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Black Swans (no, not the movie)

People in “old world” Europe always thought that swans were white.  All the swans they had ever seen were white, there was no evidence otherwise that swans were only colored white.  Therefore, all swans were white.

In 1697, explorers discovered Australia.  There they discovered black swans.  No one had seen a black swan until then.  That single event changed the entire world’s perspective on swans – they come in white and black.

Since then, “Black Swan” became a term used to…


Added by Doug Boebinger, PMP on May 19, 2011 at 8:46pm — No Comments

3 Ways to Deal with Differences

"There are three ways of dealing with difference: domination, compromise, and integration. By domination only one side gets what it wants; by compromise neither side gets what it wants; by integration we find a way by which both sides may get what they wish..."

Mary Parker Follett


The above quote is an ideal reminder that there are multiple ways to deal with conflict. Is there a bias being displayed about the best way to resolve a…


Added by Margaret Meloni on May 17, 2011 at 12:05pm — No Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Group Think

Problems come and problems go.  Sometimes problems seem to set in for awhile.  We had such a problem.  We needed a decision on how to handle a database issue.  My intent was to hold a meeting with the subject matter experts and to let them develop a solution that I would then deliver to the client.  This seemed to me to be a good idea.

“Frank, what is your idea for resolving the field mapping issue for this new client?”

“Dan, I think we should use the fields twice, as long as…


Added by Dan Vickers on May 8, 2011 at 11:11pm — No Comments

Thokk Seeks the Lost Art of Teamwork

Barb:  Sorry to hear that your colleague is still among the unemployed but I think he made the right decision.  And I regret that I too have seen PMOs going in the wrong direction.

Thokk:  Dysfunctional PMOs are still out there and it’s a wonder we still have any integrity left.  There is a very fine line between healthy competition and outright combativeness and it goes against the primal nature of a PM to work in an environment that does not encourage teamwork.  One should question…


Added by Barb@Vyrtunet on April 26, 2011 at 3:50pm — 2 Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Project Fundamentals

Many years ago, when project management in the information technology world was still young, I asked my project mentor what it meant to be a good project manager.

She replied to me that I needed to understand the process, that I needed to follow up on tasks constantly, and that I needed to communicate the status to everyone consistently.  She didn’t use terms like project schedule, risk mitigation, resource leveling or earned value management.  We focused on getting work done,…


Added by Dan Vickers on April 25, 2011 at 9:58pm — 2 Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Leading Change

The client’s workflow was all wrong.  Using our product for a purpose it wasn’t designed made upgrading them to a new version of software almost unworkable.  The change in functionality caused them great consternation and they refused to continue the upgrade until we found a solution that could accommodate their unorthodox usage of our software.

We needed this project to close.  We met as a team and devised a plan.  It took weeks to develop our plan, set it up and then test.  Our plan…


Added by Dan Vickers on April 14, 2011 at 10:21am — No Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Avalanche

It had been a long time since we had such a drought in new projects.  Bothersome projects were getting closed, resources were being released, and the project paperwork was getting completed.  A few new projects were starting, but nothing of real significance.  I got caught up on training, organized my desk, and filed my expenses.  I read through some project management publications and even began to plan a ski trip.

And then it started.  Sometimes a single phone call is all it takes. …


Added by Dan Vickers on April 3, 2011 at 9:58pm — 2 Comments

Another Conversation with Thokk…this time it’s about PM Value Share

Barb:  Interesting insights about PM value so far Thokk.  And you’re right, just because you’re able to meet the numbers, doesn’t mean you are totally out of the woods.  Performance metrics and quality management practices should provide enough evidence to validate PM value but that’s truly not the case as some PM survey results show.

Thokk:  When you get right down to it, the not-so-good things about projects are usually linked to other things besides metrics and measures.  That’s…


Added by Barb@Vyrtunet on March 29, 2011 at 2:19pm — No Comments

Dangers of Confusing Online Task Management with Online Project Management

Many people confuse online task management with online project management. They tend to think of these two disciplines interchangeably, and that can be dangerous to the long-term success of your organization, especially when it comes to tool selection and risk management. It’s important to differentiate between the two, so that expectations can be set properly…


Added by Liz Pearce on March 18, 2011 at 2:30pm — No Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Double-booking

I had just finished a call with our resource manager.  My resource on the Laramie project was double-booked.  I needed to deliver the news to our client.

“Hello John, this is Dan over at PM Pro.”

