Bill Clinton Says Project Managers Help Tackle Global Challenges – Voices on Project Management

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton sent out a powerful message: Project managers will play a significant role in taking on the toughest global challenges.

Bill Clinton Says Project Managers Help Tackle Global Challenges – Voices on Project Management.

Elected President of the Chapter

I am extremely pleased by the confidence that Board has expressed in me to take PMI-GLC to next level of volunteer and stakeholder engagement, trusting me with opportunity to formulate and lead operational vision, strategy and direction while working on to provide higher membership. 

Last night at Skyline Club in the board meeting, I was elected president for 2012 term by Board of Directors of Great Lakes Chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI – GLC), one of the largest project management member association in Michigan.   I will serve as President Elect for 2011.  I have been involved with the chapter earlier as Direct of Webservices and then as Vice President of Communications.

I look forward to enhancing our strategic relationships with organization and businesses leaders to highlight the importance and benefits of Project Management and role PMI-GLC plays in the region.  I hope to engage more stakeholders to broaden our network of practitioners, while continuing to support a passionate and dedicated volunteer community.

I would encourage all professionals to get involved in their community or professional organizations, it benefits both, the volunteer and the community/organization.  And, if you are a professional living/working  in Michigan or Metro Detroit area, please get in touch with PMI-GLC at www.pmiglc.org.  Let find out how can we make project and program management work for your community, organization or for you.

Salience Model – Stakeholder Analysis

Who is a stakeholder? Simply anyone with a stake in the project either direct or indirect.   

PMBOK says that stakeholders for a project are persons or organizations  –  

  • who are actively involved;
  • whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by the performance or completion of it.
Stakeholder analysis is a process of systematically gathering and analyzing qualitative information to determine whose interests should be taken into account when developing and/or implementing a policy or program. 
Remember that more complex your project is, more attention you need to pay in managing stakeholders. You can do all the right things for a project, but mismanaging a stakeholder who has power, influence and interest can cause failure of the project.

Mitchell, Agle and Wood (1997-99) have come up with stakeholder analysis model, that can help a project manager in early phase of planning process to identify stakeholder and classify according to three major attributes – 

  1. Power – to influence the organization or project deliverables (coercive, financial or material, brand or image);
  2. Legitimacy – of the relationship & actions in terms of desirability, properness or appropriateness;
  3. Urgency – of the requirements in terms of criticality & time sensitivity for the stakeholder.

Based on the combination of these attributes, priority is assigned to the stakeholder. 

Level 3
(High Priority)
7 – Definitive
Power, Legitimacy & Urgency
Level 2
(Medium Priority)
4 – Dominant
Power & Legitimacy
5 – Dangerous
Power & Urgency
6 – Dependent
Legitimacy & Urgency
Level 1
(Low Priority)
1 – Dormant
Power
2 – Discretionary
Legitimacy
3 – Demanding
Urgency

 

 Keep in mind that  –  

  • These three attributes can be gained or lost during the time period of the project, so pay attention when it happens. 
  • Level 1 (Low Priority) stakeholders can increase their salience by coalition building, politics, or media influence.
  • Power alone is insufficient to classify a stakeholder high priority; but some times it does, for example – CEO’s favorite project.
  • Stakeholder analysis requires careful planning, standard guidelines for selection of stakeholders, resourceful team members who have background information, and standard set of questions that feed into the worksheet.

More resouces on stakeholder analysis are at  –  

 References – 

  1. PMBOK Guide- 4th edition, PMI. 2008
  2. Schmeer, Kammi. 1999. Guidelines for Conducting a Stakeholder Analysis. November 1999 

15 Ground Rules for Project Team Management

People with diverse professional experiences and background have totally unique perspective on any issue.  When a new team is assembled for any project, its vital for the success of that project that all team member are aware of  the ground-rules for the project; similar to any sport.  You may have to read it to team and give a copy for reference.

Here is an example list that I have used for a project to keep team aligned.    Such ground-rules certainly eliminate unnecessary confusion and your business customer and team members like it defined beforehand.  Make sure, you also follow it and implement it.

