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.

Customer

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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.
Twitter

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.
 

PM COMPETENCE

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

Five

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.

PM TOOLS

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.

PM METHODOLOGIES

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.

PMO/3PM

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.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY

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 – 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.

Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

PM COMPETENCE

 

Project Management Academy® Announces New Scholarships for Aspiring Project Managers

Digital Journal

PMA® have announced 22 new scholarships intended to promote project management education across the United States. The scholarships, distributed through the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation™ (PMIEF), were created to provide students, teachers, professionals, and non-profit organizations the opportunity to develop their project management prowess through continuing education.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see something similar for the UK – perhaps the APM could help organise something with some of our great training organisations?
Apple Inc.

4 Things Software Engineers Can Teach You About Project Management

Business Insider

This article considers some of the less well known reasons why the legendary Steve Jobs’ projects succeeded:

  • Create structure
  • Don’t just listen – understand
  • Don’t underestimate inspiration
  • Communicate

 

Managing the Dreaded Project Conflicts

OnTrack

Brad Egeland describes his 5 preferred methods for resolving conflict:

  • Compromise
  • Confrontation
  • Forcing
  • Smoothing
  • Withdrawal

Interview Questions

Bring Some Common Sense into Your Project Management

Tech Cocktail

Serhat Pala encourages the use of common sense to start SMBs on the journey to project management maturity with the following key elements:

  • Put an astute project manager in charge,
  • Integrate parts into the whole, and
  • Leverage project management tools.

 

Change in the Legal Climate: Budgeting and project management

Inside Counsel

This article takes a look at why budgeting and project management are more important than ever for the legal industry. The top 3 demands from Chief Legal Officers accruing to a 2013 surrey by Altman Weil are:

  • more efficient project management,
  • improved budget forecasting, and
  • greater cost reduction.

 

MBTI

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Project Management

The Fast Track

Tim Walker takes a fascinating look at how to use MBTI to help get past those frustrating communication roadblocks in projects. He looks at:

  • What is the Myers-Briggs?
  • How Is the Myers-Briggs Used in Business?, and
  • How the MBTI Can Help Your Team

 

10 Classic Project Management Mistakes

CIO Insight

Dennis McCafferty considers 10 classic mistakes in IT projects:

  1. The proposal doesn’t contain value points
  2. Key influencer support is lacking,
  3. Scope creep veers out of control,
  4. Users are not proactively involved,
  5. Too many team members,
  6. With the team line-up is wrong,
  7. Team members are not 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.

 

Beyond Your Wildest Risks: What Every Board Member Needs To Know

PCubed

Jeremy Harrison observes that the risks you need to concern yourself with no longer follow a linear path; they no longer allow for days and weeks of response time. They come fast and furious, seemingly out of nowhere, and they can wallop your company faster than you can tweet a first response.

 

Keeping Your Project Sponsor Satisfied

Wellingtone

Tony Adams recognises that one of the best tools in the Project Manager’s kit is a positive, flag-waving Sponsor. In fact, nothing shapes your success in quite the same way as having an engaged, switched-on Project Champion sitting in the Big Chair – leading the charge, clearing roadblocks, keeping momentum and giving your project that all-important credibility. In this article he looks at how to keep your principal stakeholder on board.
BCI

The Business Continuity Institute Becomes Part of a Global Resilience Network

Continuity Central

The Business Continuity Institute has signed up to become a part of the Future Cities and Community Resilience (FCCR) Network, an interdisciplinary collaboration of like-minded academics and professionals that provides a forum for the advancement of knowledge in the core areas of future city resilience, urban supply chain management, smart city technologies and community engagement through experimental and creative methods.

 

PM TOOLS

Whiteboard

Another New Product in the Project Collaboration Space – Whiteboard

Whiteboard

Whiteboard is a start-up who have just unveiled their innovative web and mobile-based app aimed at boosting productivity by bridging the gap between tasks at home and work. With its ultra-clean user interface and intuitive paradigms for organizing workflow, Whiteboard empowers users to focus on accomplishing the tasks that matter most in their day. The tool’s user interface provides convenient ways to access relevant information such as quick views for to-dos, files, discussions, or people.

 

ProjectManager.com Raises $3.5 Million in Funding

Digital Journal

ProjectManager.com, the leader in online project management software for professionals, today announced it has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding to support the company’s momentum in the project management software market and expansion into the United States.
Deltek

Deltek Axium Introduces Project Trek™ to Deliver a Collaboration and Document Management Solution

Digital Journal

Axium, the developer recently acquired by Deltek, have announced the re-introduction of Project Trek™, a collaboration and document sharing solution formerly known as ArchiTrek™.
Nugg

Nugg is a Team Performance Tool Positioned Above Project and Task Management

Gigaom Research

Nugg is a start-up which looks to be finding itself a niche position integrating with data from Business Process, Communication and Task tools in order to share questions, decision and results. Ashar Baig does a good job of describing their approach in the Gigaom Research article. You can get more information from the horses mouth at Nugg.

