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Category Archives: Featured Project Managers

Triple Constraint in Project Management

Great Video on Improving Your Ability to Deliver Projects: The Triple Constraint by Andy Kaufman, PMP.  Check out his website at: http://www.free-project-management-videos.com/

What is the Triple Constraint?

  • Scope/Quality: clearly expresses the agreed-upon desired final results of the project
  • Time/Schedule:  detailed timeline of each component required to complete the project
  • Cost/Resources: what resources need to be applied or assigned to the project in terms of money and effort in order to implementation the project

Challenges with the Triple Constraint:

  • Each of these three items are known to work in tandem with one another in a project, therefore, if one of these elements is extended or restricted, the other two items will then also need to be either extended/increased in some way or reduced/restricted in some way.
  • Prioritizing the importance of the triple constraint with your client.  For example, your client may only care about bottom line, meaning they may have a strict budget that you cannot go over X dollars.

Project Manager Roles:

  • Educate your Client: inform your client that the project has to be completed at a certain level of quality, in a certain amount of time and particular amount of investment made in order to make the project successful.  For example, if the project has a time restraint, you may need to look into increasing the resources assigned to the project, or have the quality/scope reduced.  
  • Finding the Right Balance: when making any adjustments to any of the three components and knowing the effects each has to the project, you will be able to plan your projects better, analyze project risks, and protect your organization from the problems of unrealistic client expectations and master the project itself better
  • Gauge Project’s Objects: The triple constraint helps the project manager to gauge whether a project’s objectives are being met and whether the project was a success

Triple Constraint Formula: Cost * Schedule = Quality

Please feel free to share any tips that you might have that could help others to better balance the triple constraint in their projects.  Thank you!

 

Project Management Coaching by Susanne Madsen

Susanne Madsen is a project and program manager, mentor and coach with over 15 years experience in managing and rolling out large change programs for the financial sector. She is a qualified Corporate and Executive coach and a PRINCE2 practitioner. She is currently employed as a Program Director for one of the world’s largest financial institutions. As part of her job, she coaches and mentors project managers, and her book, The Project Management Coach, will be published in December by Management Concepts. I meet Susanne on Twitter, after we both were featured onThe Project Box’s Top 10 Project Managers on Twitter, earlier this year.

 

How Did You Get Started Coaching Project Managers:

I started coaching and mentoring project managers because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to contribute and help others overcome some of the challenges, which I had experienced myself. I had seen the positive effects of coaching in other walks of life and was keen to use it in project management. Although I expected coaching to have an impact, I did not know that it would be quite as powerful as it proved to be and that only a few coaching sessions could be enough to give project managers the tools and support they needed to excel and make rapid progress.

The coaching and mentoring sessions provided me great insight into what others found challenging about project management and enabled me to start identifying ways in which these challenges could be overcome. With that insight, I began to develop a set of unique tools and approaches, which I call the 6-Step Approach.

Tell Me More About The 6-Step Project Management Coaching Framework:

The 6-Steps combine some of the most powerful coaching techniques with project management, with a view to unleash the project manager’s performance. When I coach someone face-to-face, we always use these steps, albeit in a very flexible manner. The steps are as follows:

  • Step 1 – Create a Mission Statement: The aim is to get the individuals to visualise and feel what kind of project manager and leader they want to become, as we can only be successful once we know what success looks like. As part of this step, we look at strengths and weaknesses, aspirations and role models.
  • Step 2 – Create a Benchmark of Current Skill set: The project managers are asked to assess their skills and capabilities within 10 project management disciplines of task management and people management. The result is a gap analysis indicating what they need to focus on in order to fulfil their goals and ambitions.
  • Step 3 – Seek Feedback from Managers, Peers and Customers: Project managers are always encouraged to ask their peers and managers for feedback in order to highlight blind spots or find their hidden potential. This can take real courage, strength and determination, but can ultimately generate amazing results.
  • Step 4 – Create an Action Plan and Move Forward: In this step, the project managers create a plan of action so that they can start to leverage their strengths and address their development points. The action plan enables people to start moving forward and fulfill their goals and mission as a person, project manager and leader.
  • Step 5 – Read up on Project Management and Leadership Techniques: In order to accelerate the project manager’s learning and development, they are provided with a number of articles and exercises in the area of project management best practices and self management. Topics include: project initiation, product quality, risk and issue management, change management, team management, stress management, time management, stakeholder management, and so forth.
  • Step 6 – Review Progress and Determine Next Steps: When people start to work with themselves and enter into a coaching process, huge changes happen very quickly. It is therefore important to regularly review the project manager’s progress in the context of each individual’s goals and aspirations.

