please stop by the ProjectManagement.com Community booth and say hello. We would love to meet you!

In this month’s look at what’s currently happening around the community, we’ll let you know how to keep up with all of the excitement at Global Conference – from near and far – as well as the other great community activities occurring in the final months of 2019!

Register for PMI® Business Analysis Virtual Conference 2019: Registration is open for the PMI® Business Analysis Virtual Conference 2019 which will be held on Wednesday, November 13th. This virtual event will explore the latest trends in business analysis and provide you with the insights, resources, and tools to advance your career and enhance project success. Register today! This year, we welcome:

  • Bob Prentiss – Battle for the Planet of the Business Analysts: 5 Key Strategies to Prepare for Your Future
  • Anton Oosthuizen – Managing Requirement Risks: A Different Perspective

  • Joy Beatty – Curiosity Never Killed the Business Analyst

  • Frank Saladis – Managing Difficult Stakeholders

  • Barbee Davis – What Should I be doing as a BA in an Agile/Waterfall Hybrid World?

  • Joyce Onore – Importance of Communication in a Business Analysis Role

PMI® Organizational Agility Conference Available On-Demand: If you were unable to attend the recent PMI® Organizational Agility Conference on Evolving Approaches to Resilient Value Delivery, you can view all of the sessions on-demand here.

Ask the Expert at PMI® Global Conference: Ask the Expert is back by popular demand at PMI® Global Conference 2019! These one-on-one sessions allow you to discuss your project question or problem, get advice about navigating the project management career path, or talk through issues currently facing the profession from a trusted and established ProjectManagement.com expert. If you are attending Global Conference, sign-up for a session here.

For those who will not be in Philadelphia, you can follow our Experts at Conference through the PMI Global Insights blog where they will share their experiences and insights from the event.

Industry Discussion Threads: This year, PMI launched a new initiative focusing on four industry segments in the fields of IT, Finance, Government and Construction. As part of that focus, we have been highlighting some existing PM Network content on ProjectManagement.com in order to engage the community and learn more about specific industry needs. Check out the industry discussion threads in Project Management Central!

Discover PMI - Ask Us Anything! Series: Learn more about PMI’s Job Board by viewing the latest session on-demand - Powering Your Career with PMI: Explore the PMI Job Board to Power You Career - featuring Ansley Stauffer.

Project Health Framework: Join fellow community member, Uri Galimidi, as he discusses A Billion Dollar Project Health Framework in his eight part webinar series. You can now access Part 1 through Part 5 on-demand! Check the Live Webinars calendar for the remaining sessions.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to a member of the Community Engagement team – we’re happy to help you. As always, stay tuned to the Critical Path for your community news!  

Posted by Laura Schofield on: September 25, 2019 10:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

A Systems Approach to Project Management

Categories: news, PMI, standards

Written by Randy Iliff, Systems Engineer and fellow Project Manager

Updating the PMBOK® Guide every five years presents a fresh opportunity to ensure that the standard and body of knowledge properly reflect current practice within project delivery.  With the kick-off of the Seventh Edition update this month, the PMBOK® Guide will make a dramatic shift from a process-based view of the project environment to a systems-based view.

What is a systems-based view, and how does that relate to project management you may ask? 

The INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook defines a system as: …an integrated set of elements, subsystems, or assemblies that accomplish a defined objective. There’s a lot more in there about systems of course, but the key is that systems produce outcomes as a function of not only the contribution by individual elements, but also the result of all interactions between all elements.

In Systems Engineering that’s called an emergent property and the concept is one of the most fundamental insights practitioners must master. In people we use terms like personality and soul, and all agree that there is no single cell or molecule you can point to as the origin. Every project manager will attest that despite a host of common elements, individual projects are as unique as fingerprints. You cannot understand why a project succeeds or fails simply by examining the task list - to truly master the effort you must see the entirety of interactions as well as the tasks.

I’ve worked on an enormous range of projects over my career–some simple, others as demanding as standing up launch facilities for the US Space Shuttle and placing a cubic kilometer of instrumentation called “IceCube” under the South Pole. The list of tasks and parts were always different, but the connections between the tasks were surprisingly common. Over time, I realized that the underlying logic was something I could easily build upon and reuse.

Without exception I found the system perspective essential to satisfying the wide range of stakeholders involved. It helped me transform competition between interests into successful compromise. I found that view so helpful that I helped found INCOSE as a way to share the message with others.

The next edition of the PMBOK® Guide presents us with the opportunity to better reflect key interfaces that must be properly enabled in any given application context.  It can take into account the implications of those interfaces for project delivery as well as enhance the understanding of a host of other relationships that inevitably drive project outcomes.

Because our projects are always systems – not just a stack of parts or tasks—only a system view offers the richness needed to fully support the PM community and the stakeholders who depend upon us. An interactive workshop at the PMI Global Conference in Philadelphia, 5-7 October 2019, will explore the concept of a systems view of project management and its implications for the underlying principles for managing projects. If you are planning to be at Global Conference, plan to participate in this workshop that will help to inform the development of the next edition of the PMBOK® Guide.

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: August 19, 2019 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)
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