Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

Project Management Office (PMO)
 

Benchmark Study Shows Project Management Offices (PMOs) Continue to Expand Their Influence and Become Strategic Resources for Firms

According to PM Solutions’ bi-annual benchmark study “The State of the PMO 2014,” three quarters of high-performing PMOs participate in their organization’s strategic planning, and help to improve the alignment of their organizations’ projects with their strategies and objectives by a whopping 53%.

 

5 Myths which are holding projects back – debunked

InsuranceNewsNet
The 5 myths debunked in this article on insurance news net are:
  1. Process trumps people,
  2. Execution is everything,
  3. Once the risk register’s done, it’s full speed ahead,
  4. You should never kill a project, and
  5. After budgets are set, new project ideas must wait.

MOD deepens its commitment to project professionalism

In this article at APM, Amy Reid looks at portfolio, programme and project management professionalism at the UK MoD.

7 ways to measure project management success

Tribe HR

Stephanie Reyes sees more to project success measurement than time and budget achievement:
  1. Budget,
  2. Timing,
  3. Scope,
  4. Quality,
  5. Customer satisfaction,
  6. Project team satisfaction, and
  7. Personal and professional development.

10 top project management challenges

According to Imran Zaman on the Daywatcher Blog these are the top 10 project management challenges – what’s missing in your opinion?
  1. Going grey (and other consequences of extreme stress),
  2. Keeping goals in sight and well defined,
  3. Getting caught-up in the details,
  4. Setting and meeting deadlines,
  5. Too many cooks in the kitchen,
  6. Poor communication,
  7. Changes along the way,
  8. Inadequate skills,
  9. No more money, and
  10. Setting your own expectations.

5 ways to think and act like an effective project manager

Chicago Now
Ryan Sievers believes that you don’t have to be a project manager to think like one, and benefit from their approach to project work.  Take a look at his 5 suggestions, which are:
  1. See the big picture, and sweat the details,
  2. Challenge assumptions, all of them,
  3. Understand the real timeline you are working with,
  4. Have supporting information in place and at your command, and finally
  5. Set and manage expectations.

Ahh, if only all project managers followed this advice!

Think Risks Like a Pilot

Flying Into Project Management
This is a fascinating opener as to how pilots need to handle risk in a changing environment, and encourages us to reflect on how more experienced PMs seems more adept at handling risk.  Food for thought.
 

Project Management in Business

The Project Manager Contribution to Marketing

Jerry Bauers looks at how the project manager is an essential part of the marketing team.

Strategy’s No Good Unless You End Up Somewhere New

Vijay Govindarajan on the HBR blog looks at the links between strategy, innovation and execution.  All too often we’ve seen great strategies wasted because they’re left in a folder until the next time the CEO thinks to update them.

Project Management for Engineers

Michael Bennett and Danny Ho have published a new book highlighting how project management is a core competency for all engineering disciplines.  The release details for the book can be found here.

Sustainability Starts with Project Management

Arras People
Antony Della Porta of Green Project Management questions whether an organisation can ensure that its strategy on sustainability becomes reality, and looks at PRiSM as the solution.

Project Management Tools

LiquidPlanner Raises $8 million

Smartsheet (see below) recently announced another $35m in funding and now LiquidPlanner is hot on their heels with another $8m according to Xconomy.  It will be fascinating to see how the PM Tool space will play out in the next year or so.  We’re expecting to see quite a lot of M&A activity.

Roundup of Tools for Creating Gantt Charts

This great post lists 15 tools that can be used as an alternative to Microsoft’s Project tool for creating Gantt Charts.  The tools reviewed are:
  1. DhtmlGantt,
  2. Two Project Gantt,
  3. Gantti,
  4. Ace Project,
  5. Team Gantt,
  6. Ganttify,
  7. Vertex 42 (template for Excel),
  8. WikiHow,
  9. Toms Planner,
  10. Open Office,
  11. Gantt Project,
  12. Gantt Chart,
  13. Teamweek,
  14. Smart Draw, and
  15. SmartSheet.

Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

Again another mixed bag of news from the PM profession and industry.  If you have some news and think the PM Advisor Community may be interested please contact the editorial team by filling in the form here.

NewsDigest

5 Lessons to Ensure Project Management Success

VAR Guy

Brian Troy, a Product Marketing Manager recognises the challenges presented to the uninitiated project manager and recommends these 5 useful pieces of advice:

  1. Catch risks up front,
  2. Sponsor every project,
  3. Guard against scope creep,
  4. You are only as good as your work plan, and
  5. Definition is the key to success.

As is often the case in this situation we would also add communication – which is the key to success.

 

Project Bubble

Project Bubble

Project Bubble

Project Bubble is new to us at PM Advisor, but it seems the product has been around for a number of years and has some credible use cases. Business2Community offer this useful review.

While it’s not hugely different to the plethora of collaboration tools 2 features caught our eye – reports, and assigning tasks to more than one owner – we like the former but feel uneasy about the latter.

Wall Planner

4 Simple Steps to Fire Up Your Portfolio Management Office

ABC

David Davies looks at dealing with one of the biggest challenges in business – bridging the gap between visionaries and those immersed in detail – and how portfolio management can help.  He offers this advice:

  • Focus on getting the right information to the right person, for the right decision, at the right time
  • Embrace the product mindset – both ideation and road-mapping
  • Capacity plan for hybrid work environments
  • Project Portfolio Management and agile integration

Productive

How to Make Project Managers More Productive

ESI

This blog post looks, with the backdrop of needing to do more with less, at increasing PM utilisation.

 

Shortage of Project Managers Sends Businesses Scrambling

CIO

CIO explore the view that as the global economy picks up there will be too many projects and not enough project managers. Perhaps they should look at the ideas from ESI for improving productivity (see above).

Fierce CIO also lead with this story under the title Your Next Staffing Crisis: Project Managers.

Winning

Seven Top Tips for Being a Better PM

PMHut

PMHut rarely disappoint, but this is a great post from Michelle Symonds, who suggests a step back to reflect on how well you are managing your projects and suggests 7 tips for making some small but worthwhile changes:

  1. Be the ‘why’ in the room,
  2. Maintain a can-do attitude,
  3. Be as picky & pedantic as you like,
  4. Spell it out,
  5. Maintain respect in all directions,
  6. Don’t make assumptions, and
  7. Give credit where it’s due

Wise words!

PMI

PMI Expands Focus on Requirements Management

BusinessWire

According to PMI’s 2014 Pulse of the Profession® study, poor requirements management is a major cause of project failure, second only to changing organization priorities. In order to help project professionals and organizations overcome this challenge, PMI is expanding its requirements management offerings, with a Center of Excellence and supporting resources.

APM Logo

PMI Challenges APM Application for Royal Charter

APM

PMI has challenged APM’s application to the UK Privy Council by way of a Judicial Review which will be heard in July at the High Court in London.  We’re not clear on what good PMI hopes to achieve for the PM Profession, other than protecting their commercial interests.  What do you think?

Deltek

Deltek Acquires Sohnar and its Traffic LIVE Solution

BroadwayWorld

Deltek’s Press Release advises that “This acquisition broadens and deepens Deltek’s portfolio of professional services automation solutions by delivering cutting-edge, front-office capabilities that marketing agencies and other project-based companies need to effectively manage their businesses and deliver on-time, profitable projects and engagements for their customers.”

This is an interesting development highlighting how marketing agencies and services organisations are increasingly seeing the importance of professional project management.  What else do you think competes specifically in this space?

Project Management News Digest

News Digest

APM Launches Refreshed Qualifications

APM

The Introductory Certificate (The APM Project Fundamentals Qualification) and APMP (The APM Project Management Qualification) have been refreshed and aligned with the new APM Body of Knowledge 6th edition.  It seems 2014 will see a complete refresh of the suite of APM qualifications along with the momentous launch of two brand-new qualifications at IPMA Level A and Level B.