“Hi Dan, what’s up?”

“John, we may have to delay your Go Live date.”

“Why is that?”

“We are having some resource challenges.”

“How is your challenge my issue?”

“Well, our resource on this project accidentally got double-booked.”

“I repeat, how…


Added by Dan Vickers on March 21, 2011 at 9:52pm — 10 Comments

Too many projects … not enough resources

Over the past couple of months I have had several discussions with companies and groups about their list of ongoing projects.  Some of the questions I asked them are:
  1. Do you…

Added by Ryan Endres on March 16, 2011 at 8:50pm — 1 Comment

Risky Business – Taking control of threats and opportunities

In my last article on risk, I discussed qualitative and quantitative analysis which allows a team to assess probability, impact, and monetary value of the risks identified.  This allows a project team to develop priorities for those risks that require further planning and threat mitigation or opportunity realization strategies.  In this article we’ll discuss how to develop risk response strategies for those risks that make the cut.


Defining Thresholds: First off,…


Added by Cindy Vandersleen on March 11, 2011 at 3:19pm — 1 Comment

A Conversation with Thokk About the Equation for PM Innovation

Barb:  So I read you latest blog article and have to say I was intrigued.  Job title: Program Manager (consultant).  Experience level: 5 years.  Primary responsibilities:  (1) develop all project related documentation, (2) collect project information from project streams and consolidate it into status reports delivered to various audiences, (3) establish a regular rhythm for project updates, (4) help develop clear and concise status reports, (5) produce status reports for status meetings,…


Added by Barb@Vyrtunet on March 2, 2011 at 3:31pm — No Comments

How to do you measure the maturity of a SharePoint implementation?

So your organization is thinking about taking the leap, or already has, into launching SharePoint.  When you started on this adventure you treated this as a project, right?  Or did you just turn it on and send out an email stating, “SharePoint is now available”.…

Added by Ryan Endres on March 6, 2011 at 12:40pm — No Comments

Project Management is about the People not the Tools

This past week I attended my local PMI monthly chapter meeting where Bob Baim gave a talk titled, “Predictive Project Management, Strategies for Avoiding the OS Phase” (Bob also has a…

Added by Ryan Endres on February 27, 2011 at 5:31pm — 4 Comments

Project Planning Poker

Last week I attended a meeting with the group Agile Madison where our topic of discussion was determining the duration for each sprint item.  My input on this was that a plan is a strategy for the successful completion of the project and a schedule will tell us when things will be completed.  I also reviewed some ways to determine the schedule (or duration) for tasks in a…

Added by Ryan Endres on February 20, 2011 at 12:33pm — No Comments

Choose YOUR Battles

“Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. “

Jonathan Kozol: On Being a Teacher, 1981


Truthfully I do not know if I completely agree with the above quote,

I bring it to you anyway because part of me thinks, ‘well this makes sense, I want to pick battles I can win’; but part of me wonders, ‘is this discouraging me from thinking big?’  

 I have spent so much time learning that so…


Added by Margaret Meloni on February 22, 2011 at 7:24pm — No Comments

The Stench of Arrogance

I had just closed my third project for the month of May.  The team was efficient and quick with their tasks.  I sent congratulatory emails to the team and to their line managers.  Emails from senior management commending the team for their hard work were coming in – but something wasn’t right.

There was arrogance on the team.  It started before the project got into full swing.  Well-deserved pride for a job well done is completely acceptable.  This arrogance was different.  It felt…


Added by Dan Vickers on February 11, 2011 at 5:49pm — 6 Comments

Project Management Trend: Turning Change from “Roadblock” to “Gateway”

To quote Albert Einstein, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


So why do we continue to hear statistics about how many projects come in late and over-budget? Why is that so many organizations continue to rely on traditional project management methodologies and tools but still expect fewer project failures? The key is embracing that “managing change” IS…


Added by Liz Pearce on February 11, 2011 at 12:26pm — 1 Comment

Risky Business – Just how bad is it?

In my last article on risk, I introduced how to get started with project risk management through risk planning and identification.  In this article we’ll discuss how to evaluate and prioritize those risks for action through qualitative and quantitative risk assessment.

Qualitative Analysis: During risk identification, the focus was on quantity – identifying as many as possible.  But not all the risks identified merit action.  The purpose of qualitative assessment is to…


Added by Cindy Vandersleen on February 9, 2011 at 8:23pm — 1 Comment



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