Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

PM News Digest from PM AdvisorIn this latest roundup of news from the world of project, program and portfolio management we highlight news and articles which have caught our eye recently.

There is a lot of emphasis in this round-up on the role of project sponsors, governance, factors for P3 success and agile as well as other interesting news.


Researchers Argue that Social Networks Can Improve Project Management

The Rolla Daily News

Contrary to the notion that social networks are time-wasters, they could improve project management and the spread of specialized knowledge according to the paper “Improving Knowledge Sharing in Healthcare Through Social Network Analysis”.

pmiEU Regulations Increase Importance of Project Management


PMI observe that “The EU has approved regulations that increase the importance of applied project management skills and methods as criteria for selecting beneficiaries of EU cohesion and structural funds.”

logo-sciforma-colorSciforma CEO Talks of Planning Your Business Around Sequence of Client Needs


An interesting read. We love the quote “Whatever product or service you are offering needs to evolve around not only the set of needs your prospects have, but also the order in which they need those needs fulfilled.”

Architects’ Project Management Role Not Fully Understood


Andrew Heaton reports findings that that many people did not fully understand the value architects can bring.

How To Succeed at Project Governance


Phil Weinzimer asks the question “Why can’t IT organizations figure out how to avoid the high project-failure rate experienced by so many companies?”.

Executive Sponsor Engagement Drives Project & Program Success


No surprises here from PMI, but positive reinforcement as to the importance of project sponsors. Mark Langley makes a valuable quote “Effective project sponsors use their influence within an organization to actively overcome challenges by communicating the project’s alignment to strategy, removing roadblocks, and driving organizational change.”

How to Be a Great Project Sponsor


Russell Harley shares some great tips for being a great sponsor:

  • Be there,
  • Don’t Delegate,
  • Trust your SMEs, and
  • The PM is NOT a sponsor.

How to Smash It as a Project Sponsor


Colin Ellis provides a few tips for project sponsors:

  • Governance isn’t something you can delegate,
  • Only fools rush in,
  • If you are the only person interested, you should stop it,
  • You need to manage the PM, and
  • Big projects are a thing of the past – break them up.

10 Ways to Improve Program Management

Federal News Radio

Shelfful Kapadia of Federal News Radio spoke with executives from the Project Management Institute, Accenture Federal Services and Deloitte to come up with the following Top10 Tips:

  1. Align projects with organizational strategy,
  2. Manage broadly and dive deeply,
  3. Prioritise to avoid scattered behaviour,
  4. Find human capital using the talent triangle,
  5. Engage with suppliers to ensure their solutions meet missions,
  6. Employ ‘best value’ acquisitions whenever possible,
  7. Communicate challenges directly and honestly,
  8. Learn and leverage from the private sector,
  9. Follow the example of a respected program manager, and
  10. Go back to basics.

Don’t Forget About Behaviours and Attitudes

APM Blog

Paul Naybour from Project Accelerator reminds us that when we talk about a project manager’s toolbox we should be thinking of methods, software, soft skills and other competencies such as behaviours and attitudes.

VisualisationThe Power of Visualisation: VIDEO

Pinnacle Blog

This super video from Mark Woeppel of Pinnacle Strategies explains why and how visualising your project or workflow helps your team see quickly where things are and what they need to do, solving the most basic problem of working together – agreement on the problem.

Agile Project Management in and Agile World

CA Blog

Robert Stroud explains that in this era where business is powered by software, to deliver on accelerating business demands, a rapidly growing number of organizations are embracing Agile development.

APM LogoHow to Manage Agile

APM Blog

Brian Wernham describes 7 easily understandable agile governance behaviours:

  1. “Show Me”,
  2. Be incremental,
  3. Expect early business benefits,
  4. Go for smooth flow of work,
  5. Never slip a deadline,
  6. Reduce work in progress, and
  7. Talk to people.

5 Mistakes Project Managers Can Make


We’ve all watched The Apprentice and seen some fairly common mistakes (do the new intake never watch previous episodes?). Katie Hawksworth suggests 5 common mistakes:

  1. The “I’m Project Manager so do as I say” attitude,
  2. Playing the waiting game,
  3. Skipping out peripheral team members,
  4. Poor delegation, and
  5. Scattered or incomplete project information.

