February 16, 2012, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
This week, it's all about value. At some level, we have to assign value to our project outcomes, the project risks, our project processes, our boss's image, our time on task for the team. Some of those measurements are more intangible than others, but they can all be measured -- and managed -- to some degree. So, what's it worth to you?
The Ooo Shiny Syndrome
A team I worked with recently had a problem staying on focused on one task. They work in an agile environment, and given the lack of prescriptive processes, commitment and self-discipline are key characteristics for success. The team would commit to work on a particular backlog item, and several of the members would invariably find something else they thought was more interesting and work on that instead, ignoring the tasks they had committed to and slowing progress. It's a perfect example of the Ooo Shiny Syndrome.
by Kent McDonald
So how do you counter Ooo Shiny Syndrome? There are no easy answers, especially if you are working on an agile team that does not want to go back to micromanagement. The approaches I find most helpful all center around helping team members strengthen their self-discipline.
Read the rest »
Premium How-To Course
How Will We Know If That Process Change Worked?
Measuring Process Improvement Success
Presented by Alan S. Koch, ASK Process, Inc.
You can't manage what you don't measure." It's true whether you're discussing deliverables, bug lists, or process changes. You may have a great idea for tweaking processes, but the real work is in monitoring and measuring what happens, to be sure you get real value from those changes.
This course by Alan Koch covers how to measure, communicate, and adjust as an organization undertakes changes to its processes. Learn the 4 steps you need to follow in order to monitor any process change for real effects, how to find the missing metrics you need to make those decisions, and how to make measurements that mean something. 1 PDU
Learn more »
For Team Members
If a picture is worth a thousand words, these techniques will get you out of a few pages of documentation for sure. Sometimes, there's just no substitute for drawing a picture -- whether it's with symbols or numbers.
Technique Brief: Context Diagrams – PREMIUM
Simple sketches can aid discussions of project features and scope, and detailed graphical interface specifications, can improve communication and understanding with non-technical stakeholders.
Calculating the Expected Monetary Value of Risks – PREMIUM
Get together as a team and assess the financial impact of given risks to your project, and how much time and money it's really worth spending to spend avoiding them.
For Project Leads
Your team has identified the issue. How will you manage it? These techniques help project leaders communicate about changes -- both those inside the project, and those caused by the project.
Change Management Worksheet – PREMIUM
Any successful project will change something, by definition. For project managers, that means that change management skills are as important as project management skills. This worksheet by Sinikka Waugh helps you plan a strategy for successfully managing your users through the change process.
Issue Resolution Status Report – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until March 1, 2012
This template provides formats for reporting progress resolving open project or technical issues. Emphasis is on communicating without overwhelming -- as many words as are needed, but no more.
If you're trying to improve (or instill) project processes in your organization, you should be clear about what you intend to get out of them. That includes being clear on your role in those processes. These presentations should prompt you to think about PM process management at a high level -- who should be involved, what the goals should be, and how you can be sure you're doing the right things.
How to Get Value Out of a PMO – MEMBER
This paper provides an executive-level look at the four major PMO processes that can dramatically increase the likelihood that your organization will meet its goals.
The Role of Executives in Portfolio Management – MEMBER
This presentation by K.C. Yelin outlines a strategy for leveraged executive involvement that compares the role of a project portfolio manager to that of a "financial portfolio manager" and discusses how best to adapt that model to your organization's project office. Great insights and strategies for PMs who need to pry their executives out of day-to-day decision-making, as well as executives who are trying to coach their PMs to let them out of the ground-level decisions.
There are probably as many different opinions on what it takes to "get ahead" as there are different bosses. In a way, that's the point blogger Ed Reynolds is making in his entry this week. Compare his thought-provoking stance with Kimberly Wiefling's classic column on the dangers of being a great project leader when you have a mortgage to pay and kids in college. Their views seem very different on first blush, but when you read deeper, you can see a common thread in both -- you won't get ahead by making enemies and hogging the limelight (though you might get ahead in spite of it).
Make Your Boss Look Good, by Ed Reynolds
"My uncle once told me, 'The best way to get ahead in your career is to always be prepared to do your boss's job and then work like heck to get them promoted.' One of the most fundamental principles of good management (and career management) is making your boss look good." Blogger Ed Reynolds weighs in with some thought-provoking ideas about getting ahead in your work. Is it better to be right, or to be employed?
Being a Great Project Leader with a Mortgage and Kids in College?, by Kimberly Wiefling
"In my experience, a project leader must often operate in an environment where the very people who sign their paychecks are also the biggest obstacles to success. But some people have asked what can be done if they DO rely on their job for the little niceties of life, like food, shelter, electricity, and running water. And even I admit that my perspective is rather polarized -- even cynical. There are some perfectly effective project managers who manage to maintain good working relationships with uncooperative executives, vendors, team members, and customers. After deep reflection on the matter, I am forced to admit that tact and diplomacy, while somewhat time consuming, may still have a place in the project leader's toolkit." So how do you get ahead when you still need to pay the mortgage?
WBS and Schedule Models
WBS and schedule examples are one of our most commonly requested files. Sometimes, it's just nice to get the sanity check of seeing how others have broken down the work or set up the preliminary schedule. So every issue this year, we'll be highlighting a different work breakdown and/or schedule example. If you've got one you'd like to share, let us know!
WBS and Project Schedule for Office Relocation – PREMIUM
WBS and schedule created for an office move, including task estimates, resource allocation, preliminary leveling information, and more. The WBS runs from the initial space planning work to site shutdown and computer relocation. The example in this file won't be an appropriate WBS for every facilities project, but it certainly provides a good foundation.
Blogger Morley Selver is in Calgary, Canada February 22-24 for his Fundamentals of Project Management Workshop. For more information, see the course page on the PEICE website, or Morley's most recent blog entry, "Due Diligence." If you're not into snow, cold, and poutine, there's another session in Houston, Texas, March 7-9.
Sinikka Waugh is hanging around Iowa for the most part, with sessions in at the DMACC Ankeny Campus in late February on User Stories (February 21), Business Analysis Fundamentals (February 28) and Effective Elicitation Techniques (March 6). For more information, call 515-964-6402 or email email@example.com. Also, keep an eye out for her mid-March session, "How to Tame a Bully: Working Effectively with Difficult People." (And yes, for those of you wondering, we're going to try to bring that one to ProjectConnections.com too.)
Kent McDonald joins the IIBA Spotlight Series this month, with a presentation on Using a Business Value Model to Guide Decisions. (The title question: "Is it worth it?" Honestly, we don't plan this stuff.) For coffee and face time, consider his appearance at the Baldwin Wallace College PM Breakfast Forum in Ohio the following week. On March 5, he'll be at the Cleveland (Ohio) IIBA chapter meeting with "Beyond Requirements: Becoming a Business Advisor."
Carl Pritchard will offer a public PMP® Prep workshop in the Montgomery County, Maryland area February 29 and March 1. Details are still pending, so for more information, contact Carl at www.carlpritchard.com.
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