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Project management Resources

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Wednesday, 05 September 2012 08:43

Baselines - Don't Leave Planning Without Them

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When I ask project managers what a baseline is and why it’s important, they tell me that it is an approved starting point against which project performance is measured. They are right, of course.  But when I ask them if they use baselines, as often as not, I find that baselining is a fundamental project management practice that is neglected by many project managers and organizations. Lack of good project discipline or good tools probably explains why many projects don’t get baselined.  Understanding project performance and providing input into lessons learned are two obvious reasons for utilizing baselines. One perspective…
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 08:20

Closing the Confidence Gap in Change Leadership

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Without a doubt, how well we handle change plays a large role in determining our success in life. The same is true for companies—those that are more agile at managing change in their organizations can drive better performance. Most of us know this intuitively—social media forums in project management, IT leadership, and business analysis continuously buzz about how leaders can amp up business results through change. Whether designing and implementing new solutions, improving business processes, stretching business unit targets, or managing people, we all play a role in helping our companies innovate and grow. In fact, a recent survey of…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 08:42

The Problem with Red, Yellow, Green Project Status

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Many years ago I worked in a Project Management Office at a large financial institution. Once a week I prepared a project status report for executive management and the PMO director. I would calculate how we were tracking to budget, list any major issues or risks, and summarize overall status. I was also told to mark the project as red, yellow, or green – using the following definitions:
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 08:10

Why Should I Insist That Team Members Be Full-Time?

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Most Agile experts recommend dedicating people full-time to their Agile team. Developers, testers, and other professionals should only deal with items in their team’s work stream — the backlog. This minimizes the cost of switching between unrelated activities and enables the team members to concentrate on their work. Management usually frowns on this advice, for two reasons: They want to maximize people’s output. If someone is only needed 80% of the time on one project, what happens with the rest of his time? The workload usually includes more than net new development. It also includes production support, some training, fixing…
To almost quote Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” – to document or not to document, that is a risk question.  This article is a follow-up to the BATimes publication, “Verifying Requirements Documentation.”  As author of the article, I took special note of a readers comment on providing organizations a continuous process improvement model on composing a business requirements document (BRD).  The comment was: “... I too found some things worth cutting and pasting into some training or checklist material. The post script was prophetic - the environment for BRD seems to be getting squeezed by those who find the whole process "too cumbersome"…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 08:03

Eight Steps to Make Better Business Decisions

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Decision-making errors exist within all levels of organizations. Some common examples include: Focusing on the symptoms instead of the problem Having no clear picture of the desired outcome Becoming fixated on only one option Making decisions that do not align with the overall goals of the organization Missing opportunities to set decision criteria Failing to evaluate enacted decisions It is important to recognize and accept (without blame or shame) that mistakes occur. Then it is time get over it, move on and apply a process that will enable successful decision making.
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 10:15

What Encourages Team Members to Pull Together?

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One defining characteristic of any team is their shared purpose. I always ask about it when I meet a new team. The answer is usually beige, something like, “We do the social media component.” Stronger teams have an identity, a vivid purpose, or an inspiring vision. Such teams ask themselves, “What must we do together that is larger than any of us, requires all of us, and for which none of us can claim individual victory until it is done?” [i] In some cases, a team will reflect their identity in a name. [ii] Basic affinity between the members is necessary for…
An approach to defining and implementing your collaboration model How adept an organization is at collaboration can be a competitive advantage or, alternatively, a source of significant risk. The general makeup of project teams has been shifting to a more diverse, virtual makeup as organizations spread out geographically and increasingly work with multiple stakeholders on projects. Project management approaches that do not take into account increased communication and collaboration needs created challenges for which organizations are ill prepared. While the market is flooded with tools that claim they can improve collaboration, purchasing a new tool and weaving it into a…
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 04:00

Our Love-Hate Relationship with Rules

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Thomas Edison once said, “Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.” Rules, rules, rules. They constrain us, can make us feel patronized, and conflict with our git ‘er done ethos.  But without them…sometimes we’re a mess! I certainly felt like one earlier this summer while watching our son play his first lacrosse game. There we were on the sidelines trying to figure out what the heck this game is all about. Most of us watching were veteran hockey parents entirely familiar how things work in that game. But this was the first lacrosse game most…
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 01:00

The Importance of Having a Project Charter

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The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines a project charter as a document that formally authorizes a project. The project charter is not created by the Project Manager. Instead, it is issued by the sponsor to empower the Project Manager with the authority to begin the project and obtain resources for project activities. The project charter should include at a minimum the following: business need for the project which links the project to the organization's overall strategy stakeholders and their initial requirements objectives or quantifiable criteria that must be met for the project to be considered successful definition of…