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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.

“It takes two to tango.” This idiomatic expression, which originated in a 1952 song by Pearl Bailey and was later popularized in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan quipped about Russian-American relations, is an accurate description of the relationship between a project management office (PMO) and an executive. At the end of the day, success for either of them is dependent on the other. Executives depend on the work accomplished by project management offices for their own success, just as project management offices depend on executives for their success.

Monday, 06 February 2012 10:59

Facilitation Top 5

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As any instructor will tell you, one of the best things about teaching is learning from your students.  It happens in some way, big or small, every time you get in front of people who are expecting to hear how to do it “right.” 

Of course, there is no “right” a lot of the time.  In my classes, for example, I instruct and inform, but I also facilitate discussions about the options, and the students decide what’s going to work for them.

Lack of loyalty is a serious problem in organizations everywhere today.

No longer do people join a company and devote the rest of their working lives to it.   Companies are, of course, not exactly known for offering up thirty or forty years of employment, a gold watch and pension plan.

Times have changed.  Businesses appear and disappear at a dizzying pace. So do the jobs they offer. People no longer expect to spend their entire career with the same company.

Organizations preoccupied with short-term, bottom line thinking often view their employees as little more than resources to be hired, fired, and manipulated as the need arises.

Bricklayer_33147456_XSManaging software projects is difficult under the best circumstances. The project manager must balance competing stakeholder interests against the constraints of limited resources and time, ever-changing technologies, and challenging demands from high-pressure people. Project management is a juggling act, with too many balls in the air at once.

Unfortunately, many new project managers receive little training in how to do the job. Anyone can learn to draw a Gantt chart, but effective project managers also rely on the savvy that comes from experience. Learning survival tips from people who’ve already done their tours of duty in the project management trenches can save you from learning such lessons the hard way.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012 13:57

Management Consultants and PMO failures

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Having worked in the (Middle East- North Africa) MENA region for a number of years, it is quite disheartening to encounter PMOs that suffer from acute identity crisis and are locked in endless battles with other departments to prove their worth.

What is interesting to discover is that the usual culprit behind PMO failures i.e. the lack of executive support, is not the primary cause. The common denominator behind the failings of such PMOs can be attributed to the role played by management consultants in setting up PMOs. There are three distinct areas where management consultants have played an instrumental role in creating PMOs, with major structural defects and no matter how hard one tries to fix it, the defects remain as an indelible stain.

Jan_25_Feature_Fotolia_28094822_XSIf You Had to Choose, Would You Add a Project Manager or a Business Analyst to Your Team?

This was one of several questions posed to a cross-functional panel of industry experts encompassing the product management, project management, and business analysis professions at Project Summit and Business Analyst World Chicago. The resulting dialog shed light on several topics that underlie current practices.