Our extensive library of articles provides valuable insights into the discipline of project management.

Soft Power for Success

By Mike Griffin, PMP
Soft power is the ability to get people to work with you by attracting them to be part of what you stand for; rather than to coerce, force or pay them. This can work for project managers too. Soft power is a political concept developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University. For Nye, power is the ability to influence the behaviour of others to get the outcomes you want.

Starting the Project With Both Feet on the Ground

By Brad Egeland
When the call to start a new project comes, we're often excited, nervous, skeptical, and ambitious all at the same time. Excited to show what I can do with a new project from beginning to end. Why? Many times we get charged with taking over someone else's mess. Or restarting an old project that had paused for a few months. So we have a new project. Now what do we do with it to ensure that we start with both feet on the ground?

Looking for Blue Skies

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
Plenty of people in this world are more than happy to tell you about all the things that are going wrong or that will go wrong. Project management is no exception. For every project that is executed, there will be a host of people involved who will spend all their time talking about why it will not be successful. How everything will go wrong before the project is over. A project manager should not fall into this pessimistic attitude, though.

Looking Forward to Spring

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
Winter is not always the most enjoyable season. Cold, rain, snow, ice, bare trees, and shorter days can make you feel as though spring will never arrive. Every year, though, spring shows up. The trees bloom. People head back outside to soak up the sun. At times, life on projects sometimes feels like winter. The never-ending meetings. The schedule overruns. The unexpected problems. You might feel like the project end date will never come.

Estimating Project Work Gone Wrong

By Brad Egeland
Estimating project work is fraught with opportunities for things to go badly. The customer wants new work done on the project - work that isn't currently part of the scope, of course. Or perhaps the project hasn't started yet and you're still putting time and energy into good solid work estimations that will turn into timeframes of effort in your master schedule. The possibilities are endless.

It's Easy to Give the Good News

By Brad Egeland
As I think back to some treacherous experiences in my project management career, I'm reminded of the huge difference between giving good news and bad news to the project client. It's so easy to pick up the phone to say the project is rolled out successfully, on time, on budget or that the latest deliverable is coming a week early and it's ready for review. It's so much harder to wrap your head around how to break bad news.

Getting In Over Your Head

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
Everybody gets in over their head at some point. Maybe you've been assigned to a project that you have no idea how you are going to finish at all, much less on time and on budget. Or maybe you've been handed somebody else's project schedule but are expected to update it and discuss it intelligently in a client meeting after lunch. Whatever it is, there are times in your career when you will feel like you are in over your head.

3 Reasons We Say Yes to Impossible Projects

By Brad Egeland
Superman. OK, he has his Kryptonite weakness, but that's about it. Let's get one thing straight - as a group, project managers are not comparable to Superman. So why are project managers so eager to jump into a sinking, stinking project when the opportunity arises? OK, yes, some aren't so ready to do that. But I have done it many times and will likely do it again. I've seen many of my colleagues do it willingly as well. So I know I'm not alone.

How to Make Changes on a Project

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
It is never fun to make changes, especially amidst a big project, but at times change is necessary. There might be personnel who are not working out, or the scope might be wrong or ill-defined, or perhaps the schedule needs to be overhauled; all of these things and others can cause changes on the project. If change is indeed necessary for the project, then the following checklist will help ensure that all bases are covered.

The Project Manager's New Year Wish List

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
As we close the door on another year and look forward to the new one, I thought it would be a good time to look at the top five items project managers should have on their wish list for 2015. With these five essential ingredients in place, you will be well on your way to running successful projects. Without them, it's questionable whether you should start a project in the first place.

My Wish List for Project Management in 2015

By Brad Egeland
This is a first for me…a Christmas list for project management, or maybe a New Year's resolution for the project management world. At any rate, here are a few things that I'd like to see happen for project management in 2015. As you read, please consider the changes, additions or deletions you'd like to see happen and share with everyone so we can openly discuss. Thanks!

A Brief History of SMART Goals

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Whether in business or your personal life, having a goal gives you something to work towards. It pushes you forward and provides a constant reminder of what you want to achieve. Goals provide the motivational energy to carry on even when motivation is low. Academia has written much on the subject. By far, though, the most well-known goal-setting technique is SMART. In this history of SMART goals, I look at where the acronym came from, who developed it and what the critics say.

Get Your Projects on Track: Remember the Baseline!

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
The baseline of a project schedule is the key to monitoring and the reporting of status on the project. Without the baseline, the project manager is just throwing darts at an empty wall with no targets or running laps with no timer going. The baseline is the measurement stick. It's the proof that a project can be finished. It helps you meet the objectives of the stakeholders. In short, the baseline helps you get the project completed.

Portland, Maine…I Don't Know Where That Is

By Brad Egeland
You know those times when a project customer wants something on a project that no one on your team has ever heard of? No one has checked out that technology. No one is even sure that what they are asking for is even possible…let alone practical. You're tempted to say, "What are you even talking about?!?" What do you do? You certainly don't want to seem ignorant or agree to something you don't know much about.

The Four Stages of Recovering a Project

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
If a project is in trouble, the project manager needs to work to recover it and get the schedule back on track. Hopefully, it's not too late to still meet the project deadlines and goals. Performing a project recovery is not a fun or easy task, but setting out a simple track to follow will help the project manager recover the project. And it always feels good to save the day on a project.

How to Avoid 12 Common Mistakes in Project Management

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Every project manager potentially faces countless mistakes that affect projects, cause delays and, in some cases, contribute to complete project failure. In this article, I take a back-to-basics look at why so many organisations run projects poorly. I also offer solutions to tighten up the PM process. Here are 12 common mistakes in project management—and how you can avoid them.

What Do Best Practices Mean to You?

By Brad Egeland
I think best practices – as they pertain to project management – can be just about anything that makes sense, gets the job done efficiently, keeps your projects on track, and your customers happy. That said, not everything applies. Giving each customer Starbucks gift cards is a nice gesture, but doesn't really fall under "best practices." Pure and simple, there are some fundamental concepts on how to best proceed on an activity.

4 Reasons for Missed Project Deadlines and How to Get Back on Track — Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this two-part series, we looked at the first two of what I consider to be the four main reasons that project deadlines are usually missed. I welcome your input. There are nearly limitless reasons project deadlines are missed. I'm sure you have lots of experiences to share. I'm generalising here to keep this series from becoming an actual book, but let's share and discuss as well.

4 Reasons for Missed Project Deadlines and How to Get Back on Track — Part 1

By Brad Egeland
Have you ever managed the perfect project? One where you've not missed one single deadline along the way? How about a project that went through its entire lifecycle without moving a milestone or sliding a few tasks or phases here and there? Not likely. The concept of being able to deliver everything – and I mean everything – on time on any given project is fairly fictional. Staying exactly on track is almost never in the cards.

Project Commitment = Project Success – Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this two-part series, we began looking at how project commitment, especially among your project team members, can significantly impact—and increase—your likelihood of a successful project rollout and end. Now let's consider two more factors that breed commitment and contribute to project success, full team participation and a project leader who delegates and shares control.

Project Commitment = Project Success – Part 1

By Brad Egeland
More than 50% of all projects already fail – there's no need to increase that percentage by failing to include the full project team in ownership of the project's overall mission. Every project needs a strong leader to have a decent chance of success. An organised leader running a well-planned project is much more likely to achieve project success and customer satisfaction than an indecisive, inexperienced project leader.

Dealing with Problems on the Project

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
Problems come in all shapes and sizes on projects. From personnel issues to coding errors to clients who are just never satisfied, problems can derail and delay projects from the very beginning of the initiation phase. Regardless of what the problem is, when it happens on a project, the project manager needs to take care of it.

The Six Project Management Trends You Need to Know

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Project management as a profession has been with us for years. Over those years, it has changed and adapted to fulfil the demand for products and services that deliver customer value. These six trends keep the profession alive and well. They shape the project management profession today and are likely to continue shaping it in the foreseeable future.

6 Steps to Turning Around a Financially Failing Project – Part 2

By Brad Egeland
Projects fail for many reasons, but I believe that the hardest one to handle and to dig out from is the one that is heading for financial ruin. As a project manager, you can gain time—sometimes just because your customer is slow to respond with approvals and so on, which happens all the time—but it's challenging to gain dollars. Here in part two of the article, I will examine the final three steps to turning around a financially failing project.

6 Steps to Turning Around a Financially Failing Project – Part 1

By Brad Egeland
There are many ways our projects can take a turn for the worse. We can miss crucial requirements early on, leaving us to duke it out with the customer over who is responsible for the oversight. Processes can take much longer than anticipated, throwing our timeline way off schedule. We can have our project team poached by other "more critical" projects that need a particular skill set right now-the list can go on and on.

Spreading the PM Knowledge

By Brad Egeland
Last night my six-year-old daughter was working on the whole love and marriage concept because our older daughter was recently married. She was afraid her mother and I were going to get married and move away too. I saw then that she didn't have a grasp of some of the basic family dynamics. It was fun explaining them to her and with knowledge came understanding. While challenging in a different way, mentoring new project managers as they learn is interesting and rewarding.

Forget the Cookie Cutter Approach to Project Management

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Project management theory and reality are quite different. There is no one method or approach that guarantees success. Each project must be set up and managed on a case-by-case basis. The basic project management framework and process steps hold true: starting with project initiation and then planning, monitoring, control, and then ending in closure. How you deal with each of these phases needs careful consideration for every project.

Being Prepared for the Unexpected

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
One of the joys of working on projects is that you will never grow bored. All projects are different, and each has its own issues and unexpected occurrences. Even if the exact same system is implemented a second time, the project will be different: the customer will have different ideas or the technology will have changed. Whatever the project is, the project manager should always be prepared for the unexpected on a project.

Avoiding Project Failure: It's Not Rocket Science

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
It's said that every project is unique; however, the underlying causes of project failure are usually the same. When you know what these causes are, you can minimise the chances of problems and increase your likelihood of success. What should you do when faced with poor initiation, weak control, lack of staffing, risks, issues and unrealistic expectations? The following are five common problem areas and possible solutions.

Giving Proper PM Oversight on the Project - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
Brad Egeland continues his look at being all we can be as project managers to help ensure customer satisfaction and enhance our career prospects. Customer satisfaction is critical to our success, even when things may seem beyond our control. How well do you communicate with the project team? Are you proactive in removing roadblocks? Do you keep executives out of the project? Just three areas we can and should focus on.

Giving Proper PM Oversight on the Project - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
Customer satisfaction. It is the basis for what we do as project managers. If a customer isn't happy with the engagement, there isn't any amount of profit we can make or timeline we can beat that will make the project a full success. Customer satisfaction is critical. In my opinion, it is more important than any other project success determiner. I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss the topic of customer satisfaction.

5 Best Practices for Effective Project Management - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this series, I began my list of five areas to touch on to ensure you are delivering value to your project customers. We can all go through the motions, so to speak. But to go that extra mile, embrace best practices, add value and keep your customers coming back for more, you will need to be creative and dedicated. Let's look at the next three areas on my personal list of five best practices to use on every project…

5 Best Practices for Effective Project Management - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
While leading our projects, we like to make sure we are doing so to the best of our abilities, helping our project team gain responsibility and experience, and keeping our project customer engaged. Sticking to overall project management best practices is what we strive for – or at least should be striving for – on every project. So as you go through your project engagements, let's consider a few "best practices" litmus tests…

Three Steps to Better Customer Relations

By Brad Egeland
Without a doubt, customer relations is important to our business. Regardless of whether we are independent consultants, work for a startup, or work for an established large corporation, the ways in which we interact with customers are of primary importance. Our customers' approval rating of us (however official or unofficial that may be) is very important to our ability to conduct ongoing business with them, to receive good referrals from them, and possibly even to maintain a good reputation in our industry.

10 Qualities of Successful Business Partners

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
As a business partner, it is your responsibility to work closely with the business to help them understand the approach that will be taken for their project, the amount of work needed, and the complexity of that work. They do not need to understand every detail, but they do need to appreciate the effort and skills required to complete any given task. So, what are the qualities needed for successful business partnering?

Documenting Lessons Learned: What Have You Learned?

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
Being able to document lessons learned after a project is complete (or even in the middle of it) is one of the biggest responsibilities a project manager has on a project. If one does not understand the mistakes of past projects, then one is doomed to repeat them over and over. In this role, the project manager becomes part historian and part archivist. Lessons learned can be helpful on any project, but first, they must be documented correctly.

The Paralysis of Getting the Project Started

By Brad Egeland
Starting a project with a clean slate, for me, is far more desirable than taking over an ongoing project and being forced to take over where another project manager has screwed things up and was removed from. You can save the day, yes, but you may also be walking into an irreversible mess. At the very least, you may be taking over a project schedule that makes no sense to you, or to anyone for that matter.

Keeping Top Management Informed - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this two-part series, we discussed keeping top management informed of your project's status by considering the PM or PMO infrastructure as well as if and why they would need to be informed. We will continue this discussion by considering what to report to them - without overloading them with unnecessary information (thus doing more harm than good) - and how often they should receive it.

Keeping Top Management Informed - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
It's a given - or it should be - that we keep our project clients and team well informed of project status, issues and next steps throughout the engagement. The status report and revised project schedule should be what drive the project on a weekly, if not daily, basis. What about the rest of the stakeholders? What about those at the top of our own organisation who may not know that much about our individual projects, but certainly care about their outcomes.

Creating a Project Budget: What You Need to Know

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
When starting a project, it is difficult to know how much it will cost. Project managers are held to account for their budget estimates and with so much uncertainty in projects, it can be one of the project managers' greatest challenges. Creating an accurate budget can be a daunting task, especially for new project managers; however, once you have created your first budget, you will have an approach to use and it will become easier for future projects.

Ten Key Project Issues to Avoid - Part 3

By Brad Egeland
Part 3 of Brad Egeland's 'Ten Key Project Issues to Avoid' looks at how to handle poor communications with senior management; helping your team control the schedule, and making time for proper project oversight when you are heavily committed to other tasks and supervisory duties. Many issues can hit our projects, but these are ten of the most common ones, often seen and certainly getting in the way of project success.

Ten Key Project Issues to Avoid - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
Avoiding the icebergs of project management is never easy, but avoid them we must, before they sink our projects. Here are three important areas or issues that need to be avoided or, at least, mitigated. Keep them in mind and think about how they might affect your projects. If you contemplate these suggestions, you will discover new insights that may lead to greater project success.

Ten Key Project Issues to Avoid - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
No matter how hard we try, no matter how well prepared we are, there are still "icebergs" out there waiting to sink our projects. All the planning, all the risk management, and all the issue tracking won't make all of these avoidable or make all of them disappear. The key is to always be observant, always be prepared, and take nothing for granted. Whether it's been going smoothly in your project or you've been hitting turbulence, there can always be something coming around the corner that you will need to react to.

Teaching Your Team to Deal With Deadlines

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
Deadlines are ever present in project management, which does not mean that the team working on the project can deal with those deadlines very easily. Perhaps there are new people on the project who are not used to working in a deadline-oriented environment, or perhaps there are people on the project who have never been able to meet deadlines successfully. The following concepts will help the team deal with their deadlines.

Managing the Risk Factor - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this two-part series on managing risk factors, we began by looking at a high-level view of the risk management process by discussing risk avoidance and risk mitigation. Let's now turn our attention to some outside factors that can introduce risks to our project engagements and how we might work to handle those.

Managing the Risk Factor - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
No project in the history of managed projects has entered into existence without the presence of at least a few risks. The assigned project manager may have missed them or ignored them, but the risks were present. It can either be a long, painful process for very large and complex projects or just a 15-minute brainstorming session for short-term small projects, but the process of risk analysis and management needs to happen - must happen, no matter how badly we want to skip over it.

Better Coaching Using the GROW Model

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Coaching helps people develop and become better at what they do. The coach and coachee should look at what needs to change to help the coachee improve their performance. Do this by examining the current reality and understanding the starting point. Are they missing anything? What will they benefit from in terms of skills and training?

What it Takes to Lead - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
Leadership isn't easy…there isn't a manual written about it and not everyone is cut out for the role. But this list covers many of the things that are expected of project leaders, and, by fulfilling most or all of these, you will definitely be managing your project, team, and customer well and find yourself on the path to project success.

What it Takes to Lead - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
What does it really mean to "lead"? Well, if you've ever led a large project, you know that project leaders do a lot more than plan, organise, control, coordinate, and budget. While such activities are important and must be done, project leadership goes beyond those functions. In other words, leadership involves more than being logical, analytical, and sequential - that is, it's more than simply applying the thought processes originating in the left side of the brain.

Facilitating a Summit

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
Meetings are the lifeblood of a project. Whether they are held in person or virtually, there is no better way to communicate and make decisions. There are times, though, when short, regular meetings will not take care of everything, and there will be the need for a summit. A summit is an all-day meeting, even multiple all-day meetings, where a particular topic is discussed until there is a definitive conclusion or decision for the team to move forward with.

Cutting Through the Chaos

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Over the years, IT project management has gained a reputation for failure, with many high-profile projects being abandoned mid-stream, costing millions or even billions of pounds. The Standish Group has identified 10 areas in their Chaos Manifesto 2013, which looked at 50,000 projects since 2002. We can focus on these areas to understand how we can improve IT project performance.

Why Project Managers Should Coach

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Teams, not individuals deliver projects. As a project manager you are like the conductor of an orchestra, you must bring all aspects of the project together to produce a successful performance and result. However, what happens if the people on your project team do not have the full range of skills and expertise needed? This is where coaching plays a part.

When Project Management is a Four Letter Word

By Brad Egeland
Most project managers add incredible value to the engagement. I, personally, could not imagine a project run without that kind of leadership. In my mind, it would be a disorganised mess. I hope that most of the clients that I have run projects for would agree with this statement. However, what happens when you have those customers who, for whatever reason, aren't fond of project managers?

How to Run the Most Productive Project Meetings Possible - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this two-part series on running highly effective and productive project meetings, we discussed the first three of my seven key concepts. Those included creating an agenda, starting and finishing on time, and ending a meeting when it is done. Now let's look at the final four key concepts for highly productive project meetings.

How to Run the Most Productive Project Meetings Possible - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
No one wants to be one of those people. You know who I'm talking about - the time-wasters who seem to call meetings just to hear themselves talk out loud; like a committee trying to form another committee. And if you are like me - one who hates the long-winded chitchat at the water cooler - then you aren't a fan of these types of meetings either.

Praise Loud, Blame Soft

By Brad Egeland
This is a big one. Project managers have a lot of responsibility, a lot of power, a lot of clout, and a lot of control on any given project. At least, they should, and hopefully, they do in project management infrastructures that are properly set up and have the right idea about allowing their project managers the freedom to do their jobs well.

Coming to Terms With the Finish Date

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
By definition, every project has a finish date. How the project manager arrives at that date and how the project team comes to terms with the finish date can vary wildly from project to project. Nothing has more impact on the project team than the finish date, and there is nothing that can create more stress on the people actually doing the work than a finish date that is not understood and accepted by everyone.

PMP vs. PRINCE2 Certificates

By Nader Khorrami Rad, PMP
What's the difference between the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications? Which one should I choose? Which one's better for my career? Well, there are a lot of questions like this; after all, being certified seems more and more important these days. I'm going to provide you with as much information as I can, in this comparison, hoping you can make a more educated decision.

How is the Project Going? - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this two-part series on periodically checking project health and performance perception, we discussed the concept of not neglecting your key stakeholders. It is important to stay in tune with the way your customers think the project is progressing, and it is also important to check in with your project team on the same topic. Both have important viewpoints, and both may have very valid reasons to share why they think the project needs corrective action.

How is the Project Going? - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
You know the feeling…you're cruising along and thinking your performance – perhaps even the entire team's performance on a project – is exactly what the customer expects, and then, BAM!…you find out that this just isn't the case. In the most surprising moment of my career, I thought I was meeting with my manager to get a long-awaited promotion and increase in pay when, in fact, I was being let go because the company was struggling.

Shaking Things Up on the Project

By Brad Egeland
It's nice to have a smooth, well-run project to manage, oversee the team, interact with the project manager and put on autopilot from time to time because everything is going so well. But, how can you keep the project from getting mundane. Going through the motions (even if the project is going very well) can be a bad thing as it can lull the project team, customer and others involved into a false sense of security.

Three Paths to Approaching Stakeholders

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
When it comes to approaching stakeholders with your message about the project, there are many different paths you can take to get your message to the right person. How you approach the stakeholders can be just as important as what the message is. Determining your strategy and your methods beforehand is essential; not having a strategy at all is a recipe for chaos and disorder.

Work Breakdown Structure 101

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
The Work Breakdown Structure, usually shortened to WBS, is a tool project managers use to break projects down into manageable pieces. It is the start of the planning process and is often called the 'foundation' of project planning. Most project professionals recognise the importance and benefits of a WBS in out performing projects without one.

Change Orders are a Four Letter Word

By Brad Egeland
Change request! Change order! Customers generally don't like to hear either of those terms used. Nearly every project needs them for some reason or another. Still, it can sometimes feel like you're a teenager asking your parents for money and you're trying to figure out the best way to get it out of them. The process can make even the most experienced project managers uncomfortable.

Delivering the Tough News - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this two part series on delivering less than favourable project news to the client, we examined the first two steps of my personal four-step process of preparing for and delivering bad news to my project client. Unfortunately, I've had to do this before…on multiple occasions…and it's never fun. Now let's look at the final two steps of my process.

Delivering the Tough News - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
Have you ever had to deliver tough news to a customer on a project? We always want to be seen in a favourable light by the customer - telling them something very negative can definitely taint their view of us as project managers. We may only be the messenger and may have played no part in creating the negative situation that we are reporting on, but it's still not a fun situation to be in no matter what.

Tracking a Risk

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
Every project carries some element of risk. Being able to deal effectively with these risks can be what makes or breaks a project in the end. The result of all risk management should be the ability to track a risk from beginning to end. Whether a project uses a formal risk process with automated tools or just a shared Excel file on a common drive, the risks must be tracked very carefully by the project management team.

The Proactive Project Manager

By Brad Egeland
Proactive. What does it mean to you? A check into its definition reveals this: "creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened." What I would like to discuss here is ways we can be proactive on the projects we are managing and, thus, remain more in control of them, rather than always being in reactive mode to the issues that arise and threaten to knock us off course.

Building a Business Case for Your Project

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
In order to get stakeholders or management to approve your project, you will need to build a business case to demonstrate why the project is needed and what the benefits of the project will be when it is finished. The reasons and benefits of your project may seem perfectly obvious to you and others who are intimately involved with it, but to stakeholders and other decision makers it may not be so obvious.

Ensuring Accountability on Your Projects - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this two part series on ensuring accountability on your projects, we examined the first two entities covering: the project team and the project customer. It's a given that their readiness, ongoing involvement and accountability is absolutely critical to the success of our projects. We obviously can't make it all happen on our own…not even close. However, the team and customer are not the only important ingredients.

Ensuring Accountability on Your Projects - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
How does a project manager serve the project and everyone working on it well? By ensuring everyone remains accountable for their responsibilities to us and to the project. There are several different roles and groups of individuals who are included in those that are responsible for the project's overall success - and it's these individuals who we must ensure accountability from. Let's look at each of these groups separately and discuss how we work to ensure their accountability.

Understanding the Perspective of Your Team

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
Everyone has a different perspective. Ask five different people what is going on in a project and you will get five different answers. The project manager should understand all the different perspectives on the team and be able to provide an objective perspective to manage the project and the people on the project. Understanding the different perspectives will help the project manager create a cohesive team.

What Your Project Customer Expects From You

By Brad Egeland
As projects begin, expectations on both sides are high as everything is fresh, new, and perfect. Pessimists can say that there's nowhere to go but down. In reality, it's a perfect situation with customers starting off excited about the project at hand and all you have to do is keep them that way. Ok, that's easier said than done. There are a few basic and specific expectations your project customer has of you…

Extreme Project Management

By Brad Egeland
Here's a concept critical to project success and probably some of us have tried to do, often, with little success to show for it. The idea of extreme project management. Managing a project under extreme pressure with everything on the line, millions of dollars at stake, jobs at stake, fines at stake and company reputations at stake. Try these war room strategies when you next need to bring life back to a dead project.

The Sudden Realisation: "My Project's Going Live"

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Over the years as a project manager, I've come across a project phenomenon I call, 'The Sudden Go-Live Realisation'. It occurs when the customer realises their project is coming towards its conclusion and is about to go-live. The product they have worked on for months, sometimes years, is rolling out in front of their bosses, peers and members of the public.

Resurrecting the Failed Project - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this series I began to discuss the concept of getting a second chance on a failed project from a client gracious enough to come back to your organisation to give their project another try after already experiencing a failure or complete work stoppage. It doesn't happen often, so you have to make sure you make the most of that second chance. I have done this twice and generally used four major steps to get restarted…

Resurrecting the Failed Project - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
You don't get a lot of second chances in life and even less in the world of project management. And if it's your own project that failed…forget it - your organisation isn't likely to give you a second chance at bringing it back to life. But if you do get a second chance, or you are given a failed project to rescue, here's a four step process to go through to get your project restarted and headed in the right direction…

Don't Blame the People, Blame the Process

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Having good reliable processes is the cornerstone of a successful business. Processes are there to make sure there is consistency and robustness for repeatable activities. However, not all processes are good processes and in the worst cases may actually hold your business back. This was clear on one particular project I worked on recently…

3 Things Your Project Customer Wishes You Realised

By Brad Egeland
Our project customers are our clients, sometimes our friends, they pay the bills, and sort of call the shots. And then again, some of them want nothing to do with what you're doing…they just want you to "do it." But in general, there are three things that most - maybe not all but most - project customers wish their project manager and his team realised from the outset.

A Guide to Creating a Quality Project Schedule

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Successful projects start with a good quality project schedule. Creating a schedule is one of the first tasks you should do when given a project to manage. There is often a temptation to get on with the work and worry about the schedule later, but this is a mistake. You will be left exposed and if challenged, will have no evidence of whether your project is on time or running late.

Managing Stakeholders: Going Beyond Conventional Wisdom

By Omar Muhammad and Abid Mustafa
There is no doubt that managing the expectations of stakeholders throughout the project life cycle is critical to the success of the project. Successive project surveys consistently highlight the importance of stakeholder management integral to project success. Furthermore, there is a plethora of literature on how to identify and engage stakeholders during the course of the project work, and how to effectively manage stakeholders to influence project outcomes.

11 Things You Must Do to Prepare for the Project - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this two part series, I covered the first five items on my list of eleven important things to do as you prepare for the project you are about to manage with and for your project customer. Again, this is just my personal list of eleven "must-do's", but the list has served me well as I gather info, plan for project kick-off, onboard and inform project team members, and work to cultivate a solid relationship with the project sponsor and his team.

11 Things You Must Do to Prepare for the Project - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
You've been assigned a new project by your PMO Director…now what? Well, we all know you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. And from personal experience I can look back at my earliest projects when I was far less experienced and confident with project clients as I am now, and see how I did not exude an aura of confidence, competence and control. These days, I've learned to focus on these 11 things…

Project Rescue & the Heroic Project Manager

By Vladimir Cordier
If there's one thing good project managers are excelling at - and I mean really good PMs - it is rescuing projects. Indeed, when companies find themselves with projects getting out of control, it is time to send in the cavalry. If we were to compare badly run projects to a combat zone where troops have been trapped for a while, then the only way to improve things is to parachute someone in with the know-how.

Getting the Most Out of Your Project Resources

By Ian Collins
There's a school of thought that when you are faced with 'Project Everest', you can climb it faster if you put more people to work on it. Of course, the Everest metaphor is a perfect example of why this approach is flawed. Although tempting, adding more people to a project in crisis is not necessarily going to help you get it back on track. Good resource management is about more than juggling your staff numbers. It is about understanding who your resources are and how to use them intelligently.

Gold Plating Project Management: Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this two part series I began discussing the idea of gold plating project management on an engagement. I am making a case for it as a good thing - as directly opposed to the negative concept of gold plating on the development side when you can often end up with budget and timeline issues as developers perform extra work on the project that is outside the priced scope of the initiative.

Gold Plating Project Management: Part 1

By Brad Egeland
The concept of gold plating on projects usually refers to the process or concept of adding functionality beyond what is covered by the requirements - possibly even beyond what is practical or reasonable for the effort. Wikipedia defines it as: "Continuing to work on a project or task well past the point where the extra effort is worth the value it adds (if any)."

Is Our Data Safe?

By Brad Egeland
Following his visit to the annual Black Hat USA Conference in Las Vegas, Brad Egeland examines the issues around data security and why IT leaders and project managers aren't paying enough attention to it. Often we are guilty of thinking it won't happen to us, until it does, as Brad found out. He provides a timely reminder that for every 'innocent hack' there are others that could cost millions of dollars.

Running in Chaos

By Hemini Mehta, PhD
All projects of a certain size go through bad patches; however some projects, not all, at least not the ones that are well planned, run in chaos methodology throughout their lives. It does not matter that they are meant to be running in agile, or waterfall, or PRINCE, they are running in chaos. Some readers will be shocked by this (they probably will assume they are not well managed projects and are not following the methodology correctly, and their assumptions are justified) and others will be nodding their heads in unison.

Will You Take Over My Project? - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
What must happen next to make the change a reality now that you've taken the leap of faith that this is the best thing for your current project workload and overall success, and not a huge negative mark on your PM career. Done right, done for the right reasons, and accomplished with the proper amount of proactive justification, you can make this switch look like it's absolutely the best thing that ever happened to the project and the organisation while casting you in a great light.

Will You Take Over My Project? - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
Ever had one of those projects that just doesn't gel well with the rest of your project workload? The customer interaction and neediness level is such that it needs a project manager with a smaller workload. Or the team needs more oversight than you can give at this moment, because you already have four other projects and four other project customers and four other project teams who require your attention and you can't micro manage this team and succeed on the other projects.

From Outside the PM Lines - Why PM?

By Brad Egeland
I get asked lots of questions from time to time from individuals - both on a personal level and a professional level - who aren't project managers. I'm guessing we all do, so I'm hoping that this series of articles will generate some discussions. I want to address some of the topics that come up from these questions. They may be meant more for the non-PM looking to become a PM...there are a lot of those individuals out there in the business and IT world and probably many other's just that those are the ones I deal with the most.

My Budget is 10% Over, Now What?

By Brad Egeland
The financial management aspect of project management can be challenging - there is no question about it. I just read about one government project for the state of Pennsylvania with IBM that is being cancelled after going 57% over budget on a $107 million project. That's a little extreme, but it truly is easy to let a project get out of hand if the budget is not watched carefully. And I'm not even considering the hundreds of other factors that can come into play to affect a project's financial health.

Project Management: A Marathon Not a Sprint

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
As a keen amateur athlete and chair of my local running club, I got to thinking about the similarities between running a marathon and managing a project. The more I thought about it, the more I realised they are similar; a thought process triggered by a throw away comment from my line manager, "a project is a marathon not a sprint", so what do they have in common...

When is a Project Manager not a Project Manager

By Anthony Sherick
It seems that these days everyone claims to be a project manager. Glancing through the jobs pages of newspapers, you'll see a wide variety of companies crying out for the skills of experienced project managers. Account managers are being renamed project managers; in fact anyone who can be classed as managing a project is now called a PM. But are these 'true' project management roles? We take a look at some of the project management jobs that don't require the skills of a true project manager.

Give Your Project Client the Real Picture

By Brad Egeland
Are you a glass half empty or glass half full type of person? Do you consider yourself to be a good reader of character of those individuals you interact with? Are you good at reading situations and anticipating a likely outcome? I always think I am good at all of those things, but I've learned some hard lessons by not taking in all the information possible or by reading my own thoughts and interpretations into the information I am sometimes given.

Getting Out of The Rework Trap

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
At some point in a project, the project manager may find the team stuck in a rework trap. This might occur when defining requirements or it might occur when the project is being executed. Instead of moving forward, the project team is stuck working on something and then reworking it over and over again. There are many causes, such as ill defined requirements or scope creep or a client who does not really know what they want or need. The project manager must approach this trap carefully in order to free the team and move forward.