6 Fundamentals of Project Management Success

Federal Times

20 years after Cobb’s Paradox was written, Mark Forman reflects on the difference between successful and unsuccessful projects, suggesting 6 fundamentals:

  1. Address the risks,
  2. Simplify,
  3. Analyse the alternatives,
  4. Focus on benefits realisation,
  5. Employ the right incentive structure, and
  6. Own the governance.

10 Steps to Keep Projects on Track

Tech Cocktail

Santosh Satya suggests ten simple yet highly effective ways to ensure high quality project work gets done on schedule and within budget constraints:

  1. Define the project on paper,
  2. Create a work plan,
  3. Define relevant procedures,
  4. Monitor the budget,
  5. Keep an eye on the schedule,
  6. Stay alert for early warning signs,
  7. Keep upper management (or sponsors) informed,
  8. Safeguard against scope creep,
  9. Manage risks, and
  10. Resolve problems quickly.

Forests or Trees – The Constant Tension of Product & Project Management

LinkedIn Pulse

Cliff Gilley highlights the very real differences between project and product managers: time/scope/resources vs strategy/roadmap/requirements.

We hope that you have found this news roundup of interest, or maybe even of use.  As always we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Project Management Tools News Digest from PM Advisor

In this latest roundup of news from the world of project management tools, we highlight news and articles which have caught our eye recently.

New Industry Standard for Mac Mind Mapping & Gantt Charts


MatchWare’s highly-anticipated MindView 5 Business Mac boasts a powerful new feature set that helps project managers and other users maximize productivity, accuracy and quality, while reducing time, cost and risk.


Alternatives to Basecamp


GetApp (which clearly wants to signpost readers to new Applications, provide an interesting assessment of some of the options available when Basecamp isn’t up to the job. We do wonder though do they really understand the basis of Basecamp – collaboration?


Wrike Wants to Bring Project Management and Collaboration to the Masses


This is an interesting interview by Bruce Rogers. Wrike have a super goal: “In the future, whenever anyone needs to get something done in the workplace, the first thing that comes to his or her mind is Wrike.”


Top 5 PM Software Tools on the Market


Stu Roberts bravely selects his top5 from the hundreds of tools available:

  1. Basecamp,
  2. Clarizen,
  3. Mavenlink,
  4. Comindware, and
  5. Wrike.


iScope Pro Releases New Version of Project Task Management Tool


This iPad app make project planning easy. It uses cards which sit on 3 horizontal rails (which represent a level of detail in the work breakdown). Additionally it presents a “dashboard”, albeit with a minimal amount of details at any one time. Delivers a Single-screen Experience for Microsoft-based Collaboration Tools for Project Management

Enterprise mobile collaboration leader now makes managing projects easier by bringing together Office 365, SharePoint, OneDrive, Lync and Yammer into a single screen on desktops or mobile devices.

Pitfalls of PM Software Implementation


The PROJECTinsight blog offers this useful guide to the common pitfalls in implementing PM Tools.

  • Lack of leadership or sponsorship,
  • No communication plan (or a weak one),
  • No incentives to change,
  • Trying to ‘go it alone’, and
  • Implementing software without considering your business process.


Central Desktop Acquired by PGi

Central Desktop
PGi recently announced the acquisition of Central Desktop, Inc., a leading cloud-based team collaboration and project management platform for businesses.


Project Management Apps – Which is Best for Your Team?

Laura Shin was overwhelmed by the choice of PM Tools. She looked at lots including Apptivo, AtTask, Droptask, Huddle, Podio, Smartsheet, Wrike and Zoho, but ended up with a short-list of three:

  1. Asana,
  2. Basecamp, and
  3. Trello.


Smartsheet, the PM Tool Cloaked as a Spreadseet, Adds Visualisation

Juan Carlos Perez reports that Smartsheet, whose namesake online project management app uses a spreadsheet interface, has developed a visualization tool to let its customers graph and map workgroups in their organizations for better planning and supervision.


Kitovu – New Task & Time Management Tool

Kitovu is a client-centric task-management and time tracking system targeted at any client-focused work, such as consulting, freelancing, architecture, IT, engineering.


7 Free Online Collaboration & PM Tools


Rich Hein looks at 7 free tools:

  1. GanttProject
  2. Podio
  3. Asana,
  4. Google Apps,
  5. Yammer,
  6. Trello, and
  7. HipChat.

RationalPlan 4.10 – Project Management Software Now Available as SaaS

There are a number of changes in this latest release including:

  • Added web-based project management module,
  • RationalPlan products are available on App Store on Mac OS X,
  • Added filters in Timesheet view,
  • Added more reports,
  • Improved integration with MS© Project 2013 files,
  • Added Notes column for tasks and projects,
  • Added possibility to display a special color for 100% complete tasks,
  • Better rendering for exported Excel spreadsheets, and
  • Added support for special characters in Windows installer.


