Select Page

Categories

Conducting Successful Gate Meetings

Conducting Successful Gate Meetings
By Dave Nielsen

Projects don’t arrive at their conclusion perfectly executed and delivering all the benefits promised in the Business Case, at the advertised cost. They must be measured along the way to ensure they are developing to plan. Our project management training (especially our PMP Exam preparation training) provides us with a variety of tools to measure project progress against schedule, budget, requirements, and quality goals. The most critical of these for demonstrating your project’s successful progress is the Gate Meeting. These meetings are variously called Phase Exit Reviews (by our PMP Exam preparation training), or Business Decision Points.

Whatever your organization calls your meetings, these are the points at which all the project stakeholders will determine whether your project is on track to meeting the organizations expectations for it. This article should provide you with some useful information, tips, and tricks to ensure that your meetings are successful. Read the Complete Article

How to Control Change Requests

How to Control Change Requests
By Dave Nielsen

Changes are an important part of any project. There are 2 factors at work that guarantee the generation of change requests: changes that happen to the marketplace the project is aimed at and an unclear understanding of the goals and objectives of the project. The first factor is immutable, we can’t stop the world outside our door changing whether we like it or not. Successful projects are agile enough to respond to those stimuli and re-invent themselves so that when the product or service of the project hits the marketplace it’s the right thing delivered at the right time.

Change requests that are a result of a stakeholder’s unclear understanding of the goals and objectives of the project are easier to avoid. Clear communications about the project’s overall goals and objectives will place the project on a firm footing. Ensuring that the right stakeholders review project requirements and that the right decision makers approve them is also helpful in avoiding change requests that arise from an unclear understanding of project goals, objectives, and requirements. Read the Complete Article

Authority and Responsibility, How They’re Related and How They Affect Project Management

Authority and Responsibility, How They’re Related and How They Affect Project Management
By Dave Nielsen

Veteran project managers know that they accept responsibility for the project when they accept the role of project manager. They also know that the lack of authority can seriously impede their ability to deliver the goals and objectives set for the project. Responsibility is directly proportional to consequences. Responsibility for project results doesn’t mean that they get placed on the bench until the next project if the one they’re leading fails, it has a monetary consequence. They will suffer with the project through elimination or reduction of bonus, a re-assignment to a less responsible role (with an attendant reduction in salary), or dismissal in the case of consultants. The connection between responsibility and consequences is entrenched in business. Larger more costly projects will tend to engage more senior project managers and the consequence of failure will be proportional. Read the Complete Article

Quality Management on Software Projects

Quality Management on Software Projects
By Dave Nielsen

This is the first in a series of articles about managing the Quality related activities in a software project, written from the project manager’s perspective. The first step the project manager will take should be to plan the Quality activities that are required for the application, web site, or system to meet its goals and objectives. You may need to document the goals, objectives, roles, responsibilities, and other details in a formal Quality Management Plan depending on the size and complexity of your project. If your project is not large or complex enough to require a formal plan, scheduling the work and assigning it to a resource in your WBS may be sufficient.

There are 3 different phases or types of testing required during the build phase of the project:

  1. strongDeveloper testing – this is testing that will be done by the developers on the team and will include unit testing, function testing, thread testing, integration testing, and system testing.
Read the Complete Article

Project Decisions

Project Decisions
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

Risk Management: Risk Workshops

Risk Management: Risk Workshops
By Dave Nielsen

One of the most powerful tools available to the project manager is the collective knowledge of the project team. A project manager’s success or failure on a project is determined, to some extent, by how well they use this tool. This is particularly true in the case of risk management. Sure there are other sources the project manager can turn to when searching for information on the risks their project faces. Information is available from professional associations, consultants, government organizations, historical databases, and risk management artifacts from previous projects. These are all valuable sources of information but they will not provide you with information specific to your project. Even if they could, they would not be able to provide you with information specific to your project, and your project team. The best source for that information is from the project team.

The team combines the knowledge they have of your project, its goals, objectives, schedule, tools, and technology which you provide with the knowledge and experience they have gained from projects they have worked on in the past. Read the Complete Article

Dealing with Performance Issues in Project Management – Missed Deadlines

Dealing with Performance Issues in Project Management – Missed Deadlines
By Dave Nielsen

This article is a companion piece to Performance Issues. If your project is continually missing deadlines you may have a performance problem with one of the members of your team. This article tells you how to determine if you have this problem and how to address it if you do.

Anyone can miss a deadline, it’s happened to us all but when you have a team member who consistently misses deadlines, you have a problem that you need to address. Be sure that the team member has the same understanding of their deadline as you before taking action; a work assignment and deadline for the assignment constitute a contract between you and your team member and the contract must be agreed upon. The deadline must be clearly stated and the team member must agree that they can and will meet it. Read the Complete Article

Risk Management – Lessons Learned From the Titanic

Risk Management – Lessons Learned From the Titanic
By Dave Nielsen

The Titanic was one of the greatest maritime disasters of all time and still continues to fascinate us today even though almost 100 years have passed since the tragedy. One of the facts about the tragedy that makes it significant was the number of lives that were lost: over 1,500 souls perished in the disaster! The story of the Titanic continues to fascinate us to this day, as witnessed by the 1997 movie: Titanic. The movie had one of the largest budgets of any movie to that date and its success revived interest in the story. That level of interest can be gauged by the amount of information available on the internet. There are scores of Youtube posts, blogs, tweets, you name it. Add to this the books, magazine articles, specials, documentaries, and movies and you can understand why the story of the Titanic is so widely known. Read the Complete Article

Critical Project Resources – The Build Master

Critical Project Resources – The Build Master
By Dave Nielsen

Build Masters (also known as librarians) are a key resource on any software development project. The key deliverable for any software development project is the system or application under development, but that system or application is built from the software in the source library so I would argue that the items in that library are the key deliverables for the project. The system or application can be re-built from the library if anything goes wrong but you can’t rebuild the library from the system or application. The source library is under the care and control of your build master or librarian which makes them a key resource for your project.

Mature organizations that already support software systems will have an operational person in that role, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be available to your project. Organizations that are venturing into the world of software development and support for the first time won’t have this person in place which means the project manager must seek the right candidate out and groom them for the role. Read the Complete Article

Planning System Cutovers

Planning System Cutovers
By Dave Nielsen

The team has worked hard and has built a system that satisfies all the business requirements, tested it and verified that it meets all the quality standards set for it, and they’ve delivered it on time. Now you can sit back and congratulate yourself on what a great job you did managing this project. Well not quite…… Your job isn’t done until the new system is in production and responsibility for support has been turned over to operations. To get there you need to plan the perfect cutover.

Is the System Ready?

Before planning the cutover there are some questions that need to be answered, such as “What will the system perform like in the production environment?”, “Do we have all the data we need for production?”, “Can the new system support all the users who need to use it?” These are questions that should all be answered before you are ready for a production cutover. Read the Complete Article

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App

Categories