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From the Editor 
Featured Article 
Premium How-To Course 
WBS and Schedule Models 
For Team Members 
For Project Leads 
For Managing PMs 
Building a Better Project Plan 
ProjectConnections Bundles 
Project Practitioners 
Where's ProjectConnections 
Corporate Subscriptions & Licensing 
August 2, 2012, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

Do your teams, and your organization, have their collective eye on the goal? Only if they know what the goals really are. Keep everyone looped in about the organization's intended results, and how their projects will support those results, and watch the magic.

Featured Article

The Power's Out! No Kidding.
by Carl Pritchard

Carl Pritchard Welcome to the mid-Atlantic, and as I write this, some of my neighbors are entering Day 6 without any electricity. It's been a model object lesson for anyone interested in risk management, project management or any kind of customer management. 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.

Carl summarizes 4 risk lessons from the Great East Coast Outage »

Premium How-To Course

New! Evaluating New Projects
Presented by Cinda Voegtli

Cinda Voegtli Having enough project ideas is rarely a problem. Figuring out which ones are important enough to merit your organization's time, money, and attention right now, well, that's a different story. This mini-course with ProjectConnections founder Cinda Voegtli reviews techniques you can use to create and use selection criteria for your project portfolio. A detailed guideline and spreadsheet are included with this course recording, allowing you to work through the priority exercises as you listen, and see how your project portfolio might look when prioritized. The results may surprise you! 1.25 PDU Learn more »

WBS and Schedule Models

New! Consulting PlanningPREMIUM
If you're beginning work on a new client engagement, or if you're considering hiring an outside consultant to bridge over needed skills or resources on a project, this consulting planning WBS will be interesting. True to the "everything is a project" mold, this work breakdown outlines the high-level work required to ensure that a new contract covers all the necessary work, that all appropriate approvals are managed, and that the final engagement is thoroughly planned before work begins.

For Team Members

How an IT Team Broke Free From the Requirements MorassMEMBER
This mini-case provides a very informative window into a critical project rescue. The IT department adopted new (for them) project approaches, broke free of their requirements thrashing, and delivered million-dollar performance insights to the division's business analysts on the original project timeline.

Team Member Status ReportPREMIUM
Want to really impress your supervisor? Start passing along a weekly status report like this one before you're asked to. This is supposed to be fast to read and even faster to create: if it takes you more than 10 minutes, you're doing it wrong. As an added bonus, reporting your progress and achievements can help you ensure you're keeping your eye on the ball, even when no one else is watching.

For Project Leads

Scheduling ChecklistPREMIUM
This checklist helps you ensure your schedule includes all project work, including cross-functional activities, testing, etc. It provides a few guidelines for getting your team through this critical phase. Before you've even gotten to detailed scheduling, it can remind you of items that should be included in the project scope and investigated during the planning phase.

Requirements Management PlanPREMIUM
Requirements are the backbone of the project, and how effectively they are managed can make or break it. A requirements management plan captures the tools the team will use to record and track requirements, reinforces the importance of traceability, and articulates the project's risk management and change control strategies.

Managing PMs

Agenda: Software Development Managers' Offsite MeetingPREMIUM
Offsite meetings can be an important tool for a set of functional managers who are responsible for performance of many individuals on projects. This agenda was adapted from one used by an organization that wanted to place increased emphasis on job satisfaction, efficiency and effectiveness in the department, and career path definition. They decided to get the managers together to work on those issues for a set period, without getting distracted by the project crises constantly surrounding them. The template shows the steps one organization used to combine input from their developers, plus brainstorming, prioritization, and solution definition among their managers, to identify the most important areas to tackle.

Project Business CasePREMIUM
Wouldn't it be nice if your teams (and their managers) all knew why their project mattered? Constructing the business case for a project documents anticipated costs and ROI, in context of all the reasonable alternatives, and gives executives info they need to make critical funding and priority decisions. Some managers will know just how to build this case, while others may need guidance (or even "permission") to ask the relevant questions, but all should be encouraged to do so.

Building a Better Project Plan

Plan Development, Step 3: Identify DependenciesSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until August 16, 2012
Once you've identified the major tasks required to complete your project, don't rush to input everything in your scheduling tool. When you examine how the pieces fit together -- the dependencies – you may end up reorganizing the work breakdown. Scheduling software often has powerful graphical interfaces for entering and managing task dependencies, but an initial, manual pass at high-level dependencies may actually help you repartition the tasks more efficiently, before estimates and dates add another level of complexity to the plan. This guideline illustrates how to identify work dependencies and provides a table for capturing them.

ProjectConnections Bundles

Project Planning and Tracking Bundle
Project Planning and Scheduling Get a handle on your project schedule and learn how to build schedules and estimates that make sense. Go beyond Gantt charts for better visibility into what's really happening on your project. Make sure that everyone involved in the project knows what's going on and who's involved. Generate status reports that are useful and readable, that can be written and read quickly. If you don't have a Premium subscription yet, this is a great, economical way to get ten of our best Premium resources quickly, for a single low price, and put them to work on your project right away. Multi-user licenses available! Learn More »

Project Practitioners

Sinikka Waugh has 5 steps to kick-start the planning process -- the actual starting part that causes almost as much pain as the whole finishing-up bit. Check out her brainstorming questions for smoothing over the "elapsed time between idea and execution."

Alfonso Bucero weighs in on Winning Or Losing with 4 steps, not 5, but they're just as important. His high-level view is a nice conceptual counterpoint to Sinikka's fact-based questions. Lists are awesome, but they only help if they're the right lists, and if you have the right attitude toward them. Alfonso's post on is all about essential preparation of spirit and attitude, as well as documentation.

Morley Selver highlights the dangers of excluding operators from the project team. In this case, work stoppages and unexpected expense (not to mention safety concerns) would have been avoided if the operators had been included from the get-go. Contrary to common belief, what you don't know can hurt you!

Patti Gilchrist takes a humorous and sardonic look at the supposedly indispensable "elevator speech." Are you Superman? Wonder Woman? The Invisible Man? Or are you just trying to get it done? We love her advice on handling it, and her story about how not having a canned pitch ended up landing her a nice gig. (Of course, if all else fails, you can take the stairs.)

Where's ProjectConnections

Kent McDonald will speak about agile methodologies at the Paragon IT Pros Leadership Forum on August 9, then adjourn to Agile 2012, where he will conduct a session titled Is It Worth It? Using A Business Value Model to Guide Decisions. (We're sure it will be worth it.)


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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