They say that Nugg allows you to:

  • Focus attention on the conversations and teams that matter the most,
  • Decide on the actions you need to take to achieve your goals,
  • Track your decisions and conversations, and
  • Align on the goals that define your team’s success.

PM METHODS

PRINCE2

AXELOS to recognize PMI and IPMA qualifications in applications for PRINCE2® Practitioner Qualification

PM World Journal

Axelos, the joint venture company responsible for PRINCE2 and other Project and Programme Management (PPM) products, has announced that it is now recognizing other qualifications as a route to Practitioner level rather than the previous, mandatory requirement for the PRINCE2 Foundation qualification. Project managers worldwide – for the first time – will be given greater access to the PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification based on their prior learning and achievements with specific project management professional bodies.

Frances Scarff explains the reasoning for this significant change in direction on the Axelos website.

Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

Here is a curated list of some of the latest news from the world of Project, Portfolio and Programme Management, brought to you by PM Advisor.

PM TOOLS

Deltek

Deltek Acquires Axium

FortMillTimes
Axium, a leading provider of integrated accounting and project management solutions to more than 2,200 architecture & engineering (A&E) firms, has been acquired by Deltek, the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for project-based businesses. The acquisition of Axium strengthens Deltek’s market leadership and extends Deltek’s reach into the largest segment of the A&E industry within North America, namely firms with fewer than 250 employees.
Tom's Planner

Tom’s Planner Adds Filtering & Search

tom’splanner

The popular Tom’s Planner has added the ability to use filters in their online Gantt charts, but beware from August it will only be available for paid accounts.

40 Useful Project Management Tools

Smashing Apps

Smashing  Apps bring an eclectic mix of free and premium PM Tools.

 

PM METHODS

Do We Really Learn from ‘Lessons Learnt’?

How to Manage a Camel

Lindsay Scott recently co-hosted a joint  knowledge cafe session between the APMs PMOSIG and Knowledge SIG, and shares her observations.

Project Failure

Why are so many projects set up to fail?

Project Manager

Patrick Weaver takes in interesting look at how a lack of ‘project management common sense’ can lead to failure.  He concludes “the root cause of most project and program failures is the failure of governing bodies to both hold themselves accountable and to make their management responsible for commissioning avoidable failures.”

 

PM COMPETENCE

The Impact Of Project Communication Management On Project Success

SAP Blog

Ivana Zuber shares her thoughts on an important aspect of every successful project – Project Communication Management, looking at the communication plan, stakeholder analysis, confidentiality, and the role of the project manager.

11 Ideas for Starting a Legal PM Initiative in Your Firm

Slaw

Natasha Chetty shares her learning from attending LPM Showcase and Workshop.  Interesting observations for legal firms, many of which are transferrable to most sectors.

Interview Questions

10 Killer Interview Questions for Hiring Project Managers

A Girl’s Guide to Project Management

Elizabeth Harrin shares her 10 favourite PM interview questions, explains why she likes them and shares some un-model answers:

  1. What don’t you want to work on?
  2. If you had to rate project management as a career, from 1-10 how would you rate it?
  3. What’s the most important thing for a project manager to do?
  4. What do you spend most time doing each day?
  5. How do you work with sponsors? How do you manage up?
  6. When was the last time you didn’t delegate and what happened?
  7. What was the most difficult ethical decision you’ve had to make on a project?
  8. What criteria are you using to find your next job?
  9. How have you improved project management processes at your current firm?
  10. What creative problem-solving techniques to use?

10 Things That All Great Project Managers Do

CIO Insight

Dennis McCafferty observes that the 10 things that all great PMs do are:

  1. They seek clarity from start to finish,
  2. They don’t ask for permission to assert authority,
  3. They edit information as it’s presented,
  4. They re-evaluate on-the-fly,
  5. They craft conversations for their audience,
  6. They stick to regular communications schedules,
  7. They put the right people in the right positions,
  8. They maintain composure, and
  9. They respect work-life balance.

Money

Three surefire ways to screw up your project

FastCompany

Eric Morgan, CEO at AtTask, recognises that while every project will have bumps along the road, but sees 3 surefire ways to make things worse:

  • Pretending that work isn’t chaos,
  • Adding yet another point solution or tool, or
  • Forgetting that ad-hoc projects will come in.

10 Project Management Dos

PM Hut

Susanne Madsen suggests 10 practices to focus on in order to hone your skills, deliver triumphant projects, and have a great experience doing your job:

  1. Focus on customer needs,
  2. Challenge the status quo,
  3. Meet people face-to-face,
  4. Complete an accurate project plan,
  5. Assess project progress on a weekly basis,
  6. Review project risks in collaboration with your team,
  7. Be proactive and resist fighting fires,
  8. Learn to delegate,
  9. Keep your promises, and
  10. Support and challenge in equal measure.