  1. Project manager is the primary contact for any project related communication.
  2. All team members maintain their contact info on the team contact list with contact preference.
  3. All members attend required meetings and conference calls; if unable to attend, meeting organizer to be notified.  If key contributor is unable to attend, request to reschedule the meeting.
  4. Any planned day off or vacation must be communicated in advance to project manager so that project plan can be updated and impact to work, if any, can be analyzed.
  5. All project team members have access to project plan and  project logs (in a standard document format) and are aware of the assigned tasks and due dates.
  6. All team members are to be consulted about the reasonableness of the plan prior to management approval.
  7. All team members are required to validate their assignments and time allocated prior to the plan is baselined.
  8. All project team members have the responsibility to proactively notify the project manager about tasks, duration or dependencies they believe are missing (or any other needed changes to the plan) and confront issues directly and promptly.
  9. Project team members have the responsibility to notify any potential difficulties in meeting the schedule for any assigned tasks as soon as it is known by the team member.
  10. Each project team member is responsible for ensuring anticipated workload conflicts with other assignments are brought to the attention of the project manager.  Team members should ask for help if feeling “stuck” or falling behind the schedule instead of waiting for miracle.
  11. All team members are responsible to own, follow-up and provide updates on the assigned task (including but not limited to any identified risks, issues, changes, approvals, clarification from customer).  If any delay is observed, escalate to project manager.
  12. All  meeting minutes, key decisions, assumptions and business rules must be documented and all action items must be followed up and assigned to a resource with expected completion date. These items are usually mentioned in casual conversation.
  13. All project team members understand the scope of work.  Any work performed must be in the project plan and is in the project scope.  Anything that is absolutely needed but not part of the project plan, must be brought into project manager’s attention.
  14. All project team members confront issues directly and promptly.
  15. Only project manager submits all final deliverables to business customer for sign-off or approval.

What are other key things that you have found useful and we can add to this list?

Thank you for your visit and have a great day!

Project Management – Useful Links

We learn a lot from the Internet these days and rely on up-to-date information.  Personally, I’ve learned a lot from my fellow bloggers and other websites on Project Management to stay ahead of the curve. 

There are many other on-line resources but  I would like to share following list of blogs/websites that I frequently visit and would like to thank for their time and energy for sharing knowledge and doing the great service to on-line community.  Thank you and keep up the good job!

  1. http://www.betterprojects.net
  2. http://www.pmhut.com
  3.  http://www.thepmpodcast.com  
  4. http://herdingcats.typepad.com
  5. http://www.ravensbrain.com
  6. http://pmcrunch.com
  7. http://www.allpm.com
  8. http://www.amakar.com
  9.  http://leadinganswers.typepad.com

I hope you will also bookmark these sites and learn about the profession. 

Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

Capture Planning Assumptions

Your boss approaches you and tells that workplan is very good but customer wants to know how can we deliver the project sooner than promised?  Now you have to come up with a new workplan or make some adjustments based on new findings.  You put your thoughts together and go on to make changes/update and deliver the final document with required changes. 

And then your boss asks, why this task is due this particular day and why are we taking this long to complete, etc., etc…

You might have answers for most of the questions your boss has asked but it is of prime importance that you document all the assumptions you made while planning, does not matter how small or evident those assumptions are.

I would capture following –

  • why are you making these changes or what is the objective and if these objectives are aligned with customer expectations;
  • what are high-level or global assumptions for the plan being put in place (standardized assumptions);
  • why making change to time/scope/cost;
  • what are risks that can derail the work;
  • what are the opportunities that you are counting on;
  • who are the critical resources you have based your work on;
  • what exceptions from standard process did you make;
  • what compromises are built into the plan;
  • what is the impact on existing process (if any);
  • for budget tail of it : dollars spent per month; and
  • what are the key milestones.

I hope these are the basic questions that we should be able to answer from a Project Management perspective when talking about assumptions.  Let me know what your thoughts are and what else could be added to the list?

Thanks for reading it, appreaciate your feedback.

Elected – Board Member @ PMIGLC

When  I checked my inbox this morning, I found an official email from PMIGLC election committee congratulating me that I have been elected as Vice President – Communications for the 2009-2010 term.

Some of you might know that I volunteer at  Great Lakes Chapter of PMI (Project Management Institute) in Detroit. I started volunteering as ‘Director of Webservices’ almost over 2 years ago. 

It is very unique and enriching experience when you are leading a team of volunteers for an organization that is non-profit; and I hope I will be learning much more next year when my term begins as Vice President.

I am delighted that I will have the opportunity to work with highly accomplished professionals at the board-of-directors and to contribute to the project management community. 

Thank you!

Scheduling & Three Types of Tasks : MS Project

If you are new Project Manager or new to using MS Project,  when putting workplan together one of the question you may ask is – what type of task should I choose?

MS Project has 3 options –

  1. Fixed Duration;
  2. Fixed Units;
  3. Fixed Work. 

The choice will decide how MS Project schedules the work, in other words, which one of three remains fixed and other two change.  To make things easier to remember, Duration is in days, Work is in hours and Units are resources.  And formula to keep in mind is ‘wud’ i.e.   w(ork) = u(nit) * d(uration).

