In this Project Management Q & A session, I answer the question “What does a PM do if the Business Case is missing a requirement?”
In this Project Management Q & A session, I answer the question “What does a PM do if the Business Case is missing a requirement?”
If you track project assumptions you are more likely to succeed. Have you stopped to consider the value of assumptions to your project? They may not have been something that you seriously consider. And yet, there is value in taking them seriously. The assumptions that people make can either support success or create problems for … Read moreTrack Project Assumptions To Succeed
There are of course many reasons why you have schedule problems, today I’m going to talk about three of them. These three problems can impact successful project delivery as each impacts your delivery outcome. How is your resource allocation? Are you over allocating your project resources time? It’s an easy enough thing to do, especially … Read more3 Reasons You Have Schedule Problems
As you start to estimate time on a project ask yourself ‘Am I clear on what needs to be delivered’. The analogy here is ‘Start with the end in mind.’ What are you delivering and what tasks must be completed? Then develop a list of tasks, including linking the dependencies. From there it is time … Read moreHow to Estimate Time On a Project
Build a strong ERP business case using robust analysis. Investigate the following areas as part of building your business case so that each part is strong.
Here are eight reasons why I can openly say to you ‘Your Business Case Sucks.’ These 8 reasons are why you are having problems with getting business case sign-off or with successfully delivering a project. If you are willing to look at each of these eight reasons with an open mind, maybe you can write … Read more8 Reasons Your Business Case Sucks
Firstly let’s start this discussion by defining what a project is. Project Management doesn’t exist without a project. And what I find is that a lot of people struggle with the concept of what a project ACTUALLY is. Here is my definition anyway: A Project is anything that involves managing a change So let’s look … Read moreWhat is Project Management?
How’s your ability to manage multiple tasks? Here’s an infographic that might support you to manage your time differently when you wear multiple hats. You know the hats I’m talking about – father, partner, boyfriend, son, mate, team player, sports enthusiast. Each of these ‘roles’ or ‘hats’ has expectations and time requirements attached to them. … Read moreManage Multiple Tasks the Smarter Way
Do you struggle with managing virtual teams? This team or teams may also just be remote. It is often not easy due to time differences language barriers cultural differences The team at Time Doctor have put together this list of 25 tips that might assist you. I especially love the tips relating to ‘Communication.’ You … Read more25 Tips for Managing Virtual Teams
Which of these four habits do you regularly display? These habits are harmful to your ability to be a strong and successful leader.
There is value in having a RACI matrix completed for the stakeholders involved in your project. Let’s talk about why they are of value and what the R.A.C.I stands for.
Have you stopped to consider how clear your communication is? You may not even realise that your communication is not clear. Here are four ways things that you may be doing which are impacting on your message. Change them and you will be clearer. Being clearer leads to less conflict, less stress, and more productivity.
Having team members working against you isn’t productive. Here are five ways to get them back working WITH the team and you, rather than against you.
Is your project schedule off track? If your project is not on schedule then you need to go back and understand where it went off track, in order to understand WHY it went off track. Here are four simple steps to gain focus and input from your project team in order to bring your schedule … Read more4 Steps to get your project schedule back on track
Let’s talk about the negative side of being too focused; how it impacts on the team, you and the project as a whole.
Today we look at one of the 7 Skills of a Strong Leader – How to ask. The key is to ask the right sort of questions based on the response that you are looking for. In this episode, I explain about open and closed questions. I also provide you with some questions to ask … Read moreHow to ask questions that elicit a response
In this episode, we look at seven skills that demonstrate you are a strong leader. How are you at each of these seven skills? * Asking questions. * Listening. * Wanting to know. * Wanting to learn. * Being open to change and different ways of doing things. * Clarity in your communication. * Treating … Read more7 Skills of a strong leader
Are you managing an IT project? Do you consider testing nothing but a nuisance task that needs to be shortcut? Think again! This week I explain why testing is ALL about YOUR reputation.
Are you having trouble engaging your Project Sponsor in your project? Here are seven ways that you can get them on board and work with you. These ways allow you to create a strong partnership with your Sponsor so they are there for you when you need them.
“When people are in a group, responsibility for acting is diffused” – A quote from the book Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. This is what has me dive into today’s episode; noticing three reasons I see why people don’t want to act or take responsibility for an item on the project. I’ll walk you through … Read more3 Reasons why people don’t act
So you think you need to be in control of EVERYTHING? What a myth. That’s not what Project Managing is all about. Let’s break open this myth and let’s talk about what it’s really like to manage a project and lead the team. We explore ‘managing’ versus ‘being in control.’
