Project Operational Readiness
By Bruno Collet
Activities for ensuring smooth roll-out, operation, and maintenance of solutions produced by projects are often overlooked. The objectives of these activities constitute operational readiness (OR). A good definition of operational readiness (OR) is “the capability to efficiently deploy, operate, and maintain the systems and procedures.” The main purpose of OR is to reduce operational risks, which is defined as “the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems or from external events.”
OR is often neglected because OR activities are usually not part of the project lifecycle. Indeed the job of the project manager and of the project team is essentially completed when the solution is ready for deployment. At this point, another entity such as “solution delivery” or “release management” takes over. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen IT projects linger for several months and incur significant (unplanned) costs in release management, before being finally delivered to users. Read the Complete Article
Crashing in Project Management: A Comprehensive Guide
By Donald Patti
Nearly every experienced project manager has been through it. You inherit a project with a difficult or near-impossible schedule and the order comes down to deliver on time. When you mention how far the project is behind, you’re simply told to “crash the schedule”, or “make it happen.”
As a long time project manager who now advises others on how best to manage projects and project portfolios, the term “schedule crashing” still makes me bristle. I picture a train wreck, not a well-designed product or service that’s delivered on time, and for good reason. While schedule crashing sounds so easy in theory, in practice schedule crashing is a very risky undertaking that requires some serious evaluation to determine whether crashing will actually help or hurt.
In this article, I’ll explain the underlying premise behind schedule crashing and describe some of the typical risks involved in a schedule crashing effort. Read the Complete Article
The Project Charter – What Should Be Included
By Sue Cochran, Northwest University
When you initially charter a plane, you don’t need to provide a seating chart, or list of names to the airline company. You do, however, need to know approximately how many people will be on the plane, how much the trip will cost and where you are going. The Project Charter is much like that for your project.
The Charter is a document that explains the project in clear concise wording without a lot of detail. It’s written for high level management needs. These people do not need all the detail to understand what the end goal is, how long it will take and how much it will cost them.
The project charter includes:
Read the Complete Article
- The purpose and objectives of the project in clear, concise language.
- Requirements of the project, very high level, not much detail here.
- Project description, a paragraph or two that explains the project.
A Guide to Escalation in Project Management
By Deepali Bhadade
While most of project management plans or communication management plans have an escalation mechanism defined; in reality, very few project managers make an effective use of the escalation mechanism. Many of them try to avoid escalations in the fear of conflict; some overdo it for every next problem in the project. Both these approaches are harmful for projects. Escalating a project problem at the right time, to the right person with the right amount of information is an art to be cultivated by good project managers. This guide focuses on good practices and tips on effective escalation for project benefit.
The general meaning of Escalation is: Increase in magnitude or intensity by bypassing the immediate person.
Applied to the project context, escalation is generally a formal process to highlight the issue at hand to a higher authority as per the escalation mechanism defined for the project. 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
How to Overcome Your Worst Project Problems
By Harry Hall
Allow me to ask you a question. When you face life’s most difficult problems, do you run away from your problems? Successful individuals, groups, and organizations have a habit of running TOWARD their problems, not away from them.
Rather than seeing problems as unwelcome, problem solvers see challenges as opportunities to use their God-given talents and skills to make rich contributions to their organization.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. – Winston S. Churchill
What are your most significant project problems? Are your project teams making decisions and changing their minds repeatedly? Do you find yourself spending more time reworking things than creating new things? Are your stakeholders constantly changing requirements?
Worry and anxiety are not productive ways to respond to life’s challenges. There is a better approach for solving problems. Read the Complete Article
How to Choose Project Management Software
By Claudia Vandermilt
Trying to manage all the moving pieces of a complex project using pen and paper can prove problematic. In the worst case scenario, deadlines are missed, critical tasks are overlooked and the entire undertaking gets sidelined before it even gets off the ground. That is precisely why project management tools have come into existence to help managers plan out, execute and oversee all aspects of the project management process from beginning to end.
Project management tools are designed to help enable easier oversight of each task involved in a complex project so managers can ensure on-time completion of all related tasks, balanced workloads for staff and sound time management. They are meant to enhance efficiency while ensuring that no detail is left unattended.
Project management software is not all alike, however. Managers seeking to invest in tools to help them better oversee large projects should take four main points into consideration when reviewing the options to determine which tools are suited to their needs:
Having the ability to carefully map out an entire project from beginning to end with all required tasks included is the hallmark of a solid project management program. Read the Complete Article
What Is the Silver Lining for Projects?
By Marge Tam
The proverb “For every cloud there is a silver lining” can be interpreted as for every difficult situation there is some good to it. The proverb is of said to the person that would welcome such an encouragement during trying times, and the person is unable to see any positive way forward.
In the framework of Project Management, the Project Risk Management Process brings the silver lining to the uncertainties that come with managing anything that occurs in the future. Many people tie the word ‘risk’ with the negative connotation. However, according to the PMBOK, there are both negative and positive risks. The negative risk has potential impacts downstream to the overall health of the project projects such as project slip, budget overrun, and unsatisfied customers. While positive risks are essentially opportunities that brings about return on investment, increased revenue and overall process improvements. Read the Complete Article
Project Management Foundations
By Marge Tam
As a professional Project Manager, what would the most fundamental sound advise that one would provide to fellow Project Managers at all different levels – entry level, mid-level, or senior level Project Managers? The key to project success and the fundamental principle that every Project Manager needs to know and practice is the management of the triple constraint, or the iron triangle. This involves Scope, Budget, and Schedule.
In the most simplistic words, imagine the triangle in having three sides for each of the constraint area – Scope, Budget, and Schedule. Every time each side changes, the other two sides have to change as well. We have all heard about the request for project results with the low budget, fast cycle, and highest quality possible. To fulfill one’s professional responsibilities, the Project Management’s role is to gather all the facts on project budget baseline, detailed project scope, and timeline to meet all business and user requirements. Read the Complete Article
Practical Problem Solving
By Keith Mathis – PM 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