Archive for the 'Project Management' Category

100 Rules for NASA project managers

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

The “100 Rules for NASA Project Managers” has been doing the rounds online for years, so much so that it’s probably reached the status of something of a classic by now. They’ve had their fair share of high-profile failures over the years (solid fuel boosters, Hubble mirror and so on) but these are […]

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I Can Think Clearly Now

Monday, October 17th, 2005

Courtesy of Projects@Work:
You know how you feel when you have a ‘light bulb’ moment, when suddenly the solution to a problem becomes crystal clear. What if those were regular occurrences instead of elusive moments? Here is how to eliminate three bad habits (often mistaken as qualities) that can cloud your thinking and decision-making skills.

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Making virtual teams work

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

If you’re looking to shave a few percentage points off the cost of a project, then opting for a virtual approach can be attractive. Rather than spending oodles of the budget on flights, hotels and expenses, why not cut out all the expensive travel and conduct all the interactions across electronic channels?
The problem […]

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How To Learn From Your Mistakes

Sunday, August 7th, 2005

From Scott Burkun, he of “The Art Of Project Management“:
How To Learn From Your Mistakes
You can only learn from a mistake after you admit you’ve made it. As soon as you start blaming other people (or the universe itself) you distance yourself from any possible lesson. But if you courageously stand up and […]

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Non-standard resource availability in Project

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

A quick way of forcing Project to handle non-standard resource availability:
Task calendars can be used to good effect if, for example, a specialist person or a piece of equipment is only available on certain dates and times. It is also useful when you need to force Project to schedule a task to start on a […]

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Simple formulas, hidden dangers

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

Following on from a previous post of mine, Frank Patrick points out another reason why simple formulas have hidden dangers when it comes to calculating potential task durations:
When considering task estimates, we should simply face reality and recognize that estimates are best communicated in terms of ranges and best agreed to as such, and not […]

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Estimating Realistic Project Deadlines

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

There’s an interesting post on Open Loops about the pitfalls of accurately-estimating project durations - and specifically the problem of over-optimistic schedules:
Many project managers can be myopic in this area and not see the potential pot holes in the road ahead of their projects. Being aware of these stumbling blocks and developing a system […]

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Tickling email in Outlook

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

A cunning way of managing tickled emails in Outlook…

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Scenario planning in project management

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Scenario planning is a tool that is used a lot in strategy formulation, but can be very useful as part of a project’s risk management process. By producing a series of future possibilities as a result of a structured and logical process, you can identify risks and test strategies for eliminating or mitigating […]

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A quick technique for stakeholder analysis

Monday, April 25th, 2005

It’s not enough to simply know who your stakeholders are. Different players in the project landscape have very different interests in the outcome, and these can change over time. If not all stakeholders are equal, that implies that you need to tailor your approach to them. The question then […]

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Of win-wins, BMWs and BATNAs

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

Over at Patrick Mayfield’s ever-useful Lessons Of A Learning Leader, he’s got some thoughts on winning over difficult stakeholders. His argument, and it’s one I agree with, is that one of the main competences of managing stakeholders is effective influencing and negotiation skills.
One of his steps is “Seek win-win or ‘no deal’” - […]

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The end of the world as we know it

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

There’s ways and means of breaking bad news. The Torino scale is used to describe the potential impact of an asteroid colliding with the Earth, and it’s had a makeover:
Under the old system, a level 10 warning used to be described as “causing global climatic disaster.” The new description reads “a certain collision […]

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Prince 2.x on the way

Friday, April 15th, 2005

Patrick Mayfield has rumours of a new edition of the Prince 2 manual due out at the end of May - the current edition dates back to 1998, so it’s about due. He also points out the burgeoning popularity of the methodology - certainly a quick and highly unscientific scan of the job […]

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Situational leadership in projects

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

There’s an interesting post worth a read over at ProjectSteps: Communicating with Discretion and Tact - which talks about the need to tailor your approach to communication in line with the audience and the situation.
This is at least partly based on one of the (many) theories of leadership that have been developed over the years […]

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Getting commitment Cialdini-style

Friday, April 8th, 2005

Another topic in a conversation I had today was about getting commitment to actions - particularly getting them from people who aren’t necessarily that inclined to commit to something, either because they’re reluctant , or because they’re not particularly engaged in the situation. There was a piece of psychological theory that I’d […]

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Prospect theory and estimation

Friday, April 8th, 2005

This is firmly in thinking-out-loud territory, but earlier today I was talking about project timescales, and how we’re generally pretty poor at accurately estimating schedules (that’s a collective rather than royal we).
Then I ran across a post on Metafilter, and picked up one of my old MBA textbooks - and the two things together got […]

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A glossary of project management terms

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

And while I’m on a linking roll, here’s Martin Burns’ Glossary of Project Management Terms…

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How To Avoid Trying To Deliver The Moon On A Stick

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Here’s a useful approach for requirements gathering, courtesy of Martin Burns:
Without a doubt, the most significant thing you can get wrong in running a web development is to mess up the requirements. Get this wrong, and every thing you do after that is doomed. This article will teach you how to […]

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A Swiss Army Knife for Project Management

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

From the Enterprise Systems Journal: A Swiss Army Knife for Project Management:
One deliverable, two tools, and three rules form the essential Swiss Army knife of effective project management.

Tool #1: A messy outline.
Tool #2: A calendar.

Three rules:

Small chunks
First things first
Like things together

The art in sophisticated project management lies in being clever and insightful about […]

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What not to do

Thursday, March 17th, 2005

There’s any amount of advice out there on what you SHOULD do as part of the project management process, so it makes a refreshing change to come across some ideas about things you SHOULDN’T do.
Stephen Seay’s blog provides just such a list, some of which are listed below:
Don’t believe everything you are told about a […]

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