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What Is a Business Project?

What Is a Business Project?
By Glen D. Ford

I know it sounds strange, but a few days ago, one of my small business clients actually asked me, “What is a business project?” I found myself wondering how to answer that. After all, we’re all being bombarded with advice about projects. The media is constantly filled with news of one project or another that fails. But they usually talk about major construction or municipal infrastructure projects. And then they try to justify business people learning about project management because of the construction failures.

But they never seem to explain what is a business project.

So in this article, I’m going to try to explain what is a business project and why it is unique from other types of projects. And while I’m at it, I’ll explain where they are the same. First of all, let’s clarify what a project is and then we’ll talk about the specific version. Read the Complete Article

What Is a Project Manager Already?

What Is a Project Manager Already?
By Glen D. Ford

“We’re installing XYZ software and we need to hire a Project Manager. Go hire me one.”

How many times have you been handed a job requirement that looked like this? How often have you seen job requirements that left you scratching your head wondering what you should be looking for when hiring a project manager? Or worse, one that sent you off in search of the impossible dream.

A great deal of confusion exists with this position and what is expected of it. And that leads to an overload of the wrong type of applicant. Or worse, to hiring the wrong person for the job.

In this article, I’m going to address the question of “What is a project manager?” I’m also going to give you some direction as to how to select the appropriate individual.

So the first question is, “What is a project manager?”

In a simplistic answer, a project manager is simply an individual who leads a temporary endeavor or project to completion. Read the Complete Article

Top Recommended Certifications for Project Managers

Top Recommended Certifications for Project Managers
By Glen D. Ford

In many ways, our society has gone certification crazy. We demand certifications as though they were a substitute for the ability to think. A guarantee of suitable skills and abilities to do the job. Or as if they were a guarantee that our experience was real.

But there is a place for the right types of certification — even for project managers.

So what certifications actually work for project managers? When can we trust them? What do they say about the people who have them?

Project management is both an art and a science. The science part consists of the tools and knowledge that every PM needs to perform their job. The art consists of how those tools are applied and in the management of people and resources. While the science can be taught and therefore examined for, the art can only be learned by experience. Read the Complete Article

How to Determine the Probability of an Occurrence For the Risk You Face

How to Determine the Probability of an Occurrence For the Risk You Face
By Glen D. Ford

Once you’ve identified a risk event, your task isn’t over. Risk management requires you not only to identify your risk but also to manage it. That means to spend money to avoid the risk event or enhance the risk event and also to spend money only where it is justified.

Knowing where to spend money avoiding, mitigating or otherwise requires you to determine the risk exposure of the event. Fortunately, risk exposure is simply the product of the probability or risk and the value of the event. Unfortunately that means you need to determine both the value associated with the event and the probability of the event. Both of which can be difficult to determine.

Determining the value of the event can be difficult and fraught with error. But ultimately, it is a matter of analysis. Read the Complete Article

How to Document a Project Plan: Who Should Be On Your Project Team

How to Document a Project Plan: Who Should Be On Your Project Team
By Glen D. Ford

Every once in a while, I’ll be asked what seems, at first glance, to be a silly question. I was sitting in a management meeting a few days back, when I was asked, “Who should be on my project team?” Several of the managers present reacted negatively to the question. After all, at first glance it seems like a silly question with obvious answers.

But it isn’t.

It’s actually a very important question that every project manager, and sponsor should ask at the start of their project. There are six primary roles in any project team.

  • The sponsor or management representative
  • The project manager
  • The client representative(s)
  • The service provider representative(s)
  • The quality manager
  • The scribe

Although these roles may vary in terminology and may be combined they are required for every project team. Read the Complete Article

What to Look for When Hiring a Project Manager

What to Look for When Hiring a Project Manager
By Glen D. Ford

Ever since my hair turned white, I’ve been having fun with jokes about how things were in the past. Since I was blond to start with, truth to tell, I’ve been doing those jokes since I was young. But one thing hasn’t changed much in the many years I’ve been a project manager.

I’m referring of course, to the quality of hiring for my specialty. Or perhaps I should say the lack of quality. Frankly, most job advertisements for this position are designed to attract the wrong person. Even worse than most job adverts, they are totally focused on the wrong things.

I’m convinced that this is the result of a lack of knowledge of what is really involved in the role.

I’m also convinced that the source of failure (and the high percentage of failure) is directly related to this lack of knowledge. Read the Complete Article

How to Document a Project Plan: When Do You Need a Professional

How to Document a Project Plan: When Do You Need a Professional
By Glen D. Ford

Small business people and entrepreneurs are often faced with two competing conditions. Their organization has grown to the point that implementing strategy is no longer a case of simply saying “Let’s do this” and watching it get done. On the other hand, the company isn’t large enough to hire specialists who will not be kept busy. As a result, tasks are often handed off to individuals who may not be properly qualified. The result can often be stellarly unsuccessful.

This is when a consultant can be the best choice. A consultant allows you to hire specialized talents for only as long as you require them. At first glance, their rates may seem high. However, the cost of hiring a full-time employee – after factoring in vacation, benefits, employment taxes and unproductive time – is often almost as high. Read the Complete Article

How to Identify Major Risks Present In Your Project

How to Identify Major Risks Present In Your Project
By Glen D. Ford

Risk and risk management is part of the game when running projects. That’s why risk management is so important to project managers. And why so much time is spent identifying the potentials and their effects. And so much time is spent making plans for things that might happen — and might not.

So how do you identify major risks present in your project?

First off, let’s correct some terminology. You don’t identify major risks. You identify major risk events. Risk is another word for probability or uncertainty. Specifically, it means that the event is not a certainty. You don’t know that it won’t happen, but equally you don’t know that it won’t happen.

This uncertainty means that as a seer you are faced with a difficulty. When do you spend money to avoid or encourage what may not happen? Read the Complete Article

Project Planning For Project Sponsors: Whose Project Is It Anyway?

Project Planning For Project Sponsors: Whose Project Is It Anyway?
By Glen D. Ford

So you’ve been a manager for some time. And you’ve worked your way up the hierarchy. You’ve been running things for some time and you’re quite comfortable. You’ve got this delegation thing down. And you’ve figured out to stay away from micro-management and just let your people do their jobs.

Then all of a sudden your boss calls you in. “This is your project. It’s important to our overall strategy. You’re going to be the sponsor. I’ve assigned a good project manager so there shouldn’t be a problem.” Cool, you think. You’re now a project sponsor. Then it happens. “Oh, and by the way, you’ll find that being a project sponsor is different. So if you need help just call.”

It’s different. But management is management. How is being a project sponsor any different than any other type of management? Read the Complete Article

5 Project Planning Tips For Project Sponsors

5 Project Planning Tips For Project Sponsors
By Glen D. Ford

When you hire a specialist, it makes sense to get the most benefit you can from them. Especially when those specialists are being asked to change your company to better match the future.

Projects exist to change your company. They can be strategic in nature. Their focus can be on moving the company from where it is to where it needs to be. Or they can be operational and focused on enhancing and retaining value in an asset.

A specialist manager called a project manager leads projects. Yes, I did say specialist. However, unlike the rest of the specialists on the team, their specialty is building, managing and disbanding cross-functional teams. Their specialty is in building a team across the silos within your organization.

A single individual can accomplish some simple projects. But a project of any size will often require teams made up of people from different areas of your business. Read the Complete Article

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App

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