Project Management in Real Life

Sharing my Project Management adventures and some tips. I try to keep my articles brief and to the point. Project Management is an Art, Science, and Discipline.

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Recent Posts

The Project Presentation

The Problem Solver

My Project Management Zen Moment

The Project Manager with dirty hands

I need to make this Meeting happen

The Project Manager's Attitude

Project Management Attitude 

Project Managers are a special breed of professionals. It's a calling to lead people on the right path to achieve results. Having the right attitude in Project Management is so important. Relying on education and certifications alone is not going to make you a good Project Manager. It's all about heart and soul for the role.

A person can know the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) inside out. Will that guarantee that you are a competent Project Manager. If you know how to recite the alphabets and have a good vocabulary does that make you a writer of novels. The point I'm making is just because you have an aptitude in a profession does not mean you belong in that profession. Project Management is special and not everyone should be in that role. I don't care how many certifications you have.

The Project Manager that knows how to read people to bring out their best and guide them to success is what Project Management is all about. Your role as a Project Manager means that you are the focus of attention. Your attitude will play an important part in your role to be a good leader that is followed and respected.


(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on in February 2017)

Posted on: March 17, 2018 07:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

Keep Stakeholders Happy with Transparent Project Management

Project Management should be transparent for Stakeholders to have a good insight on the progress. That will put some pressure on the Project Manager. Project Managers do provide periodic reporting, but is that enough? Go a step further and provide Stakeholders with the ability to have access to real time status that they can get on their smartphones or laptops. Select a Project Management Software that will provide mobile access. 


A Project Manager should welcome transparency. Transparency will demonstrate a confident Project Manager that is leading a team that will deliver results to their Stakeholders.

Transparency will get your Stakeholders engaged in the project by having real time updates on the progress. Good and bad news will be known now and not on a periodic status report.


(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on in October 2016)

Posted on: March 05, 2018 02:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (20)

The Whiteboard

The whiteboard is a Project Manager's canvas to record information and get a visual reminder everyday of the important due dates, to do list, notes, and whatever you feel can be on public display in your office for co-workers to see.

I list all the projects that I'm working on with a circle next to the project name. The circle will be filled in using the appropriate stoplight color to indicate the current status of the project.

I can go on and on listing the benefits of having your own whiteboard in your office. 

Posted on: January 20, 2018 07:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Good Morning Hawaii - Seek Shelter

Hawaii Civil Defense

Hawaii gets a nice Saturday morning wake up alert on their phone.

Words cannot describe the initial reaction you get when you receive an alert that you need to seek immediate shelter because a ballistic missile is on it's way. You only have about 20 minutes to find your hiding place. 

Project Management failed on setting up the new civil defense preparedness for a ballistic missile attack on Hawaii. The failure caused panic and pain. Your life could be ending in 20 minutes. You keep waiting for the all clear and nothing happens. It took over 38 minutes for the Hawaii Civil Defense to send out an alert that there is no threat.

Some lessons learned:

  1. There was no leadership from the top to bottom that day. Just confusion. They knew immediately that the alert was and error.

  2. Step up, no one had the guts to take charge of the situation to immediately send out an alert that there is no missile on it's way.

  3. How does one person have access to such a critical life and death alert without management authorizing the alert to be sent out.

  4. Training and safeguards was obviously missing in the project plan.

  5. No contingency plan was properly developed to execute in the event of an erroneous alert going out to the public.

My final thoughts on the incident is that Project Management and Leadership play such an import part no matter what type of project it is. In this case the residents and visitors in Hawaii will never forget this date 01-13-2018 because a Project Manager and lack of Leadership really really messed up bad.

Posted on: January 16, 2018 06:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (21)

Budget Creep a Project Manager's Nightmare

Going over budget within the scope of a project can happen. You think you covered all the possibilities that could occur in the project. You submitted a budget with padding so you can avoid a budget overrun. You are now at the one third milestone in the project and your funds are being depleted faster than anticipated. How did I not see this happening?

Reporting any budget variances on a monthly Project Stop Light Report will expose your budget creep. You will see how your monthly expenditures keep going up for the project. That is your cue to stop the project and revisit the budget. Are the projected estimates accurate or grossly underestimated? The faith of the project is in jeopardy now. Will the project be shutdown or will additional funds be allocated for it? A big decision needs to be made based on an accurate big picture on what the new realistic funding will be to keep the project moving.  

Project Managers need to always keep an eye on the budget and raise the red flag when the project funds are depleting ahead of time. Avoid what I call Budget Creep.

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on in September 2016)

Posted on: January 13, 2018 08:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

"Either he's dead or my watch has stopped."

- Groucho Marx



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