Project Management Articles > Carl Pritchard

Carl Pritchard

Carl Pritchard Carl is the principal and founder of Pritchard Management Associates and a recognized lecturer, author, researcher, and instructor. He is considered a leading authority on risk management and presents on a variety of management topics, ranging from project essentials to the complexities of network diagramming and team motivation. He has published articles on project management maturity, the international trends in PM, advances in risk management, and the nuances of training on the Internet. His work as an instructor has taken him around the world, training with some of the leading international training organizations, as well as for private clients and the Project Management Institute®. He is also the U.S. Correspondent for the U.K. project management journal, Project Manager Today. Carl regularly consults and coaches on project management, presentation skills, risk, distance learning, and course development with a variety of organizations. He holds a B.A. from the Ohio State University, and is a Project Management Professional™ as certified by the Project Management Institute. His new book, Risk Management: Concepts & Guidance, 3rd Edition, was released in September 2005 by ESI International. To learn more about Carl and his work, visit www.carlpritchard.com or email carl@carlpritchard.com.

Fighting Bears and Miniature Golf
What another can do, I can do.
Role models are out there. The challenge is that we either aren't looking for them or we aren't willing to adopt them.
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Archived articles -- Accessible to All

(Almost) All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
Sure, you're giving the customer everything they asked for, but what about the things they expected?
This goes to one of the classic concerns about the project manager's relationship with business analysis, the customer, and the marketers in an organization -- give them an inch, and they'll take a mile.
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Put a Stake Through the Heart of the Energy Vampire!
Is your project cursed with an energy vampire? Try this three-step program to banish the darkness.
Energy vampires are those individuals who, inexplicably, have the power to enter a project team, a meeting, or virtually any gathering and drain the life force out of those in attendance.
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PMs Just Want to Have Fun
Sure, we're working. But that doesn't meant we can't enjoy ourselves. Does it?
We cannot be the enemies of fun. We should instead be fun's allies.
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Compelling versus Charismatic - Where should we be?
Are we better off persuading others with the power of our personality, or just power?
From our team members to our managers and our customers, we build communication and relationships by feeling their pain and recognizing their passions.
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Converting Our Fears into a Comfortable Old Shoe
Familiarity breeds not contempt, but comfort, and can turn overwhelming novelty into unremarkable routine.
The unknown drives a lot of people to fear in their personal and professional lives, and I believe familiarity can wash a lot of that fear away.
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Smile when you say that!
Our team's happiness can have a profound effect on our projects.
In the hustle and bustle of our project lives, we often forget to take a moment to smile about the things that are genuinely worth smiling about.
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Project Management - It's THE LAW
More rules may not get you more discipline. For proof, just take a look at your local freeway.
When project management practice turns into rules, forms, protocols and procedures that are seen as excessive or punitive, there's a very real possibility that best practice will be thrown out along with the excess.
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A Whip, A Chair, A Carrot, A Stick, A Moment of Silence
Will you like yourself better when you finish this job?
I believe their motivation is rooted in one simple thing -- Do they believe they will like themselves more when they finish the job? If yes, I can almost guarantee a higher level of performance.
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The Little Things Matter
Are you paying enough attention to the little things that other people are probably paying attention to?
"Were they're! Ahhhh, the rights of passage." If that sentence makes you insane, you are not alone. We are watching an entire generation evolve with spellcheck, autocorrect and technological support for all things grammatical.
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It's [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE] Day!
Show appreciation for your team members by truly celebrating their participation and honoring their preferences.
Aside from your birthday, when's the last time you scheduled a special, all-about-you day? When was the last time you scheduled one for one of your team members?
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Thankful Project Management
Your team members need to know how much you appreciate them, not just their work.
As project managers, we rarely (if ever) have formal authority, so we don't have the ability to pour rewards on others and lavish them with promotions or bonuses. But we do have the ability to give thanks, and we should.
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It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas! (And Valentine's Day ...)
Is it crazy to be thinking about Christmas in September? Crazy like a fox!
Futures thinking involves a simple process of looking into a crystal ball, picking a point in time and asking what our universe will look like. If the craft store is right, December is going to look very green, silver and sparkly.
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Feel-Good Project Management — Happy
On your projects, are you the voice of doom, or of possibility?
Being happy is a choice. And on our projects, it's up to us to influence others to make that choice.
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The Definition of Sanity
