From Recession to Ramp Up | A Project Management Case Study

PROJECT SUMMARY:

PMAlliance was asked to provide project management consulting support for a major manufacturing company who was undertaking the largest Supply Chain ramp-up and re-alignment project in its history.  This project involved several divisions, five general managers, 15 functional organizations, 50+ external suppliers, and 120+ team members who were from multiple worldwide locations.  In addition, the deadline date was aggressive and there were many logistical uncertainties that made integrating the different work streams very difficult.  Finally, the cost for late delivery was over $500,000/day.  PMAlliance was brought in to facilitate the development and control of an integrated project management plan.  This case study discusses how our Duration-Driven methodology approach, consulting support, and proprietary web-update and diagnostic tools helped our client meet their project deadline and objectives.

Continue reading From Recession to Ramp Up | A Project Management Case Study

6 Strategies for Dealing with Nightmare End Users

We’ve already talked about a few flavors of nightmare end users (Nightmare End Users) and ( LEARN TO SPOT THESE 4 NIGHTMARE STAKEHOLDERS) now it’s time to look at some ways you can manage their behavior to keep your project moving forward.

Continue reading 6 Strategies for Dealing with Nightmare End Users

5 Signs You Aren’t Delegating Enough

In an earlier post (DELEGATION 101) and (READY, SET, DELEGATE!) we covered some delegation basics, including how and why to assign tasks to others in your group and what to keep for yourself. Now let’s look at five common signs that you still aren’t delegating enough.

Continue reading 5 Signs You Aren’t Delegating Enough

4 Ways to Stay Fresh During a Long Project

Long projects offer a unique set of challenges for your project management consulting team—deadlines are months or even years away, significant milestones are often few and far between, and the initial rush of “new project” enthusiasm eventually subsides. How do you maintain your group’s morale, encourage long-term innovation, and keep all eyes firmly on the project’s goals?

Continue reading 4 Ways to Stay Fresh During a Long Project

5 Ways to Defend Your Project Budget

Project budgets are regularly in the financial crosshairs. While careful budgeting is a priority for every project management consulting professional, there will be times when others in your organization want you to cut costs beyond what you think is reasonable. If you find your budget is under serious fire, use these tips to defend your resources and protect the success of your project.

Continue reading 5 Ways to Defend Your Project Budget

5 Strategies to Persuade On-the-fence Stakeholders

Project management consulting professionals are often called upon to help persuade stakeholders to give a project their support. Below are a few tips to bring these key people into your camp.

1 – Ask questions. Don’t rely on secondhand information or assumptions. Instead, contact each stakeholder (if possible), and let them tell you about their reservations directly. Once you have accurate and current information, you can begin to address the concerns that are preventing them from giving you their full support.

2 – Provide objective data. You need to be persuasive to win stakeholders over to your side, but don’t compromise your data to do so. Always show your stakeholders complete, current, and relevant information. Benchmarking data obtained from outside sources—often available through industry or regional organizations—can be a powerful tool to help demonstrate your project’s real-world potential. If you find that you can’t respond to stakeholder questions by defending the project on its merits, it’s time to reconsider whether it’s worth pursuing.

3 – Highlight tangible benefits. Show your undecided stakeholders all the positive impacts your project will bring. Benefits such as short- and long-term cost savings, reduced resource consumption, increased market share, and advantages over the competition are all important points to consider.

4 – Show how things will look if your project doesn’t go forward. What will be affected? The continuation of less-than-efficient processes, inability to maximize cost saving opportunities, loss of key customers or business partners, diminished market position, and hampering of growth plans should be among the issues you address.

5 – Make a deadline. Sometimes decisions are delayed simply because they can be. You don’t want to hurry a decision unnecessarily, but if the window for low material prices or contractor availability is a concern, let your stakeholders know the deadline up front.

