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April 28, 2011, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

Is your team staffed by resources, or people? Do you know what they know? Are they over- or under-scheduled? What is taking up their time? This week, our contributors are focused on the intricacies of working well together, and we've highlighted resources to help you manage it all, from problem solving to sane scheduling, and what to do when "sane" is no longer in the cards. Plus, a new webinar with Alan Koch on taking advantage of ITIL without a cast of thousands.

Live Webinar

Little ITIL®, Big Results: 10 Steps for Kicking Off ITIL in Small Shops
Your IT shop needs help, but is ITIL® the answer? And how can you get started with all of your demands and constraints? In this detailed session, certified ITIL Expert Alan S. Koch applies his decades of experience to this common problem. Get a basic overview of what ITIL is (and what it isn't), why it matters, and how this valuable framework can help you define and support your quality goals for IT service management. It's time to get started, and this session will help you plan those critical first steps. Even a little ITIL can yield big results for any IT shop -- large or small. Early Bird Discount: $44.95 (40% off!) until May 8. 1.5 Category A PDUs. Find out more »

Project Practitioner Blogs

We love you to death.
It's possible to be too valuable, especially if the fallout is that you never get a break. In A Blessing and a Curse, Ann Drinkwater reminds us to consider our resources as people, not just resources, or risk consequences far beyond our current project.

Do I Know What You Know?
Do you have someone on your team who is better, faster, more knowledgeable, or more experienced than you are? Why on earth not? Ed Reynolds encourages Hiring Better Than You and reaping the rewards. (And no, he's not talking about riding on the work of your team members.)

Better Late Than Never?
Not necessarily. Morley Selver addresses the critical interplay of Influence & Cost of Changes, especially how the range of influence changes as the project progresses, and how decisions about project spending can affect the cost of change.

Featured Article

Learning from Building
by Geof Lory

Geof Lory When teaching project management for software development, it is not unusual to make references to the construction or engineering fields to illustrate work decomposition, dependencies and other fundamentals of project management. The similarities start to fade once you get beyond the planning stage, especially when working in organizations employing more agile practices. But, before we throw the baby out with the bath water, I'd like to share some things I learned from a specific young construction crew about project management, teambuilding, and leadership that I think you will enjoy. Read the rest »

Premium How-To Course

Tracking and Managing the Performance of Virtual TeamsPREMIUM
Cinda Voegtli, of founder and CEO of ProjectConnections.com
MP3 Download
30mb zip
1 Category A PDU

Cinda Voegtli Whether you're coordinating far-flung core team members or semi-independent contractors and vendors, you're still working with team members you may never actually see. This course from Cinda Voegtli addresses the unique challenges of tracking and managing distributed team members. No matter where your team members are located or who they report to, there are several easy forms of tracking and communication you can use ensure that the right work is getting done at the right time. With the techniques and examples discussed in this session, you can be confident of where your project really stands, and find out early if someone's project work is slipping off track. 1 Category A PDU

Site Highlights

What Do We Have Here? - Portfolio Data Collection LetterMEMBER
Projects have a sneaky way of popping up all over the corporate landscape, distracting everyone in their path. This letter is a great way of finding out what everyone is really up to. Very simply, it requests input regarding what's taking up time and attention. The replies will allow you to compile a comprehensive list of the work currently underway or proposed. You'll have a head start on portfolio management, resource balancing, project selection and prioritization, etc.

You Know What Your Problem Is? - Problem Solving Tools and TechniquesPREMIUM
Well, yes, you do actually. What you have to do now is fix it. The techniques in this guideline can help. Six different problem-solving tools help you do everything from determining root causes to assessing possible solutions, and outline a basic problem-solving strategy so you can be sure you've covered all the bases.

Testing? Check. Stakeholders? Check. Reality? - Scheduling ChecklistSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until April 28!
There's more to your project work than just the project work. Too many schedules overlook critical activities from supporting groups: testing work, stakeholder reviews, sign-offs, and so on. This checklist will help you spot those important cross-functional activities before they poke holes in your scheduling efforts. Think of it as a reality check for your preliminary scheduling efforts.

Level? Yes, Everyone Has Exactly 14 Tasks - Resource Leveling Using MS ProjectPREMIUM
That's not *quite* what we meant. "Leveling" a schedule means smoothing out the assignments over time so peak workloads don't exceed capacity. If you've ever been booked to do 80 hours of work in a schedule week, you understand the need to level a schedule. Unfortunately, many new project managers aren't familiar with this concept, and if your project is complex enough to demand a scheduling tool like Project, it can be challenging to balance all the necessary variables. This guideline explains how to level your schedule, avoid common pitfalls, and how to spot an exercise in futility before you get too far down the primrose path.

Save Yourselves! It's Too Late for Me! - Rescuing and Revitalizing the Problem ProjectMEMBER
Floundering in a damaged project isn't fun for anyone. This paper by ProjectConnections founder Cinda Voegtli confronts the realities of broken projects and suggests several practical, productive ways of getting things back on track. Rather than focusing on the problems, it focuses on potential solutions, and ways your team can salvage all that work and deliver something of value. It's not too late!

Where's ProjectConnections?

Kent McDonald will be in Cincinnati April 29 for the Southwest Ohio Business Analysis Development Conference, where he will present Strategically Speaking: Why Are We Doing This Again?. He will also appear at I-BADD in Des Moines, Iowa May 13, for a session on Becoming a Business Advisor.

Randy Englund and Alfonso Bucero will be in Dublin, Ireland to introduce their new seminar on "The Complete Project Manager: Integrating Technical, People and Behavioral Skills" at the PMI Global Congress EMEA May 12-13, 2011. This seminar tracks with their new book of the same title which just went to the publisher. You can also find Randy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 2-3 to introduce a new computer simulation for PMI's SeminarsWorld on "Managing People in Projects." This exciting people-oriented simulation will also be offered in Orlando, Florida on June 2-3.

Morley Selver will present the Fundamentals of Project Management May 4-6 in Calgary, Canada. For more information and to register, see http://www.peice.com/eventdetails.aspx?event=106489.

Carl Pritchard is heading to sea again for PDUs@Sea 2011. "Risk Management Excellence: Taking YOUR Risk Experience to the Next Level" sails from Baltimore on August 20 for a 6-day cruise to Bermuda and back, racking up PDUs the whole way. Registrations are due by June 15. For more details, check out the cruise website at http://www.traveling4fun.com/events.htm.


Corporate Subscriptions and Licensing

Want your team members to have their own access to templates and how-to resources for their project work? Need to share documents and deliverables beyond your project team? We make it easier with affordable corporate subscriptions and licensing. Detailed information regarding corporate options is available online. Give your whole team, or even the entire organization, cost-effective access to our comprehensive online library of resources. You already know how helpful it's been for you. Now it's time to share with everyone else. Find out more »

Not sure if corporate terms apply to you? Check out our licensing terms at the top of our Terms of Service page, in refreshingly ordinary, everyday English.


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