Why Are Trello Making an App for Doing Everything?

Trello can be used for everything from wedding planning to sales management. Sarah Kessler asks will an app made for everyone end up pleasing no-one?


PPM Software Market worth $4bn by 2019?

Markets and Markets
Food for thought – explains the slew of start-ups and M&A activity in the space!

If you are excited about a some PM Tool news and you’d like us to cover it here on PM Advisor, drop us a line or comment below.

Hosted Services Seminar, Bromsgrove

On 31st October ProjExc will be joining Fujitsu, Microsoft, Clarity Solutions and 5nines at a hosted services seminar in Bromsgrove looking at virtualisation, disaster recovery and business continuity.

If you are anxious about how your organisation would respond to a critical incident and be able do the things necessary to survive, you can learn more for free.  Get more details here 5nines_seminar-31oct14.pdf on this unique opportunity or register by calling 5nines on 01527 570535.


Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

In this latest roundup of news from the world of project, program and portfolio management we highlight news and articles which have caught our eye recently.


Project management company Daptiv sells to Changepoint


Blair Hanley Frank reports that Daptiv Solutions, a Seattle-based project portfolio management company, has been acquired by Changepoint, a Toronto company that builds professional services automation software.

Fine-tuning your project management style: 4 tips on how to successfully blend Agile, Waterfall methodologies


Eric Morgan argues that organisations with successful development cycles appear to employ a mix of agile and waterfall. He offers 4 tips for harmonisation without sacrificing visibility or productivity:

  1. Transition slowly
  2. Provide professional training
  3. Allow teams to communicate across methodologies
  4. Speak a language everyone understands

Agility in project management requires a fully functioning eye

CapGemini Blog

Henk-Jan van der Klis looks at how to breakdown the 46 IPMA PM competence elements into 3 groups – behavioural, technical and contextual and focus on leadership.

Five Project Management Blunders (and How to Avoid Them)


Sean Crafts shares 5 common mistakes and suggests what to do to avoid them in your projects:

  1. No clearly defined scope of work
  2. Project delays
  3. Team member roles not clearly defined
  4. Lack of communication
  5. Project managers are unprepared to face challenges


Updatey v2 Goes Live

Updatey Blog

With Updatey version 2, you’ll see improved performance, design changes, and most excitingly, the Workspace and a new Dashboard.

The Purpose Of Guiding Principles in Project Management

Herding Cats

Glen Alleman explains that these 5 guiding principles define the key criteria for making decisions about the application of a project’s Practices and Processes:

  1. Goal
  2. Plans
  3. Resources
  4. Risk
  5. Measures

Why Every Employee Needs to be a Project Manager

IDG Connect

Eric Morgan from AtTask argues that in the aftermath of the global recession all employees are now required to act and think as PMs. This means embedding PM skills at every level and preparing the workforce for decentralised project management.

Managing Agile Teams with Project Managers


Ben Linders offers his views and those of 3 bloggers on this often controversial subject.


Reenergizing Project Managers


PMI observe that organisations go to great lengths and considerable cost to find the right project practitioners. However many can slide into mediocrity if interest in the work wanes. A disengaged project manager can lower team morale, blow budgets, delay schedules and eat up a supervisor’s time and attention. By noticing and addressing the problem early, organisations can refresh a practitioner’s engagement levels — and keep performance on track. Their suggestions:

  • Recognise red flags,
  • Confront the issue head on,
  • Assess skills,
  • Assign a mentor, and
  • Follow-up.


Project and Task-Management Tool Trello Hits 5 Million Users


Trello, the web-based visual task-management system, announced recently that it now has more than 5 million users.

Project Risk Management – 10 Golden Rules

International Business Times

International Business Times suggests 10 golden rules for ensuring that risks are adequately managed in projects:

  1. Make risk management part of your project
  2. Identify risks early in your project
  3. Communicate about risks
  4. Consider both threats and opportunities
  5. Clarify ownership issues
  6. Prioritise risks
  7. Analyse risks
  8. Plan and implement risk responses
  9. Register project risks
  10. Track Risks and Associated Tasks

APM Logo

Wellingtone and APM partner on career service for profession


Dayner Proudfoot announces that Wellingtone and APM have formed a unique alliance to provide a career development service to the project management profession.