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

6 Steps to Being a Good Mentor

Being a mentor is an enormously rewarding way to support and expand the project management profession. Nervous about jumping into the mentor role? Don’t be—use these tips to make the experience fluid and fun. Also check out: (GOING BEYOND MENTORING), (MENTORING MISTAKES SMART PMOS MAKE), (find-the-right-business-mentor) and (6 reasons-mentoring still matters)

Continue reading 6 Steps to Being a Good Mentor

4 Project Management Tips for “Scattered Team” Success

Many of today’s project management teams work on shared objectives while being geographically distant from each other. These scattered teams are often highly productive, but members run the risk of feeling alienated, less accountable to the team, and out of the loop—scenarios that could put successful completion of your project’s objectives in jeopardy. Avoid the most common pitfalls by using these tips to maintain your scattered team’s cohesiveness, morale, and efficiency.

Continue reading 4 Project Management Tips for “Scattered Team” Success

Project Management Teamwork : When Good Confrontation Goes Bad

Many people think confrontation is something to be rooted out and stopped. On the contrary, the right kinds of confrontation can actually make your project management team more productive and your project more successful. Before you decide to invite your coworkers over for a grudge match, be sure you’re supporting the good sort of confrontation, and preventing the bad kind from hampering your team’s efforts.

Continue reading Project Management Teamwork : When Good Confrontation Goes Bad

Three Important Tips for Better Business Writing

Most projects require some amount of writing—memos, reports, status updates, budget justifications, personnel requests and other communications all call for clear, and sometimes persuasive, writing. If writing isn’t your thing (and for most of us it isn’t), then read on for tips to help streamline your writing tasks while improving your skills. Continue reading Three Important Tips for Better Business Writing

Project Firefighting – Lessons Learned from Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow

Many a great catastrophe has started from humble roots. Consider the Great Chicago Fire of 1871: The initial cause of the fire is still unknown (popular legend holds that Catherine O’Leary’s barn on the south side of Chicago was set ablaze when her errant cow, Daisy, upended a lantern), but that it left the city devastated is incontrovertible. Continue reading Project Firefighting – Lessons Learned from Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow

Project Management Tips: Regulatory Oversight 101

Projects of every size and in any industry may sometimes require regulatory oversight or approval. Working with a regulatory body has the potential to affect every facet of your project, from where documents are archived to how long a particular activity must take. Regulatory oversight may seem daunting at first, but some basic research and preparation will go a long way toward making your project successful. What information do you need? The following breakdown is by no means all-inclusive, but it will give you a good starting point.

WHO: Contractors with particular licenses or certifications; regulatory inspectors, reviewers, and other contacts; internal team members with specific responsibilities (life safety, insurance, licenses, etc.); vendors able to provide agency-approved goods (equipment, tools, chemicals) and services (storage, cleaning, documentation).

WHAT: Scope of oversight; text of codes and regulations; documentation that must be posted, submitted, filed, stored, signed or discarded; requirements for insurance, licenses, certifications, insurance and training.

When: Deadlines for requests for information; expiration of permits, certificates or licenses; actions that must be completed in sequence or require mid-project review and approval; limits on the types of activities that can be completed concurrently.

Where: Locations for meetings, tests, procedures, reviews, inspections, and the submittal of documents or data; storage requirements for documentation, equipment, test results, chemicals and other materials.

How: Approved procedures; deviation reports; requests for information; submittal of data; signatures required on internal and external forms; recordkeeping and reporting requirements; security of data, computers, software platforms and documents; restrictions on quantities of chemicals and other materials.

Now that you have an idea of the information you’re looking for, it’s time to begin your research.

Visit the regulatory body’s Web site. Review online copies of the regulations or codes, and sign up to be notified when changes are made. Consider ordering a hard copy of the current regulations, so your team can reference a single common information source. Depending on the agency, you may also be able to find a list of recent actions. The results of past inspections, pending permit requests and recently completed projects are all good learning tools.

Network within the client’s industry. Others have likely dealt with the same regulatory requirements, and can help you understand them and their potential impact. If you’re able to find local contacts experienced in dealing with regulators, all the better – regulatory agencies often have regional offices, with inspectors or reviewers responsible for your particular area. Familiarizing yourself with the working style and expectations of the local regulators will put you a step ahead.

