Select Page

Categories

Project Status Reporting – A Radical Approach

Project Status Reporting – A Radical Approach
By Mark Calabrese

Business sponsors know what they are “expected to expect” from a project status report. Likewise, most project managers know what is “supposed to be” in a status report. While much of this standard information is relevant, oftentimes status reports can be less about “information I need to do my job” and more about “information that, by God, is just supposed to be in a project status report!” (optional ‘harrumph’). We don’t produce status reports to satisfy the Gods of Project Management; we produce status reports to communicate information relevant to the business sponsor.

With that in mind, I’m going to propose something radical here. Rather than start with a template approach, I’m going to propose that the project manager sit down with the business sponsor and ask a few simple questions, such as:

  • After you read the status report, what do you need to be able to do?
Read the Complete Article

Automating PMO Workflow

Automating PMO Workflow
By Mark Calabrese

Lately, I’ve noticed that a lot of organizations are seriously considering purchasing tools to automate their PMO workflow. While there are certainly some good products out there worth considering, I think it’s important to avoid the “rush to automation” as a solution to all problems. Automation doesn’t solve every problem, so it’s always a good idea to initially approach the problem using a version of the following framework before committing company resources to the purchase, installation and integration of a PMO or project workflow tool:

  • Understand the Current State: Clearly define the current project workflow. Make sure you not only document and understand the published workflow, but how it actually works in practice. If there’s a gap between the processes and practices in the current state, things will only get more complicated as you try to move to a defined future state.
  • Understand, Clarify and Document the Future State: Make sure that the desired future state is clearly understood and documented.

Read the Complete Article

Keys To Successful Postmortems – Part I: Setting Up the Meeting

Keys To Successful Postmortems – Part I: Setting Up the Meeting
By Mark Calabrese

Part of closing out any project, outage, service restoration team effort or any initiative whether successful or otherwise (and it’s even more critical on the “or otherwise”) is the postmortem. Too often, this milestone in the ‘Closing’ phase of a project is either ignored or not fully exploited. I’d like to share some guidelines on conducting a successful postmortem that net useable results.

Note that the guidelines below are not meant to be all-inclusive. Use your judgement on what to add, modify or ignore. In Part I, we’ll focus on the meeting itself (timing, participants, etc.):

  • Setting Expectations: Make it known either at the start of a project, early in the SRT (service restoration team) effort during an outage or just as a general principle of your management style that you will hold a postmortem after project or issue closure.
Read the Complete Article

The Three Roles of a Leader

The Three Roles of a Leader
By Mark Calabrese

As leaders (in IT and otherwise), our job consists of three roles:

  1. Identify new opportunities for the organization, team or group to add business value. This involves building, maintaining and leveraging relationships with various stakeholders within the business and facilitating regular back and forth communication and dialogue between business operations resources and your own business technology resources. As leaders, we are expected to be on the lookout for the team to ensure we identify opportunities and exploit them to our business partners’ best interests.
  2. Remove obstacles and barriers to success. This means either obtaining resources, facilitating discussions, or making a phone call to make a problem go away. As leaders, we are the final point of escalation and our teams are counting on us to make problems go away. We are expected to always be communicating and maintaining relationships that will enable us to be a resource to our teams when they encounter barriers to execution.

Read the Complete Article

“Good News / Bad News” vs. “News Delivered / News Withheld”

“Good News / Bad News” vs. “News Delivered / News Withheld”
By Mark Calabrese

I don’t agree with the whole “good news/bad news” paradigm. There is only “news delivered” and “news withheld.” The difference is whether the news is delivered well or delivered badly.

It’s tempting to withhold “bad news.” Sometimes we hope that things will change and we won’t have to deliver the news. Other times, we hope that we’ll have more and better information later. In both cases, we tend to do the wrong thing by failing to share what we know with those who have an interest in knowing it. This doesn’t change the nature of the news, but it may complicate your ability to resolve the situation.

The worst way to deliver such news is to put it off until you have no choice, then deliver the news late. If you think the recipient is going to be unhappy when they hear the news you withheld from them, just think about how angry they’ll be (with YOU, by the way) when they find out that you ‘ve known for a while but didn’t bother to tell them. Read the Complete Article

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App

Categories