How often have you ignored issues on your project and had them turn into risks? In this episode, we look at what an issue is and why it’s of value to track and investigate it BEFORE it becomes a risk and derails your project. It is also of value to have your team members support … Read moreDon’t let your issues become risks
Want to know the top seven ways to really upset someone on your team? Here they are. It’s an interesting list, given that a lot of the time we do these things unconsciously and yet it always causes team disruption. Turnaround this habit of upsetting people and you will have a strong cohesive team.
Make risk management easy. Not possible you may say. Risk management is often seen as a task that is only the responsibility of the PM. Why not get everyone involved? Why not have your team feel that it is an important part of their role working on the project? Let’s talk about why this is … Read moreHow To Make Risk Management Easy
In this episode of Project Management Insights, I explain why conflict is great. Let’s talk about what it means when there is conflict, and why it is a positive thing to have. I also talk about how it benefits everyone on the team to have conflict. Podcast Script Hi. Welcome to this Project Management Insights … Read moreWhy conflict is great
Have you considered how you can strengthen your relationship with your Project Sponsor? In this episode of Project Management Insights, I offer you ways to go about gaining a valuable understanding of your sponsor and what works for them. It’s all about setting up a win/win situation so that they get what they need, and … Read moreWays to manage your Project Sponsor
You might ask “What is the importance of project scope?” We all hear about successful projects being within scope, delivered on time and within the assigned budget and yet a large number of projects fail to do these things. The reason? Not treating project scope as important. The importance of project scope The project scope … Read moreThe importance of project scope
Sometimes the meaning of BAU isn’t easy to describe because of the different contexts that apply. Here is how I would describe what BAU is and isn’t in relation to day-to-day business operations and project work to better help you understand it. I’ve used examples in the hope of making it easier.
Productivity tools should be something you consider using for your team, especially with remote workers. These days with the agility and stability of technology we often end up with Project Team members working across many sites. Having these workers on your team is a great benefit. It can also feel like it makes your job … Read moreProductivity tools for your project team
Never underestimate the value of early stakeholder engagement to a project.
Not engaging the right stakeholders early enough in your project creates added headaches and problems with project delivery.
You define the project scope to detail what is to be achieved to successfully implement the business change required. It is, therefore, the critical thing to get right, even before project delivery has begun. Let’s look at a way to describe the ‘Scope’ of your project. In this Project Management Insights episode, I explain the … Read moreHow Solid Is Your Scope?
Tracking a project budget is one of the key responsibilities of a Project Manager. Vendor overspending can be one way that a project budget can very quickly end up looking like a train wreck. Overspending can occur quickly, as work is being carried out on a daily basis. Do you have the monitoring and tracking … Read moreIs your vendor overspending?
Resourcing problems. I’m pretty sure there are few Project Managers that have never had this problem. You have, right? This episode of the Project Management Insights podcast is all about fixing the resourcing train wreck that you might have. Here are some tips that I have used myself to successfully gain the resources I needed … Read moreWays To Fix Your Resourcing Problems
You’ve probably already tried some time management tips. How have they worked for you? What is time management really, other than you feeling in control. You may often think you don’t have enough time or that there isn’t enough time to do all that you need to do. It’s a myth. We each have the … Read moreTime Management Tips
Managing a project with no Business Case, is a problem.
I’m guessing you been in the situation of being bought in as the Project Manager (PM) on a project that has already started. When you start in your role you find that there’s no business case, what do you do?
To identify risks you first need to understand what risk management is. Only then will your ability to see potential risks and document them become easy.
Do you often wish you could improve teamwork on your project team? You may notice that people or groups don’t work together. It may seem as if they are working in opposition to each other. This doesn’t help you when you have a project to deliver. Why there are opposite views of what the world … Read moreHow to Improve Teamwork
The ability to identify and manage issues on a project is a key task for any Project Manager.
Think of issues as tasks or items to be analysed, resolved, or discussed in order to have decisions made about them. Issues are those things that come up during the life of your project, that stop it from running smoothly.
Project Managers often overlook issues, and that is when they find down the track, that their project has gone pear shaped and is way off track.
A Project schedule is a tracking tool. Project schedules also create a sense of security for your project sponsor and Project Control Board (PCB). That is their purpose.
They are a simple tracking tool only and of no real value. Therefore there is no real need to have one. You can track how things are going making an estimate and report this to your PCB and sponsor.
