Category Archives: Project Management

Leadership Styles








Project and Innovation Management


Midler, Killen and Kock opine, “A recurrent theme … is the need to manage projects in the uncertain, dynamic, and complex environments that are typical for highly innovative projects. Such environments are often ill-suited for traditional “rational” project management approaches due to unclear goals, shifting milestones, and evolving and unfolding activities. Alternative perspectives and approaches… provide conceptual inputs, as well as evidence and in-depth empirical understanding of how and when project management structures can provide benefits in managing innovation” (2016). The authors argue there are four main theoretical (and distinct) approaches:

  1. Evidence-informed approach (Evidence-Informed)
  2. Open innovation logic (Open)
  3. Effectual approach (Effectual)
  4. Subjective-interactive innovation management (Subjective)

Additional papers and discussion can be found in the April/May 2016 Project Management Journal and was a worthwhile read especially when considering antithetical ontological and epistemological assumptions within the practice of project management today.

Triple Constraint and Its Role in Innovation


Given the classical project management triple constraint construct of cost, scope and time (with quality often reflected in the center), where does this model fall within the scope of project innovation? In the article “About the Role of Narratives in Innovation Project Leadership,” Enninga and van der Lugt argue there are three additional factors to consider, namely, 1. Developing context, 2. Stimulating creativity and 3. Guiding group dynamics (2006). These “narratives” in addition to meeting project constraints provides a more holistic and inclusive view when considering innovation in the authors view.


Diamond of Innovation


Shenhar and Dvir’s Diamond of Innovation (2007) which was referenced in a recent article within Project Management Journal (April/May 2016) can aptly be applied to projects of many sizes and types. The categorization includes 1. Novelty, 2. Technology, 3. Complexity and 4. Pace. Contrasting this model to the so-called triple constraint of cost, scope and time (with quality often reflected in the center) can we gain new perspective in applying the Diamond of Innovation? I would argue that this additional tool would no doubt augment a project SWAT analyst in particular when comparing internal vs. external threats to a project. 

Project Cartoon

Save your cartoon and you get a unique URL that you can bookmark and email.

via Source: Project Cartoon

Shades of Status

☀ | Green: All’s well…( at least for now, let’s update Facebook)

☀ | Blue: Oh! Oh ! Missed a deliverable, no big deal.

☀ | Grey: Missed five deliverables. We have enough time, no worries..

☀ | Yellow: Dong! We may be in trouble…( you are already in trouble)

☀ | Pink: Time to tell my manager…( let’s share the panic)

☀ | Orange: Everyone knows we are in trouble except our sponsor.

☀ | Red: Sponsor needs to know today morning!..( should’ve known when you were in Grey)

Source: 7 shades of project status | Future Of Project Management.

Project Management web resources with RSS feeds

PM resources with RSS feeds:


PMBOK® Guide – Fourth Edition Changes

Source: PM Hut

Risk Rating Matrix

Qualitative Risk Analysis and the Risk Rating Matrix
By Joseph Phillips

Once you’ve identified your risks, it’s time for qualitative risk analysis. Qualitative risk analysis qualifies the risks for in-depth analysis. Basically, you and the project team discuss the identified risks, the probabilities of those risks occurring, and their impact if the risks actually do occur.

The most common approach to this process is to create a risk rating matrix. Here’s a quick sample of a risk rating matrix using an ordinal scale:

Risk Impact Probability Score
Vendor Very high Medium High
Developer skills High Medium High
Firmware changes Medium Very low Low
Asteroid High Very low Low
Travel delays Low High Medium

Within your project, you have to determine which of these risks deserve additional analysis. Typically you’d say the risks with a medium score or higher should be taken seriously and are promoted to quantitative risk analysis.