When the Project Gets Shelved

By Brad Egeland
Here's the scenario I want to put out there to all of you... You're moving forward on a project that is going well. At least it seems that way from your perspective and your team's perspective. Suddenly your project sponsor calls you and says that something has come up and he needs to put the project on hold for two months. How do you react? What actions do you take? What questions do you ask? And what about your team?

Crafting a Useful Charter

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
A project charter is the key document during the initial stages of a project. But sometimes the project team jumps ahead into the project without taking the time to craft a useful project charter that helps guide the project through the rough waters. While many organisations and project management methodologies outline what is needed for a charter, it is important to make sure that the final document will be useful to the project team.

If You Had a Do-over What Would It Be?

By Brad Egeland
If you had one do-over on a project? What would it be? If you could turn back the hands of time and do something different on one of your projects or handled a situation differently with a team member or customer, what would it be?

Get SET for Project Control

By Delwyn Ooi, BSc, PMP
Your first million dollar project is due to launch in two hours, when the customer calls in to request a major change in scope that will delay the project launch by many weeks. Meanwhile, the project team is still rushing bug fixes. Will you start panicking? Or are you in control of all your projects?

Top 10 Soft Skills for Project Managers - Part 3

By Brad Egeland
Keep in mind this is just my list and I don't claim to have really mastered any or all of these skills. But my experiences and observations over the course of 20+ years of project management has led me to believe that this list of 10 soft skills are the ones that seem to be the most important to have - or have acquired - in order to be a successful project manager, leader and confident strategizer for your teams, your organisation, and your projects. Let's look now at the final four on my list of ten...

Top 10 Soft Skills for Project Managers - Part 2

By Brad Egeland
In Part 1 of this three part series on 10 key soft skills for project managers, we examined the first three on my list - organisation, communication and time management. And while these are critical soft skills, possessing these will not guarantee project management success. Unfortunately, nothing really will. But having all 10 of what I cover in this three part series will definitely help. So, without further delay, let's look at the next three...

Top 10 Soft Skills for Project Managers - Part 1

By Brad Egeland
At times I've taken cuts at what I thought are the necessary characteristics of good project managers. And some of those are are probably included in this three part series I am presenting now. But I've never looked at it as 'what are my top 10 soft skills that I think project managers should have in order to succeed more than they fail.' I know that doesn't sound overly ambitious, but when studies show that projects fail more often than succeed, then I think it's a reasonable goal to shoot for.

Let's Order Pizza

By Brad Egeland
Let’s talk about rewards and recognition. We all like it, but in what form? And how far should one go to do so? Formal rewards and recognition? Informal? Pizza party or raise? Ice cream or promotion? And at what level? Completion of a project or good performance on a key task?

Learning from Project Failures

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
As project managers, some of the most important lessons we learn come from failures. Whether the entire project failed, or part of it failed, or even if the project succeeded in spite of a big failure on the part of the project manager or the project team, there is something to be learned from a failure. Kenneth Darter explains a simple four step process to make sure the same failures aren't repeated.

Recognising Your Internal Expertise

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Does your organisation know what it knows? Have you come across a situation where your organisation appears to favour expertise from consultants more than its own employees? As the old joke says, "a consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time, and then keeps your watch."

The Good Meeting Manager

By Brad Egeland
In the workplace, it can seem like we are constantly attending meetings, calling meetings, or possibly trying to figure out a way to skip meetings. If you are in the same majority as the rest of us, you probably see meetings as a drain on your productivity. You probably feel frustrated when you're forced to attend many of the meetings you're invited to - because you probably see 80% of them as a waste of your time. In fact, you're probably one of those that takes your laptop and continues to do 'real work' while you attend another 'senseless' meeting. Does this sound familiar?

Conducting One-on-Ones With the Project Team

By Brad Egeland
I think we're all familiar with the meeting terminology 'one on one.' Just to clarify, in terms of the project - one-on-ones are meetings between two people involved in the project. These meetings are used to discuss priorities, to resolve issues, brainstorm on key decisions, to communicate overall responsibilities to the project and potentially just about anything that can arise on the project that needs to be discussed individually as opposed with the team as a whole.

Communicating with Stakeholders

By Brad Egeland
Most of what I like to write about is from the project manager's perspective. And I always maintain that communication is the #1 priority of the project manager. Project success, customer management, team oversight, leadership, budget management, and scope management are all very key responsibilities of the project manager - but each one of those starts with communication. But what about those individuals who aren't part of the immediate project team?

The Case of the Non Complying Team Member

By Brad Egeland
Ever had one of those individuals on your team that seemed to be a source of conflict on a regular basis? Or perhaps a team member who was always distracted, missed meetings, failed to complete tasks on time, or often did less than top-quality work...causing problems for you, the team, and the customer...likely even resulting in complaints to you and/or your executive management from the project customer? It’s a painful experience to go through because it damages your reputation, causes discourse on the team, and can result in ongoing timeframe and budget issues on the project if tasks are missed or work must be redone.

Are We There Yet?

By Brad Egeland
Remember this phrase from when your kids were little or maybe even when you were younger? You really had no concept of direction or time other than you were hungry and in your mind you should have already reached your destination by now. You're getting restless so from this moment forward it's a consistent string of questions, "Are we there yet?", "How much longer?", "How many more miles?", "Can we stop and eat?", and the popular and fear inducing, "Can I go to the bathroom?" Do you mean right here and right now? No....please don't!

How to Become an Accidental Project Manager

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Many people have fallen into project management to fill a gap and found themselves a career. In this article I explore what aspiring project managers can do to exploit any opportunities that exist and give themselves the best chance of entering the project management profession, and ultimately becoming a project manager.

But What is Best for the Customer?

By Brad Egeland
Following processes is a very good thing. If we managed all of our projects like we were shooting from the hip, then each one of our successes we experienced would be based far more on luck than any best practices. We would never be able to replicate what we did because there was no real plan behind it. Yes, a methodology is a good thing, a necessary thing if you want to have any hope of replicating your project successes and increasing your future chances of project success.

When In Rome...

By Brad Egeland
When in Rome... When most of us hear that, we mentally complete the phrase. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." It means that you basically try to follow the local customs when travelling or even act like your hosts would in their home when you are visiting across town. Fit in. Act 'normal' for where you are.

Project Management is Like a Box of Chocolates

By Brad Egeland
In the movie "Forrest Gump", the main character played by Tom Hanks tells a lady who is sitting on the busy stop bench with him that his momma always said that life was like a box of never know what you're going to get. This came to mind to me today while dealing with a surprise issue on a a project is also like a box of chocolates.

An Executive Perspective on Project Sponsorship

By Abid Mustafa
Over the past decade or so, I have been involved in project work performing a variety of roles. I have led the enterprise PMO and played the role of an executive sponsor; yet there still exists a widespread perception that executives do not do enough to support the delivery of projects.

Ignore Your Project Team

By Brad Egeland
What? Did I just say that? Your project team...the very team of highly skilled resources who have been assembled to turn your project schedule tasks into a real workable solution for the project customer. Ignore them? Am I crazy? Actually, I’m trying to get your attention. Of course we can’t ignore our project team members. What they say or have to say on topics definitely matters.

A Brief History of Project Management

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
In this history of project management, I chart all the major developments and events in the discipline as far back as there are records. Although there has been some form of project management since early civilisation, project management in the modern sense began in the 1950s. We have come a long way since then and recognition of how important the profession is has helped it develop, and will continue to push its development over the next decade.

What Do You Do With a Scurvy Pirate?

By Brad Egeland
I was watching an episode of The Backyardigans the other day with my two five year olds and the characters started singing a song about "What Do You Do with a Scurvy Pirate?" The answer was that you make them walk the plank. So I got to thinking about it...isn't scurvy just a disease that was common on pirate ships and other ships long ago? Was it a reason to walk the plank? Are they using the term on the show to mean something a 'bad' pirate (as if any pirate was a good pirate by definition)? I think the song implied the scurvy = treacherous, diabolical, dangerous, etc.

Knowing When to Say 'Enough'

By Brad Egeland
Ever had one of those situations where you try and try and try and you seem to be making no progress at all...or you actually find yourself going backwards. Believe me, I live in Las Vegas so I know gamblers are in this kind of a rut everyday (thankfully I do not gamble).

10 Ways to Become a Better Project Manager

By Michelle Symonds
Projects are increasingly becoming part of the daily business of many organisations, so the need for experienced and well-trained project managers is increasing as these organisations recognise the value of project managers with a track record of delivering complex projects successfully. Many organisations who assign individuals with little or no experience or training to a project manager role generally have a poor experience with project management.

How to Successfully Kick-off the Project Engagement

By Brad Egeland
You never get a second chance to make a first impression and you never get a second chance to successfully kick-off a project engagement. The project is obviously important to the customer or you wouldn’t be running the engagement for them. And of course their money is important to them. This is your chance as the project manager to get the project off on the right foot with a well-prepared presentation and a well-run project kick-off session.

Knowing Your Limitations

By Brad Egeland
Most people are prone to taking on as much more than they can handle. A polished professional hates to tell senior management that he's reached his limit - he has too much on his plate already. We aren't really programmed to tell those who are in charge of our raises and promotions and bonuses 'no more’.

Selling it to the Stakeholders

By Kenneth Darter, PMP
No project exists in a vacuum. There are a myriad of people concerned about how the project is going, what the problems are and when it will be finished. These people are often referred to as stakeholders; they are the ones who have sponsored the project, or paid for it, or are responsible for the outcome of the project. It is often the project manager’s job to sell "something" to these stakeholders; that "something" might be simply the project status, or it might be changes to the project, or the need for more time and money. Whatever it is, the project manager should be prepared to sell it to the stakeholders so that the project can move forward. A few strategies can help the project manager become a better salesperson.

10 More Quotes That Make You a Better Project Manager

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
The Cambridge Dictionaries defines a quote as, "to repeat the words that someone else has said or written". Most people are quoted because they have something insightful to say, something that helps us, and provides us with a better understanding of a particular subject. Over the years a body of useful quotes has been building up from management gurus that can help us become better project managers. Here are 10 such quotes worthy of some thought.

How to Audit Your Construction Site

By Jenny Beswick
All construction jobs, big or small, need a project manager. There are simply too many things to consider and co-ordinate, not only when it comes to the practical details of the work, but also in terms of ensuring the health and safety of your workers. To neglect having someone in charge of the centralised oversight is a serious issue on site. If a project is not planned correctly from day one and someone is not directly responsible for securing and auditing the site, problems are sure to arise.

Planning Lifecycle in PRINCE2

By Nader Khorrami Rad, PMP
PRINCE2, along with the PMBOK Guide, are the two most important project management standards today. Both of them have lots of guidelines, recommendations, and processes for the planning of the projects. The main goal of project management is reaching project goals with an optimal use of resources. This is not possible without appropriate controls, and control is not possible unless we plan the project ahead.

Belbin and Successful Project Teams

By Dr. Dirk Jungnickel & Abid Mustafa
Creating successful project teams is a daunting task for any project leader, especially when they are pressed to deliver results within aggressive timescales and tight budgetary constraints. Overcoming challenges such as getting the right blend of youth and experience, skills and competencies, academic qualification and professional certifications does not necessarily lead to the establishment of successful project teams.

Shareholder Value at Risk is a Key Measure in Major Change Projects

By David Walton, CEO, Bestoutcome
Every major change management programme puts shareholder value at risk. If the project succeeds and meets its objectives, then shareholders benefit. If it fails or even partially fails, then the value of the company may fall and keep falling. And CEOs don’t usually survive such an outcome.

Death by Interview

By Deborah Kerr and Curt Finch
Managers are constantly searching for the secret to hiring the right employees. They want a "killer question" that will reveal the true ability of the candidate during the interview (probably questionable for validity if not legality). They use quirky problems or puzzles they think will highlight the creative and enthusiastic candidates. They spend thousands of dollars on multiple interviews thinking that surely, somewhere during the sixth interview, the candidate's actual personality will be (inadvertently) divulged.

Starting Projects on the Right Foot

By Kenneth Darter
Preparation is a key part of project management. If the project is not started correctly, it will end up with problems such as rework, scope creep, schedule delays, etc. While some might be tempted to jump in with both feet and start writing code or tearing down walls, the project manager needs to help provide a solid starting point for the project. It is this starting point that will help determine whether the project will eventually be successful or not. This starting point is the jumping off point for the project and the team, and it is worth the time and effort to make sure that there is a good foundation for the project in the long run instead of jumping blindly into something that is not fully understood by the project team. Here are a few key points to keep in mind when beginning a new project.

How to Manage Your Boss: Five Tips for 'Managing Up'

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
To succeed in business and project management you need to manage your boss. This is known as 'managing up'. It means developing a working relationship that allows you to understand the world from your boss's perspective and gain benefits for you both. Without this understanding time can be wasted, misunderstandings occur, frustration develop and can lead to career suicide in the worst cases. Here are five tips for 'managing up'.

Honing the Edge

By Kenneth Darter
Project managers spend a great deal of time managing what other people are doing, creating processes for the team to follow, and making sure that everyone is working at their full potential. How often, though, do we spend time making sure that our pencils are sharpened and our edges are honed? This tends to get forgotten in the rush of being busy project managers. It can be just as important for a project manager to make sure he or she is performing at their best as it is for a project manager to make sure that their team is performing at their best. Here are some ideas to help a project manager keep their edges sharp.

Planning Lifecycle in the PMBOK Guide

By Nader Khorrami Rad, PMP
Which one of the five process groups in the PMBOK Guide has the largest number of processes? Yes, you have probably answered correctly; it's the planning process group. This group usually has about 50% of the whole processes defined in the standard. This percentage was more or less the same in all editions of the guide. So, how does the planning happen?

How to Avoid Project Burnout

By Kenneth Darter
Burnout is best described as that state wherein the job one is performing no longer seems to matter very much. When people stop caring about what they are doing (assuming they ever cared in the first place!) and only want to go home and collapse, then they might be burned out on the job. Of course, there could be other causes, but burnout is very common on large projects that are full of tight timelines and a lot of pressure to produce. Burnout happens when someone works past their endurance and mentally or physically collapses.

Top 10 Considerations When Integrating Social Media in Project Management

By Neil Stolovitsky
In a world where the instant access to information has changed the way people in modern society communicate and collaborate, social media tools and social networking for many have become a paradigm that permeates their personal and professional lives. As a result, social media tools are partially responsible for introducing to the marketplace a new workforce and customer base that is challenging conventional methods of conducting business. In response to these changes, many organisations are re-evaluating the manner in which they share information among their workforce and respond to the demands of their customers.

The Role of Human Resources: Managing Your Projects

By Grady Winston
Hiring skilled talent is a primary function of every human resource manager. Understanding how to form a team of workers that can meld their talents to bring a large project to a close successfully requires experience, training and ingenuity. Whether you're depending on in-house HR personnel or consulting with headhunters and outside HR management systems, here is the minimum skill-set candidates should possess.

10 Essential Characteristics of an Effective Six Sigma Practitioner

By Sudeshna Banerjee
Most Six Sigma practitioners in my professional circle love their job and their entry into the field has been planned by obtaining the necessary experience to move into the role. In stark contrast, when I look at my own entry in this line of work, I realise that my introduction and subsequent entry into the world of Six Sigma was an accident and as it turns out - a happy one at that! Here are my top ten characteristics you need to look out for when hiring a Six Sigma practitioner.

A Project Reality Check

By Kenneth Darter
There are some sure signs for project managers that a project needs a reality check. One is rebaselining the project plan with seventy hour work weeks and still having resources over allocated. Another is risk planning taking up more time than project planning. And yet another is when the project manager has lost count how many times the project charter and the requirements have been redefined and scrapped and redefined again.

How to Get the Most From Your Project Team

By Andy Trainer
Project management is people management. You depend on the people on your project team to get results, which means they need their fair share of your time and resources. As project management skills and certification get more recognised and regarded in business, expectations get higher. Here's our reminder of how to make sure you get the most from your project team.

Taking Advantage of the Economic Recovery With Project Management

By Curt Finch
There's been nothing pretty about the economic recession. The business landscape has changed, established companies have disappeared and industries everywhere have been operating in safety mode, trying to avoid risks that would leave them vulnerable. Once known as retail giants, Blockbuster and Borders proved that you have to constantly innovate and be at the forefront of market trends to survive.

PMOs Makeover From a Cost Centre to a Profit Centre

By Abid Mustafa
In the midst of recession support departments are one of the first casualties of the CFOs cost rationalisation drive. During this mayhem, PMOs struggle to evade the cost cutting knife and are forced to cut back resources and scale down services. The purpose of this article is to outline how PMOs can be successfully transformed into profit centres during hard economic times.

Creating a Work Breakdown Structure with Microsoft Project

By Mark Piscopo

This article discusses creating your Work Breakdown Structure using Microsoft Project. MS Project is the ideal tool for Project Managers to develop not only their project schedule, but also their WBS. The WBS divides the scope of the project work into smaller, manageable work packages for maintaining better control of the project activities.

Work Breakdown Structure Made Easy

By Mohammed K Barakat
The Work Breakdown Structure is an essential tool to set the project scope. It forms the agreement between you and your client on what is included and what is not included in your end deliverable. However, to be effective, it must be simple and, more importantly, must not be confused with the project schedule that serves a different purpose in your project management plan.

Crash Course: Five Ways to Optimise Your Projects and Resources ASAP

By Curt Finch
Quick, tell me about your employees: What are they doing? How long do they spend doing it? What should their top priorities be? Now tell me about your projects: Are they on time? Within budget? How many projects were profitable this year, last year, over the last five years? Perhaps you think these questions are unreasonable and maybe they are. But we live in an unreasonable world where every advantage should be realised.

Planning Projects in the IT Helpdesk Environment

By Anna Halstead, PMP
In the IT Support domain, Helpdesks frequently have to make preparations to provide support for a new tool, application, technology or product that is being rolled out to their end-users. Although these types of projects are typically small and non-complex, all Helpdesk projects require proper planning and need to follow a project framework, in order to maintain customer satisfaction and to ensure that any changes in the supported environment do not negatively impact on the service that the Helpdesk is providing.

E2E Project Managers Are the Key to Ensuring the Delivery of Strategic Projects

By Abid Mustafa
Companies spend a lot of time and effort establishing PMOs and devising project methodologies that enable them to deliver their strategic initiatives. Often, such initiatives span the length and breadth of the organisation, are complex in nature and are extremely cross-functional in their implementation. It is common for such projects to run across three domains namely: Commercial, Technology and Support. This poses a great challenge for executives in appointing the right type of project manager to take the helm of responsibility and delivery. This naturally leads to a typical discussion about how such projects should be organised.

Why Throwing Resources at a Project Won't Save It

By Michelle Symonds
Most project managers would kill for extra resources. Many projects start with an optimistic budget and little or no contingency, so when the plan starts to flounder (as they frequently do) a bit more time, a few more people and some more money would always be welcome. But would these extra resources really save a project that was doomed from the start, or that was being run inefficiently without the proper structure and controls?

Is Your Project Manager Colonising Your Mind?

By Abid Mustafa
It is common for the term 'micromanagement' to be associated with managers aggressively intervening to conduct actions on behalf of their subordinates. The subordinates notice a loss of control and autonomy over their ability to execute actions. The experience can be debilitating for many and some may even feel demoralised, vulnerable and bullied. However, there is another dimension to micromanagement, which is rarely discussed or acknowledged.

The Word on Risk

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
The language found in any literature dealing with risk management can bewilder anyone not familiar with the jargon. Acronyms that mean different things to different groups, terms that have one definition in the dictionary and another in the risk management glossary are some of the sources of confusion. This article attempts to help de-mystify risk management for the project managers.

Management Consultants and PMO Failures

By Abid Mustafa
Having worked in the (Middle East-North Africa) MENA region for a number of years, it is quite disheartening to encounter PMOs that suffer from acute identity crisis and are locked in endless battles with other departments to prove their worth. What is interesting to discover however, is the usual culprit behind PMO failures, the lack of executive support, is not the primary cause.

Too Tired to Care? Regain Your Perspective With 5 Proven Practices

By Kimberly Wiefling, M.S.
Kimberly Wiefling's story of her journey from "too tired to care" to a better balance in life by adopting five common sense practices that have helped her regain her perspective, reduce stress, and optimise the results she gets from time invested in her work. Make some changes for the better before you're carried out on a stretcher!

20 Questions All Project Managers Should Ask

By Michelle Symonds
One of the many skills required of a project manager is the ability to ask searching questions and persevere until a clear answer is obtained. Many of the pitfalls in projects could be avoided if questions were articulated fully and if the answers were given clearly and in detail. Here are 20 questions a project manager should always ask, whatever type of project they are working on in any type of organisation.

Who is the Project Manager?

By Mike Griffin, PMP, MSP Practitioner
A project manager's prime task is managing a project to success. The products of the project need to be picked up by the line organisation, and if this involves change in the organisation or ways of working, the changes must be made to 'stick'. By ensuring that the responsibilities for project management and business change are well assigned in a project there is an increased chance of success.

How Accurate is Your Actual vs. Planned Time and Costs?

By Peter Collins
With cost and efficiency dominating the corporate agenda in today's constrained operating environment, the ability to compare and contrast planned versus actual time and costs provides professional services firms with greater visibility and tighter control of performance in billable markets where time is money.

Resolve to Make SMART Career Goals

By Theresa Mickelwait
Made any New Year's resolutions yet? You might be considering career goals such as finding a new or better job, getting a promotion or making your job more enjoyable. It's common knowledge that most people don't keep New Year's resolutions. Less than half will have successfully maintained their goals after six months, according to research by psychology professor John C. Norcross of the University of Scranton.

Understanding the Project Management Triple Constraint

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
All projects are carried out under constraints - traditionally cost, time and scope. These three important factors, commonly called the triple constraint, are often represented as a triangle. More recently the triangle has given way to a project management diamond, with cost, time, scope and quality the four vertices with customer expectations as a central theme.

5 Key Components of a Project You Need to Get Right

By Michelle Symonds
There are many factors that contribute to the final outcome of a project, whether it is large or small, simple or complex. But just a few of these factors will determine the ultimate success of your project. These factors can be broadly broken down into 5 areas; strategic planning, developing the product, marketing, support and people.

Executive Initiatives Require a Project President

By Abid Mustafa
At crucial moments, well-timed executive decisions to steer projects and programmes are often in short supply. Subsequently, issues are left unresolved, key milestones are missed and the overall project delivery is delayed. Whilst it may appear that executive indecision is the main culprit behind the delay, it's not the primary cause. The root cause lies in how executive leadership is exercised in project steering committees.

Top Tips for Effective Project Management

By Dr Ian Clarkson
We've all been there. We've all exhaled loudly when finished - the proverbial 'monkey' is off your back! Maybe you have even given a silent 'high-five' as the project has finally gone live when it looked like you were going to miss the deadline? But have these reactions only manifest because you have managed to snatch project victory from the jaws of defeat? Would your behaviour be the same if the project was run smoothly? I doubt it.

Agile: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

By Mark Flynn
More and more organisations are adopting agile delivery methodologies in answer to demands from customers to deliver change faster and at a lower cost. However, there is much scepticism within the agile community as to whether organisations are achieving the benefits they desire. Mark Flynn of Baringa Partners argues that to achieve agile success, organisations first need to understand the core objectives of being 'agile', and then establish whether it's the right approach for them.

Key Performance Indicators for the PMO: Metrics for Success

By Michael O'Brochta, PMP & Curt Finch
The Project Management Office (PMO) is an office with the capacity to institute a wide variety of positive changes within a company. Indeed, many organisations understand the co-dependence between the executive and PMO, and act to establish PMOs for just this reason. Unfortunately, it is often one of the most incorrectly managed and underutilised portions of an organisation. Findings presented at the 2010 Gartner ITxpo indicate that nearly half of all PMOs result in failure. The question, then, is why do such a drastic number of businesses feel that their PMOs do not deliver value?

Tangoing Your Way Through the Executive/PMO Relationship

By Michael O'Brochta, PMP & Curt Finch
"It takes two to tango." This idiomatic expression, which originated in a 1952 song by Pearl Bailey and was later popularised in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan quipped about Russian-American relations, is an accurate description of the relationship between a project management office (PMO) and an executive. At the end of the day, success for either of them is dependent on the other. Executives depend on the work accomplished by project management offices for their own success, just as project management offices depend on executives for their success.

The RAPID Outcome Mapping Approach and Project Management for Policy Change

By Arnaldo Pellini
The Irish novelist Colm Tóibín wrote that 'the future is a foreign country: they do things differently there' (2010: 84). Development interventions are that foreign country. Ramalingam et al. (2008), describe development plans, strategies and goal setting as 'attempts to picture how things work in that country and provide an illusion of control'. The reality, however, is that development is not a straight input-output-outcome-impact motorway, but a road with curves and crossings in a changing landscape.

How to Determine the Number of Projects to Deliver in a Given Year

By Abid Mustafa
Every year there is a mad scramble by most companies to secure budgets internally for projects they intend to do for the following financial year. Typically, companies are flooded with requests from various departments to deliver capabilities and benefits through a variety of projects and programmes. However, companies are acutely aware that there has to be a balance between the long wish list of things to do, and the organisation's actual ability to deliver them. The purpose of this article is outline a number of techniques which on their own or collectively can assist companies to overcome this dilemma.

Giving Projects a Clean Bill of Health

By Peter Osborne
IT-led business change programmes and projects continue to fail, yet many of the common pitfalls could easily be avoided by undertaking a 'health check' regularly and acting early on the intelligence it provides. Peter Osborne, managing director at Loc Consulting examines the early warning signs a health check can reveal and how organisations should respond to the identified issues to achieve a successful outcome.

Trends in Product and Portfolio Management: The Latest Five Game Changers

By Louise K. Allen & Carrie Nauyalis
The face of product and portfolio management has changed enormously over the last 25 years and the tools that are now available enable product managers to work more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Speaking at the recent Pipeline 2011, the online product development conference, Louise Allen and Carrie Nauyalis of Planview discussed what they see as the latest five 'game changers' in product management and why each one is critical in bringing a project or product to market.

The Secret to Dealing With Difficult People: It's About You

By Tony Schwartz
Do you have someone at work who consistently triggers you? Doesn't listen? Takes credit for work you've done? Wastes your time with trivial issues? Acts like a know-it-all? Can only talk about himself? Constantly criticizes? Our core emotional need is to feel valued and valuable. When we don't, it's deeply unsettling, a challenge to our sense of equilibrium, security, and well-being. At the most primal level, it can feel like a threat to our very survival.

Controlling Change Requests in Projects

By Michelle Symonds
Changes requested once a project is underway are an inevitable part of any project. They can either be the result of external changes in the business or they can be internal changes requested because the original aims of the project were not clearly defined or understood. Change requests resulting from external factors are usually beyond the control of a project manager and there is usually little choice but to deal with them.

What is Change Control?

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Change control is an important part of the project management process. With the pace of change today, it is almost certain that projects will face the demand for change during their life. While change may help ensure projects are aligned with business needs, it important that each change is carefully considered and approved.

Hiring for a Competitive Advantage

By Deborah L. Kerr, Ph.D., & Bill Balcezak
Successful hiring is one of the key factors to operational success for large and small businesses alike. Executives should approach the hiring process as a means to both improve their existing workforce and to secure a candidate who will add long-term value to the organisation. If approached merely as a step toward replacing a lost asset, the hiring process will squander considerable resources and forfeit significant opportunity value from a potential personnel improvement. The mission is obvious, yet, according to business owners, finding the right employees can be an elusive aspiration in a drawn-out process.

Planning for the BIG DAY

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
When a wedding invitation comes in the mail, my gut instinct is to leave it in the mailbox and have the mailman take it away to someone else who might actually want to attend. This is my thought for about two seconds, before logic sets in and I realise that wedding guests are not so replaceable, that I must reply to this RSVP either way, and that I better have a pretty good reason if I plan to reply with "not attending."

My Story: Working Smarter; Not Harder

By Susanne Madsen
Susanne Madsen's own story of her journey from stressed and overworked project manager, to discovery of smarter working practices and a more fulfilling working life. "When you realise that you have the power to change your beliefs and remove a limiting factor that has been constraining you, you have an 'aha!' moment. You feel relieved and empowered."

Project Risks and How to Identify Them

By Michelle Symonds
Plenty of information is available about the best ways for a project manager to manage risk within a complex project. Much is written about how to communicate risks to stakeholders and how to mitigate and avoid risks. But what are the best ways of identifying those risks in the first place?

How Lessons Learned Can Improve Project Processes

By Michelle Symonds
Everything learned from previous projects, whether they were successes or failures can teach a project manager important lessons. And individual project managers usually do learn from their own previous experiences, but are these "lessons learned" shared with others within the project team or within the same organisation? If they are shared, do other project managers apply the lessons to their own projects?

Get Out There!

By Michelle LaBrosse & Kristen LaBrosse
A serious condition is spreading like fireweed across corporate America. The symptoms include glazed-over eyes, droopy shoulders, cramped hands, aversion to natural lighting and a permanent butt print in your office chair. This condition is called Corporate Zombie Syndrome. It can strike when one spends far more time looking at a computer than not, or hasn't talked to a real coworker, except through WebEx meetings, in months. But don't worry, there is a simple cure that can alleviate these symptoms and get you out of your Corporate Zombie state. That cure is to Get Out There!

Unlocking PMO Profitability

By Darrel Raynor, PMP and Curt Finch
The potential benefits of a project management office (PMO) are numerous and well-documented. However, many of the benefits never materialise. Take a look at PMOs over the years and you will see that many have restructured, dissolved, or constantly had to justify their existence during both economic downturns as well as high-growth periods. This is evidence enough that PMOs are not yielding demonstrable positive financial results.

Four Early Warning Signs of a Project in Trouble

By Ty Kiisel
The miners who paid attention to warning signs were able to get out of the mine before it was too late. In project management, missing deadlines or exceeding budgets is evidence that a project is probably in trouble. Here are four warning signs.

Cheetah Your PMO!

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
It takes more than ingredients to create a meal, and it takes more than resources to manage a project. You need to have standards (cooking temperature), documentation (recipes), guidance (cooking shows), economies of repetition (making meals every day), and metrics (your taste testers). Your kitchen is the Project Management Office (PMO) of your meals, ensuring that ingredients are put together in a way that consistently and efficiently produces edible (if not delicious) results.

Is Project Management Certification Worth It?

By Michelle Symonds
What usually makes someone a "good" project manager is their experience, the fact that they have made mistakes and learnt from them in a real project environment and that they have achieved success in a real project environment. Experience on a range of projects and, most particularly, on complex projects can never be underestimated. But neither can the right sort of academic qualifications and relevant training. A project manager with the right credentials, such as one with a PMP Certification, is not necessarily better at leading and directing projects, but the qualification itself is an indication of how serious that person is to be recognised as a professional.

Is Your Project Proposal READY?

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
The mnemonic READY is useful when creating a project proposal. It provides a useful memory aid to help ensure your proposal is relevant, engaging, authoritative, directional and yield optimised. This article describes how to write a compelling and well thought out proposal that will be hard to ignore.

How To Regain Control Of Your Project

By Michelle Symonds
It is well known that projects with any level of complexity are highly likely to exceed their budget or deadline. But if your project is heading in that direction, what is the best way to get it back on track?

Project Planning Essentials

By Michelle Symonds
Planning a project, in its very simplest terms, requires putting a series of tasks in the correct order and determining any dependencies between the tasks, in order to reach a desired outcome at the end of the project. In practice things are never quite so straightforward.

SWOT Analysis in Project Management

By Michelle Symonds
SWOT Analysis is one of a number of different techniques used by professional project managers to help with decision-making. It is most useful in the planning and risk elements of large, complex projects.

10 Quotes That Make You a Better Project Manager

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Over the years, various management gurus have come up with pearls of wisdom in the form of quotations. These represent the compressed wisdom of countless years experience that when given some thought, have a lot to teach us. Here are 10 such quotations that when heeded help to make us better project managers.

What a Heart Surgeon Could Learn From a Project Manager

By Ty Kiisel
The surgeon could learn a few things from project managers about how to create a sound work management (surgery management) methodology. Project managers could also learn from this study. "We caught basic mistakes and some of the stupid stuff," Gawande reports. "We also found that good teamwork required certain things that we missed very frequently."

Don't Just Tell Them... SHOW Them!

