August 15, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
Smart people never stop learning, especially from each other. Your project managers, and the projects they run, can reap huge benefits from continuing their education and interaction, learning from each other's mistakes, and generally improving project management practice throughout the organization. In this newsletter, we provide a wide variety of resources you can use to create a productive learning environment for project managers in your company, whether you're going back to the basics, or promoting advanced practices and process maturity.
Agile and Improv
Jenna and I celebrated her birthday this year by enrolling in an eight-week improvisation (improv) class. She was thrilled (remember, she's the artsy one), but I have to admit I was more than a little apprehensive, even though it was my idea.
By Geof Lory
That was in February. Today, I recommend improv to all my Agile teams. Seriously! While improv can help any team, as I've suggested before, the direct correlations between improv and Agile teams are particularly valuable. In fact, the organization that teaches the class we attended also conducts corporate workshops specifically designed to take improv into the workplace to build better teams and improve working relationships.
As always, it's important to take what I learned from improv in moderation and in context. I'm not suggesting that projects should be managed by improv. However, teams can get stuck in thought patterns and processes that keep them from achieving their potential or delivering any real business value. Improv can be a way to get unstuck.
As food for thought, I offer the following ideas and practices Jenna and I learned in our improv class. I'll leave it up to you to figure out how they might relate to your team.
There are no rules, and nine other rules your agile team can learn from improv classes. »
Project Status Reports Bundle
Yet again, you find yourself composing long-winded reports describing your status and roadblocks. You know no one has time to read them — you don't even have time to write them. But how else can you capture the important information about what's going on with this project? Enter our status reports bundle, with over 20 variations on status report formats for different situations, many with sample data so you can see the level of detail other teams and managers use. Save time and save face with real world examples that will make your status manageable, understandable, and presentable for all those who need to know, without writing a novel. Multi-user licenses available!
Learn More »
Premium How-To Course
Uncovering Critical Dependencies in the Schedule
Presented by Cinda Voegtli
Missed interactions or blown handoffs can make projects painfully, or even pointlessly, late. Since prevention is always better than cure, it's important to involve the right resources, and to identify and plan for cross-functional dependencies. The information is usually all there, hidden in your work breakdown. How can you find it all in time? In this course, Cinda Voegtli explains how to work successfully with your project team and their functional managers as you identify work and assign resources to accomplish the project goals. 1 PDU
Learn more »
Scrum Is Not the Goal
by Brian Irwin
Every day I witness teams doing Scrum, each operating at varying levels of maturity. Scrum is a great way of working because, as a lightweight framework, it dictates nothing about how the actual work inside of a sprint is done. It does provide a number of roles, ceremonies, and artifacts, but stops short of instructing a team how to do its work. How the works actually gets done is determined by a number of factors such as how the team self-organizes, interacts, and how the individual members relate to one another.
Sometimes a weakness is simply a strength overdone. I believe this is the case with Scrum. This is not a blog to bash Scrum, quite the contrary. Scrum is a great way of doing work and I think it should be leverage to more forms of work. The power, promise, and simplicity provided by Scrum are also its biggest weakness. It is completely within the realm of possibility to introduce Scrum practices into an organization and affect little, if any, noticeable change. I think this may be, in part, due to a lack of understanding of, and adherence to, the core agile principles. Read the rest »
PM 101 – Project Management Basics
The Medal-Worthy PMs Executives Are Desperate to Hire
In this article, executives from a variety of different companies share the qualities they find most valuable in their own indispensable PMs. Find out what your boss really wants from project managers.
Speaking Up: How to Make Your Case – PREMIUM
Speaking up is a key leadership skill, whether or not you're officially the team leader. This guideline can help you make your case more effectively when you see ways your team could improve the project or work together better.
Role Comparison Checklist: Executive Sponsor and Project Owner – PREMIUM
Outline and compare the roles of the Project Manager and the Executive Sponsor in a variety of critical areas such as goals definition, planning, communication, scope changes, stakeholder management, and more. Three tables are discussed: An overview table comparing the two roles in each area, and a table for each individual role to use as a checklist and worksheet for preparing your work during a particular project.
PM 201 – A Best Practices Seminar
Project Support Group Survey and Results – PREMIUM
Survey your organization to discover the most valuable characteristics in a project management support group. You can use the results to propose or implement a group supporting PMs organization-wide, especially newer project managers who may need training, mentoring, or coaching.
Budget for Project Management Support Group – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until August 29, 2013
Nothing comes from nothing, so be prepared with a reasonable budget. This template was originally created for a 2-person PMSG supporting 30 project managers, with a charter to provide training opportunities, books and publications, coaching and mentoring, recognition, and other support. This template can be customized easily for company-specific line items and different sized PMSGs and project manager groups.
PM Support Website Requirements Checklist – PREMIUM
Websites and intranets can provide great, low-cost alternatives to the Big Binder approach to project processes. This file contains a requirements list and prioritization template created by a company planning an internal website to support its project managers and teams.
PM 451 – Advanced Studies
Creating the Right Software Project Organization – PREMIUM
If you're setting out to build a new project organization, build on the lessons learned by others in the business. This guideline was written by an experienced software development executive, relaying her step-by-step approach for creating an effective software project organization.
Enterprise Project Management Office (PMO) Charter – PREMIUM
To increase the odds of successfully launching a Project Management Office, your charter should help build and document stakeholder consensus about the PMO's goals, mission, constraints, and resources. This charter outline, provided by an experienced and highly successful director of an enterprise PMO, walks PMO heads and stakeholders through key success factors for launching an enterprise-wide PMO, Project Office, or Center of Excellence.
Getting the Right Value from a Project Management Tool – PREMIUM
Software is only useful if it's providing the right benefits. Use this checklist and the accompanying guidance to make sure that people are using a project management tool wisely.
Morley Selver is running his 3-day "Fundamentals of Project Management" workshop this fall in the following locations: Calgary AB August 27-29; Denver CO September 25-27; Houston TX October 23-25; Calgary AB November 20-22. For information & enrollment please visit www.peice.com
Corporate Subscriptions and Licensing
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