37signals rebrands as Basecamp

TheNextWeb

As well as rebranding on their 10th anniversary, Basecamp have put all their resources into the project management tool, becoming the focus of the company.  Kaylene Hong provides some details.

In this blogpost HBR’s Ron Ashkenas observes that the strategy offers a useful reminder that Less Is More.

Sciforma 6.0: Entering the Mobile World

Sciforma

Sciforma 6.0 has given the mobile world access to their projects via tablets and smartphones. Users can now access project hours expended and view remaining tasks and expected effort, or view key portfolio indicators while on the go.

7 Trends in Project Management for 2014

Projectmanager.com.au

Krishna Kumar sees the following 7 trends in 2014:

  1. Agile will spread geographically
  2. PM will integrate with business functions
  3. Virtual learning will become integral to a PM’s armoury
  4. PMs will become more could dependent
  5. Competition will heat up
  6. Open source PM tools will rule
  7. Project Managers will focus on delivery rather than trend

6 Tips for a Successful System Integration Project

TheNextWeb

David Akka gives six useful tips for SI projects:

  1. Recruit champions and keep them on board
  2. Have a series of small successes
  3. Make sure all security challenges are addressed
  4. Use the relevant integration tools
  5. Monitoring and performance management is critical
  6. Justify the costs

The Only Times You Should Extend a Deadline

easyprojects

Quite rightly the easy projects blog challenges automatic acceptance of project delay, and suggests only doing so in exceptional circumstances:

  • The scope drastically changes
  • The project is THAT bad
  • The project could be that good
  • If the benefits outweigh the costs

Project Management: 3 Myths Debunked and 7 Skills Needed for the Future

Ventureburn.com

Anita Potgieter explores the following:

3 Myths Debunked:

  1. only large companies can afford Project Management software,
  2. technology is not important, and
  3. methodologies should stay put.

7 Skills for the Future:

  1. Emotional intelligence
  2. Collaborative communication
  3. Flexibility
  4. Business understanding
  5. Analytical skills
  6. Ethical behaviour

5 Pitfalls in Setting Up a PMO

PMHut

Simon Tang offers the following 5 pitfalls in setting up a PMO:

  1. Not establishing clear goals and objectives for the PMO,
  2. Not clearly understanding the existing processes
  3. Did not involve PMs while crafting formal processes
  4. Not having proper metrics to measurable performance
  5. Failure to sell it to the management

Project Management News Digest wk49 2013

NewsDigest

10 Business Benefits of Project Management for SMEs
Paul Naybour explains his view that project management can benefit more than just the traditional big corporates, citing:
  1. Efficient service
  2. Enhanced customer satisfaction
  3. Effective service
  4. Improved team development
  5. Increased standing
  6. Service expansion
  7. Improved flexibility
  8. Improved quality
  9. Enhanced risk management
  10. More client capacity
Take the Gamble out of Project Manager Recruitment
John Williams, founder and lead consultant at ProjExc proposes 8 considerations which together take the gamble out of PM recruitment:
  1. Investment
  2. Don’t compromise
  3. Specification
  4. The role
  5. The person
  6. Pure project management
  7. Induction
  8. Assessment
Project Management to Boom in 2014
With key game-changing trends including collaboration, mobility, unified communications, the cloud and the Internet of everything, companies are compelled to work smarter, and experts see 2014 being the year for effective PM systems.
How Agile and the PMO Can Enrich Each Other’s Existence
Rebecca Leitch explains why she believes Agile and the PMO should be able to look forward to successfully enriching each other’s existence and maximizing their respective value to the enterprise more and more in future.
New PM Coaching and Mentoring Service Launches
PM Answers Club from PM Advisor has launched a unique and extremely cost effective approach to providing much needed coaching and mentoring service for Project Managers whatever their experience.
5 Must Have PM Skills for Every Business Leader
If only all project managers had all 5:
  1. Project planning
  2. Time management
  3. Prioritisation
  4. Soft skills
  5. Ongoing learning
The Marketer’s Alter-Ego: The Project Manager
Raymond Coppinger explains his view as to why marketing and project management go hand-in-hand:
  • The Beauty of the Business Case
  • The Sanctity of Stakeholders
  • The Relevance of Related Projects

