September 26, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
You almost attended that conference last year, but you decided it wouldn't look good. What did you miss? The team could have taken a weekend away for less money than the Christmas party, but who would believe it? Are the opportunities you're taking actually cheaper, or just cheaper-looking? This week, Carl Pritchard challenges us to look at the real value in any given venue -- including the possibility of a rested, rewarded staff. Plus, Alfonso Bucero reminds us to be the change we want to see on our projects, and in our project environment. Finally, our template highlights this week remind you to take a close look at the options for your project team, requirements, and change requests.
If you haven't already registered, there's still time to get Early Bird pricing on our PM LightTM Fast Ramp with Cinda Voegtli, which starts on November 1. You can find additional details below, along with information on Cinda's appearances in October.
Boondoggle or Good Value?
The IRS has a conference in Las Vegas. WASTE! FRAUD! The Postal Service has dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to the tune of over $13,000. ABUSE!
By Carl Pritchard
As someone who believes government spending should be watched like a hawk (it is my money, you know), I understand when people get up in arms about these things. But at the same time, I always take pause when these news stories crop up, as sometimes, an "obvious" boondoggle is not a boondoggle. Sometimes, it's a sound investment.
Sadly, appearances actually drive many business decisions relating to travel. Organizations don't want to send Bob to St. Maarten and St. Thomas for fear that they'll look like they're squandering company dollars. It doesn't matter that Bob will save the company about a thousand dollars in the process. It doesn't matter that Bob will actually enjoy the experience and feel rewarded. It's all about what it looks like.
In project management, we need to be the fiscal champions of our organizations. That doesn't mean that we have to be boring pedants that only glom onto cheap-looking opportunities. It does mean that we have to build the business case first.
Read the rest »
PM LightTM Fast Ramp
PM LightTM Fast Ramp starts November 1. Early Bird registration is open until October 1, so to get the lowest possible registration price, register by September 30!
This program will help you understand, adapt, and use "lightweight, just-enough" PM practices to manage and successfully complete even challenging projects. The focus is on fast fundamentals, practical tools, and situational application. You'll experience core PM concepts and tools in action, understand your critical management and leadership role, and leave each virtual session able to apply new tools and techniques immediately to your current projects.
Premium How-To Course
Agile Approaches to Estimating Tasks
Presented by Kent McDonald
Estimates have always been a gamble in one sense or another. The agile approach to estimating recognizes that uncertainty and uses it to the team's advantage. This mini-course by Kent McDonald explains the ins and outs of Planning Poker and helps you apply this technique with your team to generate rational estimates. 1 PDU
Learn more »
Project Foundations: Team and Tools
Project Team Organization and Assignments – PREMIUM
How often has a project team included all the right development people, but not the regulatory person? Or the key business sponsor? This checklist helps you avoid those pitfalls by systematically constructing your team list. The process of documenting roles and responsibilities also helps get explicit commitments from team members and their managers on what responsibilities they are signing up for.
Business Data Dictionary Template – PREMIUM
A business data dictionary organizes and defines all the data elements relevant to a particular software system, and includes additional information that helps establish a common understanding of the nature of the data element. How many address fields? What order do you collect name segments in? How do you indicate order status? Constructing a data dictionary can be a huge help during requirements gathering and system integration.
Business Process Modeling Technique Brief – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until October 10, 2013
Business process models can help companies with process improvement, capturing requirements, automation, compliance, training, and more. This technique brief provides basic guidance on how to conduct a modeling effort, commonly used approaches, and how to avoid typical problems.
Making Decisions and Getting Buy-in
Impact Analysis – PREMIUM
When considering a project change or a particular solution, or choosing between multiple possible solutions, it helps to have a thorough understanding of how each option will impact business areas, systems, and external organizations. Will it add to the development time? Will it require additional training, or reduce turnaround times? An Impact Analysis will help you correlate all those variables and determine the best course of action.
Requirements Walkthrough Checklist – PREMIUM
Requirements walkthroughs are typically held at least twice during project planning: with the project's primary stakeholders, to get their approval of the final requirements; and with the team who will develop and test the final project deliverables, to insure they understand the requirements and are ready to move ahead. This checklist will help you organize productive, efficient walkthroughs, so your team members can move forward with confidence.
Change Management Worksheet – PREMIUM
Any successful project will change something, by definition. For project managers, that means that change management skills are as important as project management skills. This worksheet helps you plan a strategy for successfully managing your users through the change process.
Methodologies: New Ways of Working
Agile Technique Guideline: Extreme Programming (XP) – PREMIUM
Agile is a philosophy, not a methodology. Within the agile umbrella, there are many different flavors of development methodology, some of which are commonly misunderstood. This methodology brief provides a quick overview of one of those: Extreme Programming (XP). This is an agile software development methodology focused on specific, minimal engineering practices aimed at providing higher quality software and a higher quality of life for the development team.
Alfonso Bucero has another great piece this week, urging us to be the change we want to see in our projects. This entry is filled with lots of hard questions about what we're prepared to actually do. The hardest part, as Alfonso acknowledges, is having the courage to take that first, scary step.
DeAnna Burghart reviews the meeting disaster that might have been, if she hadn't followed her usual good meeting commandments. (Well, they're more guidelines, really, but they're good ones.)
Sinikka Waugh is teaching Project Management for the Business Analyst on Tuesday, October 1 at the Engaging Technologies Learning Center in Omaha, Nebraska. More details (and information on Your Clear Next Step courses in the four-state area) available at http://www.learnatycns.com/.
Cinda Voegtli will be at the TAMU Project Management Exchange in College Station, Texas, October 9-10. In addition to providing the closing keynote, Cinda will run a session on "Introducing Practical Project Management to Your Teams and Achieving 'Just Enough.'" You may also be able to spot Cinda at the PMI Congress in New Orleans October 27-29. (Plus, of course, she's leading our PM LightTM Fast Ramp starting November 1. We did mention that, right?)
Morley Selver is running his three-day "Fundamentals of Project Management" workshop in Houston on October 23-25 and in Calgary on November 20-22. For information & enrollment please go to www.peice.com.
Kent McDonald will be at Building Business Capability in Las Vegas November 14. His session will cover "Analysis in Agile: There's More to it than User Stories."
Carl Pritchard will be at PMI SeminarsWorld in New Orleans October 30-31, leading a two-day workshop on "How Project and Portfolio Managers Can Dramatically Improve Communications." Carl is also planning ahead for his April 2014 PDU cruise (PDF). Remember, to sell the boss, start in Omaha. (It's probably a good pitch for the Agile conference in Las Vegas and the PMI Congress in New Orleans, too.)
Not to be left out (as if they ever could be), Randy Englund and Alfonso Bucero will both be presenting papers for the PMI Global Congress in New Orleans on October 28. Randy will speak on "Influencing Others: Negotiating and Achieving Desired Results with Stakeholders," and Alfonso will coach attendees on "Developing Your Humor Skills for Project Success." Both papers are based on their work about The Complete Project Manager. Randy goes on the following week to present at PMI chapters in Washington, DC, and Las Vegas.
Kimberly Wiefling is teaching Global Leadership and Management Development in Germany October 14-18, and then back to Japan late October. Her globe-trotting schedule keeps her in Japan for much of the rest of the year, but you can get a dose of Kimberly and her Scrappy Project Management wisdom in Kindle or old-fashioned paperback versions.
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