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Wednesday, 20 November 2013 07:00

Are you a Process Person?

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“Are you a process person”? Have you ever been asked that, perhaps at a job interview? I, thankfully have not. I have, however been told by other people that they are “a process person.” Usually when I am told this, it is with a sense of pride or affirmation. The question then occurs to me, “What is a process person”? I think that most people would agree to the following definition: “Someone who utilizes documented and repeatable processes to achieve a goal or result.” By this definition, I consider myself a process person. However, there is another definition, a definition…
Change, what is it? What is its purpose? Change is not some random event. Change is about status quo. It is the planned movement from the current status quo to some new status quo. Change, like a project, is transitional. It is the transition between two stable status quos, the current and the desired. Since change is not random, it is initiated by someone and affects others. A single change has multiple impacts. It’s not enough to understand just the nature of the change. We also need to understand the nature, target, and consequence of the stakeholder impacts. There are…
Often in the hectic world of Project Management the quick compromise fits the bill. It’s quick, efficient and gets the job done. But is it the best solution? Every Project closure needs a time for lessons learned. Alas I am not the only one who sees the same mistakes repeated far too often. One of the most oft repeated mistakes I see in negotiation and conflict management is the over use of compromise. It is almost accepted practice to split the difference and move on. People think the correct answer is half way between the two positions. It is not.…
In the previous three articles in this series, I’ve described seventeen practices the project manager can apply to lay the foundation for a successful project, plan the project, and estimate the work to be done. In this final article I share three good practices for tracking your progress throughout the project and one practice for learning how to execute future projects more successfully. Tracking Your Progress Practice #18: Record actuals and estimates. Unless you record the actual effort or time spent on each project task and compare them to the estimates, your estimates will forever remain guesses. Someone once asked…
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 07:38

Top 3 Frustrations of Product Managers

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As Product Managers, we are responsible for executing on the overall strategy and roadmap for our products. We develop roadmaps that maximize business value, we recognize market trends, we identify opportunities, we create timelines and we communicate our goals to developers and testers. Modern product delivery has embraced more iterative development processes; this was supposed to make our jobs easier by breaking work into smaller chunks that customers can validate sooner. Despite its numerous benefits, the pressure to get to market faster, without any impact on quality, has actually exacerbated several common frustrations: Balancing Conflicting Priorities Across the Business to…
I’m writing – you are reading - WE are not communicating. Not yet anyways. Communication comes from the Latin, which means ‘to come to a common understanding’. Re-Learning how to communicate in a fast moving race down the ever-lengthening TO-DO list or e-mail inbox greatly increases efficiency, avoids mistakes, decreases risk and avoids conflict.  Every Project closure needs a time for lessons learned. Alas I am not the only one who sees the same mistakes repeated far too often. The way we communicate – that is come to that common understanding is the most efficient way to solve problems and…
The reality of a jury trial is different from what we see on TV or read in books, where the action moves quickly towards the acquittal or conviction of the defendant. On TV the opening arguments, the witness interrogation, and the closing arguments are all pertinent and exciting. Of course, on TV and in books trials are filled with action, with both sides winning points, stumbling, and articulating coherent and often poignant arguments. Oh, the fast-paced drama of it all. So when I was summoned for jury duty, my expectation was that while there might be some down time waiting…
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 07:52

7 Ways to Create a Budget for Your Project

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There’s a tight link between project management and budgets. Preparing a project budget requires thinking through the project in detail before anyone starts working. “Budget is a proxy for project planning.” This aphorism was a live-tweet of a talk given by Aidan Byrne, CEO of the Australian Research Council. In other words, when you finish laying out a budget, you should feel like you’ve walked through the entire project. While projects can differ dramatically, there are some common strategies when it comes to writing budgets, such as: plan for the worst, identify where changes are likely to originate and watch…
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:54

Mitigating Risk and Leveraging Luck

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Deservedly so, project management’s success has been defined in large measure by the project team’s procedural structures, sound executable actions, risk mitigation activities, and the like. An alternate view suggests there are forces at work at the margins that are prominent in delivering project success; namely, the combination of skill and luck. A couple of basic assumptions are in order prior to discussing how skill and luck play out. Firstly, at the level most of us practice our profession, it is reasonable to assert the skills of the various stakeholders are technically and organizationally proficient. Secondly, we could view project…
The global reliance on technology has significantly increased the complexities of many current projects to levels not seen before. Indications are that this trend will not be slowing down any time soon. In fact, there are signs that the current rate of technology advancement will actually accelerate and drive the complexity level of many projects to new heights. If that doesn’t bring to mind a big enough challenge, there is a relatively new and rapidly evolving aspect of modern projects that is now on the plate of project managers and is something that must now be addressed. The latest change…

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