5 Project Portfolio Management Apps That Give You ‘The Big Picture’


GetApp suggest 5 portfolio management applications:

  1. AtTask
  2. Mavenlink
  3. EPM Live
  4. Clarizen
  5. Wrike

5 Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses


Kathleen Olson recommends the 5 best PM tools for small businesses:

  1. Asana
  2. Casual
  3. Basecamp
  4. Apollo HQ
  5. Flow

Movidiam: New Networking & Project Management Platform for Filmmakers


Ethan Vincent reports that there is a new online platform called Movidiam which aims to be a creative network that allows brands, agencies and filmmakers to connect, collaborate and work together on films and projects.

Projectmates V13.0 Raises the Bar for Construction Project Management Software

Digital Journal

Systemates, Inc. recently announced the upgrade of Projectmates version 13.0, its best and most innovative version of Projectmates construction project management software to date. Enterprise ad hoc reports and dashboards were added to give clients unprecedented control over project data.

Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

In this latest roundup of news from the world of project, program and portfolio management we highlight news and articles which have caught our eye recently.



Who is the real project customer?

Brad Egeland offers a wise reminder that products are produced for the benefit of the end user.  Program and project managers rightly devote a lot of time worrying about benefits realisation, but those benefits will only be realised if the deliverable (or product) is used!

Why value for money is not just about the cost

Anna Patricia Valerio follows on the theme of benefits but from a very different perspective, one which it’s certainly important for us consultants to keep “front of mind”.

The CPO bringing the strength of the project manager into the boardroom

This super article reflects on how PMOs are often seen as an extension of the IT function, and looks at the value of the Chief Project Officer, and the very strong message the appointment rightly sends out to the organisation.  We have seen this used effectively where the top table recognise the fundamental value of P3 (projects, programs and portfolio) and it’s professional governance and that the necessary competence is not yet valued organisationally.

Top 20 twitter influencers for project management

Lovely list, but we’re mystified as to why our @JWinLickey isn’t there even if we‘re not (sarcasm alert).
Linked In

5 project management groups to join on LinkedIn 

and sticking with Social Media for Project Management, this is a great list from the Wrike Blog – take a look.


We have 5 PM competence related 5’s this time:


5 critical skills for successful project management

  1. Communication
  2. Organisation
  3. Planning
  4. Leadership, and
  5. Flexibility

5 career pathways for project management degree holders 

  1. Operations Management
  2. Construction
  3. Industrial/Product Development
  4. Information Technology, and
  5. Environmental

5 project management skills that will help you grow your business 

  1. Resource Allocation
  2. Time Management
  3. Budgeting
  4. Team Management, and
  5. Problem Solving

5 Common Project risks and what to do about them 

  1. Poor Leadership
  2. Staff Problems
  3. No Continuity
  4. Lack of Resources, and
  5. Change to Business Strategy

5 Critical project processes

  1. Risk Management
  2. Change Management
  3. Issue Management
  4. Resource Management, and
  5. Communications Management
and now you can take 5 reflecting on common sense.

Bring some common sense into your project management

Some great advice from Serhat Pala for keeping things simple, getting the fundamentals right and making informed decisions:
  • Put an astute project manager in charge,
  • Integrate parts into the whole, and
  • Leverage project management tools.

Authority vs. responsibility: or, how to get things done without actually doing them

Monique Verrier offer three tips:
  1. Involve the team in decision making where possible,
  2. Maintain strong positive 2-way relationships with the team, and
  3. Talk with other PMs who share your resources.


Project management essentials: Gantt chart (infographic)

B2C have shared this lovely info graphic from Wrike.
GANTT Infographic

Innotas announces new version of its cloud portfolio management solution

Innotas have announced a new version of their cloud portfolio management system, delivering improved efficiency for PMs and PMOs.

12 most striking benefits of using a project management software for business projects

This is a nice list which could help you put your business case across powerfully:
  1. Better planning, organisation and scheduling,
  2. Improved communication and collaboration,
  3. Perfect task distribution and timely completion of tasks,
  4. Centralised pooling of information, resources and files,
  5. Precise time tracking,
  6. Work on projects on the move,
  7. Collaboration over designs,
  8. Protection and security of data,
  9. Save time, costs and resources,
  10. Involvement and satisfaction of stakeholders,
  11. Accurate progress tracking, and
  12. Personalisation.

