10 DAYS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Now that we’re in the thick of the gift-giving season, it seems like a good time to put together a list of gifts every project management professional would love to receive. But rather than focusing on quantity like the holiday songs of yore, we opted instead for quality—gifts that would be truly valuable to PMPs. We hope you enjoy the 10 Days of Project Management (singing optional). Continue reading 10 DAYS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Four Critical Topics to Consider For The New Year

The new year is upon us and everyone is neck deep in the latest round of budget revisions, prioritization meetings and team strategy sessions for the new year. ‘We don’t have enough budget for that’, ‘That is not a top priority’, ‘How does that impact our new year strategy?’… sound familiar? As everyone is busy posturing to get their pet projects affirmed, the following four points might add some clarity to key decisions aimed at providing the most value to your new year project management strategy.

Schedule Training Early. By now you probably have already confirmed your 2013 project management training calendar for the year. I hope. If not, you should probably make this a top priority. The best-in-class companies start this process towards the middle of Q4 so that they can (a) query their databases to see which courses are the most popular, (b) evaluate which team members, project managers and sponsors have been trained (c) confirm annual training budgets and (d) get their pick of dates for their preferred training providers. Good trainers book up early and you do not want to be left trying to find qualified trainers without notice (they usually book up early). If you have not do so already, develop a quarterly cadence for core project management methodology and software training; and promote these courses to your employees.

Project Strategy. So you launched a ton of projects last year… some worked, some failed, some got “killed on the vine”. Undoubtedly some of your projects were longer term initiatives that continued into the new year. Now it is time to conduct your ‘On Deck Strategy Session’ to evaluate which crop of the latest “great ideas” get their chance in the new year, and what priority each project has (they can’t all be ranked #1 priority) . To do this, you will need to round up your executive team and conduct a project prioritization meeting where you align the list of great ideas to your New Year strategic goals and determine if you have the resources for everything. Of course, this is not a one-time event, this is something your team does annually. Right? If not, do not fret, it’s never too late to start implementing best practices! Open your email calendar and get that strategic project prioritization meeting setup ASAP!

Assess for Success. Every year you go to the doctor for your annual health check-up to make sure everything is in working order. You should be doing something similar for your project management processes. (how else is your project management going to remain healthy?). Sure you can always do a “self-check”, but if you really want to gain an honest review you need to have a professional practitioner conduct a diagnostic check. Though there are multiple strategies that you might deploy for this health diagnostic, ensure they include: an overall process assessment, a cultural diagnostic, a training plan review, and an action plan for improvements. Oh, and try not to make this a ‘one time only’ occurrence; it’s easier to prevent a “project management heart attack” with regular assessments from your “family doctor”.

Partner to Win. One of the exciting parts to project management is by its nature, the projects are different. Usually, the projects differ in size, scope, intensity and project team (that’s why they are projects by definition). To ensure your organization can effectively respond to the ebb and flow in your project pipeline throughout any given year, you need to be flexible in how you scale your project management infrastructure. Of course you don’t want to staff for the highest possible need, nor do you want to get caught in a position where you have your staff spread too thin. To accomplish this you might consider partnering with a reputable consulting company who can both fill the gap in peak support times, but also act as the core to your project office to maintain consistency. The project management consulting company you choose should be able to provide you with various levels of project management support expertise, provide you a wide range of training courses with bandwidth to scale as needed, be skilled in executive strategic project prioritization and communication, offer an efficient project management health assessment, and be capable of providing support globally.

New Year, New Perspective

The beginning of the new year is a good time to plot out what you want to accomplish next, but sometimes it’s easy to lose your forward momentum. Below we’ve outlined a handful of the most common hurdles project managers face when mapping out their yearly objectives, and offered some strategies to help you get jazzed for the new year.

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Remember The Rewards

There’s a lot work involved in the holidays—braving the crowds to finish shopping, getting the house clean for guests, hanging lights, and putting everything away in January—but everything comes with a reward (the perfect gift for your brother, a tidy house full of family, a home that twinkles, and a fresh start after the new year). Your project management team works hard, and they deserve some special rewards at this time of year, too. If you’re stuck for ideas, consider these.

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

At the beginning of the year we outlined some resolutions PMOs might consider making. If you took the challenge, it’s time for a mid-year progress check. But what if you haven’t made as much headway as you hoped? We’ve put together a “fast track to success” tip for each resolution to help you move forward right now.

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PMO Resolutions for the New Year

While your mind is on your own individual goals for the new year, why not also take the opportunity to look at where your PMO is and where you want to take it in the coming months? If you’re stuck for ideas, we’ve put together some resolutions you can use as a launch pad.

Improve communication. Even PMOs that are really good at communicating should make improvement a yearly goal. “BE A BETTER COMMUNICATOR” .Talking with end users, providing stakeholders with progress reports, and maintaining good lines of communication within your team are all critical to project success.

Boost career development efforts. Now is not the time to let your project professionals grow stagnant—if you don’t give them a path toward greater opportunities, there’s a good chance your competitors will. Encourage team members to set goals that keep them motivated “SETTING INDIVIDUAL GOALS: 9 TIPS FOR SUCCESS” and facilitate mentoring relationships whenever possible.

Increase ongoing education. As project workloads ramp up, project management training is one of the first things moved to the back burner “TRAINING MISTAKES MOST PMOS MAKE“. Instead, resolve this year to keep your team’s education on the priority list. Schedule classes early and be sure everyone on the team has the opportunity to learn something new.

Develop a more robust network. Reach out to fellow professionals before you need help. “BE A BETTER COMMUNICATOR Your team will have better access to resources—including consultants, market research specialists, equipment suppliers, and potential new employees—and will also be more in tune with regional and industry trends.

Market your PMO. In many organizations, it’s no longer enough to be good project managers. Your ability to engage stakeholders and end users is increasingly important, and could influence everything from budget approval to staffing levels.

Commit to creativity. Your team’s ability to develop innovative solutions can help manage any problem “PROJECT MANAGEMENT: CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING. Implement some creativity-building activities and watch your team triumph over challenges.

Also check out our “NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS” and “NEW YEAR, NEW PERSPECTIVE“ blog posts.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consulting, and project management training services.

 

5 Ways to Make Year-End Less Stressful

We’re heading into the beginning of the year-end stress-fest: reconciling budgets, preparing for performance evaluations, and developing project estimates for next year—all while employees take time off for the holidays, benefits open enrollment gears up, the roads turn to ice, and the power goes out. Below we’ve pulled together 5 tips to help keep your team on an even keel during this busy season.

Continue reading 5 Ways to Make Year-End Less Stressful