Three creative ways you can prompt your teams to start recognizing and repeating the right things, instead of obsessing over the wrong things.
In every industry, from IT to Marketing, from Finance to Public Sector, we see the insanity play out over and over again. But is there anything that we can do? I would contend, yes!
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It's Winter. It Snows. They're Clients. They Make Changes.
In a meeting? Is someone complaining about customers? Here's how to spot the smartest person in the room.
My community in Maryland gets similar snowfall every year. Because the state is below the Mason-Dixon Line, everyone seems to believe we're in the South. We're not. We get snow every year. And somehow, it's a shock!
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Can We Talk Value?
Carl suggests some basic calculations to consider when setting a salary or consulting rate.
Most folks don't even know where to begin to try to put a value on their personal worth, time and effort. $8/hour? $125,000/year? The disparity is pretty dramatic.
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Boondoggle or Good Value?
Cheap or just cheap-looking? It's all about the value.
In project management, we need to be the fiscal champions of our organizations. That doesn't mean that we have to be boring pedants that only glom onto cheap-looking opportunities.
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Summertime, and the Living Is Easy
Four summer survival tips for workaholics.
What do many of us in the States do for much of the summer? Work. We are the workaholic zealots of the planet. As a self-confessed workaholic, I tend to see us as "in the right." My wife, however, says there's a lot to be said for taking it easy. In the never-ending quest for a reasonable middle, I'd like to offer these suggestions for folks living my dilemma -- the workaholics surrounded by a European ethos.
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The Wind-up! The PITCH!
Our hard work as project managers is potentially evident, not self-evident. It's up to us to promote our value.
Somehow, the whole notion of selling project management seems distasteful -- perhaps even tawdry. How could we? Why should we?
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Learning to Say Those Four Little Words—I LOVE MY JOB
Maybe you don't always like your job, but you can learn to love where you are.
I love my job. I love spring. I love my community. I love raking the yard. I love my job. Many of us, including myself, have lived through times when we haven't. Some of you may be there now.
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The Project Grinch
With apologies to Dr. Seuss (and Boris Karloff).
Then he got an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea. "I know just what I'll do," and he called to his aide. "I'll join all their meetings, that'll just make the grade."
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Boo! Terror in the Every Day!
It's not the scary risks we should be scared of…
The ghoulies and ghosties we should be worrying about are the familiar ones we know are coming and know will come again.
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The Power's Out! (No Kidding.)
Carl summarizes 4 risk management lessons from the Great East Coast Outage.
We have witnessed the best and worst of humanity out here, and there are some lessons that we all need to collectively learn if we're going to survive this kind of event in the future.
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The Fine Art of Tempting Fate
Are you actually tempting fate, or does it just feel like it?
The trick to tempting fate is not just doing things that sound risky, but things that are risky.
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Sitting is the New Smoking and Other PlusGood News
The words you choose can have a profound effect on your team's actions and results.
In society, those who control language control the conversation. Those who control the conversation control cultural norms and behaviors.
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One Step Beyond Narcissus (and Why That Puts Our Projects in Peril)
Creating a team means having (and rewarding) team players.
Society seems to be developing a collective case of narcissism on a truly epic scale, and this does not bode well for our projects in the days, months, and years ahead.
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The Second Five Traits of Risk Management Excellence
Risk management is more than just the fine art of predicting what may happen and coming up with strategies for those eventualities.
The second five traits drive to this sense that there is a need to take positions and cope with the vagaries of the environments in which those positions are taken.
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Scared Yet?
Sometimes they are out to get you. Sometimes, it just feels like it. How can we tell the difference?
We need to make the conscious decision as to when and how we're going to react. And there are cues when it's time to refuse to be scared.
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It's Not Paranoia If They're Really Out to Get You
Know when to walk away, and when to run.
I had a compelling experience over a recent quarter where I began to suspect a client was actually conducting behaviors that would lead to my failure. I began to get the over-your-shoulders-someone-is-watching feeling that comes with paranoia.
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Clarity Is Culture: How Crystal Clarity on Your Risk Perspectives Creates a Positive Risk Culture
Do you know where the lines are, and why?
Those axioms have stood the test of time. And the reason? They represent clarity. It's the tool that enables us to lead, to plan, and to take others along for the journey in risk management.
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2011, and There's No Tomorrow!
Would you manage differently if tomorrow was the end of the line for your company? Why wait?
With a fatalistic view of reality comes a perspective of urgency, legacy, and innovation. It's time to start thinking like there's no tomorrow.
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Becoming the Song in Their Heads
Want to embed yourself in someone's thoughts? Sneak in by using some catchy techniques to frame your message.
