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Your Company is Sinking – Can Project Management Turn It Around?

Imagine this scenario: your company is in trouble. Customers are leaving in droves. Product rollouts just aren’t working. You’re losing money like you’re tossing it out the window as you drive down the street. These are all extremes, but what I’m trying to say is this…your organization is in trouble…it may be going under. Could good project management save it? Could best practices turn things around? When is too late really too late? [More]

Moving to Agile? 3 Key Things to Consider

Agile is huge in the software development and project management world at the moment, in case you haven’t noticed. New hires are expected to have agile development and PM experience and it’s a key catch phrase with must project customers everywhere you go – whether they understand it or not. [More]

Ask Your Project Customer the Tough Questions

Here’s a scenario head into very carefully: the project customer who professes to have the project and all the requirements mapped out. Sounds easy? No. Too many times what the customer thinks is the problem is only part of the real need. They may not be ready budget-wise or time-wise for the full solution that they really need, but you can help them uncover the big picture through proper planning so that the current solution is chosen carefully and so that next phases can be handled efficiently rather than feel like they are starting over again. In the long run the customer will save time and money through extra planning now – but you and your experienced project team need to show them that – they often won’t come to that realization on their own. No matter what the customer says they want and how they want it done, at the end of the day if it doesn’t solve their true need it will be your fault. Period. [More]

What the Project Team Brings to the Table

In matrix or professional services organization, the project manager is usually given a staff of project professionals to manage for the duration of the project who can fill the roles needed on the project. They are skilled professionals, ready to execute on the project and deliver a successful solution to the end project client. And to follow you – their leader – into the fire…no matter what. Sound about right? Maybe…but it takes a certain group of individuals and a certain chemistry to make that all happen. [More]

What the Customer Should Bring to the Project

The project manager is in control. No question (hopefully). But that doesn’t mean there can’t be a few things we expect from the customer throughout the engagement. We come in with our knowledge of project management, the likely solution, what technology may be needed, how to engage the customer and what we think we need to know from them. Beyond that, we do need the customer and we need their participation. I’ve narrowed it down to five key areas where we need customer input, information and participation. Beyond these five, we are mostly good, but without these five the project will suffer. The five on my list are: The project manager is in control. No question (hopefully). But that doesn’t mean there can’t be a few things we expect from the customer throughout the engagement. We come in with our knowledge of project management, the likely solution, what technology may be needed, how to engage the customer and what we think we need to know from them. Beyond that, we do need the customer and we need their participation. I’ve narrowed it down to five key areas where we need customer input, information and participation. Beyond these five, we are mostly good, but without these five the project will suffer. The five on my list are: [More]

Controlling Project Change is a Process

Change control, change orders, scope management…ugly words. You hope it doesn’t come up, but invariably it does on most projects – especially if the project manager is doing their job in clearly defining requirements with the customer and then subsequently managing scope throughout the engagement. Something changes …on every project at some time or another. [More]

Satisfying Senior Management Needs on Our Projects

Senior management’s interests or the customer’s needs. We hope that they aren’t in conflict, but sometimes they are. Yes, senior management wants us to have satisfied project customers, but they’re top priority at the end of the day is often to be as profitable as we can possibly be. Overall, the best way to get there – usually – is by making sure our customers are happy. So, I like to start there. I often find myself as a project manager putting the customer first because they're paying the bills and they are the individuals that I am working with on a daily basis. They are the ones I’m providing status reports to and leading my team on long-term engagements for. [More]

5 Key Challenges Faced by Project Managers

As project managers we are constantly being faced with challenges that threaten the success of our projects and our team’s efforts on those projects. My list is about a mile long but I’ve narrowed it down to five for the purpose of this article. As you read this article, please be considering your own challenges to share and discuss here. [More]

Which Came First, the Schedule or the Budget?

One drives the other. Or the 2nd drives the 1st. Or vice versa. Which should come first, the schedule or the budget? It’s a tough call – each plays a huge role in the other, right? And it depends on who is pricing the project, I suppose. [More]