In 2015, I have written a monthly article series for ProjectManagement.com. It has been a great experience and I look forward to continuing. In today’s post, I will present this year’s articles and give a brief overview of each article. In addition to articles, I also present webinars to ProjectManagement.com which are available as recordings. If you a PMI member, you can view this webinars, learn and earn professional development units (PDUs). Note that you need to login to ProjectManagement.com to read these articles.
Risk Management for Program Managers (Jan 26, 2015)
Managing risk effectively is one of the hallmarks of professional project managers. How do you manage risk when you land in the program manager’s chair? In this article, you will learn about the state of program management and what risks program managers face. The article also includes program risk management tips to get you started. If you are seeking a promotion to program manager, get started today by reading this article to improve your risk management skills.
Beyond Eliminating Defects: New Frontiers in Quality Management (February 26, 2015)
In the early years of the quality movement, eliminating defects was the number one priority. As Six Sigma and other approaches became popular, many of the easy quality improvements have already been made. In this article, I describe how quality practices have gone beyond manufacturing. Quality improvement projects are now becoming important in the healthcare sector. The article concludes with quality management techniques for project managers.
Leveraging the Best Knowledge Management Practices (March 30, 2015)
As project managers, the knowledge we bring to the table is key contribution. However, our knowledge contribution goes far beyond our personal education. In this article, I show how knowledge management practices from IBM, BP and NASA are worth studying in closer detail. In addition, I also cover how to obtain maximum value when your project draws on expert consultants.
Getting Started in Sustainable Projects (April 8, 2015)
Project managers do their work in a broader context that includes the environment. Did you know that Google’s data centers are designed to optimize electricity usage? That’s one of the insights I learned in preparing this article. Ensuring a sustainable project starts early at the project selection and design stage. It is also interesting to note that sustainability can reduce project costs (e.g. using local materials limits transport costs). I conclude the article with five sustainability tools and techniques you can use.
Learning From Success and Challenges in Change Management (May 11, 2015)
Working effectively with people, especially when going through a major change, is a valuable skill when you embark on major projects such as M&A. Lack of change management planning and activities is a key reason why many technology projects fail. It is not enough to develop and deploy technology to an organization – it is vital to support and train people through the change. In this article, it was my pleasure to interview Phil Buckley, a noted change management consultant based in Toronto.
Adding Value with Big Data Projects (June 8, 2015)
Big Data continues to be a topic attracting a lot of buzz. Yet many project managers are unclear on the concept and why it matters. In this article, I explain how project managers can use Big Data tools and techniques to add value. The “recommendation engine” used by Amazon is a well known example of Big Data in action. Big Data can also be used to detect fraud and understand customers better.
How Government Fosters Innovation Projects (July 8, 2015)
I was delighted to see all the comments and discussion sparked by this article! Whether and how government has a role to play in innovation remains an open question. If we look at history, we find several examples of government successfully encouraging innovation. The Apollo space program comes to mind. The 18th century quest for longitude is another case. In addition to direct innovation support, government plays a key role by supporting research through programs such as the Canada Research Chairs program and the National Science Foundation.
How to Grow Your Business Awareness to Be a Better Project Manager (August 10, 2015)
I enjoy writing skills based articles so creating this article was fun. The article covers both how to inform yourself about your organization and develop a broader awareness of the industry. The challenge with awareness is two fold. First, how do you decide how much information is “enough” to be informed (we can’t read news and articles all day). Second, how do project managers translate that knowledge into business value? It all starts with reading and understanding your organization’s goals. I was delighted to see over 30 comments on this article!
Exciting Projects: The Unsung Hero to Attracting Talent (September 14, 2015)
The people you have in your organization matter. How exactly can you help you organization recruit and retain top notch professionals? A key recruiting tool is the ability to offer interesting and exciting projects to work on! Learn how to work with human resources and other units to support your organization’s talent strategy. In addition, project managers can help with talent by proposing and leading HR projects (e.g. develop a training program to help newly hired/promoted managers become effective in their roles).
Did the project actually deliver benefits? That’s an uncomfortable question that many executives and project sponsors are starting to ask. Project managers tend to speak in code and cite the PMBOK Guide in their work which makes them hard to understand. There is a better way. You can define benefits at the front end in terms make sense to your sponsor (e.g. cost reduction, time savings or shipping improvements). As a case study, I discuss Toronto’s 2015 Pan-Am Games .
PMI Congress 2015: Lessons Learned (October 28, 2015)
This year, I attended PMI’s annual conference for the first time. It was a fantastic experience and I learned a great deal. In this article, I share my notes from education sessions and keynote speakers. I also interviewed a number of conference attendees and exhibitors about their products and experiences. For example, it was interesting to learn that Wiley is starting to offer online products and programs – an interesting example of a publisher offering new products. I was delighted to attend the event as a ProjectManagement.com career expert.
How to Improve Application Delivery With Agile (November 12, 2015)
Agile is attracting more and more attention. Can it be used to improve the development and delivery of applications? I show how the short timelines and emphasis on customer interaction is well suited to application work. Specifically, I like the common agile emphasis on “two week sprints” to deliver new features. That’s a great way to sustain morale and momentum!
Making the World A Better Place Through PM Philanthropy (December 7, 2015)
With the holidays approaching, it makes sense to reflect on the year. As project managers, we have powerful skills and an interest in change. With those skills, why not seek out a volunteer role? For example, you can volunteer with Doctors Without Borders to run logistics in the field. Closer to home, there are many organizations that need help with managing events, developing websites and other areas. Start by identifying causes that resonate with you and then look for a way to get involved.