Tell Me More About Your Upcoming Book, The Project Management Coach

The Project Management Coach is built up around the 6 steps described above. It is an easy-to-use workbook which is designed to increase the project manager’s confidence and competence. It can be used directly by the individual project manager or by supervisors who want to coach others to become highly valued and truly successful project management leaders. The book is filled with practical and insightful tips, tools and techniques and includes self assessments, 360° feedback forms, action plans, articles on project management best practices, exercises and performance reviews.

The primary goal of the book is to help the readers understand and articulate what they want to achieve as project managers and assist them in achieving it. The secondary goal is to help them overcome some of the most common project management challenges, such as: the ability to effectively manage a demanding workload, leading and motivating a team, initiating and estimating a project, building effective relationships with senior stakeholders, being confident enough to say no to unreasonable demands, managing risks, issues and changes to scope, and delegating effectively.

Thank you so much Susanne for taking time to share your insightful project management knowledge with us!  We look forward to reading your upcoming book in December. 🙂

Susanne can be found on Twitter: @SusanneMadsen and her Project Management Blog. Thank you!

 

Project Management Advice From Robert Kelly

Robert Kelly is the CEO and Founder of Kelly Project Solutions and has over 10 years of project management experience through his vast career working for Top Fortune 500 companies across several different industries sectors.  I met Robert on Twitter after we were both featured on The Project Box’s Top 10 Project Managers on Twitter earlier this year, so I was quite honored to have the opportunity to ask him a few questions and share his words of wisdom on my project management blog with each of you.   

 

Who or What Got You Interested in Project Management?

I do not believe there was a specific person or moment that peaked my interest in project management, as I was the typical accidental project manager, and a few years in I said, “This is what I want to do!”

Why Have You Stayed in Project Management?

Project management gives me the opportunity to solve business problems, develop the next industry changing product, and work with the latest technology, which is what has kept me in this field.  As a consultant, you get to work with different clients, across various sectors, and with some of the best minds in their respective business.

What Are a Few Characteristics/Traits That You Look For When Hiring a Project Manager?

  1. Have a Great Personality:  I have always been a firm believer that I can teach almost anyone, almost anything. The one thing I cannot teach is a personality. This is the cornerstone of KPS Talent Acquisition efforts.  Resumes and domain knowledge are easy to review and match up with a requisition.  Success comes when you match the right personality, risk tolerance, etc of a candidate and a client.
  2. Develop Strong Relationships: As with our clients, KPS invests a lot of time in developing relationships with potential Associates. Before a potential candidate even gets to the selection phase, we have spent time chatting with them on Twitter or LinkedIn, following their blogs, etc. Like the investment into client relationships, we will try to meet with candidates for dinner or at other events, as it is more about building a long-term relationship.  We may spot talent that is on a 1yr contract and will continue to develop that relationship along the way.

What Advice Would You Provide Others That Want To Open Up Their Own Consulting Project Management Business?

  1. Understand What It Is You Really Want To Do. I believe there is a difference between being and independent contractor and starting your own project management business. If you are an independent contractor, then you are really focused on yourself by developing relationships/networking, social media marketing, and maybe a few publications. If you are a business owner, then you need to understand what business (PM Deliver, Training Solutions, etc) you focus should be on, then you need to develop some more business management skills, marketing, talent acquisition and development, cash-flow, etc.
  2. Spend Time Listening To Other Entrepreneurs. Follow the hash-tag on twitter, take a few out to lunch/coffee, or attend an event at one of the local incubators in your city, as it gives you the opportunity to listen to other people’s challenges, strategies, phases of launch, and this also gives you the ability to ask questions or advice from others.
  3. Gain The Support Of Your Family. Whether you believe it or not, your family is going to be involved. They may not be writing RFQs or taking calls, but their support is just as valuable.
  4. Complete a Project Charter on Yourself.
    1. What is the vision, executive summary of your business
    2. What does the business case look like
    3. Addressable market?
    4. Perform a SWOT analysis on yourself
    5. ……..

Thank you Robert for taking the time to answer a few of my questions and allow me to sharing your experience with others on my blog, I really appreciate it! 🙂

Robert can be found on Twitter: @KellySolutions or @rkelly976, Blog, and his company’s website: Kelly Project Solutions

Kelly Project Solutions help our clients realize their vision by leveraging a combination of impartial project management methods and seasoned associates to tailor solutions to today’s economy, and at costs modest to the successes enjoyed by our clients. We are not distracted by created new methodologies or developing software and we do not bury our services in some other primary business.  Project & Program Management Solutions are what we focus on…focused, efficient and relevant solutions.

