Category: Blog


Project Management: Communication

Blog. Comments Off on Project Management: Communication

We can’t be an effective project manager if we’re not able to articulate what we need our project team to do. And we’re not only going to be communicating with our team, we’ll need to communicate with everyone associated with our project, internal or external, technical or functional, junior or senior.

In a recent PMI Pulse of the Profession report, it was revealed that the most crucial success factor in project management is effective communication with all stakeholders. The research finds that effective communication leads to more successful projects. Also, it’s been estimated by the Project Management Institute that a project manager’s job is some 90 percent communication, hence this comprehensive blog.

Importantly, as project managers we need the confidence and the communication skills to speak up when it’s necessary. The sponsor wants a ridiculous variation? It’s our job to explain why … Read More »


Preparing a Project Resource Schedule

Blog. Comments Off on Preparing a Project Resource Schedule

In project management, resources are required to carry out the project tasks. Having a plan for our project doesn’t mean we should only have listed the tasks it takes to deliver it. Planning also includes knowing what resources we’re going to need, how much, and when. Resourcing isn’t just about people, it’s also about materials and equipment.

Whether the project is developing a new software feature or the construction of a building, resource planning directly contributes to the project’s end result. An over-resourced project wastes time, those with too few resources risk missing critical milestones, and those that use the wrong resources won’t meet expectations. Project managers need to understand what resources a project needs before completing project plans. The basic steps for the preparation of our project resource schedule are these:

Step One: Finalise the project schedule, typically in Gantt chart … Read More »


PRINCESS: A Soft Skills Companion for PRINCE2

Blog, Book. Comments Off on PRINCESS: A Soft Skills Companion for PRINCE2

I’ve been busy. Here is another one that you may wish to buy.  If so, I’ll post you a copy – a mere $28.75 includes GST and postage.  Let me know: jim_young@xtra.co.nz

DESCRIPTION

It’s fast becoming accepted wisdom that it’s people who deliver projects, not processes and technical tools. However, project management methods, tuition and publications still largely ignore the soft skills component of successful project management, particularly absent from Prince2 publications and public training courses, hence the title of this book “Princess – A Soft Skills Companion for Prince2” that explores the human factor that every project manager should master.

And for those contemplating Project Management Institute’s (PMI) credentials, the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam content is to change with effect December 2019 to include people skills that will represent 42% of the marks. However, people skills will not be part of … Read More »


The Project Audit

Blog. Comments Off on The Project Audit

Project auditing is a formal type of “project review”, most often designed to evaluate the extent to which project management standards are being followed – that we are doing the right things, and doing things right. Project audits are rarely welcome and often contentious, but when done correctly, they offer unparalleled opportunity to uncover the issues, concerns and challenges encountered in the execution of our project. It affords us the project manager, project sponsor and project team an interim view of what has gone well and what needs to be improved with our project to successfully complete it. Such an audit is often triggered when:

Situations come do not give a clear picture of the happenings on a project.
Reports give a project manager the feeling that facts are being glossed over.
A doubt arises on whether the project deliverables are being achieved.
The … Read More »


Monitoring Project Progress

Blog. Comments Off on Monitoring Project Progress

We project managers need to be constantly on our toes to ensure that our project is on the right track. Monitoring includes all the efforts and activities to collect and analyse project performance data. Accurate and effective monitoring helps us stick to our timeline and identify and resolve problems early to ensure our project success. To help achieve this we typically use the following three-step controlling process:

Measure: Keep a strict vigil on progress against the project plan.
Evaluate: Determine the root causes of deviations from the plan.
Correct: Make appropriate corrections to address deviations.

