Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Enterprise Project Management

Guest Blogger: Ryan Sauer

Many executives today face the frustration of failed projects. Unfortunately, significant money can be lost as well as other detrimental factors such as loss of employee morale. Often, the combination of internal and external influences can lead to this unanticipated and disappointing conclusion.  One way to rise above the inherent problems of individual project management is to adopt enterprise project management.

What is Enterprise Project Management?

While typical project management focuses on one project at a time, enterprise project management focuses on all projects, a grouping of projects or a large, company-wide project. Some of the benefits are these:
·         though enterprise project management looks at the big picture, the principles can be applied to smaller projects as well resources used for enterprise projects can be re-used for individual projects
·         enterprise project management can lead to better prioritizing of projects for the company as a whole

Basically, you could benefit from enterprise project management if you have observed a need for more cohesive organization of projects in your company as a whole.

Realize How to Control the Chaos
Large organizations must deal with highly complex business situations such as mergers, acquisitions, new enterprise technology and government regulation requirements. As an example, imagine that your company is upgrading all routers. To enhance your technology company-wide with this initiative, departments for procurement, technology, business intelligence and security may become involved. Appreciating the interdependencies between departments can be essential. Issues in resource conflict may arise during the process of the upgrade. Confusion and misalignment within the company can lead to missed deadlines, excessive costs and complications within other projects. In order to avoid these damaging outcomes, it is best to successfully manage all departments with coordinated effort.

The Basic Structure of EPM
Most organizations set up an office for project management (PM) or enterprise project management (EPM). The EPM committee includes a lead executive who would assign a team of project managers chosen according to the basic project management methodology selected by the EPM. The executive would create a portfolio of all company projects. This portfolio includes the budget-size of each project per calendar year and also the projects that can be in demand for launch when resources permit. The EPM office also oversees the projects of the company, and reports on whether or not projects are meeting deadlines and budget requirements. Those involved in the EPM are sometimes called a governance committee, and they are available to resolve conflicts that may arise due to interdepency between departments on particular projects. This team also ensures a stream-lined approach for projects on a company-wide basis which creates more consistent workflow and employee expectations.

The Benefits of Enterprise Project Management
If your company suffers from repeated project failures, enterprise project management could help your organization regain control. Due to the numerous variables in play within large business systems, facilitation of project management is not easy. By creating a separate team of enterprise project managers, you can ensure that project management methodology and implementation are streamlined. This will assist all participants in initiating, sustaining and completing successful projects. 

Ryan Sauer is a writer and editor for Bisk Education in association with University Alliance. He actively writes about project management in different industries and strives to help professionals succeed in getting their project management certification. Through the University Alliance, Ryan writes to help enable professionals obtain their PMP certification online.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Task List with Asana ...

Recently I had the opportunity to try out the online task tracker from Asana.  There is a sea of task tracker applications out there, and this one was pretty simple to use.

It allows up to 30 members to be added to your "company" for free and then they have monthly pricing plans if you need more.  Adding a project and tasks to your project is a snap. 

With each task you can add comments, files, and indicate when you are going to work on it.  

It is set up, so each day when you come in you would indicate what you are going to work on and then it is visible to everyone so they are aware what you are working on. 

I like the idea of creating a task, and adding a due date and then assigning it to a resource manager (assuming that a person is not assigned to your project).  The resource manager then would assign it to a person in their resource pool and it would then show up in their work cue. 

It also has a Facebook like newsfeed so you can see what is happening on your project as tasks are updated.

Overall I like the application, and I think it would work well for small projects and smaller organizations.  It is, after all, just a task tracker, not a tool like Microsoft Project.  If you need to track things like hours, dollars, how tasks relate to one another (task 1 needs to be completed before we start task 2), or easily shifting out multiple tasks deadlines out due to a shift in the project end date, then this may not be the application for you.

That being said, I really do think we are going to see the shift to products like this that show transparency of what is happening at any one moment at the project level and at the individual resource level.

