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I call projects like this “a dangerous opportunity”. I inherited a troubled initiative, which not only did not know what they were really trying to deliver, but they were delivering badly.

My client contact was under severe pressure from the parent company to fall in line and develop a multifunctional enterprise computer system from scratch. Application software packages wouldn’t do because they “already looked at them”. And of course the project was “to be completed yesterday” To make matters worse, my client’s boss was an exceedingly intelligent and charismatic individual who lacked experience, yet had the dominating, strong-willed and demanding presence to prolong the project damage.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012 12:54

The PMBOK Guide ® – Is it Enough?

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Mar21_With_map_in_field_13813336_XSThere have been some changes to the PMBOK® Guide in the Fourth Edition. Since the PMBOK® Guide is an ANSI standard, PMI must assess it every 4-5 years to determine if an update is needed” (Cyndi Stackpole).

The increasing acceptance of project management indicates that the application of appropriate knowledge processes, skills, tools and techniques can have a significant impact on project success. The PMBOK Guide indicates that subset of the project management body of knowledge generally recognized as good practice” (PMBOK Guide ®3rd Edition, 2004).

It is clearly stated that the PMBOK Guide® is a subset of the project management knowledge and the field of project management, like many other professions is too vast to be captured in a single book or guide.

Monday, 12 March 2012 16:50

The Kaizen Project Manager

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Project managers have the difficult task of bringing together a team and delivering something exceptional, often within a tight timeline and budget constraints. In these pressure situations, project teams need to be able to perform together as optimally as possible. While newly formed teams often need time to establish their rhythm and develop efficient processes, even an experienced team with several projects under its belt can probably find ways to make their work get done more efficiently. With the seemingly constant demand to find better ways to do things, how can a project manager properly invest time to get a team to perform better?

Tuesday, 06 March 2012 12:45

How to Manage the “Bad Apple”

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Hanging_Fotolia_4097682_XSEvery fall, my family and I plan a trip to visit one of the many apple orchards in southeast Michigan. Our day is spent on a tractor, going to the many fields of trees to pick some of the finest apples in the world. We fill our basket full of good, fresh apples. In choosing our apples, we generally will pick the best-looking apples. These apples are mostly on the tree and in some cases they have already fallen to the ground. Any blemished or bad apples we will not pick.

After carefully picking our apples, after a few days we discover some apples are going bad. If a decaying apple is left in the same position and allowed to stay with the other apples, it will affect the apples around it and they will start to deteriorate. If not careful, you could end up with a bunch of bad apples.

Who

‘Call up your CEO and then count the number of seconds before he recognizes your name...’
If your PMO is really connected to the business, at the right level and with the right profile, then your CEO will know you and your PMOs work. You don’t have to start with the CEO, you can try this out moving up the organisation level by level – who at two levels above you knows you and the PMOs work? For those that do say ‘thanks’ and for those that don’t; well tell them about it.

Lamp_head_Planning_Lead_article_33052010_XSIn Part 1 of this series, I shared four best practices that can help you lay the foundation for a successful project. In this installment, adapted from my book Practical Project Initiation, I briefly describe eleven practices that are useful for project planning.

Practice #5: Write a plan.

Some people believe the time spent writing a plan could be better spent writing code, but I don’t agree. The hard part isn’t writing the plan. The hard part is doing the planning—thinking, negotiating, balancing, asking, listening, and thinking some more. Actually writing the plan is mostly transcription at that point. The time you spend analyzing what it will take to solve the problem will reduce the number of surprises you encounter later in the project.

A useful plan is much more than just a schedule or task list. It also includes:

I’ve been working in project management and business analysis domains for many years. The projects I’ve been engaged in cover regulatory compliance, business process improvements, software development, ERP implementation and ITIL adherence, just to name a few.

Heated discussions about relationships between a project manager (PM) and a business analyst (BA) are often focused on their non-aligning sides rather than on their mutual efforts to ensure project success.

I tend to think about PMs and BAs working together in projects as two hands carrying a baby. Here is my view on the PM-BA tandem and how it comes together to make a project successful.

In a recent study, the Accept Corporation and the Association for International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM) found that more than 60% of executives say they struggle making kill/go decisions.[1] For some reason there is a tendency to continue projects and activities even when most people involved realize it’s not an optimal use of their time. Organizations generate a cultural momentum that, like a battleship, won’t turn easily or quickly even when the product team is aware of the issues. What causes this culture to develop? Are poorly aligned project incentives causing a proliferation of this behavior?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 11:17

Tension at the Workplace: Gen X vs. Gen Y

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To all project managers, quick! Pop Quiz!

a)      Did LOL ever mean “lots of love” to you?
b)      Do you remember a time before (or during) the Walkman?
c)       Was there ever a point in your life when perming was all the rage?
d)      In your heart, will Pluto always be a planet?

You probably realized by now this isn’t a real quiz. Nor is it a sadistic exercise to make you feel old. But what it should do is show that times have changed—and the workforce has changed with it. As each passing year increasingly necessitates cross-generational interaction, there is bound to be some cultural clashes along the way.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 10:34

Ten Reasons to Trash your Risk Management Plan

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GB_Feature_WebDo you have a Risk Management Plan (RMP)? If you do not, then this article is not for you. If you are managing a project of any size and you have not developed a Risk Management Plan, then your project is most likely already in trouble.

If your answer is yes, then you may want to continue reading this article. Many people talk about and also attempt to develop a Risk Management Plan but either give up on it or place the effort in the low-priority to-do list. Others have a risk plan that does not actually provide the guidance and value that is needed to be effective.