How to measure the ROI of project management software

This is a common challenge, as many feel uncomfortable justify their needs.  Jesse Jacobsen gives some useful advice.


Applying agile the right way at the right time

In “A call for Quality” Zack Naylor looks at why you should help your organisation make informed design decisions and create great software or service products that people love.

Project management methodologies: the framework for success

Udemy take you through a useful high level framework which can be a useful reminder to those of us deep in a project.


Creating a project management office-improving project outcomes 

Litcom provide some great first steps for creating a PMO:
  1. Understand the type of PMO that is needed,
  2. Determine the PMO’s roles and responsibilities, and
  3. Obtain senior management backing and support.


Top 5 biggest myths about business continuity

  1. Just put it in the cloud,
  2. The risk is actually pretty low,
  3. I don’t need to be involved,
  4. MY IT guys have it all in hand, and
  5. I have a copy of my data – that’s enough
Really – we’ve heard all of these too!

Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

In this latest roundup of news from the world of project, program and portfolio management we highlight news and articles which have caught our eye recently.


PM Sectors PMAdvisor

Project Management – Not Just for Builders and Engineers

John Williams takes a look at how project management has proliferated most industries, sectors and specialisms.

Five benefits of project management

In his article, Ivan Widjaya describes the 5 benefits of project management as:
  1. Flexibility,
  2. Get everyone involved right from the start,
  3. Get the big picture of your ongoing projects,
  4. Enforce communication, and
  5. Better resource management and allocation.

The true value of project management 

Krishna Kumar argues that it is a misconception is that project management is relevant only to the IT and finance industries.  We couldn’t agree more, and would even go far as to ask is there an industry for which project management doesn’t have any relevance?

Product management 101 

Shawn Zvinis shares his learning about designing and building products at early stage technology startups.

Projects: creating products, services, and results

Harry Hall looks at the close links between project management and new product development.


Five easy steps to finishing big projects 

Natasha Vorompiova promises that the following five steps will make the project management process unintimidating and even fun!
  1. Define the project,
  2. Brainstorm,
  3. Organise your ideas,
  4. Schedule your actions, and
  5. Identify the next step.
 Project Failure

10 classic project management mistakes

Dennis McCafferty suggests 10 classic mistakes:
  1. The proposal doesn’t contain value points,
  2. Key influencer support is lacking,
  3. Scope creep veers out of control,
  4. Users aren’t proactively involved,
  5. Too many team members,
  6. The team lineup is wrong,
  7. Team members aren’t adequately trained,
  8. Team members get overwhelmed by the project’s size,
  9. The project is defined as a side responsibility of members, and
  10. Processes, tools, templates are inconsistent.

6 Steps for making a project announcement

Elizabeth Harrin describes the 6-step process in Ann Pilkington’s book, Communicating Projects:
  1. Understand the message,
  2. Identify the audience,
  3. Plan the messages,
  4. Check the legalities,
  5. Pick the channel, and
  6. Agree the timings

The importance of choosing a project management mentor wisely

Ben Ferris points out that there might be no shortage of potential mentors near you but will need to be smart enough to choose the right one.

7 Things to Consider When Appointing a Project Manager

John Williams suggests the following 7 critical considerations when appointing a project manager:
  • Competence,
  • Budget,
  • Availability,
  • Responsibility vs accountability,
  • Where and how to find your PM,
  • Subject matter expert? and
  • What you should expect



How project management apps help you to always know everything

In this article from GetApp, these popular apps are referenced:
  • Mavenlink
  • Wrike,
  • Clarizen,
  • Jira,
  • Comindware, and
  • AtTask.

Why integrations of the key to your project management solution

Jess Jacobsen argues that companies that understand what to integrate in different departments can more effectively utilise their PM software, specifically CRM and accounting software.

Top 5 tools for project management

Everyone has an opinion on this one, but Jacco Blankenspoor argues for:
  1. Basecamp,
  2. Asana,
  3. Podio,
  4. Sandglaz, and
  5. Trello


Agile versus traditional project manager responsibilities

This article by Keith Mathis is great because it highlights the need for awesome communication from project managers, but the title is a little misleading.  Keith describes on one hand the responsibilities and competencies of traditional project managers, but on the other hand describes the necessary values for an agile PM.  Perhaps he’s cleverly keeping us wanting more?
We actually don’t see a difference between traditional and agile PMs – PMs are PMs in our book, but they will use different skill sets for different project types. This leaves us wondering though whether you think there are differences in responsibilities between traditional and agile PMs, and if so what they are – please share your thoughts in the comments below.

