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

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 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!