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Project Portfolio Management

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is more than running several projects under one umbrella, as each portfolio needs to be assessed in terms of business value and strategy of the organization.

Video: Develop an Effective PPM Strategy, Featuring: Barry Cousins, Info Tech RG

What is Project Portfolio Management (PPM):

Organizing and managing projects and programs as a portfolio of investments that contributes to the entire organization’s success.  Portfolio management focuses on meeting strategic goals, while project management emphasizes on tactical goals.

Success from Project Portfolio Management:

  • Better project planning
  • Varies projects in the organization (project size/goals)
  • Balance risks
  • Helps to align resources with business requirements
  • Less failed projects
  • Align projects with your organization’s goals
  • Helps to marry up the cost and resource effort with the project schedule
  • Decreased chance of missing out on business opportunities (Delays in time-to-market for new products, applications, services or IT initiatives)
  • Better investment decisions by helping to select & analyze projects from a strategic perspective

Steps to Develop a PPM Strategy:

  1. Clarify Goals
  2. Align Processes with Goals
  3. Select tools based on organization’s processes
  4. PPM Strategy Development Tool

Skills for PPM Organizer:

  • Strong financial and analytical skills
  • Experienced project management skills
  • Good business background
  • Ability to understand how projects and programs can contribute to meting an organization’s strategic goals

PPM Features To Consider in Your PPM Software Selection:

  • Project Evaluation Process
  • Cost/Benefit Measurement & Tracking
  • Schedule/Progress Reporting (Real-time enterprise reporting and support for ad-hoc queries)
  • Dashboards Used for Communication to enhance visibility & maintain compliance (Top-down portfolio planning that interfaces with bottom-up project plans)
  • Resource & Capacity Planning

PPM Example Software Solution:

What PPM Software or Tools do you use to increase your Project Portfolio success in your organization?


Delegation in Project Management, Part 2

Now that you have decided to delegate some work to another individual, I thought it may be helpful to have a checklist of items you should do when you delegate work to another person:

  1. Clearly Articulate:
    1. What is the job responsibility is?
    2. What is the desired outcome/end goal Is?
    3. What is expected and what are the deliverables?
    4. What is the schedule or deadlines in the job responsibility?
    5. Who can help if the individual has any issues?
    6. Why they were chosen for the job?  This provides you with an opportunity to provide positive feedback about the individual, such as: the person has a great attention to detail or they have a great sense of developing better processes to increase efficiencies.
  2. Provide Past Job History:  How the job was developed/came to you, as the tribal knowledge should be passed down and not forgotten.  This knowledge may be helpful in future decisions
  3. Define the Boundaries: Where are the lines of authority drawn, what level of responsibility does the individual have, and what they are accountable for.  Example: If the person has to go through 5 people to get proper sign off before they can implement X, this is important information to pass along to the individual
  4. Buck Stops With You: Understand that you can delegate some responsibility, but you still are accountable in making sure the task is completed and up to standards
  5. Provide Proper Training: In-house hands-on training, classes taught at an institute, and/or documentation
  6. Provide Adequate Support:  Be available to answer questions by having a good communication path
  7. Focus on the Results:  Rather nitpick detail-by-detail of how the work should be done, you should focus on the overall accomplishment, as your way may not be the most efficient way
  8. Build Motivation and Commitment:  What does the future hold for taking on this new role, such as: financial rewards, future opportunities, recognition
  9. Establish and Maintain Control:  Agree upon a schedule of checkpoints to answer any questions and make sure everything is being handled.  This gives you the ability to make any necessary modifications to meet a deadline or if things are not working out as planned
  10. Review Final Work: Review and provide feedback on the individual’s work results, so the person understands they are held accountable for what results they produced.  If you are not satisfied with the work and accept it, the individual does not fully learn the job responsibility or worse, accept the fact that poor work is acceptable

Finally, it is important to recognize and reward the individual for their hard work.  Showing appreciation for others can sure go a long way towards building a strong team member’s self-confidence and efficiencies, which creates a win-win situation.

What are other key points should be discussed when delegating.  Please comment below. 


Delegation in Project Management, Part 1

Are you stressed, unhappy, feeling you’re letting people down because you have too much more? Think about delegating.

