The Insanity of It All!
By Barry Otterholt
You’re a project manager, right? You rationalize what you do as normal, right? No offense to the mentally challenged (I hold that we are all mentally challenged, in some way), but consider the definition of crazy and then go look at yourself in the mirror:
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- Full of cracks or flaws – When is the last time you had a project that wasn’t full of cracks or flaws? Isn’t that were it starts? Aren’t cracks in the plan the root cause of most project failures? Or are your projects the exception? Come on now. Nobody’s looking over your shoulder here.
Mad, insane – How many times have you preached something over and over again, even become upset about it, just to get the same results? Einstein is quoted as saying the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
The Management of Management in the New Agile Organization
By Cindy Vandersleen
All too often I hear about organizations that declare “We are now Agile…” or someone in management looks at the development team and says: “go forth and be Agile…”, and then throws them to the wolves to figure out how without any training. Some in the leadership may embrace it enthusiastically and say “we need to be more agile…”, while others are complete skeptics and believe that without all the usual documentation, no work of any quality could possibly be getting done. Indeed one of the biggest challenges in trying something new like agile practices in an organization is managing expectations of the leadership.
For many leaders who don’t really understand what agile is, they believe being agile just means they’ll get stuff done faster. They don’t understand or care about any of the methodology or process changes required to make it work. Read the Complete Article
Managing Projects on a Global Scale
By Curt Finch
There are no longer many physical obstacles to performing global projects. Instantaneous global collaboration, inexpensive resource transportation, and near-global access to knowledge have expanded organizations’ horizons and consumer markets. At the same time, however, these now-hurdled obstacles present new challenges to the global project manager: though distance is now surmountable, what happens when project team members speak different languages, for example? We may have instantaneous communication, but this doesn’t necessarily translate into instant comprehension.
So where does this current level of interconnectedness leave the modern global project manager? The internet and globalization are too young to have expunged regional differences, yet they make collaboration between these regions too profitable to be ignored. The following obstacles are real threats to conducting good business, but can all be hurdled using a combination of new technology – the tools which have brought us this far along – and old tactics – the tried and true elements which constitute business as we know it. Read the Complete Article
Reasons to Leave the Cost of Training in Your Project Budget
By Francis Norman
Often, during the process of initiating new projects, it seems that agreed budgets come under pressure, particularly when the newly appointed project manager and client are reviewing where the monies are to be spent, one of the the first thing to be questioned and, often subsequently removed, is the cost of training, which, while an easy target for cost cutting on many projects, can become a false economy to the overall project objectives.
The review process goes something like this; as the budget comes under scrutiny, the project team tries to push training costs onto their parent organization, arguing that the project is only temporary, but the parent organisation is permanent and as such will get long term benefits from the training, the parent company usually then pushes back on this attempt, saying that the project delivery group, whether internal or external, should bear costs of training since the training is for their project… The next target for the costs is then the client, who again will usually advise the project team that the costs should be in their budget since the project team and their parent organisation will reap the long term benefits… and so the cycle continues until either one party accepts the costs, a compromise is reached to share them somehow, or the bulk of the proposed training is removed from the project. Read the Complete Article
Defensive Project Management
By Jennifer Whitt
There is an expression motorcyclists use when they are getting ready to take their bikes on the road. “Dress for the crash, not for the ride”. What does this mean? It means that the helmet, the leather, the boots, and other protective gear are not for the exhilarating, wind-in-your-face motorcycle ride… but rather for the unpleasantness that could occur in the event of a crash.
Nobody gets on their motorcycle thinking that this is the day that things can go terribly wrong. But it can, and every now and then it does.
Nobody starts out a new project thinking that things can go terribly wrong. But it can, and every now and then it does.
That’s why bikers dress for the crash, not for the ride. In other words, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. How can this be done when it comes to Project Management? Read the Complete Article
Running More Effective Project Meetings
By Chris LeCompte
People always cringe when a meeting request hits their inbox, especially web designers and project managers. To us, meetings are boring and endless, taking far too much of our time. Perhaps that’s an overstatement, but the fact remains: meetings can be tedious. But what if our meetings with clients and project stakeholders weren’t tedious? What if after every meeting you walked away knowing you accomplished something important that will push the project forward?
I’ve been running meetings with a variety of clients on a variety of subjects, and through these experiences, I’ve compiled a list of my own tactics that I employ to ensure meetings are efficient, valuable to everyone, and on point.
Only hold necessary meetings
People hold meetings because they feel like they’re doing something, but the truth is, they’re just wasting time. Unless a project is huge, with numerous stakeholders, you often only need to meet a handful of times. Read the Complete Article
Project Analysis Tool: The SWOT Chart
By Kathlika Thomas
We often talk about how best to develop the foresight a project manager needs to identify factors that are important to meeting organizational objectives, both internal and external to the project. Instead of relying on chance or worse yet, the appearance of project-threatening risks to alert you to impending issues, there are some methods that can be used to analyze project circumstances to predict and plan for bumps in the road ahead. SWOT is a project analysis tool used to gauge project strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats:
SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
How can you use this method to safeguard your project venture? Let’s step through the fundamentals:
The SWOT analysis starts with identifying your project’s strengths and weaknesses with a focus on either the project team or the broader organization as a whole. But what can be categorized as project strengths or weaknesses? Read the Complete Article
Project Coaching – A Brief Introduction
By Spencer Wasley
If you are a good project manager, which I am sure you are, you probably already put your people first. You are probably good at motivating your team towards a set of goals, achieving them through your own, and your team’s, hard work.
If, however, you take the time to get underneath the skin of your project and understand your team at a deeper level, then you can get them to perform at a much higher level. Taking a coaching approach on your project can really help in ensuring that you make the most of yourself, the individuals within the team, and the team as a whole.
Project Coaching can bring about a real step change in performance and accelerate your project by getting everyone to work together quicker and more effectively, ensuring you have a ‘People Powered Project’. When I say ‘People Powered’, this includes all the people involved in delivering your project: you, your team, stakeholders, clients, users, and so on. Read the Complete Article
A Complete Guide to Project Health Checks
By Michael L Young
The Health-check is a reflective learning exercise, a snapshot of the status of a project or program in order to identify what is going well and what areas need improvement. Project managers, sponsors and the project team are often so involved in the day-today activities that they can fail to recognize the true status of a project.
The check’s purpose is to gain independent assessment of how well the project or program is performing in accordance with its objectives and how well it adheres to organizational processes or standards. Why Use Health-checks? It is well known that in most business arenas, the cost of correcting an issue is many times the cost of preventing it. Looming problems can go undetected or be ignored because the project team has faith that if they just follow the plan the benefits will materialize. Read the Complete Article
Project Management Basics for Freelancers: What We Mean by a “Project”?
By Jennifer Kentmere
- Is a piece of work with a defined beginning and end
- Has a specific goal or objective
- Takes place within a pre-arranged timeframe
What makes freelancing so appealing is that freelancers are usually hired to work on a project-by-project basis and get the satisfaction of a completed job, rather than work the routine day-to-day slog so many salaried workers complain about.
Examples of projects:
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- A freelance documentary director is hired to work on a one-off documentary about hats. The objective is the finished documentary. The project runs from the time the director is commissioned by the producer, to the day that filming is wrapped (or whenever their services are no longer required).
A wedding planner is hired by a couple to plan and organize their Big Day: that is the objective. The project starts when the couple hire the planner and finishes when the wedding day is over (or shortly after if the planner is dealing with the photography albums etc).