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April 25, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

One of the best rules for… well, pretty much anything, it seems, is to begin with the end in mind. Don't launch into Agile unless you know why and what you're getting out of it. No ITIL "implementation" without a clear understanding of goals and expectations. And no new projects unless you know what you're putting into it, and what you expect to get out of it. This week, we're highlighting resources, articles, and blogs you can use to ensure you're beginning your work with the end in mind.

Featured Article

ITIL in an IT Services Company
By Alan S Koch (with a ProjectConnections reader)

Alan S. Koch A while ago, Cinda Voegtli, CEO of Project Connections engaged me in a conversation about why she as a business owner should care about ITIL. That back-and-forth turned into an article that ended with an open invitation to answer your questions about ITIL. Reader "RRP" took us up on that offer, and my e-mail back-and-forth with him proved to be interesting in addition to being a lot of fun! What follows is an edited transcript of our exchange. Our conversation may help you figure out how to start a productive dialog with your customers in environments where IT is perceived as a utility, and IT service conversations as background noise. Read Alan's exchange with RRP »

Project Practitioners

Sinikka Waugh tackles "Managing Difficult Situations," as she euphemistically calls it. (Otherwise known as "the moment you realized that it has all fallen apart and you have to put it back together somehow.") Her emphasis in this entry is on getting through challenges gracefully, with the best possible outcome for the situation, project, or organization.

Margaret deHaan tackles our job ambitions in "Do you want to be a Project Ninja?" Margaret has decided to shift the management mindset by changing the way she communicates about her projects, and we absolutely love this take on it. You're quite right, Margaret; there's far more to projects than Project.

Featured Bundle

Project Closeout and "Lessons Learned" Bundle - Free for Premium Subscribers
At each subsequent stage of a project, correcting issues gets more and more expensive because of the growing number of people involved and the impact of changes on other pieces of the system. By testing pieces at each stage of development, then testing the system from the viewpoint of the how the customer will use it, teams can avoid painful and expensive end-game and post-deployment headaches. This collection of test plan outlines, guidelines, example formats, and related tools will help. Multi-user licenses available for PMOs. $39.95 for non-subscribers, free for Premium subscribers.

Premium How-To Course

Is Agile Right for Your Project?
Presented by Kent McDonald

It's tempting to think of Agile as a silver bullet, especially if your existing project framework suffers under a monstrous bureaucracy. But if you think you want to try an Agile approach, you'd better first identify the problem you're trying to solve. 1 PDU Learn more »

Featured Templates

New Project ProposalMEMBER
Templates for creating a brief description of a new project idea, typically used as input to a project portfolio planning process. The goal is to not only capture good ideas for new projects, but also to provide a crisp and consistent format that allows new project ideas to be rapidly and systematically compared with projects already in the start queue or in operation and sanity check project ideas for worth before spending one minute more!

Portfolio Data Collection LetterMEMBER
Find out what everyone is really doing! Create a comprehensive list of the work currently underway or proposed in an organization. Helps a company establish a project portfolio management process or perform a "physical inventory" on a current portfolio.

Project and Pipeline Status Report, 3 page formatPREMIUM
Comprehensive but concise and easily-scanned status report for reporting to management. Includes project summary status, detailed status, and an overall pipeline status dashboard. Say it in words, say it in colors, say it in tables, whatever it takes to truly communicate!

Project Kickoff Meeting Agenda and GuidelinesSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until May 9, 2013
An example agenda for holding a kickoff meeting for a new project and detailed guidelines for preparing for and running this intense team session. Sure, you might prefer to "just get to work." But if a team member gets off track, or a cross-functional team member wasn't even aware of what was needed, the entire project can end up in the weeds.

Release Decision Process GuidelinesMEMBER
Guidelines for typical processes that can be used near the end of a project to systematically review open issues and determine which ones must be corrected before the project deliverable(s) can be released and the project considered complete. Don't release before it's really ready!

Project ScorecardPREMIUM
This is a one-page shared definition of project team success, the "finish line" for the entire team regardless of functional area or responsibilities of any individual. The process of creating the scorecard forces all stakeholders to clarify the meaning and measures of "success," and track status and progress against these shared definitions throughout the project.

Where's ProjectConnections?

Carl Pritchard is teaching his last PMP Exam Prep class oriented to PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition in Maryland on May 1-2. If you're coasting ahead to version 5, he's already planning this year's Seminars at Sea cruise in August, which will cover the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition and ISO 21500. Get more information on both events from Carl's website.

Kimberly Wiefling will be in San Diego in May, providing a keynote and workshops for the PMI San Diego Chapter Annual Conference.

Morley Selver is teaching Fundamentals of Capital Project Cost Control in locations around British Columbia in May.

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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