On projects, in our day-to-day with others, if we need to ingrain behavior, taking up residence in the heads of our customers and team members can be a powerful advantage.
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Counting to Ten
Ten simple ways to be, or at least appear, less frustrated the next time someone pushes you near the edge.
Coming back from vacation, you would think that we'd suddenly all be far more accommodating, understanding and relaxed. Strangely enough, I seem to note that the folks that I'm dealing with seem more pressured and stressed than they did before they took off on holiday.
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A Time to Be Project Positive!
The Dalai Lama offers Carl some perspective on our potential for profound influence, both as project managers and as people.
If ever there was a time to be "project positive," this is it! There is so much to be positive about.
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The Creative Advantages of Hats!
Shift gears and get better insight into your project just by changing your headgear.
Specifically, if you're trying to generate a list of risks, tasks, stakeholders, issues, milestones or almost anything else from a creative team, hats work wonders. They work their magic in terms of data volume, candor and degrees of participation.
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Falling in Love with GREAT Communications
Suggestions collected from other project managers on how to make your day-to-day communication more powerful and effective, and less like garlic-sauce hoagie.
Rather than simply share my insights, I offer theirs here with a simple suggestion. Pick two. Steel yourself to try them consistently. Make them a personal mission. You'll be surprised by the shift.
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Context in Communication
Get others up to speed on your insider stories, and both your team and your communication will be the better for it.
As we manage, we have a habit of invoking terms and terminology, assuming that others share our communications context.
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A Project Manager's Facebook Feed
The PMP®, The Real World, and a life OBE (Overcome By Events).
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Handicapping Risk: Multi-Factor Considerations
Risks, like so many bad things, tend to come in threes. At least.
When we set out from Glasgow Airport, I had every confidence that I could do the "drive on the left side" thing.
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The Case of the Perfect Project Post
How to do more with less, and get credit for the acquittal.
In project management, we often feel shackled by the constraints that are put on us by customers, management, and the project culture. But if we take a lesson from Perry, we may be able to loosen those bonds just enough to set our projects free.
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A Few Lessons in Blatant Self-Promotion
How (and where) to get credit when credit is due.
A team member at one of my most prized clients recently asked how she might be able to better promote herself and get some of the recognition that she merits in an environment where recognition is hard to come by. This article is largely my response.
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...and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
Dear Santa, I have been a very good project manager this year, so I’d like to ask for the following in the year ahead...
Not sure what to get your star PM? Here are the 11 things on the top of Carl's year-end wish list for project managers.
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Unraveling the Mystery of the Milestone
Carl explains how we can tell a good milestone from a bad one.
As I write this article, I'm on final approach into Las Vegas, Nevada. The pilot on this particular flight has served as both driver and tour guide, pausing at four intervals along the way to greet the passengers and to highlight local sites of interest 30,000 feet below.
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The Blackberry Maven
We know you've been there. We heard the beeping.
Once upon a project dreary, at a meeting getting weary, Over many a rehashed mound of data by a crashing bore . . .
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In Defense of the Project Management "Perfect World"
We know the textbook doesn't come anywhere near the real world. That doesn't mean it's not worth trying.
One of the most common challenge questions I get when teaching PMP® Exam Preparation courses is "Why doesn't PMI make the test more real-world? Why do they insist on testing for a world that no one really lives in?"
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Earned Value Makes Headlines! (And How You Can Avoid Making Them Too)
Who cares about this earned value stuff anyway? The U.S. Office of Management and Budget, for one … which means we should care too.
For those of you who missed it, earned value made the news last week (June 4, 2008), including front-page articles in the Washington Post. As project managers, this has implications that stretch far, far beyond Lockheed and their failings.
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The Hardest Word in the Project Management Vocabulary
Sometimes, a "yes, but" just isn't enough.
No sooner do we offer a "yes-we-can-do-that, but-it-costs-you-another-million" response that the customer hears only the first half of the equation.
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The Tao, the I Ching, and a Little Non-Western Project Management Attitude
Is there a place for Eastern philosophy in project management? Consider the Book of Changes.
The I Ching is often referred to as a fortune-telling device. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s actually a tool used to assess one’s own attitudes in a new context.
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The Hierarchy of Holiday Stakeholders
Carl proposes a full taxonomy of stakeholders that covers everyone up to and including the green grocer. (Really.)
The beauty of holiday gatherings is that they provide both a common frame of reference and a common metaphor for taking a new look at a practice we all strive to achieve—effective stakeholder identification. Read more ...