Finding a good balance between monitoring too much or too little is often a challenge, especially if we’re new to project management. If we’re constantly checking our team or expecting them to report to us every day, it can feel like we’re micromanaging and don’t trust … Read More »


Typical Key Project Roles & Responsibilities

Blog. Comments Off on Typical Key Project Roles & Responsibilities

Professional relationships between us project managers (PMs) and our sponsors are organic – they are born, they grow, they mature, and ultimately they conclude. Importantly, we must clearly agree our respective roles and responsibilities at the start of the project and any changes to these as our project proceeds. The first thing that we might do is interview each other to assess each other’s skills, experience and philosophy. Our agreed roles and responsibilities may be included in the project charter and plan. Other than deciding our respective roles and responsibilities, two essential matters for us to clarify with our sponsor at this first meeting are:

Problem. What is the problem, opportunity or compliance issue that our project is to address? We want to clearly establish why the project exists.
Success. What would a successful project outcome be? We want to … Read More »


Project Management: Logic Fallacies

Blog. Comments Off on Project Management: Logic Fallacies

Failure to apply critical thinking can have a negative impact on our project. A logic fallacy is an incorrect argument in logic. A key element of critical thinking is being able to spot logical fallacies to reduce risk and enhance our ability to complete projects successfully. We project managers must be aware of common logic fallacies such as these:

Sunk Costs. “Sunk cost” is an economic term for any expenses that can no longer be recovered. Sometimes we might invest ourselves so thoroughly in a project that we’re reluctant to abandon it, even when it turns out to be fruitless and futile. It’s natural, and usually not a fallacy to want to carry on with something we find important, not least because of all the resources we’ve put into it. However, this kind of thinking becomes a fallacy when we continue … Read More »


Project Estimating Practices

Blog. Comments Off on Project Estimating Practices

Estimating is one of the most controversial subjects in project management. Project estimation can even make the best project management experts pull their hair out. We all know that cost and time overruns can lead to project failure. The challenge with estimating is that it always involves some uncertainty. Some of the factors that contribute most to this uncertainty are:

Experience with similar projects: The less experience we have with similar projects, the greater the uncertainty. If we’ve managed similar projects, we will be able to better estimate the costs.
Project duration: The longer the project, the greater the uncertainty. If our project is of a short duration we are more likely to account for most of the costs. Also, we will be able to better estimate costs for the time periods that are closer to the present.
People: The … Read More »


Project Earned Value Management

Blog. Comments Off on Project Earned Value Management

“So, how is your project going?” This is a question project managers are frequently asked by the project sponsor, customer and other stakeholders. One technique used by project managers to explain progress is to plot the plan spend curve and the actual cost expenditure curve as shown in the diagram below. The curve looks good, but what can we tell about the health of this project based on this graph? Is our project team accomplishing the planned work and doing it for less money? Or is the team behind schedule? The point is this curve does not provide sufficient information to properly communicate how the project is going.

To provide the essential information about project progress we need to apply Earned Value Management (EVM). Current performance is the best indicator of future performance, and, therefore a useful … Read More »


Project Leadership and Teambuilding

Blog. Comments Off on Project Leadership and Teambuilding

With effect December 2019 the PMP exam is to be structured around three domains, including the first domain: Leadership and Teambuilding that will represent 42% of the marks. This topic is not addressed in the PMBOK, hence this blog article.

However, a much more thorough explanation of project management soft skills is the subject of my soon to be published book “Princess – A Soft Skills Companion for Prince2” that explores the human factor that every project manager, regardless of the project management methodology applied, should master whether or not we are contemplating the PMP credential. “Princess” will address the following topics:

Chapter One: Introductory Stuff
Chapter Two: Leadership and Project Teams
Chapter Three: Communication
Chapter Four: Stakeholder Engagement
Chapter Five: Delegation
Chapter Six: Motivation
Chapter Seven: Personal Time Management
Chapter Eight: Issues, Problems and Decisions
Chapter Nine: Negotiation and Conflict … Read More »



Blog

My latest thoughts on Project Management and life.

Project Management: Communication

We can’t be an effective project manager if we’re not able to articulate what we need our project team to do. And we’re not...

Preparing a Project Resource Schedule

In project management, resources are required to carry out the project tasks. Having a plan for our project doesn’t mean we should only have...

PRINCESS: A Soft Skills Companion for PRINCE2

I’ve been busy. Here is another one that you may wish to buy.  If so, I’ll post you a copy – a mere $28.75...