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

Waterfall or Agile that is the Question

My Kanban Board

The Project Manager brand called ?

The System Failure Assessment

The Risk Assessment

The Project Manager brand called ?

The brand you create will define your style of Project Management. You need to leave a mark on your projects. Stand out from the vanilla Project Managers.

My Project Manager brand is called "Bring it on".

Transparency and Clarity with a Bag of tricks to meet all the challenges is how I run my projects so "Bring it on".

  • Run a transparent project. Be prepared all the time to provide stakeholders the status of the projects. Always be the open Project Manager. Give the good and bad news.
  • Run your project with clarity. Define the deliverables making it crystal clear with your stakeholders what is being delivered. 
  • The bag of tricks is a metaphor for the tools, frameworks, methodologies, and approaches that will be used to run the projects. Have many options to make that project work. Go Hybrid or Hybrid-Plus. It's all about reaching into that bag and selecting the appropriate tricks to make the project a success.


Posted on: April 30, 2018 08:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

The High Risk Project

Project Management has been around from the beginning of time. Just think about the wonders of the world that have been built. A form of project management had to have been used to accomplish such feats. The Romans and Egyptians are examples of accomplishing amazing construction projects with only primitive tools and slaves. The use of slaves must have been ingrained into project teams through the years to joke about Project Managers being slave drivers.     

Fast forward to modern times. Project Management is a critical discipline to ensure successful delivery of projects on time within the budget. Projects are tied to a budget with a reasonable variance for the bumps in the road that could pop up. The bumps in the road are the project risks that should be identified and monitored all the time. The entire team needs to be onboard with open communication to immediately report any risks that are starting to materialize. If you stick your head in the sand and hope that the risk goes away without any mitigation, good luck, get your resume ready. 

The person overseeing the entire high profile project needs to be transparent, accessible and have integrity. Knowing when to say timeout takes guts when it's starting to look bad. Slapping on workarounds for deficiencies that eventually catch up with the project is just pure stupidity. Money and time are just wasted and your competency will questioned. 

Having an unrealistic attitude that we have put in many hours and spent big money on the project already so it's unstoppable because we are at the point of no return will not work in your favor. Any failing project can be shutdown to repurpose it or dismantle it to stop further financial loss. Repurpose or dismantling will come at a cost, but if you continue on with a poorly planned project that should have never gotten a green light to proceed, you better have deep pockets to keep funding that White Elephant. A lot of people will be outraged and at the same time relieved that bleeding will be stopped. 

It's all about gathering the required cost and time to complete a project on-time within the budget. Not an easy job for some projects, but it needs to be done properly without cutting corners to get an approval. That's the expectation you expect when you entrust a project team to embark on a major high risk project that is very expensive. 


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

Posted on: April 15, 2018 06:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

Bring in the Project Manager

The Point Person

A Project Manager is your architect to formulate and execute a plan to deliver a project on-time within the approved budget. Project Managers are involved from the inception of a project or they need to jump in on a project in progress and take it over. 


The Buck Stops Here

Project Managers should assume full responsibility of the project they are entrusted with. Any risks or concerns need to be flushed out. A good Project Manager is transparent. 


Interpersonal Skills

Project Managers need to be approachable. It's a balancing act of authority and treating people with respect. Don't create an atmosphere of fear. Let your team know that you are there for them anytime. You want a team to be open by reporting issues immediately rather than finding out latter when they can no longer cover it up. 


The Project Milestone

Reaching a milestone in a project is an accomplishment. Placing KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) in your Gantt chart after major tasks are completed is your insurance to reach that milestone everyone is working hard to get too. Defining KPI's will provide the needed validation that you are achieving the project goals as you complete critical tasks. Find out early that you are really on track to hit your milestone.


Controlling Scope Creep 

The scope definition of the project should be crystal clear to avoid additional requirements later in the project. Introducing changes and addtional requirements in a project in progress will happen. You need to readjust your Gantt chart to accommodate the new tasks. Be sure to document the justiication for the changes that were inserted in the project. When you start to get many requests for changes that are out of scope that is a red flag. You need to suspend the project and meet with your stakeholders and go over the project requirements again to uncover any additional requirements that might have been missed. New requirements will affect your delivery date and budget. If you just allow changes to keep going through you will miss your delivery date and be over budget with a different deliverable. 


Managing the Vendor 

When you work with vendors they give you a SOW (Statement of Work). You need to build your Gannt chart from the SOW to validate the timeline and the deliverable promised. Some vendors assign their own Project Manager to ensure an implementation is on track. Request a copy of their project plan so you can monitor their progress. You will have your own project plan with high level tasks of the vendors project plan. Reconciling the two project plans will ensure that everyone is on the same page to deliver an on-time project.


The Project is Done

Go over lessons learned to note adjustments for any future projects. Have a celebration to reflect on all the hard work that made the project a success. 


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

Posted on: March 18, 2018 09:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

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 (18)

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."

- Decca Recording Company, rejecting the Beatles, 1961