Ask the client. If you’re comfortable approaching your client, you can learn a great deal by examining past projects completed under the same regulations. Review the documentation, deliverables, and results; become familiar with the potential impact to your project’s schedule as a result of necessary inspections, leadtime for onsite regulatory visits, availability of specialty contractors, and activities or processes that require a set period of time to complete; make note of any can’t-miss deadlines; identify internal resources; and plan for outside experts you may need to involve.

Look for industry and professional associations. Locate groups that are comprised of companies frequently under the same regulatory oversight as your new project. These organizations often maintain information on the status of regulations and recent developments, and can provide you with additional resources. Their project management members have a deep knowledgebase of past projects – be sure to ask about projects that failed, or were significantly hampered by incorrect actions or poor decisions. Understanding how to avoid these situations will teach you a great deal about managing your project correctly from start to finish.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consultingproject management training and project office development services.

Project Management Tips: Decentralize Your Thinking

Single minded focus throughout the most critical phases of a project is a must, but it’s also important to maintain a strong, ongoing awareness of the needs and challenges facing your clients and end users. Getting away from your desk and pursuing interactions outside your project management team will give you a new perspective that really can make you a better project management consultant.

Make the rounds. You should regularly visit your end users and stakeholders on their turf. Not only will you form better connections capable of supporting you through the demanding projects ahead, you’ll also get an on-the-ground view of the environment you may one day be affecting. You can take stock of the challenges your end users are facing — staffing, space, etc. — and better understand how your efforts can help them overcome these obstacles.

Attend non-project meetings. Steering committees and other groups unrelated to your current project load are often good ways to connect with a wider range of people. These folks may one day be your internal customers or even your champions, so making contact with them in a project-agnostic setting could be highly beneficial down the road. Through this peripheral exposure to your expertise and capabilities, others in your organization who had not previously considered the benefits of leveraging an experienced project management team might now be prompted to involve you in future endeavors.

Don’t forget the fun. Your project team’s morale and cohesiveness is a critical concern, but so also is your own job satisfaction. Seize the opportunity to interact with others in support of fun activities, such as company parties and community volunteer efforts, without the pressure of a project looming over the conversation. You’ll add some spice to your work day, and also connect with innovative people outside your normal sphere.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consultingproject management training and project office development services.

Project Management Tips: Prepare for Success

Make tomorrow more productive by doing some simple preparation today.

Secure sensitive materials in a locked cabinet or drawer. Nothing can ruin a relaxing evening (and put you into a stressful state of mind in the morning) like wondering if that confidential file is still sitting open on your desk.

Continue reading Project Management Tips: Prepare for Success

Project Management Tips: Network for Success

While your immediate project plate may be full, it’s important that you don’t neglect the long-term care and feeding of your project management career. A robust professional network can yield not only new job offers, but it’s also a prime place to forge lucrative business partnerships, connect with potential experts and other resources, touch base with colleagues working on projects in synergy with your own, and keep a bead on the state of regional and market-wide trends. The array of available networking platforms is staggering, but don’t feel you have to leverage them all – a little thoughtful planning can have you successfully networking with minimal effort. Continue reading Project Management Tips: Network for Success

Project Management Documentation Tips: Forms & Templates

Forms and templates are the foundation for many types of project documents. Rather than putting unnecessary effort into creating new forms for each project, the use of existing forms and templates can streamline your project’s documentation requirements, and allow your team to focus on higher-level objectives. A variety of resources are available to you when looking for ready-made forms, and a few simple tips will help keep your project’s momentum moving forward when truly custom forms are needed.

Continue reading Project Management Documentation Tips: Forms & Templates

Project Management Tips: Read for Success

Business publications come in every flavor, from glossies aimed at C-level executives to no-frills journals written for those on the front lines of everyday operations. With the seeming overabundance of available trade magazines, it’s easy to narrow your focus to 2 or 3 that most closely speak to your needs, and leave it at that.

