Project Practitioners > Analytical Thinking and Problem Solving

Posts Under "Analytical Thinking and Problem Solving"

The Power of Early Intervention
By ProjectConnections Staff
Many project managers wait too long to take action when schedule slippage occurs. Sometimes it's due to inertia, sometimes work overload or bigger fish to fry and sometimes, it's hoping that the problem will fix itself or that "we'll make it up later". This last scenario is probably the most dangerous because it's based on deluding oneself. While every project is different and the appropriate threshhold at which one should intervene or at least investigate is context-dependent, the fact is that the longer intervention is delayed, the lower the chances of recovery (assuming an achievable schedule to begin with). Remember,... Read More»

Project PRE-Mortem Simulations - Why Not Learn and Benefit From the Lessons BEFORE the Project Is Completed?
By ProjectConnections Staff
In order to effectively plan for and achieve success on specific projects, project management practicioners must understand how they could fail and ideally, they should derive this understanding when they can do something about it. That said, consider performing project pre-mortem simulations during the planning phase as a risk identification and risk mitigation exercise instead of waiting until you crash head-on into problems with the potential to seriously derail your project. The Harvard Business Review talks about and endorses this concept (http://hbr.org/2007/09/performing-a-project-premortem) and it's also been covered in various project management texts and the works of psychologist Gary Klein and... Read More»

Tactical Communication
By Margaret de Haan
How many times, when managing a project and something unexpected happens (or doesn’t), do you get reactive reasons/excuses a while after the fact? Don’t get me wrong, you need to understand the why to be able to avoid the same thing happening in the future at the micro level, but how could it have been avoided altogether? The longer that I manage Projects, the more that I think that it comes down to 2 things – communication and managing expectations. I believe that if you can do that well, many of the “oops” won’t happen. Yes, yes, I know, there... Read More»

Shift Their Mind Paradigm
By Margaret de Haan
I’ve decided that I have become too much of a creature of habit, and so I have decided to start ignoring most of what I know works. I know, it sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and observing lately, and I’ve come across some interesting perspectives that my brain has spun together. The result looks like something that could have significant value in changing the current process paradigm. Ultimately, if we keep performing things in the same way, based on the scientific method of investigation and learning, how do we deviate away from basic... Read More»

Automated Project Scheduling in Excel
By DeAnna Burghart
Have you ever wished you could see a simple project's tasks laid out on a calendar without wrestling with MS Project or similar scheduling software? Maybe you don't have scheduling software installed. Maybe it seems like way too much effort for this project. Maybe you want to be sure the rest of the team can read the schedule as well as you can. Maybe you just like using spreadsheets. This week I thought I'd share one of my Frankensheets, in the hope some fellow spreadsheet junkies will find it useful. If complex formulas and conditional formatting make you break out... Read More»

Projects Have Always Been Hard (Until Now)
By DeAnna Burghart
Projects have always been hard, especially long projects with sprawling scopes, conflicting stakeholder requirements, and impossible budgets and timelines. Basically, we've bought into our own PR, and it's a total fiction. And the proof is right in our history books. Read More»

Think Differently About Project "Crunch Time"
By Margaret de Haan
So we have all been the lead on a Project that hit “crunch time” where everyone has borrowed a sleeping bag and planned on camping at the office 24/7 for a few days to make sure that the date is met, right? Well I have been speaking to a number of individuals from different organizations at some of my networking events that I have attended recently, and one of the COO’s that I met came out with a revelation that I feel I just have to share even though it should be considered obvious. In a discussion about the “Go... Read More»

Project Management and the Art of Confrontation
By Margaret de Haan
I have been brushing up on my negotiation skills to ensure my sanity lately, and came across a fantastic presentation deck about confrontation that I am sure every Project Manager on the planet can benefit from. I have summarized in my own words the highlights below, including some personal thoughts regarding the conclusions and comments made. If you would like to review the entire deck, please access the following link: http://www.pmipr.org/html/presentaciones/confrontation%20skills.pdf In terms of background on this “tool”, there are a few different confrontational types of behavior: Aggressive; Non-Assertive & Assertive – the “preferred” method. Assertive behavior involves face-to-face, respectful... Read More»

Do you want to be a Project Ninja?
By Margaret de Haan
I have been reviewing many Job Descriptions that are out there for Project Managers, and I realized the other day that if I was really graded solely on what was written in mine, I would really be failing in the eyes of the company. We are so much more than tasks, dates and Project Plans aren’t we? In many ways I am very lucky, the VP that I report to and I, see many things the same way and are more flexible in terms of allowing team members to bend the rules and do what makes sense, than to follow... Read More»

What Really Is A Project Manager?
By Margaret de Haan
The longer I work in some form of a Project related role within any organization, the more I realize that the skills required to manage a Project to a successful outcome requires so much more than is encompassed in the PMBOK. I have also found that there are many Project Managers that don’t share that philosophy, insisting to stay “inside the lines” of what is outlined in the PMBOK – a “that’s not part of a PM’s job” mentality. I have seen again and again that ideal increasing risk, reducing the quality of deliverables, and costing money. The big one... Read More»




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