Using SharePoint to Improve Project Delivery - Project Management Best Practices & Your Project EnvironmentWritten by Steve Hart
As I work with different clients, I usually run across the same project management related theme. Project Management is a very mature competency with very well-defined concepts, processes, and tools. There are a lot of resources available to help organizations improve the PM competency, including one of the best professional organizations I have worked with, the Project Management Institute (PMI). However, clients still have projects that fail, or are significantly challenged (e.g. bad quality, scope creep, late delivery, over budget). Clients are frustrated with inconsistent delivery results from project to project. The root cause of project related problems are often linked to shortfalls from a project management competency perspective.
Wouldn’t it be great if all stakeholders always agreed on the specifics of a requirement or scope of a project? It would be easy, but thankfully it’s not reality. Best decisions are not made when everyone agrees and there is a lack of debate and discussion about differing opinions. Business analysts need to work with stakeholders to allow them to discuss, debate, and then come to a decision on how to move forward.
Story telling is a start of a social and cultural journey that inevitably leads to a knowledge management artefact. Whether our communications means are oral, graphic, video and/or written, innovative ideas and concepts are exchanged among people. In a real sense, the storytelling and social interaction of people is the precursor to knowledge management. Knowledge management as a codified structure data is as volatile as the organization itself. Without the links back to the original storytelling from communities of practice or social networking applications to assist project teams, there is the increase of unknown risks that will impact project success.
In companies that are obsessed with politics and intrigue, problem solvers rarely fix issues and are more likely to spawn new problems that weigh heavily on the organization’s ability to serve customers and respond to market trends. This is because most problem solvers in such organizations avoid thinking about the political dimension of problems. For them problem solving is apolitical and necessitates issues to be understood and analyzed, root causes identified and validated, and initiatives developed and implemented that eventually result in workable solutions. The solutions— by and large—are delivered in the form of processes and governance models, roles and responsibilities, training, automation etc. Problem solving in this manner always conforms to the politics of the company or what I like to call the “corporate order”.
The phrase “time is fleeting” has never had more relevance than it does in the 21st century as today’s “C-Suite” executives and their employees confront overwhelming demands on their time.
Time is as critical as money. Yet, many companies are not accustomed to allocating and investing it with the same level of care as they would with more traditional assets. Few executives “get it” that time must be managed, accounted for and invested in ways that maximize return. This is often easier said than done as companies seldom possess the right processes and infrastructure to make the most of time resources.
Every now and then a book comes along that rocks my world. Last week was one of those moments. I’m starting to sound like Oprah! Although the book was not specifically written for Project Management professionals, it applies 100%. The book, Getting Naked (1) written by Patrick Lencioni. Most of my writing is about ways to become or stay a desired a business analysis professional. These concepts also apply to project management. If you want to take a leap forward in becoming desired read this book. If I have not convinced you to buy the book yet keep reading.
The top 10 Global Project Management Trends for 2011 include such key themes as building the project manager’s (PM) influence, accelerating new leadership and communication skills, and increased use of informal learning approaches such as social media and experiential training. A global panel of consultants and senior executives assembled by ESI identified the trends.
Zombies, dead and mindless creatures that shuffle about sucking out the brains of the living, have invaded your office.
It's time to exterminate the zombies from your office.
Template zombies, while not necessarily the most dangerous kind since they don't suck actual human brains but instead suck the brains out of projects, must die because they are one of the biggest factors in ruined projects. And this isn't happening in Los Angeles or New York, as Hollywood's movies may suggest - it's also happening right here in South Africa. The undead, or in this case the brain dead, are among us.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Master’s Certificate in Project Management (MCPM) Course.” With these words, pronounced by David Barrett, our five month journey into project management began. David, the Program Director for the Schulich Executive Education Centre’s Centre of Excellence in Project Management, then set the scene for what we were going to cover during the eighteen training days, programmed for two days every second weekend. We were going to receive instruction in various facets of project management, including the critical time-scope-cost triangle, quality, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement. We were also going to learn how everything is integrated within project management. Having completed the pre-reading of the first three chapters of the PMBOK, I knew that these key topics corresponded to the nine knowledge areas. These topics would be presented to us by various experts in the field, each module building upon the knowledge we had gained to date. By the end of the course, David assured us, we would be ready to write the PMP certification exam (provided that you have acquired the required hours of real-life project management experience required to apply for the exam).
There are many aspects involved in successful project and program management: hard work, experience, good teamwork, solid processes and work practices, having good tools with which to work, adopting and displaying the right behaviors…the list could go on. This article focuses on two aspects of project/program management – the processes and the tools we use as program and project managers – and asks: what comes first – the process or the tool?