Conducting Successful Gate Meetings
By Dave Nielsen
Projects don’t arrive at their conclusion perfectly executed and delivering all the benefits promised in the Business Case, at the advertised cost. They must be measured along the way to ensure they are developing to plan. Our project management training (especially our PMP Exam preparation training) provides us with a variety of tools to measure project progress against schedule, budget, requirements, and quality goals. The most critical of these for demonstrating your project’s successful progress is the Gate Meeting. These meetings are variously called Phase Exit Reviews (by our PMP Exam preparation training), or Business Decision Points.
Whatever your organization calls your meetings, these are the points at which all the project stakeholders will determine whether your project is on track to meeting the organizations expectations for it. This article should provide you with some useful information, tips, and tricks to ensure that your meetings are successful. Read the Complete Article
12 Rules of Delegation
By Richard Lannon
Delegation is one of the most important skills. Technical professionals, team and business leaders, managers, and executives all need to develop good delegation skills. There are many rules and techniques that help people to delegate. Good delegation saves money, time, builds people and team skills, grooms successors and motivates people. Poor delegation sucks! Ask any employee. It causes frustration, demotivates and confuses people and teams. It is important to develop good delegation skills. These twelve rules of delegation should help you out.
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- Delegation is a two-way street. That’s right! Delegation is meant to develop you and the people you work with. Consider what you are delegating and why you are delegating it. Are you delegating to build people, get rid of work you don’t like to do or to develop someone?
- To be a good delegator you need to let go. You can’t control everything so let go and trust the people you work with.
The Halo Effect and Project Success
By Paul Weber
Have you ever seen someone within your organization, being put into a position, just because they had experience, and success in one area, so the folks upstairs assumed this success would transfer into another job or role within an organization, only to watch a disaster unfold before your very eyes? If you said “yes” then, you have seen the effects of the “Halo Effect” in action. The definition of the “Halo-Effect” is as follows: Generalization from the perception of one outstanding personality trait to an overly favorable evaluation of the whole personality (Merriam-Webster). Many times it’s assumed or taken for granted that a great department manager, or some other person with a specialized are of expertise e.g. accounting will be great as project manager on an accounting project, because this is within that persons area of expertise, but this is not necessarily a fact. Read the Complete Article
How to Control Change Requests
By Dave Nielsen
Changes are an important part of any project. There are 2 factors at work that guarantee the generation of change requests: changes that happen to the marketplace the project is aimed at and an unclear understanding of the goals and objectives of the project. The first factor is immutable, we can’t stop the world outside our door changing whether we like it or not. Successful projects are agile enough to respond to those stimuli and re-invent themselves so that when the product or service of the project hits the marketplace it’s the right thing delivered at the right time.
Change requests that are a result of a stakeholder’s unclear understanding of the goals and objectives of the project are easier to avoid. Clear communications about the project’s overall goals and objectives will place the project on a firm footing. Ensuring that the right stakeholders review project requirements and that the right decision makers approve them is also helpful in avoiding change requests that arise from an unclear understanding of project goals, objectives, and requirements. Read the Complete Article
How to Start a Project: On Your Marks, Get Set, Go
By Carlos Urrutia
After spending several years managing project managers for various technology organizations, I always get amazed to find out that many project managers struggle on how to get a project started. They are assigned a new project, and for many weeks and sometimes months they don’t know what to do to move their project forward, and little or nothing gets done during that time. Could it be that the project manager doesn’t fully understand the assignment, is not comfortable with their business knowledge on the subject, or maybe with the technology to be used? Neither one of these excuses are valid or relevant, but in either case, the project managers feel overwhelmed with the complexity and lack of definition of the task at hand. They don’t know how to take the first step and they end up wasting valuable time that is usually precious towards the end of the project. Read the Complete Article
How to Be a Productive Project Manager: 7 Tips
By Harry Hall
Many project managers feel overwhelmed with emails, phone calls, and meetings. They often work overtime, but few feel as though they are making progress. Although we are all given the same amount of time each day, some project managers are able to produce greater value for their organizations. Some are more engaged.
Imagine yourself as a more productive project manager, one with greater capacity and energy to complete each day’s tasks. Let’s look at common problems that impede our progress and what to do about each:
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- The problem: I am spending more time managing issues than managing upcoming project activities.
Susan, the project manager, had a gnawing feeling that the network team might fall behind schedule on a high profile project. The network manager failed to order the network cable and routers on time, and now the team is scrambling to make ends meet.
From Responsibility to Independence: 3 Lessons from Project Management
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning
Having more independence requires taking on more responsibility: it’s a lesson teenagers hear again and again from their parents, and yet it rarely seems to result in teenagers actually bearing the burden of more responsibility. Fast forward to these imagined teenagers’ adult lives. As their parents promised, they now have a range of new freedoms and shoulder many new responsibilities. The more they become accustomed to each of these, however, the easier it is to forget the old lesson: that independence and responsibility are related.
In this article, we will be discussing independence, responsibility, and doing good Project Management. Whether or not you hold the title of Project Manager in your current work, adopting good Project Management practices can allow you to take on more responsibility in your career and personal life, and, in turn, bring you greater independence. Read the Complete Article
Managing Project Expectations
By Diana Eskander
How to define and organize project scope
Projects range in size, complexity, duration, resources, stakeholders – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Defining the scope of a given project – what the intended result is, and what’s required to bring it to completion – is not only important, it’s necessary.
It creates clarity and accountability, and carves out the path for success. Establishing project scope can prove to be difficult. It requires you to step back and have a global understanding of the project environment and to be analytical.
You have to get intimate with the specific details. There are plenty of elements to take into account in order to scope the main lines of a program or project.
This white paper examines how to define the scope of a project and consequently, how to organize the information in a comprehensive way that can be referred to by all stakeholders, at any time. Read the Complete Article
Becoming an Effective Manager
By Howard Shore
Many successful people get promoted into management and quickly find the pressure to be higher than anything they felt in the past. As an individual contributor, it is much easier to control the outcomes of your work. It may not seem like that at times, but you have a lot more control than when you are a manager of people. I am not referring to people that receive a management title and have nobody to manage. A real manager has the authority and responsibility to manage: financial performance (includes holding others accountable), people activities (hire, keep and grow people), and positioning/strategizing the firm or department in a way that provides a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
One key issue a manager faces is that there are always detractors within the larger organization and the smaller team. These people may have been detractors all along, felt they should have gotten your position, or do not know you well enough to realize you are qualified for your position. Read the Complete Article
Mindful Project Management
By Diana Eskander
What is mindfulness?
Well, one thing we know for sure is that it’s a pretty hot topic these days.
A simple definition of mindfulness is being present and aware of what’s happening internally and externally in our surrounding environments, right now, in this very moment.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”
So the question begs, how can mindfulness relate to – and better yet improve – project management? Here are a few side effects of mindfulness and ways they can transcend into your professional role as a project manager.
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The first and most obvious benefit relates to being present. When you’re meeting with your team and key stakeholders, the ability to remain in the present moment, while not focusing on the past which is gone, or the future which doesn’t yet exist (and which will largely depend on what you do in THIS moment), means you can be fully engaged in the discussion.