Project Manager Recruitment – It Need Not Be A Lottery

PM Recruitment

Recruiting the right project manager (PM) into your organisation is a big decision and often a huge investment, yet all too often the success is largely left to chance.  Prepare and choose wisely, rather than take a gamble, and you will have a much better chance of ensuring that your projects succeed.

In this guest post, John Williams founder of ProjExc PM Consulting takes a look at what you should consider to take the risk out of PM recruitment. Having recruited or helped others recruit, induct and coach hundreds of project managers in many industries he provides a rare insight.

Top 8 Considerations When Recruiting a PM

1. Investment
Do you have a mature project management organisation with structured project management processes and tools? If yes, then you can probably afford to recruit a less experienced (less expensive) PM as you will have have confidence that sufficient structure is in place to ensure success. If you don’t have structured and proven systems in place, then you will need to employ a more capable PM, who also has the experience to choose when and when not to use the relevant tools from their toolkit.

2. Don’t Compromise
Never be tempted to put in place a permanent hire who doesn’t meet your essential needs in the hope that they’ll adapt or get there. Not only would this be a high risk decision for your organisation, but also for the individual as well. Until you find the right person, buy yourself some time and bring in an interim. There are plenty out there!

3. Specification
Involve stakeholders in specifying the role and the ideal person to maximise the chances of putting the right person in post. Those stakeholders will not just be the line manager, but also other senior leaders and resource managers. It is often a wise move to consider what your customers need or expect as well. Consider (or ask) do they use particular PM frameworks/methodologies/toolsets which your PM will be expected to interface with? If your PM is expected to behave internally as a customer champion, this should also have a bearing on what you are looking for.

4. The Role
In recruitment it goes without saying that you need a solid role (or job) description. Honest clarity is essential if you are going to bring on board the right person. The right person will be, and will continue to be, motivated. Remember though the more detailed/rigid the responsibilities the less flexibility you’ll have in the future.

5. The Person
As well as the role, it is really important to specify the type of project manager you are looking for. The hard skills which you need and want is the starting point. Then think about the experiences your ideal candidate will have had. Crucially important as well are the attitudes and softer skills.

6. Pure Project Management
Is your project manager also going to be one of the project resources, or solely focused on project management? In the former case you will probably be looking for industry knowledge. Remember though that the more the project manager will be sucked into the detail of the project, the greater the risk that they will lose focus on their project management responsibilities.

7. Induction
You’ve appointed a great PM with the skills, experiences and personality that you need. Don’t fall into the trap of a half-hearted induction. Make sure that you equip your new PM with the information and tools they need to do a great job from day one, helping them to climb up that learning curve as quickly and effectively as possible. If you can, give them a mentor and/or coach to give them the best possible start. This can be someone internal if they have the skills and time to fulfil the role, otherwise use someone from outside. This relatively small investment will provide a truly significant return.

8. Assessment
Most organisations apply a 3 or 6 month probationary period to new recruits but often don’t apply a structured approach to making the most of it, either for the organisation or for the individual. Independently led regular assessments and reviews during the probationary period will ensure that both parties are held accountable for giving new recruits the best possible opportunity to settle in and prove that they meet expectations.

Next time you are recruiting for this pivotal role don’t forget to consider the above and you won’t go far wrong. If you need any support during the recruitment or settling in of project management professionals, why not get in touch with the team at ProjExc. Good luck!

PM Answers just got more interesting

We are delighted to announce that the much anticipated PM Answers Club has launched.

