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March 31, 2011, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

When the project manager tells you the project is at risk, that reviews are needed, that more eyes or resources or clearer requirements are called for, do you take notice? These are all risk mitigation choices, and whether your project is software, hardware, or a multi-billion dollar concert hall, the risk if they are ignored is bugs. A bug isn't just a code flaw -- it's anything about your project deliverable that doesn't work as desired, promised, and advertised. Pages in your ebook aren't rendering properly? Bug. Acoustics didn't turn out quite right? Bug. Software won't run on any computer but yours? Big time bug. Bet the project manager has your attention now!

As a project manager, once you have their attention you need to live up to it with risk management and project management that gets the job done. It's about up front review and planning. How solid are your estimates? Do you understand all the risks? Do you have a full set of requirements? This issue addresses all that and more.

Featured Article

How Crystal Clarity on Your Risk Perspectives Creates a Positive Risk Culture
by Carl Pritchard

Carl Pritchard We've all known risk-takers in our lives. These are the people willing to take on risks that fill us with fear. They seem to do so with aplomb. One gentleman I used to work with (call him Jason) actually risked the entire organization's library of intellectual property on the possibility of winning the biggest client in that organization's history. Everyone looked at Jason like he was a nut, but from his perspective, it was a risk worth taking. Because of the clarity of his vision, he was able to convince management (including Legal) that it was a sound idea.

Jason was clear. His career was on the line. He knew the implications. Everyone knew he knew the implications. But he also recognized that this could be the single biggest payoff of his career. It was not just his concept that carried the day. It was also his steadfast willingness to accept the risk and remain unwavering in that acceptance. Read the rest »

Want to hear more about Clarity in the context of Risk Management? Come to Carl's webinar on April 21 to find out about "The First Five Traits of Risk Management Excellence." Check out the webinar announcement below for more details, or register today for the best price. Carl will also be covering the topic during his PDUs@Sea cruise to Bermuda this August.

Live Webinar

Is Good Risk Management Good Enough?
The First Five Traits of Risk Management Excellence
April 21, 10:00 a.m. Pacific
$62.95 Early Bird Discount: $37.95 (40% off!)

Take the next step toward Risk Management excellence! Join risk management expert Carl Pritchard for a compelling and practical session exploring what it takes to take your organization's risk management practice to the next level. Carl walks participants through the critical traits of risk management excellence, and explains how to cultivate them in your organization. We're extending our Early Bird Discount to Monday, April 4 for the benefit of our newsletter readers: Register this week and get 40% off -- just $37.95 for the 90-minute session. 1.5 Category A PDUs. Find out more »

Site Highlights

We Can Do This. I Think. We're Pretty Sure. - Plan Development: Estimate Work and CostsPREMIUM
How confident are you in your plan estimates? This detailed guideline walks you through the critical planning step of creating realistic estimates of effort, duration, and costs for items in the work breakdown structure (WBS). When you quote those delivery dates to your executives and customers, be sure you and your team can really believe them.

It Should Work, and It Should Be Blue - Business Requirements DocumentSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until March 31!
Well, it's a start. To build the right product, you need the right requirements, but that can be difficult to express in terms that communicate well to everyone. This detailed, annotated outline provides a solid foundation for expressing the true requirements of the project -- as well as the business case and context -- so the development team knows what to go code before they start.

The Box Is Blue, So We're Done Here, Right? - BQ: How do we define a full set of requirements?PREMIUM
Sometimes, talking to Marketing just isn't enough. As the answer to this Burning Question points out, "you may or may not get a full set of project deliverables requirements from anyone. And as project manager, you should be making sure you believe that all the right customer-facing people have had input to the project requirements." Make sure you're using your project kickoff to "create a full set of requirements that will make all the customers of this project happy and show the rest of the team what to do." Read the rest »

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? - Project Risk ChecklistMEMBER
Drafting a risk list can be a daunting proposition, but you need to be sure you've covered all the bases. This risk checklist prompts your team to consider common risks across a wide variety of categories, to reduce the odds of missing one of those dreaded "unknown-unknowns."

