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Customer Demand Priority – An Objective Methodology to Project Prioritization

Customer Demand Priority – An Objective Methodology to Project Prioritization
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

Program, Portfolio and PMO Managers understand the ‘benefits to value’ of a project and can use ROI (Return on Investment), IRR (Internal Rate of Return), or other financial metrics, as well as non-financial criteria (‘intrinsic value’ criteria) to evaluate projects at the start of and during their full lifecycle into ‘operations mode’. Selecting which projects to charter within your organization have long-term implications both for you individually and your organization. Conducting in-depth pro-forma ROI, IRR of other financial analysis can be costly and time consuming. What about an alternative method that is relatively quick and easy to undertake and can provide you with an objective ‘weighting’ criteria for your stakeholders and Program/Project Team to consider? If you manage a PMO, Portfolio or Program of work (in any discipline – Finance, Manufacturing, IT, etc), the Customer Demand Priority (CDP) tool we put forward below may be helpful to you at the front-end decision-making process of project prioritization. Read the Complete Article

Tips on Stakeholder Management

Tips on Stakeholder Management
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

In many cases, managing stakeholder expectations while managing projects or programs within their constraints is as much an art as a science. It takes a balance of knowledge, tools, and “soft skills” on the part of the Program/Project manager, and an environment that is conducive to success. With so many factors to take into account, what does it take to successfully work with the stakeholders on your program or project?All of us who work on programs and projects face this question.

A great deal of excellent guidance material, tips and techniques for working with stakeholders exists. In this brief article, we aim to provide you with a synopsis of things to consider, some “food for thought,” if you will, including some ideas and techniques that we have seen work well in our own experiences running programs and projects. Read the Complete Article

Industry Specific Knowledge: Is It a Key Factor to Being a Top-Performing Project Manager?

Industry Specific Knowledge: Is It a Key Factor to Being a Top-Performing Project Manager?
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

Imagine the following scenario: your organization has identified a strategic project, crucial to its long-term future. You need a top-class, experienced project manager to maximize its chances of success. What do we mean by “experienced”? Does it mean knowledge specific to the industry in which you operate, and/or something else? This is the question we have asked ourselves.

Whether industry-specific knowledge is important to being a top-performing project manager is often debated in the program and project management community. There are many discussions on the pros and cons of being a “specialist vs. a generalist” project manager, which is a similar question. We don’t profess to have all the answers – far from it; instead, we hope to provide some perspectives to help you think about the relevance of industry knowledge to achieving high performance in project management. Read the Complete Article

PDA’s for Program and Project Management Productivity

PDA’s for Program and Project Management Productivity
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

The three of us embrace new technology, though it is fair to say that none of us can claim to be mobile technology experts. For that reason this article, in which we discuss some of the current initiatives in mobile devices and apps for project management, is written with a project management rather than technology focus.

Nowadays, it seems everyone has a cell or mobile phone. A recent survey estimated that globally, there are 4.1 billion cell or mobile phone users, and that number is expected to climb. More and more cell/mobile phone users have a ‘Smartphone’ which, depending on the product, may be called a ‘PDA’ (Personal Digital Assistant) or a ‘Smartphone’. Tablets are increasingly popular as well. For the purposes of this article, we refer to all devices collectively as “mobile devices”. Read the Complete Article

Measuring the Value of a Program Management Office

Measuring the Value of a Program Management Office
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

Many organizations have contemplated or implemented program management as a means of managing inter-related projects within their organization, with varying degrees of success. For the purposes of this article we refer to a Program Management Office (PgMO) as a vehicle which can be used to manage the life-cycle of a specific program or, if a permanent body, have the purpose of achieving strategic benefits that are not available by managing projects as separate efforts. Some organizations may refer to PgMOs (or other types of Program/Project Management Office) as Centres of Excellence.