By Michelle LaBrosse & Kristen LaBrosse
Why are certain stories so riveting, while others are just so-so? In your profession as a Project Manager, make sure that you are using good story techniques to advance in your occupation by showing others your story, not just telling. The act of showing, rather than telling, is very powerful. Become a captivating author of your career by following these essential tips.

15 Causes of Project Failure

By Michelle Symonds
Many complex, long-term projects fail to live up to their promises and produce disappointing outcomes on completion. Some of these are well-known for exceeding their budgets or deadlines or both. Take London's 2012 Olympics Project whose budget of over £9bn is triple the original estimate and whose contingency fund of nearly £3bn was almost entirely earmarked for certain tasks by as early as the first quarter of 2010, over 2 years before the deadline.

Time Management in a Multi-Project Environment

By Louis Marshall
It's a major concern that some people believe there is a perfect time management software out there that will fix all their scheduling woes. This challenge can't be surmounted with technology alone, there are aspects of habit at play here, not to mention the inherently unpredictable nature of software development.

The 4 Pillars of CAPEX Accurate Estimates

By Jean Michelez
Project CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) estimating is a difficult exercise for non-standard projects, because of the variety of situations and the number of external factors that can influence project success. For that reason cost overruns and project delays are a concern in many industries, including Energy and Utilities, Transportation and IT.

Time Boxing Strategies to Help You Get Things Done in Your Project

By Lisa Drake
Have you ever heard of time boxing? Time Boxing is setting aside a fixed time period to work on a particular task or group of tasks. Basically, instead of working on a task until it's done, you commit to work on it for a specific amount of time.

The Role of the Project Manager

Duncan Haughey
A project manager is the person who has the overall responsibility for the successful planning and execution of a project. He or she must have a combination of skills including an ability to ask penetrating questions, detect unstated assumptions and resolve conflicts, as well as more general management skills.

Can You Describe the Perfect PMO Meeting?

By Jennifer Whitt
I think I can. First, let me give you the context of the company in which this particular Project Management Office was operating. It was a mid-sized software development company that was broken down into four separate channels of business. All projects were run through the PMO. Resources from each department reported to the Functional Managers directly and the PMO worked closely with the Functional Managers.

Nine Keys to Successful Delegation in Project Management

By Fred Morgan
Successful delegation is crucial to successful project management. Many people involved as leaders in project management are, however, afraid of delegation. They fear that if they delegate, the work won't be done properly. Deadlines won't be met. They cannot trust collaboration and teamwork to others; they have to do most things themselves and directly oversee the rest.

Can you Hear the Knock of Opportunity?

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
Sometimes you have to be completely silent in order to hear it. Turn off the news reporting the disaster of the moment, quiet your mind from the everyday worries and problems, tune out the negative comments of coworkers and friends, and just...listen. Do you hear the soft knocking? Open up, opportunity has something to show you.

Authority Earned, Not Given

By Dan Vickers, PMP and Curt Finch
For project managers, the support of their team is critical for completing projects successfully. Yet, a team's respect cannot simply be assigned like a task. Acquiring and executing project authority with the support of a full project team demands careful and skilled execution.

Setting SMARTER Goals in 7 Easy Steps

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
The mnemonics SMART and SMARTER are useful when setting project goals and objectives. They provide a way of ensuring everyone understands them, they are trackable, relevant, there are enough resources to achieve them and a firm deadline is set. Try these seven steps to help you set SMARTER goals for your projects.

Have You Ever Played Chess With Your Client's Project Manager?

By Jennifer Whitt
We understand the value of being onsite with a client for projects that may be in trouble. While effective, this introduces an interesting dynamic as it relates to working with the Client's Project Manager. It can be likened to playing a chess game where you have to think many moves ahead in order to make it to the end of the game.

The ARC of Distortion

By Patrick Bird
How many times do we come out of a meeting, whether one to one or in a group, and have confidence that we have accurately received the message that the sender was trying to convey or, from the senders point of view, that the recipients have taken away the intended message? What are the factors that create this disparity between what the sender of the message is relaying against what is delivered to the receiver and why can the message received be different from one person to the next?

De-stress for Success

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
Are you proactive or reactive in your work and personal life? Think about your career. Do you jump on tasks as they pop up, putting out fires as you go? Now consider your weekend. Do you wait until plans come to you, or do you make plans to ensure that you are having the kind of free time that you want with family and friends?

The Project Go/No-Go Checklist

By James WJ Hutt
Many project managers put together some form of implementation or cutover plan yet fail to carry out the necessary rigorous analysis to determine whether they should proceed. This article focuses on this analysis, what is termed the 'go-live decision'.

Six Common Mistakes that Plague IT Projects

By Ty Kiisel
As an "accidental" project manager, I used to think the challenges I faced and the mistakes I made were the result of my background (or lack of same). I have come to the conclusion that regardless of your level of project management training, there are some pretty common mistakes made by a lot of project managers. It doesn't really matter whether you espouse Waterfall or Agile, if you make these mistakes, your project will likely fail.

The Project Plan: How to Write a Successful Project Plan

By James WJ Hutt
A project plan provides a roadmap for detailing how your project will reach its desired goals. It should be written in the project planning phase, once the project has been initiated and received preliminary approval and funding to be scoped out further. It normally follows the business case, and should primarily focus on how the project will proceed rather than why.

Don't Be An Anti-Social Project Manager

By Ty Kiisel
Whenever I speak with someone about project management and social media I tend to get one of two reactions. They either see the value right away or they don't get it at all-dismissing the socialisation of project management out of hand. Most of the angst about using social networking within the project management process comes from a lack of understanding.

How Do You Deliver Bad News About Your Project?

By Jennifer Whitt
We know the expression "Don't Kill the Messenger" indicates that the person delivering the bad news is not the same person responsible for causing the bad news. In our day-to-day activity as Project Managers we find that the recipient of bad news (managers, project stakeholders, and customers) sometime forgets this and react inappropriately.

Three Characteristics of Transformational Leaders

By Bruce Temkin
I work with many companies aiming to become customer-centric organisations. These efforts are never easy, and they always require a multi-year journey. In order for an organisation to sustain a change agenda over that span of time, the senior management team needs to actively lead the effort. What does that mean for those leaders?

Managing Team Conflict

By Gurdeep Kaur
When teams come together, conflict is almost inevitable. Not all conflict is unhealthy though. Conflict has the potential of bringing out the best from individuals and teams and building rapport when it is directed towards the goal at hand. Only when it starts damaging the team spirit and jeopardising the common goals that it becomes a cause for concern. Therefore conflict needs to be properly identified, analysed and managed.

When in Doubt...Leave it Out

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
Imagine you are sitting in your car, wondering, what shall I do for dinner? Shall I pick up Chinese food to go? Meet my friend Sally for dinner, or go home and cook dinner myself while watching American Idol? All of a sudden you are sitting there, frozen in time, unable to make a decision about what to do for dinner. And this is one of the easier choices in life. Don't be upset. Indecision can happen to anyone, and often occurs when you least expect it.

Multitasking's Assault on Productivity

By Bill Balcezak
It's seemingly impossible to avoid multitasking in today's busy world. The constant bombardment of emails, phone calls, and appointments quickly begin to pile up, so to combat this we attempt to juggle more activities at once. I instinctively answer the phone as I'm driving home from work or respond to an urgent email while I'm reading a report, but are these the best solutions to my problems?

Boost Your Bottom Line with Scalable IT Methodologies

By Cameron Watson
As world market conditions continue to evolve, so too have the pressures and expectations being placed on organisations. In many cases, the difference between red and black ink can often be attributed to the operational effectiveness derived from the "IT Efficiencies" of the organisation. Since information technology became a part of the business mainstream, business stakeholders, IT practitioners and academia have debated the various and most effective organisational "IT Efficiency" solutions. Though opinions have differed, most concur that an "IT Methodology" is one of cornerstones any organisation can leverage to increase its operational performance.

Avoiding Stone Age Practices in the Age of the Internet

By Kimberly M. Wiefling, M.S.
Albert Einstein has been widely quoted as saying "There are two things that are infinite, the universe, and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe." Like most people, I usually write this off as an amusing, sarcastic quip he made on a bad day. I mean, it can't possibly be taken literally, right? Then I wander across a news item or business situation that make me wonder if maybe he was on to something. In spite of common sense, again and again I encounter companies repeating tragically avoidable mistakes, hamstringing themselves with the same ludicrous errors their competitors (fortunately) are also making.

The Project Value Proposition: How Good is Yours?

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Times are tough! Money is tight, people are being laid off and we're deep into an economic recession. In times like these, customers focus on value propositions. "Let's suck it and see," is not a phrase you hear a lot in a recession. Customers look at the value proposition of projects and ask, "How does the spend on this project benefit us?" Projects with the best value proposition will win. So how can you emphasise the value proposition of your project. Here are a few pointers...

Stepping Up SMART Goals

By Jessika M. Ferm
The SMART acronym is a great tool for making sure our goals and instructions are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timed. It helps us clarify what we want to accomplish and set deadlines to make sure it produces the results we want in the timeframe we need. Here are six steps that will help you formulate your goals in the most effective way possible.

5 Reasons to Kill a Project

By Trevor Roberts
We all want to deliver successful projects. That's why we became project managers, after all. But sometimes the right thing to do is to stop a project. When is this the right choice? Here are 5 reasons for terminating projects prior to completion.

Your Project: Passion or Poison?

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
Bring the idea of Valentines Day to project management. Use February 14th as your reminder to sit down, take a look at the project you are currently working on, and find out if your project still deserves your passion or if it is a poisonous labour of love that needs to be "dumped." Too often, Project Managers invest so much time, effort, and capital into a project that they can't recognise when the project has turned bad, thinking that the only option is to see the project through.

The Secrets to Getting Stakeholders on Your Side

By Liz Cassidy
The precessional effect says the actions you take will affect other people. Common sense says the more people you impact, the more likely it is that your actions will affect people who have some power and influence over your actions. These people could be useful supporters of your projects - alternatively they may block your projects. We call people who are impacted by our projects and business activities, stakeholders.

Managing Projects on a Global Scale

By Curt Finch
There are no longer many physical obstacles to performing global projects. Instantaneous global collaboration, inexpensive resource transportation, and near-global access to knowledge have expanded organisations' horizons and consumer markets. At the same time, however, these now-hurdled obstacles present new challenges to the global project manager.

What Are Project Health Checks?

By Michael L Young
The Health Check is a reflective learning exercise, a snapshot of the status of a project or programme in order to identify what is going well and what areas need improvement. Project managers, sponsors and the project team are often so involved in the day-to-day activities that they can fail to recognise the true status of a project.

My Top Three Invaluable IT Tools

By Curt Finch
My fascination with the technology industry stretches back to the early '80s, and since that time I've seen countless IT tools come and go with little fanfare. Those that have managed to persevere and actually withstand the test of time, though they may not be glamorous, have proven vital to business operations and I cannot imagine life at this point without them. These tools often keep a business running smoothly, providing efficiency, security, and convenience to their users.

Project Management and Its Impact on IT Project Success

By Claudia Vandermilt
When dealing with IT projects, using specialised project management techniques will be very beneficial to your ongoing progress leading to a much higher success rate in the long run. Planning and carrying out IT projects can be tricky for a variety of reasons, making the ability to complete them successfully a very valuable asset to any employer.

Making That First Impression the Right Impression

By Patrick Bird
Patrick Bird outlines how you can make a good first impression in meetings with prospective clients. Communicating effectively and making a message memorable can be a challenge, especially in face-to-face situations. Whether it's with a client or prospect, the pressure of delivering information in the right tone and style requires careful planning.

Cutting-Edge Project Management: What Game Theory and Poker Can Teach Us

By Gil Junqueira
As Project Management continues to grow around the world and become increasingly commoditised, more specialisation will be necessary in order to secure the best opportunities. One of these areas of specialisation that will have increased demand in the future, I believe, is risk management. World-class competition, lower costs and increased demands for scarce resources are pushing companies to operate in that frontier - the fine line between chaos and efficient use of tools, people and materials. The future operating style of in demand Project Managers will fall somewhere between a conservative money manager and a poker player.

Building Sustainable Relationships in Project Teams

By Patrick Bird
Building sustainable and flexible working relationships to create an effective working environment starts with the project team, but does not end there. They will also need to be built with others such as the sponsor, steering group, suppliers and of course internal colleagues. A project manager will need to influence a variety of people, sometimes without the necessary authority, to obtain information, input and commitment from them.

Handling Difficult Conversations

By Patrick Bird
As Project Managers we often find ourselves needing to handle difficult conversations in order to make progress on a project. These meetings will happen with direct reports on a project team, but also with other stakeholders who we have no direct authority over, but are critical to the project success. How often do we plan effectively for any of these meetings, not just data and information, but around how we are going to handle the meeting and the people attending it?

7 More Reasons Goals Are Not Achieved

By Dennis Hocker
Success and achieving goals are two topics that have universal appeal. You would think that something that commands the interest of so many people would be understood and used by nearly everyone. However, what I have discovered is that most people make the same mistakes again and again. They never reach their desired outcome. Here are 7 more of the common mistakes that most people make in their quest for improvement and achievement.

Four Keys to Project Integration Management

By Jessie L Warner
Project integration management is all about getting the right resources co-ordinated in an effective and efficient manner. To do this, you must be able to understand and manage the people, resources and technology you use to carry out the project plans. To help you better co-ordinate and manage the various elements of the project, I suggest four keys to integration management.

The Top 7 Reasons Why Goals Are Not Achieved

By Dennis Hocker
It's that time of year again when we reflect on what we had hoped to accomplish in the past year and what we plan to accomplish in the next. Most times we look back and realise that we didn't quite measure up to our hopes and dreams. As a business advisor and executive coach I have found that people tend to make the same mistakes when setting goals for both their business and personal lives.

Waterfall v Agile: How Should I Approach My Software Development Project?

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Software development projects are usually approached using one of two methods, Waterfall or Agile. Both have pros and cons and each have their exponents who espouse the value of their chosen approach. In this article, I look at both methods and try to understand which is best and under what circumstances answering the question, "How should I approach my software development project?"

Make it a Strong Finish

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
We are almost there...the close of another year. There are two ways to end the year. One way is to write off the rest of December because the year is just about shot and then just start fresh in January. Another way is to focus on what is most important for you to accomplish in December, so you hit January already in stride. I like to wrap the year up with a bow and end it on a high note. So, let us look at five ways you can make the most of the last two weeks of December.

The Meat of a Business Case

By Carole Embden-Peterson
Writing a business case is a crucial component in the business process. It is important that it has substance and clarity. Failure to present a strong case could sound the death knell for your project. This article covers the important components in a business case, from overview to presentation.

The Nuts and Bolts of Preparing a Business Case

By Carole Embden-Peterson
Change is a challenging prospect, especially when it is geared towards improving business operations. There is a lot at stake and project proponents need to secure the buy-in of stakeholders to make an effective business change. However stakeholders won't just roll over and say "OK." They want everything in black and white. The first document they want to see before they buy-in, is the business case.

Project Management on the Move

By Jamie Stewart
In today's flexible business environment, it's the norm for project managers to work away from the office and travel on business for extended periods. But tracking and running a project remotely is about more than just a laptop and a decent Internet connection. Jamie Stewart, UK managing director, Exact, takes a look at how small to medium-sized businesses are capitalising on advanced business software solutions to help them deliver projects on time, on budget and on the move.

The Role of a Business Analyst

By James L Adams
This article examines the multifaceted role of the Business Analyst and gives a quick depiction of the duties and skills required to embark on such a career. The various aspects of the job is discussed along with a brief template for Business Analyst to manage software development projects. The goal is to make Business Analyst and aspiring to become one to understand the complexity of the career choice.

How to Introduce Agile Project Management to Your Organisation

By Rowan McCann
Introducing Agile concepts to a business environment plagued by traditional approaches (Waterfall) can be a political nightmare. It's important to show your business that you're trying to solve their problems, rather than just evangelising Agile. Here are a five short strategies to help alleviate the pain and make your migration into Agile project management as smooth as possible.

Four Steps to Project Time Management

By Jessie L Warner
The knowledge area of time management typically refers to the skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific tasks, projects and goals. To become an effective time manager, you should be able to clearly understand the activities of the project and have the necessary skill set to plan, schedule, and control a project timeline. Along with these skills, you must also be able to utilise time management tools to help you analyse, measure, and assess your time management techniques. Keeping all of this in mind, may I suggest four steps to help with project time management.

12 Tips for Being a Good Manager

By PMAlliance
Keeping a project management team running smoothly can be a challenge, especially when budgets are lean and expectations are high. Every manager needs to figure out the best way to lead and motivate, but a few baseline principles will keep you pointed down the right path.

Capturing Those Lessons Learned

By Gina Abudi
Capturing lessons learned from projects is key for any organisation. Unfortunately, project teams are usually moved quickly from project to project and capturing lessons learned is never a priority. To ensure efficiencies over time and development of best practices, it is essential to capture lessons learned on your projects.

What's the Difference Between the CAPM and PMP Examinations

By Dr. Joseline Edward Lucas
Founded in 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) is best-known as the publisher of, "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)." PMBOK is considered one of the most important tools in the project management profession today. The PMI offers two levels of project management certification, Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and Project Management Professional (PMP).

Five Essential Elements for Successful Software Development

By Rodney J Smith
Modern computer languages with their high-level constructs have come a long way since the early days of assembler programming. And with more and more people taking computer classes at school, programming skills are now more widespread than ever before, allowing even relative novices to produce professional-looking applications. But to truly join the ranks of the professional coder, several elements need to be put in place.

Best Practices for Scope Management

By Jessie L Warner
The knowledge area of Scope Management is all about making sure that the project includes only the work required to complete the project successfully. To be effective at scope management, you must learn to control what is and what is not in the scope of the project. Included in this article are five best practices for successful scope management.

Waterfall Software Development: The Illusion of Risk Management

By Rodney J Smith
High profile IT project failures are nothing new; in fact few projects are 100 percent successful in delivering everything the customer wants on time and within budget. So it is small wonder that businesses put loads of effort into trying to minimise the risk of their projects becoming one of these statistics.

Reducing Your Cost of Quality

By Alan S. Koch, PMP
How high is your Cost of Quality? The answer might surprise you. Yes, it includes reviews, the QA infrastructure, and preparing tests, those are your "Appraisal Costs." But how high are your "Failure Costs" the cost of defects? Your engineers spend time in diagnosis and rework, development schedules slip, support costs climb, and your company's and products' reputations sink. These Failure Costs, which are the more significant Cost of Quality, are beyond your direct control. But you can gain control over them indirectly, by investing in Appraisal Costs that minimise Failure Costs, reducing your total Cost of Quality and making it more predictable.

Introduction to Scrum

By Chris Young
Scrum is one of the simplest "Agile" methodologies and is also proven to be highly effective for both software development and more general product development. Scrum is often used in financial product development. Scrum works very well in its own right and is also an excellent first step if you want to introduce Agile concepts into your organisation since it is simple and focuses on high-level project management.

Three Things That Cause Scrum Backlash (and How to Fix Them)

By Debbie Nichols
Most people hear the word "Scrum" and think of something that's stuck to the bottom of their shoe. Au contraire. Scrum is an agile software development methodology designed to foster iterative and incremental development. Scrum projects are broken down into 24 hour development cycles contained within 30 day sprints. Team members agree upon which work items for the product (the product backlog) they will tackle in the next 30 days; this becomes the sprint backlog. The goal at the end of 30 days is to have a working application with a certain number of features completed.

Calculating Total Cost of Ownership when Choosing a Solution

By Curt Finch
Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a financial estimate that helps consumers and enterprise managers determine direct and indirect costs of a product or system. TCO goes beyond the initial purchase price or implementation cost to consider the full cost of an asset over its useful life. A TCO analysis often shows there can be a large difference between the price of something and its long term cost.

The Mythical 50% Resource

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Most managers of software development projects have had an encounter with a resource who is committed to their project some percentage of the time. The most common approach to splitting a resource between two tasks is to assign them 50% to both, although other percentages can occur. It's even been known to have a resource assigned to more than two tasks 50% of their time! Sharing a resource with another project or functional manager would not be a problem in a perfect world, but ours is never a perfect world and sharing a resource with another manager can present some challenges for the project manager. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to make the best of the situation.

The Social Media Standard for Project Management

By Gil Junqueira, PMP
With the rise of social media in projects and organisations, there is a renewed need for some kind of guidance. This guide should be clear, concise and free of ambiguity. It should further the interests of the project while protecting the parent company's intellectual property and corporate goals. However, social media interaction should only be limited in the areas where it is absolutely necessary, and no more than that.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Risk Management

By Kareem Shaker, PMP
Risk management is the heart and soul of project management. Failing to practice it right can have fatal consequences on projects and programmes. Doing real effort in the planning stage can save the entire investment and will increase the likelihood of project success. However, planning alone is not enough if monitoring risks is not handled seriously. These are seven deadly sins of risk management and how to take preventive actions to avoid them.

The Six Principles of Project Management

By Theo Gilbert-Jamison
Right now Project Management Certification is all the rave, but I have been using a similar change model for quite some time with great success. It's called the Six Principles of Service Excellence, and it transitions easily to basically any type of project or initiative you are trying to effectively implement. For the Project Management aficionados and novices out there, think of it as the Six Principles of Project Management.

Turning Projects Round Using Communications

By Jo Ann Sweeney
There is a right time to begin communicating and that is at the beginning of a project. But it is not the only time. Including communications in initial planning is ideal. Then it's integrated into the project, stakeholders' views and information needs are taken into account and regularly reviewed.

Resolving Project Team Conflicts

By Gina Abudi
Resolving conflicts on project teams isn't easy; but left unchecked can affect the project's outcome and team morale. It is the project manager's responsibility to manage conflicts to keep the team moving in the right direction. The best way to manage a conflict is to ensure that the parties involved in the conflict are the ones developing the solution. You can't resolve it for them; they have to come to agreement on how to resolve the conflict themselves.

Six Clichés That Make You a Better Project Manager

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Clichés are funny. We don't like to hear them, but we often use them in everyday conversation. Clichés are a useful way to make a point because the meaning of them is universally understood, even if not entirely true. Just because something is a cliché doesn't mean it can, or should be, ignored. Here are six clichés we can use to help us become better project managers.

Why You Need to Plan the Project Before Delegating Tasks

By Paul Naybour
Once we have decided to proceed with a project the pressure is on the start work as soon as possible. However, a small effort in planning can make a huge difference to the ultimate success of the project. Follow our simple five step plan to ensure your project gets off to the best possible start.

Why PRINCE2's Approach to Quality is Flawed

By David Hinde
PRINCE2 has many excellent ideas for project management, but I think its approach to quality is at best weak and at worst entirely inappropriate. My first gripe is that PRINCE2 redefines what the word quality usually means. My dictionary defines it as a "degree or standard of excellence, especially a high standard." If I've bought myself a quality car, I've probably purchased something like a Mercedes or Rolls Royce. PRINCE2's definition is something that is "fit for purpose" of satisfying stated needs. So for example, according to PRINCE my Landrover is a quality product. It's not luxurious but, as a keen skier, I can use it to haul equipment to the Alps each year. This re-definition of the word quality often confuses people, before they even look at the detail.

Requirements Hurried . . . Project Buried

By G Chandrashekar
Requirements Analysis: It all looks so simple in the beginning. But then, whether you are building a new system from scratch or buying a system and customising it to meet the specific business model of your company, you have to go through the grind of analysing the requirements. It's no mean task. The budget can run into scary numbers and that's tough enough. But the more difficult question is how you make sure the new system does what the users (and of course the customers) expect. If you are replacing an existing system, the new system should do whatever the legacy system is doing at least as effectively and efficiently, if not better. That's a huge challenge.

Top Five Communication Skills for Project Managers

By Jo Ann Sweeney
Research among project managers globally identifies top communication skills for leading teams. Leading people - the experiential side of project management - is as important as task-based skills according to project managers in Europe, the Middle East, India, America and Australasia. In recent research they said that communication is a critical skill for project success, both for keeping team members up-to-date and for winning the support of key stakeholders. But which skills make all the difference? Here are the top five respondents say have made all the difference to their careers.

Understanding the Software Development Process

By Mark Spenser
The software development process has undergone drastic changes over the years. Initially only requiring a developer to write the code of the software, advances in the industry have expanded development into a more complex process. Involving architects, analysts, programmers, testers and users to develop code, it is now capable of delivering more advanced results. You can avoid some of the most common problems that occur with software development by understanding the three most common reasons for project failure.

Leading Meetings with Multicultural Audiences

By Dana Brownlee
With the increasing prevalence of virtual teams that span the globe, multicultural audiences are becoming more common. Meeting leaders must be poised to meet the unique needs of these groups. One of the key roles of any meeting facilitator is to create a safe environment where all participants feel valued and included. When the meeting includes participants representing a variety of different cultures and backgrounds, this can be somewhat challenging. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when leading a session with a multicultural audience.

Facilitating a Requirements Validation Meeting with Ease!

By Dana Brownlee
Ensuring that a requirements document is accurate, complete and fully supported by key stakeholders can be critically important. Unfortunately, requirements validation sessions can be protracted and challenging. Oftentimes, the goal of the session is to gain agreement among various stakeholders on a lengthy, detailed requirements document. This can certainly be a tall order, but it can be done!

How Do You Project Confidence Leading Meetings When You're Really Not?

By Dana Brownlee
Oftentimes we're thrust into situations where we're expected to lead a meeting, and we may lack the confidence we think we should have. Maybe we're not confident because we're new to the organisation, possibly we're not as knowledgeable about the subject matter, or maybe we're not as senior as some of the attendees. There are a whole host of reasons why we may experience feelings ranging from slight intimidation to downright terror!! Don't fret, here are a few simple tips to help you when you need to lead a session with confidence!

How Do You Help the Group Reach Consensus When They Simply Don't Agree?

By Dana Brownlee
Do you ever feel that you're herding a group of feisty cats instead of leading a meeting because your team members simply can't agree? Well, take comfort in knowing that this common problem plagues most meeting facilitators at one point or another. Indeed, if your group is disagreeing vehemently (but respectfully), that's a sign of healthy conflict, congratulations, you're likely on your way to some great ideas and solutions! Unfortunately as meeting facilitators, we often need to guide the group towards a consensus decision and oftentimes that just doesn't seem possible.

How Do You Get Team Members to Come Prepared to the Meeting?

By Dana Brownlee
We've all attended meetings where participants were asked to read a document, do some research, or conduct some other "homework" prior to the meeting, but very few people actually did it. Obviously, the intent of assigning the pre-work is to ensure that all attendees are prepared, which should result in a quick, efficient meeting, right??? Wrong!!! Too often some attendees don't complete the assignment as requested, which drags down the entire group. Before you lead your next meeting, consider these tips about assigning pre-work.

7 Properties of Highly Successful Projects from Crystal Clear

By Alistair Cockburn
I recently awoke to the realisation that top consultants trade notes about the properties of a project rather than on the procedures followed. They inquire after the health of the project: "Is there a mission statement and a project plan? Do they deliver frequently? Are the sponsor and various expert users in close contact with the team?" Consequently, and in a departure from the way in which a methodology is usually described, I ask Crystal Clear teams to target key properties for the project. "Doing Crystal Clear" becomes achieving the properties rather than following procedures.

Agile Metrics: A Seminal Approach for Calculating Metrics in Agile Projects

By Prashant Ram
Organisations today are increasingly recognising the advantages and benefits of using the agile project management approach in their projects, but are lost when it comes to using a well defined set of metrics that can be applied to these agile projects. The solution lies in examining the Agile Manifesto and building metrics based on the tenets of agile project management principles. This article talks about the comprehensive agile metrics that can be effectively used by organisations.

Project Management Checklists

By Howard Vaughan
Among all the tools at our disposal for managing projects, checklists are perhaps the simplest and most productive means of building consistency in work practices. Checklists are useful in almost every field of human endeavour, and in particular where repeatability and systematic action drive performance. Yet they are still much underused in the planning and managing of projects.

How to Build a Project Schedule in 5 Easy Steps

By Andrew Makar
Congratulations! You've been assigned your first project and your boss wants to see a project schedule at next week's status meeting. Hearing of your new promotion, the PC support team has installed Microsoft Project on your desktop so you're ready to start building a project schedule! Unfortunately, your Introduction to Microsoft Project training class isn't schedule until next month and your boss is expecting a full schedule by next week. Fortunately, if you have a book on Microsoft Project and this article, you'll be able to complete your assigned task.

Outsourcing Key Projects: Bringing Companies One Step Closer to Business Virtualization

By Bill Balcezak
The success of a company depends on providing the highest level of service to its clients. Yet when times are tough, reduced budgets and smaller staffs make it harder to deliver. Outsourcing key projects can help you to provide a higher level of customer service while lowering costs at the same time. It is an important step on the road to business virtualization, which reduces IT costs, improves availability and optimises service.

14 Ways to Be the World's Worst Web Project Manager

By Chris Roane
There are a great number of ways to manage website projects, but regardless of your management style, there are behaviours that you should learn to avoid as much as possible. Steering clear of these pitfalls will not only allow you to get through projects on time and on budget, but will leave a very good impression on your clients, and win you more work in the future.

10 Golden Rules for New Project Managers

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Today dozens of new project managers will start their first project, a daunting prospect. Here are my tips for surviving life as a project manager. First, ensure you have a strong business case for your project, with high-level support from your sponsor. The business case is the justification for the project and should list the expected benefits. This is something everyone involved in the project can focus on, and the reason the project is taking place.

Top 10 Steps to Successful Goals

By Jeff Herring
"In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia" - Author Unknown. Get very clear about your goals. It helps you avoid the Rinse and Repeat Trap - get up in the morning, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, fall asleep in front of the TV, stumble to bed, get up the next morning, rinse and repeat.

Making Change Stick

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
Are you tired of hearing people say the only constant is change? I think we all need to keep saying it to remind ourselves we have to always be ready to keep changing. Here's the rub: how do we make change stick? How can you, as a project manager, use your skills to create business processes that have staying power?

Trust Me, You Are in Good Hands

By Ann Drinkwater
Savvy project managers have radar and can sense and predict events and circumstances. Their brains are gigantic magnifying glasses. They see what others don't. If you have someone like this in your organisation or on your team, it may take a bit to acknowledge their abilities and foresight. Once they have several successful, complex projects under their belt with your company, it is time to trust them to do their job.

10 Things Every Manager Should Know

By Gina Abudi
In order to be successful, there are some skills, knowledge and competencies that are must haves for new supervisors and managers. Successful managers are well rounded with a good sense of the business acumen and the ability to influence others rather than relying on power and authority. Here are 10 things every manager should know to be successful in their management role.

How Agile Practices Reduce Requirements Risks

By Ellen Gottesdiener
Every software project carries some risk, but many of these risks can be mitigated. That's true of problems related to product requirements - problems that are often cited as one of highest risks for any type of software project. Whether it is having unclear requirements, lack of customer involvement in requirements development, or defective requirements, these troubles are a major culprit in projects that go awry.

Deming's 14 Points and Quality Project Leadership

By J. Alex Sherrer
Organisational improvements can begin with anyone. While it's true that our professional domain as project managers is bounded by the project life cycle, our influence is often much greater than that, and quality management is one of those areas where skilled project managers are best suited to be instrumental change agents - first in the culture of their projects, and second, in the culture of their departments and organisations.

Process Driven PPM

By Neil Stolovitsky
From R&D to Customer Service, effectively serving the Value Chain is an integral part of an organisation's success when bringing new products to market. The fact is, many organisations run their New Product Development (NPD) projects in siloed environments not taking into account all of the elements that can impact a product's success. NPD projects do not only live in the world of marketing and engineering. NPD projects in many cases need to incorporate the strategic objectives of executives, the demand of customers and the bottom line of operations and finance in order to realise their success.

The Benefits of Documentation

By Ann Drinkwater
As a practitioner and supporter of Agile and Lean, I am a strong believer in doing things for a reason and only those things that add value. So when it comes to documentation, many with basic exposure to Agile may think that the methodology means that project documentation is not created. Instead, it should be more about creating meaningful plans and if that means documentation, then it should also add value and be the proper amount. I do not believe in producing documentation (unless the contract specifically requires certain documents) for the sake of documentation. While many technical individuals balk at the thought and mention of documentation, I personally see some real benefits.

