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Requirements Traceability Matrix – RTM

Requirements Traceability Matrix – RTM
By Tom Carlos (PMP)

Defining the RTM

The Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) is a tool to help ensure that the project’s scope, requirements, and deliverables remain “as is” when compared to the baseline. Thus, it “traces” the deliverables by establishing a thread for each requirement- from the project’s initiation to the final implementation.

The RTM can be used during all phases of a project to:

  • Track all requirements and whether or not they are being met by the current process and design
  • Assist in the creation of the RFP, Project Plan Tasks, Deliverable Documents, and Test Scripts
  • Help ensure that all system requirements have been met during the Verification process.

The Matrix should be created at the very beginning of a project because it forms the basis of the project’s scope and incorporates the specific requirements and deliverables that will be produced.

The Matrix is considered to be bi-directional. Read the Complete Article

Project Risk Categories

Project Risk Categories
By Tom Carlos (PMP)

Risk Categories are common groupings of risk that can affect the project. There are many ways to categorize risks:

  • Technical, Performance, Quality Risks
  • Financial Risks
  • Business, Organization, Management Risk
  • Project Management Risks
  • External Risks

Tom Carlos has over 20 years of cumulative experience in business, technical, and training environments. He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and member of the Sacramento Valley PMI Chapter. For other articles on similar subjects, you can visit www.carlosconsulting.com or contact him at tom@carlosconsulting.com. Read the Complete Article

Project and Risk Management Life Cycles

Project and Risk Management Life Cycles
By Tom Carlos (PMP)

The Risk Management Life Cycle is comprised of the following:

Risk Planning Life Cycle

  • Preliminary Risk Management Plan is implemented in the Project Initiating Phase
  • Approved Risk Management Plan is implemented in the Project Planning Phase
  • Updating the Risk Management Plan is implemented through the rest of the Project Life Cycle

Risk Identification and Response Planning

  • Done at regular intervals, throughout the entire project life cycle
    • When changes are made to the deliverables, project plan, or the baseline(s)
    • Upon completion of major milestones or schedule check points

Risk Monitoring and Control

  • Done at regular intervals, throughout the entire project life cycle
    • In Reports, Status Meetings, Executive Briefings
    • In Quality Control Reviews

Tom Carlos has over 20 years of cumulative experience in business, technical, and training environments. He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and member of the Sacramento Valley PMI Chapter. Read the Complete Article

Project Risk Management: Benefits and Obstacles

Project Risk Management: Benefits and Obstacles
By Tom Carlos (PMP)

Below are two lists, the first one highlighting the benefits of Risk Management, while the second consisting of the obstacles that a Project Manager usually face to apply it properly.

Benefits of Project Risk Management

  • Help gain better understanding of the project
  • Encourage proactive management practices
  • Identify risks early and incorporate into plans
  • Do it right the first time and thus avoid disasters or rework, “gold plating” and “scope creep”
  • Increase the chance of project success
  • Manage expectations (of all stakeholders)
  • Determine accountability and ownership

Obstacles to Project Risk Management

  • Risk process too complex or overwhelming
  • Too many team members and/or approval process
  • Tools and reports are difficult to maintain
  • Team members are not familiar with the process
  • Process abandoned once the project starts
  • Risk process stands alone and not integrated with other standard processes
  • Risk Mitigation steps are not part of the overall Project Plan
  • Lack of Management Support

Tom Carlos has over 20 years of cumulative experience in business, technical, and training environments. Read the Complete Article

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3 – Abdulla Alkuwaiti 288 – Katy Whitton
4 – Abhijat Saraswat 289 – Kay Wais
5 – Abhilash Gopi 290 – Kaz Young
6 – Adam Leggett 291 – Keith Custer
7 – Ade Miller 292 – Keith L.
Read the Complete Article

Reasons Why Projects Fail

Reasons Why Projects Fail
By Tom Carlos (PMP)

In a perfect world, every project would be “on time and within budget.” But reality (especially the proven statistics) tells a very different story. It’s not uncommon for projects to fail. Even if the budget and schedule are met, one must ask “did the project deliver the results and quality we expected?” True project success must be evaluated on all three components. Otherwise, a project could be considered a “failure.”

