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Project Practitioners

A practical view of common issues, and how to deal with them as well as tips and techniques from the field in the world of project, program, and portfolio management.
Conversation Starters for PMs and Sponsors - Part 1: Initiation
By Sinikka Waugh
No single communication relationship in a project is more critical than that between the PM and the Sponsor, but not every PM and Sponsor know how to connect. Every project is, by very definition, unique. But there are predictable moments, and critical conversations that need to take place throughout the project. Assembled below are some conversation starters - prompts, if you will - to help PMs and Sponsors have more effective exchanges at core moments in the project. Read them, make them your own. If you are a PM - use them to engage your Sponsor. If you are a Sponsor - use them to engage with your PM. Read More»

Deconstructing the PMO to Save the Brand
By Alan Zucker
What do the following have in common? Best Practices, Business Process Reengineering, Matrix Management, Six Sigma, and Management by Objective According to Inc.com1, these are five of the 10 worst management fads. Based on current trends, I fear that the PMO will join this list, as well. Several research firms have found that PMOs fail at alarming rates, with 50% of PMOs closing their doors within three-years2. One driver of this high failure rate is the expectation gap between PMOs and their customers. I believe that poor organizational branding has created confusion about the role and function of the PMO... Read More»

Project Delivery Systems
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
Last month I started talking about Project Delivery Systems. When you are managing a project you always need how the contractors, engineering contractors and construction contractors, working for you are organized. The different project delivery systems available to the Owner are: Owner Provided Delivery (OPD) which you may have been involved with. Design-Bid-Build - is the most common for projects and you are probably most familiar with this method. Construction Management - is a variation on the Design-Bid-Build. Design-Build EPC - which is a variation of Design-Build. Two Types Last month I talked about Owner Provided Delivery and Design-Bid-Build. This... Read More»

Are You Elegantly Solving the Wrong Problems?
By Brian Irwin
I recently read an interesting article by Mark Shead outlining how good we are at problem solving and how notoriously bad we are at identifying the correct problem to solve. That notion resonated with me in both personal and professional contexts. Being emotionally invested in outcomes can occasionally obfuscate the true underlying issues; or, if we are aware of the underlying issues, we might dare not address them directly for fear of the unknown (insert personal reason here). Alas, we attempt to address what we perceive to be the real issue which often turns out to be only a symptom... Read More»

Who Put the #$!&@ in Teams?
By Michael Aucoin
To adapt a line from the movie Animal House, "Teams–can't live with them, can't live without them!" That may be the conclusion of a 2013 survey commissioned by the University of Phoenix that revealed some troubling findings about the nature of teams in the workplace. 95 percent of those surveyed recognize that teams serve an important function, but only 24 percent prefer to work in teams. 68 percent who have ever worked in teams have had at least one experience with a dysfunctional team. 40 percent of those who have worked on teams have witnessed a verbal confrontation between team... Read More»

Organizational Structures, Modes of Power, and The Prisoners’ Dilemma
By Alan Zucker
Say you are assigned to a new project. What process do you follow to determine your approach to engaging the team? Do you analyze the project’s organizational structure? How do you decide which role and power type to use? The project’s organizational structure influences the formal power and role of the project manager. The way the PM chooses to exert power affects the type and quality of the team relationships. The Prisoners’ Dilemma provides insight into the impact of collaborative versus competitive behavior. Organizational structures, modes of power, and The Prisoners’ Dilemma can provide the PM with insight into leading... Read More»

Tomorrow will be better!
By Alfonso Bucero
Are you familiar with my sentence: “Today is a good day”? Every day is a good day because we have a lot of blessings every day. The problem is that most of us are not conscious about that. We are going too fast, we are working a whole year and again, and again and again. We are traveling too much to get some business. We have a short time focus in many cases. I like very much my profession; I’m a project manager, consultant, trainer and speaker working worldwide, so I’m blessed. I have the opportunity to meet new people... Read More»

Project Delivery Systems
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
Over the next few newsletters I will be talking about the different project delivery systems available to you. Owners will have numerous projects and the execution of the projects will follow a project delivery system that the Owner determines suits the situation. As you know, the Owners, designers, and contractors make the decisions, provide the services, and perform the work to deliver constructed projects. These activities are known collectively as project delivery. The generic term “project delivery system” describes how these participants are organized to interact, transforming the Owner's project goals and objectives into a finished project. The project delivery... Read More»

Strengthening and Enforcing Our Profession
By Ann Drinkwater
In order to be an effective project manager, we should look at our definition of project management. Definitions surprisingly vary greatly by organization and individual. While there are different forms and degrees of project management, we should be careful about calling something project management that really is not. Referring to non-project management functions as project management further confuses the profession. Call it what it is. If a position is more administrative, add this label. If a position is more holistic with overall responsibility and leadership for the success of the project, I’d be more inclined to call it project management.... Read More»

17 Great IFTTT Recipes for Project Managers
By DeAnna Burghart
IFTTT (stands for "IF This, Then That") is an automation tool for linking apps, devices, and an ever-growing list of Internet of Things gadgets. These recipes will make it easier to manage your project communication automatically. Read More»

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