Don't Just Manage the Plan, Engage Your Team Members!

By Jennifer Russell, PMP
As project managers, it's tempting to focus entirely on our project plan. But successful execution of your project plan is entirely dependent on your project team. And your project team is dependent on each team member! For example, if your team is all working well together except one person, who is lacking motivation and missing deadlines, than the whole team will start having trouble, and your project success may be in jeopardy.

A Project Manager's Guide to Systems Thinking: Part II

By J. Alex Sherrer
What's needed for complex problem-solving is a technique that looks holistically at the whole, and this is what systems thinking can help us do. If we become better at systems thinking, we'll be more successful at addressing problems and effecting changes for the long-term. In the first part of this article, we explored systems and created a casual loop diagram (CLD). In this article, we're going to look at the basic behaviours of systems. If we want to solve a problem or influence outcomes, we need to understand why the system is behaving as it is.

A Project Manager's Guide to Systems Thinking: Part I

By J. Alex Sherrer
What's needed for complex problem-solving is a technique that looks holistically at the whole and this is what systems thinking can help us do. If we become better at systems thinking, we'll be more successful at addressing problems and effecting changes for the long-term. In this first article, we'll cover some of the basics about systems thinking, and in the second article, we'll look at the archetypes of systems' behaviour and how we can use them for problem solving and effecting change.

Project Management the Agile Way

By Larry Port
Agile project management has a lot to offer legal case management. Imagine you could continually wring out the inefficiencies in your law practice. Picture having the luxury to step back from the trees and see the forest. It may sound crazy, and, in the case of removing every single efficiency, perhaps pie in the sky. But you can get close, and it takes a lot less effort and time than you think if you embrace something we software folks call a "Sprint."

Helpful Suggestions For Managing Difficult Clients

By Gina Abudi
Every consultant has had to deal with a difficult client. The nice thing about being a consultant - you just need to get through the project and you will be able to move on - you don't necessarily have to work with that client ever again. But really, that's not what you want, is it? Ideally you develop a strong working relationship with a client so that when another project comes up, the client thinks of you first. You become a partner with the client, not just a one-time deal.

Scrum vs. Waterfall Round 2: The Fight Continues

By Elizabeth Larson, PMP, CBAP, CSM
We began our "fight" by exploring two estimating techniques that are often used on both Scrum and Waterfall projects. The first was relative sizing (one kind of analogous estimating) and the second Delphi (called Planning Poker in Scrum). Scrum won both rounds (barely) because, although both techniques can be used on both types of projects, their usage in Scrum seems easier to understand, learn, and apply. I don't know about you, but when I hear the terms Analogous and Delphi I think academics and hard work. When I hear about tee-shirt sizes and planning poker, I think fun.

A Heavyweight Fight: Scrum vs. Waterfall

By Elizabeth Larson, PMP, CBAP, CSM
I think people like a good fight. Certainly the media seems to, as is evident in the world of politics, sports, and entertainment to name a few. In the world of business analysis the current fight seems to pit Agile methods against the Waterfall approach. For the next several blogs we'll have a Scrum vs. Waterfall match. In corner #1, representing the Agile methods, we have the Scrum framework. In corner #2, representing Waterfall, we have the "traditionalists."

Writing A Project Proposal

By Jonathan Wold
Having 100% of project proposals accepted usually means that a freelance developer has had very few clients. Low percentage rates usually mean that proposals are being sent to people who didn't ask or the proposal writer simply needs a few good "getting warmer's" in the right direction. The following tried and tested tips are to encourage the 100%ers to write more proposals and the low raters to take heart and give it another try. Let's get started...

Project Management as Sunscreen: How to Avoid Getting Burned

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
When the summer sun beats down, there's always someone in the family who reminds you to put on your sunscreen. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to easily avoid getting burned at work? There is. It's called Project Management. Grab a bottle of water and put on your baseball cap and think about Project Management as SPF 50 for business. Here's seven ways that Project Management can help you avoid getting burned at work.

The Black Arts Handbook, Secret #1: Numbers

By Harvey Kandola
There is a mystery to what distinguishes great Project Managers from the merely good. CounterSoft, has researched far and wide, risking the wrath and scorn of the Inner Circle of Project Managers to bring you secrets that are never spoken and knowledge that is not taught in any school.

5 Things Project Management is Not

By Joelle Godfrey, PMP
"Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements." PMBOK, 4th Edition. Right. If I were reading this definition to make a decision about becoming a project manager, it would totally leave me cold. The term Project Management itself has a kind of vague, undefined shape to it that always leaves me reaching for an image when people ask me, 'What is it, exactly, that you do?'

Project Management Tips: Master the Restart

By PMAlliance
Many projects delayed by the sour economy will eventually bubble back to the surface. The landscape may have changed drastically since shelving the project, so a thorough reassessment of the projects parameters is in order.

Every Beginning is Difficult

By Uwe Kaufmann
New undertakings or experiences are always challenging at first. This is no different when Schenker Singapore (Pte) Ltd, a transport and logistics company decided to embark on something new - a Lean Six Sigma programme. It might seem to be even more demanding at the outset since the number of 3rd party logistics providers rising to this challenge is limited. Best practices in this industry are not widespread and hard to come by. This is the story of what happened.

The "V" Model as Applicable Today in IT as it Has Always Been

By Cameron Watson
From its inception Information Technology (IT) has recognised the significance and importance of developing and applying a set of "standards", "methodologies", "life cycles" and "best practices" that can be leveraged by all practitioners. As the industry has evolved, the technologies have become more complex, increasingly faster, and forever changing, however, there remains a set of basic principles and concepts that are as applicable today as when IT was in its infancy.

Change Management: The Horror of it All

By Stephen Warrilow
The failure rate of all significant change initiatives is approximately 70%. A recent reader of an article on my website challenged me regarding the source of that often quoted statistic. This is a brief summary of a cross section of sources that I sent her and that reveal the horror of it all.

5 Goals Every Project Manager Should Aspire to Achieve

By Jason Westland
Project Managers need to manage every aspect of the projects they oversee, from resources and suppliers to project costs and equipment. The trick to staying on top of everything is to focus on the five most important goals associated with project management. If you can meet the following five goals for each project, you will achieve project and professional success.

The Five Stages of Team Development: A Case Study

By Gina Abudi
Every team progresses through the five stages of team development; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. An understanding of those five stages enables a manager to better understand team dynamics and assist his/her team through the five stages in order to reach a high performing team as quickly as possible.

The Change Control Myth

By Kevin Aguanno
You can always spot the project managers who have just received their PMP, they are eager, idealistic, and prone to proclaim at length the necessity for "Change Control" as if it were the cure for all project management evils. Don't get me wrong, I am glad that the level of training new project managers receive is increasing, and I am glad they are learning that change can derail a project; however, new PM's appear to have a naïve view of how projects work in the real world, and I would like to do my part to correct that.

Project Managers: The Enemy Within?

By Harvey Kandola
They huddle in a corner, hunched over the Gantt chart you just handed out, muttering darkly. Only the occasional, quick glance in your direction betrays that you are the subject of their reproach. You sigh and for a moment are tempted to bat for your corner, but in the end you realise that it's best to ignore them. A quick drink after work and they'll come round. Instead, you scan through the list of change requests, outstanding issues, bug fixes and the financial summary and prepare yourself for your next meeting. This one ought not to be so bad, the client might not like what you have to say either, but at least they don't see you as the enemy within.

Post Project Resource Evaluation: a Forgotten Contributor to Project Success

By Kiron D. Bondale, PMP
In the course of assessing project management capabilities for clients, a practice that I've found absent across most non-projectized organisations is the evaluation of team members at the end of a project by the project's leadership. Usually, the rationale provided for this gap is that the functional managers do not consistently solicit this feedback from project managers, or when this feedback has been offered in the past, it has been ignored.

Why is 'Reflection' so Important to Project Lessons Learned?

By Mel Bost
Those of you who have seen the movie "The Ron Clark Story" already know about the remarkable efforts of a dedicated teacher in inner city New York who developed a learning atmosphere for his elementary students, which contributed to them excelling in the classroom at the highest level in every subject. Subsequent to Ron Clark's success in the New York schools, he visited every state to talk with students, teachers and school administrators about what he had learned and how his students performed.

Are You a Micro Project Manager?

By Gil Junqueira, PMP
Most project managers are well-versed at decomposition. Project managers are trained to break down complex deliverables into smaller and more manageable parts. These parts then serve as a foundation for costing, scheduling and control. As much as this reductionist approach is essential for project management, there is another side to the coin, often neglected by project managers: the systems theory viewpoint.

Top Three Causes of Project Failure

By Lisa Anderson
So much of an organisation's success is tied to project success! Can you think of any significant organisation initiative or improvement that didn't tie to at least one project? I've worked with many organisations, across diverse industries and globally, and I cannot think of a single example. Therefore, what could be more important than figuring out how to ensure project success?

Project Management Approach for Business Process Improvement

By Gina Abudi
Business process improvement initiatives are frequently key projects within an organisation, regardless of the size of the organisation or, frankly, the size of the business process improvement initiative. Even if a business process improvement initiative is targeted at an individual department, the impact of the change will be organisation-wide.

Nothing Stays the Same: Leadership Techniques to Empower People During Change Initiatives

By Jonathan Gilbert, PMP
Every organisation is affected by change, especially during times of economic volatility. However, project managers tasked with leading change initiatives are all too aware of the alarming failure rates that can occur. The critical missing piece is largely the failure to take into account how change affects an organisation's people. According to a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, research shows that nearly 75 percent of all organisational change programmes fail because they don't create the necessary groundswell of support among employees.

Establishing Project Management Best Practice: Where Do You Start?

By Gina Abudi
What is a best practice? For some clients, discussion has focused around putting policies and procedures in place for accomplishing projects. While other clients think of best practices as a means of ensuring that everyone is using the same terminology and templates and is better trained in project management technical skills. For yet another client, it was important to "get a handle on this project management thing."

The Best Project Managers are Emotion-driven Leaders

By Claude Emond
Charles J. Pellerin's own personal ill-fated story, as the project director for the launch of the Hubble telescope, on his journey to the discovery of true leadership. This journey not only got him to redeem himself through an officially 'unauthorised' 60M US$ fix mission to get astronauts to repair the telescope, but also got him to better understand the root of true leadership and design a system to make it happen.

10 Principles of Good Project Management

By Jason Freih
Having managed IT projects for over 10 years, I have relied on the PMBOK as a guide for many of my projects. But experience has taught me to go beyond the manual. Here are 10 principles of project management that are crucial to achieving your goals.

Successful Project Management: Eight Simple Steps to Follow

By John J Lawlor
A failed project can lead to loss of revenue and opportunity; failure to achieve business goals; diversion of resources from other activities; sapping of staff morale and, perhaps, even business failure. So, as projects become more complex and critical to business performance, how do you improve your chances of success? By following these eight practical steps, you can achieve great results for your project.

Traditional Project Management vs Scrum: Adapting Square Pegs to Round Holes

By Frank Rios
With the Agile methodology proving to be a major force when it comes to software application development, the role of a ScrumMaster is becoming more and more valuable. Traditional project managers can succeed by adapting their way of doing things and helping the transition take place.

The Top 5 Wrong Reasons For Not Hiring Testers

By Luc Richard
Considering whether or not your software company should hire a dedicated team of testers? Here are the Top 5 Wrong Reasons why you shouldn't. After reading dozens of opinions on the subject, I'm still convinced that having a dedicated team of testers is well worth the investment. You can disagree with me, but if you do, make sure it's for the right reasons.

Using a Time-Sequenced Network Diagram

By Dave Paradi
Almost every MS Project user is familiar with the Gantt chart as a graphical view. The problem with many Gantt charts is that when printed, they are so large that trying to follow the flow of tasks through the project for tracking is almost impossible. I suggest project managers instead use a time-sequenced network diagram to be able to track what needs to be done each day and how those tasks affect others in the project.

A Simple Plan for Improved Project Results and Increased Maturity

By Bryan Peterson & April Boland
Many of the clients we work with are a "PMO of one." Usually this person has been brought in to establish common processes and procedures around planning, managing and executing projects. Most often, there is a broad spectrum of project work being performed by varied project teams within the organisation, including a range of maturity levels spanning from no established, repeatable processes to very formalised and documented processes.

How Can I Have Responsibility Without Authority?

By Mark Reed
By far, the question I am most often asked during "Project Management . . . by the Numbers" has always been, "How can I get my project team to actually accomplish their tasks on time, if even at all?" After a short discussion, the question translates to, "I don't have the authority to delegate, but I am responsible for their work, both the quality and the timeliness."

10 Steps to Setting SMART Objectives

By George Ambler
Setting effective objectives to guide your team and organisation is very important for a leader to get right. Badly formulated objectives will steer an organisation in the wrong direction. I found this 10 step approach to setting SMART objectives from the National Primary and Care Trust.

How Should the Project Manager Deal with Scope Creep?

By Kuntal Thakore
Every project has (or should have) a set of deliverables, an assigned budget, and an expected closure time. There are agreed upon requirements and tasks to complete prior to the closure of project. These constitute the scope of the project. Any amount of variation in the scope of project can affect the schedule, budget and in turn the success of project.

Project Managers Need Leadership Skills

By Gina Abudi
If you are a project manager you really need leadership skills! Today's project managers must have leadership skills in order to effectively perform their roles in the organisation and stand out from the crowd. Something must make you distinct from the others, especially if you are currently job searching or worried about your job security given the current economic climate.

Managing the Project Document

By Neil Stolovitsky
During the life cycle of a typical project, a project manager can produce up to fifty different types of documents to facilitate the planning, tracking and reporting of the project. Documents range from feasibility studies, resource plans, financial plans and project plans, to supplier contracts, post-implementation reviews, change request forms and project status reports. The fact is, the manner in which project documents are managed by project leaders can either be the driving force behind a project's success or the bottleneck that often places a project in despair resulting in its failure to meet its time line, budget and scope.

Seven Key Principles of Project Management

By Simon Buehring
If you're looking for guidance to help you manage your project with added confidence, then this article will help you. Here I discuss seven key principles, based upon the PRINCE2 project management framework, designed to improve the likelihood of your project succeeding.

Meet Your New Best Friend: The Project Charter

By Cameron Watson
The project charter has been around for as long as the concept of work. The Egyptians used project charters to create the Pyramids. So did the Greeks to erect the Parthenon. Even the Romans used a project charter to create the Coliseum. Little Johnny used a project charter to construct his miniature house made of Lego blocks. As different as the times and methods used to create these structures were, one common thread exists, success was based on the creation, maintenance and oversight of a project charter.

Common Project Management Mistakes: Badly Handled Changes

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
No matter how well a project is planned and how well the requirements are defined, there will always be requests to change something about the project, usually the product being delivered. There are good reasons for this; business doesn't stand still while your project is going on so we expect that ongoing business will trigger the need for changes to the system being built to support that business. These changes are mission critical to the project in many cases. If the system isn't changed to reflect business needs as they will be when the system is implemented, your project will succeed in building a system to support business as it was done 6 months ago!

Using ROI to Evaluate Project Management Training

By Gina Abudi
Return on Investment (ROI) is a monetary measurement that is used to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of an investment made by an organisation. Investments take many forms, financial, human capital, equipment, and training programmes, to name just a few. This article will focus on the use of ROI and the Phillips ROI Methodology to measure the effectiveness of a project management training programme completed within XYZ Law Firm.

Are you a Project Management Gantt Chart Slave?

By Phil Marks
Gantt charts are a fundamental tool in a project manager's toolkit. However, an unseasoned project manager can find they take over the project and result in reduced control. How so? In this article I will look at the potential pitfalls and provide some tips and strategies for ensuring successful project management. Gantt charts are, after all, just one of many ways to present the project plan, and actual data that has been input.

What Makes a Successful Project Manager?

By Ty Kiisel
As companies turn to project based work to help make and keep their organisations competitive and profitable, the need for skilled project leaders will continue to increase. Regardless of your particular work management methodology or business project management software, do you take time to foster the following skills and attributes?

The Hidden Costs and Dangers of the Shortcut

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
We live in a world where we are often pressured to take shortcuts to save time and cut costs as much as possible. However, if you're not a skilled and experienced project manager, the wrong shortcut could end up costing you a lot more. Here's an anecdote to think about.

Why Scheduling Mustn't be Allowed to Become an Extinct Science

By Dan Patterson, PMP
After spending the past decade or more dedicated to project management, I noticed during the economic downturn last year a very surprising trend: despite the significant reduction in the number of major Capex projects being sanctioned and funded, the need for third party assistance with schedule analysis and risk assessments actually increased dramatically. After digging into this a little more deeply, I came to the following conclusion: savvy project schedulers are at risk of becoming a dying breed and as project management specialists, we need to do everything we can to reverse this trend.

Project Risk: Is It All Bad?

By Paul Slater
No one would disagree that managing risk within a project is not a good idea. Risk Management is an essential part of any programme or project and can vastly contribute to successful delivery. Where it can and does go wrong is when there is an over-reliance on the risk aspects of the project and they in themselves start driving the way the project moves forward. The management of risk is part and parcel of project management, but is not the be all and end all of it as it sometimes becomes in more risk averse organisational cultures.

Is an Agile PMO Possible?

By Curt Finch
It often seems that a lean, agile development environment will always be at odds with the structure and constraints of the PMO. However, the agile PMO can bridge the gap between PMBOK process flows and CMM best practices and help organisations to carry out projects more successfully. While it does require a bit of change management, it is not as impossible as it seems and the benefits far outweigh the effort.

Three Myths About Organisational Change

By Heather Stagl
Our beliefs about what change is and how it works can influence our willingness to take on the challenge appropriately. Change agents who believe these three myths might find their initiatives stuck in a rut. If you feel like your change initiative is getting stuck, challenge these myths and look at change from a new perspective.

The Value and Costs of not Doing a Project are not Necessarily Zero

By George F. Huhn
If you don't know the values and costs of not executing your projects then you're probably not maximising the value of your project portfolio and you may be working on the wrong projects. Most project portfolio managers are not including the actual values and costs of not executing a project in their project portfolio analyses. Hence, they may be dramatically over or under estimating their actual portfolio value and cost and choosing the wrong set of projects.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Project Management

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Corporations are more sensitive to social issues and image than ever before. This sensitivity has given rise to CSR initiatives, but the question is: "How do I rationalise the organisations' demands for CSR with my project's objectives?" While there are no easy answers to this question, this article uses actual examples to point out what to avoid and offers tips and tricks on how to rationalise CSR and project objectives.

Managing the "Meeting from Hell!"

By Dana Brownlee, PMP
Project Manager Sherry Martin couldn't stop thinking about her last team meeting as she walked down the hall towards her office. Slamming her office door behind her, she let out an exasperated scream and looked for something to punch! Her team was driving her absolutely crazy and she channelled Scarlett O'Hara as she proclaimed, "I will never run a meeting like that again!" Her problem in a nutshell boiled down to three really difficult personalities that continually recurred on her team. These personalities were indeed a cancer not just infecting the team and its results but also spreading throughout the group and impacting the other team members as well.

Defining Project Goals and Objectives

By Rhonda Goetz
The very first step in all projects: business, home, or education, is to define goals and objectives. This step defines the projects outcome and the steps required to achieve that outcome. People, including project managers, do not spend sufficient time on this step or complete it incorrectly thereby ensuring an unsuccessful project completion.

Better Risk Management With PRINCE2

By David Hinde
In my experience risk management is something that is talked about a lot but rarely done. One problem is that people don't know who should be doing what. PRINCE2 has always had a solid, but simple way of dealing with risk. With the latest version, released in June, a number of excellent ideas and concepts have been introduced. This article describes the best seven.

The Project Manager's Guide to Dealing With Difficult Sponsors

By Dana Brownlee, PMP
Part of the challenge that the project manager faces is the reality of having to serve so many different stakeholders and sometimes being pulled in very different directions. We're often taught that our "sponsor" is the person who is the champion of the effort. Indeed, they are often the one we're to seek out for support and issue resolution throughout the project. But what do you do when your sponsor is the problem?

Get Agile: Applying the Lessons From Software Development to Business Process Design

By Kevin M Smith
When 60% of all process redesign projects fail, how can you improve your odds while simultaneously accelerating results? By using "agile process design" techniques adapted from the software development industry. We need to break out of that old cycle of developing monolithic processes only to have them fail to produce the results we anticipated. In an environment where every dollar counts more than ever, we just cannot afford a 60% plus failure rate in process redesign.

Managing Hidden Project Costs for Better ROI

By ExecutiveBrief
The most common argument for outsourcing is cost-savings. And in the face of a challenging economic climate, cost figures largely in the decision for outsourcing IT projects and business processes. While cost-effectiveness is a huge deciding factor for offshoring, cheaper labour and service rates should not be the only measures of possible financial success of a project. In fact, long-term benefits are extracted from the industry expertise of vendors that could make up for the investments in communication, time zone overlaps, and travel.

Root Cause Analysis

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
When mistakes are made during the course of your project, and mistakes will be made, its important not to repeat them. Before you can avoid repetition you have to determine what caused the problem in the first place and Root Cause Analysis is one of the best tools out there for getting to the root of the problem. This article provides you with some helpful tips on organising and conducting a Root Cause Analysis.

72 Project Management Tips

By Alec Satin, PMP
Have you ever been in the midst of a project or task and thought to yourself, "There has got to be a better way?" If so, you're not alone. Leading projects is a complicated business. The longer you're at it the more you can learn and the better you can get. Here are 72 project management tips designed to help you lead your projects with skill, authority and grace.

Controlling Project Scope

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Controlling the changes to the project is only half the battle in the war to deliver projects that meet the needs of the client and are on time and on budget. You need to manage and control the scope of your project. In this article, I explore some tricks of the trade that will start you off on the right path and help to keep you there. Combine these tips and tricks with a tight change management process and your project will deliver what the client needs.

The Most Common Sourcing RFP Mistakes

By John Meyerson
An outsourcing Request for Proposal (RFP) is different than the normal RFPs for goods and services that get produced by procurement departments on a daily basis. The outsourcing provider's proposed solution and project plan will be based on this RFP. A poorly developed RFP that does not fully understand the intricacies of the current process, the costs and the future vision that the company management wants to achieve with outsourcing leads to poorly developed provider solutions. This in turn leads to scope and cost creep, and a potentially unsustainable outsourcing relationship between the company and the provider.

IT Methodology: A Long and Winding Road

By Cameron Watson
The ancient Greeks first coined the term "methodos" - its definition meaning "path." They applied this term in various contexts, as a noun "a path that could be followed to reach a destination" and a verb "the journey to be taken along a path." Though several millennia have passed since the ancient Greeks first used the term, it is still applicable in today's world of Information Technology (IT) - its called "IT Methodology."

How to be Ready for the Recovery

By Curt Finch
CNN recently published an article about the aftermath of the recession, claiming that the economy is "finally back in gear." What does this mean for businesses like yours? Projects that were sidelined for the past year or two could come off the bench, and there might be more money to go around. Great news, right? It depends on how ready you are to make the most of this new opportunity. Are you confident that you will be able to put the right people on these projects and make the right decisions about how to spend this money?

Planning More Effective Milestones in Web Design Projects

By Chris LeCompte
Most successful web design projects are organised into a system of milestones with each one representing a critical piece of the project. Milestones are simple in concept, but they can be tricky to nail down. For example, how specific should we get with the milestones? If we get too specific, we risk breaking the project down into a chaotic mess of little chunks. However, if we aren't specific enough, the deliverables become unknown and nothing gets done.

Change Management: 3 Key Reasons for the Catastrophic 70% Failure Rate

By Stephen Warrilow
Failure reasons in change management are many and varied. But one thing is painfully clear. Any organisational initiative that creates change, or has a significant change element to it, has a 70% chance of not achieving what was originally envisaged. There are 3 main reasons for this catastrophic failure rate.

The Project Liberation Checklist: Finishing Unfinished Projects

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
We all have one hiding over there in the groan zone. It's the unfinished project that lives in a strange sort of limbo. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb reminds us in The Black Swan, the longer a project goes unfinished, there is an exponential increase in the time to finish the project. Sound familiar?

Project Management Maturity Model

By Stephen Warrilow
The very concept of a maturity model remains invisible in many companies. So nothing changes until things go wrong and pain is felt and someone at director level is facing an exposure as a result of a significant project failure. So the simple rationale for having and using a project management maturity model is quite simply that projects fail.

Project Scope is King

By Cindy Vandersleen, PMP
In PMI's (Project Management Institute's) Project Management Body of Knowledge or PMBOK, which is the bible of project management, there are 9 knowledge areas discussed; Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Communications, Risk and Procurement. Anyone who has studied for their PMP certification knows these well, ad nauseam even, and knows that the PMBOK discusses these with equal weight. Indeed, PMI loves all of her knowledge area "children" equally, but out in the real world there is one that I believe deserves your extra undivided attention and that is scope.

Identifying Performance Issues With Your Project Team

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
The phrase "project manager" is a bit of a misnomer; while project managers do manage projects, they deliver them by managing a project team that does the work of the project. How successful they are at managing that team will go a long way to determining the success or failure of the project. Perhaps the most difficult (and certainly the most unpleasant) aspect of managing the high performance team is dealing with issues of poor performance.

Stake Your Project Claim

By Laura Bamberg
After recent conversations with a friend about waffling company policies on projects, my head was whirling. I wondered how you manage a project without the stakeholders' approval or buy-in. In my friend's company, the sales representatives sometimes create quotes based in large part on what the customers want, and not always on what their products can do. The next step in the process is a layer of approval from several colleagues, and in many cases, the sales representative in question has to go back to the customer and renegotiate. You can imagine how the customer feels.

Are Your Project Managers Working too Hard to be Successful?

By Peter Taylor
'Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.' - Robert Heinlein (1907 - 1988). The latest Standish Group report shows more projects failing and fewer successful projects. So what is going wrong out there? Why are your projects being challenged in this way? Are your project managers perhaps working too hard to be successful for you?

Great Sponsor + Great PM = Great Success: Ten Truths of an Effective Sponsor/PM Partnership

By Lonnie Pacelli
The sponsor/PM partnership is the most important relationship determinant of a project's success potential. Both the sponsor and the PM need to be acutely aware of the relationship and recognise the necessity of working together to better secure a successful outcome and provide value back to the organisation.

Why is People Capability Maturity Model Necessary?

By ExecutiveBrief
The Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute developed the People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM) to help businesses manage knowledge workers across global borders, as well as between greying and millennial generations. Similar to CMMI, P-CMM has five maturity levels, but the model is focused on the need to improve the capabilities of a workforce as a differentiating factor from the competition.

Controlling Change Requests

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Project Managers can accept the fact that all projects need to change in some way during their life cycle, but sometimes changes can get out of hand and end up derailing the project! In this article we provide you with tips on controlling the requested changes so that you can prevent them from taking up excessive time and still implement the ones that add value to the project.

Has Your Project Team Considered all the Key Dimensions of the Problem?

By Rune Aresvik
Many readers have mentioned to me that they feel that a lot of the projects they sponsor (even the successful ones) are often on "automatic pilot." This typically happens once the project teams feel that they understand the problem and have decided on what they believe to be the most appropriate direction for solving the key issues facing the project.

3 Key Components of an Effective Business Case Study

By Rachel Agheyisi
A good story is memorable. A case study is essentially a success story. A well-written business success story is arguably one of the most effective ways to create a visual image of achievable results in the mind of a prospective client. However, the way the story is told is important. The focus must be on the prospect's needs, not the sponsor's product.

Writing the Project Statement of Work

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
The Statement of Work, or SOW, is the bible for the work the project must produce. The SOW is a key governance tool whether it is being used to direct work for a vendor or contractor, or used to direct the work internally, the SOW must contain a description of all the work that is expected, so how do you go about writing one for your project?

The Project Scorecard

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Want to have your communications to your project sponsor and project stakeholders read every time out? Try using the "scorecard" approach. This article gives you pointers and advice on putting together a scorecard for your project that will be an attention grabber.

Using Change Management and Change Control Within a Project

By Dave Litten
Setting up a systematic and common approach to change is vital, and this article outlines the approach and steps needed for change management and hence ultimate project success. The approach taken is central to the PRINCE2 Methodology and includes a general summary drawn from PRINCE2 and several project management bodies of knowledge.

Sponsoring a Project

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
There is a lot of information and advice available in print form and on the Internet about project management, but relatively little about project sponsorship. Project sponsorship requires more than simply signing the cheques and taking delivery of the successful project. You need to give your project managers the tools they require to succeed and use your influence to remove the obstacles they face. This article explores some of the do's and don'ts of successful sponsorship.

Successful Software Development: It's Not Rocket Science

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Sometimes I wonder after years of software development whether the way we work has changed very much. Sure, technology has moved on at pace, but has our approach to running software development projects. Users remain baffled by techno speak, developers prefer to invent rather than reuse and know what is best for you before you tell them what you want, while projects often miss deadlines and exceed budgets.

There's a Reason IT PMOs Fail

By Ken Hanley, B.A, M. Eng
Only a third of IT PMOs will ever work, and the rest of 'em won't. For the mathematically challenged, such as myself, that means that two-thirds of all the IT project management offices (or programme management offices, or whatever you want to call them) will fail. Nothing scientific in these numbers, mind you, and I didn't do an extensive survey, this is just what I've seen myself, and you're going to have to take it (or not) on faith.

Building a Business Case as the Foundation for Project Success

By John Moore
When projects fail to deliver results, ensuing conversations can often become accusatory. The division manager says, "Even with all the resources and money put into this new product, the quarterly numbers show that it's another loss. Plus, one of our competitors brought out an equivalent product before we were ready to launch ours."

Avoiding the Accidental Project Sponsor

By Ken Hanley, B.A, M. Eng
Here's the hard truth of it: many of the people sponsoring our projects are unqualified to do so, some aren't experienced enough to be effective sponsors, and even if they are, most haven't been taught how to be an effective sponsor, and what being an effective sponsor means. At their best, many sponsors can be well meaning, but also be less than helpful. At their worst, they can be downright dangerous to you and your project. So how does this happen? It happens because we have a bad habit of encouraging the accidental sponsor.

The Real Costs of Failed Projects

By Ilya Bogorad
Ever since the CHAOS report of 1994, we have been hearing increasingly more alarming stories of failed projects and their costs to the world economy. Take, for example, the KPMG study published in the UK in 2002 and based on a survey of 134 public companies. According to the report, 56 per cent of them had had to write off at least one IT project in the previous year, at an average cost of US$12.5M, while the highest loss was placed at US$210 million.

Project Ranking: The Heart of Project Portfolio Management

By George F. Huhn
Project ranking is at the heart of project portfolio management (PPM). A good project portfolio ranking system should not only make the job much easier and faster, but also yield a superior result over doing it manually or with simple spreadsheets.

Taming MS Project

By Dave Nielsen, PMP
Have you ever felt like you were working for MS Project instead of the other way around? MS Project can become a huge overhead, even for seasoned project managers. This article contains some tips and tricks that will help you tame the tool.

Agile Project Management: AFP

By Jorge Dominguez, PMP
Businesses all over continue to struggle implementing the PMBOK or PRINCE2 as a whole or parts of them claiming that they are too complex, too involved and take from the time it takes to produce the project deliverables. Adaptive Project Framework (APF) comes to the rescue by adapting to the ever changing business environments.

Five Really Useful Tools For Project Management in Social Care

By Carolyn Barber
There are a wide range of well established planning tools which can be used to aid the project management process, and provide the means to monitor and review project plans over time. Here I outline five of the most useful planning tools for projects in health and social care.

How Does Your Quality Management Assessment Method Stack Up?

By ExecutiveBrief
Not all testing methodologies are created equal. On one hand for instance, there are informal assessment methods that serve as practice sessions in preparation for applying for compliance certificates. Then, there are formal testing methods that must meet the rigorous requirements that are set by the industry standard Testing Maturity Model Integration (TMMi) for two reasons, to earn a merit of approval and to be proven effective through the TMMi certification.

