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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Projectsteps End of Year Tips, Hints, and Free Advice

Projectsteps End of Year Tips, Hints, and Free Advice

Buy at least one share of Apple Computer stock (AAPL)

Tell somebody you care, and how much they really mean to you. Let them know how they have changed your life.

If you have children, encourage them with love, and let them know they are a blessing to you.

If you live to make more money, get a (new) life!

If you aren't having fun doing your job, move on to something new.

Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes - Tom Peters! (Are you listening BH?).

Embrace change and do all you can to expose unethical behavior.

Don't allow deadbeat managers and/or lazy executives to ruin your career or influence your project.

Gossiping is for children and old women. Don't be a part of the office gossip loop.

Great leaders with ethics and a solid morale center are rare. I have never met one; however I'm sure they exist. Seek them out with everything you have.

Executives have forgotten how to be leaders. Because of this, we have a 200 billion dollar trade deficit, stock option scandals, CEOs going to prison, massive layoffs, outsourcing to India, disloyal workers, and a plethora of corrupt politicians. Make sure before you go to work for an organization you know who is running the show.

Love the unlovable.

Be nutty at work. Somebody will appreciate the break in the monotony.

Find a manager in your company that is doing a bad job and ask them about the middle management shake up that is eminent. Walk away quickly before they can respond.

Look at yourself in the mirror closely for 60 seconds. Feel really bad that you look so old, then remember that life is precious and be thankful to God that tomorrow is a new day.

Challenge authority when it makes sense. Project managers can't be wimps.

Don't respect unrespectable people. Avoid them, workaround them, go through them. They are career killers.

If you like to solve problems and make a difference, work for a non-profit or charity.

Be a blessing to somebody.

Thanks for listening.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Stephen F. Seay, PMP

Monday, December 04, 2006

Strategic Projects and Plans

We have a strategic plan where I work, however we don't have a strategic or portfolio planning office to manage the output of the strategic plan (the projects). A strategic plan is basically an outline for a list of strategic projects. Strategic projects are focused on mid and long term goals and are authorized by senior management. Without a strategic planning office there is not an effective strategic plan, and a strategic plan that isn't effective isn't worth the paper it is printed on.

According to some research, 50-80% of strategic plans never come to fruition. I would bet that most of these failed strategic plans were due to organizations not having a strategic planning office. As I mentioned, my organization has a strategic plan, and while well thought out, it doesn't appear to be very effective at consistently delivering measurable results. I say this because I don't see a project portfolio or list of strategic projects, and there is no organization to oversee these projects at the enterprise level. Also, the projects that do come out of our strategic plan aren't usually very S.M.A.R.T. - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resource Constrained/Relevant, Time-bound.

If your projects aren't S.M.A.R.T they aren't worth planning and executing.

Organizations, especially local governments, can tweak and refine their strategy over time. This can be due to the ever changing political winds, environmental factors, customer demands, changing priorities, resource constraints, a lack of political will, or executive apathy (laziness), but more often it is because of a lack of an enterprise project management focus. Whatever the case, a strategic planning office can help an organizations focus on what is important in regards to the management of strategic projects.

When thinking about strategic projects think about the following:

  • How the projects will be selected?
  • How the projects will be funded?
  • How the projects will be monitored and reported against?
  • How will project audits be conducted?
  • Who sponsors the projects?
One final thing, review PMI's OPM3 (Organizational Project Management Maturity Model) to help you transform your organization's strategy into action.

Also, remember the Strategic Planning Circle - Strategy ---> Ideas ---> Projects ---> Change