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.

About this Blog


Recent Posts

My Project Management Zen Moment

The Project Manager with dirty hands

I need to make this Meeting happen

Bring in the Business Analyst

The Microsoft Project Plan with subprojects

My Project Management Zen Moment

The view from Magic Island on the island of Oahu.The view from Magic Island on the island of Oahu.


Project Managers need to get out of the office and find a place to refresh and have there zen moment to find the elusive pieces of the puzzle that their project is missing. The Pacific Ocean is my favorite place to have my zen moments when I need to find a solution for a project. 

Find your favorite zen moment place where you live. Just clear your mind and relax.


(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on in August 2018)

Posted on: August 03, 2018 08:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)

The Project Manager with dirty hands

We need Project Managers that leads by example and jumps in to help any project team member when they are in need of help. I do not like the term "Servant Leader", it sounds like it came out of the 1700's.

Project Managers need to get their hands dirty too. Don't just direct and watch the action sipping your cup of coffee. Involvement with your team to make adjustments to keep the project moving is important. Be there for your team. If there is a task you can do, then do it.

A good example of a Project Manager getting their hands dirty was a Data Center inventory project that I was involved in. I was the Systems Administrator assigned to inventory every piece of hardware / software in the Data Center. The Project Manager got on his hands and knees in the Data Center to help me take inventory and create the Data Center floor plan.

I have gotten my hands thirty on many of my own projects looking underneath the Data Center tile floor to plan hardware projects. 

Just get your hands dirty. It's a rewarding experience when you can help out. There is soap and water to clean your dirty hands when you are done.

Leadership with no borders sounds better than Servant Leadership.

Posted on: June 25, 2018 07:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

I need to make this Meeting happen


You need a meeting scheduled with a short notice. You are dealing with project team members on campus, different locations, and remote team members in different time zones. Sounds like fun.

Make a checklist of who needs to attend this meeting and who is an optional nice to have if they can attended.

Start selecting all the players for the meeting on the calendaring software that your company uses so you can see the date / times that they are available. Indicate required attendee or optional attendee. You will see a lot of meeting conflict dates and times because this is a short notice meeting. Just press on with the best date / time to schedule your meeting.

Select an appropriate meeting subject name to express the urgency of the short notice meeting. Give a brief summary of the reason for the meeting. Create an agenda and attach it to the meeting invite. Provide the conference call number for team members that will not be able to attend the meeting in person.

I call this the take no prisoners approach to scheduling a short notice meeting. If you try to accommodate everyone, it will not happen. The clock is ticking and you need answers and resolutions to issues. Explain to your Sponsors and Stakeholders that you are dead in the water because you can't schedule a meeting. People will juggle their schedules when you make an urgent compelling reason for the meeting.

That's why you are the Project Manager. Your job is to make things happen.

Posted on: June 15, 2018 08:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)

Project Management the Kaizen way

Today's Project Manager is faced with many challenges to deliver projects on time within the budget. They need to work smart with so much responsibility on their shoulders. Do they have time to get involved in continuous improvement? Yes.

The open minded Project Manager can use Kaizen to bring additional value to Project Management. What is Kaizen? It is a Japanese word. KAI = CHANGE and ZEN = GOOD, so Kaizen =  continuous improvement. Never be satisfied with a process or procedure. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to make improvements, whether it's a suggestions for the organization or the way you manage your projects. Make changes with an incremental approach to gradually yield results immediately rather than going for it all at one time. Just keep your goals on the radar and be patient while you work towards the goals. Quality outcomes is the reward.

Goals have been achieved, but we are never done with continuous improvement. There is always opportunities to make something better. Never be satisfied, always be hungry to make something better one day at a time. Project Managers get a good view of what is going on in the organization, so they need to speak up when they see something that could be improved and they also need to keep tuning their tools of the trade to operate efficiently.

Posted on: June 07, 2018 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (17)

Tales of Project Management

You are the Project Manager for two important projects that need your attention on a Saturday night what do you do? Have the right people on the project. 

I had a Radiology/Pharmacy system relocation go-live that involved moving the system across town to a new Data Center. The second project required some critical tasks to be performed for another project that cannot move forward until two critical tasks are completed.

The players that supported me was a Business Analyst, Data Center Operations Supervisor, and HP Field Engineer to shut down and pack up the hardware at 23:00 to let the moving company deliver the system to the new Data Center.

The system arrived in the new Data Center in good condition. The Data Center was already prepared for power, network connectivity, and telephone lines. Everything went well except an issue with a legacy application that had issues with a modem. I had to leave the team and work on my second project that I was the only player that could do two critical tasks to keep the project on track.

I had to drive back to the old Data Center to perform the two critical tasks. It's 03:00 and I go to work and everything went according to my plan and I finish at 04:30. 

Time to drive back to the new Data Center to help the team get the legacy application working. We get the application to work at 11:00 Sunday morning. 

The key to a successful project go-live is teamwork, it's so important to support each other. Having a good Risk Assessment review meeting to make sure you cover everything in your go-live plan is so important to catch anything that you might have missed on the plan.

Tip for your project go-live plans. When you develop your plan break the timeline tasks down in half hour increments when possible. By breaking down your tasks in half hour increments you can measure your progress better. You will see what areas are taking more time or less time to complete. You can determine if you need to back out the implementation or continue to move forward. In some cases you can't go back so it will help you give a status report to management.


(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on in December 2013)

Posted on: May 31, 2018 09:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)

"We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins."

- George Bernard Shaw