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.
Closing the Project: 10 Ways to Embed Lessons Learned in the Organizational DNA
By Alan Zucker
The value of the project lessons learned process is to transform information into actionable knowledge to improve the outcome of future efforts. If we do not apply the lessons to future work, then little has been achieved. Furthermore, embedding the lessons into the organizational DNA is necessary for our project organization to mature. In October, I published "Closing a Project: Ask the Right Questions.” In that blog, I presented two techniques for effectively eliciting lessons learned during the project review. In this blog, I will share 10-ways to embed lessons into the organizational DNA: 1. Have a meeting where all... Read More»

We've Come A Long Way
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
Over the Christmas holidays my wife was bored so she decided to clean out a storage locker. I was sitting at my desk when she handed me my old slide rule from my university days. That got me thinking to how much has changed since I started in engineering and working on projects. When I started university in 1969 I had to purchase the above noted slide rule. For doing calculations this was all there was. The case, 13" long, even had a belt loop so we carry it everywhere we went. Just think how cool that looked? By the... Read More»

Being a world-class project manager - Part 2 - the hidden traits that matter
By Cinda Voegtli
In my previous post on this subject, I started by giving an overview of the book The World Class Project Manager - a Professional Development Guide. I believe this book approaches the subject of our development in a valuable way. It acknowledges the multi-faceted landscape of being a PM - including possible variations of PM role and types of projects we may manage, along with the typical lists of skills and abilities you find in books about being a great project manager. But it also goes further than some in its treatment of many PM attributes and focus areas that... Read More»

How do you become a world-class manager of projects?
By Cinda Voegtli
In The World Class Project Manager – A Professional Development Guide, Robert Wysocki, James Lewis, and Doug DeCarlo provide a very useful background on the role and career of "project manager" - and what we need to know and be able to do in order to be truly world-class at it. I love this book because it covers career-critical subjects in a meaty and real-world way while staying easy-to-read and easy-to-reference later. It's not new - but it’s still one I keep handy on my bookshelf because much of the advice is timeless. I believe it has a lot of... Read More»

The Power of Our Thoughts for Creating Personal Power in Tough Situations
By ProjectConnections Staff
Noted life coach Steve Chandler teaches that we basically have two choices for how we deal with and respond to life: we can either be owners (in control, deliberate and actively creating our life experience) or victims (individuals who merely react to life and see themselves as having no other choice). There is much wisdom in this simple distinction. A basic error many of us make on a daily basis is thinking that external circumstances or events are responsible for how we feel, and thus we often feel that we have to wait for external factors to change before we... Read More»

Sanity Check - How long has it been since you talked to your project's Sponsor?
By Cinda Voegtli
Conventional project management wisdom says that having an engaged executive-level project sponsor or champion is absolutely critical to success. But is your schedule of sponsor interactions putting that wisdom into action? I know, I know. They're busy. They're travelling. They sponsor other projects too. Maybe they even see the role as a figurehead thing and don't understand what you need from them. (Here's a resource to help you if that's the case.) But if it's been weeks since you talked to your Sponsor - well, that to me is a risk. Are the goals and priorities still the same in... Read More»

How Regular Exercise Helps You Balance Work and Family (article recommendation)
By Cinda Voegtli
Don't think of exercise "yet one more thing to fit in" to our busy days. Regular exercise actually can play a direct role in reducing our sense of conflict between work and home responsibilities. So says this nice article from HBR.org that aims to shift our thinking about exercise relates to the ability to achieve both quality work and home/family life. From the author: "New research by my colleagues and I...demonstrates a clear relationship between physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposive – to use Caspersen and colleagues’ seminal definition of exercise – and one’s ability to manage... Read More»

Being the PM they want: What *executives* think our 2015 goals should be
By Cinda Voegtli
So here we are - the start of a brand new year - and, very possibly, already drowning in everything we need to get done. Let's hold on a sec! Before those task lists take over all our time, here is my New Year's wish for all of us: A little thinking time about what is MOST important for each of us to do and achieve -- to be maximally effective; to be maximally valued; and to ultimately have the best possible options for our careers. Those who have followed me for a while or attended any of my classes... Read More»

New Year's Resolutions - How To Make Sure Yours Actually Come To Pass
By ProjectConnections Staff
Various studies have demonstrated that only 8 - 10% of individuals actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions. And this statistic cuts across educational lines, professions, and income levels, i.e., it’s pretty much universal. Pretty dismal when you think about it – but one really has to question why that’s the case. As an avid goal setter and personal improvement junkie, I decided to do some research into how I could improve my own chances of achieving my own resolutions. I’d like to share what I’ve found out. First, much of the standard advice really does apply. Resolutions (or goals if... Read More»

The Lifeguard Analogy, Mindfulness, and the Project Manager
By Alan Zucker
Lifeguards are taught to only go into the water as a last resort. Going into the water puts both the lifeguard and the victim at risk. The phrase, "reach, throw, row, and go" is drilled into trainees to break the natural impulse to immediately jump into the water. Like lifeguards, project managers have a bias to action, but we are not always trained to assess a situation before jumping in. While PMs do not face the same life or death decisions, there are project and reputational risks to be considered. Once, a very excited manager called me. “We needed to... Read More»




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