What Mismanaging Small Projects Will Cost You

By Curt Finch
Okay, so maybe you have the large projects nailed in Microsoft Project, but what about the smaller ones that, in reality, make up the bulk of your portfolio? Are you just "winging" those, using status emails and Excel spreadsheets to manage them? If so, you could be making a great mistake. Small projects, while often overlooked, are still crucial to a company's success. Since they might not involve large sums of money, many companies do not worry as much about them, but all of these small projects can add up to some major costs if managed improperly.

How to Deal with the People Factor of Change Management

By ExecutiveBrief
A 2008 survey by McKinsey of 3,199 executives around the world found that only one in three organisational transformation or change projects succeeded. This situation occurred mainly due to the people factor that is involved in any type of any quest for change, and the irrational side of human behaviour, according to Carolyn Aiken and Scott Keller, authors of the paper "The Irrational Side of Transformation" (McKinsey Quarterly, 2009). When changes such as new technologies, new processes, new groups (e.g., consultants) are introduced to the work environment, workers have counter-intuitive ways of interpreting these changes and may act differently than expected.

Critical Chain Project Management Reduces Project Lead Time

By Mark Woeppel
In spite of the fact that project task durations are often conservatively estimated to begin with, the presence of certain behaviours can cause them to increase. Critical Chain Project Management and project scheduling eliminates these behaviours and reduces project lead times. Four behaviours make project durations longer than necessary.

The Seven Essentials of Highly Successful Project Initiations

By ExecutiveBrief
Seasoned project managers know that successful projects most often start with successful beginnings. In fact, before actual project implementation, the mix of the project, people, tools, and approaches could either spell success... or disaster. Thus, it is important to set and manage the expectations of all project stakeholders because how they will perform their roles and responsibilities, or achieve desired outcomes and other motivational factors depend on what they know about the venture.

Putting People Management Back into Project Management

By Lisa Walker
No one will ever be able to convince me that the most challenging component of project management is the science behind it. The way in which we need to pull people together to be a high performance team over a relatively short period of time is the most challenging part of project management. This article will focus on the communication issues within the project team, in particular, the people management aspect.

SMART Goals Aren't Good Enough

By Stacey Barr
When a tool is inspired by a clever acronym, you've got to wonder how robust it actually is. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Sounds great, but that's actually not enough. Is it a good goal, or a 'should' goal?

Project Sponsorship: Get the Sponsor You Deserve

By Michael L Young
The Oxford dictionary defines a sponsor simply as someone who "makes himself or herself responsible for another." In a project sense this means taking on responsibility for the success of a project in an organisation. It means commitment to project outcomes and to the people involved in delivering these outcomes. But a project doesn't just work because you have a good project plan. It requires organisational commitment through the provision of adequate resources and executives to smooth the way when things get difficult.

The Point and Pitfalls in Portfolio Management

By Jonathan Ward, Michal Karshen and Erik Eisenman
Corporate budgeting is an obscure process. Usually it involves padding budgets to accommodate for across-the-board cuts, and committees of corporate officers finalising figures for projects executed far below them. Unhappily, the team making funding choices tends to lack the information needed to accurately analyse what they are actually financing. The team must answer questions that directly affect corporate strategy. Which projects are critical to corporate goals? Which provide the best "bang for the buck?" How should the projects be prioritised to maximise utilisation of resources? What is the risk of each project and how should it be handled?

Green Projects

By Dave Nielsen
More and more emphasis is being placed on projects that help our environment, or are at least compatible with the environment. These projects are commonly referred to as "green" projects. Whether "greening" is an adjunct to the project, or a project objective more and more projects are initiated that can be called "green." Green projects place new demands on the project manager. This article describes one such project and some of these new demands.

Top 5 Ways to Incorporate CMMI with Agile Methods

By ExecutiveBrief
There is a common misconception that CMMI and Agile are polar opposites. One relies on institutionalisation and documentation of processes and methodologies, while the other emphasises interaction among workers and "working software over comprehensive documentation" (Agile Manifesto). Process documentation and institutionalisation is the lifeblood of CMMI, and it is often used in critical software development life cycles. On the other hand, the Agile approach is called into action when a project features incremental changes, particularly those that have not been included in initial requirement documents.

7 Things You Need to Know About Development Project Estimations

By ExecutiveBrief
Whether you are a project manager planning for a smooth implementation of a plan or a project sponsor on whose decisions a project depends, you cannot escape from the fact that project estimation is essential to its success. In the first place, there are three basic requirements that a project must satisfy: schedule, budget, and quality. The need to work within these essential project boundaries poses a huge challenge to everyone in the central management team.

The Principles of Risk Management

By Simon Buehring
Every project manager and business leader needs to be aware of the practices and principles of effective risk management. Understanding how to identify and treat risks to an organisation, a programme or a project can save unnecessary difficulties later on, and will prepare managers and team members for any unavoidable incidences or issues.

Turn Your Customer's Needs into Successful IT Projects

By Jim Cochran
Every IT project is driven by a business requirement. For an IT project manager, the hard part is translating that business requirement into an end product that fully meets that business need. It's easy for a project manager to sit in a meeting and listen to what the clients say they need their new system to achieve. But what happens when what the client asks for and what you think they mean are two different things? When your solution misses the mark, you're the one your client will blame, leaving you wide open to a lawsuit.

Five Steps to a Winning Business Case

By John Goodpasture, PMP
Making a successful business case for your new project is the winning way to ensure a good beginning for your team. As a project manager, how often have you been asked to "work the numbers" and provide a basis for a compelling project? Often, if you are a project manager with responsibility to help your sponsor and your company make decisions about which projects are the right ones to do. The PMBOK provides the body of knowledge for "doing it the right way." In this article, you will learn about the five steps of a methodology that you can take away and use everyday for identifying, selecting, and justifying a new project or a significant change in scope to an ongoing project.

The Curious Case of the CHAOS Report 2009

By Jorge Dominguez
The Standish Group collects information on project failures in the IT industry and environments with the objective of making the industry more successful and to show ways to improve its success rates and increase the value of the IT investments. The latest results have been compiled into the CHAOS Report 2009 published by the organisation in April.

The Top 6 Things to Consider When Choosing a PPM Solution

By Curt Finch
According to a recent article in a leading technology magazine, the demand for project and portfolio management (PPM) solutions is rising in response to the weakened economy. Many businesses are choosing to implement PPM solutions in order to "identify which IT projects are mission critical and to help them execute those projects as efficiently as possible." These customers have also found that PPM solutions offered as software-as-a-service (SaaS) are both more affordable and easier to deploy than traditional ones.

Being a Project Sponsor Means Championing a Cause

By Tim Millett
When talking about the positions on a project team, the ones that come to mind first are project leader, project manager and team members. Time is spent designing the project, selecting the right team members, establishing the critical path leading to end goals and establishing a reporting and measurement system. Unfortunately, what many firms discover is that the project still seems to get off course even with all the elements so carefully aligned.

How to Apply PRINCE2: Engaging Senior Management in Your Projects

By David Hinde
Having trouble getting upper level decisions made on your project? Feeling that senior management are not bought in to the project's vision. Are senior executives simply not willing to get involved when you need them? Research shows that a lack of engagement with senior stakeholders is one of the main reasons for project failure. So how do you solve this?

Project Failures From the Top Down: Can Marchionne Save Chrysler

By Barry Shore, Ph.D.
On the surface the merger between Fiat and Chrysler is very promising, but a bit of history on Chrysler and Marchionne's management style suggests that the sustainability of the merger might be in trouble. Will Chrysler be revived? Can they initiate the kind projects that will return it profitability, or is Chrysler headed for a fatal crash?

Managing Large Projects with Ease: 9 Pressure Reducers That Work!

By ExecutiveBrief
Managing large software projects can be quite difficult under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, individuals with limited or no experience often rely on survival tips from more experienced co-workers and other individuals in-the-know. To help you, I compiled nine helpful tips that will undoubtedly improve your software project management experiences.

Does a Project Charter or Project Initiation Document Lead to a More Manageable Project Delivery?

By Susan de Sousa
Initiating a project usually involves writing one of two documents; a Project Charter or a Project Initiation Document (PID). Now a great many things happen during initiation. High level scope is determined, deliverables set and budgets estimated. If these aren't investigated and documented effectively it can adversely impact the entire successful delivery. But which document is better for ensuring this?

Recipe for Great Virtual Teamwork: The Right Communications Tools at the Right Time

By Nancy Settle-Murphy
You've just finished the project kick-off meeting with your new virtual team. Everyone seems clear about roles, responsibilities, deliverables and deadlines. So far, so good. But, as you think about the magnitude and velocity of the work that lies ahead, you realise how critical a well-orchestrated team communications plan will be to getting the work done. This article offers some simple guidelines to keep in mind as you assemble a communications plan to make it easy for virtual team members to communicate and collaborate.

How Agile Offshore Practices Can Avoid the "Real" Costs of Offshore Outsourcing

By Jason Lin recently published an article outlining the "real" costs of offshore outsourcing. It has compelling arguments why offshoring drives down strategic value in the long-run. They touched upon five major risks for offshore outsourcing. In this article you will learn practical tips on using agile methodologies and open offshore models to mitigate major offshore outsourcing risks.

Rolling Wave Planning

By John Goodpasture, PMP
It is not often possible to foresee the future activities in a project with consistent detail over the entire period of the project. Therefore, planning is often done in "waves" or stages, with the activities in the near term planned in detail and the activities in the longer distance of time left for future detail planning. There may in fact be several planning waves, particularly if the precise approach or resource requirement is dependent or conditioned on the near-term activities. Such a planning approach is commonly called rolling wave planning.

Project Planning in a Nutshell

By Thomas Pyzdek
Improvement happens one project at a time. But often projects fail because they are poorly planned, or even completely unplanned. This article provides an overview of why it is important to prepare a project plan. It also shows what elements a good project plan will include.

Project Management Kick Off Meetings: What is the Point?

By Ron Rosenhead
I was asked during a meeting with a client what is the point of a project kick off meeting? Apparently, the sponsor (who I was meeting with) was being pressurised by a project manager to hold such a workshop. I suggested that the project manager should be congratulated for the suggestion. I explained that the workshop could be two people meeting for 30 minutes to the whole team going away for the week. I went on to suggest that they were essential for the modern day project where speed seems to be of the essence.

Predicting the ROI of Change

By ExecutiveBrief
Process Simulation Modeling (PSIM) can provide real business value to organisations that are trying to change processes. When companies use the appropriate software simulation, designed for their industry to evaluate process performance, these organisations can improve their operations and achieve higher levels of process maturity with the integration of CMMI. However, regardless of what changes a company is considering, there are always costs and risks involved with any type of change.

An Effective Design Walkthrough: A Step Towards Delivering the Best Design

By Taruna Goel
Design walkthroughs, if done effectively, are one of the most powerful quality tools that designers can leverage to detect defects early and take steps towards continuous improvement. But what is an effective design walkthrough? Here are some guidelines and best practices for planning, conducting, and participating in an effective design walkthrough.

Applying Earned Value Management to Software Intensive Programmes

By Bob Hunt
Many information technology projects have been declared too costly, too late and often don't work right. Applying appropriate technical and management techniques can significantly improve the current situation. The principal causes of growth on these large-scale programmes can be traced to several causes related to overzealous advocacy, immature technology, lack of corporate technology road maps, requirements instability, ineffective acquisition strategy, unrealistic programme baselines, inadequate systems engineering, and work-force issues. This article provides a brief summary of four processes to resolve these issues.

PRINCE2 2009: What's Changed?

By Simon Buehring
PRINCE2, the UK's most widely used project management framework is being refreshed. The name remains the same, i.e. it will not be called PRINCE3, but there will be some fundamental enhancements. The refresh is being led by the UK's Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and also involves OGC's two main partners for its Best Practice portfolio: TSO, the official publisher, and the APM Group, the official accrediting organisation.

Improving Project Success Rates with Better Leadership

By Dr. Karen McGraw
Factual and anecdotal evidence confirms that IT investments are inherently risky. On average, about 70% of all IT related projects fail to meet their on-time, on-budget objectives or to produce the expected business results. In one KPMG survey, 67% of the companies who participated said that their programme/project management function was in need of improvement. Why? A number of leading factors for project failure were suggested by the survey, including the "usual suspects": unreasonable project timelines, poorly defined requirements, poor scope management, and unclear project objectives. Granted, all of these factors can play a role in project success. But are they the cause or project failure, or just a symptom of some larger issue?

Estimating: Part 3

By William R. Duncan
In this last article of the series, I'll cover a potpourri of other estimating topics including the key outcome of estimating, converting effort estimates into budgets, dealing with poorly defined work, and what to do when management thinks it should cost less or take less time.

Estimating: Part 2

By William R. Duncan
This is the second of three articles on estimating. It may seem obvious, but the first requirement for developing an estimate is to know what you are estimating. For now, let's assume that you have been asked to estimate how much effort (how much of your time) is likely to be required to paint your bedroom. Although this is a fairly small activity, it is still one with a significant amount of uncertainty.

Effort Estimating: A Primer

By William R. Duncan
Estimating is a forbidding topic for some. I've even heard intelligent, experienced project managers assert that it is "impossible" to estimate the work on their project. I think that these people just don't understand estimating. I think that these people may be confusing estimating (making informed assessments of uncertain events) with extra sensory perception (making exact predictions of uncertain events). Or in some cases, they may be trying to prepare budgets or prices in the absence of estimates.

Undertaking a Successful Project Audit

By Michael Stanleigh
A project audit provides an opportunity to uncover issues, concerns and challenges encountered during the project lifecycle. Conducted midway through the project, an audit affords the project manager, project sponsor and project team an interim view of what has gone well, as well as what needs to be improved to successfully complete the project. If done at the close of a project, the audit can be used to develop success criteria for future projects by providing a forensic review. This review identifies which elements of the project were successfully managed and which ones presented challenges. As a result, the review will help the organisation identify what it needs to do to avoid repeating the same mistakes on future projects.

Stakeholder Commitment: Why Is It Important?

By Wilf Voge
If that carrot-at-the-end-of-the-stick tactic seems useless to get commitment from your stakeholders, try these how-to's shared by experts. Commitment is important in any relationship. It is the value that galvanises diverse entities so that all can work together unilaterally and seamlessly. Without it, there is no bond and no common purpose. Romantic, family or even business-wise, commitment is the force that drives the relationship forward, toward a mutually desirable goal that usually points to growth and/or profitability.

Four Keys To Successful Project Management

By Raven Young
One question I get asked a lot is, "what does it take to be a successful project manager?" It's as if there's a secret recipe for being successful in the field of project management. Some would argue that nothing but experience counts; others favour formal training and certifications. Perhaps the best answer is to have a balance of both real-world experience and training.

Effective Project Management: Five Laws that Determine Success

By Howard Vaughan
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So said Albert Einstein. Yet every year countless projects hit trouble for the same reasons, again and again. Why? Because the fundamental principles that determine project success are not being respected. These principles can be distilled into five laws, realities that always hold true irrespective of the nature or complexity of project.

How to Sell Function, Feature and Benefit to Stakeholders

By John Reiling
Top executives and stakeholders are often "sold" certain projects from within the organisation. This normally happens, where a sales team first handles a project and then later assigns it to a project manager who "inherits" it. The concept here is that the selling to the stakeholders actually continues once the project manager takes over. Because of this reality, the project manager must to some extent use sales skills and continue to build (and even sometimes repair!) the relationships with the stakeholders.

Are You Using Your Resources Ideally?

By Neil Davidson
Everyone talks about the economic crisis as though it will pass if we take the proper financial medicine. But that is a naive assumption. The crisis has introduced a new world order that will persist for many years to come. To develop and create growth, the wisest thing we can do is to utilise the resources we already have. It will take courage and real commitment, and the right tools.

Building a Project Management Office

By Mark Piscopo
In today's complex business environment new projects are constantly being developed as organisations seek new ways to reduce costs, improve processes, increase productivity, and build their bottom line. Managing these diverse projects along with their people, resources, technology, and communication is a difficult endeavour for which the risk of failure is often far too high. An effective solution, created to establish a more centralised management structure for large groups of projects, is the Project Management Office (PMO).

Creative Problem Solving Leads to Organisational Innovation

By Tim Millett
The words "creative problem solving" have almost become more like buzzwords tossed around the workplace and never really landing anywhere. Everyone knows intuitively that creative problem solving can work, and it's the "thing to do" in a participatory organisation, but exactly what does it mean and what benefits can be obtained?

A Practical Approach to Project Management

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
What is practical project management? It means keeping project management simple and not getting bogged down in large unwieldy processes. It doesn't mean cutting corners. Good project management practice is still important, it's just about keeping it lean and mean. This with getting the basics right will help you deliver a successful project.

The Three Ps of Project Management

By William Thom
This article discusses the three Ps of project management, namely people management, process management and performance management. The three P's are broken down and reviewed to provide an understanding of what needs to be addressed for project success. This article also provides information explaining the importance of each and why each element is necessary.

Picking a Project Management Methodology

By Mark Phillips
A short study from Vertabase on choosing between an agile or waterfall approach for their latest software development project. We were having an internal meeting to pick a project management methodology for a web project we are working on for a new client. As developers of commercial software, our instinct was to lean towards an agile based approach.

What Is the Mission of Your Project?

By Jurgen Appelo
Software projects are like a military operation. As a commander (manager) you have to take care of the movements of your troops, or else your soldiers will be crawling all over the place. That's the whole point of giving a software project a goal: you give self-organisation a proper direction, without getting on your knees and building all the roads yourself.

Your Project Does Have A Goal

By Trevor Roberts
Projects don't (or at the very least, really shouldn't) start because there are some developers sitting around twiddling their thumbs, time on their hands, nothing to do. No, a project starts because some conscious agency, a creator, decrees that there is a problem to be solved, an aim to be met, a goal to be achieved.

Your Software Project Has No Goal

By Jurgen Appelo
Human beings, organisations and software projects share one important thing: they have no intrinsic goals. The goal of something that emerges from interacting parts is not determined by the goals of those parts. However, extrinsic goals are an entirely different matter.

The ABC's of Project Management for Project Managers

By William Thom
This article covers 7 ABC's of Project Management. Derived from the competencies of project managers, this article reviews areas that make project managers successful in their vocation. As a contributor and reviewer of the PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition, Bill Thom feels that it is our responsibility as Project Managers to learn and share with each other in a manner that will assist in project success.

Metrics that Matter in Agile Projects

By ExecutiveBrief
Agile methods need only the most important metrics: the ones that tell the whole story about the project. Metrics measure the health of a project and are by far the most objective ways by which a project manager enables all project sponsors and delivery teams to see where resources are needed or spent, or which areas of a project need more focus. So how do Agile teams determine the most important metrics?

The New Face of Strategic Planning: Bridging it with Project Management is the Key to Success

By Bruce A. McGraw
With the current economy in crisis, businesses are scrambling to stay afloat. Many are abandoning their strategic, long term objectives for quick fixes and short-sighted survival tactics. Some of today's most popular business books from The Tipping Point to Freakonomics feature companies that have stumbled upon greatness without an ounce of strategic planning involved. And with the rapid evolution of real-time media, virtual offices and globalisation, companies seemingly have to change their game plans on a daily basis to keep up.

How to Avoid Being Seen as 'Project Management Overhead'

By Curt Finch
We are currently facing a challenging economic climate which is forcing many companies to cut costs in order to survive. There are different ways of doing this, and unfortunately, a popular one is slashing employees, projects and even entire departments. Consequently, almost everyone in the business world is now looking for a way to justify their work to upper management and other stakeholders in order to be spared.

Communication is Key: Getting Everyone in the Loop

By ExecutiveBrief
Are you finding that the communication among your staff, across different departments, and with your vendors is often inefficient and even quite redundant? How many times have you answered the same question either by e-mail or with a phone call? Do you find that inaccurate information is being passed on to customers because sales or services people are referring to outdated e-mails or an implementation schedule that has changed? Does each one of your teams have its own file system and database and use many interfaces to organise its information?

Do You Know Where Your Project Is?

By Curt Finch and Bruce McGraw
Projects are ultimately about making an organisation stronger and better, and that means it's important to make sure you're choosing the right projects, allocating the right resources, tracking progress along the way, and taking an unflinching look at actual results. Only then will you know the answer to that all-important question: Has the project delivered on its ROI promise?

Tips For Avoiding Project Failure

By Don Wood, PMP
Studies have shown that many IT projects are considered to be failures. The Standish Group has reported high failure rates for years and recently a study by KPMG found that about half of the respondents reported at least one failed project in the past year. Why do projects fail? The reasons are too numerous and varied to identify; however, I'll discuss some common failure points.

6 Success Factors for Managing Project Quality

By Michael L Young
Commentators have differing views on what constitutes a quality project. The generally agreed parameters are that it delivers the desired outcomes on time and within budget. Through our long experience, the Transformed team has identified 6 key factors that improve project quality.

A Corporate Project Selection Process

By William Thom
In my last article I mentioned that there are project management solutions to alleviate some of the pains that corporations can endure during a time of financial concerns. Strong project management leadership should be involved in the project selection process. In this article, I will review business drivers and project assessments that may be considered in project selection. While the project selection process is viable and repeatable, it requires support from the top down in order to be successful.

Agile Through the Waterfall

By Sonal Shah, PMP
Many organisations have adopted Agile practices into their development methodologies and they have proved to be successful for the organisation as a whole. There also are many organisations that have pockets of people who wish to be Agile, but can't get traction within to make it a widely accepted practice throughout the enterprise. I recently had an opportunity to participate in an Open Space session where we explored how organisations that are mainly guided by Waterfall methodologies, unwittingly also employed Agile practices.

The Corporate Advantages of a Project Management Process

By William Thom
A Project Management (PM) process is a process that wraps sound and repeatable structure around a series of events that lead to a projects completion or implementation. In most cases, you will see a structured diagram that lists the project management process groups used to manage a project. I have been fortunate to study and review many PM processes over the years from the Department of Defence to State and Local government processes. In addition, I have studied and reviewed PM processes in business enterprises, banking, health care and nuclear power. What I want to present, is the concept of the Project Management Process and why it is beneficial to have one in place in your organisation.

The "Real" Project Plan

By Jorge Dominguez
"I need a project plan by tomorrow morning." As project managers, that's what we hear. But we know that what the boss usually means is that s/he wants a project schedule. There is a problem though, how can you come up with a schedule without having the "real" project plan first?

What is User Requirements Capture?

By Damian Rees
User Requirements Capture is a research exercise that is undertaken early in a project lifecycle to establish and qualify the scope of the project. The aim of the research is to understand the product from a user's perspective, and to establish users' common needs and expectations. The user requirements capture is useful for projects that have a lack of focus or to validate the existing project scope. The research provides an independent user perspective when a project has been created purely to fulfil a business need. The requirements capture findings are then used to balance the business goals with the user needs to ensure the project is a success.

Key Steps to Implement a Project Management Office

By Michael L Young
Launching a Project Management Office (PMO) is just like any other organisational change project and should be approached as such using the key steps outlined in this article. According to Gartner (2008), investments in a PMO as a work management discipline can provide common planning and reporting processes and bring structure and support to evaluating, justifying, defining, planning, tracking and executing projects. It also encourages the resolution of conflicts caused by limited resources and other constraints.

Building Relationships in Project Management

By Michael L Young
Building relationships is just as important within the project team as it is outside. Good relationships can be the difference between outstanding success and dismal failure because it's all about getting people to like and trust you so that they will deliver what you need them to deliver at the right time in the right way. We have talked previously about managing stakeholders, finding out about and managing their needs and expectations, however this is much easier if you have developed good relationships with stakeholders in the first place.

Project Management in these Economic Times

By Brad Egeland
We're living in some of the worst economic times in 60-70 years. Businesses are closing. Analysts are estimating a possible 20% vacancy rate for businesses across the country by the end of 2009. Here in Las Vegas the once flourishing hotel and casino industry is seeing bankruptcy filings and halted construction projects throughout the valley. So what does this all mean for Project Managers? Customers sometimes think of Project Managers as the 'extra' expense on an IT project. If you are a Project Manager, then you know that's ridiculous.

Frequently Asked Questions on Lean Six Sigma

By Chris Rees
Despite Lean Six Sigma being around for over twenty years now, it is remarkable that a significant number of companies and individuals still don't really know what it is. Oh, they've heard of it, and may even have been involved in it, but when it comes to defining it or reaping the huge benefits it can offer, then far too many are still in the dark. A few of the frequently asked questions from students and companies regarding Lean Six Sigma and how to use it are answered here.

CMMI and Agile: Opposites Attract

By ExecutiveBrief
The myths surrounding the compatibility of CMMI and Agile have recently been debunked by SEI. Learn how these seemingly opposing strategies can be paired to foster dramatic improvements in business performance! Despite the perception that CMMI best practices and Agile development methods are at odds with each other, new research suggests just the opposite train of thought. In fact, CMMI and Agile champions can benefit from using both methods within organisations, with the potential to dramatically improve business performance.

Tips for Turning Lessons Learned into Best Practices

By Adele Sommers
By incrementally capturing 20-20 hindsight (lessons learned) and turning that hindsight into 20-20 foresight (best practices), you will achieve far greater long-term success than if you simply ignore or forget what occurred once a project ends. This approach can greatly reduce the negative effects of attrition on a company's intellectual assets when people leave because they quit, retire, are laid off, or were temporary workers to begin with.

5 Reasons to Kill IT Projects

By Michael Krigsman
A survey of IT experts revealed 43 percent of their organisations had recently killed an IT project. The study, conducted by ISACA, an independent IT governance group, highlighted the top 5 reasons these organisations named for terminating projects prior to completion.

Project Plans: 10 Essential Elements

By Trevor Roberts
A project plan is more than just a Gantt chart, but do you know what you must have in your plan? This article takes you through the 10 essential elements your project plan has to have to help you achieve project management success.

The Needle in the Haystack: Tips for Choosing the Right Project Management Tool

By ExecutiveBrief
As you well know, there are a myriad of software products on the market today. The applications, themselves, range from freeware to multi-faceted programs with service contracts that can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Further, the software is made by familiar name brands, such as Microsoft Project to software that is created by more obscure startup companies.

The Successful Project Management Office

By Brad Egeland
The varieties of Project Management Office (PMO) models seem nearly endless. I've joined companies that already had them, helped organise one for a company I was already at, and consulted with smaller organisations who were just trying to get their PM processes off the ground. I believe there is no guarantee for success with any model. It's how the organisation values the PMO and the role of the PM, in general, and how the supporting organisations interact with the PM that plays a significant role in the PMO organisation's success.

The Ideal Project Manager Specification

By Richard Morreale
Successful project management is a combination of approximately 20% hard skills and 80% soft skills. The hard skills relate to the actual processes, procedures, tools and techniques comprising planning, organising, monitoring and controlling, while the soft skills relate to the project managers attitudes and behaviours. In addition, I believe that a truly excellent project manager must become a master of paradox. This article provides a specification of the hard and soft skill along with a listing of the attitudes and behaviours required of a great project manager.

The Seven Deadly Myths of Earned Value Methods in Project Management

By Keith Custer, PE
After decades of using and teaching Earned Value Management techniques, we have seen a lot of misinformation about Earned Value, and the advent of the Internet has only made the problem worse. The fact is, the Earned Value Management techniques laid out almost 40 years ago continues to be one of the best ways to manage almost any project, and should be a key part of any Project Manager's toolkit. With that in mind, we set out to "bust" seven of the most common myths about Earned Value Management.

Avoiding Project Management Pitfalls

By Claudine Sirgant
Even strong, organised and experienced planners have found themselves managing a project that ends up in chaos, and results in missed deadlines and budget overruns. This article includes common pitfalls project managers experience and tips to make a project more successful.

Project Status Reports Everyone Can Understand

By Louis Marshall
Letting people know how a project is coming along is obviously a key responsibility of any project manager. With so many methodologies to choose from these days, it becomes hard to determine which key pieces of information will be useful to those involved in the project. These methodologies often come with a tangled mass of cryptic terminology, often only recognisable to practitioners of the system, e.g. burn down chart, sprint backlog, concession, story points, etc.

The Importance of Communication in Project Management

By Simon Buehring
"Since I didn't hear otherwise, I ASSUMED all was going well." The Importance of Communication in Project Management. Second on Rick Klemm's list of things most commonly overheard on a failing software project, this remark is characteristic of Project Managers who are not in frequent and efficient communication with their staff.

Building the High-Performance Global Workforce

By ExecutiveBrief
Companies that can work cheaper, faster, and better are well-positioned to develop and market products and services that give higher value to their customers. But how do project managers and business leaders effectively manage geographically dispersed workforces?

What Agile Methods Mean to Your Process, People and Products

By ExecutiveBrief
Studies show that most successful projects were those that followed agile principles, proving that model-driven methods are not always the best when it came to managing changes, fast-paced project implementation, or even meeting market demands. The concept of agile development is not new. However, many technologists still stick to the age-old notion that software development can be easily designed and the outputs predicted without giving much thought to the more dynamic factors of projects, such as communication lines, people, and change.

Project Managers: The Value of Understanding Technology

By Sonal Shah, PMP
Many project managers are extremely successful in their role by simply managing a project plan and checking off tasks as they become "100% complete." They're able to manage teams, create budgets, assess risk, pretty much perform all of the basic and yet complex project manager duties. And more importantly, they're able to do these things without having to dig too deep into the technical details. They can lean on the technical lead to solve all of the technical issues.

Break Your PMP Studies Into Small Pieces

By Cornelius Fichtner
Taking the PMP examination is one of the biggest steps you'll take in your career as a Project Manager and one of the most daunting. There seems to be an endless parade of information to stuff into your brain but don't be discouraged! By careful planning and structure, you can pass the exam with a minimum of stress and absorb more of the information you need to be a success in your chosen career.

5 Ways to Finesse Budget Discussions for New Client Projects

By Adele Sommers, Ph.D
Do you have difficulty engaging in budget discussions for new projects, particularly during initial client meetings when it can be tempting to make promises that will be challenging to carry out? If so, you're not alone! This article explores five ways to help you gracefully avoid backing yourself into a corner.

Ten Tips for Running Successful Projects

By Leslie Allan
Why do so many projects fail? Researchers regularly conduct studies to find out the leading causes of project failure. Some of the studies are in the public domain. You can look up studies by such groups as Gartner, Carnegie Mellon University and the Project Management Institute. The studies reveal a recurring theme.

Balancing Project Management Process With Project Delivery

By Juanita M Woods, PMP
Can you be a lazy and successful project manager? Ok, so I have been reviewing corporate and government processes for managing projects this week, and the first thing that came to my mind is "OH my! There is no way I could get all these steps, documents, gates, checkpoints, etc. accomplished and still manage the project!" In some cases you would need a bevy of administrators just to make sure all the project management stuff got done!

How to Do RACI Charting and Analysis: A Practical Guide

By Royston Morgan
A RACI chart is a matrix of all the activities or decision making authorities undertaken in an organisation set against all the people or roles. At each intersection of activity and role it is possible to assign somebody responsible, accountable, consulted or informed for that activity or decision. This guide sets down in a clear way the benefits of the approach and takes the reader through the steps needed to create and then analyse a RACI Chart.

Managers, Programmers, and Designers

By Louis Marshall
Depending on the structure of your organisation, the project manager is most likely the person who interacts with the broadest range of stakeholders. Sure the managing director will intermingle with project managers, business development, maybe even the client at early stages. But a project manager will interact with all these people and more; most notably, technical staff such as programmers and graphic designers. And let's not forget the client; a project manager will probably spend the largest amount of time with them compared to anyone else.

10 Steps to Finding a Project Manager

By Luca Di Nicola
Project managers, when you hire well, can become your most favourite person on the planet. Hiring a good project manager means you can sit back and relax knowing that the project tasks are being taken care of in a professional, productive, and profitable manner. It frees up your time, reduces or even eliminates stress, and increases your bottom line. However a bad hire can affect profits, increase stress which can kick your blood pressure up to dangerous levels and waste a tremendous amount of time and money. Here's how to hire a qualified project manager.

Make or Break: Why Accurate Cost Estimation Is Key

By ExecutiveBrief
The accuracy of your cost estimation process can make or break project success. Learn the strategies that will help you gain control of this key area and ensure future project profitability! One of the greatest challenges for a project leader is to successfully deliver on all aspects of a project both according to the client's specifications and within the allotted budget.

