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Reinforcement for Running Retrospectives

2016-10-24T15:36:18+00:00July 18th, 2016|Project and Program Management|

Reinforcement for Running Retrospectives
By Kiron D. Bondale

Retrospectives are a common, regularly practiced ceremony on projects managed using an agile delivery method.

But why stop there?

There’s no reason that retrospectives couldn’t be applied to traditional projects too, it’s just that some improvement ideas might not be immediately applicable in a non-iterative lifecycle.

But won’t it cost a lot more effort to conduct regular retrospectives rather than waiting till we get to the end of our projects? To defuse that concern, here are some reasons why retrospectives are superior to traditional lessons learned approaches.

We all want to help our company but charity begins at home! Why wait till the end of a project where the only beneficiaries of learnings will be teams on future projects if there is an opportunity to reinforce good practices and course correct on others to the benefit of your project?

Sharing knowledge is a good first step, but actually applying that knowledge is when we now whether the lessons are valid or not. Read the Complete Article

Just How Important Is Gratitude To Your Team?

2016-10-24T15:36:20+00:00July 17th, 2016|Project and Program Management|

Just How Important Is Gratitude To Your Team?
By Jim Anderson

As an IT manager, it is your job to motivate your team to accomplish great things! The big question that you have to answer is how to use your IT manager skills to get your team to work together. You have a lot of tools at your command: raises, promotions, bonuses, etc. However, what all of our IT manager training has been designed to teach us is what works best. What’s the answer to this question?

The power of gratitude

It turns out that it’s not always easy for IT managers to express gratitude to those members of their team who work for them. It’s not necessarily that we don’t want to express gratitude, but it’s just that it’s so easy for us to forget to do it. About 80% of us understand the power of expressing gratitude to members of our team. Read the Complete Article

From Responsibility to Independence: 3 Lessons from Project Management

2016-10-24T15:36:22+00:00July 12th, 2016|Project and Program Management|

From Responsibility to Independence: 3 Lessons from Project Management
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

Having more independence requires taking on more responsibility: it’s a lesson teenagers hear again and again from their parents, and yet it rarely seems to result in teenagers actually bearing the burden of more responsibility. Fast forward to these imagined teenagers’ adult lives. As their parents promised, they now have a range of new freedoms and shoulder many new responsibilities. The more they become accustomed to each of these, however, the easier it is to forget the old lesson: that independence and responsibility are related.

In this article, we will be discussing independence, responsibility, and doing good Project Management. Whether or not you hold the title of Project Manager in your current work, adopting good Project Management practices can allow you to take on more responsibility in your career and personal life, and, in turn, bring you greater independence. Read the Complete Article

How to Become a Project Manager – Selecting Your First Project

2016-10-24T15:36:25+00:00July 11th, 2016|Project and Program Management|

How to Become a Project Manager – Selecting Your First Project
By Margaret Cato-Smith

Having completed your project management studies you may feel well equipped to take on anything, no matter how challenging. However, as I am sure you have observed, some projects are more difficult than others. It would not be a good idea to take on something that will have you quickly stressed and wondering if you’re ever going to be successful.

Project complexity is always important to understand and it is something to pay special attention to when you are starting out. When I look at complexity, I look at two major aspects of a project i.e. technical complexity and stakeholder complexity.

Technical complexity refers to the difficulty associated with delivering what you are intended to deliver. Clearly building a garden shed is a lot less complex than designing and developing a rocket. What is important for you, is to ensure that you take on something that you are confident you can progress from the technical standpoint. Read the Complete Article

12 Wonderful Ways to Improve Your Risk Management

2016-10-24T15:36:27+00:00July 5th, 2016|Project and Program Management|

12 Wonderful Ways to Improve Your Risk Management
By Harry Hall

John Smith was hired as a new project manager at a leasing company, and he was assigned a small project with a team of six people. The project goal was to reduce customer billing defects by 10% before the end of the year. How well did John use risk management to accomplish his goal?