Celebrating the Inconsequential?
Got a team working on a project that should have been done a year ago? Let them eat cake!
As adults, we sometimes feign indifference by saying that such events are not necessary or too much bother … We should take a page from Christine's co-worker, who so adroitly acknowledged a day that would have passed like any other, but instead became a special team moment. Read more ...

Droughts, Dry Spells, and Summer Rains: Coping with the Inevitable Shortages
Do you know your project's current fire hazard and the forecast for rain?
A drought leaves you with real physical harm. A dry spell is a nuisance that makes you paranoid you're heading for a drought. Read more ...

Another Day in Paradise: Life in Project-Land
Project management not as fun as it used to be? Try redefining your expectations.
I'm often asked, "How’s it going?" My response: "It's another day in paradise." Is it? Not always. Then again, it beats the heck out of the alternatives. Read more ...

Do We Really Need the Second Decimal?
Why are we shrouding a common-sense profession in arcane standards? Sometimes a plan is just a plan.
When I suggested that our effort in spreading the project management gospel should be simplification and clarification, one team member shot back: "For every complex problem there is an answer which is clear, simple and wrong." But there are also clear, simple and correct explanations. Read more ...

A Business Justification for Christmas by Ebenezer Scrooge
How might Dickens's A Christmas Carol have ended if Scrooge was a project manager? Carl Pritchard explores the business logic behind the transformation in this tongue-in-cheek follow-up to a holiday classic.
Following an executive-level conference with former partner Jacob Marley, it is the considered opinion of this project manager that the holiday season, replete with all of its trappings, is in the best interests of the organization and creates ample opportunities... Read more ...

War of the Worlds - Lessons Learned from the Martian Invasion (A Martian Perspective)
Carl models best practices for your lessons learned reports, with this otherworldly perspective on the most disastrous project of all time.
Kickoff Meeting – The kickoff meeting united the political and logistical sides of the house by clearly defining the vision and the approach. Without clarity on that, we probably wouldn't have been able to get management to drag their tentacles out of the Dark Ages and sign off on the thing. Read more ...

Technical Performance Management, Mad Movies, and the Future of Project Management
How re-dubbing the home-movies of other professions can cast a whole new light on project management.
I recently stumbled across an ancient video (ca. 1985) in our family collection of an old TV show called Mad Movies with the L.A. Connection. In this video, a troupe of comedians re-voice and re-edit classic movies with new dialog, creating an entirely different (and generally hilarious) story and plot. Read more ...

It's 2006, and You're NOT Certified?
In defense of the uncertified professional.
Organizations ritually demand that their personnel become certified in one practice or another, and the challenge for many employees—while they may be the best in the business at what they do—is finding the time, energy or capacity for certification tests. Read more ...

The Next Big Project Management Thing
Carl explains the importance of EVP certification, and offers an insider's view of the exam.
Over the past few years, while many organizations have tried to modify project management practice to fit their needs, the U.S. Federal Government has begun a migration back to the basics. And that move may drive a major revival in a project management classic—earned value. Read more ...

We're All Virtually There!
Providing a framework for success in a virtual environment.
The challenge is not virtual, it's real. With our team members (and ourselves) at a host of remote locations, it's difficult to manage work. Read more ...

Giving the Gift of Change (The 12 Lessons of Christmas)
12 important rules for initiating and managing change, inspired by the gifts of Christmases past.
Allow me a moment to delineate a few past presents. Socks. A mechanical Uncle Sam bank. A tape recorder. A gift certificate. A collection of little metal brain teaser puzzles that remain unsolved. Read more ...

Holiday History, and a Lesson for Project Managers
Moving a milestone date may seem simpler than moving a holiday, but appearances can be deceiving. Here are three keys to a successful date move.
Imagine a suggestion to change something major ... like New Year's or your country's independence day. Imagine something even more major ... like moving the deliverable date for your next milestone! Read more ...

Transitions: A Lesson from my Sons
By preparing clients for a future that doesn't involve us, we can make them more comfortable with our involvement in their present.
In our projects, we need to take lessons from our own lives to ensure that we understand the nature and impact of transitions and prepare for them. Read more ...