Top Tips for Project Implementation

By Neil Davidson
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." This quote from Henry Ford was used by a proud dad at a recent wedding I attended. It was a well chosen piece of advice, but as the managing director of a business solutions provider the quote hit a familiar note with me because it sums up exactly what we have been telling our clients during the implementation process.

Project Portfolio Management: Managing the Project Pipeline

By Barry Muir
For most service departments the demand for new projects will occasionally outweigh the department's capacity to do them. Whether it's due to financial constraints or skills being completely exhausted elsewhere, sometimes you just have to say "no." Saying "no" is easy, it's deciding who to say "no" to. Projects that bring the highest return on investment from the scarce resources available must be pushed forwards. Projects that drain resources and eat up the budget must be discarded, or at the very least, put on hold. So how do you decide which projects stay and which ones go?

Considerations Before Soliciting Input for Your Content Management Project

By Angela Baca
When you manage a new project to streamline an organisation's website or to develop a new website, you must gather input from many people inside the organisation. In "Content Management Bible," Bob Boiko has authored a section on the requirements process. His process concerns finding out what site users expect from the site improvement or the new website you will develop.

Discovering Future Performers in Your Team

By ExecutiveBrief
Browse up on your organisation's competency requirements and set more informed business directions concerning your people. Management needs a checkpoint to determine if performance meets organisational requirements, given the knowledge and skills set of the employees. This is the birth of competency analysis.

So You Want to Be a Project Manager - Part 2: Getting the Skills You Need

By Diane Ellis
In my last article we learned the 6 key skills required to be a successful project manager, and why those are more important than qualifications. In this article, I look at how you can acquire, learn or improve these skills, in order to become a more successful project manager.

So You Want to Be a Project Manager

By Diane Ellis
You've worked on a project, and you think you'd like to have a try out at doing the project management role. It doesn't look too hard, or maybe it just looks exciting. So what does it take to become a project manager? What skills do you need?

A Tale of Two Projects

By Robert Howard
A business tale of what it takes to turn around troubled projects. The year is 2005 and times are good. The business environment is vibrant and the economy is strong. Large businesses are committing large amounts of capital and resources to implement new strategies, establish new capabilities, and open new markets. It was no different at PintCo, where Jack works as a Director of Customer Relationship Management.

How Gantt Charts Can Help Avoid Disaster

By Linda Russell
A short case study about the importance of using appropriate tools, such as Gantt charts, when managing time sensitive projects. Having run 15 months late on completion of a construction project, a building company incurred extensive penalty charges, which eventually led to its closure. Not having any project Gantt charts indirectly led to the company's failure.

Writing an Unbeatable Business Case

By Simon Buehring
A project brief describes what needs to be done. The project plan explains how you are going to do it. The business case gives the reasons why. In PRINCE2 terminology, the business case is the "driver" of the project. Senior management review the business case before authorising the initiation, and at each subsequent stage of the project. The business case is used as a yardstick to measure project progress. Before allowing any change to the project plan, the executive must consider the impact that this change will have on the business case.

Which Life Cycle Is Best for Your Project?

By ExecutiveBrief
When choosing a development life cycle, don't just trust your feelings. Decide based on factors that really matter. Which life cycle will work best for your project? This is an important strategic question because making the wrong choice could lead to disastrous results of catastrophic proportions. Think about delayed deliveries, unhappy clients, project overruns, and cancelled projects.

Project Communications: How to Keep Your Team Engaged and Informed

By Dave Nielsen
Good communication is vital to the success of your project. This article explores the methods used by successful project managers to tailor their communications to suit their audiences. It offers advice and tips on how to implement the best practices taught by the PMBOK and many PMP Exam Preparation courses.

Build Versus Buy: Making the Right Decision

By Sanjay Murthi
Many project teams have faced the time when they need to make a major decision. Should one try to custom build a solution or buy an off-the-shelf product and customise it? These solutions can run the gamut of being a full enterprise class package that does nearly everything but feed the dog to small programs or libraries that do something very specialised such as drawing graphs or providing encryption functions. Frequently, a wrong decision can result in cost overruns, project delays, or a solution that does not fit business needs very well.

Motivating Your Outsourced Offshore Team

By ExecutiveBrief
The success of a business relationship between a company and an outsource vendor depends on how well the delivery team implements projects on-time and on-budget. But while these three items present only the quantitative facet of this relationship, the dedication and professionalism of the outsource team sometimes tell a different story. How do you sustain the interest of your new outsource team? Here are ways to keep the team passionate about providing you with top-quality service.

Factors that Influence Project Management in Package Implementation Projects and Bespoke Projects

By Ramkumar Krishnamurthy, PMP
Business requirements are solved either by building a new system or by buying a readily available product or by a combination of both. The 'Build vs Buy' decision is made by the stakeholders after weighing various parameters. A 'Build' decision results in tailor made projects (also known as bespoke projects or custom development projects) whereas a 'Buy' decision results in product or package implementation projects. The technical, functional and managerial challenges vary between these two categories and therefore the practices during project execution vary as well.

How Pie Charts, Mr. Spock and the Big Picture Can Optimise Your Projects

By ExecutiveBrief
Some days IT executives earn their salaries and then some: multiple deadlines for simultaneous projects, staff with different skills, competing schedules and priorities, and multiple unforeseen variables. What's the best way to allocate resources across projects? How can you ensure you stay on budget and meet established deadlines? Read up on the latest tools designed to make your job easier!

Making a Project Plan to Pass the PMP Exam

By John Reiling, PMP
Passing the PMP exam is challenging, but hundreds of thousands of people have already done it! What is the secret? One of the keys is to put into practice the discipline, practices, tools, and frameworks that are the subject of the exam. This is accomplished by making a plan based upon the many structures, terms and concepts that are part of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). These are the things that experienced project managers will learn that takes them beyond their project management experience base. This article discusses some keys for building an effective project plan to pass the PMP exam.

The Beginning of the End: Defining Project Closure

By ExecutiveBrief
When undertaking a software development project, an effectively designed closure plan serves as an outline of required tasks that must be carried out appropriately in order to result in successful project delivery, and adequate preparation is one significant element when it comes to ensuring a smooth transition to implementation. The closure plan must be considered at the outset of the project, as the client outlines their specific software requirements.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Dialogue

By Tammy Lenski, Ed.D
Stephen Covey's seven habits of highly effective people have become classic pieces of leadership and management wisdom. The habits are applicable to having successful conflict conversations, both at home and at work. Here's how to use them next time you find yourself in a tense situation or conflict.

Effective Project Communications

By Gina Lijoi
As a Project Manager, communication will occur in many forms, with many individuals, including project stakeholders, your internal team, management within your organisation, vendors, and more. Communication may happen verbally or through e-mail, as well as through charters and project plans, addenda and status reports. These long lists are a small indication of the significance of communication to a Project Manager.

Exploiting Feedback to Improve Bottom-Line Performance

By ExecutiveBrief
While feedback is vital to the growth and sustained success of any business, regardless of industry, employees or customer base, it may often be met with some level of resistance or uncertainty. For some, feedback seems to equate to, and therefore is received or delivered as, (negative) criticism, when in reality, this belief or response is unwarranted.

Use Your Whole Brain: Leveraging Right-Brained Thinking in a Left-Brained World

By Debra Jennings
For organisations, flexing the right side of the brain can dramatically improve decision making, team building and innovation, and ultimately drive greater organisational performance. In fact, whole brain thinking is a secret weapon that successful organisations are using to evolve their business to the next level, and stay ahead of the competition. When you combine left-brained data-driven decision making skills with non-linear right-brained thinking, the result is greater insight and more well-rounded experience that will ultimately help you arrive at better solutions to complex problems.

SMART Goals Reduce Ambiguity and Increase Commitment

By Andrew Cox
Ambiguity is a fact of life in all organisations. In many cases it can be an advantage. But in most cases, the clearer the requirements, the better. Use SMART goals, keep them simple, and watch people respond with a high level of commitment to the enterprise. They can be, as in this case, the difference between success and failure.

Project Management of a Global Team

By Andrew Cheah
The world is getting smaller. Well, it isn't physically getting smaller but that is one way of saying that global communications have become so fast paced that the world is really one community in a lot of ways. With the advent of the Internet, email, instant messaging and VOIP, it is entirely possible to have your project team members around the globe.

Is Software Development Risk Costing You Money?

By ExecutiveBrief
Poor software project management often means missed deadlines, cost overruns or even outright failure of the project. How can your company avoid this industry-wide problem? In our brief you'll learn best practices for successfully completing software projects.

Useful Techniques to Fine-Tune Your Project Schedule

By ExecutiveBrief
One of the most common problems that project managers weep about is "unrealistic timelines," a common consequence of clients having set their expectations too high even before the project starts. Ironically, there are occurrences in the duration of a project when a staff is sitting idly, waiting for a colleague to finish so he can start his own task. In this situation, does the project manager shout foul and blame other people? Chances are, as a project manager, he needs to give the project schedule a second look.

Project Management Training for the PMP: Satisfying the 35 Hours Requirement

By John Reiling, PMP
Project Managers who aspire to take the PMP exam need to have 35 hours of documented training in the area of project management. However, there is some level of misunderstanding around just how they can achieve this. Many believe they must take specialised and expensive courses, and some are not aware that some of the training and education they already have may qualify. Others think they need to acquire a single 35 hour certificate. Here is a survey of the ways PMP aspirants can satisfy that requirement.

Execute...Or Be Executed: Avoiding the Project Management Guillotine

By Lonnie Pacelli
Any project manager who has been around the block a few times has experienced a visit to the project management guillotine. Perhaps it was with a sponsor, management, or a customer. The project either had a massive schedule slip, cost overrun, or scope slash (or sometimes all three - now that's a party!) and the project manager was first in line at the guillotine. Some of my most uncomfortable situations in my 20+ years as a professional have involved me getting my head handed to me on a silver platter because I bungled a project.

PMP and ITIL: Framework Methodologies with Valuable Synergy

By Paul Rice
For a long time, IT professionals were apt to believe that ITIL and project management certification (PMP) were conflicting frameworks, and you were either certified in one or the other, but rarely both. The ITIL framework and project management framework both serve different purposes to be sure, but when combined within an organisation, they ultimately create great synergy. The ITIL framework, a lifecycle that addresses the way an IT organisation operates, is first and foremost business driven and answers the question "Are we doing the right things?" The project management framework addresses the implementation of projects throughout the organisation, requiring that companies ask "Are we doing things the right way?"

CMMI: Does Your Supplier Make the Grade?

By ExecutiveBrief
Outsourcing work to offshore organisations has become the latest arsenal in software development over the last seven to eight years. The strongest drivers to outsourcing focus on driving down costs, increasing productivity, reducing time to market, and providing a flexible resource pool. If you're looking for a sure-fire way to find a highly-qualified outsourcing partner, learn how CMMI ratings can help you pinpoint the best candidate for the job.

Ranking Risks: Rare to Certain, Negligible to Catastrophic

By ExecutiveBrief
Risk is a concept that denotes a potential negative impact to an asset or some characteristic of value that may arise from some present process or future event. In everyday usage, risk is often used synonymously with the probability of a known loss. Risk is measured in terms of impact and likelihood. Since risk is directly correlated to loss, it is important to be able to assess risks in one's business and to address them. Needless to say, inattention to risks can definitely affect a company's bottom line.

3 Main Benefits of Project Baselining

By Linda Russell
When you have finished planning your project, and you have all the scheduled dates, hours, and costs (and charges if applicable) agreed, why is it a good idea to store those values? We explore the reasons.

Get in the Driver's Seat with Microsoft Project

By ExecutiveBrief
Transform disorganised projects into effectively managed and understood programmes using the gold standard in project management software. Discover why industry leaders claim they are lost without this valuable organisational tool!

The Phased Approach to Project Management Implementation

By Thomas P. Stevens, PMP
If you are thinking about using a project management consulting company to assist your organisation with implementing a Project Management Office (PMO), there are a couple of important factors that you should consider when choosing the right firm.

12 Competencies: Which Ones Should Your People Have?

By ExecutiveBrief
The concept of competency as a factor in recruitment, selection, hiring and employee performance evaluation has become very popular not only among HR practitioners but to the management echelons as well. Yet, in the more than three decades since it became a buzzword, still many are really unfamiliar with the details of the concept. More so with its appropriate application and utility.

Gantt Charts, PERT Charts: What Use Are They?

By Linda Russell
Gantt charts and PERT charts are useful tools for visualising and communicating information about projects, but they have a number of limitations. In addition, the ease with which they can be created using software applications makes them open to misuse and misinterpretation.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Leadership

By Lonnie Pacelli
Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth. You either recognise these as the seven deadly sins or as themes for prime-time television. Nonetheless, you were probably taught as a child that these are bad and you shouldn't do them. For purposes of this article, do as you were taught and think bad when you commit these similar sins in the workplace.

10 Rules of Highly Successful Project Management

By Lisa Ahn
A successful project manager is one who can envision the entire project from start to finish, and have the prowess to realise this vision. To keep pace with business and IT, project managers need to make their management practices more flexible.

Dealing with "Scope Creep" in Software Development Projects

By Linda Russell
Scope creep is a significant risk in software development projects. We discuss why this is so, and how to avoid or at least mitigate the risk. New software is usually developed as a result of a customer identifying a need. The next step is to specify how the software will meet that need; specifically, what functionality will be developed.

Is Offshore Outsourcing Working for You?

By ExecutiveBrief
The advent of the Internet and the continuous innovations made in information and communication technology has brought about the steady rise of a recently established business practice, offshore business development. Is your company looking or already into outsourcing? Here are five indicators that your company is on its way to outsourcing success.

9 Steps to a Hassle Free and Effective Software Development Project

By ExecutiveBrief
Has your company developed entirely new software or added to software already in use throughout the organisation and found the process cumbersome, frustrating, and sometimes not living up to expectations or meeting organisational goals? If so, the solution to a smooth and effective development programme may be as easy as staffing a well-qualified project manager and adopting a proven development process.

How Fit is Your Programme?

By Rod Sowden
Across the UK at the moment there will be hundreds of programmes being run, but how well are they being run and how does the sponsor know that his/her programme is in a healthy shape? There are a number of ways to find out, most of them costing money from consultants. Most programmes are complex and are being run using a methodology that fits one of three descriptions.

Strategies for Managing Change: The Project Manager

By Tom O'Dea
The title of project manager (PM) is used to mean different things in different companies. Fortunately there is a standards body called the Project Management Institute which provides excellent guidance around the role and function of a project manager. Some will disagree, but I don't care if your project manager is PMI certified or not. You need to care about having a project manager with the skill to carry out the role as the Institute defines it. It's your change management strategy, and it's your reputation on the line.

10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management

By Bart Jutte
The benefits of risk management in projects are huge. You can gain a lot of money if you deal with uncertain project events in a proactive manner. Experience shows that 10 golden rules exist for implementing risk management successfully in your project.

Distinguishing Portfolio Management, Programme Management and Project Management

By John Reiling
There is often a misunderstanding, and hence a mixed and overlapping use of terms, when it comes to programme management. Sometimes a programme is called a project. Sometimes a project is called a programme. In addition, sometimes project portfolio and programme are mistakenly used interchangeably. This article is intended to clarify the main differences and to distinguish the unique aspects of project portfolios, programmes, and projects.

In Defence of the Project Management "Perfect World"

By Carl Pritchard, PMP, EVP
One of the most common challenge questions I get when teaching PMP® Exam Preparation courses is "Why doesn't PMI® make the test more real-world? Why do they insist on testing for a world that no-one really lives in?" Over the years, my response to that question has evolved, but the more the question comes along, the more I realise we don't insist on the perfect world often enough.

Leadership for Programme and Project Managers

By Melanie Franklin
Effective management is not just about being able to apply budgetary constraints or running projects to time. In fact, 70% of businesses fail to achieve their desired goals and the causes for failure are usually lack of strong leadership, lack of team skills, and lack of stakeholder engagement. These more subtle skills can have a huge effect on successful outcomes.

Reduce Project Risk in the Requirements Process

By John Reiling
Gathering and managing requirements are important challenges in project management. Projects succeed or fail due to poor requirements at any time throughout the project lifecycle. The continuously evolving baseline of requirements needs to be managed effectively. The project manager needs to assess and understand the uniqueness of the requirements gathering process for his/her individual project.

Use SMART Objectives to Focus Goals, Plans and Performance

By Susan Berry and Randy Thomas, Ph.D.
Objectives that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic/Relevant, and Time-bound) are likely to be achieved. Learn how to develop SMART objectives with the power to focus goals, work plans, and commitment to performance targets. Because meaningful and practical measures are built in, SMART objectives also enable feedback and learning that can keep you on track to success.

PMI's PDU Secrets

By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP
A project manager has to be many things. To name just a few, a PM has to be a great communicator, a leader, a visionary, and be able to both build and inspire the team. First and foremost, however, a project manager has to be proactive. We employ strategies to plan the future in order to proactively minimise risk on our projects so that we can deliver on time and on budget. Why then is it that when November comes around you can hear a collective groan rise from the worldwide community of PMPs as they ask, where they could quickly get 20, 30 or even 40 or more PDUs before the year is through?

Getting Work Done: The Human Side of Project Management

By Dhanu Kothari
Project management is defined as the art and science of getting work done with the active co-operation of individuals and organisations who are directly, or indirectly involved with the project. This includes Senior Management, Project Sponsors(s), Customers, End-users, Stakeholders, Team Members, Sub-contractors, Vendors and Consultants. Given the reality of minimal authority and total responsibility for the outcome of the project, the Project Manager's biggest challenge consists of "Getting Work Done."

The Problem with IT Project Management

By Ronald Schmelzer
One of the most challenging aspects of Enterprise Architecture (EA), and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) in particular, is that rather than address a discrete problem or set of problems in the enterprise, it attempts to address a range of interconnected and perplexing issues that have long troubled IT. Specifically, SOA approaches to EA address long-term issues of integration in environments of continued heterogeneity, application development in the face of continuous change, governance, management, and quality in environments of continuous complexity, increasing reuse and reducing redundancy across multiple IT initiatives, and organisational and methodology approaches that favour iteration over monolithic, waterfall-style approaches to development.

Understanding Change in a Quality Culture

By John W. Wright III
In any improvement process, managing the influence of change and the anti-change culture that will continually try to raise its head will be one of the most ardent tasks. Learn to deal with this as effectively as you do the project management itself. There are many well-written books on the subject of change in every category of change that you could imagine.

The Hardest Word in the Project Management Vocabulary

By Carl Pritchard, PMP, EVP
For project managers "no" is often the toughest word in the English language to deploy. We often prefer the classic PM strategy of "Yes, but..." as the softer, kinder, gentler alternative. "No" sounds harsh. Uncooperative. It sounds reticent and recalcitrant. It sounds negative. And yet, for many of us, the time has come as professionals to set "yes, but..." aside and venture into the world of "no."

Can We Combine Agile and Waterfall Development Strategies?

By Gina Lijoi
While there are likely as many unique Project Management approaches as there are Project Managers, there are two well-know production cycle methodologies that have been the topic of much discussion in PM circles - agile and waterfall methodologies. As I evolve in my own area of expertise, I am constantly reinventing small aspects of what I consider best practice. Most recently, to address the incredibly complex requirements of a large client initiative, I challenged myself to come up with a "super" Project Management process that would not only improve the way in which we deliver, but what we deliver at the end of the engagement. I determined there was a way to combine the best features of waterfall development disciplines with agile principles for superior results.

The 3 Ps of PPProject Management

By Laurence West
This is an article about Presentation, Planning and Processing; the three cornerstones of project management. Anyone who has ever tried to organise something important seems to either love it or loath it. I remember friends organising trips out for people's birthdays and just not being able to cope with having multiple people to deal with, the planning of train times or car pools and the often continual flood of questions, niggles and other bits and bobs that are important to the person, but overall not so key. Therefore I would like to break project management down into three categories and speak a little about each and what it means for our clients.

NASA Project Management Challenge 2008

One of the first major uses of project management as we know it today was to manage the United States space programme. It started with the inauguration speech in 1961 of John F. Kennedy when he said, "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth." In 1986 the Challenger space shuttle disaster focused attention on risk management, group dynamics and quality management. Today NASA continues to focus on project management best practice to deliver major aerospace projects costing many billions of dollars.

The PM Paradox: Why Projects Fail Despite Best Practices and Skilled PMs

By Emory Miller
I like to think of programme management as business lessons learned because it is the experiences and successful practices that help us understand how to manage effectively and efficiently. I also like to think of programme management as an open-source discipline, because we, as a community of practitioners, continue to contribute to its growth, success, relevancy, and acceptance.

Successful Projects Are Led Not Managed

By Great Project Management
More and more in today's environment Project Managers are being judged on how well they operate within, and adhere, to standard practices and disciplines. This is all very well, but let us stand back and think for a moment. If I were to challenge any one of you to think of someone you respect, who consistently delivers projects on time, who always gets called on when things get tough. I am sure that you could name that person without knowing how well they work within the practices and disciplines of your company.

Why Businesses Should Use MSP Programme Management

By Susan Woolon
MSP (Managing Successful Programmes) is a best-practice guide from the OGC (Office of Government Commerce, an independent Office of the Treasury). It has been developed using the collective expertise and practical experience of some of the leading practitioners in the field. Managing Successful Programmes is unique in its status as a flexible generic best practice framework, and although it has been founded on best practice, it is not prescriptive.

Why Project Managers Should Coach

By Darren Cockburn
Coaching is a highly effective management tool and yet, I have met only a small number of project managers who adopt a coaching style when supporting their staff. The unfortunate truth is that many project managers do not understand coaching and have received little or no formal training.

The Blending of Traditional and Agile Project Management

By Kathleen Hass
Traditional project management involves very disciplined and deliberate planning and control methods. With this approach, distinct project life cycle phases are easily recognisable. Tasks are completed one after another in an orderly sequence, requiring a significant part of the project to be planned up front. For example, in a construction project, the team needs to determine requirements, design and plan for the entire building, and not just incremental components, in order to understand the full scope of the effort.

Top 10 Qualities of an Excellent Manager

By Jan Gordon
An excellent manager taps into talents and resources in order to support and bring out the best in others. An outstanding manager evokes possibility in others.

Building the Project Firing Squad

By Patrick Gray
Regardless of where your IT organisation has progressed in the evolution from a utility like service to a executor of business strategy, the bread and butter of most IT organisations is the successful execution of projects: non-recurring, limited duration activities designed around completing a defined task. As organisations have grown savvier about project management, successful execution is on the rise, however choosing the right projects to deliver remains a challenge for many companies.

How to Deliver Project Status

By Rob Redmond
Status is project management communication, and any channel of communication available to you is a possible delivery method for status. There are two basic kinds of delivery method: presentation and verbal. When you give status in presentation format, you have a reference document that you are reviewing with a group of people. When you give status verbally, you are delivering it without much preparation and without referring to a common document.

How to Report Status on a Project

By Rob Redmond
Your boss has asked you to take the lead on a project in your company. Maybe you are a project manager, or maybe you are not. One thing is certain. Very few people know how to report status on a project, even when they are expert project managers. The basic problem? Most people do not understand the perspective of a manager who is being pressed for information about a big project. Here are some basic rules of reporting status that you can use to further your reputation as someone who knows how to keep management and the project team informed and drive a project to success.

Why PMOs Fail?

By Allen Eskelin, PMP
There is a way of doing things and a way of getting things done and they're not always the same. Most organisations of size have a Project Management Office (PMO) charged with defining processes and best practices (the way of doing things). These organisations typically sell the processes to a CIO to get executive-level support and then use that support as their stick to make sure the processes are followed. These people are often referred to as the PMO Cops by project managers.

Why Outsourcing Fails, Even with Good Project Management

By Steve Mezak
The programming press and IT journals are full of stories about the failure of software outsourcing. The statistics are sobering. Less than 50% of outsourcing meets financial objectives. The outsourcing of many business processes besides software development also has the same less-than-stellar results.

21 Project Management Success Tips

By Karl Wiegers, Ph.D
Managing software projects is difficult under the best circumstances. The project manager must balance competing stakeholder interests against the constraints of limited resources and time, ever-changing technologies, and unachievable demands from unreasonable people. Project management is people management, technology management, business management, risk management, and expectation management. It's a juggling act, with too many balls in the air at once.

A Procedural Worksheet on PRINCE2 Project Management

By Shaun Watling
PRINCE2, the abbreviation for Projects In Controlled Environments, is a process based method, derived from the initial PRINCE project management methodology. It is a recognised international standard, a registered trademark of OGC, deployed extensively by the UK government. PRINCE2 crucially assists with the optimal usage of resources and project risk management initiatives, thus securing for itself an eminent position in the overall relevance graph.

Project Management Starts with a Capital "C"

By Jayne Gnadt, PMP
Communication, Communication, Communication! In our world of project management today, it has become increasingly more important to turn our efforts toward more effective means of communication, especially since many of us are faced with more and more virtual teams operating around the globe. Start your projects on the right foot, with a "Capital C" and begin the communication process early and often!

Keys to Rescuing Ailing Projects

By Sharon Anderson, PMP and Adele Sommers, Ph.D.
When we examine what makes projects succeed or fail, we're actually looking at a variety of vital success measures that can keep our projects healthy, or offer a powerful remedy if they start to break down. As a form of prevention, using these measures from the very beginning will make our projects considerably more successful. They'll avert many potential snags stemming from mixed communication signals, ignored problems, and unrealistic expectations that can lead to project downfall.

The Simplified Project Management Process

By Kevin Archbold, PMP
One of the challenges of explaining project management to people who are unfamiliar with the approach, is that descriptions are often either so high-level as to be meaningless, or so detailed that they are overwhelming. Over the years, I have come to use a model as a framework for introducing and discussing project management tools and techniques. It can be used as the basis for a five-minute explanation of what is involved in project management, but also as an outline for more detailed discussions.

Six Time Management Tips for Project Managers

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
To be a successful project manager you must be able to manage your time well. The best project managers ensure they are productive for most of their time and avoid time-wasters at all costs. Here are some tips that can help you manage your time more effectively.

Project Management Models, Certifications and the Pyramids

By Joseph Phillips
All projects are really about change. Let's take my favorite project of all time: the pyramids of Egypt. Imagine a sweltering desert with miles of sand, snakes, and other scenes from an Indiana Jones film. Add a few million workers, some great plans, some scary mummies, and you've got the pyramids. All right, so my history is a little skewed, but I think you see my point. First it was nothing; then, after some planning and execution, there were the pyramids. What approach to project management do you think the pharaohs used? Does it matter?

Why and How to Add More Value to Six Sigma Project Charters

By Tony Jacowski
Six Sigma project charters are basically blueprints of the targeted Six Sigma quality improvement initiative. They are deemed important because it is only through them can the management hope to communicate the exact Six Sigma implementation roadmap to the implementation team.

The Top Five Project Management Traits to Master "the How"

By Joli Mosier
In project management, we tend to focus on the method. And there is no shortage of methods (Six Sigma, Scrum, Waterfall). The method is the what of project management and is often at the core of an effectively run project. But the method can only take your project so far.

Project Scheduling And Resource Levelling

By Jorge Dominguez
We all know that in the real world we, as project managers, are given the finish date of the project before we even have a chance to plan for it. This is a good enough reason why we need to get better at scheduling our projects and levelling our finite resources.

Let's Make Those Project Meetings More Effective

By Ron Rosenhead
I was trying to get hold of the project manager. Or rather he was trying to get hold of me. However, I had tried 3 times already so I sent him an email knowing it would sink to the bottom of the pile. I got to thinking that it wasn't just this project manager who always seemed to be in meetings. Several people I have been trying to get hold of always seem to be in back to back meetings. Project Agency has been collecting statistics for several years. Some 1,120 people have completed our questionnaire and one of the questions is quite revealing.

Critical Path Mapping

By Steven Bonacorsi
The activity network diagram is a method of displaying the timelines of all the various sub-tasks that are involved in any project. By doing this, the total task duration and the earliest and latest start and finish times for each task are also calculated and displayed. In addition to showing which sub-tasks are critical to on-time task completion, the activity network diagram can help determine where extra effort to speed a sub-task will have the greatest payoff to overall speed.

What is the Secret to Project Management?

By Peter Marci
As the director of the project management discipline for a leading Interactive Agency, I interview quite a few people. A standard question I ask during a typical first interview is "What do you feel is the secret to project management, in other words, what separates good project managers from great project managers?" It is a pretty open-ended question and there is no right answer, but it is a great question to gain greater insight into the depth of the candidate. The most common answer I get is "communication, making sure everyone knows what is going on." While this is not incorrect, I think there is a much deeper and truth-seeking answer beyond this stock response.

Resourcing Project Managers

By Gina Lijoi
Ironically, although resourcing production team members is a significant part of a project manager's role, very little focus is placed on resourcing the project managers themselves. Because of this, I've encountered many project managers that are overwhelmed, worn out, and in many ways, ineffective. Over time, I've developed some generic strategies to help directors allocate an appropriate amount of work to project managers. In this article, I'll discuss some simple ideas to help get started.

Get Maximum Benefits of Merging Top-down and Bottom-up Project Management

By Andrew Filev
Nowadays, the bottom-up approach to management is becoming more and more popular. More and more, organisations are abandoning the top-down management style. Among them are the New York Times, Tribune Co., Ernst & Young and many others. Even the world biggest corporations, such as Toyota and IBM, are trying to implement bottom-up management style elements in some of their departments. However, managers are still arguing over which approach is more beneficial for organisations. To understand the reason for the ongoing changes in management processes, we need to compare the two management styles.

Having a Robust Governance Process

By Ron Rosenhead
So, you are organised, have identified the stakeholders as well as project risks (and you are actively managing both), you have planned the project and you are all ready to deliver. But, have you developed a monitoring and control process for your project - an essential part of project management and work generally?

SMART Goals and Business Coaching

By Kris Koonar
Leaders of all industries know the importance of setting achievable and effective goals for themselves. These goals are termed SMART goals. Goals are one of the most underutilised yet important tools that businesses have. Once the main outline of your project has been set, your attention needs to be turned towards developing certain goals that can help make your project a success. The SMART goals checklist can be used to evaluate the set of goals to be used. This process can help the employees as well as the employers share a certain understanding of how the goals have been set and how they are to be achieved.

Project Management: Stakeholder Risk Management

By Tris Brown
Is it really true that on time, on budget, and fulfilling all requirements means project success? Whose requirements are we really trying to meet anyway? And who decides if the original due date can be changed when the scope grows? In this article we'll address the people swirling around your project, stakeholders. You'll find some useful tips and other resources for optimising stakeholder involvement in your project.

PRINCE2 and the Project Management Board

By Heidi Blackburn
Good project management is a fundamental element of the successful implementation of any project, and the PRINCE2 project management method provides an excellent framework for delivering a project. PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is process-based, providing tailoring and scalable changes towards effective management of projects, and the project plans are focused on delivering results.

Senior Managers Need to Play Their Project Role(s) More Effectively

By Ron Rosenhead
Running training events is often a dumping ground for people's frustrations. I guess we have all done it thinking this guru will help us solve all our problems. However, some of our problems are deeply ingrained and take a lot of shifting. One such problem is the role that senior managers play or should play in projects. The terminology does get in the way however, we believe that all projects need a sponsor, someone who gives executive support to the project manager and project.

Technology Vendor Contracting: Breaking the Mould

By Timothy Nuckles
Commercial buyers of information technology products and services are locked into a self-defeating pattern of behaviour when it comes to negotiating contract terms and conditions with technology vendors, and it is time to move on to a better approach. Better technology vendor negotiations produce better contracts for a technology project, and better contracts produce better project outcomes. So, break the mould and move on to a better way of negotiating contract terms and conditions for your next technology project.

Successful Innovation: How to Manage Product Misses to Maximise Hits

By Carl Cullotta
Most companies in the innovation game can proudly point to their winners, those new products/services that launched successfully and exceeded expectations for revenue/profit/market share. However, those same companies often express frustration or dissatisfaction with their overall return on innovation investment.

The Secrets to Earned Value Management Success

By Ruth Mullany
Earned Value (EV) is a management tool for tracking and communicating a project's status. Earned Value Management (EVM) will let you know the actual state of the project by comparing your current project performance against your plan. Knowing the project's performance will let you take actions needed to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. Like any tool, in order for EVM to be successful, it very important that it is used correctly.