How to cope with information overload

How to cope with information overload
Dealing with information overload isn’t easy, because it requires changing the way you live and work. It takes hard work and discipline, but it can be done. Here are several things that you can do at work to break free from the shackles of information overload.
  • Alter your work routines. It’s very easy to become a victim of your routines. The insatiable need for more information is one of them.
  • Plan your day and prioritize your time. This is often an impossible goal, for many people. But it’s an important first step that can help you focus your energy on what’s most important.
  • Cut your phone time. The average worker would be shocked if he knew how much time is wasted on the phone. And a relatively small amount of time is spent on important calls. A Reuters survey said that 20 percent of all voice-mail time is spent fumbling through menus.
  • Manage e-mail. Respond only to important e-mails. Get rid of all junk e-mails. Simply respond by indicating your wish to be removed from the mailing list, and make sure you have a good spam filter.
  • Monitor your Internet time. Most of us waste hours on the Internet. It’s very easy to get lost and distracted when searching for something. Stay focused so that your Internet searches are targeted. It wouldn’t be wasting time to learn Boolean search terms. This will narrow your searches, and cut your Internet time dramatically.
  • De-clutter your desk. Regardless of where it comes from, the average worker is still drowning in paper–most of which he doesn’t need. Look around your desk and office, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you discover that a healthy percentage of the paper that’s been piling up can be trashed, and the rest can be filed for future use. Ideally, your desk should be clear. It should contain only what is pertinent to what you are working on at the moment or during the next couple of days. If you tend to let things pile up, it’s a wonderfully cleansing feeling to see only what’s important at the moment in front of you.
  • At home, try to disconnect from the office. If possible, try not to take work home. For most career builders, work becomes an obsession–and it’s often not necessary to take work home. For many compulsive overachievers, it’s hard to disconnect from the office and its routines and change your rhythms so you can focus your energy and attention on fulfilling non-work related routines.
  • Pursue a hobby, sport or interest–anything that’s not work-related.
  • Shut off your cell phone or Blackberry when you get home. If your job doesn’t demand that you be on call 24 hours a day, make it a rule to shut off your cell phone or Blackberry at a certain hour, say, 7 or 8 p.m.


What is Scrum! In Under 10 Minutes!

The author of this video would like you to check out


Effective Meeting Basics

A successful meeting begins with understanding its anatomy and we begin by doing an overview of its major components:

  • Meeting Setup and Logistics
  • Meeting Preparation
  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Meeting Follow-Up

Meeting notes should contain:

  • Meeting attendees
  • Discussion points
  • Issues list
  • Action items with due date
  • Confirmation that meeting objectives (exit criteria) were met.

Send out Meeting Notes – Make sure to email the meeting notes to all of the original invited attendees directly afterward (same day is best) and ask people to read and send corrections as needed.


10 things I’ve learned in the last 10 years…(related to Project Management)

  1. Be gracious with people, but be ruthless with your time.
  2. There is no greater waste of time then spending extra effort on that which does not need to be done at all.
  3. It is not about working longer, or harder, it is about working smarter and more strategically that counts.
  4. Ask yourself, why am I doing what I’m doing right now?
  5. 1 minute of planning saves (at least!) 10 minutes of reworking (and even hours, days or weeks).
  6. It is sometimes smarter to ask for forgiveness then to ask for permission – BUT not always!
  7. Seek first to understand the other point of view before you explain your side (active listening).
  8. With tempestuous clients, ground rules for meetings should be made together up front and agreed upon by all parties; and last don’t be shy to exercise these agreements.
  9. Be clear on delegation and what authority that has been granted to you; use it or lose it.
  10. Goals in your head are but daydreams; if you want them to become real one day write them down. Now!

Effective Project Management Interview Questions

Question 1: Describe a recent project where you were responsible for managing multiple people or teams. What were some of the key challenges and how did you handle those challenges?
This question demonstrates a result-oriented leadership behavior. Project managers need to demonstrate delivery and a desire to attain the end goal. Staffing project managers who simply point out problems but do not help resolve them will not drive the project to completion. Effective project managers demonstrate how they’ve managed a project, coordinated across multiple teams, overcame obstacles and delivered the project’s goals.
Question 2: Describe a time when you implemented a new idea without being asked or pursued a new opportunity that could improve the project or company.
Demonstrating courage and a willingness to take action without being asked is a key delivery characteristic of effective project managers. Project sponsors entrust the project’s goals, budget and their own reputations on their project managers. Project sponsors don’t have all the answers and need intelligent and motivated people to solve problems, identify new opportunities and take action without being prompted.
Question 3: Describe a scenario where you had to balance competing customer demands with project constraints. How did you ensure customer satisfaction while maintaining the goals of the project?
Maintaining a customer focused approach while ensuring the project deliverables are completed on time is a delicate balance. Business partners don’t understand all the technical details required to turn business processes into software solutions. They just want the system to work and accommodate their changing business needs. Effective project managers build rapport with their business partners, seek to understand the underlying needs and proactively address their concerns. It is a difficult balance as project managers commit to delivering the project scope while addressing a business customer’s changing requirements.
Question 4: Describe a time when you had to balance quality management with a challenged project schedule.
As projects execute and schedule variances occur, there is a tendency to shorten the quality testing cycle to maintain a project end date. In some projects, the end date can be extended, and in other projects the end date must be maintained. Effective project managers recognize the importance of quality management in the software development cycle and prioritize the test cases and test cycles that deliver the project’s critical functionality. These project managers successfully commit to a quality mindset and ensure defects are resolved or mitigated.
The project manager should also recognize the challenge of managing the triple constraint and maintain a commitment to quality. Recognizing delays in the schedule early will help project managers adjust testing schedules so the support team isn’t called in from a day off or a holiday.
Question 5: Describe a time when you had a difficult situation working with a vendor or another peer? What was your approach to resolve the issues while maintaining a positive relationship?
Without a cohesive team, a project manager can not be effective. Projects often depend on vendors and supplier team members to provide services. The nature of the client-vendor relationship emphasizes mutually beneficial goals. However, the vendor doesn’t always prioritize the client’s interests as heavily as their own. The ability to effectively develop teams across corporate borders is critical to project delivery. Clients will always try to maximize services at a minimal cost while vendors are motivated to increase costs for additional services.
In a challenged project with strained vendor relationships, it becomes even more important to focus on the critical issues to work together and deliver the end goal. The same skill is needed when working with other peers who are not necessarily motivated to help the project team. Strong relationships help solve problems and support project delivery. The best project management system, tools and techniques cannot replace the power effective relationships have across multiple teams.