Project Manager Authority—Look Under NON-Fiction
Two simple strategies for more effective leadership, even if you don't think you have any authority at all.
Formal authority is such a lovely thing. It is authority granted by the organization. It is authority to control and dictate. It is the ability to hire and fire. It is weak. Read more ...

What Can You Do to Push Your Organization Back to Basics (or "Why Advanced Critical Chain Human Resource Integration programs are a work of fiction")
Think your organization is ready for advanced project management training options? Think again. Risk expert Carl Pritchard makes the case for getting back to basics.
I was looking over one of the myriad catalogs I receive in the mail and noticed what appears to be a trend in project management. We're steering away from the basics. Read more ...

PMP®, EVP, CPA, M-O-U-S-E
Sure you're certified, but is it the right certification?
Despite efforts at cooperation and early certification, the CPA in its modern form really didn't take hold until the mid 1930's. That's 50 years without certainty as to how the certification would shape up. Read more ...

PMBOK® Guide 3 - The Future of Project Management?
PMBOK® Guide 3 makes waves with a sea change in included project management tools and techniques.
I confess to being a member of an elite group. I am probably one of the few people on the planet who have already taken it upon themselves to actually read the whole new PMBOK Guide®. I'm not a glutton for punishment, but because of a variety of client needs and demands for currency, I have found myself reading through the entire document. Read more ...

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Project Manager
Don't forget to leave a cookie by the Gantt chart.
I am 38 years old. Some of my co-workers say there are no real Project Managers. My boss says, "If you see it on ProjectConnections.com, it's so." Please tell me the truth, are there real project managers? Read more ...

A Good Kind of Scared?
Sorting out real risks from things that go bump in your projects. (BOO!)
Most of us enjoy some elements of [Halloween], whether it's the costumes, the children or the prankish attitude associated with it. But most of us can also recount some eerie moment when we were frightened—genuinely spooked—by the trappings or antics of the day. Read more ...

The Mail Must Go Through
What the Postal Service, Fed Ex, UPS and DHL can teach us about better ballpark estimates.
Consider the delivery model for any of the major carriers. They have a relatively consistent set of metrics that project managers might be prudent to consider. Specifically, when it comes to building the ultimate in parametric cost models, each carrier has one set of metrics that are consistently applied—size, weight, and distance. Read more ...

The Folks of Summer -- Casey the Project Manager
Sometimes we hit home runs, and sometimes... well... Carl Pritchard pays homage to the boys of summer. Because if we can't laugh at ourselves during tense moments, who can we laugh at?
... They thought, "if only Casey could but share with them the news.
We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the schmooze." Read more ...

What Makes You Listen?? Getting Messages Across
If you ever feel like people just aren't listening, consider whether your message has the proper setting.
"From the gunner's seat of an M-1 Tank….I'm Carl Pritchard." I used to have a career in the media (proof that project management is the accidental profession). And that is one of the more memorable phrases that I was ever privileged to utter on the air. Read more ...

Project Cabin Fever
Are you bouncing off the "walls" of your project, desperate to be anywhere but here? Carl has some suggestions to help your team survive those extended winters.
This year's winter seemed longer than many of recent memory. A few extra cloudy days, a few extra inches of snow, and the days seem to drag .... What did most people want? Out. Just "out." Just get me anywhere but here. Read more ...

Project Managing Up!
You need to get management on board with project management; educate them about the options without resorting to Auto Mechanics 101.
You've arrived. Your team understands the basics of project management; you have a certification; you have the software. All seems right with the world. Just one problem: management still sees you as potentially unnecessary overhead. At best, you are an administrative nuisance that the customer demands. Read more ...

Measure Me!
Are your projects measuring up? How do you know? Look into the what and how of the scales you're using (or planning to use) to find out if they are really on your side.
I just finished a one-day workshop with a group of project professionals on project metrics. We skipped past the conventional metrics of earned value and milestone variance into the more esoteric territory of portfolio metrics and risk metrics. After it was over, one participant asked if there weren't more. Maybe he wanted his cholesterol number. Read more ...

A Baker's Dozen of Holiday Classics and the Project Management Lessons They Teach
Looking for something to watch? Get in the spirit of the season, and learn a project management lesson or two at the same time!
Home Alone The story of a team member left completely to his own devices, with no supervision, succeeding in the face of adversity. Lessons Learned: Stock the team refrigerator well. Provide direction. Read more ...