Delegation to me it isn’t solely about off-loading work you don’t like, but rather, think about the opportunities delegation can do to promote personal growth for an individual and your organization overall.

Why Delegating Is Good:

  • Promotes Learning
  • Develops New Skills
  • Encourages Others to Reach Their Full Potential in the Organization
  • New Mindset promotes New Way of Thinking, Which can Increase Efficiencies/Processes
  • Trained Back-Up
  • Save Time and Money
  • Builds People and Team Skills
  • Motivate Others
  • Ability to let you focus more time on those skills of yours that provides the most value to an organization, where it is managing a project or developing a strategy or making decisions

Refrain from Delegating:

  • Upfront Costs: Training takes time, cost money (salary/class), and patience is required to make sure the new person is setup for success
  • Perfectionism: You have to learn to let go and trust your project team will help you meet your end goals, but also manage their progress
  • No Dirty Work: You feel others will think all you do is manage and are not part of the team doing any busy work.  I feel the opportunity for growth through mentorship is such an added value and can be thought of like a new found treasure that motivates and excites others.

When to Delegate:

  • Someone else has the necessary information or expertise to complete the task
  • Does the skill set provide an opportunity for growth in another individual

Factors to Think About When Delegating:

  • Do you have enough time to properly train an individual, answer questions, check the progress, and make modifications to the workload as necessary?  Is there any project deadlines?
  • What if failure occurs and the wrong match to delegate to doesn’t work out, it is crucial to the business?  Are there anything else that will be impacted

How To Find that Perfect Match?

  • Experience
  • Knowledge
  • Skills Set
  • Work Style
  • Current workload/Does it require reshuffling job responsibilities?
  • Those that are closest to that type of work, as they have the most intimate knowledge of the detail of everyday work

Please look forward to Part 2, which will provide you with a checklist on “How to Delegate.”  

What obstacles have you faced when delegating?  Please comment below. 


What is Project Management?

What Does a Project Mean:

PMI defines a project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to achieve a unique product, service or result

What is the Role of the Project Manager?

  • Bring people together to solve problems and take advantage of new opportunities
  • Manage information about value, quality, time and cost
  • Define the project, plan for the project, communicate to others, track the progress, measuring success, report to upper management, make decisions, support the project and team members, and coordinate project events, such as meetings

Why Does Project Management Matter?

  • Failure to run large projects can sink a small company
  • Weight of several failed projects can drag down profits to a point where a big company is susceptible to acquisition by a competitor and losing its independence

Growing as a Project Manager:

  • Data-Oriented to People-Oriented
    • As a technical person, things and data do what you tell them, while people may not
    • Learn to relax and enjoy unpredictability and diversity
  • Worker Bee to a Manager
    • As a worker bee, you are able to accomplish many things when you sit down and do them
    • Management means doing less busy work and more of delegating,
    • Shift from being dependable to reliable to get the job done and deliver positive results
  • Manager to Leader
    • A project manager, it requires leadership skills to create an environment where a group of people can come together and get things done
    • Some leadership skills required as a project manager include:
      • Inspiring team members
      • Good communication skills
      • Maintain integrity
      • Create enthusiasm in the project team
      • Show empathy
      • Stay cool under pressure, as so on

One thing I have found is that by having a technical and project management background is that it provides you with a strong foundation that can open several doors of opportunity in your career path as both are required skill sets needed by all business.  In addition, project management can be quite a rewarding career path, as it gives you the chance to help others and organizations achieve milestones, while getting the chance to work with several different types of people and learn from them.  

What are your Pros and Cons about the Project Management Field?


What’s Your Project Management Story?

When growing up, I told my parents I wanted to be graphics designer, then physical therapy, then teacher, and then finally decided on a career path in Information Systems that provided me with a business background. Throughout my student experience in high school and college, you would find me as the project leader in several group assignments, as I enjoyed the process of organizing team meetings, keeping everyone up to date on the project progress, and lastly putting together the report to turn in.  School projects can sure be a challenge sometimes when working around everyone’s schedules, but you start to get a favor of project management in action.

