Monday, December 31, 2012

What's The Best Site for Discussion Forums?

We just launched the vote for our next book study on the Project Management Book Club. In about a week we will have our next book selected and we will launch a study of the book online. For our past studies we have used a discussion group on LinkedIn. However, some have complained that the groups in LinkedIn are difficult to use or do not work well for an online book study.

So I am looking for suggestions. What sites have you used that work well for discussions groups? What do you see as the pros and cons of each site? What do you link or dislike about the sites you have used?

Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.

I appreciate you taking a few moments to provide your suggestions.

Have a great 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Project Management Blogs You Should Follow in 2013

During 2012 I had the great pleasure of getting to know some of the best project management professionals in the industry. Many of them have blogs or participate in social media. A few of them are well worth your time to follow and read. So here's my list of the project management blogs you should follow in 2013.

In alphabetical order...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

6 Ways to Help You Collaborate on Your Projects

CIOs and business managers will fail in their efforts to improve business performance outcomes through business process management (BPM) if they cannot overcome major barriers to cross-functional communication and collaboration, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that business leaders can avoid this failure by embracing extreme collaboration (XC), a new operating model and an extreme style of collaboration.

XC is enabled by combing four nexus forces into a pattern that can dramatically innovate the way people behave, communicate, work together and maintain relationships — often across wide organizational and geographic boundaries — to collectively deliver breakthrough process performance.

"Collaboration is a critical activity in many operational business processes, both structured and unstructured. An XC environment is essentially a virtual war room or crisis center, where people can come together to collaboratively work on a shared purpose," said Janelle Hill, VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "This environment is available 24/7, thus enabling people to work when, where and how they need to in order to meet shared goals and outcomes. What makes it extreme is people's willingness to cross geographic, organizational, political, management boundaries, to pool their collective skills and resources to solve problems and move toward the attainment of a shared, ambitious goal."

Gartner has identified six best practices for moving to a culture of XC:

Monday, December 17, 2012

10 Guidelines for Estimating Project Effort

By Susanne Madsen.

Susanne Madsen
Many projects start off on the wrong foot because the effort involved in delivering them has been underestimated. It is human nature to want to deliver something well and quickly, but underestimating the complexities of a project serves no one. As project managers it is our job to make sure that the team understands what the users want and how much it will cost to produce what they want. This is one of the cornerstones of being able to successfully deliver a project.

One of the prerequisites for producing a reasonable estimate is to have spent sufficient time analyzing and understanding the requirements and the proposed solution. Carry out too little analysis and the estimated solution remains unclear and risky. Carry out too much analysis and the team will have spent too much time in discussions at the expense of actually starting and delivering the work. You need to carry out enough analysis that the team has uncovered all the risky areas of the problem domain and that a robust solution is emerging. At that stage the team should be able to quantify what is known about the solution and what is unknown.

To become better at estimating project effort, take into consideration the following guidelines:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

7 Mistakes Project Managers Make

By Sean McPheat.

There are many mistakes that managers can make if they are not careful, which can be really damaging for the business and for their team – such as failing to give feedback, being overly critical and micromanaging – but project managers in particular can also be in danger of committing the following mistakes within their role.

1. Mistaking The Map For The Land

If a project plan calls for something to happen in a certain way, and that is not how it is happening, revise the plan to reflect reality. Do not try to force reality to conform to the plan. It often won’t fit exactly the way you had planned it, and you need to move with the progress of a project, not stand in the way of progress because it isn't going in the direction you had planned.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Leader's Edge: Developing an Extraordinary Mindset

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Kevin Ciccotti about his upcoming leadership webinar, "The Leader's Edge: Developing an Extraordinary Mindset." I have followed Kevin for a while and love his innovative approach to building relationships for project success. I encourage you to block off some time to attend this webinar. Based on my past experiences with Kevin, it will be well worth your time! If you can't attend in person, leave me a comment and I will send you a link to the recorded version.

Here's the interview.


Thomas: Kevin, tell me what you've been up to since the last time we talked.

Kevin Ciccotti
Kevin: Well, I've definitely been busy, Thomas! I've been refining my one-day workshop, "The Human Factor in Project Management" and I've been fortunate enough to have several companies bring me in to lead the training for their project teams. I'm busy with more coaching clients, and working with some large organizations that have global operations. I've also been speaking at more chapter dinners and events, leading webinars for various PMI Communities of Practice, and I even had the privilege of speaking at the recent PMI Global Congress in Vancouver.

