How Short Can Your Program Charters Be?
By Johanna Rothman
A great way to destroy a program is to avoid writing a charter. When I do assessments or work with teams, I often find that programs do not have charters, or that the charter is too big, or is missing some key piece of information.
But what do you really need in a charter? Too big a charter and it’s tempting to fake your way through it. Too small a charter, or insufficient information, and it’s not worth the time you spend on it.
I’m not sure there’s a “Goldilocks” size for every program’s charter, but here’s my attempt:
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- The program vision. You need a vision or purpose so everyone knows where the product is headed. Depending on the size of the program, the projects that make up the program may need visions also, but you need to know you’re making a cell phone or a refrigerator.
There Is More to Risk Management Than Just OHS
By Michael L Young
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” – Donald Rumsfield
We all know about OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) risk management. We take 5 to save lives, fill out JSA’s, follow safe work method statements, but there are other very key areas associated with risk management that should be considered.
Do we really cover all bases in our daily practice? Is the focus purely on OHS? What do we do to reduce the unknown unknowns?
Risks can be direct, physical problems such as illness, floods or fire damage, theft or vandalism. But risk can also be less obvious and direct such as poor decision making, poor recruitment processes or investing in inappropriate technology. Read the Complete Article
By Dave Nielsen
During the life of any project, many decisions must be made. The number and importance of these decisions will depend on the size and complexity of the project, but it is safe to say that any project will have some decisions and managing these is a critical part of the project manager’s job. How you manage these decisions will depend on several factors: whether the decision is yours, whether it is a gating decision, or whether the decision would change the scope, schedule, or budget of the project.
Let’s take a look at the higher profile decisions first. Perhaps the most prominent of decisions you are responsible for is the gating decision. This decision determines the fitness of your project to proceed to the next project phase and in the case of the decision to proceed from the planning to implementation phase; it can have a lot of money riding on it. Read the Complete Article
Are You Foolish For Believing In PRINCE2 As A Project Management Methodology?
By Bjarne Dedenroth
Whether or not you are foolish is not for me to determine, but chances are you have some preconceived notions that are potentially flawed, especially if you work within the field of Business Intelligence (BI), sometimes referred to as Data Warehousing (DW or DWH), but most accurately depicted as Decision Support Systems (DSS). The nearly omnipresent and often indiscriminate popularity – possibly due to equal parts of misconceptions and hype – of PRINCE2 as the project management methodology of choice seems to indicate a near blind faith in PRINCE2 as the answer to all prayers. Quite a few organizational decision makers insist on utilizing PRINCE2 as a foundation for implementing projects. I’ll show you why this is a fatal decision with potentially catastrophic implications.
At the top end, the International Project Management Association (IPMA) controls international standards. Read the Complete Article
Barriers to Successful Portfolio Management
By Brian Egan – Global Knowledge
The logic of portfolio management is clear to virtually everyone. An organization can’t hope to complete every possible project that’s dreamed up without encountering conflicts over resources. There must be a mechanism to decide how many projects can be completed and which have highest priority. All very logical.
Unfortunately the simple logic of portfolio management runs into some serious problems in the real world.
– What prevents portfolio management from being easy to implement in large organizations?
– Too many cooks in the kitchen.
One of the root causes of project failure in large organizations is that too many people (managers and executives) are permitted to authorize projects. Projects are initiated at every level of management, and the projects’ inputs (resources) are ‘over committed’.
The result is low level warfare between projects as each department fights for its own priorities. Read the Complete Article
PMP Certification: Is It Worth It?
By Pam Stanton
As I speak to audiences about the importance of soft skills and emotional intelligence in project management, inevitably I’m asked my opinion on the value of a certification from the PMI (Project Management Institute) such as the PMP (Project Management Professional.) This topic is very polarizing in our professional community. The camps generally divide into : 1) Those who sought the PMP on their own and found it to be an excellent training opportunity; 2) Those who were required by their employer or felt pressured by the job market to obtain it; and, 3) Those who are active resisters or were just never required to get one.
First off, let me state clearly that I do not have a PMI certification. Heresy, you say? Well, the reality is that the PMP certification gained prominence at a time when I was already firmly established in my career. Read the Complete Article
Are Project Managers a Commodity?
By Jed Simms
One organization is getting rid of its pool of project managers as “you can just go to the market and buy them as necessary”.
Another organization outsourced its project managers to a major systems implementer on the basis that “we cannot give them a career path in our organization but they can.”
This seems to me to confuse function with effectiveness.
On the surface, project management is a function, a skill set or a competency. Different project managers will have different types of experience that will affect their ability to work on certain types of projects. (If you’ve ever seen a package configuration only experienced project manager take on a custom build project, you’ll know what I mean.)
But, to be an effective project manager you need to know how the organization works, who is who in the zoo, who are the real power brokers and how to get things done fast. Read the Complete Article
What Are We Trying to Achieve?
By Carol A Long
Setting the objective for a program or project is something that some managers and organizations give too little analysis. The instinct is to say “make me widget X” or “make this new organization structure happen”. That simply defines the solution that seems obvious at the time. For some projects that is enough but for many that is like saying “go to Plymouth” without saying why or what you need to do when you get there.
For a project team to be successful, it helps to know what the end state needs to be and why you need that end.
With business change projects, this is even more important. The endpoint for change often can be achieved by a choice of methods. Some of these methods will support certain types of next steps, others will make other actions easier. Stakeholders engaged and expecting one direction for a project will need more support if the organization suddenly takes a turn in a different direction after the project completes. Read the Complete Article
Struggling To Define Your Project Approach?
By Ben Snyder, CEO of Systemation
It doesn’t seem that hard to define a project’s approach. It’s just a description of the project strategies for achieving the project objectives. Simply stated it’s the path the project team will take to get to the desired end result. Simple as it may be it still drives many project managers nuts, causing them to stare at a blank page, unable to articulate anything of value.
Three types of project managers struggle with defining their project’s approach:
- Type 1: those who have always worked on projects of the kind.
- Type 2: those who have worked on similar projects but the conditions of the current project are not at all the same.
- Type 3: those who have never taken on a project of the kind, nor has their organization.
Most industries have standard development approaches. Software development has the classic waterfall approach with: requirements, design, development, test, and implement. Read the Complete Article
IT Managers: Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep!
By Eric Bloom
Although this article is meant for IT Managers, its concept can easily apply to Project Managers as well.
There is an old expression that says, “No good deed will go unpunished.” Never has this been more applicable than in IT today.
There is more and more emphasis on the technical services coming out of IT that are critical for the organization to run, to compete and to be able to quickly take advantage of market shifts. This ever increasing reliance causes company executives to focus not only on the strategic and operational systems managed in IT but also the staff issues and other relationships that are important to keep things running smoothly. Careful attention to the promises you make as an IT manager, in technical and personnel areas is vital to your continued professional success.
In some ways, making promises you can’t keep to IT staff can have a more devastating effect on you, the department and the company than project and/or technical promises. Read the Complete Article