PMBOK – Visualized


Great Project Management Job Search Sites has an RSS feed while has an iPhone application. In general, but in your key words (like project manager, or PMP) and then zip.

Why not try them both?

The Magic Triangle




Sticky (Whiteboard) Overload



4 Steps to Prevent Project Failure

4 Steps to Prevent Project Failure

It’s a lament many CIOs hear all too often from business managers: “Why can’t you start on my project right now? Why do I have to wait?” With IT project backlogs at some organizations running six to 18 months-or even longer-there’s good reason.

“Businesses need a way to ensure it’s not the squeakiest wheel but the most strategic project that gets IT’s attention,” says Ian Finley, research director at Boston-based AMR Research. “At the same time, IT needs to work side by side with the business units to set and execute strategy.”

Savvy IT project management is the solution. In a report issued by AMR last week, “How Leading Companies Unite IT with the Business,” Finley and co-authors Bill Swanton and David Brown find that smart IT project management can go a long way toward ensuring the projects IT focuses on are the most strategic for the organization.

“In a study of IT management effectiveness, we identified a class of companies that set themselves apart with deft leadership and effective management of IT projects,” Finley says. “This discipline just started to get applied to IT projects in the last few years.”

What these most successful IT groups have in common is a set of four best practices for managing their IT projects. They are:

A Business-IT Governance Council. This group, usually made up of both business and IT leaders, makes decisions on the business case of future IT investment, reallocates resources as priorities change, and determines which IT investments should be ended.

“The majority of large companies we see have an IT steering committee with IT and businesspeople deciding what the organization’s priorities should be,” Finley explains. “For large organizations with centralized IT operations that have multiple divisions they have to serve, this group is essential for setting corporatewide priorities to balance the needs of all divisions.”

IT Portfolio Management. While IT project management ensures the organization is correctly implementing projects, IT portfolio management aims to ensure that IT does the right projects. First and foremost in the portfolio management process is the tenet that IT project investments are based on business decisions and not IT decisions.

“The portfolio is managed more like a set of stock investments,” Finley explains. For many organizations, this means striking a balance among investments that keep the business running, investments that enhance the business, and investments that are high-risk but hold the promise of transforming the company. “It’s an interesting shift from questioning whether a project has a return on investment or are we making the right steps as a company,” he says.

A Program Management Office. This is a middle-management group that handles the day-to-day IT resource tradeoffs while making exceptions as needed to meet strategic business goals. If the company needs a new warehouse management system for the holidays, for example, the PMO assigns the project priority status. The PMO also keeps a close eye on the impact of IT project interrelationships.

“If you have 15 interlinked projects that are part of a larger program and one is behind, you need to flag it and redeploy people and resources to get it done,” Finley says. The PMO also serves as a center of excellence for project management skills. “It acts as a learning and training organization to help standardize the way to do projects,” he adds.

IT Project and Portfolio Management Software. PPM systems automate the management of IT projects, giving business managers as well as IT managers a portfolio view. “In some companies that have tens or even hundreds of projects, it’s hard to control them all without having these systems in place,” Finley says. Numerous software companies, including ERP vendors SAP and Oracle, have project and portfolio management solutions. Other key PPM vendors include CA, with CA Clarity, and Hewlett Packard, with HP Portfolio Center, both of which have made acquisitions in this market. Among the pure PPM software companies are PowerSteering and Innotas, each of which offers its PPM software as a service, and Planview.

Bottom line, Finley concludes, “IT needs to work side by side as part of the business, both setting and executing strategy. If your company is going to be innovative, you’re going to have to involve IT.”

Project Failure Rates

Consider this:

  1. On average, about 70 percent of all IT-related projects fail to meet their objectives
  2. Nearly half of respondents reported at least one project failure in the past year
  3. Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) stated 35% of IT projects fail
  4. 35% of all requirements change within the duration of any given project