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Common Project Manager Mistakes: #6 Project Management Is All in the Details

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #6 Project Management Is All in the Details
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

This article is part of a series. The previous article can be found here.

Many of us are accidental project managers. We entered our profession with a different path in mind but we were recognized as individuals who were technically competent, focused and detail-oriented. Often we were given project assignments with little or no preparation or training in project management and we had to figure out how to use the skills we had in different ways in order to meet the different expectations of project stakeholders.

Project managers certainly need to attend to the details in their projects but they also need to see the big picture. As much as anything else, project management is about balance. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide - Fifth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2013 says that project management is “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements” (PMBOK® Guide Glossary, page 554). Read the Complete Article

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #5 Assuming Estimates Can Be Right

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #5 Assuming Estimates Can Be Right
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

This article is part of a series. The previous article can be found here.

Estimating is fortune telling. When we estimate how long something will take or how much it will cost or how much resource will be needed, we are using the best information available to us and our experience to predict what is required for an event, activity or deliverable before we begin. This is self-evident, particularly when we see it in writing, but it belies assumptions that we usually fail to account for in the way we estimate or plan.

Since estimating is an attempt to predict a future event, it will never be done with consistent accuracy, and yet we often present our estimates to our stakeholders as if they were clear facts. Read the Complete Article

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #4 Murphy vs. Parkinson

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #4 Murphy vs. Parkinson
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

This article is part of a series. The previous article can be found here.

We all know Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. It’s thanks to our deep and abiding faith in Murphy’s Law that many of us, and most of the folks on our teams, always add a bit of “padding” to our estimates. We’ve got to allow for Murphy’s impact. Though we joke a lot about Murphy’s Law, we have learned through consistent and often difficult experiences that something will not go as planned so we had better build in some safety to give us a chance to deal with the problems.

We’ve also learned through experience, or from our preparation for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification exam, that risk management is necessary, proactive and applied throughout the life cycle of every project. Read the Complete Article

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #3 Overlooking Organization Change Impacts

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #3 Overlooking Organization Change Impacts
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

This article is part of a series. The previous article can be found here.

All projects, by their nature and definition, are undertaken to change the organization. Think about it. Why would you or your organization decide to invest resources in doing something if you are satisfied with the way things are? This means that all projects, all of the time, are about changing an organization — making it better, more efficient or more profitable. Projects are about attracting new customers; updating or upgrading the tools, equipment and infrastructure needed to do business, etc.

Now, when we combine this recognition with the reality that people tend to resist change most of the time, we easily see why well-executed projects still have difficulty succeeding. As project managers, we are often so focused on managing the project constraints and stakeholder expectations that we lose sight of the organizational impacts our project have, or will have, on the current environment and culture. Read the Complete Article

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #2 We Don’t Have Time for Risk Management

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #2 We Don’t Have Time for Risk Management
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

This article is part of a series. The previous article can be found here.

I was recently working with a neighbor (I’ll call him Gene) to help him plan a project at their home. They live in the country and have a small dilapidated barn that they wanted to replace with a building in which they could indulge their favorite hobby — beer making.

When we first started talking about the project, they were full of enthusiasm and planned to demolish the barn over an upcoming weekend. As we talked, I asked questions like: Are there any hazardous materials in the barn? Have you inspected the barn to make sure it will support us as we remove the roof and rafters? Is there clearance around all sides of the structure so that we can get in close enough to work properly? Read the Complete Article

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #1 Limiting Stakeholders

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #1 Limiting Stakeholders
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

According to A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide)-Fifth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2013, stakeholders are “individuals, groups, or organizations who may affect, or be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project.” This is a simple definition from the PMBOK® Guide and yet we often focused our attention on only those who requested the project or who are actively involved in project execution and decision-making.

Obviously our project’s initiator, sponsor and team are stakeholders. Equally obvious is the fact that the customer is a stakeholder, but here’s the rub: Who is the customer of the project? Is it the group that will use the results of the project? Is it the group that asked for the project to be done? Read the Complete Article

Four Axioms for Controlling Change

Four Axioms for Controlling Change
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

Change is a constant in life and certainly a constant challenge in project management.

Our customers don’t know what they don’t know, and so they routinely ask for something more or different. Our teams are comprised of talented, creative people who often recognize opportunities for improvement of either the project’s deliverables or the processes agreed to for producing those deliverables.

The problem is that the team is so intimately involved with the work of the project that they often make changes without recognizing that they have done so.

Of course, there are also the changes that are driven by evolving business objectives, new constraints from regulations, the marketplace, etc. With change impacting the project from all of these sources, both on a requested and on a discovered basis, how can a project manager possibly expect to control anything? Read the Complete Article

A Project Management-Based Approach to Organizational Change

A Project Management-Based Approach to Organizational Change
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

Everyone is acquainted with change — we experience it in all facets of our lives. At work, we are regularly faced with the need to adjust to organizational changes. Some are clear and make perfect sense, while others seem to come out of nowhere and appear completely arbitrary.

All definitions of change encompass the sort of change we encounter in our organizations, where we are constantly looking for ways to improve individual or organizational efficiency. Change is “a transition from one state, condition, or phase to another,” which means that we are constantly moving from the familiar into the unknown.

The desire to improve, for any reason, is rooted in the recognition of a need to change. One of the principle responsibilities of organizational management is to envision a future, desired state and then plan for moving from the present state toward the desired state. Read the Complete Article

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Please note that it is the responsibility of the author to handle the whole process for claiming the PDUs, PM Hut’s role is currently only limited to supplying its own physical address to the author.

1 – A1 Enterprise 286 – Karl Fischer
2 – Aaron Sanders 287 – Kathlika Thomas
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5 – Abhilash Gopi 290 – Kaz Young
6 – Adam Leggett 291 – Keith Custer
7 – Ade Miller 292 – Keith L.
Read the Complete Article

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – Total Quality Management (TQM)

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – Total Quality Management (TQM) (#8 in the series PMP® Exam Quality Primer)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

TQM consists of continuous improvement activities involving everyone in the organization, managers and workers, in a totally integrated effort toward improving performance at every level. This improved performance is directed toward satisfying such cross-functional goals as quality, cost, schedule, mission need, and suitability. TQM integrates fundamental management techniques, existing improvement efforts, and technical tools under a disciplined approach focused on continued process improvement. The activities are ultimately focused on increased customer and user satisfaction.

This series is now complete.

About the Author

Samuel Brown, PMP, is a course developer and instructor for Global Knowledge with 25 years experience teaching. In addition, he has provided project management consulting services for a variety of clients including GE, Glaxo Smith-Klein, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Michelin Tire, and IBM. Read the Complete Article

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