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»

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»

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»

Does Your Agile Organization Have Cancer?
By Brian Irwin
Every (yes—EVERY!) organization that I’ve ever worked for or with has had cancer. Indeed, several of the projects I’m aware of have also had cancer. This has largely been true regardless of the methodology used. The specific stage of cancer has varied, as has each prognosis; however, all organizations I’ve encountered have been diseased with one type of particularly aggressive form of cancer. The specific type of organizational cancer I’m talking about is having an excessive amount of work in progress (WIP) at any given point in time. For organizations in general and agile organizations, in particular, the result can... Read More»

Black Friday the Project Management Way
By Margaret de Haan
Just like approximately 200+ million people each year, I am a Black Friday shopper. It has become a tradition. After the yearly Thanksgiving dinner with friends, a cross section of the women sit down with the flyers from the Thanksgiving edition of the paper, and map out the "plan of attack". This year we had a "Black Friday Virgin" decide to join the experience, and was stunned by the "Project Planning" process that I go through (once it was mentioned, it got everyone torturing me, as I apparently take Project Management to the extreme - is that even possible??). We’re... Read More»

Invisible Agile Leadership
By Brian Irwin
"A leader is best When people barely know he exists Of a good leader, who talks little, When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, They will say, "We did this ourselves." - Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching Like many parents, my wife and I provide a weekly allowance to our sons for completing their family responsibilities (I think "responsibilities" sounds better than "chores"). Occasionally, their money collects to the point where it begins to burn sizeable holes in their banks. Yesterday my youngest son brought his money with him on a family shopping trip. He chose to buy a... Read More»

Project Management, Methodologies, and Organizational Maturity
By Margaret de Haan
In my last few positions, I have spent time setting up the Project Management discipline in the organization, and ultimately creating a "PMO" in each . Now, whether you would agree with me or not, I believe that PMO's are created and customized to meet the organization needs at the time that the department and processes are set up, in other words, there are no "cookie cutter" implementations. Looking at each Project Management Office, or function (or even the Methodology that was implemented) was directly linked to what that organization's culture could handle, and what could be implemented successfully. In... Read More»




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