That's Not a Bug, It's a Feature with Seniority - Review Meeting Planning WorksheetMEMBER
Yeah, your customers probably aren't going to buy that one either. The fact remains: the longer it takes to find a "non-conforming feature" the more expensive it will be to beat it into conformity. A good review meeting -- or, better yet, a series of them -- will help you find the bugs early so your customers don't have to. This worksheet will help you plan efficient, effective reviews. More meetings will take more time, but it's far less painful than trying to explain that the bug your customer just found is "Working As Designed."

Nothing Up My Sleeve… - When Management Isn't BuyingMEMBER
When you get executive pushback against "all this extra work," (you know, the planning and requirements meetings and critical reviews), a little sleight of hand can help you sell project discipline. This presentation illustrates six valuable internal "selling tools" you can use to effectively promote your cause. Tailor solutions and value propositions to each level and each individual in your management audience, and win them over by focusing on smaller battles, not the entire culture war.

Featured Template Bundle

If We Hurry, We Can Catch Them! - Software Requirements Capture & Management Bundle

Cover That's not quite the way it works. In fact, the faster you go, the more likely you are to miss something. This bundle will help you capture requirements (and express them thoroughly) without running everyone into the ground. 16 detailed templates, guidelines, and case studies help you identify what the project needs to create and why, from customer and business requirements, to specifications, to processes for defining and managing requirements at the project level and below. Requests for Proposals are included too. Learn more »

New Premium How-To Course

Speaking Up! Influence Skills for Getting What You NeedPREMIUM
DeAnna Burghart of
1 Category A PDU

DeAnna Burghart Don't leave the important stuff to other people; you owe it to yourself and your team to speak up! This short course and related guideline will help you bolster confidence and develop the most effective case possible in every venue available to you. By learning what motivates people to help and how to build an effective case, you can make the most of your time with team members, stakeholder conversations, customer advocacy, sponsor reports, and executive interventions. Learn how to speak up effectively, or brush up your current skills, and start making a difference. Last chance at this course -- we'll have a new one up next month. 1 Category A PDU

Project Practitioner Blogs

Empathic Project Management, by Brian Irwin
The reality of today's workplace does not necessarily make it easy for managers to practice empathy. A significant amount of the operational responsibilities required for running a business have been placed squarely on the shoulders of management, leaving little time for practicing empathy. The irony is that a substantial portion of this added operational responsibility is due to reduced levels of employee engagement. For project managers and leaders with direct reports, empathy is not an option. It is mandatory and critical. Read more »

More from the blogs this week:

Randy Englund explains what Don Quixote and The Little Prince (no, not that prince) can teach us about setting up a successful project office in Lessons from Literature.

Confused about procurement? There's Nothing To It!, says Morley Selver. His latest blog entry outlines the typical procurement cycle, the difference between RFPs and RFQs, how much you should pay before shipping, and how to handle T&Cs. The short lesson: don't side step your Procurement group! There's a lot to it!

Alfonso Bucero's latest post explains how he learned that you do need sales skills as a project manager, and provides 10 tips you can use to start developing yours.

Where's ProjectConnections?

Randy Englund will be in Denver April 4-6 to teach the American Management Association's course on Improving Your Project Management Skills: The Basics for Success. (He'll teach the same course in San Diego June 8-10.) Next month, you can find Randy in Philadelphia, introducing a new computer simulation on "Managing People in Projects" for PMI's SeminarsWorld May 2-3. This simulation will also be offered in Orlando, Florida on June 2-3.

Kent McDonald will be in Cincinnati April 29 for the Southwest Ohio Business Analysis Development Conference, where he will present Strategically Speaking: Why Are We Doing This Again?. He will also appear at I-BADD in Des Moines, Iowa May 13, for a session on Becoming a Business Advisor.

Morley Selver will present the Fundamentals of Project Management May 4-6 in Calgary, Canada. For more information and to register, see

Carl Pritchard is heading to sea again for PDUs@Sea 2011. "Risk Management Excellence: Taking YOUR Risk Experience to the Next Level" sails from Baltimore on August 20 for a 6-day cruise to Bermuda and back, racking up PDUs the whole way. Registrations are due by June 15. For more details, check out the cruise website at

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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