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January 6, 2012, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

New year, new options… same old project issues. We're not complaining, mind you. This is what we do, after all. But occasionally we do look around, grin, and comment to each other that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

We're taking a slightly different tack this year, though. Just because the issues remain the same doesn't mean our approach can't shift a bit. In this issue, you'll see hints of that, as we move from grouping our highlights by resource types to grouping them by the roles or activities that we think will interest our readers. But we'd like to hear from you. What regular features or commentary would you like to see in this newsletter? Who do you want to hear from? How can we better serve you and your project teams? What rhythm or angle or topics have you long wished for? New year, new options. We're all ears.

Featured Article

One Step Beyond Narcissus, and Why That Puts Our Projects in Peril, by Carl Pritchard

Carl Pritchard Narcissism -- overwhelming self-love -- gets its name from Narcissus, a great hunter of legend. According to Greek lore, Nemesis tricked the vain, disdainful hunter into visiting a pool. Narcissus saw his own reflection in the pool and was unable to tear himself away. He starved, rather than leave the beauty he saw before him.

Welcome the 21st Century, where we've taken it a step further. We not only wish to see our own reflection, but we want everyone else to see it, too! The scary part is that while we create this culture, we see the potential diminution of other traits we consider to be our most noble -- gratitude and selflessness. Read the rest »

For Team Members

"So, how long will that take you?" Dangerous question. You could pad the estimate, since they always cut it back by at least a third anyway. You've never done this work with this product for this market, so anything is going to be a guess. But you've got to at least get in the ballpark. These resources will help.

Estimating Process and ModelsPREMIUM
Ultimately, you need to provide realistic estimates to get a realistic schedule, so you don't end up working nights and weekends to meet an insane commitment. But realistic doesn't necessarily mean padded. After all, if the company doesn't meet its goals, you don't get your profit sharing. The methods in this guideline provide options for estimating risky new projects, untested ground, and more.

Pete's Estimating LawsMEMBER
These amusing, somewhat cynical "Universal Laws" can break the tension in a frustrating meeting. More importantly, they serve as reminders of the things that may influence all those "realistic" estimates, and common errors that can undermine the most conscientious effort.

Time and Estimates Are Relative
It only seems like missed project deadlines are taking years off your life. Lory's Corollary to Einstein's Theory of Relativity: You're only as late as you feel.

For Project Leads

"We don't have time for project management! We need to get this done!" How do you explain to process-shy execs and managers that you're trying to speed things up, not slow things down? These papers and case studies show how others have approached the conversation.

Selling By Doing - Delivering Fast PMMEMBER
When a project is in jeopardy, and even the team and executive sponsor don't know what effective project management should look like, how can you possibly recover? If you've ever taken on a supposedly "easy development effort" on a completely new product with an inexperienced team, this mini-case won't be unfamiliar. Learn how this team performed a lightning fast assessment and got through to their general manager.

When Management Isn't BuyingMEMBER
This presentation provides an excellent treatment of the hard work that goes into selling upper management on PM initiatives. It's valuable both for the realistic dose of perspective, and for the direct, concrete advice on how to identify and solve the real issues and build a case that will get you to yes.

Managing PMs

It might be called a PM support group, or a community of practice, or a center of excellence. There are scads of different names for groups we organize in order to get our projects and PMs on the same page. Once you've convinced management to let you start one, you have to convince them to give you what you'll need to run it. :) These examples should help.

Budget for PM Support GroupSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until January 19, 2012
There's no such thing as a free lunch-and-learn, though they can be done pretty inexpensively. This easily customized model provides an example budget for non-salary expenses for a chartered PM support group.

Project Support Group Survey and ResultsPREMIUM
These questions will help you survey functional managers and other stakeholders in your organization, so you can understand their take on the value provided by a project support group. That perspective will help you start the right conversations, build support, and prioritize the services that your organization needs.

Paths to Practical Know-How: Crucial Learning beyond TrainingMEMBER
A lot of informal learning occurs in places that aren't bounded by classrooms, or even cubicle walls. This presentation outlines various ways to support that applied learning, including online resources, project support groups, facilitation, and consulting.

Career Corner

When you tell people you're in project management, what image does that conjure in your mind? If the answer is Gantt charts and scheduling software, you may be missing out on some of the most important aspects of your role. Executives aren't just looking for people to manage the schedule. They want business leadership.

The Medal-Worthy PMs Executives Are Desperate to Hire
Do you know what management really expects from a project manager? In interviews with ProjectConnections CEO Cinda Voegtli, executives from a variety of different companies share the qualities they find most valuable in their own indispensible PMs.

PM Powers: A Wealth of Career Options and How to be ReadyMEMBER
This presentation discusses our "customers" and how we can think about "marketing" to them; skills, traits and behaviors valued by executives; various PM-related career opportunities and the skills required; and how to create your own career development plan.

Project Practitioners Blog

Location, Location, Location, by Morley Selver
I was assembling an estimating module for one of my workshops and got into the factors used in estimating. This article will be about some of the factors we use and why.

Project Teams and Emails, by Alfonso Bucero
In my experience as a project manager, the most popular system of communication for project teams is the e-mail. However sometimes it is not efficiently used.

Premium How-To Course

Dealing With Schedule-Killing Scope Creep
Presented by Cinda Voegtli, ProjectConnections CEO

Cinda Voegtli There you are just trying to get it all done -- on an already tight schedule, most likely -- and here comes yet another "must have" requirement, yet another cool thing we need to add. At this rate, you're pretty sure the team is never going to be able to get it all done. But it's an executive request, so I guess we'd better just do our best, right?

Wrong. This mini-course explains how to spot dangerous scope creep before it derails your project, how to deal with those "must-do" executive requests, and more. Cinda's practical, get-it-done tone emphasizes controlling the project while sounding proactive, in charge, and business-minded instead of petulant, obstructionist, or resigned. The goal isn't to refuse all changes; it's to make the right decisions about changes, no matter who suggests them. 1 PDU Learn more »


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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