When you manage a project you want to run effective project meetings. It is important because… -> wasting project resources time costs money, -> wasted time impacts on your delivery schedule, -> staff working on the project want information they can easily digest, -> effective meetings gain buy-in. Six tips for running effective meetings #1. Consider … Read moreHow to run effective project meetings
There are many online tools available these days to support project team collaboration. With social media such a part of everyone’s life, many people are used to byte size information sharing. People presented with a full load of information, become overwhelmed and don’t read it. I see the future of team collaboration as providing these … Read moreWhy byte size information sharing is valuable
Pick up the phone to talk to your team members rather than send an email. How many times have you sent an email to another team member and not received a reply? Many I am guessing. And as a Project Manager it is frustrating. Why? Because we have a schedule to adhere to. We need … Read moreWhy it is of value to pick up the phone
Would you know how to rebuild trust with your project team? Trust is a big thing, especially in the relationships that we have with our team. It is essential to have the type of relationship where people will go the extra mile for you, no matter what. They trust that you will deliver for them, … Read moreHow to Rebuild Trust With Your Project Team
Use Prince2’s Project Health Check Question List to undertake a quality Health Check. It doesn’t discuss the right time to undertake the check though.
In my opinion the right time to undertake a Project Health Check will depend on the size of your project. Another key factor will be the maturity level of your organisations project management processes.
In his article 5 Killer Mistakes Project Managers Make’ I love the approach that the author Duncan Haughey has taken. In reading the article there were some key things that stood out for me and resonated with my approach to project management. Let me tell you what they are.
You believe you need a system to solve all of your problems. Vendors should not write the business requirements. Why? They don’t know the business, like the business.
In a perfect world the business would first document their business requirements. And, in a not so perfect world .. a software vendor will suggest that they develop them for you. WRONG APPROACH.
What is it about your project team that frustrates you the most? I used to find that it was the people who would tell me they were going to deliver something, and then not deliver, They wouldn’t tell me they were having difficulties meeting the deadline we had originally set, they simply didn’t deliver. This … Read moreFrustrated with your project team?
I want to take a different perspective on one persons perspective of a project headed for disaster.
An article titled ‘7 signs your project is headed for disaster’ specifically discusses ICT project failure and I was interested in the way that it looked at each of the seven signs.
PMO Staff need project management backgrounds. The role of a Project Management Office (PMO) is one of governance and standards. They are the administrators of how projects are run within a program or portfolio, ensuring that processes and procedures for good project management are followed, and providing an assurance function to check that things are being reported correctly.
It is important that the staff working in the PMO have project management backgrounds. Here’s why…
Never underestimate the value of documenting business requirements. All too often I have seen projects which were clearly on the road to failure, even before they formally started. Why? Because they didn’t have fully defined and documented business requirements. Most people would say “But we understand the scope, and we’ve set a budget and timeline, … Read moreWhat’s the value of business requirements?
Have you considered ways to improve team cohesion? As a Project Manager it is all too easy to get caught up in the day to day of running your project. There are a million and one things that need to be done, you’ve got pressure being put on you from your Senior Executive to deliver, and things may not always be going as well as you would like. Working on assisting the team to work better together is probably the furthest thing from your mind.
In my view, project failure isn’t an option. Let’s talk project success tips.
On a LinkedIn Group that I am a member of I read a large number of the posts related to the question of what the main cause of failure for a Business Process Improvement project was.
How do you manage political situation that cause problems for your project? Here are my tips for managing political situations to get what you need. Political situations arise when there are people or groups that feel they have power over others. Do you see people within your team or the broader context of the business … Read moreTips for managing political situations
Business project vs IT project. This is the debate that never wins me, friends. The people that I debate this with have a strong sense that Information Technology (I.T.) is the world. And therefore how dare I have a different point of view. Sorry guys, but since when did I.T. run the business? The business … Read moreBusiness Project vs IT Project?
