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

The Project Presentation

The Problem Solver

My Project Management Zen Moment

The Project Manager with dirty hands

I need to make this Meeting happen

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)

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 (19)

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 (14)

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)

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."

- Winston Churchill