 

What Makes a Project Your Favorite?

In watching a project management video by Bas de Baar from Project Shrink, he posed a great question “What made your favorite project your favorite?”  Bas points out that if you involve your team members at the start of your project to construct the project approach/best practices, this will help set your project up for success, and I couldn’t agree with him more!

Check out Bas’s YouTube Channel, which has a wealth of information about project management on it!

If you are a new project manager, new to an organization, or have new project team members, I feel this is a great  and powerful exercise to conduct to help set you up for success starting at beginning of the project.  Below are some helpful questions to ask during this team-building exercise, as this feedback can provide you with an insight on how others best work, an ability to meet/work with new people, and learn from others people’s successful stories, with the hopes that one day your project will be mentioned as their favorite!  I also feel while it’s good to ask what is their favorite, asking what was the worst can also provide useful information to know what not to do.

  1. What was your favorite/worst project to work on and why?
  2. Who is your favorite/worst project managers/boss and why? This provides you with helpful insight from each team members that can help you to modify your managing style to best motivate that person to perform to the best of their ability.
  3. Who is your favorite/worst project team members to work with and why?
  4. What communication style do you prefer/least prefer and why?
  5. What makes a great/horrible meeting and why?

In pondering the above questions, my answers to what are my favorite in regards to projects would be:

  1. I have several projects I have enjoyed over the years, as each has taught me something new and exciting.  One of my favorites was an IT project, which had an outstanding IT ticket out for several years.  We were able to get the right group of people in one room, brainstorm a solution, and develop a solution, it will increase the efficiencies and make the life of several people’s jobs that much more easier.  I absolutely love working on those rewarding projects!
  2. My favorite project manager/boss is one that is organized, hard working, and a wealth of knowledge/experience waiting to share with others.
  3. My favorite team members are those that are hard working, accountable, brainstorm out-of-the-box solutions, have a great source of knowledge, and willing to embrace change.
  4. My favorite communication style is e-mail, but I am very flexible to meet my end user’s preferences, so I do not mind phone calls, one-on-ones, or meetings.
  5. A great meeting is one that everyone has prepared in advance on the meeting topic, starts on time, ends on time (or earlier), organized, notes taken, great communication flow, , one that lead in the right direction towards a resolution, and of course a positive and fun learning environment.

What is your favorite/wrost project and why? Please comment below.

Bas de Baar is the author of the forthcoming book, “TEMPORARY TRIBES: Interaction and Collaboration in a Digital and Mobile World.” He is making complex people stuff less complex. A Project Shrink. Using metaphors, language and visualization he helps people to get insights in difficult problems surrounding projects and online collaboration. He combines powerful ideas from a wide range of disciplines to provide a different perspective on people stuff.

 

Have You BARFed Your Project Yet?

Ok, so I am not asking or telling you to throw up on your project! I actually came across the term B.A.R.F. in a recent Project Management Video I watched on YouTube, by RMC Projects, and thought it was an easy, helpful way to remember 4 key points when preparing your project plans. 

Video Featuring: Rita Mulcahy, PMP – An Expert in Advanced Project Management, the PMP® Exam & Risk Management. RMC Projects

What is a Project Plan?

  • A project plan is a formal, multipage document that includes the: project schedule, costs, resources, risks, communication, and quality for the project and how they will be managed.
  • The project plan should give a clear overview of the project so it is obvious to the Project Sponsors and others on what the project status is.
  • Without a project plan, it is virtually impossible to state with any confidence where the project is on track, on budget and without any potential resourcing conflicts.
  • For further information or to see an example project plan, please click here

What does B.A.R.F. Stand for When Preparing a Project Plan?  

   Has your Project Plan Been:

  • B- BOUGHT INTO: Everyone has bought into the project’s plan of action
  • A- APPROVED: You have received the stamp of approval by end users/customers/management to                              proceed with the project
  • R- REALISTIC: The project is feasible & could be completed
  • F- FORMAL: Your project plan is a formal, multi-page written document

Some helpful tips when creating a BARF Project Plan are:

  • Simplicity really is the best route when developing your project plan
  • The project manager should hold meetings and presentations with resource managers, stakeholders, team members, and any sponsors to obtain the project definition and negotiate & get agreements, buy-ins, and approvals
  • The project plan helps you as the project manager get the project delivered and highlight any problems or work you have missed.

 Have you BARFed your projects?

Source: RMC Projects

 
 
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