Most people don’t understand how to write good business case content. Over my working life I have seen some documents which really don’t contain any of the information needed in order to make a decision, which is ultimately what a business case is about. The business has a business decision to make. Make that decision … Read moreHow to write good Business Case content
Here is my five step process to manage conflict on your team. I have experienced that people see conflict in a team as a bad thing. I would love to show you why conflict on a team is a good thing, simply by making it something that you can manage. What is conflict? Conflict is … Read more5 steps to manage conflict on your team
Do you have perceived generation gaps between workers on your project team? You know what I mean, younger team members who don’t listen to older more experienced team members. Older and more experienced team members who won’t listen to the younger and newer team members. Do these ‘differences’ mean that their are issues with the … Read moreWays to bridge generation gaps on your team
In this week’s Project Management Insights episode I talk to you about the value of exception reporting. I explain what it is and why it is valuable. In order to use exception reporting on your project, you need to have the trust of your Executives, your Project Sponsor or Owner and the Project Control Board. When … Read moreThe value of exception reporting
Do you regularly say Yes, when you mean No? There is an interesting book titled ‘The Abilene Paradox’ written by Dr Jerry Harvey in which he describes one of these typical such situations. Abilene is a town in Texas, in the USA, and it is the place where a number of he and his family … Read moreDo you say Yes, when you mean No
Here are 5 useful ways to manage aggressive team meetings. Are there any that you use that aren’t on the list? Aggressive team meetings aren’t fun. Not for you, the PM, nor for the other team members. Here are five ways that you might find useful to change things up: 1. Be Silent An angry … Read more5 ways to manage aggressive team meetings
Let’s talk about why project change management is important for your project success. If you don’t change the behaviour of the people impacted by your project, the ROI or Return On Investment that was laid down in your Business Case won’t be realised. Change management is a key part of successful project delivery. You can … Read moreWhy project change management is important
The Project Management Insights Podcast is published weekly. It contains tips on different topic areas of interest to you as a Project Manager. In each podcast, I share my own insights and things that have worked well for me. This includes insights and information on improving your people management and communication skills. I also share … Read moreProject Management Insights Podcast
What Project Manager competencies do you need to be successful as a leader and manager of a project? PMBOK has a list of them that are across competencies related to the ‘soft skills’ of people management. Work with this list to assess any weaknesses you have. ————————————————— Download the FREE SWOT Template to undertake your … Read moreWhat Project Manager competencies are you missing?
In this week’s Project Management Insights episode I provide you with useful tips for collaborating with your project team. Do you understand the way that people take in information and how this might impact the way that they collaborate? I explain different learning styles and how you can understand the best way to interact with each individual team … Read moreTips for collaborating with your project team
Have you ever considered how good you are at working with people? Is this something you have considered at all in your role as Project Manager, that it is an important skill that you need to have? One of the core skills of being a Project Manager is working with people. That may involve working … Read moreHow good are you at working with people?
Dealing with naysayers at work isn’t always easy. We all come across them, those people either in our team, or in the broader business who do nothing but throw a wet blanket over everything we say or do. They are the people who will always tell you why something can’t be done. They may be Managers, or peers in the business who are not part of your project team.
Do you identify that you have ‘passive aggressive’ team members on your project team?
If you are like me you will have been involved in a large number of projects where data is involved and most times there have been issues on the project. In most IT projects the reason for the project is a better way to manage customer data is needed.
In this article ‘22 tips for better data science‘ I found that I connected with some of the tips more than others. Here are the ones that jumped out to me:
There are some interesting concepts in a recent presentation that I found and would like to speak to on how to lead not manage.
Do you have any idea how to re-establish trust the right way? Trust is something that you feel in a way that it’s hard to describe. You know it exists, or you don’t.
You trust one person in your team and not trust a number of others. This impacts on your ability, as the Project Manager, to get things done, and it costs your project both time and money.
For this post I bring you useful resources that I have found today. Each article has great insights that may help you be a better Project Manager. They may help you answer some questions or fill a knowledge gap that you have. They are an interesting mix of articles. I have chosen them because each one provides some useful information that I would like to have had in my early days as a PM.
In a recent article by Speller International titled “When good SAP projects fail” they spoke about a number of things that make the project fail. These project pointers are relevant to not only SAP projects.
A project team is like a mini organisation where understanding of roles and responsibilities is important
If you look at a project as a mini organisation and consider that it is very important that the people working in your ‘mini organisation’ fully understand their roles and responsibilities, just as is the case in any organisation or business, then this might help alleviate some issues that you may have with teamwork and delivery output.
When is a project not a project, when it’s a Business As Usual activity.
I was involved in a very interesting situation in the past month whilst working as the Project Manager and Change Manager on an initiative which I would call BAU. It felt like being caught in the BAU versus project trap, an age old argument that occurs in most organisations.
I work near some really switched on project finance team members who know their stuff. In the last couple of days we’ve been having a great on-going discussion about ROI (Return On Investment). Of course it has gone hand in hand with discussions around benefits realisation, but that content is for another blog post. What we’ve decided is that good ROI doesn’t mean project success.
Who ever said an EDRMS implementation needs to be a difficult task?
Here are eight ways to make the task of implementation easier.
Elise Stephens from Fix My Project Chaos and I caught up to talk about ‘How to fall in love with your EDRMS implementation’, or in other words the key tips for a successful EDRMS implementation.
