Project Governance and Definition

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Projects build capabilities to met corporate goals. If you are a CEO, you need to make sure your employees and vendors know what those goals are and how they fit in to the plan. If you are a project manager, you need to know the bounds of you project. If you are anywhere in between, you need to understand how all the pieces fit together and keep it all aligned.

Most organizations consist of multiple business and support units, each populated by highly trained, experienced executives. But often the efforts of individual units are not coordinated, resulting in conflicts, lost opportunities, and diminished performance.

Sunday, 05 August 2012 00:00

Poor Leadership, The Progenitor Of PMOs

Image PMO not equal to LeadershipLet me be perfectly clear, I hate PMOs. It matters not if you call them project management offices, program management offices, or portfolio management offices, they only spell one thing—poor leadership. Now those of you that know me, have heard this enough times that your eyes are rolling back as you mumble, "Here he goes again. Who set the bait in front of him this time?" However, I have confused people with a couple of PMO articles that might seem contrary.

Monday, 21 April 2014 00:00

Program/Project Launch Workshop

Flier Photo

A project's destiny is set very early, often before the project even starts. A properly run project launch is the first opportunity when all of the key project stakeholders are gathered and can identify and correct issues. Critical to the kickoff's and project's success is having the right stakeholders reviewing and agreeing to the project approach, risks, and mitigations. Without this short alignment workshop the incident of project failure is much higher.

Project Launch Benefits Include:

  • Set up the project for the best chance of success.
  • Define the proper project approach through prototyping solutions.
  • Identify and vet major project risks.
  • Assess mitigation strategies.
  • Determine contingency requirements.
  • Attain consensus on roles and responsibilities.
Sunday, 15 August 2010 00:00

Why Estimates are Always Wrong

Estimating Cartoon

Estimates are a pain in the... er... butt. Everyone hates doing them. The reason? They are always wrong. They are either too optimistic, when we think we know more than we do, or they are overly padded, trying to account for the unexpected. Other times it is much more subconscious. Some little voice in the back of our heads is working on our conscience to change the perception of the work required. We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to creating estimates and do even more harm when we go to work the task. For now, let us look at a couple factors that influence how we determine the length of time it takes to do simple tasks and save the effects of that estimate for another article. With a little audience cooperation, we will produce a fun answer from a simple mental exercise.

Monday, 21 April 2014 00:00

Subcontractor SOW and Contract Review

SOW Review Report Photo

Prior to signing any contract or statement of work (SOW) it should be reviewed by your legal team. While legal experts understand legalities that will helpful in court, they are not delivery experts who can determine whether a SOW will provide you with the product that you anticipate, need, and desire. This review will analyze the scope, methodology, deliverables, and proposed cost to identify for areas that point to weaknesses in the ability to deliver or misalignment in intentions that could result in project failure.

SOW Review Benefits:

  • Demystify the SOW.
  • Get more value from your subcontractor.
  • Minimize risk and vulnerability.
  • Save money by avoiding risk.
  • Eliminate ambiguity.
  • Understand and resolve the gaps between the contract and SOW.
  • Identify what is missing that should be added.
  • Proactive, Preventative, Productive.
Sunday, 28 February 2010 00:00

When PMs OD, Projects Run Better

Most projects do not fail for the problems on the project; they fail for the problems in the organizations associated with them. Even issues within the project are usually personnel related requiring the project manager to do more counseling than managing. So where does the project manager get these skills? Unfortunately, they come from experience; few come from formal training. Instead, project managers get training on process, which, as can be seen in many of my articles, is misguided. Project managers need to spend more time developing the organizations, making them stronger. Without doing extensive organization development, projects will continue to fail.

Friday, 07 November 2014 00:00

Project Retrospective Workshop

Proejct Retrospective Flier PhotoTired of doing the same thing and expecting the different results? The goal of a properly run retrospective is to do more of the good things and fewer of the bad. Even well run projects have lessons that we can learn. Preforming a retrospective on a project allows you to capture the highs and lows of a project and integrate that information into a library for others to use.

The lessons could be about handling risk, a new process for you company, allocation of resources, or a multitude of other data. Without discussing and capturing that item, you are left to reinvent this wheel or stumble in the same hole in the future. Objectivity, experience, and an unbiased perspective are key for conducting a value-laden retrospective that solves problems instead of looking for blame, and that complements team work over the individual hero. It takes an experienced outsider who is removed from the history and politics to see the issues and make the recommendations that will maximize the lessons learned.

Alignment: Using the Balanced Scorecard to Create Corporate Synergies

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Author:Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Released: April 2006
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 320
ISBN:978-0201835953

Projects build capabilities to met corporate goals. If you are a CEO, you need to make sure your employees and vendors know what those goals are and how they fit in to the plan. If you are a project manager, you need to know the bounds of you project. If you are anywhere in-between, you need to understand how all the pieces fit together and keep it all aligned.

Most organizations consist of multiple business and support units, each populated by highly trained, experienced executives. But often the efforts of individual units are not coordinated, resulting in conflicts, lost opportunities, and diminished performance.

Sunday, 14 February 2010 00:00

Quality Decisions are a Thing of the Past

Sign of a quality decision, so thought the decider

Recently I have seen an abundance of references to decision making in everything from presentations to job titles. Yes, I said job title. Director of Quality Decisions. The second thing that struck me (the first being that it was actually a title) was that it was too low in the company. Are other leadership roles like C-Levels, Presidents, and VPs exempt? Unfortunately, I know little about that job and cannot find the person that got the position. I would love to interview him or her.

Last week I had coffee with fellow tweep, Peter Kretzman, at the Zeitgeist Coffee in Seattle. We had a wonderful conversation and shared stories, philosophies, and impressions. In the process we stumbled upon a common literary love—The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick Brooks. I read it for the first time last summer and Peter reads every few years. We both extolled the virtues of the book and lamented at the fact that so many of the items Brooks brings up continue to plague us today.

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Filling Execution Gaps

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