Absentee PM

October 23, 2012 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Project management 

I was talking to a friend the other day, listening intently as he described a project he’s currently involved with that is, politely, challenged. He was lamenting about a recent meeting where the project manager had spent a couple of hours telling the group what they needed to do on the project, then in exasperation, ended the session with “I don’t care how you get it done, just get it done!” Read more

All Shapes and Sizes

January 16, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Project management, Teamwork 

I spent a few years facilitating an award winning PM Certificate program in Vancouver, up to about a year ago. One of the things that astounded me in that program (and I’m sure the scenario plays out elsewhere as well) is that on the first day, most of the students were looking for a standard set of templates and a recipe for project success.

I guess I astounded them right back when I said “Nope, sorry”. Here’s my reasoning. Read more

Deadlines and Commitments

September 27, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Project management 

While some projects absolutely must be high quality, and others might be physically constrained by size, there is one dimension that is clearly the most prominent point of discussion on projects of all shapes and sizes: When must it be finished? Read more

Expertise vs. Teamwork

September 22, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Project management, Teamwork 

We were working through a project management workshop that I have blogged about in the past, where we have a fun blend of theory and practice centred around a brief construction project. With more than enough resources to go around, we decided to try to design an experiment for the last round that might help answer the question of which is more valuable: expertise or teamwork? Read more

From Telling to Asking

April 30, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Project management, Teamwork 

There are a number of flavours of project management workshops I’m involved with these days, online and face to face, running the whole show or facilitating with wider participation. One thing that they all have in common is that many of the issues have to do with team dynamics, and the many ways in which this manifests itself. Here’s another example. Read more

Work Breakdown Breakdown

April 16, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

One of the most useful tools to support consistency across projects is also one of the most misunderstood and widely overloaded tools: the work breakdown structure. Let’s tear this thing apart and look inside. Read more

High Cost of Success

March 26, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Project management, Quality 

In all kinds of projects, despite all the theory behind project management best-practices or ‘branded’ methodologies or lifecycles, I would say that the majority of projects get done with more than a little ‘seat-of-the-pants’ effort. In construction circles you will see ‘as built’ notations on the drawings, in many projects you will see a lot of scurrying, sprinkled with some long hours, and a dash or so of frayed nerves. The project gets done, we declare success, but at what cost? Read more

What’s That PMO Doing?

February 18, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Project management 

I was running a workshop on project management yesterday, and one of the first things I did (as usual) was to go around the room to ask what people were looking for in the session. One person volunteered that back on their project, they have a PMO that drives things, and what he wanted to get out of the session was to “find out what goes on behind those doors”. I may not know what does go on behind those doors, but I do have thought or two to share. Read more

Many Sources, One List

January 12, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

On any project, regardless of the size or complexity or uncertainty involved, there is one thing you know darned well to expect: things will change. To ignore or be surprised by potential changes is to set yourself up for heaps of trouble. It is important to recognize that change can come from many different directions. In addition, once you have collected all these potential changes from all over the place, it is critical that you triage all of them together, in a single list. Read more

Where Do Lessons Go?

December 13, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Project management, Quality 

A good part of a formal closing for any project is a discussion of lessons learned. An even better approach is to get the stakeholders together to gather these lessons, both good and bad, in the form of a comprehensive retrospective. Unfortunately, in most cases, these lessons learned would be more appropriately called “things we should learn but are doomed to identify as lessons again on our next project.” Read more

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