In response to numerous requests for a low cost, great value project manager coaching and mentoring solution PM Advisor has this week launched PM Answers Club.

PM Answers

A unique resource providing project managers with honest advice from renowned experts on their project management issues

All professionals need support to develop and grow from time to time.  Project Managers in particular have a great deal of expectation placed upon them in terms of ability, specific skills and experience.  Increasingly PMs are assigned, despite them not necessarily carrying all of the pre-requisite competence.  Traditionally, in-house mentors have been a major part of the solution, but big business is under increasing pressure to do more with less.  More and more project professionals are working in smaller organisations where there is little or no expert support available.  These factors mean that external expertise is needed.  However competence development budgets are constantly being squeezed, and so there is understandably a need for great value, both in terms of quality, time and budget.

That is where the PM Answers ‘Club’ from PM Advisor can help.  This new and unique service provides a personally blended mix of learning, mentoring and coaching, built from modules of group and individual sessions led by expert PM Advisors.  Sessions are held securely online, and your first Group Learning session is free!  To secure your taster session download and email this application form.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Project Management News Digest w44 2013

NewsDigestBad Project Managers: 6 Archetypes

Information Week

Phil Simon takes a consultant’s perspective to describe the 6 types of Bad Project Manager he has come across:

  • The Yes-Man,
  • The Micromanager,
  • The Procrastinator,
  • The Know-it-all,
  • The Pollyanna, and
  • The Pessimist.

 

Deltek Vision 7.1 Update

Deltek

Deltek’s integrated project-based software for professional services firms has been updated with some new functionality, including document attachments, Adobe InDesign integration, improved security, improved billing & approvals, graphical dashboards and expanded mobile functionality.

 

New PM Tool: Cloud Startup Swyvel Brings Project Management To The Cloud

Swyvel

We’re not sure this is the best name for a PM Tool, but putting that aside the system appears to pack a functionality punch.

 

10 Project Management Rules Every Business Owner Should Know

Connectwise

  1. project management is a specialisation
  2. without scope you’re doomed
  3. establish milestones
  4. define how you will document the project
  5. build an extra week into every phase
  6. plan for the worst
  7. set recurring review meetings
  8. know your bench
  9. provide customers with a post-implementation checklist
  10. send a post-implementation survey

 

The business analyst: The project manager’s best ally

TechRepublic

Ken Hardin shares a tale from his days as a TechRepublic manager that illustrates why PMs need a direct channel to the business analyst.

 

How to build a good project KPI framework

ProjectManager.com.au

Clear thoughts with 7 main considerations for project KPIs:

  1. Meaningful
  2. Measurable
  3. Benefits related
  4. Mix of lag and lead
  5. Aligned with program and/or portfoilio
  6. Regular reporting
  7. Measure into operations

 

More Reading: Project Management Blogs

We are often asked which PM Blogs we follow at PM Advisor.  Here are a few of our favourites:

APM Blog: http://www.apm.org.uk/blog

Guerrilla Project Management: http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com

Herding Cats: http://herdingcats.typepad.com

How to Manage a Camel: http://www.arraspeople.co.uk/camel-blog/

Project Accelerator: http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk

Project Excellence: http://blog.projexc.com

Project Management: http://project-management.com

PM Crunch: http://pmcrunch.com

PM Hut: http://www.pmhut.com

The Sensible PM: http://www.sensiblepm.com

The Tao of Project Management: http://thetaoofpm.blogspot.co.uk

 

PM Answers to your burning Project Management Question?

PM Answers from PM Advisor.

PM Answers

A unique resource providing project managers with honest advice from renowned experts on their project management issues

Have you got a burning project management question or issue that you are looking for an answer to?

Ask us.  Our project management experts will do their best to answer your question, or point you in the right direction.  The best questions, along with our answers, will be posted back onto the PM Advisor site.  This allows others in the PM Advisor community to benefit from the advice,  and to add their comments, ideas or other pearls of wisdom, creating a unique community directed Q&A forum.