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

Waterfall or Agile that is the Question

My Kanban Board

The Project Manager brand called ?

The System Failure Assessment

The Risk Assessment

The Risk Assessment

Holding a Risk Assessment meeting prior to implementing a modification to a process or system that could result in loss of productivity to a business unit. Invite business units with a stake in the implementation. Encourage feedback to tear up your plan and look for any holes in it. You need to really know your stuff when you hold a risk assessment meeting because they can get intense. The meeting is your time to shine and field questions. Show what you are made of. Be confident and never get defensive or offended by the reviewers. You should have a subject matter expert on your team to help you out when a discussion gets out of hand. Sometimes the risk assessment meeting has hecklers to distract from the productivity of the meeting and your job is to shut that person down diplomatically to keep the meeting on track.

The risk assessment document should include an implementation timeline giving a summary and anticipated duration of the activity that is being performed. Build your timeline with appropriate padding to allow you some extra time should you run into issues or take a little longer than anticipated. Break down your timeline into half hour increments to gauge your progress. The Go/No-go decision needs to be placed at a critical point in your timeline to evaluate your current progress to determine if the implementation is on track or not on track with numerous issues encountered warranting a back-out of the implementation. The plan should also include names and contact numbers of key people that you might need to reach out to at anytime during the implementation.


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

Posted on: April 20, 2018 04:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (18)

The Project Equations

The answer is ???

Do you remember when you were required to show your work in a math test to give the instructor an idea how you arrived at the answers. They had to see the approach that you used to solve the problems. Showing your work demonstrates that you understand  how you arrived at your answers.

Connecting the dots

The Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management is the decomposition of a Work Package that is a basically a large task that needs to be broken down as far as you can to create work packages that are smaller tasks. When you breakdown a large work package into smaller tasks it gives you a better insight on the work that needs to be done. It will give you a chance to provide good estimates on the time required to complete the entire work package.

The value of the WBS

The work breakdown structure is a valuable technique to get a better understanding of the components in your project. Showing your work on how you will deliver your project will provide clarity. The better you are at showing your work, the better your chances on delivering tasks on time.

Posted on: February 25, 2018 08:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)

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 (19)

The sticky notes Project Management tool

One of the most high tech tools at your disposal is the sticky notes. When you are brainstorming and laying out your project you need to start labeling all your high level and detailed tasks on sticky notes. 

When you are all done creating your labeled sticky notes the fun starts. Look for a wall or window in your office to start arranging the notes. You are going to assemble a puzzle called your next project. You can keep shifting the notes around to ponder different approaches until you feel you have tasks in the right sequence. 

This is actually the high tech part of laying out your project. Enter your masterpiece puzzle of tasks into a web based project management software or Microsoft Project.

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on in August 2015)

Posted on: January 15, 2018 04:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

"A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions."

- Anonymous