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.
The Iron Triangle is alive and well!
By J LeRoy Ward
Anyone involved in project management knows what the Iron Triangle is. It represents the traditional triple constraints evident in every project: namely, scope, time and cost. For years project management publications and standards, such as the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, included a discussion of the triple constraints providing detailed information on how changes in one of the constraints affected the other two. Any PM course worth attending would address the triple constraints in detail to make sure the participants had a fundamental understanding of its dynamic and competing forces. Then something... Read More»

8 Ways to Recover from a Mistake
By Sinikka Waugh
So it turns out, most of the project managers I know are, um, human. So mistakes are going to happen from time to time, right? No one really expects perfection, do they? But how we handle the mistakes, "oopses", can make or break our influence. Project Managers, leaders, vendors, friends…the list goes on. Here are a handful of tips for recovering from mistakes. Hint #1 – (Over) Communicate If you’re going to err, err on the side of over-communicating, not under-communicating. If you’ve got assumptions (“I assume you know that…”, or “I assume we’re both on the same page about…”... Read More»

Strategic Execution: The New Language of the C Suite
By J LeRoy Ward
If you work for a project-based business whose executives understand what project management is and the value it has for an organization, and who use the words and terms “project,” “project management,” and “program management” in their everyday conversations, you don’t need to read this post. But if you work for a company whose business (meaning revenue) is based on operations, manufacturing, or other process-related functions, but who also does projects (that’s every business by the way), and you think they could do a better job at it but resist changing, then read on as I may have an idea... Read More»

5 Things to Consider when Initiating a Mega-Project
By Alan Zucker
Mega-projects (aka, massive strategic initiatives) are not just big projects. The scale and complexity of these undertakings can overwhelm the typical enterprise. To successfully execute mega-projects, enterprises should adjust and adopt their ‘regular’ approach to project management. Cooking is the best analogy to describe the difference between a regular project and a mega-project. On a daily basis I make dinner for four. I can easily scale to eight; but after that, my pots aren’t big enough and I don’t have enough seats at the table. On occasion, I have hosted large parties of 100. But, I could not scale to... Read More»

As A Project Manager Do You Want To Sleep Well At Night?
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
In my past, I worked in Central Engineering for a large worldwide company. One day myself and another project manager got a call to attend a meeting with a Senior VP at one of our facilities. The project had purchased a used paper machine in the UK and were to install it in their plant. The facility engineering manager was running the project and they were $10 million over budget. As we found out later, they had done some planning and scoping but not nearly enough. Ohhhh Ohhhh Senior management were fed up and wanted Central Engineering to take over... Read More»

Are You a Complete Project Manager?
By Randy Englund
While many professionals develop their craft through advanced education and on the job experiences, there comes a time when an enhanced skill set and a new perspective about working with people is necessary in order to advance to the next level of performance. How do you move beyond this plateau? Are you ready to be more complete as a project manager? Co-author Alfonso Bucero and I, through many years of highs and lows, came to believe that enhanced people skills and systemic thinking are keys to success…in any endeavor. Our work as consultants these days is to help people commit... Read More»

Are you a Theory X (project) manager in Theory Y clothing? You're not fooling anyone!
By J LeRoy Ward
According to Wikipedia “Theory X and Theory Y are theories of human motivation that were created and developed by Douglas McGregor at the MIT Sloan School of Management in the 1960s. These theories describe two contrasting models of workforce motivation that have been used in human resource management, organizational behavior, organizational communication and organizational development," as well as by project managers the world over. A Theory X manager is one who believes that people need to be directed, are only motivated by money, and are seen as being generally lazy. Thus a Theory X manager tends to micro manage his... Read More»

Develop your curiosity as a project manager
By Alfonso Bucero
I always was curious from my infancy, and my curiosity developed my passion for reading since my early ages. I found several definitions of curiosity in the dictionary: the desire to learn or know more about something or someone; something that is interesting because it is unusual. Projects have a lot of uncertainty, and then I defend that every project manager needs to be curious in order to be more effective managing your projects. Are you curious? Curiosity is an important trait of a genius. I do not think you can find a successful project manager who is not a... Read More»

Being World Class, Part 3: PM Skills, Maturity, Judgment, and True Know-How
By Cinda Voegtli
This is my final installment of reviewing the book The World Class Project Manager - A Professional Development Guide. If you missed the first two installments, see #1 here and #2 here. One goal of the series has been to convey why I've found this classic book to be so valuable. Another is to provide enough meat to get us thinking about our own skill and maturity profiles and where we each might want to pursue further development. And finally, I've wanted to let you know specifically the range of assessment checklists that are included so you can decide if... Read More»

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»




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