Have you ever seen a situation where projects begin to show signs of disorganization, appear out of control, and have a sense of doom and failure? Have you witnessed settings where everyone works in a silo and no one seems to know what the other team member is doing? What about team members who live by the creed “I’ll do my part (as I see fit) and after that, it’s their problem.” Even worse is when team members resort to finger-pointing. Read the Complete Article

Conducting Effective Meetings – Part 4 – Post Meeting Activities

Conducting Effective Meetings – Part 4 – Post Meeting Activities (#4 in the series Conducting Effective Meetings)
By Tom Carlos (PMP)

Review the meeting minutes: Follow these steps:

  • Make sure the minutes are transcribed onto an official template
  • Have your note taker clean up the minutes
  • You must then review the minutes and change as needed
  • Take your time and make sure the minutes are accurate.
  • Ask trusted team members to review the minutes and offer input
  • Be careful of sensitive information or injecting personal feelings into the minutes
  • Do not distribute the minutes without proper vetting and review
  • The meeting minutes are considered and must be filed with the “official” project documents

Distribute the minutes: Send a copy of your minutes to the meeting participants. Ask them to review the minutes and provide feedback if they see inaccuracies. Let the participants know that you are “open” to making changes. Read the Complete Article

Conducting Effective Meetings – Part 3 – Facilitate The Meeting

Conducting Effective Meetings – Part 3 – Facilitate The Meeting (#3 in the series Conducting Effective Meetings)
By Tom Carlos (PMP)

Leave space for late arrivals: Late arrivals are inevitable. It’s always a good idea to leave available seating near the door so that late arrivals do not walk in and disrupt the meeting.

Start on time: This is the first step in maintaining control over the meeting. For every minute you start late, that is one less minute available to discuss agenda items. Do not assume that you can go beyond the designated “end time.” Chances are that participants will have other meetings obligations that require their attendance.

Stay in control and maintain order during the meeting. It’s your job to keep the meeting moving and make sure you cover agenda items during the allotted time. Therefore, you must learn how to do the following:

  • Cut off disruptions, outbursts, or other disturbances
  • Do not allow for multiple conversations – only one person has the floor at any given time
  • Do not allow for incoming calls
  • Cover agenda items only once
  • Watch the clock and allotted time for each item.
Read the Complete Article

Conducting Effective Meetings – Part 2 – Planning and Preparation

Conducting Effective Meetings – Part 2 – Planning and Preparation (#2 in the series Conducting Effective Meetings)
By Tom Carlos (PMP)

Planning and Preparation

Planning

Define your goals and objectives for the meeting: A meeting without a “purpose” is a recipe for disaster. This is the most common reason for unproductive meetings. Make sure you define the purpose of the meeting and select agenda items that will help you achieve the desired results. You should also include the goals and objectives on the agenda (in the top section that contains meeting information).

Solicit agenda items: In addition to the agenda items you wish to cover, solicit input from team members and other stakeholders. Others will have valuable input to be shared and incorporate into your project.

  • Make sure the agenda items chosen for discussion are relevant
  • Coach the presenter and know what they will say (avoid surprises, that can be embarrassing)
  • Make sure the agenda item can be discussed within the given time frame (and this includes open discussion and questions for the other attendees)
  • Anticipate the results from the discussion (anticipate were the conversation will lead)

Select an appropriate room: Select a location that will accommodate your group comfortably. Read the Complete Article

Conducting Effective Meetings – Part 1 – Develop your style and rules

Conducting Effective Meetings – Part 1 – Develop your style and rules (#1 in the series Conducting Effective Meetings)
By Tom Carlos (PMP)

As a Project Manager, your experience tells you that “communications” (in various forms) consume a large portion of your time. “Meetings” are a common form of communication activity and in many instances, unavoidable. I have worked with many individuals who appear to be “tied up in meetings” for most of their day. Many of these same people echo the sentiment of “that meeting was a waste of time.” This is an indication that the meetings were ill-planned, poorly run, and had no distinct purpose.

Given the fact that most people can view meetings as a negative event, you should be aware of the various activities required to conduct an effective meeting.

Part 1 – Develop your style and rules

Develop your style

Establish your personality: Even though you need to “take care of business” (and thus maintain order throughout this entire process), make sure you counterbalance this with the right blend of humor. Read the Complete Article

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