Thomas: Sounds like you've really been working a variety of channels in reaching out to Project Managers. What is the latest project you're working on?

Friday, November 16, 2012

12 Tips to Problem Solve on Your Projects

Project managers face problems with every project. By building problem-solving into your project and problem collaboration into your project team you will ensure that problems are dealt with promptly. You will also establish a track record of being able to identify and deal with problems. This is a useful notch on your project manager’s belt.

Your goal is to identify problems early before they have an impact on the project. It is far easier to deal with a problem before it becomes a crisis. Here are some tips on problem solving methods for your project.

Friday, September 14, 2012

5 Ways to Manage Project Scope Creep

By Steve Hart

I have discussed on several occasions that “scope creep” is not a term that I am particularly fond of. The PMBOK® refers to project scope creep as uncontrolled changes. I have heard project managers say on more than one occasion, “My project is suffering from scope creep”. In my mind that statement translates into, “I have been unable to control change on my project”. One of the key responsibilities of the project manager is to identify and control change – in other words “managing the creep” on your project.

Team members often talk about the amount of change on the project. Change is an inevitable component of managing a project – nothing works out exactly as planned. The project manager effectively manages change by maintaining the appropriate balance between control and discipline to manage to the baseline plan, and flexibility to adapt the plans to meet customer expectations. The other aspect of good change management is that the project manager effectively communicates the source and impact of project changes. The worst form of change on a project is the type that is not controlled and cannot be explained – it is the CREEP.

Seven Habits for Highly Effective Project Risk Management

By Chris Bell.

When it comes to project management, over the years, the role of the Project Manager (PM) has evolved. Every project, large or small, comes with its own set of risks. As competition for bids increases, the ability to anticipate, acknowledge and create an actionable plan to address these risks becomes one of the most important elements in a capital project proposal.

For a long time, the PM position was highly focused on just the individual’s technical expertise. This is no longer the case. With the acknowledgement that project risk management is a crucial component of any undertaking, comes the increased awareness that on-time completion and remaining within budget is more about the successful orchestration and facilitation of others, than it is about technical knowledge.

What does that mean exactly? A report on the subject entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Project Managers” breaks down the habits that today’s successful PMs must learn in order to take their capital projects to the Best in Class level.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ESI International Enters the Collaborative Learning Space with Web-Based Community for Learning and Sharing Project Management Know How

ARLINGTON, VA, USA – September 11, 2012 –ESI International, the world's leading project management training company, today announced the launch of a project-focused, Web-based, collaborative learning community – Skillsharks ™.  Skillsharks utilizes familiar social mechanisms to provide an environment that includes ESI project management content, access to ESI experts, and the ability to ask and answer questions within a forum where users can share knowledge and know-how. The community is designed to be an engaging, business-focused environment to help project professionals quickly find information, learn on the fly and get results.

“Today’s professionals want access to diverse knowledge flows and the right tools for a project when they really need them,” said ESI Vice President, Global Learning, Technology & Delivery, Patrice Collins. “Project-focused professionals want to keep learning and bettering their performance in ways that are personally motivating, minimally invasive, professionally relevant, social, and integrated with work projects for maximum relevance.”

Upon entering the Skillsharks community, members can identify the learning path they are interested in:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tips for Managing IT Projects

By Ryan Sauer.

Managing IT projects has many similarities to other industry projects; however technical projects often require specialized skills to be successful. Understanding the project from an IT standpoint allows the project manager to recognize the possibilities and potential road blocks of the project.

As with other projects, knowing the characteristics of your team is important. Tech specialists have a reputation for being more introverted than their counterparts. However, they tend to be excellent problem solvers and more logically minded which is beneficial to any project’s bottom line.

Combining technical expertise with familiarity of the team will produce the best project manager for tech projects. An experienced PM should recognize the resources and potential barriers to determine a realistic action plan.

Maintaining focus on the management and leadership of your team, and staying aware of specific technical needs, you’ll be better able to manage scope and timeline of your project.

To stay on track you’ll need a well planned project, budget and your team. A few tips to manage your next IT projects include:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Virtual Professional Development Symposium

Summer is here! It's the time of year for learning, sharing and networking. And for unveiling the first ever Virtual Professional Development Symposium (VPDS) in PMI’s history on 6th June 2012, brought you by the IS CoP.

