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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Project Manager as Planner

I think everyone agrees that the first responsibility of the project manager is planning. The project manager's main responsibility is to build the high-level plan, but it is the responsibility of the line/functional managers to build in or provide the details. We know that the project manager does not or should not control the resources that will ultimately do the work, but the project manager is responsible to see that that work is done right, on time, and on budget. There are some tips that will help the project manager create a better project plan and keep the project on track.

Some items to consider are:

  • Define your tasks using non-technical language, and include descriptions or notes detailing the work involved
  • Create milestones in your schedule to help track progress and use them as quality gates
  • Ensure you have agreement with the line managers about the skill sets required of his or her resources
  • Define up front how you will measure performance
  • Define up front how you will measure quality
  • Ensure you have a strong project sponsor that is engaged and supportive
  • Use Communication plans to keep everyone informed

Doing the above (and lots of other things) will help ensure that everyone involved with the project will better understand their roles and have a vision of what the end product or service will look like.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management

Organizations have a lot of knowledge. This knowledge is critical to the organization’s success and is housed in many places. Knowledge transfer among employees is always a challenge, and most importantly most organizations do not have processes in place to ensure that timely knowledge transfer takes place.

An organization’s culture can inhibit effective knowledge transfer. Ineffective knowledge transfer can cause knowledge to be lost or be unclear when and if it is transferred.

Some ways to overcome ineffective knowledge transfer are:

  • Face-to-face meetings

  • Create an environment that is conducive to collaboration

  • Set performance objectives around formal and informal knowledge transfer mechanisms

  • Establish regular knowledge transfer procedures (meetings, documents, reports, etc)

  • Hire people that are flexible and open to good knowledge transfer practices

  • Conduct brainstorming sessions and document the what is learned/transferred

  • Reward collaborative efforts

  • Use failures as a way to create new knowledge

A common language is important for effective knowledge transfer to take place. Glossaries, scope statements, project objectives and project assumptions will help you to begin the process of knowledge transfer in the early stages of your project.

Monday, September 12, 2005

PMI World Congress - Toronto, Canada

I'm at the Project Management Institute's annual World Congress, which is being held this year in Toronto. Lots of good information is being exchanged and I have attended many presentations that are focused on Program and Portfolio Management. As we all know these conferences can add value to our careers, however we have to be ready to accept these ideas and be willing to implement them when we return to our regular jobs.

One of the areas I plan to focus on in the new year is expanding my skills around communications and scope management. We can never stop learning if we want to excel in our careers.

Have a good day, eh!