Create an account (it is free) and check it out ...  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

PDU Tip: 6 Categories - 2 Divisions

Guest Post from PDU-insider.com

As a PMP certified project manager you have to earn 60 PDUs every three years to recertify your credential. Each PDU will “cost” you 1 hour of your time.

It may sound daunting to think of spending 60 hours on earning PDUs over the next three years but it’s actually very easy. It’s just 20 hours per year, less than 2 hours a month. Plan on spending those hours learning something that will improve your job performance or by doing something that helps others in your profession. Either way, it’s a rewarding experience that takes very little time if you do it regularly. 

The six PDU Categories come in two PDU Divisions: Education and  Giving Back to the Profession.

The Education Division allows you to earn PDUs while learning new and valuable PM concepts through a variety of media. You can take a classroom course, attend a lecture or seminar or participate in and event or a conference. You can choose self-study rather than a more formal activity, too.

The Giving Back to the Profession Division contains three categories with a big variety of activities. You can be a speaker or instructor, moderate a discussion, volunteer on a project for a charitable group or other non-profit. You can coach or mentor someone on project management topics. As you can see, this category allows you many fulfilling opportunities to serve the PMP community as well as the community you live in.

For you as a PMP certified project manager it’s important to understand the rules that PMI has laid out in regards to earning your PDUs. So in our next several PDU tips we are going to go through each of the 6 PDU Categories in detail. In that way you will know the rules before you start playing the game.

Monday, May 21, 2012

PMI Madison Professional Development Day 2012

Recently I attended the Madison PMI Professional Development Day at the Alliant Energy Center, which had a record of over 500 attendees. The theme was Celebrating 20 Years – Reaching High!

I attended many excellent talks and here are my thoughts on them.

The first keynote speaker was Commander Kirk Lippold who was the Commanding Officer of the USS Cole when it came under a suicide terrorist attack in the port of Aden, Yemen.  The Commander went over the attack and the events that took place before and after (song they played on the ship as they pulled out of port).  He also reviewed his five pillars of leadership.

1.       Integrity
2.       Vision
3.       Personal Responsibility and Accountability
4.       Trust and Invest
5.       Professional Confidence

Lessons Learned: Excellent leaders have the ability to act in the now and still think ahead.

The next talk I went to was titled: Working with Humans by John Stein.  John reviewed the two sides of being a project manager.  One side: Technical: monitoring the timeline, budget, scope, milestones… and on the other side: Behavioral: context, art, the science of being a PM.

The behavioral side is the biggest area PMs need to work on.  And he mentioned the two core coaching skills a PM needs to have is listening and questioning.

Lessons Learned: When you think a person is done speaking, count to two before you speak.

The next talk I went to was titled Getting 40% more cooperation and productivity from your team by Traci Duez.  Traci reviewed her seven areas PMs need to focus on to get more out of people:
1.       Recognize the person
2.       Express it (I believe in you)
3.       See the doors (don’t ask why questions)
4.       Put your agenda aside
5.       Engage and be present
6.       Connect and care
7.       Tell your story (Ask, Tell, Ask)

Lessons Learned: Focus on your team and less on the PM number magic.

Then I was off to the next keynote speaker Bill Rancic whose talk was titled How to think long term in a short term world.  Bill won the first season of The Apprentice.  Bill started off his career at the age of 9 making pancakes for his grandmother’s friends at 5 bucks a person.  Later in his career he started a cigar of the month club with a buddy in a 400 sqf studio apartment.  They started out by talking to radio hosts about their product (no to low cost) which lead to 100’s of orders.  Next they went to TV which lead to 1000s of orders.

Lessons Learned: Never quit, never make an excuse and find a creative way to solve problems.

And finally I attended a talk titled: Socialize and prioritize: how a small group can do big things with social Media by Ron Giordan.  Ron reviewed how he and his wife used social media to get the word out on a facility they were trying to create for parents with special needs children.  Over the past several years they have raised 250k and in several weeks they will open Gio’s Garden.

Lessons Learned: There are new ways to reach the masses!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Earn 30 PDUs in Your Car. For Free.