Critical to the success of setting up a program management “practice” is gaining agreement from stakeholders on what constitutes that success. Think of it as the “why it will exist” factor. This step sounds obvious, but it is very easy to give it inadequate focus early on, and like many things, it can devolve bit by bit into providing “interesting but ultimately low-value advice or guidance.” It should always be remembered that “people make projects” and experienced project campaigners know how to get their projects across the line. Read the Complete Article

A Risk Management Implementation

A Risk Management Implementation
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

As program or project managers, we have our hands full with the day-to-day management of our initiatives, and it is difficult enough to keep a lid on all the tactical actions that are taking place, let alone plan for the future. Nonetheless, we all know that planning is a key element to success. Most successful program or project managers are effective because they simultaneously balance the immediate challenges and demands facing them with future needs, opportunities and risk-avoidance. In particular, they are able to do so because they identify and communicate these elements at the right levels throughout the organization. How do successful program and project managers remain successful in their day-to-day work while spending only the minimum amount of effort directed towards long term ends?

The focus of this article is a specific risk management strategy which we believe is simple to implement and can directly help to improve one’s ability to identify, manage, and effectively communicate risks. Read the Complete Article

Root Cause Analysis and Corrective Action for Project Managers

Root Cause Analysis and Corrective Action for Project Managers
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, Jeff Hodgkinson, and Duke Okes

Project managers have the immense task of juggling requirements and resources that are often not under their direct control in order to produce the required project deliverables within the limited constraints to which they must adhere (scope, time, quality, etc.). Even if the perfect project plan could be designed and executed, it would not remove all of the risks that could ultimately impact a project. Plans must inevitably change for one reason or another.

During the phases of a project, it could be said that there are three major activities focused on reducing project risk. The first risk reduction activity occurs during project planning, when a proactive risk assessment is conducted and the identified risks are either mitigated or avoided (e.g., by modifying the project plan), transferred (such as through insurance) or accepted (by doing nothing and accepting that “if it happens, it happens”). Read the Complete Article

Simple Seven Keys to Establishing a Successful PMO

Simple Seven Keys to Establishing a Successful PMO
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

Much has been written about how best to establish a PMO. There are many elements to take into account, and this article seeks only to provide what we believe are a few “pointers” to consider.

For purposes of this article, we’ll assume that we are in a situation in which we (or you) work for an organization with no existing type of PMO. It is important to fully understand the ‘Driver’ for introducing a ‘PMO’ of any type. When we say “of any type”, we mean – what type of PMO are we talking about? What does the “P” stand for in this abbreviation for a Management Office? A PMO can serve to control governance for projects, it may oversee a program of work, or it can operate at an Enterprise level and therefore be more strategic. Read the Complete Article

Nine Fundamental Steps to Project Success

Nine Fundamental Steps to Project Success
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

If you are an experienced project practitioner you may be asked at some point, “What are the key things that a Project Manager should do in order to be successful?” There is no one-line, simple answer to this question. Success depends on many factors, including the organization for which you work, the power granted or bestowed on the project manager, the responsibilities they are given on their project, and other influencing criteria. Having said that, we have found over the years that there do exist certain factors which, when done well, usually influence success. Let us elaborate.

9 Fundamental Steps to Project Success

Image 1: 9 Fundamental Steps to Project Success

First, we must establish your expectations as the reader. The nine steps we put forth in this article are not a “Holy Grail” for successfully managing a project. They represent actions which, if undertaken with purpose and meaning, can help set your project on the path to success, and keep it on that path. Read the Complete Article

Project Management for the Small Business

Project Management for the Small Business
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

If you walk into the offices of many small businesses, you are likely to see notes sticking either on or in close proximity to the desks of the people employed there. Such “reminder notes” are usually serving as prompts and/or notifications for projects or other operational work on which they are working. In the case of small businesses, the project plan may be held in a file; sometimes, it may only exist in the mind of management. With the low-cost tools available today for small-scale project management, and the value of project management being increasingly recognized by many in the government and in corporate sectors, why do some small businesses choose not to take advantage of formal project management techniques and tools?
To understand why project management makes sense for even the smallest of businesses, let’s reflect on what is at the heart of project management – that is to say, a management process. Read the Complete Article

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