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Conducting Successful Gate Meetings

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

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

Deliverable-based Project Schedules: Part 1

Deliverable-based Project Schedules: Part 1 (#1 in the series Deliverable-based Project Schedules
By Thomas Cutting

People build many different types of project schedules. There are the massive checklist and the one liner varieties. I’ve seen them with Phases, Activities, Tasks, Sub-Tasks, Sub-sub-tasks and sub-sub-sub-tasks. Some have randomly bolded Milestones and still others fail to communicate anything.

For projects that span more than a couple of months and a handful of individuals, a deliverable-based project plan offers the best way to track and report on it. Over the next several entries we’ll look at:

  1. Definitions
  2. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) – what it is and how to use it
  3. Creating the Schedule
  4. When is enough too much?

Definitions. Since there are 3 words there are obviously 5 definitions that we need to review.

Deliverable – pre-defined, tangible work product. This could be a report, document, web page, server upgrade or any other building block to your overall project. Read the Complete Article

Relationship vs. Task Oriented Management

Relationship vs. Task Oriented Management
By Thomas Cutting

Within project management there are two main types of personalities: Relationship oriented and Task oriented. It is fairly easy to tell the two apart. Aside from having a detailed project schedule, the Task oriented manager has a separate list of things they need to accomplish today and they feel great when all of them are checked off. The Relationship oriented manager’s schedule is really a guideline and they are more likely to have a list of people to call today.

Relationship Oriented managers are great at building a cohesive team. When planning out projects they take in the big picture and appoint people or groups to handle the details. Consensus is a major tool in their arsenal. One of the first artifacts they put together is an org chart and inevitably there is a spreadsheet with contact information posted close at hand. It probably even has birth dates written in. Read the Complete Article

What Is Construction Project Management?

What Is Construction Project Management? (#1 in the Hut Project Management for Construction)
By Chris Hendrickson

The management of construction projects requires knowledge of modern management as well as an understanding of the design and construction process. Construction projects have a specific set of objectives and constraints such as a required time frame for completion. While the relevant technology, institutional arrangements or processes will differ, the management of such projects has much in common with the management of similar types of projects in other specialty or technology domains such as aerospace, pharmaceutical and energy developments.

Generally, project management is distinguished from the general management of corporations by the mission-oriented nature of a project. A project organization will generally be terminated when the mission is accomplished. According to the Project Management Institute, the discipline of project management can be defined as follows:

Project management is the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time, quality and participation satisfaction. Read the Complete Article

12 Rules of Delegation

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
Read the Complete Article

The Halo Effect and Project Success

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

IPECC in the PMBOK

IPECC in the PMBOK
By Joseph Phillips

IPECC, in the PMBOK, stands for the collection of the five process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, Closing.

  • Initiating. A project is found feasible, a project manager is selected, and the project charter is created.
  • Planning. Well, gee, I wonder what folks do in this process group? Yeah, they plan how the project should go. Planning is an iterative process group that allows project managers and the project team to revisit as needed.
  • Executing. You’ve planned the work, now your project team completes the work. You execute the project plan, not the project team.
  • Controlling. You aren’t going to let your project team run helter-skelter, are you? You’ve got to control the work to ensure that’s it done according to plan.
  • Closing. The project work is complete, so you and the customer have to verify the deliverables and then close out the project finances, team reports, and lessons learned.
Read the Complete Article

How to Control Change Requests

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

House of Quality Matrix

House of Quality Matrix
By SmartDraw.com

A House of Quality Matrix is a diagram, whose structure resembles that of a house, which aids in determining how a product is living up to customer needs. Although quite intricate, it is capable of storing a lot of information and comparing large amounts of data.

House of Quality Matrix

Typical Uses

It is best to use house of quality matrix when you are planning on making improvements to an existing product or would like to analyze a products ability to meet customer needs and compare to competition.

Best Practices

  • Identify a product. Choose a product you want to focus your House of Quality Matrix on.
  • Obtain customer opinion. Whether through surveys, opinion polls, or interviews, in order to create this matrix you must know what your customers want. Make sure that you know what they expect or want from your product and how important each aspect is to them.
Read the Complete Article

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App

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