Earn up to 6 PDUs to apply toward your re-certification (see agenda below). 
This event has a limited number of available seats. So if you plan to attend, you should register TODAY!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Free Access to PMI Salary Survey

The Project Management Institute is providing free access to its 2011 Salary Survey (Seventh Edition) for PMI members. The survey includes salary and bonus information from more than 30,000 project management practitioners from around the world.

Represented countries include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.

Demographics captured include country of employment, position description, years work experience, years worked in key techniques, years worked in project management, highest formal education level obtain, degree in project management, PMP status, training per year, gender, department/function, industry, type of project, number of employees in entire organization, average project team size, and typical project budget.

Note: You must log in to PMI before attempting to access the download link. If you are not currently a PMI member you should join PMI today!

Download the 2011 PM Salary Survey

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Social Media for Project Managers Book Study Starts May 13th

The Project Management Book Club has announced the upcoming online study of the PMI best-selling book, Social Media for Project Managers with award-winning blogger Elizabeth Harrin.

Social Media for Project Managers takes a never-before-seen look at the impact and possibilities of using social media for enhancing project delivery.

It is a book for project teams that investigates the role that social media plays in helping a project manager be more effective in his or her job. The internet has given us new ways to communicate with people and organize information, and as much of project management is exactly that, this book shows project managers how they can harness this new technology to enhance their ability to work effectively with others on projects.

Social Media for Project Managers covers three reasons why project managers should become involved with social media:
  • It enables the project manager to work more effectively
  • It enables other people to work more effectively
  • It positions the project manager as a 21st century professional in an increasingly competitive and crowded marketplace.
Readers can use this book in a practical way to improve how they deliver projects by:
  • Being more effective through the use of technology
  • Understanding the way other teams and individuals use technology and being able to tap into that to reduce rework, especially in the area of status reporting
  • Being aware of their online presence and using this to improve career prospects.
Don’t miss this opportunity to read and discuss Social Media for Project Managers with author Elizabeth Harrin. Join the study today!

Friday, April 6, 2012

How do you SHARE your lessons learned?

We are just finishing up the online study of 'The Lazy Project Manager' through the Project Management Book Club. One of the discussion questions late in the study is about sharing lessons learned. Although the question generated some interesting responses, I didn't really come away with a clear understanding of how to do this, just theories.

Capturing lessons learned is a best practice for project management. Some do it, some don't. For those that do capture lessons learned, the primary reason for doing so is to improve--to learn from the past so you can improve in the future. And the way you improve is to reference the lessons learned during future project so that you can learn from the mistakes or challenges that previous project teams experienced. You could argue that a PMO could also use lessons learned to improve templates and processes as well.

But what good is capturing lessons learned if you do not have a good way to SHARE your lessons leanred? What good is capturing lessons learned if future project teams do not have a way to access the information?

So let's talk about it.

What does your company do to capture and share your lessons learned? When you start a new project, how do you retrieve lessons learned from previous projects. How? Do you look for internal lessons learned or external lessons learned (or both)? How do you incorporate the lessons learned from previous projects into your own projects?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Lazy Fight

Funny story...

We are currently studying the book The Lazy Project Manager at the Project Management Book Club. I was working on writing one of the posts last night and my son stopped into my home office to talk. He noticed the book sitting on my desk and asked what it meant by 'lazy.' He asked if lazy meant that the project manager was a 'bad' project manager.

I told him that in this situation the term lazy meant smart. It meant that the project manager did things in a way that made the project much more organized and easier to manage for everyone involved. By doing this, the project manager and the team were more productive and were able to get more done with less effort.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Project Management Daily News

Translation Series: PMI's 2013 "Pulse of the Profession™" Report Identifies the High Cost of Low Performance - Voices on Project Management

avatar Shared by
PMI's blog team

blogs­ - The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.