He and his team completed a project plan and identified project risks. He captured the risks in his risk register and periodically conducted risk reviews. Things were going so well that he was assigned two additional projects.

John started his new projects like the first one. However, he was overwhelmed as his project sponsors pushed him to deliver the new projects quickly. He skipped capturing his risks and conducting the risk reviews.

Slowly, John saw the project performance decline; there was greater variance between his schedule baselines and the actuals. Read the Complete Article

Progressive Elaboration Is the Only Sane Approach to Planning!

2016-10-24T15:36:30+00:00July 3rd, 2016|Project and Program Management|

Progressive Elaboration Is the Only Sane Approach to Planning!
By Kiron D. Bondale

Imagine that you are planning a multi-day road trip across the country to a town which you’ve never visited before. Chances are that you will load your smartphone with maps to help you navigate the journey as well as identifying some points of interest and regularly spaced hotels along the way. What are the odds that you will plan your trip down to the hour? For most of us the answer will be pretty slim.

So why is it that some of us continue to develop plans to a level of detail which is unrealistic given the level of information we possess about the project at that point in time?

Some times this could be caused by low organizational project management maturity. Financial policies or methodology standards might require project teams to provide detailed high confidence detailed cost and schedule estimates for the entirety of a project before funding gets released. Read the Complete Article

Managing Your Project Pipeline vs Your Resources

2016-10-24T15:36:32+00:00June 30th, 2016|Project and Program Management|

Managing Your Project Pipeline vs Your Resources
By Diana Eskander

Winning a new project is exciting for any business. But it usually doesn’t take very long for the feeling or triumph to be taken over by the realization that more work means a greater challenge for resource management and the evaluation of how realistic it is to complete this project on time – if at all.

The assessment is a delicate balance of how you will reshuffle your pool of resources to accommodate this new endeavor, which could possibly delay, cancel or compromise some of your ongoing projects. Questions to be asked include: Should your company hire additional consultants or contractors? Can your current resources handle this new endeavor? Should the project be put on hold or refused all together?

This is where a proper project governance policy comes in, which helps corporations in their decision-making process when it comes to selecting which projects should be worked on and when, as well as effective ways to manage resources and the project pipeline. Read the Complete Article

Benchmarking Your PMO

2016-10-24T15:36:35+00:00June 29th, 2016|Project and Program Management|

Benchmarking Your PMO
By Tushar Patel

Every year, Innotas conducts a survey of project management professionals – Project Managers, PMOs, CIOs, and IT Management – to help get a sense of trends in project and portfolio management. Over the years, several trends seem to continue, while new insights always seem to enter the forefront, regardless there is always something interesting to share, debate, and reflect on.

Here are my favorite findings from the 2016 survey:

Over 70% of organizations report not having enough resources to meet incoming project demand

This is one of those findings that I do not find surprising, in fact, I am surprised that this number is not 100%. I have never come across any organization that has resources sitting on the sidelines, just waiting to be utilized. There is always more work to be done than available resources to carry out the work. The question always is, “Are my resources working on the right things?” They are always busy and you are always resource-constrained, but how effaective are your resources? Read the Complete Article

Managing Project Expectations

2016-10-24T15:36:37+00:00June 27th, 2016|Project and Program Management|

Managing Project Expectations
By Diana Eskander

How to define and organize project scope

Projects range in size, complexity, duration, resources, stakeholders – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Defining the scope of a given project – what the intended result is, and what’s required to bring it to completion – is not only important, it’s necessary.

It creates clarity and accountability, and carves out the path for success. Establishing project scope can prove to be difficult. It requires you to step back and have a global understanding of the project environment and to be analytical.

You have to get intimate with the specific details. There are plenty of elements to take into account in order to scope the main lines of a program or project.

This white paper examines how to define the scope of a project and consequently, how to organize the information in a comprehensive way that can be referred to by all stakeholders, at any time. Read the Complete Article