Category Archives: Concepts

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

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

Building a PMO or Project Schedule Template

Your project schedule is one of the most critical pieces of a sound project and creating a standard template structure will provide a consistency through all your PMO projects. There are two main directions you can take when structuring a project schedule. The first is by functional role and the second by product deliverable. My preference is by deliverable as it keeps the focus on the end result. Below I'll explain the differences and why I choose one over the other.  Continue reading

Core Responsibilities of the PMO

Building PMO responsibility can vary greatly depending on who you ask. In my career I have had the opportunity to setup a few Project Offices. The first we won't talk about, the second and third turned out very well. I am sharing some of the key routines I used below: Continue reading

Five Questions in Determining Project Approach


Project Approach is also sometimes called your project strategy or strategic approach. It also matters more for larger projects or programs. An easy way to think of your approach is your collection of life cycles you will use for the project or program.

When deciding what approach to take on a project there are some key questions you always want to ask in helping you decide what methodology to use for your project. For more complex projects you could find yourself with multiple parallel deliverables which could each use a different approach. One deliverable could use a straight waterfall approach, while another deliverable will need an iterative approach to handle less than complete requirements.

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