We had fun discussing the similarities between EDRMS implementations and relationships.
The podcast looks at key areas to focus on in your implementation, why you need to focus on them and the value of looking at these key areas.
Why would you hold a team meeting? What reasons would you have to schedule a team meeting? Too often I see team meetings held for the sake of holding a meeting when there are more simpler and efficient ways that collaboration and information sharing could occur. Here are 4 reasons for team meetings that I see are valid.
Consider how successful you would be as a Project Manager if you followed these top tips for success from Cindy Hook the new CEO of Deloitte Australia:
“Collaboration is about all parties knowing what needs to be done. It’s about equality of understanding and power and knowledge.” – MC Munro
What an interesting statement this is. It got me thinking about its meaning.
I see a project as something that needs a strong foundation and footing in order to be successful. Want to rock your project foundations? Here are just a few ways you can do it:
There are some great reference sources out there which contain useful information on EDRMS Business Case building. Here are my EDRMS business case key tips.
My previous blog posts on business case writing generally have covered some of these areas. The key is to understand those things that are more important and relevant for your EDRMS/ECMs implementation.
Change management is of no value – is that true? I know as a PM that you see change managers as a burden on your project. I know that you see that they are additional cost and resourcing that you don’t really need on your project. You don’t really get what this ‘change management’ is really about which is why you don’t see the value in it.
What 4 keywords for effective teamwork would you consider the most important? Have you stopped to think about the important aspects that do make up effective teamwork? Here is what one National Hockey League coach in the USA has as his top for keywords.
When soliciting requirements from an SME (Subject Matter Expert), what is the most important information you need to capture? And how do you know that you have captured it? What would your response to this question be? What is the most important information you need to capture? Capturing requirements is an art and it plays … Read moreSoliciting requirements from an SME
It is important when preparing risk mitigation strategies that you prepare for ANY eventuality. Project Managers tend to not want to highlight these eventualities, because they feel that the more risks they have the more work for them.
What an interesting quote this is if you consider it in terms of the concept of what a Project Leader might be like.
Ever been in a meeting and watched someone have a profound realisation? His realisation was that the reason his sectors projects fail is because the wrong people are writing the business cases. I could easily identify from my own experience of five people who shouldn’t write a business case. This also got me thinking about this very issue of who is the best person to write the business case?
This is Part 4 in a series of posts looking at how project maturity impacts on the contract negotiation process.
In this final of thet series we are going to look at Quadrant 4 in the diagram, where the project maturity process levels are high and it aids the contract negotiation process.
The final step in business case development is how to present a business case so that it gains maximum buy in. Once you have prepared your business case and are confident that it presents the full case for why a change needs to be made, then it’s time to consider how you are going to present it to your Business Owner or key stakeholders.
Do you, as a Project Manager (PM), assess your decision making risks?
Do you own the risk associated with the decisions that you make on a day to day basis especially in
regards to how they will impact your project delivery?
Here are some key principles for building a CRM Business Case. I’ve listed them as my CRM Business case top 5 tips:
In this third part of a four part series we are going to look at Quadrant 3 in the diagram, where the project management process maturity levels are low and it aids the contract negotiation process.
‘What comes first business case or requirements?’ I’ve heard this question asked a number of times. My personal view is that it is very important to develop business requirements before or alongside business case development. The impact of business requirements on a business case Write a business case without requirements and it is unlikely to … Read moreWhat Comes First Business Case or Requirements?
If these 5 questions for your team are asked regularly you have a good chance of building a stronger relationship with each of your team members.
What does BAU mean? BAU is the acronym for ‘Business As Usual’. Business, As Usual, is the view of an organisation, business unit, work team or team member completing their everyday work in the normal way. What is BAU? BAU is work carried out as part of normal work practice. This is work for either … Read moreWhat does BAU mean?
In this second part of a four part series we are going to look at Quadrant 2 in the diagram, where the project maturity process level s are high and it detracts from the contract negotiation process.
The ability to collaborate as a project team is the key to it’s success. As the Project Manager you need to ensure that collaboration across the team is easy and working.
For the past four months I have been using a collaboration tool for my own projects. There are a number of these tools available in the market, each with similar and different features.
I’m going to talk about my own personal experiences of using Xtrant so that you gain some idea of the value that I see in using this sort of tool.
I want to suggest that project failure is relative to PM skill level. Of the research that I have looked at project failure can generally be categorised under a set of key areas. If you identify with any of these triggers then I suggest to strongly consider your skill levels.