The lean, agile way to build your first product

Andrew Blackman provides some excellent pointers for your start-up software product:
  • Use agile product development,
  • Produce a minimum viable product,
  • Embrace the lean start-up principles, and
  • Keep the clarity through each interaction.


What is project portfolio management? 

This is a super introduction to PPM by Kirstin Miller, but the thing that caught our eye was this statement referring to the research from 2012:
“According to Aberdeen Research Group, organizations with a robust management plan for their portfolio of projects reap up to 28.1% more profit than their competitors who continue to affect a haphazard approach.”

Project Management – Not Just for Builders and Engineers

A beginners introduction to project management, whatever your industry or sector.

There was a time when project management was a technique, used almost uniquely for the engineering world.  However in recent years more and more organisations have recognised the value of project management in their operation regardless of their industry/sector/specialism, and increasingly they are adopting a Project Management Way of Working, or as we call it PMWoW.
PM Sectors PMAdvisor
There are realistically 3 main types of project, described below.  To many organisations all three have their place, and to others maybe just one or two.

Type One – New Product Development Projects

Traditionally project management techniques were applied to the first type of project – new products.  Those “products” might have been as diverse as bridges, buildings, new computer systems or cars.

Type Two – Customer / Service Delivery Projects

This was followed by the general realisation that the techniques and discipline could be expanded to the second type of project which we describe as “customer projects”.  Again, initially rooted in the engineering world, this sees the scope expanded beyond development to manufacturing, test, site deployment, acceptance, and broader service provision.

Type Three – Organisational Change

As the project management techniques and systems matured, they became increasingly used in the controlled delivery of organisational and strategic change.

Industry Shifts

The general project types are largely unchanged in the 21st century, but we have seen 3 major industry shifts in the last few decades:

1) Methodologies & Frameworks

As project management usage grew, so did the available methods.  From the original “waterfall” methods we have seen the steady addition of options including:
as well as a whole host of niche and bespoke methods.  Some of these methods are generally applicable, whereas others are only suitable in certain applications.
Some care should be taken when considering the latest “new” way of managing projects.  As with the world of diets, various fads come and go as people look for that easy fix.  However it is worth remembering that the core project management techniques are flexible, and if applied consistently can produce excellent success rates.

2) Technology

There has been a huge proliferation of project management tools with varying degrees of complexity and suitability for certain project environments.  I am aware of well over 250 software tools which can be broadly categorised as:
  • Productivity Tools which typically focus on individual or group task management,
  • Project Collaboration Tools which typically add messaging, file sharing, project calendars and maybe some bells and whistles,
  • All-in-one Tools (often referred to as P3), which add layers of complexity typically including planning, resourcing, RAID management and even portfolio/program dimensions, and finally
  • Specialist Tools which deal with specific needs such as risk management, mind-mapping, and so on.

3) Broader Industry Adoption

In the last few years, project management has become increasingly adopted across most industries and sectors.  Typically, this has initially filtered from new product development and strategic / change projects into service delivery with noticeable recent adoption in the worlds of service, marketing, human resources, digital marketing and legal to name but a few.

Where Do Budding Project Managers Go For Advice?

There are lots of resources around, but as in many walks of life you need to know where to look.  Some great starting points include:
At ProjExc we recognised that finding good, honest, independent advice, especially those entering project management, can be quite challenging.  We noticed though that everyone seems to be selling their training courses, their qualifications, their books, their tools.  We have structured our advice and services into 2 distinct but closely linked independent offerings, both of which are applicable regardless of your industry or sector:
PM Advisor – advice and resources for individual project managers, and
ProjExc – guidance, advice and support for organisations wanting to set-up or improve their project management capability.
About the Author:
John Williams is a project management professional with 25 years experience across most industries and most types of project, portfolio and programs.  He is founder of ProjExc and PM Advisor, an active author, presenter, and consultant on the subject of project management, as well as an occasional interim project manager.  John is a proud member of the APM and also serves in their volunteer community.  If you would like John to present his talk “Why Projects Fail and What YOU Can Do About It” to your team or group either in person or as an online seminar get in touch.