Project Management Theories of Relativity
From Stonehenge to St. Peter's to the Tower of London -- how the history of a nation reflects and extends some basic truths of project management.
What does this have to do with project management? Everything. Each site I visited had a history. Someone left it behind for the ages. These were projects on an epic scale. Stonehenge and Avebury took hundreds of years to complete. Read more ...

Project Management Starts with PR - Branding Project Management
Get It Done At Any Cost? Team Lead's Best Friend? What's your project management brand, and how can you use it to the best advantage?
What's your brand of project management? Does it vary from client to client? If so, you may have a problem. Branding is, if nothing else, a lesson in consistency. Read more ...

My Vacation's Through ... and So Is My Creativity ...
You're here, but your brain's still on vacation, and you need creative ideas for your next project ... now! 10 Ideas on where to get 10 Ideas (even if all you need is one).
September. Back to school. Back to work. Back to the grindstone. And the eerie thing is that management actually expects you to be revived, regenerated and recuperated after an exhausting week or two at the (insert your favorite vacation spot here). Read more ...

Exploring Project Management
Project Managers are always blazing new trails. This week, Carl Pritchard looks at some tools the modern-day PM explorer should consider.
Project managers as explorers. It's an interesting concept. I had the honor of sitting in for Dr. Young Hoon Kwak at George Washington University recently, and as I arrived for class, the students were turning in their mid-term examinations for Risk Management. Read more ...

SpongeBob SquarePants®, PMI®, and the Body of Project Knowledge
Project management is teeming with ideas these days -- original and otherwise. But who owns them?
Read the PMBOK® Guide lately? It's teeming with copyright, service mark and trademark notices. At least ten different notices are incorporated on the first page alone. But who owns the ideas? Read more ...

Building Management Support for Project Management
How do we convince management of the need for project management? Make them an offer they can't resist!
I would suggest that we can never convince anyone of the need for project management if they don't convince themselves. Getting them to convince themselves, however, is a journey we can readily help them take. Read more ...

I'll Get Those Priorities to You Tomorrow ... But First ...
We all know about prioritizing projects and tasks, but how do you prioritize a crisis?
Priorities. What comes first? Really? In project portfolio management, the first priorities are supposedly those that are the most important to the organization. That lasts until the first fires begin. Read more ...

New Years' Project Resolutions
Resolve to change the way your organization manages projects; five new tactics and tools to try in 2003.
The New Year is well underway, and by now, many of us have already broken our New Year's resolutions. I might suggest that the New Year is a great excuse to drag out some new strategies for project implementation. Oddly enough, folks in many organizations seem ready and willing to accept changes at the beginning of the year that they would otherwise be unwilling to consider. Read more ...

A Visit from the Project Manager
Twas the night before testing, and all through the team not a member was stirring, -- nor working, it seemed ... Read more ...

It's a Beautiful Day in the (Project) Neighborhood
How 40 minutes with Fred Rogers (yes, that Fred Rogers) changed a Project Manager forever.
It's been over 15 years since I met Mister Rogers, and I still can't shake the experience. 15 years. He's outlasted most of my socks (which my lovely wife accuses me of hanging onto forever). Read more ...

Baseline? I'll do that LATER!!
Do you want to save with a baseline? (Please select Yes, No, or Later.)
In my consulting practice and my classroom teachings, I'm finding a common theme regarding the power of (and lack of insight regarding) the simple project baseline. Where do we start? What constitutes "underway"? Read more ...

I Promise...
Some summertime thoughts on promises we should make to ourselves, our organizations, and our project teams.
As this is published on the ProjectConnections website, I am counting down the days to my annual vacation at the beach. Of course, my idea of a vacation may not be like everyone else's. I tend to cut back to only doing my e-mail twice a day ... Read more ...

Sprinkles, Toppings and Gantt Charts
When is traditional project management not like vanilla ice cream? When it's a chocolate-marshmallow sundae!
I speak to you as the antithesis of my peer (and highly respected colleague) on these pages, Doug DeCarlo. Doug, as many are aware, is the King of "Extreme Project Management". He believes that the future of project management rests, in part, in the ability to strike moving targets ... Read more ...

Look OUT!! It's QUALITY! And It's Headed Our Way!
ISO 10006 is getting a bit of an overhaul, bringing it out of the shadows and into the project management cultural limelight.
As the economy struggles toward a rebound, some organizations are working to make amends for their activities during the economic dip, but they're approaching it in different ways. Some are hiring back staff they released. Some are using the situation to restructure and redefine their business models. Read more ...

