Author Archives: Alvin

A Guide to Creating a 4 Blocker (four blocker)

unsplash_peas150I am a big fan of using the 4 Blocker for reporting and presentations as it keeps it easy to write, concise, and simple for your reader. Below I explain the 3 advantages of using the 4 Blocker and include 2 examples on how they can be used.  Continue reading

Having Respect for the Project Team


Inherent Tensions
You deal with a lot of people and personalities in Project Management. And, you are often asking a lot from the people on your project. It is even more of a challenge if you have a group not used to project management. The result is a natural amount of friction and passive aggressiveness that can get out of hand if not dealt with early.

Understand the Team
At the beginning of a project, my first priority is understanding everyone on the team and their skills and experience.  I approach this with a genuine respect for the work they do and the experience they have. 

Mutual Respect
I have learned that respect is not a document you hand out or a box of donuts (though it helps). It is the attitude you have towards those on your team. It is a frame of mind that you have when talking to someone. So, start off on the right foot by nurturing mutual respect and the possibilities of what your team can accomplish will be endless.

Originally Published in 2009 and underwent a moderate update

Three Project Environmental Factors to Focus On

Old Fire Truck TrailerIn our quest to implement the best project methodology we often forget about forces beyond project activities themselves. I am talking about the ones you deal with every day and that is your physical environment when working on projects. Project environmental factors can have a noticeable effect on the team and PMO. Continue reading

Project vs Operation and When to Operationalize


Projects are Unique
As most people know, a Project is a temporary and unique endeavor to create a product, service, or result. It is the unique aspect that creates a good chunk of additional overhead in planning and defining the project scope and activities. Creating activities to be used just one time is also expensive. Fortunately, there are sometimes opportunities to operationalize a project. If  you have a project that is not highly complex, and you will need something similar in the future, it might be something where you can create procedures for it as part of the project. By creating a repeatable procedure, you can remove the inherent overhead associated with projects. Continue reading

Presentation Tips for Project and Program Managers

pixabay_sphynx150As a project or program manager, you will give a lot of presentations from progress status reports to business cases. And there will be times when your project has hit a snag and you will be asked tough questions from executives. To help, here are some presentation tips and tricks to keep you in control and show the audience you on top of the project. Continue reading

Why Strategy Matters in a PMO Framework

santamonicadoor150The first time I setup a PMO it was the gold standard in terms of process, risk and compliance. Every project had all the required documentation in the correct order and signed. All the standard reports were produced and sent out on schedule. That PMO was also a failure. It was a failure I ended up learning a lot from. If all you do is define and govern a project life cycle, you are missing the most important goal of having a PMO in the first place. What matters more than great process and procedures is that  your projects are effectively executing the goals and strategies of your organization. Below, I will cover three ways to to really make your PMO shine. Continue reading

Project Manager Types in Every PMO

palmspringschairs150 There are many different types of Project Managers with varying degree of skill and experience. I like to categorize project managers by their ability to Lead and their Project Mgmt knowledge. Building up both these skills is key in being a great Project Manager. In this post, I'll talk about three types of project managers you can find in a PMO. This would be the Theorist, Organizer, and Fire Fighter. Continue reading

PMO Forms Guide – Project Management Plan


Common Names
Project Management Plan, Project Plan, Project Mgmt Plan, Project Management Planning

Your Project Management Plan is a collection of plans that define how you will direct and mange your project or program. An easy way to think of this is your rule book and framework on how the project team will execute the project. It sets the standards and baselines for everyone in the project team to follow. For this Template I will list the most common sections  you will see in a Project Mgmt Plan.

Note: There is a huge degree of variation in project management plans and it could be one standard document plus additional plans specific to your project. This is just an example to understand the value of having one as my own plans vary from one project to another.

Continue reading

Difference Between Issue, Risk, and Change in a PMO


Your Project Risks, Project Issues, and Project Change are key controls to establish in a PMO and your Projects. I like to call these your exception controls because they control the exceptions to your plan. In this article I will explain the differences of each, how they relate to each other, and how best to use them. To start out, I first want to give explain the relationship between each control:

  • Risk is a problem that could happen
  • Issue is a problem that has happened
  • Change fixes the problem that happened Continue reading

PMO Forms Guide – Project Proposal

Leaf in WaterNames Used
Project Proposal, Project Request, Business Case, Project Idea, Idea Request, Pipeline Request

Making the case on why you should do this. A one page form to give a weighted score and identify the size, risk, and cost of the project. This also helps you tier the project so you know what type of process and due diligence is needed. Or you might find it is not a project at all and falls under support. Once this proposal is submitted, it will go into a pipeline of project proposals and scored against other proposals.

Continue reading