In this first part of a four part series I will investigate and discuss how project management process maturity within an organisation might impact on contract negotiations.
In each part I discuss one of the four quadrants in the diagram above including both perspectives from the procuring organisation as well as the supplier in the negotiation process, as there are different impacts depending on which perspective you are.
People with technical backgrounds don’t make good project managers (in my opinion). Why? Because they are usually way too focused on the technical aspects of the situation to be really ‘managing’ the total project or program.
After watching sporting teams playing in the finals (and ultimately the Grand Final) I realised that there is a strong connection between these high performing teams and project teams that perform well and succeed. How you may ask?
I’ve spoken before about what I see as the really strong value in creating what I call a ‘One Project Team culture‘ and a discussion that I had today reinforced my views on this principle.
Many projects fail, because there is too much tension around ‘who owns the system’ (business or IT); ‘they don’t deliver’ (and ‘they’ usually refers to the IT team/department; ‘you wanted too much’ (which is IT talking about the business); ‘you didn’t let us do our job’ (again IT talking about the business); ‘we know what’s best’ (IT talking TO the business).
Detailed business requirements are as valuable as a well written business case. I say this because detailed business requirements provide clarity, just as a well written business case does.
What therefore does it take to create detailed business requirements? Here are my top five tips:
Whilst, as a Project Manager I prefer to manage a project my own way there is value in visiting the ‘Lessons Learned’ logs of previous projects run within the organisation to see where common problems or risk areas lie.
In the context of IT projects there will be very valuable lessons that will have been learned from other IT projects that have already been carried out by the organisation in areas such as data migration or system configuration, or business engagement, for example.. If this is the case, then doesn’t it make logical sense to tap into that wealth of knowledge and use it to better set up and manage your project?
Here’s a different form of negotiating.. Don’t accept ‘No’ as an answer, when you need something for your project. Why do I say that?
As a Project Manager I am being paid to ensure that I deliver this project for my Business Owner, to the best of my ability, on time, on budget and within scope. And yes, those are the standard project success factors. We can talk about other just as important things to measure success by, but I will leave that for another post.
In my opinion most people don’t really understand what ‘managing’ a project is actually about.
I have seen many project managers who do everything other than actually ‘manage’ what needs to be done in order to deliver the project. And in seeing this occur I also see that the project is usually flailing, falling behind, and there are problems delivering.
So, what does it actually mean to ‘manage’ when we talk in terms of a project.
It’s hard to see what project governance really is, because it can often feel like an unnecessary burden on a very busy Project Manager. But it is VERY important in ensuring that a project is run and delivered as it should be.
Never underestimate the value of Senior Management involvement in your project!
Your ability to gain buy-in and support from across an organisation is really dependent on having one or more Senior Managers along for the ride. Your project needs to be something that these managers talk about, whenever the opportunity arises.
Do you see yourself as a ‘Project Manager’ or a ‘Change Manager’ or a ‘Project Manager managing change’?
It is interesting considering the context of these titles. Project Managers are seen as people who manage projects, whilst Change Managers are seen as people who manage change related to projects, or as the outcome of projects. But on a number of projects there is only the Project Manager managing change.
Project managers are taught that if they spend hours developing a good clear and structured project plan, then their project has a better chance of success. Whilst the plan might ‘contribute’ to the success of a project by ensuring that tasks are defined, or at least listed, and there is some method for how the project is going to be run, the plan is only as good as your communication of it.
This week Elise Stevens from Fix My Project Chaos and I spoke about the difference in a business case for an Agile project.
This is the overview of our discussion.
An issue is something that is raised by anyone on the project. Issues are something that has been unresolved; is causing a problem; or that raises a question. It is information that is incomplete. An item that needs clarification or further investigation. How do you track them?
When you are the Project Manager on a software development project it is important that you understand the importance of the different testing requirements that are needed. I use the word needed, as I consider testing a very important part of any software development project, and something that doesn’t get enough time or effort allocated to it, in most instances.
This article will explore the difference between System Integration Testing (SIT) and User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and how you can best move from one testing phase to the other.
A Project Manager should be able to handle anything and everything that happens in line with their role of managing the delivery of a project. They shouldn’t need support or help, as they have the skills and resources to enable them to do the job.
What do you think of my statement?
There are eight key differences that I’ve picked up in writing a business case for an Agile project. This post discusses those 8 differences and what you need to consider when creating your business case using this method.
I really love project reports.
They tell so much of a story.
Do you think Project Managers (PMs) need negotiation skills?