If The Lord of the Rings Was a Project

By Diane Ellis
Let's assume for a moment that the great quest in The Lord of the Rings was a project. Now that's not as odd as it might sound. Just think of the criteria. They had a clear goal and purpose. They had a team of people with defined (if unspoken) roles. All of the team needed to work together to achieve the goal. There was a definite time constraint in terms of when the goal needed to be achieved.

How to Avoid Project Failure Through Project Planning and Effective Project Recovery

By Bruce Beer, PMP
There you are, project manager of a brand new project, you have done your project planning and have started implementation. Now you are thinking about what you can tell your PMI colleagues at the next chapter meeting, creating a wondrous spreadsheet to avoid project failure and revolutionise project control, and learning how to use a new whiz-bang software package you have just bought, when BAM - you are in trouble. A project wreck and you never saw it coming!

The Purpose of Project Management and Setting Objectives

By Brian Miller
Project Management has developed in order to plan, co-ordinate and control the complex and diverse activities of modern industrial and commercial projects. All projects share one common characteristic - the projection of ideas and activities into new endeavours.

Collective Intelligence Builds New Approach to Project Management

By Andrew Filev
As we all know, the project manager in organisations traditionally has the burden of compiling plans and information for the team's work. The information is then kept in disconnected files, no matter if it is a Microsoft Word file or a Microsoft Project file. The manager is struggling to bring the project plan to life as all the information on the project is concentrated only around a single person - himself.

The Project Management Problem

By David Allen
A vast majority of professionals think they have a problem these days, project management. Problem is, that's not the problem. Well, it is, but not the way they usually think it is. Let me be a little more vague. I am often asked by line managers and training people if I have a good project management seminar for their people. My first response is, "What exactly do you mean by project management?"

Why Is Six Sigma So Effective?

By Tony Jacowski
The scientific tools and techniques no doubt contribute a lot towards the success of Six Sigma improvement projects, but they just cannot be taken as the sole factors responsible for Six Sigma's effectiveness because they only compliment the inherent logic underlining Six Sigma and as such are no more than a means to an end.

Project Management: Time Estimates and Planning

By Liz Cassidy
Accurate time estimation is a skill essential for good project management. Often people underestimate the amount of time needed to implement projects. This is true particularly when the project manager is not familiar with the task to be carried out. This article covers the basics to think of when planning projects.

Are Project Management Practices Generic?

By Kailash Awati
Formalised project management frameworks such as those codified in PMBOK provide practitioners with a range of tools and techniques that can be applied in a variety of projects. However, such frameworks and methodologies typically do not offer advice on which tools and techniques are appropriate for particular situations or contexts. This begs the question: are project management practices generic?

Avoid the Same Old Mistakes by Focussing on Lessons Learned

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
It's said there are no new project management sins, just old ones repeated. It's also said that we don't learn the lessons from past projects and this must be true, otherwise why would we keep making the same old mistakes.

Project Leader, Manager, or Monitor?

By Kendall Miller
During years of software development projects it's striking how different project managers are. This article looks and the differences between project leaders, project managers and project monitors. Here's the question: What type of project manager do you need to have for the best outcome on a software development project?

How to Get Out of Project Overwhelm

By Adele Sommers
This article offers a simple, sanity-saving approach to handling projects that have not followed expectations, or have otherwise gone awry. It explains how to extricate one's team from "project overwhelm" by regrouping and swiftly charting a new course. It explores the pros and cons of attempting a last-minute, heroic manoeuvre versus proactively re-planning the tail end of the project.

Ten Sure Fire Ways to Fail as a Manager

By Terry Paulson
In an effort to be less than constructive as a manager, here are ten sure fire ways to alienate and demotivate your team on your change journey. Hit-or-miss approaches don't go far enough; this is your chance to use the best methods of corporate torture and humiliation developed by dictators, steamrollers and other "tough guy" bosses.

Minimising Risk in Outsourced Projects

By Mansi Aggarwal
Outsourcing is the process of contracting a third party to do work on the behalf of a client that has neither the skills or resources to perform in-house. It is usually more cost effective to contract out work than to hire someone in to complete the project in question.

The Next Generation Project Manager

By Dennis Sommer
Are you tired being an average project manager, working on average projects, being passed over for promotion, and getting an average performance review? You need to understand something right now. There are new challenges and expectations today that require every project manager to evolve to the next level. If you do not take action now, you will be left behind.

Real World Project Management: Communications

By Joseph Phillips
Communication is more than just talking. Communication is also listening. When it comes to project management, communication takes up 90% of a project manager's time. That's right, 90% of your time.

Project Management: Why Projects Fail

By Zern Liew
As soloists, our work is often project-based. Have you ever wondered why some projects go smoothly and others seem plagued with problems? Here are five reasons why projects can fail and how with good project management these problems can be avoided.

Optimising Six Sigma Project Selections

By Tony Jacowski
Six Sigma projects are carried out to improve business performance and obtain measurable financial results. Selecting a project is a tedious job for almost all Six Sigma companies. Even though the organisations can spot a wide range of project opportunities, they often find it tough to pack and size the opportunities to create noteworthy projects.

When Do I Turn on Project Management?

By Pierre Monacelli
The problem with project management and IT is that all too often, project management is an afterthought on a project. It is often perceived as "project control" or an administrative function that tracks issues and schedule dates based on best guesses. We are lured to "just get it done" and leap into development without adequate planning. With this approach, project management is seen as providing little or no value, which is understandable because it is inherently reactive when applied this way. Inevitably, projects will exceed prescribed time and budget parameters. To be effective, an organisation needs to invest in project management at the very beginning of the project life cycle.

3 Decision-Making Techniques to Suit Any Purpose, Project, or Need

By Adele Sommers
Remember the old saying: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail?" The quality of the decisions people make in group settings determines the long-term benefits of those decisions. Unfortunately, potent tools and techniques for making complex decisions and solving tricky problems don't seem to be widely understood.

Project Cost Management

By Joseph Phillips
How do we know what a project will cost? We really don't, until the project is complete. I sound more like a car mechanic than a project manager, but the truth is, and this may sting just a little, we can't know the final project cost until the project is complete because we can't accurately predict the future. What we can do is create an estimate.

Managing An SEO Project

By Joseph Phillips
All projects start with one common theme: a vision of where the project will end. Whether you're building a skyscraper, designing a piece of software, or creating a new website you've got to identify the scope that the project will fulfill. The second thing that all projects have in common is their desire to accomplish one of two business fundamentals: increase revenue or reduce costs. Let's talk about increasing revenue through one of the most prevalent channels to your organisation: your website.

The Elements of a Good Feasibility Study

By Tim Bryce
In its simplest form, a Feasibility Study represents a definition of a problem or opportunity to be studied, an analysis of the current mode of operation, a definition of requirements, an evaluation of alternatives, and an agreed upon course of action. As such, the activities for preparing a Feasibility Study are generic in nature and can be applied to any type of project, be it for systems and software development, making an acquisition, or any other project.

Project Management Basics

By Michele Webb
If you have ever had responsibility for managing a project, regardless of how little or how big, you will understand the many nuances and special considerations that have to be taken into account behind-the-scenes. Project management success stories rarely show the struggles, problems or weaknesses of the project or team to the public. One author, Herbert Lovelace, likened this to the kitchen, which "...tends to be cleaned up before it is shown to guests!"

Risk Management Options

By Paul Bower
Risk management is an ongoing process to identify potential problems that could arise when new projects occur within a business. There are various tasks that need to be completed so the overall goals of a project can be fulfilled.

The Importance of Working Together With Your Team

By Jonathan Farrington
The principle of working together with your team should underpin how you operate. Managing people doesn't just mean acting as overseer, to see that they get their work done satisfactorily. It means involving people throughout the team in a creative role, to ensure that together you are all able to succeed.

Project Management: What Type of Organisation is Best?

By John Reynolds
Consider a company that is about to embark upon a project for the first time. A competent project manager is available, but this firm has never had to handle a complex project before, and now has to set up the most suitable organisation. If asked to advise, the project manager might immediately be faced with the question that often causes much controversy, should the company take all the key people destined to work on the project and place them under his/her direct control. Or, at the other extreme would it be better to have a weak or balanced functional matrix?

17 "Must Ask" Questions for Planning Successful Projects

By Adele Sommers
Why do some projects proceed without a hitch, yet others flounder? One reason could be the type and quality of the questions people ask at the very start. This article suggests 17 insightful queries that can expose the uncertain aspects of your project, and thereby help you avoid expensive surprises later. You can thus achieve your project goals with much less guesswork and far fewer problems than you may have experienced in the past.

Managing Change Successfully: Six Layers of Resistance

By Samuel Okoro
Why is there resistance to change? Are people just naturally perverse, or are there concerns which if understood and correctly dealt with will create the buy-in required to turn resisters into supporters and generate the momentum needed to overcome the gravitational pull of the status quo?

10 Ways to Inspire Your Team

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
Inspire. Just the word itself causes us to pause and think. We may remember our own personal heroes like Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa or a teacher or mentor who brought out the best in us and showed us the power of one person.

Setting Measurable Project Objectives

By Dr. Keith Mathis
Examine ten projects at random, and you will see some of the worst written objectives. Project objectives are often hard to track, vague, and lacking in depth. In project objectives, people need details to help know where they are in the process, and data helps them make informed decisions. I like to recommend "DISCO" when forming objectives. "DISCO" can be spelled out to point us in the proper direction for creating project objectives and tracking their progress.

The Einstein Factor in Leading Science Based Projects

By Victoria Tucker
When asked if the people, practices and techniques required to lead science research projects are different from those in the general population, the answer is not just YES, but a resounding DUH! The differences are vast, in part because we believe there's an Einstein Factor at work. In other words, in science organisations, academic brilliance is astounding.

How Often Should You Review the Project Portfolio?

By Johanna Rothman
You've got a ton of projects. You can't do them all at once because you don't have the people to do them. You know better than to ask people to multi-task on more than one project, no one will get anything done. One tactic is to organise the projects into a portfolio and rank them by priority.

Estimating by Percentages

By Tim Bryce
Having been involved with the systems methodologies field for over 30 years I have been occasionally asked what percentage of time in a project should typically be devoted to a specific phase of work, for example a Phase 1 Feasibility Study, Phase 2 Systems Design, etc. Basically, the reason the person wants to know this is to use it as a means for estimating the remainder of the project. For example, if I were to say Phase 1 represents 10% of the overall project, they would simply multiply the amount of time spent in Phase 1 by ten. This is an unreliable approach for estimating, which is why I usually balk at giving out such figures.

Let Project Management Boost the Bottom-Line

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
The next time you hear the words "bottom-line" when you're sitting in the audience at a company meeting, don't roll your eyes. Instead, think about all the ways that you as a project manager can help to boost that bottom-line.

Managing The Project Time

By Joseph Phillips
Project managers know, or should know, the iron triangle of project management sometimes called the triple constraints of project management because all projects are constrained by these three elements: time, cost, and scope. My nemesis is the angle on the left, time.

Most IT Projects Fail. Will Yours?

By Kelly Waters
Studies on project failure are easy to find and make depressing reading. Gartner studies suggest that 75% of all US IT projects are considered to be failures by those responsible for initiating them. But what do they mean by failure?

Quality Projects Take Time and Money

By Joseph Phillips
In project management, as with most things in life, quality is planned in, not inspected in. Quality, and the expectations for acceptance, must be defined up front.

Developing a New Project Scorecard

By Sam Miller
For many firms implementing a new project is not an easy endeavour. This may come with a lot of risk, which is why it is always a good idea to use a new project scorecard. This way, managers have a more accurate idea of what needs to be achieved for a project to become a success.

The Evolution of Project Management - Part 2

By Sandro Azzopardi
As a discipline project management developed from different fields of application including construction, engineering, and defence. The 1950s marked the beginning of the modern project management era. Prior to the 1950s, projects were managed on an ad-hoc basis using mostly Gantt charts, or with informal techniques and tools. This article looks at four periods in the development of modern project management.

How Project Management Developed

By Carol Meyer
Could the Crusades have been launched and the soldiers armed and fed without effective project management? Could the Great Wall have been built with ingenious natural materials and a team of millions over a span of a thousand years without project management? It is possible to say that the concept of project management has been around since the beginning of history.

Pareto Charts

By Steven Bonacorsi
Pareto analysis is named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1897, he presented a formula that showed that income was distributed unevenly, with about 80% of the wealth in the hands of about 20% of the people.

Obstacles to Project Communication

By Kailash Awati
Communication is so important to project success that it has been referred to as the lifeblood of a project by more than one practitioner. Jack Vinson talks about the importance of communication across project interfaces - interfaces being boundaries between different groups within an extended project team. He views interfaces as constraints that limit project success. On reflection, I realised that many project communication issues I've encountered have, in fact, occurred at interfaces. In this post I explore the notion of an interface as an obstacle to project communication.

Managing Project Management

By Joseph Phillips
Oooh - project management. Everyone talks about project management but what is it? Isn't project management just organising your little work to get the big work done? Isn't project management really just a series of events to create some thing, by some point, way off in some hazy future? Not really.

Three Big Benefits Of Construction Project Management Software

By Sheldon Needle
Although many construction companies are still using spreadsheets and shoeboxes to manage their projects and track the volumes of details that go into a single job, the use of industry-specific project management software is becoming more prevalent. One reason for this is that more construction software providers are developing integrated project management modules to compete with the leading stand-alone project management systems.

Cause and Effect Diagrams

By Steven Bonacorsi
It is difficult if not impossible to solve complicated problems without considering many factors and the cause-and-effect relationships between those factors. Defining and displaying those relationships helps. The first such cause-and-effect diagram was used by Kaoru Ishikawa in 1943 to explain to a group of engineers at the Kawasaki Steel Works how various work factors could be sorted and related. In recognition of this, these diagrams sometimes are called Ishikawa diagrams. They are also called fishbone diagrams, because they look something like fish skeletons.

How to Become a Project Manager

By David Litten
If you are new to project management don't be bamboozled by all the jargon. Managing a project is just another branch of business management. There are well understood methodologies, tools, guidelines, and procedures to help you on your way to developing the important life-skill of project management. This article sets out the key skills needed to become a competent project manager.

Project Requirement Needs For Success: Important Considerations

By Samantha Lorry
A company with poor requirements practices is just asking for over-budget costs and regular failure, according to a new report by IAG Consulting. The report, entitled Business Analysis Benchmark, examined 110 enterprise technology projects at 100 companies to determine just how important project requirements really are.

Project Management: The 3 Major Project Types

By John Reynolds
Projects fall into one of three main types - industrial, manufacturing and management. This article discusses each type of project, their inherent difficulties and the best approach for tackling them.

Project Management Institute's PMP Qualification

By Michélle Booysen, PMP
Being the proud owner of my newly acquired PMP (Project Management Professional) title, I mentioned the qualification to an associate the other day and was met with an "oooooh, and...?." sort of look. I realised that until about a year ago, my reaction to the mention of PMP, as a professional title, was probably the same, simply because it had not been prominent in my profession. However, recently, and increasingly so, clients are beginning to require project managers to have formal project management qualifications of the calibre of PMP and PRINCE2. PMP is the certification for proficiency and competence in the discipline of Project Management, issued by the Project Management Institute based in the USA. PRINCE2 is the British counterpart.

Earned Value Management Explained

Umesh Dwivedi, PMP
Earned Value Management (EVM) helps project managers to measure project performance. It is a systematic project management process used to find variances in projects based on the comparison of worked performed and work planned. EVM is used on the cost and schedule control and can be very useful in project forecasting. The project baseline is an essential component of EVM and serves as a reference point for all EVM related activities. EVM provides quantitative data for project decision making.

Top Seven Questions for Starting Projects More Effectively

Kevin Eikenberry
We are all project managers. Some of us manage projects like vacations or reunions, while others run implementations of new software systems, consolidation divisions of companies, launch new products, or build buildings. While the scale changes for different kinds of projects, and complexity changes as more people are affected and involved; at the core there are questions you can answer to help get any project off to a better start.

Project Management Goes Live With Virtual Team Collaboration

Rachel Lane
Web collaboration technologies enable project management teams to meet virtually with full audio-visual interaction, irrespective of their multiple locations. These solutions work by allowing one team member to securely share their desktop and its content in ad-hoc or scheduled meetings with their colleagues, and allow anyone to access and contribute to the information in real time.

Must Project Managers Be Technically Savvy?

Luc Richard
Must project managers be technically savvy? This topic always seems to cause quite a stir. While some believe that all you need to manage a project is a PMP certification, others are convinced that you can't successfully manage a software development project unless you truly understand the intricacies of the product.

6 Steps to Successful Schedules

Ron Holohan
Creating a comprehensive schedule is one of the more difficult activities that project managers face. Schedule creation is often considered more art than science, and results often support this. What is often more frustrating is that team members often find themselves on one team with a project manager that creates and manages schedules a particular way and on another team with a project manager with a different approach.

Lessons Learned: Why Don't we Learn From Them?

Derry Simmel, PMP, MBA, FLMI
In looking at lessons learned, many times we find things like - should have had a better schedule, or better budgeting, or more communications, spent more time on requirements, etc. All of these things relate to how we do the work, not what we work on. Talking about how things get done or working on how things get done does not, in and of itself, get anything done. This is one of the reasons so many people hate planning - planning is not doing and we all like doing.

The IT Worker Shortage: Practical Considerations for Tech Buyers

Tim Nuckles
The shortage of skilled IT workers is not like global warming. We are certain the worker shortage is real, and we are definitely feeling its effects now. Heavy users of technology tend to focus on how the worker shortage is affecting them most directly; that is, their present inability to fill open technical positions. Perhaps less obvious is the impact the IT worker shortage has on organisations' use of outside vendors and consultants for their projects. Vendors and consultants are also finding it difficult to hire the talent they need, which is limiting their engagement capacity and growth opportunities.

Managing Project Scope

Gina Lijoi
Ok, you're about to kick-off a project you're managing. The scope and budget are set, the team knows what they're delivering, and everyone is ready to begin. You're confident that hours have been allocated appropriately, but you also know how easy it is for scope to slip away from you - you need to keep a good handle on this project to ensure the team doesn't squander their hours and push the project over budget. In this article, I'll review some solid tactics you can employ to progressively manage your project budget and maintain total visibility from beginning to end.

Real World Project Management: Procurement Management

Joseph Phillips
Projects typically need stuff: servers, software, subject matter experts, pizza, etc. And to buy all this stuff, you need to go through procurement processes. That's just a fancy way of saying you need to follow some rules and procedures within your organisation to get the things you need to complete your project.

A Project Management Primer: Basic Principles - Scope Triangle

Nick Jenkins
The project management Scope Triangle or Quality Triangle shows the trade-offs inherent in any project. The triangle illustrates the relationship between three primary forces in a project. Time is the available time to deliver the project, cost represents the amount of money or resources available and quality represents the fit-to-purpose that the project must achieve to be a success.

5 Essentials To Project Team Success

Andrew Cox
To maximise the contribution of project teams, a number of essentials need to be recognised. The good news is that the essentials to team success aren't expensive, don't require the expenditure of large amounts of capital or expense money, and don't require new bricks and mortar. The further news and biggest challenge is that the only change needed to be made to implement the essentials to project team success is behaviour.

Project Overspend? Don't Worry About It

Harley Lovegrove
Any project manager will tell you that the triple constraint is the most important part of managing any kind of project. Namely: scope, time and budget. This week, I have been mulling over the third constraint, budget. Why is it that so many large corporations, take their eye off the budget? For many large companies, over spending is not welcome but it is not a serious misdemeanour either, especially if the over-spend has occurred in-house.

Your Risk Management Process: A Practical and Effective Approach

Vicki Wrona, PMP
A solid risk management process can help to make a project run smoothly. By identifying and addressing a list of project risks as part of a larger project management system, many surprises and roadblocks can be eliminated. Learn more about the definition of a risk as well as the steps that should be a part of your business's risk management process and how you can incorporate such a process into all projects going forward.

Five Steps to a Winning Project Team

Alison B. Flynn & Timothy J. Mangione
As healthcare executives work to increase efficiency and decrease costs in a dynamic healthcare environment, they often undertake projects such as technology implementation, operational and process improvements and facility planning. These projects typically require the formation of collaborative teams comprising hospital leadership and staff as well as project managers and support staff from vendors and outside consulting firms. Executives must be prepared to establish efficient project teams that focus on communication and collaboration to achieve success.

Mind, Meditation and the Project Manager

Umesh Dwivedi, PMP
Project manager and meditation seem to be two opposite sides of the world. The link between these two becomes quite noticeable when work stress breaks something; either a manager a project or sometimes both. This article first discusses areas of work stress, its affect, and finally, steps to prevent it. Though in the article a project manager is used as an example, work stress can affect any living individual because every person is prone to it without exception.

PRINCE2 for a Successful Project

Robert Norton
PRINCE2 is used to manage projects throughout the business world; but what is a project and what constitutes a successful project? This article defines a project, look at the characteristics of an unsuccessful and a successful project, and discuss briefly how PRINCE2 can benefit a business.

12 Tips for Accurate Project Estimating

Adele Sommers
Projects typically involve many dynamic aspects, yet they're often constrained by finite conditions. These contradictory forces make it very difficult to determine with pinpoint accuracy the time and effort required. By using a set of proactive estimating techniques to scope, plan, and constrain your project conditions, you can dramatically improve your estimating practices, reduce and mitigate risks, and increase your project success rate.

Top 10 Benefits to Earning a Certification

John Reiling, PMP
Is it worth putting in all of the work? Consider these 10 benefits of earning a certification, and if you see the benefits for your situation, go for it!

Integrating Project Management Into a Six Sigma System

Tony Jacowski
For achieving organisational objectives, more and more businesses are now implementing quality improvement methodologies such as Total Quality Management, Total Quality Control and Six Sigma across all functional departments inside their organisations.

Good Project Managers are Hard to Find!

Harley Lovegrove
This week, I have had a number of clients ask me if I have project managers available to manage urgent projects. Companies want to expand and move forward but the lack of project managers (PM's) is holding them back.

Making Change Happen

Kevin Dwyer
Managing change requires a leadership team with project management, communication and analytical skills with a high degree of results orientation. The latter is important as when a journey of change is embarked upon, the environment in which the change is being implemented immediately changes. A changing environment often calls for changed tactics to achieve the same result.

Five Ways to Turn Small Projects into Professional Success

Kevin Eikenberry
Yes, there have always been projects. But never before has it been so important for every person to be able to lead, manage or participate in projects of all sizes. Here are five things you can do today to excel with small team or personal projects.

PRINCE2 Project Management Explained!

Andrew Cheah
PRINCE2 project management methodology is a process-driven project management method, which contrasts with reactive/adaptive methods, developed by Office of Government Commerce (OGC). PRINCE2 defines 45 separate sub-processes and organises these into eight processes.

Project Recovery Efforts: The Struggling Project

Jason Becker
Project recovery is the effort and activities related to addressing troubled projects. In other words, the activities that lead you to recognise that the project is troubled, then bring you to a decision point on whether or not to save that project, then those activities you might undertake to drive that project to completion.

Use Case Diagrams: A PM's View

Thomas Cutting
Lately I attended a class on managing requirements with Use Cases. It was aimed at training business analysts and programmers to use Unified Modeling Language (UML) to understand and communicate business requirements. As a project manager I found it both enlightening and encouraging.

Nine Ways to Contribute to Project Team Success

Kevin Eikenberry
The world of work has changed. It used to be that most of us worked as a part of a process, whether on an assembly line, managing interactions with customers, or any one of a thousand other processes. Processes are ongoing, repeatable and never have an ending. If the nature of our work has changed, it is important to think about some of the skills that will help us succeed in this different world.

Legitimising the Project Manager Role

Jason Becker
This article is dedicated to a better understanding of what a project manager is and what a project manager does. Just as important, we will also be talking about what a project manager isn't.

Technology Project Planning: Too Much of a Good Thing

Timothy Nuckles
When it comes to any technology project, you cannot plan enough, or so we have been led to believe. The experts' advice over the years to plan more and better is what most of us needed to hear, but it may be time to reconsider our conditioned response to project planning. You truly can have too much of a good thing.

Push-Me Pull-You Projects

James Barlow
You have a concept, a plan and a team, and now you're about to start your project. But hold on a second: are your objectives coherent, or are you trying to change an organisation in two completely different ways. Are you about to start a Push-Me Pull-You Project?

Reducing Cycle Time for Six Sigma Projects

Tony Jacowski
Six Sigma has certainly helped organisations to improve efficiency and quality, but just like any other quality-improvement concept, it is not completely free from limiting factors. For example, the biggest concern with Six Sigma is long project cycle times, which can reduce the overall value of benefits derived from the project or even completely nullify the derived benefits.

Building Your Project Team

Arthur Cooper
Suppose that you as a manager have been asked to form a team for the life of a particular project. How should you set about choosing your people and forming them into a well functioning group?

Project Management Requires a Road Map

Tim Bryce
The principles of project management have been with us for a long time. There has also been a number of project management software packages introduced over the years, beginning with mainframe based commercial packages introduced back in the early 1970s. Some of it has been quite good, others are based on sheer quackery. Some people naively buy such packages in the hopes they will be some sort of panacea to cure all project woes; that projects will start to come in on time and on budget simply because a certain tool was purchased. Inevitably, they are puzzled when projects still go awry even with the latest software.

An 8 Point Plan for Passing the PMP or CAPM Exam

John Reiling
Any good project manager knows the importance of having a good plan. So, if you are preparing for the PMP or CAPM exam, wouldn't it be a great idea to build a plan? As in life, many procrastinate, can't find the time, and myriad other excuses, and do not get where they want to go - to pass the exam. Be a planner, and practice good project management in the process.

Controlling Project Costs Through Interactive Planning

Mark A. Borodynko
I have observed that successful project leaders have made a paradigm shift in their thinking as compared to the more traditional school of thought I call "thinking in a silo." The silo thinking process waits and holds off the construction management team until the detailed design documents are about to start or, even worse, when the detailed design documents are completed. This is too late in the project's life cycle. At this stage, there is a preliminary estimate and schedule developed.

Interest In Project Management Is On The Rise

Kevin Archbold
Over the past ten years, the US-based Project Management Institute has grown from around 25,000 members to almost 250,000. This ten-fold increase represents a marked departure from the steady but slow growth of the organisation since its creation in 1969 and is a significant indication of an increased interest in project management.

DMAIC And Project Planning

Tony Jacowski
Although it is accepted that extraordinary levels of quality improvement are possible only by a radical change in management philosophy, leading to change in organisational culture, the fact remains that the exercise of undertaking process improvement projects cannot be overlooked for actual change to occur. Projects are the bridge between two parts, comprising of planning and doing. Although apparently similar, project and planning are different in scope.

Implementing PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology

Kevin Adler
PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is an effective process-based method for project management. This article will briefly discuss PRINCE2 and how to ensure the methodology is implemented into the workplace.

Managing Multiple Projects: Avoiding Project Overload

Duncan Haughey
What is the maximum number of projects a project manager should run concurrently before he/she is overloaded? In a recent edition of PM Network magazine, project managers are bemoaning the number of projects they're being asked to manage, with the average number of concurrent projects at eight. This seems high by anybody's standards, especially as many are large and high profile initiatives.

Successful Innovation Means Managing the Losers

Carl Cullotta
Most companies in the innovation game can proudly point to their winners, those new products/services that launched successfully and exceeded expectations for revenue/profit/market share. However, those same companies often express frustration/dissatisfaction with their overall return on innovation investment. Frank Lynn & Associates has worked with many companies that are considered innovators in their industries. This article shares some lessons learned from the firm's experience with those leaders.

The Role of Project Managers

Tony Jacowski
From a textbook perspective, the role of a project manager is quite easy to describe. A project manager is one, who looks into the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to describe, organise, oversee and control the various project processes. Having said that, the roles and responsibilities of a project manager differ from company to company. It is important to understand what role a particular project manager will play in a certain company or organisation.

Project Managers, Trackers and Hybrids

Robert McIlree
Scott Berkun has some very interesting insights about the distinction between project managers, in the traditional sense and definition of the term, and project trackers, who may have the title of project manager, but essentially only gather actuals and create reports for sponsors and management without actually leading project teams during execution. Scott also provides a handy set of questions that can help one determine exactly what role a project manager is playing on projects.

Understanding MSP Programme Management

Robert Norton
For any organisation or individual that needs to manage and control related projects (portfolio of projects), Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) programme management is a management tool for bringing together people, activities and information to achieve the end goal.

Step-by-Step Beginners Guide to Project Management

Lee Iwan
Projects must; actively involve all the group members, have excellent communication and access to project information, have a shared desired outcome, have specific dates for completion of tasks, and have all the required tools (when needed) in order to finish. If there is no enthusiasm in the group, your project is dead or doomed to be incredibly dull and tedious.

The 3 Different Types of Project Management Offices

John Reiling
There are 3 basic types of Project Management Office (PMO) organisations, varying in the degree of control and influence they have on projects within the organisation. You will need to determine which type you need to establish in order to have an effective project office.

Why Over 90 Percent of All Projects Finish Late

Samuel Okoro
Several tools exist for managing projects, and have been available for decades. Yet most projects fail and over 90 percent of them are delivered late. This article tells you why.

7 Steps to Project Success

Peter Draper
The successful completion of a big project should bring big benefits for your company - otherwise, why bother? Here is a seven step procedure to manage projects from inception to success. It guarantees the best chance of achieving maximum project benefits. This checklist should also be useful to senior company executives, functional chiefs and project managers alike.

The Difference Between Really Effective Project Managers and Those Who Muddle Through

Project Smart
Project management is what project managers do, not what project management software or a methodology does. No software exists that will deliver a project on time and on budget all by itself. No matter how "good" the software or methodology, it is only as good as the people using it.

How to Initiate a Six Sigma Project

Tony Jacowski
Although one cannot have a project-specific vision right from the very beginning of a Six Sigma initiative, you can develop a comprehensive viewpoint. An all-encompassing viewpoint definitely helps to reach out beyond the scope of the project.

How To Get Your Project Approved

Norm Howe
What do you do when you have a great idea? You know how to save your company a ton of money or you've thought of a way to really improve a product. The problem is that you know that you have a great idea, but no-one else does. And you can't convert this idea into reality by yourself. You need resources. You need money. You feel that you need permission. What do you do?

Rescuing a Small Project

Jeri Merrell
Project Management. Recently I was asked to jump in and rescue a small infrastructure project that was headed for disaster. What did I do?

How to Keep a Design Project Moving

Brad Squires
It happens all too frequently. Everyone read the Creative Brief and gave their sign-off. The design team was selected because they had the most experience in your industry. The project schedule had plenty of padding built into it. But your web or graphic design project is nowhere close to final and you're a month past the deadline. How does this happen? Following are seven common causes for a design project to get held up, and suggestions to help you meet your deadline.

Project Risk Management: It's Either Contingency Planning Now or Emergency Relief Later

Chris Wright
Proper project risk management entails more than simply identification and analysis at the beginning of a project. Risk management must be integrated into the project plan, consistently applied, and clearly communicated throughout the life cycle of the project.

Deck the Halls without Climbing the Walls

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
If you're like many people, the holidays tend to bring much more than "Fa la la la la." There's more to do in a short period of time - both at work and at home, and as your to-do list grows, so does your stress level. There's good news! If you think about your skills as a project manager, you actually have a secret stress weapon in your own personal productivity holster. Project management has the power to transform chaos into calm. Here are 10 ways to make the holiday season more joyful and less stressful.

The Risky Business of Project Management

MA&A Group, Inc.
Undertaking any project, whether in-house or in partnership with a professional services firm, entails risk. Project risk is defined as any area of concern that could prevent a project from achieving all of its benefits. Project risk requires careful management and involves identification, assessment, and mitigation.

Where is Project Management Going?

Karl Fischer, PMP
To find the answer, we also need to ask a different question, "Where is business going?" The environment in which businesses operate dictates the way in which projects are executed. As project managers, we need to focus on developing business practices that make a real and lasting difference in company performance. Understanding the issues that make up the social, cultural, and informational environment in which the company operates is essential to advancing project management practice.