7 Things to Consider When Appointing a Project Manager

ProjExc Blog Header

In a new post on the Project Excellence Blog, John Williams gives some excellent pointers when considering how to appoint the right project manager to make sure your project objectives are met.  The 7 key considerations John highlights are:

  1. Competence
  2. Budget
  3. Availability
  4. Responsibility vs Accountability
  5. Finding Your Project Manager
  6. Subject Matter Expert
  7. What You Should Expect

In the post he also looks at the wisdom in using interim project professionals, not just as project manager, but also for other project management posts including:

  • Project Administrator,
  • Assistant/Junior Project Manager,
  • Project Manager,
  • Senior Project Manager,
  • Project Director,
  • Program Manager,
  • PMO Officer, and
  • PMO Manager

Take a look at the post and if you think you might need some help, contact John at ProjExc by telephone on 0121 222 5744 or by email.

Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

In this latest roundup of news from the world of project, program and portfolio management we look at news and articles which have caught our eye recently.
ProjExc Blog Header

Doing more with less through project management

ProjExc PM Consultants look at a number of timely reflections around project management, specifically looking at:
  • Doing more with less
  • Reflecting with a fresh pair of eyes
  • Who owns your PMO, and
  • Disaster strikes – your plan for business continuity

How project management just might solve your digital marketing woes

Halie Davila takes an interesting look at project management from the world of digital marketing.  Halie observes that whilst PM tools add value to getting stuff done, they don’t do the work.  That’s where humans come in to there own solving process, planning and production issues.  She makes three main human points in the article:
  • Software doesn’t manage creativity and quality – it manages production,
  • Process doesn’t eliminate the need for an organisational lead, and
  • Technology has thrown a wrench in everything!

What should project management cost?

allaboutXpert have researched the cost/value of project management, and found that in their context it is around 9.1%.  Our own experience is that it varies by industry, and whether the project includes significant capital/equipment costs, in a range of 8% and 17%.  We’d love to hear back from PM Advisor readers on this one, so please comment with your industry and PM overhead cost estimate as a percentage of the whole project.
Out of interest, we fully agree with the comment by iRestMyCase on ITWeb “Last time I checked, a huge portion of projects failed – for various reasons. The cost of a project manager is normally small in comparison with a failed project. Problem is – you get project managers and ‘project managers’, so choose carefully.”  Lovely.

Building innovation into project management

Graham Oakes shares an interesting view that innovation projects are special and more about risks.  Graham makes some great points (see below) but we wonder does his article miss the point that all projects are projects and need all of the essential PM disciplines (including risk management) covered off but in a flexible and appropriate way.  By aligning a product process with suitable stage gates with the project management process in an organisation can handle the unknown in a structured way and without sacrificing the project management fundamentals unnecessarily.  At PM Advisor we call this agile with a lower case a!
Anyway, Graham suggests a style of project management that does things like:
  • Set fuzzy goals,
  • Accept that things will change,
  • Create slack,
  • Encourage failure, and
  • Devolve control.

10 reasons there is always a need for project management 

Michelle Symonds offers 10 great reasons for needing project management:
  • Learning,
  • Preparation,
  • Exploration,
  • Communication,
  • Process,
  • Critical Path,
  • Justification,
  • Leading the team,
  • Delivery, and
  • Managing changes.

7 indispensable PM tips

Roger A. Grimes sees that good project managers are worth their weight in gold, and earn their keep by following these best practices:
  • Even small projects should have a project manager,
  • Start every meeting with goals,
  • Document, document, document,
  • Nothing beats a room full of technicians,
  • Micromanage as needed,
  • Build in cushion time,
  • Make sure your lead technical person is the best available, and
  • Good management makes it happen.

10 ways to you know you’d make a good project manager, whatever that is

Michael el Castillo shares a super Taskworld infographic with the 10 characteristics of a good project manager:
  1. Inspire,
  2. Anticipate needs,
  3. Anticipate problems,
  4. Delegate firmly,
  5. Focus on solutions,
  6. Don’t complain,
  7. Goes in with a plan,
  8. Minimise meetings,
  9. Be driven, and
  10. Foster good relations.

Roundup: top five project management posts 

Smartsheet share some interesting practical PM related posts:
  1. To build a Gantt chart in Excel,
  2. How to use a milestone in project management,
  3. How to create a work back schedule,
  4. Unofficial guide to being a project manager, and
  5. How to use cell linking to create a master Gantt chart in Smartsheet.

Focus less on the management and more on the resources 

Kiron D. Bondale shares an interesting view of the parallels between over parenting and over management in the world of resource management.  What do you think?