I do. I have seen a lot of occasions where they would have come in handy. Times when the PM is getting push back from streams or stream leads about delivery items. In this instance it would be valuable for the PM to have some more formal negotiation skills under his/her belt.
Following a discussion I had last night about the issues surrounding benefits tracking for the business AFTER a project has been implemented, or more to the point, the difficulties in doing this, I got to thinking about this whole dilemma. Here are my thoughts:
There is debate from both camps of the project delivery method space – Agile vs waterfall when to use.
In my earlier post ‘Agile vs Waterfall methods‘ I described my understanding of both the Agile and Waterfall methods and which one I preferred.
I’ve had an email from ‘Adam’ who works in mining with some great comments that I would like to discuss.
If you are doing all of the things that point to project chaos then you are likely to have a clear understanding of how to confuse people in the business.
In my recent post titled ‘No collaboration = Project chaos‘ I spoke about the sorts of things that I see that cause chaos in a project. What I didn’t discuss in that post was the impact on the business stakeholders when this is occurring.
Have you ever run a Post Implementation Review (PIR) or seen one run?
I like to run PIR’s in an informal way. Why? Because I find that I get more out of people than when I have very formal processes and protocols about the way that they are run.
I want to thank all of the ‘ego’ driven project managers out there. Without them I wouldn’t gain such wonderful ideas for my blog posts.
A project team needs to be a group of individuals all striving for the same outcome. Let’s look at the difference of people that work as individuals on a project versus those that are really working as part of the team.
Most projects will have an Executive Sponsor. In Prince 2 terms I am referring to the ‘Executive’ and in PMBOK language this is the ‘Sponsor’. This is the person who (a) has the funds to pay for the project to go ahead and (b) is the person who will or should champion your project.
This person is very important to your project. They are the person that should be providing the face of your project at a senior level, making key decisions along the way based on their business knowledge and be very supportive of the team in such a way as to help the team sustain momentum along the delivery journey.
This week I have seen the real value of communicating. By explaining to the team “Why communicate change?” they have come on board fully for the project.
Do you know what it means to handover to BAU? BAU equals ‘Business As Usual’ by the way.
I find that IT teams usually don’t, because they are to caught up in the doing associated with the project. They have been so focused on delivery of all of the pieces for the system change, that they don’t think about what it means to handover or transition to BAU.
The importance of upskilling staff providing support to the business cannot be under estimated.
It is all too easy to assume that the staff providing support for a product or system have all of the knowledge or expertise that they need to be able to do that. Often they don’t.
This week I have been focused on developing support models for two different projects so felt it worthwhile discussing how to develop a support model that really does support the customer or end user.
Project chaos is not something that any business owner, project sponsor or project manager want and yet it can be an easy thing to achieve on projects when their is no real collaboration.
Here are some of the things that I see that cause chaos.
Today I had the privilege of participating in an all team meeting.
This meeting is the first one that has been held for this project. The project has been running for seven months now and at times there have been difficulties with it. The project team operate in two sites, in different cities, so communication is not easy. Whilst project team meetings are held over Video Conference (VC) there isn’t the same ‘one team’ feel as I have had in other project teams, understandably.
I see that people find it difficult to consider “collaboration” an important part of good project management, and yet for me it is one of the key elements of real team work. And the best possible way to get the project outcome that you want.
I decided to look at the hidden value of collaboration to try and express why it is so important.
Managing a project is easy, right? Most Project Managers, would answer No to that question. I thought that I would provide you with five easy ways to not manage a project in case you needed some help.
One key task for a project manager is to manager their resources so as to avoid burnout.
Burnout on projects is quite common these days with so many of them running over time and budget.
This has it’s toll on your project team members in ways that you really don’t want. Here are some tips on how to avoid this burnout (and it might just mean that your project is delivered on time too)
There are some basic things that people will see when they consider the cost of poor project planning. I would like to suggest that there are more ‘hidden’ costs that aren’t always visible. In this post I will talk about four hidden costs of poor project planning and once identified you might be able to stop them from occurring with better planning.
Today I want to look at some of the reasons why a business case gets turned down. Here are the top 5 reasons that I have seen over my time recently, reviewing business cases. What can you learn from this when you next need to write a business case?
Why would trust among team members be important in a project team even more so than in any normal circumstance? Or perhaps I should say, why it is needed even more so than ever? Because in a project team each and every individual contributing to the outcome of the project is reliant on each and every other person for something to ensure successful delivery. It is therefore very important that there is a strong level of trust among the team.
I’ve had an open mind about the Agile method of project delivery until recently. This post is going to compare my views on Agile vs Waterfall project delivery methods.
