When one PM was asked to list the key requirements for a PMIS that would enable it to better support project and organizational effectiveness, he thought about past project, portfolio and program management experiences. The result? A “dream list” of features for a PMIS to support large, traditionally managed projects...a list that was surprisingly agile.
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We generally talk about managing projects that were sold to our customers. But how about the management of a presales project? Is that just like managing any other project? Do we have the same constraints? Is it less stressful?
Contingency covers costs that are reasonably expected to occur but are not specifically known on a given project. Keeping estimates of contingency up-to-date and relevant to the current environment and phase of the project in real time can be a challenge. Through the use of a project information database, application of a PMO reserve, and the use of iterative risk planning, the authors offer a solution to this problem.
Risk management on projects has become a doom-and-gloom exercise in finding all of the bad things that might go wrong and coming up with plans of what to do about them. Project budgets inflate and schedules extend as mitigation and insurance strategies grow and contingency budgets balloon. We highlight the negatives to such an extent that we forget to focus on the positives. Time to turn that frown upside down...
Any project team that doesn’t manage its current and legacy technical debt will eventually discover that it is impossible to produce features. It’s a slippery slope. Here’s what an agile project manager can do to work with a project team and a product owner.
There’s more to vendor management than deliverables and deadlines. Let's look at a few basic concepts that will help PMs avoid some of the biggest pitfalls.
The Mayans may have had the first timeboxed project--they had a strict 2012 timebox cutoff with little room for extension (you know, since the world would no longer exist). Although agile methods have been preaching the benefits of fixed timeboxed schedules since their creation, it still raises concerns with many stakeholders. That's because timeboxing with flexing scope is the worst form of project compromise--until, that is, you try the alternatives.
How well do mega-projects get managed in comparison with normal projects? Given the size, the scale, the visibility and the sensitivity of these projects, would it be reasonable to assume that they are managed more formally and more effectively than “normal” projects? Reasonable: possibly. Correct: sadly, no.
Budget overruns are typical for all industries, especially for those dealing with complex, non-repetitive projects. Control over projects is often lost because the most popular project control tools simplify the control issue to the extent that vital steering parameters are lost or missed. A probabilistic forecasting tool like the Range Forecasting Method (RFM) can help address uncertainty and reduce extra costs.
Microsoft Project is an inescapable part of a PM's life. There seem to be two schools of thought on this tool, and our writer examines both of them in this two-part story. Up first: the strengths of the tool and how it can help project managers become more effective.