Consult Your Way to a New Job, Part 2
Five key ingredients to creating a successful PM consultancy, no matter what the economy looks like.
Seeking new work is always daunting, and most project managers find it still more challenging when they are unemployed. The solution? Employ yourself! Read more ...

Still Have a Job? Start Building Your PM Consultancy!
Consulting doesn't mean you have to leave your job, but it's nice to be prepared.
The e-mail hit me like a ton of bricks. Earlier in the week, I had e-mailed (I'll call him "Len") Len to ask for some help with an article. He had reported back that he was too busy this time around to lend a hand. And then, two days later, Len's e-mail arrived: Read more ...

A New Take on Risk Management – Project Life in the Aftermath of 9/11
Project management lessons in the wake of the 9/11 disaster.
Organizations are talking risk management now more than ever. But are they talking about the right kind of risk management? Read more ...

A Summer Break from Risk?
Should project managers take a summer vacation from risk management? The answer may be yes, if you take a break the right way.
Summer is officially upon us. Vacations. Time with family and friends. More BBQ... less work. And so, risk takes a vacation, right? Unfortunately, no. In its own insidious fashion, risk continues to grow, fester and take hold within our projects. It's just not fair. Read more ...

Where Do We Go From Here?
30,000 PMs later, can we teach a new dog old tricks?
As an industry, despite the economic sluggishness, project management is still rolling through a boom cycle. The Project Management Institute® boasts more than 30,000 of us have overcome the hurdles to become certified as Project Management Professionals®. Read more ...

The Great Salesman - How to Sell What We Do WITHOUT Selling Out!
The key to selling project management as a discipline to your management or staff may be as simple as listening to their needs.
The argument is often made that to sell what we do for a living, we have to sell a small part of our souls. People should recognize project management for what it is. They should embrace it as we have. Read more ...

Victims of Success - How Do We Communicate Up In a Culture of Success?
"Failure is not an option." So how do you communicate to management when bad things happen to good projects?
Reporting risk is easy. It's a matter of sharing information through classical means. But in today's cultures of success, the problem is frequently associated with the challenge of getting management to accept negative news ... Read more ...

A Holiday Parable
'Twas the night before D-Day and the project was due. All the team members, customers, stakeholders knew. Read more ...

Under Construction: Template Development For Project Managers
To make the best use of templates, determine your needs, the depth of information needed and make the templates accessible.
Project organizations regularly wrestle with the notion of whether to build or buy templates to suit their organization. Read more ...

Touching The Customer In The Moment Of Truth
What are your "moments of truth"? Project managers should plan for these key moments of customer contact.
There's a concept in quality circles that bears serious consideration and investigation in project management. It's a concept originally developed by the Scandinavian airline SAS and now pursued by many organizations that take quality seriously. It's called "moments of truth." Read more ...

New Risk Practice? Did We Miss Something Before?
It is important to be consistent in application of risk management practices, such as thresholds, processes and interpretations.
The PMBOK Guide®. Zzzzzzzzz. I just lost a few of you. It doesn't tend to be dramatic, high-intensity reading. It's the Sleep-Eze™ of project management. Read more ...

Did Somebody Say Customer Service?
Project managers have a direct and significant influence over customer satisfaction. Learn three important rules and roles for customer service.
Project Managers have a compelling duality (or triple-ality) of roles on their projects. One of the key roles is assurance of customer service throughout the project experience. It's a critical risk area and one that's often overlooked. Read more ...

Setting the Thresholds
Establish risk thresholds for your project - how much can the organization stand? They are often present already but unspoken - better to address them directly.
In establishing project plans (and more specifically, risk plans), project managers need to recognize the importance of elements that go beyond basic risk identification and assessment. One critical issue we often miss out on is the notion of the risk threshold. Read more ...

Getting Past the Big "Event" on Risk
What are the best ways to identify project risks? Be clear and thorough to promote value and understanding.
Just this past week, I've been reminded on three separate occasions of the importance of clearly identifying the true risk "event" associated with projects. While teaching a seminar at the ProjectWorld conference in Boston, it became apparent that some students clearly grasped the importance of identifying risks ... Read more ...

Where Did the Numbers Go?
Qualification vs. Quantification in Project Risk Management
There's a major push afoot within risk management circles to drive numbers out of risk management. Qualification is being touted as the newfound "manna" to feed the hungry tribes seeking risk information. Read more ...




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