Below is an article by Cornelius Fichtner, PMP.  Not only can you claim PDU’s for listening to podcasts you can earn up to 5 additional PDU’s each year for managing projects.  Earning PDU’s is easy as long as you plan out our strategy for obtaining them.


You worked hard to earn your Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. You studied relentlessly, you passed the exam, and you put in your hours. Surely you’ll do whatever it takes to keep that PMP behind your name once it’s there. But who has time to complete those recertification requirements--60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every three years? You’re probably not jumping to register for a night class on earned value management at the local college. Do you have time between your kids’ soccer practice and swim lessons to write a paper for the local Project Management Institute (PMI)® chapter? Is tonight the night you’ll sit down and author a book on project management? Do you really have the bandwidth to volunteer your service as the project manager for the new neighborhood park?

We get it. That’s why we’ve made it easy to earn those required PDUs when you’re on the go - or, just as likely - when you’re stuck in traffic. You can earn half of your PDU recertification requirements - 30 Category C PDUs - from the comfort of your car - or anywhere else. The best part is… it’s completely free and you won’t need to take an exam, make any presentations, write a novel, or deal with strong-willed neighbors.

Using your iPod, your tablet, your smart phone, or any MP3 player, you can listen to a Podcast anytime, anywhere - you literally can have your PDUs in the palm of your hand no matter where you go! A Podcast is an audio or video file (usually in mp3 format) that you download onto your portable media player - just like you’d download your favorite music from iTunes. Once it’s downloaded you can listen to or watch the Podcast whenever and wherever you like. You could listen in during the swim meet, or brush up on your PM skills on your way to the local chapter meeting. And actually, you don’t even have to have a portable media device to access a Podcast - just click “play” on the website from your computer, then listen and learn.

Don’t know where to start? Check out some of our three favorite project management-related Podcasts:

The Project Management Podcast (www.pm-podcast.com), hosted by Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, brings you weekly interviews with project managers on many aspects of the profession. It covers topics such as tips and tricks, PMO setup, soft skills, methodologies, risk management, leadership, virtual teams, best practices, book reviews, and much more. The PM Podcast started in August 2005 and was the first Podcast to focus on project management. It continues to publish one episode every week and it's completely free.

The PMO Podcast (www.thepmopodcast.com), hosted by Mark Price Perry, provides short, 10 to 15 minute episodes aimed at helping organizations of all shapes and sizes set up business-driven PMOs. It covers a wide variety of PMO topics and features interviews with PMO managers, PMO product and service providers, and thought leaders in both plan-driven project management approaches and complex adaptive systems. The PMO Podcast started in August 2006 and has more than 200 episodes to date. The PMO Podcast is also free and invites PMO enthusiasts to share their perspectives.  

The People and Projects Podcast (www.peopleandprojectspodcast.com), hosted by Andy Kaufman, PMP, provides interviews and insights to help you deliver projects and lead teams. Andy is a project management and leadership keynote speaker, author, and executive coach who works with companies around the world. His podcast puts a strong emphasis on the people and leadership side of a project manager’s role. Andy publishes two episodes a month, which are also available for free.

Aside from the personal/professional development benefits you’ll see from tuning in, Podcasts do help you fulfill your PMP PDU renewal requirements. But you’ll need to maintain a record of the Podcasts you listen to so that you can submit them when you’re ready to renew.

Tracking your Podcasts is easy. Use this free log file to record your Category C podcasts: http://traffic.libsyn.com/pmpodcast/Category_C_PDU_Log.pdf. Use it to keep track of the episode number, the title of the episode, the date you listened to the podcast, its duration, the interview guest, and the topic. When it comes time to submit your PDUs, your log file will simplify the process. You’ll already have the information you need to submit at your fingertips. Remember that all podcasts you submit for Category C PDUs must correspond to specific PMBOK® Guide Knowledge Areas. We suggest you listen to at least 30 hours of Podcasts before you submit your PDU claim, and your log file will provide a one-stop shop for all the information you need to submit.