5 Project Management Secrets You Can Use
avatar Shared by
Rafael Gazabón, PMP
thumbnail www­ - Project management is one of those fields of which many people have heard, but few are familiar. In fact, some people can view it as downright intimidating, especially considering the size and comp...
Work Prioritization: Stop Being a Prisoner of the "Urgent"
avatar Shared by
Michele Gillich
thumbnail blogs­ - Why is saying the word "no" so difficult sometimes? Especially at work, it seems like we half expect our colleagues to react to the answer of "no" by either thinking we're complete slackers who are...
Coaching Project Managers
avatar Shared by
Sebastián Pons Páez
pmchat­.net - In a PM context, Coaching is the practice of helping project manages to identify and articulate what their professional challenges, goals and aspirations are and subsequently assist them in achievi...
Today's quiz question on project management is…
avatar Shared by
Marcel Ekkel
www­ - Let me set some context first before posing you a question around 150 of us were asked. I signed up for an APM webinar on Monday of this week (March 25) and along with around an audience of 150 lis...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Dinosaur Theory

In "The Lazy Project Manager" author Peter Taylor draws a contrast between Monty Python's Dinosaur Theory and his "Lazy Project Manager Theory of Projects." For those unfamiliar with the Monty Python skit, here it is. Enjoy!!!

After watching the video, join in on the discussion WITH author Peter Taylor!

Project Management Daily News

What's the Story? Stakeholders Want to Know - Voices on Project Management
avatar Shared by
PMI's blog team
blogs­ - There is nothing like a good story to connect with project stakeholders and team members. Storytelling has been used to communicate sophisticated ideas for millennia, ranging from the parables in t...

James Bach's Blog » Blog Archive » Testing and Checking Refined
avatar Shared by
Jan Jaap Cannegieter
thumbnail www­ - This post is co-authored with Michael Bolton. We have spent hours arguing about nearly every sentence. Testing and tool use are two things that have characterized humanity from its beginnings. (Not...
Understanding the PRINCE2 Approach to Organisation
avatar Shared by
Albert Cubeles
blog­ - Organisation is essential for a project to succeed and project managers need to understand this in order to communicate, negotiate and deal with everyone involved in a project. PRINCE2 offers an el...

Storytelling – a key competence for project managers?
avatar Shared by
Cornelius Fichtner
thumbnail www­ - This is a guest post by Merv Wyeth, Project Management Consultant at Chanctonbury Associates Ltd. Imagine my delight at being selected to participate in an invitation-only event about management me...

Walden University's M.S. in Project Management Accredited by the PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs
avatar Shared by
Grandmaster PM
www­ - MINNEAPOLIS, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Walden University's M.S. in Project Management program has been accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI) Global Accreditation Center for Proj...                                 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Project Management Daily News

Best Project Management Tools for the Low-Cost Startup in 2013
avatar Shared by
Brendan Schneider
thumbnail dashburst­.com - Project Management is a beast. Communication, sharing documents, tracking time: managing a project can become a headache real quick. It's no wonder startups love to use project management tools (sp...
What is your Project Management Software tool of choice?
avatar Shared by
Project Smart News
www­ - What is your Project Management Software tool of choice? Many of us are mandated to use whatever project management software our company uses, or our PMO has chosen, or in some cases what your comp...
Whitewater Projects, Inc. to Develop Agile Project Management Office Curriculum for Project Management Institute (PMI)
avatar Shared by
Grandmaster PM
thumbnail www­ - The rapid pace of innovation and communication has forced businesses of all sizes to remain nimble and fleet footed -- to react to shifts in the marketplace and cause even bigger changes in return....
Why Ask "Why?" in Agile - Voices on Project Management
avatar Shared by
Paul R. Williams
blogs­ - When we're first introduced to agile, we learn so many steps and procedures that it's easy to forget why they're useful. The exam to become a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® asks questi...
The Parent Project: Month 2
avatar Shared by
Cornelius Fichtner
www­ - Eight weeks or so in, and The Parent Project is causing a lot of debate in our house. Thanks for all your lovely comments and emails about Jack, and your advice about how I can use my project manag...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Productive Laziness and Bare Necessities

We are currently underway studying "The Lazy Project Manager" by Peter Taylor. In part of his book Peter compares the concept of productive laziness to the "Bare Necessities" video. He uses it to drive home the importance of the 80/20 rule and focusing on what is truly important.

For a step back in time, watch this video!


After watching the video, join in on the discussion WITH author Peter Taylor!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Tribute To Project Management

I love this tribute to project management by pmStudent Founder, Josh Nankivel.

Well done Josh!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Lazy Project Manager--Overview by Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor, author of the best-selling book, The Lazy Project Manager, is scheduled to participate in an upcoming study of his book with Project Management Book Club. In the following podcast Peter provides a quick overview of the key concepts in his book.