PRINCE2 Training Courses for Structured Project Management

Robert Norton
If you are new to project management, or want to improve your project management skills, PRINCE2 training courses is for you. PRINCE2 is a project management method that covers the organisation and management of projects. This article discusses the history of PRINCE2, what is involved in PRINCE2 training courses, and how it will benefit both you and your company.

Forecasting Support Costs

Luc Richard
Did you know that maintenance accounts for 50% to 80% of the overall product cost? Well, it does! And while most project managers are fairly good at sizing new product features, many are terrible at estimating the effort required to support a product once it becomes generally available. As a result, maintenance projects are inadequately staffed, companies can't respond to customer requests in a timely manner, and products never reach payback.

Establishing Your Project Management Authority

Harry Mingail
It's been a tough climb to your project management position. How do you establish your authority and inspire respect? What must be done to influence project results and growth and make your stay long and productive?

PRINCE2 Training Myths & Misconceptions

Steve Twine
As more and more people undertake PRINCE2 training so the myths and misconceptions around it seem to grow. This article looks at five aspects of PRINCE2 to give you the clear, concise information you need if you're considering investing in this valuable training.

Project Management Revolution or Evolution

Demian Entrekin
As project portfolio management continues to gain momentum in all sectors of the economy, one question that continues to plague my thoughts is whether PPM represents a significant departure from traditional management techniques, or does it reflect an evolutionary step, a natural addition to traditional project management techniques?

Stop Scope Creep Running Away With Your Project

Duncan Haughey
Scope creep is one of the most common reasons projects run over budget and deliver late. Although changes to scope during a project are often done with the best of intentions, scope creep is considered a negative occurrence to be avoided. Defining the boundaries of a project is difficult, but without a clear definition you're heading for problems.

Defining Six Sigma Projects

Tony Jacowski
Six Sigma projects can be defined as the process through which companies are able to reduce defects and improve the quality of business processes. However, the success of any Six Sigma project depends on a number of factors such as clearly defined objectives, management support and approval, and proper training of Six Sigma teams associated with the project.

Tips for Project Management Success

Andrew Winthorp
Bringing projects in on time and on budget is always a challenge. With the competing demands for labour and capital, projects have many internal and external forces that can contribute to a derailment. It takes a strong sense of direction, efficiency and leadership to keep the project on track. The following guidelines are some helpful tips that every project manager can use at one time or another.

How to Really Fix a Failing Project

Thomas Cutting
Your project is in trouble. You know it. Your team knows it. But somehow you have been able to keep it from your management. You need a quick fix. But there aren't any. What can be done to get back on track? Since yesterday's ideas didn't help, here are some suggestions that might point you in the right direction.

Careers in Project Management: Learn to Get the Job Done

Tony Jacowski
A career in project management requires people skills, and the competence to handle projects efficiently. Many large corporations such as banks and insurance companies have started hiring project managers in order to accomplish their work more effectively. You could have a bright career in project management if you have the ability to initiate work on your own, or delegate it to others.

A Million Wrong Answers

James Barlow
In project management, we strive to find the best approach, the right plan and the right budget. But we are not in a position to make a choice between the "right" way and the "wrong" way. There is an optimal approach, and a million alternatives that are less optimal. Being pessimistic, for each right answer there are a million wrong answers.

Creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Tony Jacowski
The successful implementation of any Six Sigma project depends on the ability of Six Sigma professionals such as black belts to break down a large project into smaller manageable sub-projects. This breaking down of mammoth projects into several smaller projects is technically referred to as work-breakdown structure (WBS).

Get it Right From the Start - A Roadmap for Project Success

Anthony Lewis
With an increasing focus on the quality of project management within both public and private sector organisations, and an increasingly experienced and qualified pool of project managers to choose from, why do a significant proportion of technology based projects continue to fail?

Persuasion and Perception

James Barlow
Every year, between forty and seventy percent of all corporations and public sector bodies attempt to make strategic change. Overwhelmingly, formal projects are the preferred structure used to organise such effort, regardless of whether the underlying goals are defined in terms of business process re-engineering (BPR), technology upgrades, mergers and acquisitions, due diligence or similar concepts.

Managing Scope Creep: Don't Gold Plate My Project!

Project Smart
When the scope, or extent, of a project is improperly or insufficiently defined, confusion, delays, and/or cost overruns - scope creep - typically result. Preventing scope creep and managing scope creep is, therefore, built into successful project management.

Reasons Why Projects Fail

Tom Carlos
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."

Growing your Small Business with Project Management

Michelle LaBrosse PMP
If you think project management is only for the big guys, think again. Project management is a powerful business tool for businesses of any size. And as any small business person will tell you, effectiveness and efficiency is never about size. It's about working smart.

The Waterfalls And Rapids Of IT Projects - Can Project Managers Survive Them?

Vernon Riley
There are a number of problems with both traditional and RAD methods of controlling custom and or complex IT projects. Many projects would be improved if expert help and more time were spent restructuring the project at the start to help the IT supplier clarify the design choices and the IT client clarify the business requirements. Whilst this does involve an explicit acceptance that money will be spent "investigating" and "researching;" this is actually nothing more than bringing present good practice out into the open.

Right-Brain Project Management

Mike Griffiths
Many people are frustrated by the mismatch between project management theory and its application on real-life projects. This is due largely to trying to employ approaches designed for predictable projects on today's stretch projects and seeing them come up short.

Keep Your Project From Creeping Away

Dr. Keith Mathis
Delays and changes are a part of every project we do. Do we like them? Of course not. Do we have to learn to deal with them? Absolutely. Setting deadlines and scheduling are great ways to keep your project on track.

Why Are My Projects Struggling? Six Basics You Must Never Forget

Suresh Malladi, PMP
Lately, I've noticed that my projects are getting more complicated and status review meetings are focusing mostly on issues and complaints. In fact, all projects on the dashboard are struggling, which made me ask myself, "What is going wrong in an otherwise well-oiled project management machine?" After reviewing the projects and reflecting on our project management practices of late, I gained some valuable insight into what has changed; we lost focus on six basic, yet critical, practices that have made us successful in the past. This article provides an overview of the six basics that you should go back and focus on whenever you find your projects going off the track.

A Word (Or Two) On Quality

Gina Lijoi
In the world of interactive project management the promise of quality has become cliché. Quality is sometimes seen as an incidental to each client delivery, as opposed to an independent, critical phase of the delivery. Because quality control is commonly compressed at the tail end of a project, the overall commitment to the calibre of work produced is inherently compromised. There is, however, one person that can change this negative trend - the project manager.

Choosing the Best Team for Your Project

Dr. Keith Mathis
Human Resource Management is needed everywhere. At home, at the office, and especially when working on a project with a group of people. Using human resources during a project requires getting the most effective use of the people involved with the project. This includes everyone associated with the project: sponsors, customers, partners, and individual contributors. There are three major aspects of project human resource management: organisational planning, staff acquisition, and team development.

How to Succeed When Projects are Failing

Project Smart
The fear of failure ranks with public speaking as one of our biggest fears. The causes of failure are widespread and usually specific to the project at hand, but there are some common threads that run through failing projects.

Flexible Project Management

Alex Tylee-Birdsall
In a study by TBC (Tylee-Birdsall & Co) it was determined using the value mapping procedure that most technical design projects could theoretically be completed in half the time if they were managed perfectly and there was no rework required. If we therefore assume that most projects are 50% efficient we can easily bring this up to 80% or even higher if methods to reduce rework and delays were put in place.

Effective Management of E-Commerce Projects

Venkatesh KV
Although you may be tempted to manage the e-commerce project yourself and to use the consulting firm's developers as extensions of your own staff, try to resist the urge. Your consultant's estimates and timelines are only valid if they are allowed to manage the Internet store project to your specifications. They should provide a project manager, who will likely be your main point of contact, to be responsible for managing resources and timelines on the project. Having someone on the consultant's team also may help to keep the scope of the project under control.

The Art of Project Scheduling

Marios Alexandrou
Why the "art" of project scheduling? If it were a science then every project would be delivered on time! This sadly does not seem to be the case. In fact, overruns have become so common that people have lost faith in project deadlines and view them with a great deal of cynicism. In truth, the art of scheduling is based on experience and the more experience you have, the more accurate your schedule will be. However, you can still produce an accurate schedule by following some simple rules.

Essential Documents to Manage Your Projects

Sam Elbeik PhD
If you want your project to succeed, you need to spend a little time managing it. The trouble is, most people see project management as a big overhead. What is the number one thing you need to do to successfully manage your project that doesn't take up much time?

Work Breakdown Structure: Purpose, Process and Pitfalls

Micah Mathis, PMP
In this article we look at what many project managers and project management professionals refer to as the "foundation" of the project, or at least the foundation of project planning. The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Creating a quality WBS will require a substantial amount of energy, time, and people, but in the end is not rocket science. Let's take a look at the purpose, process, and pitfalls of creating a work breakdown structure.

Six Ways to Give Proper Project Leadership

Dr. Keith Mathis
Many things influence project management today. When we look at projects today compared to fifteen or twenty years ago, we notice a big change. In the old traditional setting, the boss might not even ask for any input, but today team involvement is critical. In a team setting, people are encouraged to give ideas and make decisions. This change governs how projects today are run.

Project Management As it Ought to Be

Brian Krichbaum
Most of us are beyond the point where we believe that successful project management can be accomplished by following a formula or merely using the right system. It's not that the tools are unimportant, or that the systems don't work, because they do. However, the systems and the software only make the job easier; they aren't the elements of success.

7 Habits of Brilliant Project Managers

Duncan Brodie
Project management is a tough role. You often find yourself being pulled between keeping users, subordinates, team members and senior people happy. Given these demands, what do the best project managers do that makes them stand out from the crowd?

Getting Your Project In Sight

Dr. Keith Mathis
Have you ever had a project that took longer than was expected, cost more, or ended up totally different than the original plan? You're not alone. Most projects sway from the initial idea, but they shouldn't and don't have to. By keeping the proper scope of your project, you will be able to finish on time, on budget, and with fewer headaches.

Minimise Your Project Management Documentation

David Carr
Project management is a necessary service to be provided for all but the smallest project. What is the service that is being provided though? Is it a customer services role or an exercise in paper production?

Five Goals of Every Project

Dr. Keith Mathis
Project goals keep the focus on what is most important. However, on some teams these primary goals are lost in their meeting's activities. Make sure each meeting is structured so as to move the project forward. Even if the progress is only inches rather than by huge leaps, the team must be pushing the project forward as quickly, safely, and reasonably as possible.

Project Management Training

Jakob Jelling
Project management is a very specialised and often complex task, and requires more training than the average programmer or executive might expect in very specific organisational tasks. To meet this demand, professional groups such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) were organised to set standards for the training of project managers.

Project Leader or Project Manager, Which One Are You?

Jacqueline Geddes
With the increased attention given to "leadership" in today's business community, one could argue for the simple substitution of the expression project management with project leadership. Rightly so, since in some literature, the role of leader or manager is used interchangeably. Yukl (2006) uses the terms leader, manager and boss interchangeably to indicate people who are in positions in which they are expected to perform the role of leadership. Leadership in this context is used loosely to cover management as well. In order to answer this question adequately, we look at some definitions of leadership and management.

6 Key Tips For Running Effective Project Meetings

Duncan Brodie
As a manager or leader, chances are that you will be given responsibility for a project at some time in your career. It could be a new computer system implementation, building a new facility, introducing a new piece of equipment or a new product or service. How can you excel in this area?

How to Plan and Schedule More Complex Projects

Liz Cassidy
Gantt charts are useful tools for analysing, planning and controlling projects. When a complex or multi-task project is under way, Gantt charts assist in monitoring whether the project is on schedule, or not. If not, the Gantt chart allows you to easily identify what actions need to be taken in order to put the project back onto schedule.

The Top Five Software Project Risks

Mike Griffiths
I recently posted an entry on a risk assessment tool you can download and use. Risk management (or more precisely risk avoidance) is a critical topic, but one that is often dull to read about and therefore neglected. One of the few useful and entertaining books on the subject is "Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects" by Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister, authors of the ever popular "Peopleware". This post provides a useful summary of their top 5 software project risks.

People, Process, and Predicting Project Success

Johanna Rothman
Great people, people with sufficient functional skills and domain expertise can trump process, good or bad. Good process, process appropriate for the context, will help those people. But great people can overcome bad process to deliver a good product.

Avoiding the "Dark Twisty Turn-filled Tunnel Syndrome"

Bob McGannon, PMP
Many a well conceived project ends up in the scrap heap because of inadequate expectation setting, or sponsors and key stakeholders that become disinterested or impatient with projects that don't produce deliverables quickly enough. These projects, after creating an initial buzz, appear to enter "a dark twisty tunnel" where the light from the tunnel entrance is no longer seen, the tunnel exit is nowhere in sight, and inadequate milestones exist to indicate forward progress. Avoiding this trap is no trivial matter, as it is more than just defining milestones for your project. Intense planning, extra care with estimating, and segmenting your product solutions into meaningful phases are critical to avoiding this "dreaded tunnel." Here are our recommendations for keeping your project in "the light of day;" avoiding cancellation or a drop in priority due to the "dark twisty turn-filled tunnel syndrome."

Virtual Teaming Soft Skills Relevant to all Projects

Brian Irwin
One of the most critical aspects of project management leadership is the effective use of communication to facilitate the team process. Effective communication is one of the key enablers of building cohesive teams and is critical to the successful management of key stakeholders. The probability of communication breakdown is intensified in a virtual environment. Since virtual teams are fast becoming the rule rather than the exception, we will all be required to use these skills at some point in our project leadership careers.

Improve Project Success with Better Scope Management

Avneet Mathur
Project scope management is defined as the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully. If the scope is not managed correctly it may lead to an unsuccessful project. This article deals with problems with scope and tools and techniques useful in capturing the project scope.

5 Tips for Successful Projects

Matthew Sheaff
On a regular basis we are constantly reminded that an overwhelming majority of projects are completed over budget, past the desired deadline and outside the original scope. Best practice project management reminds us that if we successfully initiate, plan, execute and close out our projects - our metrics will illustrate greater results. However, there's more to project management than just a simple methodology. With this in mind, here are five simple tips for completing this challenging process and improving your project outcomes.

Ten New Rules for Project Managers

Hal Macomber
These ten ideas will help improve your projects. Are these ten rules the top ten? You decide. But don't take too long. Share these rules with your team. Your team members are sure to help you carry them out.

Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model

Andy Murray
The Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3) is a reference guide for structured best practice. It breaks down the broad disciplines of portfolio, programme and project management into a hierarchy of Key Process Areas (KPAs). The hierarchical approach enables organisations to assess their current capability and then plot a roadmap for improvement prioritised by those KPAs which will make the biggest impact on performance. Most articles on portfolio, programme and project management maturity models focus on the 'accreditation' aspects of the model. This article focuses on how to use the model as a framework for process improvement by applying change management techniques from Six Sigma.

Managing Virtual Project Teams

Tim Bryce
These are interesting times for managing systems development projects. In the old days (as late as the 1980s), whenever a development project was initiated, it was necessary to form a project team at a centralised geographical location in order to expedite communications between project members. But now we live in an age of electronic communications that provides greater flexibility in terms of allowing workers to work just about anywhere.

Pareto Analysis Step by Step

Duncan Haughey
The Pareto Principle is the idea that by doing 20% of the work you can generate 80% of the benefit of doing the entire job. Or in terms of quality improvement, a large majority of problems are produced by a few key causes. Pareto Analysis enables you to see what 20% of cases are causing 80% of the problems and where efforts should be focussed to achieve the greatest improvement.

Project Management Confidence

Kay Wais
If you have been doing project management for a while, your confidence has probably gotten an occasional shaking. And the resulting lack of confidence hurts you, but it also hurts your team members who need you to be confident and not self-conscious. You're their leader after all, and they want you to have a strong plan, vision, self-esteem and the confidence to lead.

Do You Want to Discover the Truth About Your Projects?

Vernon Riley
The different types of project review each have their own characteristics and benefits. For any review however it is important to decide what the overall purpose is, and who should gain what from the output. This step is missed out in many cases and the design of the review is not given sufficient attention. A review should consider both the project management standards and the subject matter of the project. Mistakes in either or both of these can lead to disaster, and it can take considerable skill and knowledge to uncover the truth.

Empowered Outsourcing

Ann Drinkwater
We've all heard how outsourcing and augmenting staff with experts is an avenue for meeting business needs where the technology, skills, knowledge, staff or time is not internally available. In theory outsourcing provides the ability to develop products and services that are not easily achieved through the organisation's existing structure, by providing operational and strategic benefit. On the surface the idea seems viable; however, depending on the type of solution and service being outsourced, these relationships may actually increase the demands on the organisation that is outsourcing its work. This article highlights six key questions you should answer before outsourcing, and eight things you should keep in mind while writing the contract.

Project Management Methodology Explained

Duncan Haughey
Project management is no small task. It has a definite beginning and end, and is not a continuous process. Project management uses various tools to measure progress and track project tasks. Projects need ad-hoc resources, as opposed to businesses that have dedicated full-time positions. Project management methodologies consist of four to five process groups, and a control system. Regardless of the methodology or terminology used, project management uses the same basic processes.

Project Methodologies: Not a Silver Bullet

Vernon Riley
Over the last few years there has been much emphasis on project management methodologies such as PRINCE2. The introduction and roll out of these structured techniques helps set expectations amongst the wider community about what the project manager will do. However, practitioners should be wary of assuming that the adoption of a particular methodology will be a miracle cure for all project woes.

Developing a High Performance Project Team

Dick Grimes
Much is written in Project Management journals about every conceivable facet of project teams. Topics about their organisation, culture, communication with clients, problem solving skills, etc. are virtually endless. There are lots of rules, tips, and suggestions about what they should do but not as much on how to do it. If you aren't sure how, this article will get you started in the right direction.

Chartering Projects

Todd Fuller, PMP
Formal chartering may be the step most frequently overlooked by organisations when beginning projects. Root cause analysis of project failures often identifies "poor vision" or "lack of a charter" as a key reason projects go awry or are cancelled. Knowing this, why is developing a good project charter apparently so difficult?

Communication: The Lifeblood of a Project

Ann Drinkwater
The communication plan like the project plan is a necessary part of the project. However, when thinking of the project manager's role in communication planning look beyond the written word and the outline prepared in the early phases of a project, otherwise you are setting yourself up for project losses.

How to Implement Earned Value

Kay Wais
Earned value (EV) is one of the most sophisticated and accurate methods for measuring and controlling project schedules and budgets. Earned value has been used extensively in large projects, especially in government projects. PMI is a strong supporter of the earned value approach because of its ability to accurately monitor the schedule and cost variances for complex projects.

The Difference Between Typical Project Management and Six Sigma Project Management

Peter Peterka
Six Sigma is not just another project management initiative or process improvement programme. Six Sigma is not just a new term for project management nor is it a mere repackaging of old concepts. It is more than that because it is a robust continuous improvement strategy and process that includes cultural and statistical methodologies.

Demand a Strong Project Plan

Michael Strange
You've engaged a reputable consulting firm to perform a large systems project. You've prepared an RFP, carefully reviewed the responses, scrutinised the consultancy's oral presentation, and ultimately negotiated and signed a well-written statement of work (SOW). Don't stop there.

Project Management: Tips For Helping You Adopt A Process

Randy McGowan
This article is not a detailed overview of a formal process. Instead it provides an overview of the most critical components common to each, as well as some tips on successfully deploying them.

Project Management Excellence

Harry Mingail
Project management excellence goes beyond producing project charters, detailed schedules and colourful status reports. Today's project managers must acquire the skills necessary to combat a myriad of modern challenges.

Developing the Project Plan

Talibah Adenouga
Whether you call it a Project Plan or a Project Timeline, it is absolutely imperative that you develop and maintain a document that clearly outlines the project milestones and major activities required to implement your project.

Project Management: Risk Management

CJ Williams
In many projects, risks are identified and analysed in a random, brainstorming, fashion. This is often fatal to the success of the project, as unexpected risks arise, which have not been assessed or planned for and have to be dealt with on an emergency basis, rather than be prepared for and defended against in a planned, measured, manner.

How to Choose Project Management Training Courses for IT Professionals

Natalie Aranda
The first step in the selection of a good training course for Project Managers is to clearly understand the role of the Project Manager as it is understood today. Project Management is essentially concerned with a one time operation as opposed to an ongoing operation.

Reducing Risk and Increasing the Probability of Project Success

Cliff Murphy
IT systems are at the heart of modern business and the development of new software applications and maintenance of existing systems are critical to productivity and profitability . Advances in software technology over the last 20 years have allowed progressively more complex business solutions to be created enabling companies to offer their customers exciting new services and products. And yet, software development projects still suffer from similar problems and characteristics, regardless of the technologies being used, that they suffered from more than ten years ago.

Project Management Courses For Project Team Members

CJ Williams
Today, public and private organisations around the world are adopting project management approaches. In the developed countries organisations of all sizes see this as a new discipline that is replacing many traditional management tools and techniques, in order to effectively manage the increasingly complex and fast-changing activities that they operate.

The History of PRINCE2™

Duncan Haughey
It's true to say the public sector has hardly covered itself in glory with their ability to deliver projects on time, within budget and scope and to the right quality. PROMPTII, PRINCE and PRINCE2 were all introduced to provide a better set of tools to deliver projects on time, within budget and to the right quality.

Project Management - Lessons From The Perfect Science - Hindsight

Jed Simms
This article captures a number of common, "We should have - " as lessons for all managers to learn before their project fails to meet expectations. Prevention is much cheaper than cure.

Rescuing Projects in Crisis - Project Turnaround Pointers

Manjeet Singh
Rescuing a project is sometimes like starting a new one - you have to assess the extent of the damage, review all aspects of the project, produce a new project plan and get it approved and then bring the project to completion using tight control and monitoring techniques.

Project Management System Evaluation Checklist

Tim Bryce
Commercial project management (PM) systems have been available since the early 1970s. A multitude of PM products are now available on the market, some expensive and some very reasonably priced. However, to say all PM packages were created equally would be a gross exaggeration.

Introduction to Outsourcing for the Project Management Professional

John Reynolds
Business globalisation, combined with the relentless change of new technology, continues to challenge our ability to adequately manage enterprise computing activities. The need for more competent project management techniques is paramount to the survival of those organisations who rely heavily on the benefits of computing technology.

Why Does Project Management Fail?

Tim Bryce
It must be remembered that project management is first and foremost a philosophy of management, not an elaborate set of tools and techniques, nor is it an administrative function. Rather, it is concerned with managing human beings towards the accomplishment of work, it is a "people management" function.

Project Planning: The First Line of Defence for Preventing Failed Projects

Matthew Sheaff
Every year thousands of projects are completed over budget, out of scope and past deadline. Still, with each passing year, project managers continue to rush into projects without due diligence in defining the project and creating a plan for project execution.

Introduction to Project Management

Dr. Angela Lewis
While most people are not formally skilled in project methodology, taking a role in a project team can be an excellent learning opportunity and also enhance a person's career profile. To that end, this article aims to give an understanding of project management methodology and how it underpins most formally run projects.

Just for a Laugh: The Lighter Side of Project Management

Duncan Haughey
On the lighter side, the top 10 signs you are a project manager; top 10 things a project manager should never say to a customer and top 10 things you'll never hear from a project manager.

Tips on Offshore Software Project Management

Rod Morris
Success of a project when developed by an offshore provider is largely dependant on the way the project is remotely managed from the client's side. Follow these simple tips and give your offshore software project the best chance of success.

What is PRINCE2?

Duncan Haughey
PRINCE2™ is a best practice framework that helps managers deliver projects on time and within budget. It divides projects into clearly defined stages with a start, middle and end. It focuses on the delivery of products rather than carrying out activities.

Project Management an Undervalued Skill

Kevin Dwyer
People studying for their MBA and aspiring executives concentrate their learning on marketing, strategy, finance, e-commerce and organisational behaviour but rarely show an interest in project management.

The Evolution of Project Management

Sandro Azzopardi
The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.

Managing IT Projects: Theory or Practice?

Barry De Boer
What is the best approach for successfully managing IT projects, knowing the theory or applying your experience? This article aims to provide some answers and suggest the best way forward to ensure a successful outcome for your future projects.

Eight Easy Steps to Managing Your Website Development

Simon Buehring
Managing your website development need not cause you sleepless nights, providing you learn the secrets of successful project management. Perform the best practices in project management and give your project the best chance of success.

Be a Smart Project Manager

Barry De Boer
Project management is at the heart of many areas in business, government and education. Although there are a wide range of recognised methods and qualifications available, there are also some core skills and common-sense techniques that apply to every project.

Using a PMO to Achieve Results in Your Agency

Matthew Sheaff
Government agencies continually strive to produce better results. Distressingly, recent surveys have found that half of all projects exceed budget, are completed past scheduled deadlines and do not meet original business objectives. One solution to this problem that has been slow to gain popularity in the public sector is the implementation of a Project Management Office (PMO).

How to Recruit an IT Project Manager

Duncan Haughey
Many job roles have claimed the title "project manager," but in reality they are a far-cry from the traditional role with responsibility for the initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, control and closing of a project. So how can you be sure you are recruiting the right person?

Manage Your Project On Time Every Time

Simon Buehring
An introduction to some of the most important best practices which will enable you to plan and manage your projects on time and within budget.

Change Management in Practice: Why Does Change Fail?

Jonathan Palmer
Sadly most significant change fails to meet the expectations and targets of the proposers. The failure is given the catchall name resistance, yet resistance can be principled and creative as well as from vested interest.

Six Rules for Great IT Project Success

John Avellanet
Between cost overruns, project delays, unfulfilled expectations and quality control issues, less 30% of IT projects are successful. This is unfortunate because, conducted and delivered well, projects are one of the most powerful ways IT contributes to a company's bottom-line. Use these six rules to get your project back on track today.

IT Project Governance and PRINCE2™ Project Management

Alan Calder
IT project governance has emerged as one of the most vital corporate responsibilities. With technology at the heart of most businesses, the ability to maintain tight executive and board control over major IT projects throughout their lifecycle has become a deciding factor in determining which businesses thrive and which founder.

Project Planning: A Step by Step Guide

Duncan Haughey
Often project planning is ignored in favour of getting on with the work. However, many people fail to realise the value of a project plan in saving time, money and many problems. This article looks at the steps for creating a simple plan at the beginning of a project.

Managing Small Projects

Simon Buehring
Project management best practices can easily be applied on small projects to enable you to plan and manage your project successfully. This article looks at how to apply these practices without creating too much paperwork or overhead.

Project Management Success with the Top 7 Best Practices

Simon Buehring
Whether planning your wedding, developing a new website or building your dream house by the sea you need to employ project management techniques to help you succeed. This article summarises 7 key project management best practices to help you achieve project success.

It's All in the Technique

Cheryl L. Strait
Many of the problems encountered while establishing or maturing a records management programme can be prevented by using sound project management tools and techniques. Project management provides the structure and methodology to enable successful initiation and completion of a records management initiative.

Why Software Projects Fail and How to Make Them Succeed

Duncan Haughey
Failure has become the IT industry norm, so it's time to start addressing some of the key reasons software projects fail. Review this list to remind yourself what is needed to ensure your success.

Planning a Project Using a Work Breakdown Structure & Logic Network

Duncan Haughey
Projects don't just happen they need planning. Involve the whole project team in developing the plan, not just the project manager. This ensures team members experience is considered and each person is fully committed to, and has ownership of the plan.

How to Choose the Best Course to Improve Your Leadership Skills

Jacky Sherman, MSc, Dip
How can you make sure you invest your training money, time and effort wisely and get the long term results you want? Find out with this guide distilled from personal experience and best practice from The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organisations.

Stealth Team Building

Robert McGannon, PMP
The thought of "team building" often creates very diverse reactions from project team members. Many people enjoy the potential for increased camaraderie and getting to know more about their peers; others have a very negative reaction. This article looks at an alternative "stealth" approach to team building.

The Importance of Project Management

Dr Malcolm Wheatley BSc (Econ), MA, MBA, PhD
Project management as a management discipline underpins much economic activity. In industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals, software and aerospace, projects drive business. So what exactly is the contribution of project management to a modern developed economy, like the UK's?

Intelligent Disobedience: The Difference Between Good and Great Project Managers

Robert McGannon, PMP
Intelligent disobedience requires taking risks, creativity, flexibility and perseverance. Following this approach can have significant benefits in project management terms and can make the difference between good and great project managers.

Managing IT Projects Offshore

Duncan Haughey
Today many organisations have decided to move their operations offshore to reduce costs and increase competitiveness. The cost savings offshore are considerable but the headline saving is only a small part of equation. Having spoken to many project managers over the past year it has become clear that the same issues are arising time and time again.

The Four Levels of Project Success

Duncan Haughey
The Project Management Maturity Matrix is a four level matrix designed to help organisations improve the maturity of their project management function along an evolutionary path from ad hoc and disorganised processes, to a mature disciplined approach.

Avoiding the Duplicate Application Trap

Duncan Haughey
Have you ever wondered how much time and money organisations spend developing or buying duplicate software applications just because they do not know they currently exist. Experience and research suggests that organisations (especially large decentralised organisations) spend a large part of their IT budget on unnecessary duplication. What if we put this money to better use elsewhere, or use it to improve the quality of current application development?

Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager

Timothy R. Barry
What qualities are most important for a project leader to be effective? Over the past few years, the people at ESI International, world leaders in Project Management Training, have looked in to what makes an effective project leader. With the unique opportunity to ask some of the most talented project leaders in the world on their Project Leadership courses ESI have managed to collect a running tally on their responses.

Reaping the Benefits of Good User Requirements

Duncan Haughey
A critical part of any software development project is the requirements gathering. If you are unclear about what is going to be delivered, how will you know when you get there? Good user requirements lead to better estimates, improved customer satisfaction, reduced cost and a shorter duration.

Avoid Failed Projects

Duncan Haughey
As the saying goes prevention is better than cure, so avoiding some of the biggest problems that projects encounter is a must for all managers. This article considers solutions for two of the main reasons projects fail; inadequate definition and poor planning.

Seven Rules to Guarantee Project Failure

Geoff Choo
Looking for a new way to get really famous, or infamous, at the office? Try these seven money-back guaranteed ways to really mess up your next project.

Helping Project Teams Succeed

Duncan Haughey
How often do we hear project managers complaining that they have been set-up to fail? If you're like me then quite often. I am sure that most organisations want their project managers to succeed. If this is true where does the "set-up to fail" idea come from. Could it be that the organisation doesn't have an environment that supports success?

Successful Projects: It's Not Rocket Science

Duncan Haughey
There is often a misconception that managing an IT project is difficult. Avoiding the common pitfalls of IT project management is not rocket science, it is simply a case of taking some sensible measures. This article identifies 5 killer mistakes of project management and their solutions.

Better Behaviour For More Effective IT Development Projects

Duncan Haughey
How well equipped do you feel to carryout an IT development project. Do you always get the best from your team, engage your stakeholders and retain their interest to arrive at a successful conclusion? This article looks at some of the behaviours managers need to display to run successful IT development projects.

PRINCE2™ Goes from Strength to Strength

Duncan Haughey
Since being re-launched in 1996, PRINCE2 has gone from strength to strength, becoming the UK de-facto standard for project management. This article looks at what's behind its success and where the methodology is heading.

Tips and Reminders for Project Managers

Duncan Haughey
Here are some essential tips and reminders I have compiled for those new to project management or in case you need to refresh your memory.

What is Project Portfolio Management?

Duncan Haughey
Project portfolio management organises a series of projects into a single portfolio consisting of reports that capture project goals, objectives, costs, duration, achievements, resources, risks and other critical factors.

What is Benefits Realisation?

Duncan Haughey
You've delivered the project on time, within budget, the customer has signed it off and you've completed your end project report. But are you sure it will deliver the expected benefits. This article looks at the benefits realisation approach.

What is Earned Value?

Duncan Haughey
Current performance is the best indicator of future performance and therefore using trend data it is possible to forecast cost or schedule overruns at quite an early stage in a project. The most comprehensive trend analysis technique is the Earned Value method.

Article Categories

Project Planning a Step by Step Guide
The key to a successful project is in the planning. Creating a project plan is the first thing you should do when undertaking any kind of project.

Project Health Check Tool

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