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Friday, April 30, 2010

2010 Project Management Trends?

Late last year, ESI International a surveyed a global panel of consultants and senior executives and identified the top ten project management trends in 2010.  Some of these seem a little strange, but we have to keep in mind that part of ESI International's business is delivering project management training.

According to the survey the top ten project management trends are:

1. The implementation of new Project Portfolio Management solutions will soar

2. Reliance on Requirements Metrics to measure performance will increase

3. Senior Executives will embrace the value of Project and Program Governance

4. PMOs will go to the next level with Business Analysis Centres of Excellence

5. Demand for Agile Project metrics will increase

6. Vendor management and program outsourcing will move front and center

7. Risk Management will become a Project Management obsession

8. Crisis environments will leverage Project Portfolio principles for better outcomes

9. Project management learning measurement will no longer be “a Nice to Have”

10. Project management learning will push out of the classroom

To view the rest of the article, visit here

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ten Keys to Civility

A local foundation here in Florida, USA has developed a set of "Ten Keys to Civility".  These are a perfect set of guiding principles for the project manager. Click here to view their website and find out more.


Respect Others - Honor other people and their opinions, especially in the midst of a disagreement.

Think Positively - Keep an open mind and assume others have good intentions.

Pay Attention - Be aware and attend to the world and the people around you.

Make a Difference - Get involved.

Speak Kindly - Choose not to spread or listen to gossip.

Say Thank You - Let others know they are appreciated.

Accepts Others - Our differences are what make us interesting.

Rediscover Silence - Keep noise to a minimum.

Listen - Focus on others in order to better understand their points of view.

Keep Your Cool - Accept life's challenges with grace.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Project Managers Need to Behave

When CIOs were interviewed by ComputerWorld in 2001 regarding what skills a Project Manager should have, the consensus was the following competencies are the most important: Technology, Business, Behavior - not necessarily in that order.

I know that I have lived a sheltered project management life, but I think many project managers haven't sufficiently mastered the "Behavior" competency.   I admit my experience is limited, but I have worked with many project managers, and I believe that we all could improve our skills as they relate to the "Behavior" competency.  We should all be able to agree that in order to motivate people a project manager needs an understanding of human behavior and how to motivate teams.  How many project managers do you know have mastered these skills?  How well do you do in this area?  I can admit that I have room for improvement.

As I said, "Behavior" was listed in the top three of the most important competencies.  I find that to be interesting because other surveys of CIOs find that the number one complaint about project managers is that they are whiners and excuse makers.  How can we change that?  Collectively we must decide as project managers to exhibit the highest ethical and behavioral standards, and take responsibility for our project's results (without whining).  We must be empathic,  good listeners, be trustworthy, and not gossip and participate in destructive office politics.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why is my Project Late? (Revisited and Updated)

Consider these things when planning a new project...

Design Changes – Design changes during project execution almost always cause delays and cost impacts to your budget.  Once the Scope document has been signed, any changes to the design need to go through your Scope Change Request Process.  In my opinion, most project scope change requests that occur during the project execution phase should be declined and deferred until after the project go live date.  This is due to the fact that it is difficult to properly estimate the scope and cost of new work, and most importantly the impact the new work will have on the existing work.

Skill Sets – When planning, assumptions are made (or should be) regarding people's skills. Sometimes these assumptions turn out to be wrong.  Also, you will usually have people on your team who are new or have little experience.  These new or lower skilled workers won't be as productive as higher skilled workers, and many times these less experienced workers extend the cost and duration of your project.  Make sure your project schedule has accounted for skill levels.

Unplanned Work or Workarounds – Many times changes must be made to the sequence of planned work.  These changes can impact time, cost, budget, and quality. Think about these risks up front and discuss what if any workarounds will be used.  Ask why the sequence must be changed and work with the team to ensure the changes to the project occur with minimal impact to the schedule and cost.

Rework – Rework happens; it is part of most projects (especially IT).  Ensure your project plan accounts for rework.  

Team Morale – Turnover, project conflict, sick time, vacations all can wreak havoc with your schedule and budget; plan for these things.  A happy team is a productive team. Ensure your team is working towards a common goal and not working against each other.  Remove disruptive team members from your project if their behavior can't be changed.

Schedules – Trying to do too much in too little time will result in delays. Once you get behind it is very difficult (nigh, impossible) to catch up. Your project will have delays.  You need to have contingency plans to get back on track quickly.

Work Environment – Ensure that your team has a proper workspace. Cramming people into poorly designed work spaces will lower productivity.

Tools – Ensure your team has the right tools to do the job.  Having the right tool, but not getting into the teams hands at the right time will cause delays in your schedule.

Project Manager Overload – Too many people on a project team without the proper management oversight can cause major problems for the project manager.

Overtime – Adding hours to people's schedules in order to make a deadline will usually do nothing but increase your budget. Adding overtime rarely results in getting a late project back on track.

Executive – Executive apathy can kill your project. People are usually not going to make your project a priority if their boss isn't willing to tell them it is important.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Project Management Stakeholders

Adapted from the book - Power and Politics in Project Management by Jeffrey K. Pinto

In the project management world there are many different opinions regarding how to successfully manage a project.  One of the most important things we need to do in project management is manage the expectations and relationships with our stakeholders. Some things to keep in mind to help us manage our stakeholders are:

Assess the culture (is it supportive, what is the balance of power, what are the stakeholder attitudes?)

Identify the goals of the stakeholders (are the goals realistic, attainable, communicated?)

Assess our own capabilities and limitations (are you politically savvy, respected, a good negotiator?)

Define the problem (define goals, risks, relationships)

Develop solutions (create action plan, determine the right solution for the right time)

Test and refine the solutions (New learnings must be incorporated, replan, retool, rethink)

While there is plenty more to do in regards to managing a project successfully, this list of "must do" items will help you get started.