How to audit project risk management

Harry Hall looks at the steps before and following an audit of project risk management:
  • Define your audit goals,
  • Define the scope of the audit,
  • Define the audit assessment plan,
  • Determine who will conduct the audit,
  • Select projects from the project portfolio,
  • Request project documents,
  • Formally audit,
  • Complete the audit report,
  • Communicate audit results, and after the audit
  • Plan for addressing any identified issues.

Manage risk like a Formula One driver

We have a few petrol heads at PM Advisor, and so this article caught our attention even more than the apparent project failures at the Ferrari team.  Conrado Morlan draws some interesting parallels between the world of F1 and the world of project management, not least the need to manage risks.

How complexity is clogging your project environments

Corrine Forrest feels that projects often suffer from bloated, convoluted solutions that impede delivery.  She recommends:
  • Taking a simple approach, thinning out unnecessary complexity, and
  • Favouring the fundamentals – remove environmental complexity first, then process complexity and finally focus on performance issues.

The impact of project communication management on project success

In this post, Ivana Zuber takes a thorough look at the necessary elements of a project communication plan, and considers the importance of stakeholder analysis and confidentiality.

Project management platform Wrike hopes to challenge Asana with new workflow tools

Frederic Lardinois describes the major update at Wrike which recently brought functionality to compete more effectively with Asana.

10 benefits of cloud based project management software

Emily Bonnie from Wrike, considers what they believe to be the top 10 benefits of using cloud based PM software:
  1. A connected team,
  2. Reliable access,
  3. Minimal upfront costs,
  4. Low maintenance technology,
  5. Flexibility,
  6. Security,
  7. Speed,
  8. Cost efficiency,
  9. Integrated tools, and
  10. Try before you buy.

6 Mobile collaboration apps for smooth projects

GetApp have contributed to business2community, suggesting 6 mobile collaboration apps for smooth projects:
  1. Wrike,
  2. ProWorflow,
  3. LeanKit,
  4. JIRA,
  5. AtTask, and
  6. Sellsy Teamwork.

4 classic adages to help you choose enterprise project management software

Charles Settles offers these 4 wise old gems which can be applied to PM Tool selection:
  1. Measure twice, cut once,
  2. Know thyself, know thy enemy,
  3. Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood, and
  4. No battleplan survives first contact with the enemy.

Tips for successful project management using agile development

Tushar Patel shares his thoughts, concluding that “It is possible to strike a happy medium between agile’s flexible development approach and a traditional reliance on planning, metrics and program management required by the rest of the business.”

Agile myth number two: agile is about project management

Java code geeks share agile myth #2, and you can find all 5 gems from Calen Legaspi on his blog:
  • Agile Myth #1: Agile is a methodology,
  • Agile Myth #2: Agile is about project management,
  • Agile Myth #3: Agile is short milestones,
  • Agile Myth #4: Agile cannot work with fixed budgets, and
  • Agile Myth #5: Agile is unpredictable.
Spot on.  Of course we’d love to add myth number 6 – agile can work for any product…

A PMO evolves from tracking projects to strategic business unit

Deniz A. Johnson follows the timeline of maturity for a financial-sector PMO.

Reflect with a Fresh Pair of Eyes

A Fresh Pair of EyesProject Deep Dives

Periodic project assessments (or Deep Dives) are a clever way of avoiding those frustrating and nasty surprises at the end of a project, allowing necessary corrections before it’s too late.  This deep dive analysis is a fundamental part of project governance.  ProjExc have crafted a clear methodology which captures a clear view of both project health and project managment performance.
The ProjExc deep dive process and the resulting report are designed with 2 clear goals:
  1. to coach the project manager into improved project management discipline thus greatly reducing the risk of failure, and
  2. to give project stakeholders a confidential independent report of project status and clear improvement recommendations from the experts.

Independent Governance

Of course you can do deep dives internally, but how many organisations today have the luxury of available credibility and expertise, let alone the willingness to compromise this critical part of corporate governance with potential conflicts of interest?

Supplier Projects

Often organisations have great governance in place for their own internal projects, but have insufficient oversight of supplier/partner projects – this can be a big risk to your success.  ProjExc often perform (or support) 3rd party deep dives which are conducted in such a way as to be supportive and informative.  The reports and agreed actions support win-win trusted relationships and aid shared understanding of priorities at a practical level.

More Information

To find out more about how independent project deep dives might help your business, you can contact ProjExc directly on 0121 222 5744.