Continue reading Project Management Tips: Read for Success

A Phased Approach to Project Management Implementation

Implementing a formalized project management process in an organization that does not have a history of using a structured approach to project planning and control can present significant challenges. A phased approach to implementation is a crucial element of a successful implementation strategy because it helps overcome resistance to change, allows lessons learned in early phases to be incorporated in the systems installed in later phases, and ensures that a solid foundation of project-level data is available prior to rolling-up enterprise-level information.

Resistance to change is a well-documented phenomenon. And, we know from experience that the implementation of structured project planning and control techniques is a substantial departure from the norm for many companies. Therefore, resistance to change with respect to project management is something that should be expected (and even planned on). A phased approach to implementation can help overcome this resistance by allowing an organization to create success stories, provide the necessary communication (downward and upward), and build momentum prior to rolling-out the process to the general population. By taking a phased approach, we can dramatically increase our chances of acceptance by the organization and reduce the probability of a “program-of-the-month” fiasco. A project management system must be tailored to the organization. A “one size fits all” approach has a low probability of success because it does not recognize differences in project types, management and staff capabilities, and organizational culture. A phased approach to implementation allows time in the initial phases to gather first-hand information about project characteristics, personnel, and cultural nuances. Then, based on this information, a project management system can be designed and a roll-out plan crafted that maximizes the prospects for success.The later stages of implementation are focused on providing the enterprise-level tools that allow an organization to gain visibility to project schedule, resource, and cost information across the entire portfolio of projects. This information can be used to optimize business decision making given that there are constraints related to limited resources, limited budgets, and project priority. Unfortunately, enterprise-level decision making must be based on solid project-level information, otherwise, the decisions that are made may not be correct. A phased implementation approach allows time to ensure that sound plans for all individual projects are created prior to rolling-up enterprise-level information. Also, enterprise-level tools can represent a substantial financial commitment. A phased approach can coordinate the timing of the investment in these tools with the point of maximum usefulness.

The Four Phases of Project Management Implementation

PMAlliance utilizes four phases for the project management implementation process: Initiation, Project-Level Installation, Enterprise-Level Installation, and Maintenance. A description of each phase follows.

1. Initiation Phase

The purpose of the Initiation phase is to mobilize the organization, remediate any current at-risk projects, and set the stage for the Installation phases. Time is of the essence in the Initiation phase. Management “cracks the door open” with the organization by endorsing the process at kick-off and requesting the support and participation
of all employees. However, from the moment of kick-off, employee patience and willingness to participate is in jeopardy until success stories have been created and communicated. This is perhaps the riskiest of all of the phases of implementation because even small failures at this stage can fuel the arguments of naysayers, substantiate the fears of those employees “sitting on the fence” with respect to project management, and dissipate any momentum created by management during the kick-off process. For these reasons, the Initiation phase includes the selection of pilot projects that have the potential for near-term of successes and great emphasis is placed on creating and communicating those success stories to the organization.

2. Project-Level Installation Phase

During the Project-Level Installation phase structured project planning and control processes are implemented on all targeted projects, the project management infrastructure necessary to support the consistent, successful application of project management techniques by the Project Office on future projects is created, and Project Office staff are trained and mentored.

3. Enterprise-Level Installation Phase

The Enterprise-Level Installation phase creates the infrastructure necessary to support business decision-making based on schedule, resource, and cost information “rolled-up” from the entire portfolio of projects and transitions the day-to-day responsibility for developing and maintaining individual project plans to the Project Office staff.

4. Maintenance Phase

The purpose of the Maintenance phase is to transition the responsibility for supporting all of the project management requirements of the organization to the Project Office staff and to ensure long-term continuity by establishing project management as a core competency and an essential function within the organization.

Conclusion

In today’s economic environment it is absolutely
essential to ”get it right the first time” when it comes to making organizational changes. A phased approach to implementing project management can dramatically increase the probability of success because it helps to overcome resistance to change, creates an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned into the design of the project management infrastructure, and ensures that high-quality enterprise-level information is available to major stakeholders.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consultingproject management training and project office development services.