After getting my feet wet in the technical field for a few years, I later fell into a project management position where I got to use my technical and management skills to help improve the process for others in their day-to-day job and the organization as a whole.  Although project management can be stressful at times, it can also be a rewarding experience knowing that you can influence other people and open the door to new opportunities for an organization through your management skills.

What Are Some Tips I’ve Learned Thus Far As a Project Manager:

  • Find a Mentor:  I tend to surround myself with several mentors that have a variety of experiences and expertise, so I can bounce ideas off of and receive different viewpoints on a given topic.
  •  Lead a Non-Profit Organization: It can be challenge at times trying to motivate others to help you do things for free, but through the kindness of their hearts knowing their service is appreciated.  I will say it has been such a rewarding experience and will help you grow not only as a leader, but as becoming a better person.
  • Read Project Management Books & Blogs:  I cannot tell you how much I have learned through my experience of reading PM books and blog posts, as it can provide you with several tips and experiences of things to avoid or do that can help you in your project management career.  
  • Ask for Advice: It may be intimating at first, but several people are willing to help you if you just ask them.  I have asked others my colleagues, family, friends, and my twitter friends, and have really appreciated the feedback I have received.
  • Never Give Up: Trust me, you will make mistakes, you will be stressed at times, you may feel everything is going wrong and just want to quit, but remember, I find it is important that people remember me for my hard-work, dedication and persistence to learn from my mistakes, take a breather every now and then, and know there are steep mountains that you will face, but never give up on the end goal.  
  • Keep a Smile On Your Face: Although managing projects can be very stressful with changes, issues, and new projects flying your way all the time, I find it is so important to keep a smile on your face and keep a positive attitude as others will appreciate your upbeat personality that could just make someone’s day that much better
I have enjoyed my career path thus far in project management and find I am always excited to face the next challenge, as I know each experience will allow me to grow further not only on a professional level, but also as person too!  So, what is your project management story?

Project-Life Balance

With the crazy hustle and bustle in the life of a project manager, who is responsible for managing several different projects at any given time, we sometimes don’t make time for ourselves to relax and spend quality time with our family and friends.  Also, you may have a difficult time finding balance in your live due to layoffs, cutbacks, and because honestly, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  As Stephan Covey says in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” focus your time and attention on things you can control, such as:

  1. Build Downtime into your Schedule
  2. Drop Activities that Take up your Time and Energy
  3. Rethink your Errands; have others help you
  4. Exercise Helps you be More Alert and Ready for What the Day Brings
  5. Remember, Just a Little Relaxation Goes a Long Way

Work-Life Balance Does Not Mean

  • You Will Have an Equal Balance
  • Will Vary Throughout Your Life, Due to Your Changing Goals/Focus
  • Not One Size Fits All
As my boss once said (Because we work at a large gaming company), “IGT made slot machines before you were employed here, so they will continue to make slot machines when you are not around.”  It is a profound statement to think about.  Remember, you never know when your last moment to spend time with loves ones will be, so take time for yourself and those that you love to spend precious time with to create lasting memories, as work will always be there when you return. 🙂

Are You Remarkable Project Manager?

You may think to yourself, if I work harder than most project manager, help the organization become more efficient, save the organization lots of money through the implementation of a project, have strong execution skills, work well with others, and the list may go on, but at the end of the day, I must be a remarkable project manager. Well, if there are other project managers out there that have similar results, then what makes you remarkable and stand out from them?

What Does Remarkable Mean:

Worthy of being or likely to be noticed especially as being uncommon or extraordinary (According to Merriam-Webster)

Some Characteristics of Being Remarkable Are:

  • Unique/Different
  • Stand out/In front of/Apart from others
  • Well respected by others
  • Risk-Takers
  • Proactive
  • Live their lives to the fullest
  • Adventurous lives
  • Role Model for others
  • Large vast of life experience
  • Others remark about you
  • Get noticed and rewarded
  • Go the extra mile

Importance Notes of Being Remarkable:

  • Help you get a new job
  • Help you to become less dispensable in an organization/job security
  • Become the go-to person/mentor
  • Sets you up for a successful career path

What makes you remarkable that sets you apart from other project managers?

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