Summary table – Left green column is task type in MS Project; top red column is what we change; blue colums are rescheduled by MS project.

 

Change Duration

Change Unit

Change Work

Fixed Duration

 

Reschedules Work

Reschedules Units

Fixed Units

Reschedules Work

 

Reschedules Duration

Fixed Work

Reschedules Units

Reschedules Duration

 

Basically, 1day duration has 8 hrs of work with 1 unit or resource working 100%.

Continue reading “Scheduling & Three Types of Tasks : MS Project”

PMI Membership Benefits

I volunteer at my PMI (Project Management Institute) local chapter called Great Lakes Chapter (www.pmiglc.org).  I enjoy the benefits of PMI membership in form of monthly magazine called PM Network and accompanied paper called PMI Today.  Both are informative and I have gained a lot by reading both publications. 

Many people join organizations enthusiastically and then with very little involvement and different priorities, fail to renew annual membership and later claim that they did find not much benefit of membership.  Becoming member in your professional organization and participating actively gives you opportunity to network with best people in your trade and increase your domain knowledge.

I found couple of interesting benefits while reading PMI Today paper and thought of sharing it with you. Here are the benefits-

  1. Attend PMI meetings/events at discounted price;
  2. Networking opportunities with professionals in management;
  3. Read PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge);
  4. Read business books on-line;
  5. Download a global standard;
  6. View the results of PM research projects;
  7. See articles from PMI publications for the last 7 years;
  8. Search for jobs, consult with a career coach and have your resume critiqued;
  9. Request a custom research;
  10. Order books and other materials at a discounted price;
  11. Use a career framework to help guide your career; and
  12. Get PM Network and PMI Today publications.

I would suggest that if you are in project management, get involved with www.PMI.org, join your local chapter and participate in making project management indispensable for business results.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!

Referenced – PMI Today – April 2008

Issue or Risk?

Budget, Scope and Schedule are three constraints a project manager has to deal with to produce deliverable.  Any one of these three is changed, remaining are also affected.

Risks and issues in a project are documented and monitored.  During the documentation phase, it becomes cofnusing when we have to classify it into either risk or issue category.  Here is the basic info on difference between risk and issue –

Risk is a future event that may have an impact on triple constraint.  It may happen or it may not.  We can plan for risk based on its probability and impact on deliverable – risks can be avoided completely, or can be minimized, or can be transferred to other party, or we can meet head on.

An issue is present problem or concern influencing triple constraints.  In other words, an issue is raised when something has gone wrong and will impact triple constraint.

A risk can become an issue, but issue is not risk – it has already happened.

Hope this helps.  Thank you for reading the post.

27-Oct-2010 : More details added in other post https://virk.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/project-risk-management-101/

How to Have Project Kick-off Meeting


Kick-off meeting is the first meeting of the project where you give all the team members good news that project is ‘go ahead’ from the sponsors and also set the tone of your project – is it going to be a success or a failure.  Many hours and days have gone into preparation before you have kick-off meeting. You have worked very hard and now have project charter and project plan is in your hands.Primarily kick-off meeting has following goals-

  1. energize the project team
  2. communicate project goals and expectations
  3. introduce team members and stake-holders
  4. highlight opportunities plus challenges and reiterate importance of project for organization
  5. provide information of processes, methodology, project plan, key milestones, etc.
  6. handout team’s contact phone numbers and email addresses
  7. present communication plan
  8. give time to attendees to ask questions and express views

I would do following extra things to make sure kick-off meeting sets positive tone –

  1. print the hand-out material a day before, also check for meeting room projector etc.
  2. have some project related posters and famous positive quotes posted on the wall
  3. invite one or two senior managment  people to talk about project’s importance
  4. have kick-off meeting around 9 AM (start of the day is better)
  5. block enough time for this meeting (time for refreshments, presentations, questions and answers)
  6. set date of kick-off  meeting and notify all members at-least a week ago
  7. offer light refreshments at the beginning of the kick-off meeting
  8. do not sit and just talk, look and feel energetic
  9. have your project plan and other documents (that you plan to hand out) reviewed well in advance by subject matter experts for accuracy
  10. make sure meeting conveys the message and people walk out with motivation

Are there other key things? I will be interested to hear.  Hope this helps and good luck with your kick-off meeting. 

10 Steps of Project Success

Whenever IT project failure is talked, people refer Denver Airport project that failed big time and costed a lot.  I have also seen project that failed or cancelled or shrunk.  Why is it happening when so many intelligent people are working and we know all the ingredients of project success. 

Here are some commonly known factors needed for project success –

Continue reading “10 Steps of Project Success”