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Communication Plans for Change

Communication Plans for Change
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

Communication is critical for driving change forward. Plans might be clear to the upper management who created them, but those same plans often become muddled as they move farther down the organization. Creating a communication strategy helps the entire organization work to prevent this from happening.

When major changes are taking place, the rumor mill will tend to run riot as staff members tell different stories they have heard about the future state of the organization. If we do not communicate effectively, the rumors will increase. False reports may push the organization into a state of paralysis. Rumors can lead to organized opposition toward the change initiatives. Having a communication plan in place for changes will greatly reduce the fear and opposition that often accompanies change.

Communication helps everyone plan his or her direction

Senior managers often assume each employee knows the future plan and is clear on the direction in which the company is moving. Read the Complete Article

Practical Problem Solving

Practical Problem Solving
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

The ability to solve corporate problems can save a company from strikes, walkouts, lost revenues, worthless setbacks, and numerous other devastating conditions. While we hope that our company never faces any of these, the fact is that they happen daily in companies around the world.

Controlling or preventing these conditions from taking place relates to how one participates in solving problems when they arrive. There is no question as to whether or not problems will come. The question is how and what direction they will appear.

7 Steps to the Successful Problem Solving Process

When a company has a problem, someone is influenced by it. For many it might be the employee; for others it is the customer. Whoever is affected really doesn’t matter. What does matter is how the problem will be examined and solved. Over the next two months, we will look at seven steps to successfully solve problems. Read the Complete Article

Business Analysis – Part 2

Business Analysis – Part 2
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

As we continue our look at the Business Analysis knowledge areas, this month we will look at the next two sections: Requirements Management & Communication and Enterprise Analysis.

Requirements Management and Communication

Requirements Management and Communication involves making sure that all stakeholders understand the nature of a solution and agree on the requirements that the solution will meet.

Requirements Management and Communication Tasks

  1. Manage solution scope and requirements – Obtaining and maintaining consensus among key stakeholders regarding the overall solution scope and the requirements that will be implemented is the first step to this knowledge area. All requirements must be assessed to verify that they fall within the solution scope. If additional requirements are invalid, the business analyst must resolve the difference.
  2. Manage requirements traceability – You will now create and maintain relationships between business objectives, requirements, other team deliverables, and solution components to support business analysis or other activities.

Read the Complete Article

Agile vs. Traditional Project Manager Responsibilities

Agile vs. Traditional Project Manager Responsibilities
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

Do not ask people to do what you are not willing to do yourself. – Phillip C. McGraw (Psychologist and television personality)

In this post, we will look at how a few of the roles and responsibilities of the project manager differs between Traditional and Agile Project Management. First, we’ll look at how project managers function in a Traditional Project Management environment. In Traditional Project Management, the project charter formally authorizes the existence of the project and gives the project manager authority to run the project. This person is to lead the team responsible for achieving the project objectives. Once the project begins, the project manager becomes the link between the strategy of the project and the team. He or she is the driving force behind the project and controls and makes all the decisions. There are three competencies the Traditional Project Manager must possess:

  1. Knowledge

    What the project manager knows about project management.

Read the Complete Article

Successfully Managing Contracts

Successfully Managing Contracts
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

Whether you’re finding a new company to service the copy machine in the office or finding a contractor to finish your basement at home, there are times when we all have to deal with procuring someone to do something for us that we can’t or don’t have time to do. There are many names for a contract (agreement, understanding, purchase order), but they all have the same function, a mutually binding agreement that obligates the seller to provide something of value and obligates the buyer to provide monetary or other valuable compensation. Of all the documents that we deal with in a given project, contracts are usually more thoroughly reviewed because of their legal nature. That is why it is so important to understand how to carefully select and manage a contract.

When contemplating whether or not to hire someone to do a job, first you must determine if you can do it yourself, also known as the Make-or-Buy Analysis. Read the Complete Article

What Is a Balanced Scorecard?

What Is a Balanced Scorecard?
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

As an organization, it’s important to meet the goals and expectations outlined in the mission and vision of the company. At times, an organization’s mission statement isn’t the easiest to understand, let alone measure. So, how can we ensure that we are headed in the right direction? One approach to use is a Balanced Scorecard.

A balanced scorecard is a tool that leaders can use in communicating to employees and external stakeholders the outcomes and performance drivers the organization will use to achieve its mission and strategic objectives. It uses a carefully selected set of quantifiable measures taken from an organization’s mission and strategy. It also enables companies to track financial results while monitoring progress in building the capabilities and acquiring the intangible assets they need for future growth.

Using the balanced scorecard will provide a balance between short-term and long-term objectives while clarifying and translating the vision and strategy. Read the Complete Article

5 Tips for Keeping Your Project Under Budget

5 Tips for Keeping Your Project Under Budget
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

Two of the most important rules of a project are making sure it stays on time and on budget. Breaking either of these rules will cost you time, money, and you’ll probably have to deal with some unhappy people. Added to all the challenges a project manager must face during a project, working within a budget that he or she didn’t even help create can cause a lost of headaches. This month we’re going to look at five tips to aid you in preventing going over budget in these instances.

Tip 1: Revise the Budget

One of the first tasks you should accomplish is to thoroughly review the given budget. Think through every aspect of the project and determine whether you feel the budget will fulfill the necessary requirements. Is there enough contingency built in? Does it take into account all aspects of the project? Read the Complete Article

Program Management – Part 2

Program Management – Part 2
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

After finishing the last article about about Program Management, I realized there’s so much more information that I wanted to share. So, we’re going to continue our look on this topic. In this article I’ll look at the Program Management Life Cycle.

First, let’s look at how it differs from the Project Life Cycle. The first main difference is that the Program Life Cycle manages outcomes and benefits, while the Project Life Cycle produces deliverables. Programs often have an extended life cycle as some projects transition to operations while other projects are only just being initiated. Projects generate deliverables at the completion of their life cycle, and the resulting benefits flow into the program. The capabilities delivered by several of the program’s projects may need to be integrated in order to provide some or all of the program’s benefits. Read the Complete Article

An Introduction to Program Management

An Introduction to Program Management
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

I don’t know about you, but it’s a very rare day when I only have one project vying for my attention. As I’m writing this, I have about 10 other projects waiting on my desk. As employees, we have to get very good at prioritizing all our projects or we’d crumble under the stress of them all!

All organizations have to deal with this; however, some of them are lucky enough to have a program management team to help keep everyone organized. According to Project Management Institute (PMI®), a program is a “group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually”. PMI® goes on to define program management as “the centralized coordinated management of a program to achieve the program’s strategic benefits and objectives.”

Program Management is very different from Project Management. Read the Complete Article

Moving Toward a Productive Organizational Culture

Moving Toward a Productive Organizational Culture
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

Recognizing the culture of your organization is vital in order to understand how your employees think and act. Organizational culture is the way your company acts and conducts business. It is influenced by the treatment of workers, organizational values, leadership, vision, strategy and direction, and the type of atmosphere. Each of these affects every aspect of the business. What’s your ability to make decisions? How do you manage conflict and stress? Do your employees trust you? If you’re not there already, your goal should be to move your organization into one that encourages their employees to do their best.

There are five types of organizational culture. Let’s look at the characteristics and dangers of each. Do any of these sound like your organization?

  1. Ritualistic Culture

    This culture focuses on rules and does everything by the book. They follow a strict chain of command.

Read the Complete Article

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Recommended PM App

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