Previously I’ve been involved as a Project Manager working with both methods and my preferred method was Waterfall.
At that time though I really didn’t have enough experience with the use of Agile to make a really informed decision as to why I felt one was better than the other, but having recently worked on several more Agile projects I can now say that I feel I have a better understanding of which I prefer and why. So, here are my thoughts.
I cannot stress enough the importance of rigour around project plan tracking.
When you start a project you need to understand what it is that you are aiming to achieve at the end of your project. This will of course take the form of detailed information in a Project Initiation Document or Business Case, sometimes both.
You should also have detailed business requirements (for IT based projects) which detail exactly what the system will/should do when you’re finished. These will be used and validated during each of the project delivery phases, and especially in testing.
Have you thought about cultural impact on your project? Have you considered the culture of other teams or groups of people that you are working with in order to deliver your project? Is there culture different to yours and what is the impact of that?
When you first come across Project Management as a methodology it is not always easy to understand the difference between this (as a methodology) and the number of other methodologies out there. People often confuse what are process improvement methods with project management frameworks.
Why do I say that ‘testing equals your reputation’, because it does.
As a project manager it is your responsibility to ensure that what you are changing (and we are specifically talking about system changes here) are fully operational at the end of the project, to meet the agreed and defined terms of the business needs.
Do you understand how to gather business requirements or the need to? A Business Requirements Specification (BRS) or Business Requirements Document (BRD) is a key document that should form part of any project document suite. You should have Business Requirements produced as one of the first documents in a project. Consider that the business requirements … Read moreHow to Gather Business Requirements
Why would you stop a project before it even got started? Because the business benefits don’t stack up.
There has to be a good reason why time, money and resources are spent on changing something. That good reason is the business benefits that are going to be gained from making the change.
What is change management?
Change management is one of those terms that most people know very little about. Some people would tell you there is some framework, others would be able to tell you about the steps involved from the famous text by Kotter on managing change, but my instinct from working with project managers and the business alike is that they don’t really understand it.
There are a number of reasons why projects fail. Here are five of them.
These reasons come from my experience with remediation activities.
Good weekly project status reporting isn’t easy to do. The value of weekly status reporting on projects is that it allows problems to be captured as soon as they start to manifest, rather than finding them weeks or even months into project delivery.
Here I am going to provide five more tips for writing a business case. You might like to also read my earlier post on how to write a business case for other useful suggestions.
Lessons Learnt tracking .. sounds like more work right?
There is hidden value in creating a Lessons Learnt Log for you as a Project Manager, if you look at it from a different perspective.
It would be crazy to say that a project can run without any issues being identified. It is just not possible!
Issues come in many forms and can be items that require a small amount of attention to fix, or erupt from when they are first identified into much larger problems and even create a risk for your project. For this reason alone it is very important that an Issue or Issues Register is set up and used.
If a Project Control Board (PCB) is set up with the right people on it, and by this I mean, those with the level of decision making authority to be able to make decisions at a level to directly influence a project, then the project will be in the best state for it to deliver successfully.
A lot of people have difficulty in understanding how to document options in a business case. This post will help you understand more about what is required.
Change management is a project responsibility because every project involves some form of change. I haven’t yet found a project that doesn’t.
Most projects are done to address something, be it a system or process, that isn’t working and needs to be changed. Projects either (a) look at the change from the system or process perspective and forget about the people aspect of it, or (b) they forget about the change aspect altogether and think that by making the change to the system or process and dropping it back into the business that it will work fine.
There is real value in having impromptu chats with your Project Board members and this post explores why. Consider your Project Control Board (PCB) members as valuable to your project success. If you do that and engage with them in the best way you will gain strong support and be more likely to success with your delivery.
In today’s work space it seems that everyone is busy. There always seems to be more to do and not enough time to do it in. People will book meetings, usually for the standard hour, even though at times a much more productive meeting could be held in 15 minutes. This means that you can sometimes not be able to catch up with the key decision makers on your project when you need to.
One of the major benefits of clearly defining your business requirements is they help to lock in project scope.
This might not seem to make sense initially, but here are the five reasons why this is the case:
For successful project delivery, you need to capture detailed business requirements. Here’s a How-To guide for doing that. Remember to start with high-level requirements. You’ll find information on that process in the post on “How to capture business requirements“. Capturing these requirements get you thinking about your business process and how it works or doesn’t … Read moreHow to capture detailed business requirements
To capture good business requirements is not easy.
One of the hardest things to do well is capture business requirements. Why? Because most people go into solution mode and provide solution requirements, not requirements that articulate the business process.