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November 10, 2011, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

Sometimes, it's OK just to roll with the punches. If making a collage or ditching the usual pre-project requirements planning helps your team deliver awesome projects in record time, why not embrace it? It's way too easy to get drawn into appearances and forms, but in the process we can lose track of what really matters: our customers, our deliverables, and (dare we say it) our social lives. This week, Kimberly Wiefling reviews a classic business text with some decidedly unconventional recommendations. To complement it, we're fielding some favorite resources for getting creative with the unexpected, unmanageable, or just plain uncooperative.

Featured Article

Creativity in Business by Kimberly Wiefling

Carl Pritchard Lately I've been fascinated by a book, Creativity in Business, based on the famous course in the Stanford University MBA program by that name. In fact, I've been carrying it with me non-stop for the past couple of months and practicing the numerous creativity exercises recommended at every opportunity.

While I find most business books repetitive, every chapter of this book is full of fascinating stories, examples, useful insights and exercises to help the reader master each important concept. But the reason I'm particularly fascinated by this book is because it makes me feel less weird about the crazy stuff I do in workshops with my clients.

The topics and exercises in Creativity in Business aren't the sort of thing that most people expect to find in a corporate environment. And I certainly never expected to find a collection of such edgy, new age thinking in a business book from a Stanford University professor! In fact, if it hadn't been written by professors of a prestigious university like Stanford I think most people would regard this book with a great deal of skepticism. Many probably still will. But I strongly believe that Creativity in Business, written over 20 years ago by Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers, contains many valuable tools for project leaders. Read the rest »

Premium How-To Course

New! Agile Project Management: An Overview of ScrumPREMIUM
Presented by Kent McDonald of Knowledge Bridge Partners

Premium Course For a methodology that seems so unstructured, Scrum can demand a lot from team members. This Agile approach -- the most common of many -- emphasizes small, cross-functional teams working against a prioritized list of features. You might think that a methodology that emphasizes self-management and iterative design would be loose, unstructured, inefficient, unorganized, and ineffective. You would be mistaken. This mini-course by Kent McDonald provides a high-level overview of Scrum, including the guiding values, the main principles and techniques, and the chief roles it requires, and addresses some common misconceptions as well. 1 PDU, 1 ACP Contact Hour. Learn More »

Live Webinar

The Second Five Traits of Risk Management Excellence
Presented by Carl Pritchard, Pritchard Management Associates

Take the next step toward Risk Management excellence! In this follow-up to his April webinar, leading author, presenter, and risk management expert Carl Pritchard walks you through 5 more risk management traits your organization should cultivate, and explains how to do it. Learn about the importance of concrete risk tolerances (and when to consider fudging them), when to run the numbers (and when to ignore them), and how to predict your project's future. If you're responsible for any aspect of risk management in your organization, or if you have to live with the consequences, you need to understand these principles. $39.95, 1.5 Category A PDUs. Learn More »

If you missed the First Five Traits, you can still listen in. Get a copy of the April presentation and catch up (and rack up a few more PDUs) before the November session.

Site Highlights

Roll With the Punches – Adapting Processes for Different ProjectsPREMIUM
Sometimes, it's appropriate to fit the process to the project, instead of the other way around. Learn how your existing PM and development processes can accommodate different project lengths, risk profiles, and levels of complexity, without sacrificing control. This guideline includes examples of communicating different project profiles to your teams, so they can select the right process elements up front.

Better Than Reverse Psychology – Getting Process-Skeptical Teams to Adapt PMMEMBER
Try a little "processes stink!" switcheroo on your team, and you'll probably just get resounding agreement. Not what you're going for. But even the most process-skeptical teams can see the benefit in making an unruly project easier or more manageable. This case study explains how one company made their project management and development process adaptable, and convinced everyone to actually use them.

Not My Type? – Managing Projects Under UncertaintyMEMBER
Tackling unpredictable projects successful takes the right kind of approach. Some projects need law & order, procedure and process. Some call for creative mavericks willing to shred the manual and use it for confetti. The core theme of this presentation, delivered at the IEEE International Conference on Management of Innovation and Technology in Singapore, is that the way you manage a project should be driven by the dominant type of uncertainty confronting the effort.

"Punches" Was Supposed To Be a Metaphor – Preventing and Solving Meeting DisruptionsPREMIUM
Even when the project is going well, the meetings are sometimes maddening. Inconsiderate and unproductive behaviors like clandestine emailing, taking calls during meetings, and endless Angry Birds sessions can drive any facilitator to distraction. This guideline provides several suggestions for handling those "impossible" people who continually disrupt, derail, and detract from meetings, with scripts you can use to practice your calm, composed, creative intervention.

Can't We Just Get It Done? – Project Plan Example: Small ProjectSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until November 21, 2011
Every project deserves a plan, but not all deserve a 20-page manifesto. This guideline demonstrates a creative, "lite" form of project planning that can keep your small-but-important efforts on track. This example comes from a company project to unify a methodology across several sites after an acquisition.

Project Leadership and Change Management: What Really CountsWEBINAR RECORDING
Did you miss our webinar session last month with Sinikka Waugh? Listen in after the fact for her insights (and a few PDUs). Effective change management involves anticipating what is changing, who is impacted, and how they'll feel about it. Sinikka helps you understand the process required for change and transition, so you can navigate it faster and more successfully. Planning for necessary communication will take the guesswork and panic out of the later parts of the project and help you garner the organizational support necessary for project success. $39.95, 1.5 Category A PDUs.

Project Practitioners

Is This A Project Managers' Favorite Task?, by Morley Selver
You know what task I'm talking about. Your project is up and running, you're moving on to another project, gearing up, getting organized, motivated, excited about the new project, just can't wait to get going, when the boss says, "Oh, by the way." These are words no project manager wants to hear, but I digress. The boss comes in and says, "Oh, by the way, don't forget, you have to close out your last project." Talk about being deflated. Project closeout is the least enjoyable project task there is. It is boring, you're not motivated, the other team members are not motivated, you have to spend a lot of time getting people to do the necessary work to complete their portion of the close out process, it's all paper work, there are usually no funds, you have to get down to the details to find stuff… It is not a pleasant task, but it is a necessary task.

Where's ProjectConnections?

Sinikka Waugh is doing BABOK training this weekend in Iowa, Friday and Saturday, November 11 & 12. This class covers the IIBA Body of Knowledge cover to cover in a simplified way. For more information and registration instructions, see http://j.mp/tQxNXs.

Join Alfonso Bucero and Randy Englund in beautiful Madrid, Spain for Project Portfolio Days November 13-15. For information on speakers, see http://j.mp/uYITEo. Contact Bucero Consulting directly for registration information.

Carl Pritchard is teaching his last-of-the-year PMP Prep workshop in Maryland on November 29 & 30. Work off the extra turkey with a two-day, full-day fire hose of information on the PMP. (It's good for 14 PDUs, for those of you who already passed.) Download a PDF with registration information at http://www.carlpritchard.com/regform-Nov11-MC.pdf.


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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