To participate in the online study of The Lazy Project Manager, join today!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Project Management Book Club

Do you read books about project management? Do you want a way to study project management books online with other project managers and project team members? Then the Project Management Book Club might be for you!

The Project Management Book Club is the online book club for project managers and project teams. But it isn't just another online book club. The Project Management Book Club is different in two ways:

First, as the title implies, the Project Management Book Club focuses on studying books about project management to help project managers and project teams study and discuss project management topics.

Second, the authors of project management books directly participate in the online book studies and discussions! That's right... you get to study WITH the book authors and ask them questions to further expand your knowledge about the project management topic of study.

So how does it work?

The process is simple. In collaboration with its members, the Project Management Book Club picks a project management book to study, they set a starting date, they purchase the book, and then they discuss the book in the members only online forum. In addition, all previous book studies are captured and archived so members can go back at any time to review discussions about project management books studied in the past.

However, quite possibly the best part of the Project Management Book Club is the connections you will make with other project managers and project team members. The Project Management Book Club brings together people from around the globe to study and discuss books about project management.

To learn more, visit the Project Management Book Club.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Human Factor in Project Management

By Kevin Ciccotti.

If you’re a Project Management Professional, one thing I know about you is that you tend to love data and statistics. You’re constantly collecting, analyzing, and combing through information to validate or mitigate project issues that you may encounter. Fair enough. Data is incredibly important in our world. And sometimes we become so obsessed with data and statistics, that we miss what’s right in front of us.

Let’s talk for a moment about why projects fail. I know, not very sexy. We don’t like to focus on things that make us feel uncomfortable. And yet, by avoiding those things, we set ourselves up to repeat them. I was involved in project work for my former company for about 18 years, and have been working with PM’s as a coach for more than four years now, and the one thing I know is that projects can and do fail.

When we hold post mortem meetings to review “What went wrong?” we typically have as many answers to that question as there are people in the room. Poor communication, unclear expectations, scope creep, lack of engagement, and on and on. Certainly many of those things can and do impact our projects. When it comes to managing projects, you can have the best resources, well-defined processes, a terrific blueprint, and clearly articulated goals and outcomes. Still, the success or failure of your project will depend largely on one decisive factor – The Human Factor.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Strategic Importance of the Enterprise Project Management Office

By Michael Stanleigh.

Many project management offices (PMOs) are not successful in addressing the strategic priorities of their organization because they are departmentally based and not enterprise-wide. This reduces their span of influence and limits corporate support. This is a finding from a comprehensive research study of 750 global organizations that was conducted by Business Improvement Architects. The research shows that PMO’s are more effective and can better impact the bottom line, when they are operating at the corporate enterprise-wide strategic level, rather than at the departmental level.

According to the study, fifty-seven percent (57%) of survey respondents indicated that all levels within an organization had not embraced the direction of the PMO. However, sixty (60%) of interviewees who headed departmentally based PMOs indicated that all levels of their departments embraced the direction of the PMO. The findings suggest that departmentally based Project Management Offices are successful in their own silos but not accepted outside their span of influence, and therefore, are unable to influence the organization as a whole.

An examination of the traditional Project Management Office model compared to the more current corporate-wide (Enterprise) approach helps in building this case for moving the PMO to this more strategic, enterprise-wide position.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Is Your IT Aligned With The Business?

By Nicholas Colisto

Year after year, IT survey results inevitably state that one of the top priorities for the coming year will be to align IT with the business. It is as if alignment is some unattainable and mysterious process and IT leaders prefer to avoid it out of fear of failure - or perhaps out of fear of receiving more work as a result. The topic certainly gets a lot of attention and is often the source of many articles and postings - such as this one, as well as presentations at IT conferences. After the requisite Google search, I found 3,300,000 results on the topic!

To make this posting standout and ascend above the rest of the chatter, I will describe what alignment is and precisely how to build it for your organization. That's right, the first practical guide to achieving IT alignment!

According to Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT), an IT governance framework, strategic alignment focuses on ensuring the linkage of business and IT plans; on defining, maintaining and validating the IT value proposition; and on aligning IT operations with enterprise operations. While COBIT provides the definition of what alignment is all about, I will help explain how you actually get there in the proverbial "real world." There are three stages of alignment: Order taking, Priority setting, and Strategy setting. If you get these right, you will be aligned with your business and be able to answer a resounding "YES, I HAVE ALIGNMENT" in the next CIO survey you receive on the topic.