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.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT
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!
Money

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.
Learning
PM COMPETENCE

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?
Productive

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.
PM TOOLS
 

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.
Wrike-logo

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.
PM METHODOLOGIES

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…
PMI
PMO/3PM

A PMO evolves from tracking projects to strategic business unit

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

Project Management News Digest wk48 2013

Updatey

New Tool Updatey: Beta Progressing
Updatey

We’ve mentioned Updatey, the new kid on the PM Tool block before, and having tried out the Beta we’re becoming increasingly interested in the potential. Despite the Project Collaboration Tool space being full with Basecamp me-too’s, Updatey is taking a slightly different angle. The Updatey team have realised that where many collaboration tools lack strength is in serving the broader project stakeholder team need for a high level view of the project status, whilst also supporting the core team in getting the job done with the basic functionality you’d expect. We’ll keep an eye on improvements during the beta and look forward to seeing the full launch when the guys at Updatey are ready.

Managing Innovation Portfolios – Strategic Portfolio Management
Innovation Excellence Blog

Ralph Ohr and Kevin McFarthing consider firms facing increasingly dynamic and unpredictable environments, and how they are required to develop convenient innovation strategies, constantly adapt them to changing conditions and properly implement strategically-aligned initiatives throughout their organisations. They suggest that Innovation Portfolio Management (IPM) can act as the pivotal tool to translate strategic objectives and priorities into project-based innovation activities. Their approach involves splitting the traditional portfolio management into 2 distinct blocks – strategic and operational, and in this first part they look at the strategic block.

3 Proven Ways to Make Innovation Repeatable
Business to Community

This is a good article proposing 3 ways to make innovation repeatable:

  • Use gamification as a tactic for generating ideas,
  • Involve the ‘C’ level executives from the company, and
  • Trust the experts.

We like the approach, but don’t necessarily support the proposal in the very last paragraph as in our experience project success is heavily dependent upon professional project management.

Google: 9 Principles of Innovation
Fast Company

Kath Chin Leong talked with Google’s Chief Social Evangelist (aha). The principles are summarised here, but take a look at the full article.

  1. Innovation comes from anywhere,
  2. Focus on the user,
  3. Aim to be 10 times better,
  4. Bet on technical insights,
  5. Ship and iterate,
  6. Give employees 20% time,
  7. Default to open processes,
  8. Fail well, and
  9. Have a mission that matters.

Using Limitations to Stimulate Creativity
Ted Talks

The artist Phil Hansen describes how he learnt to “embrace the shake”. This is particularly useful for innovation and project management.

Teambox ‘Redbooth’ is coming in January
Teambox

The new version will be bringing with it enhanced usability, easier for bigger teams to use, and overall better performance. What’s more if you’re impatient and want to try Redbooth out in 2013 then you can sign up for a beta.

PodioA Consultant’s Guide to Implementing Podio for CRM and Client Project Management
Podio Blog

Richard Wingfield describes his experiences as head of a small technology consultancy in the US.

Classic Project Management and Agile Sometimes Need Each Other
Adrian Withy’s Technical Blog

Adrian provides a common sense assessment of how waterfall and agile are complimentary, and concludes that “just as project managers need to learn how to ignore day-to-day tasks of agile teams, agile teams need to learn how to engage project managers and plan”.

5 Human Hurdles in Project Management and Tactics to Overcome Them
Project Accelerator

Krishna Kumar considers these 5 human hurdles in project management:

  1. Ego clashes,
  2. Procrastination and accountability,
  3. Taking advantage of poorly defined roles and responsibilities,
  4. Lack of communication, and
  5. Lack of motivation.

4 Hidden Costs of Poor Project Planning
PM Insight

Hidden CostThe 4 hidden costs covered in this article are:

  1. Reputation
  2. Team Stress
  3. BaU Complacency, and
  4. Additional Resources

Embrace The Shake
Ted

In this fascinating Ted Talk, artist Phil Hansen describes from his own personal experience with a tremor, how embracing limitations can stimulate creativity. We are excited about how this could be applied to project management.

Quote of the Week
From Apple’s Sir Jony Ive
“It’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.”