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Project management Resources

For PMs, By PM Professionals

Accountability is one of those interesting things that everyone knows is a critical success factor for effective performance but is avoided like the plague.

“I’m a project manager. Why do I need to know about automated acceptance testing?

Isn’t that for the quality assurance people? Our user stories already have acceptance criteria – is this different?”

Tuesday, 23 June 2015 08:21

The Key to Sprint Success? Your Sprint Structure

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Does your team struggle to deliver sprints on time? Do you often have to split stories or determine what to do with major bugs at the end of a sprint?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015 08:10

Project Execution Paramount for Success

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Businesses do not fail due to poor strategies; instead, they fail due to poor execution. The same is true for projects. My most successful clients understand the critical importance of execution to not only their bottom line but also to the success of their company.

Managing to the triple constraint is table stakes – it’s time for project managers to go further.

The natural concern which might be raised is that in many cases a project manager has moved on to their next project while the product owner and other stakeholders are still working on the change sustainment required to achieve benefits. The project manager might have had limited direct involvement with the staff who are required to successfully adopt the changes, or might have no influence over the external factors which could impact benefits realization.

Project and portfolio management software (PPM) is essential for any successful company. PPM software helps you plan and strategize to obtain the optimum result for any project. The software enables you to control your internal processes from project generation through workflow and approvals to a successful conclusion.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015 11:50

The Promise of PRINCE2 Agile TM

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A perfect storm of circumstances in public sector project management is helping open the door to agile methods.

First, some projects have not been as successful as expected – either not delivering a product or not meeting stakeholder expectations. Combining those issues with the likely continuation of Government austerity measures and greater scrutiny makes it highly appealing to have access to methods that will help run projects more effectively.

Often, it’s once bitten, twice shy. We try something. It doesn’t work out. We go on to something else. Yet, many discoveries and innovations are launched from an initial failure that yields valuable lessons and ultimately paves the path to success.

No matter what your role is, it is critical that you focus your attention on the right things, at the right times, and in the right way to achieve your goals.

Wednesday, 03 June 2015 08:46

The Good Project Meeting

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I had to laugh at this one. I was meeting with a potential new client this morning and he talked about the concept of the "good meeting" on projects. You know the ones - everyone comes out of the meeting saying, “good meeting!" But when asked what was accomplished no one can really pinpoint anything of any significance.

While you might not realize it, you could be exhibiting the symptoms of a project manager who follows McGregor’s Theory X management philosophy from the very start of your projects!

Use case models have been around for decades. Long after Information Engineering was all the rage and through object-oriented analysis and design they hung around. They threatened to disappear when Agile methods gained popularity, but here they are--discussed, dissected, and the subject of many blogs. Aren’t they “old school” and not needed in today’s Agile world?

Tuesday, 19 May 2015 15:31

Is Agile Common Sense?

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There is a buzz about agile project management being the “in” trend. There are workshops, seminars and lots of conversation about agile. However, what does agile mean? According to Webster’s dictionary, it is the ability to think quickly or a quick and well-coordinated movement. I see it as meaning flexible. In the project management world, there are countless discussions geared towards agile. But is it really just common sense?

If we don’t know our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Knowing an organization’s past failures and successes are keys to smooth project management in the future. Unrealistic expectations are avoidable, and colossal barriers to project success. So, how do we manage these expectations from the very beginning of a project before it’s too late?

It’s difficult to produce your best results when you’re under attack from your boss. Unfortunately, management applied duress, intimidation, pressure, bullying, and browbeating of individuals and teams is a too frequent occurrence. And it is incredibly costly in both the short and long term, in lost productivity, poor morale, staff and customer turnover, and bottom line impact.

When I was a new software manager, which if I’m honest was more than a few years ago, one of the things I went looking for were magic numbers.

Monday, 04 May 2015 14:21

How to Spot an Aspiring Leader

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Internal promotion is a sustainable method of maintaining company culture and engagement, but spotting an aspiring leader whose conduct and work records indicate potential success in a management position can be difficult.

What you don't say and how long it takes you to say what you do say sends a message. This article focuses on responsiveness, particularly to emails and voice messages, and how it affects communication and project success.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 07:58

Be a Mindful Project Manager

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Mindfulness has received significant coverage as a good practice for improving one’s interactions with others on both a personal and business front. It is rare to find an article in the Harvard Business Review on leadership, conflict resolution or negotiation that doesn’t touch on the concept.

We know how difficult it is to deliver projects successfully within an organization. Imagine the challenges involved in managing hundreds of concurrent projects in developing countries and communities around the world. That’s exactly what the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) does and has been doing successfully for almost 50 years in Asia, Africa and South America and among Aboriginal communities across Canada.

In my last post, we explored a situation where a Product Owner had a long-term challenge with their performance that was weighing their team down.

Have you ever watched a child learning to ride a bike? Who (or rather what) gets the blame when things don’t go the way the child wants? The bike! The child might even argue that it’s a stupid bike and it’s impossible to ride.

Over the course of my career, I have always been intrigued by leaders who promote a specific methodology or tool or process as THE RIGHT WAY to deliver solutions. They dispense mandates and proclamations to promote their all-or-nothing, purist approach to methodology. Typically it is because it worked in the past for them, and once it fails to deliver results onto a new one.

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