The PM Podcast will get you half way to your 60 PDU requirement for recertification—all for free. But because these 30 PDUs are not enough to fulfill the recertification requirement, we also suggest you check out The PDU Podcast, www.pducast.com, which will allow you to earn PDUs in Category A. (It’s true. Insert your own silent gasp here.) Category A PDUs are courses or training events provided by PMI Registered Education Providers - and ONLY these providers. The PDU Podcast is currently the only PMI R.E.P. created podcast available through which you can earn unlimited Category A PDUs. Besides that…there’s just good stuff out there.

So even if you don’t have free time, you can make the most of your “busy” time with something free. Are you ready to get started? Go to www.pm-podcast.com/pdu (or any of the project management-related websites mentioned above) and start earning your free PDUs.

About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a noted PMP expert. He has helped over 17,000 students prepare for the PMP exam with The Project Management PrepCast and offers one of the best PMP exam simulators on the market.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Do you really need to pay big bucks to get your PMP?

Every couple of months someone will contact me about my opinion on fulfilling the requirements before signing up to take the PMP exam, and these are my thoughts on it.

Per PMI you need at least 3 years of managing projects or at least being on a project with 4500 documented hours.

Next, you need at least 35 hours worth of documented, PMI certified, classes/training time.  

One option is to take a boot camp where you may pay up to $2000 for a 3 day boot camp.  This is the choke and puke method.   

Or you can take a 6-8 week class that your local PMI may put on for under $1000 

Or for $130 you can order up +35 hours of podcasts from PM PrepCast.  This will also let you watch the videos again and again.  I have reviewed many of these podcasts and think they are the best value out there. 
Next you need some reading materials.   

Make sure you review the PMBOK multiple times, and then find another supplemental book to help out.  I would recommend the following book Link

Read up, study and then start to take some online practice tests

Once you feel you are scoring well on your tests then sign-up for the real test.
Hopefully the end result is you passing the test!  

So, as you can see there are some low cost options out there (under 500 for the PM PrepCast and paying for the exam) to get you to the next step of obtaining your PMP status.  

This post was inspired by a recent post by the PM Student Blog:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Knowing When to Kill a Project

This is a hard topic because every project starts as an idea and someone with that idea had the passion to get the ball rolling in the first place.  Project management tools help us to see which projects are at the bottom of the bucket.  The tools typically are a ranking system and also allowing us to see what was the original baseline of the project and where we are today.  In some cases projects are killed due to the market place; there is no reason to keep developing something that no one is going to buy.

The last thing we want to do is to toss the project out with the bath water, but in some cases you have to, because it may be destroying your whole organization.

I’ve seen this before and it is sad sad thing.  A project that is deemed a must have to keep future clients at the organization because competitors already have a solution in place.  The project had no timeline and no tracking of what was spent (I know you are thinking, well it isn’t a real project then, right?), it was the Cadillac of all solutions with everything you could want.  As the months turn into years the clients give an ultimatum, do it or I walk.  So a side project is started to come up with the quick fix with a short timeline.  The quick fix works and the client is happy so the original project (Cadillac) keeps chugging on for future clients.

Two more years pass.  The original project with no timeline and no tracking of what was spent is still ongoing.  The plan now at year four is to reduce scope.  In the meantime business has dried up as their clients go elsewhere.  The organization slides further and further into the red, but the project keeps moving on, still with no timeline and no budget.

This is pretty sad, because they used no tools to show them what reality is and the end result could be some pretty drastic measures to help them get out of the red.  The real question is will they kill the project?

Don’t let this happen to your projects or your organization!  Have a plan and stick to it.  Have a schedule to review all ongoing projects and keep your resources on the right projects and have some serious discussions about the ones that need to be killed.  It is hard to kill someone’s pet project, but when that pet is literally killing your organization you need to let it go.

Lesson Learned:
Have a plan and stick to it ...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sh*t Project Managers Say

Watch this youtube video and count how many phrases you have used in the last month ...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The 3 A's of awesome

Neil Pasricha is so inspiring that I have watched this multiple times over the past year.  Take some time to check it out.