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 amongst other things:

  • How to get the right project management tool for your business,
  • Mind mapping,
  • The changing landscape for PM lifecycle phases,
  • Tips for becoming a better and more productive PM,
  • Project management recruitment,
  • and more.

As always, as well as summarising and pointing you to the relevant articles, we add the views of our super experienced project management consultants. We also welcome your comments and suggestions for what we should include in the next News Digest – feel free to use the comments box at the bottom of this post.

PM Tools

PM Tools

5 Ways to Get the Right Project Management Tool for your Business

BizCommunity
Daniel Marcus takes the readers of his post through the basic steps in implementing a PM Tool for an SMB. He sees these as:

  1. Consider why you need a PM tool,
  2. Wade through the clutter,
  3. Take advantage of the cloud,
  4. Get started, and
  5. Reap the rewards.

Remember, there’s lots of information, mini-reviews and links to many of the more popular tools here on PM Advisor to help with step 2.

Mindmap

Mindmapping for Project Management

MindGenius Blog
Jamie MacDonald from MindGenius offers a useful introduction to the possibilities of using mind mapping tools for:

  • Project planning,
  • Project scheduling,
  • Project monitoring & control, and
  • Project reporting.

In our experience mind mapping is a fantastically powerful tool for individual PMs to manage their projects, teams and stakeholders. However, we haven’t (yet) encountered a successful cross-enterprise implementation of mind mapping for project management. Our suspicion is that this is because of the better RoIs available from more structured & integrated all-in-one 3P management tools available.

ProjExc PM Office Services

PMO

Changing Landscape: PM Lifecycle Phases

Business2Community
Dr. Harold Kerzner provides a fascinating argument with supporting evidence that the world of project management is rapidly shifting from operational to strategic.

He concludes that the role of the project manager will be changing significantly, and sees that:

  • the investment life-cycle will replace the traditional project management life-cycle,
  • project managers will be expected to have much greater understanding of business and strategy,
  • project managers may end up reporting directly to the corporate board room on some critical projects,
  • project managers will be involved at the beginning of the project, perhaps even during the idea generation stage, in order to understand the rationalization, assumptions, constraints and risks associated with the potential project.

Dr. Kerzner shares his view that most companies should understand why project management has evolved into a strategic competency rather than just another career path position.
Of course some forward leaning organisations have already made some significant progress in some or all of these areas, but we have to agree that the trend for greater maturity will continue.

PM Competence

PM Competence

10 Steps to Becoming a Better PM

WizIQ Blog
WizIQ Blog offer 10 tips for greater success in projects:

  1. be inquisitive,
  2. be a ‘can do’ person,
  3. think in detail,
  4. keep events in perspective,
  5. assume prudently,
  6. make allies at work,
  7. communicate constructively,
  8. focus on people’s strengths,
  9. acknowledge & appreciate, and
  10. be a leader.

Project Management Tips that Rock

Business Management Daily
Evie Nagy from Fast Company shares some advice for project managers taken from the world of rock bands:

  • do a trial run,
  • take care of yourself,
  • designate a handler, and
  • accept the right tasks.

PM Recruitment

Recruitment is Project Management

RivieraAdvisors
Chris Stringfellow provides a refreshing recognition that along with many other business needs, recruitment (or talent acquisition) is project management.  Clearly, by consistently applying some simple but reliable project management techniques recruitment (project) success rates can be hugely improved.

Cultural Personality & Rapport – The Key to Recruiting Project Managers

How to Manage a Camel
The ever-present Lindsay Scott rightly observes that there is a conundrum when it comes to recruiting project managers and it is this – how can anyone be sure that the project manager they are about to hire can perform the role in a new organisation?
Having helped recruit hundreds of project managers for numerous organisations, we agree with Lindsay that the process of matching competences to the vacancy helps identify a possible fit (and helps follow HR rules for good reason) it doesn’t necessarily find the right individual. To do that you need also to consider:

  • Cultural fit,
  • Personality fit, and
  • Rapport with the manager (we call this the chemistry).

Lindsay concludes, “If the organisation can start to really define these ‘softer’ areas of their ideal project managers, there will be a greatly increased chance that the new hire will fit right in and continue to deliver their best”.

6 Simple Tweaks for PMs to Become More Productive

Business2Community
Marciel Rivera suggests the following tweaks to help PMs under pressure to be increasingly productive:

  1. be clear when defining your goals,
  2. run more productive meetings,
  3. take advantage of technology,
  4. stop multitasking,
  5. take frequent breaks,
  6. don’t be tempted to do it all.

 

Other PM News

Construction

Capita Buys Projen

Building
Iain Withers reports that Capita has acquired 100-strong project management and engineering solutions business Projen for an undisclosed sum.
Cheshire-based Projen provides design, engineering and management services in the pharmaceutical, oil and gas, manufacturing and bio energy markets.
It will join Capita’s 4,000-strong property and infrastructure business and sit within its design and management division.

Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

ProjectPlace Launch ToDo, Freemium Stepping Stone

projectplace-logo
The long established collaboration tool has made a new stripped down Kanban based shared task system called ToDo.  The tool starts with  free basic module and offers to grow with you.  The system has web access as well as an iOS app.
You can read a fuller review over at Gigaoam.com here.

Communication: The Essential Ingredient for Good Project Management

Bruce McGraw offers super advice for 3 key aspects of project communication:
  1. Transparency,
  2. Team member communications & meetings, and
  3. Stakeholder/sponsor communication.
This is worthy of a read project managers.  Sticking with communications you may also be interested in the next story.

How to Make Communication Central to Project Management

Jeff Miller of Interstates Control Systems Inc. hits the nail on the head with this introspective on necessary PM behaviours in an automation retrofit project, and offers good advice for all project managers.  Agile proponents will love the quote “.. you have to have a game plan for handling new information that comes to light after months of work based on incomplete information.
On the subject of Agile, we recently came across this following gem from Sam Price.

Agile not Fragile

In the post, Sam concludes “In short, agile provides flexibility, not frailty. Any lack of documentation and planning are the faults of the manager, not agile. Given the propensity for change and the increased stakeholder engagement, project management fundamentals are vital to success.”.
Of course we agree with Sam but we do find some who struggle to understand where an agile approach can work, and importantly where it will not.

How Project Managers Keep Calm and Stay Efficient

In this super article by  Rebecca Leitch, she looks at levels of stress (good stress vs bad stress or distress) and how it can be positively leveraged by project managers to maximise productivity.

5 Big Project Management Problems and How to Solve Them

Chad Brooks looks at the five key reasons  two US researchers uncovered for why projects flop:
  1. Employees don’t accurately report when projects are failing,
  2. People misreport for many reasons – and those reasons matter,
  3. Audit teams help to proliferate misreporting,
  4. Putting a senior executive in charge of a project may increase misreporting, and
  5. Executives often ignore bad news,

KPIs – Good and Bad

Dr Lynda Bourne offers some solid advice for PMOs when setting KPIs to ensure good project communication.

Project Panorama – A WordPress PlugIn for Project Management

Panorama
The claim: “Project Panorama is a simple, easy to use WordPress project management plugin designed to keep clients and team members informed of project progress”.  The Lite version is free, and Professional is $49.99 (initially reduced to $34.99).

5 Reasons To Use Mind Mapping Software

Mindmap
Mindmapping is increasingly popular with project managers.  Elizabeth at PM Tips offers a useful set of arguments for convincing that mean line manager to loosen their grip on the IT budget:
  • It saves time,
  • I can create your WBS,
  • It’s visual,
  • It keeps everything centralised, and
  • It’s easy to search.