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May 12, 2011, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

Is more organization really the answer? Sometimes when chaos threatens we fall back on the crutches of order, control, and routine. More forms. More reports. More software. More meetings. Before long, the tools rule us instead of the other way around. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic won't stop the shipwreck. You have to take action. If you're faced with crisis, simplicity may be the best approach, even for a complex project, until you get back on your feet.

Live Webinar

Little ITIL®, Big Results: 10 Steps for Kicking Off ITIL in Small Shops
Your IT shop needs help, but is ITIL® the answer? And how can you get started with all of your demands and constraints? In this detailed session, certified ITIL Expert Alan S. Koch applies his decades of experience to this common problem. Get a basic overview of what ITIL is (and what it isn't), why it matters, and how this valuable framework can help you define and support your quality goals for IT service management. It's time to get started, and this session will help you plan those critical first steps. Even a little ITIL can yield big results for any IT shop -- large or small. Early Bird Discount extended: $44.95 (40% off!) until May 16. 1.5 Category A PDUs. Find out more »

Featured Article

Collaborating with Non Collaborators
by Kent McDonald, with Todd Little

Kent McDonald For this column, I am going to model my advice by collaborating with a good friend of mine, Todd Little, one of my co-authors on Stand Back and Deliver. Collaboration is sometimes a bit tricky, especially when people are involved. But a diverse team that can collaborate well can harness the creative tension to generate innovative ideas and solutions.

We frequently find ourselves working on volunteer efforts with a group of very talented people. Recently on one of those projects, we ran into a situation where a couple of our peers, George and Simon, were having difficulty working with each other. We were in the unique situation to hear both sides of the story independently and found it interesting that they both identified the same concern. George claimed that he was trying to work with Simon, but that Simon was not acting in a very collaborative manner. Meanwhile, Simon kept saying that George just refused to work with him. In effect, they were labeling each other non-collaborators.

We soon realized that while Simon and George each claimed the other was a non-collaborator, what they were really saying is that they didn't agree with each other. Read the rest »

Premium How-To Course

So What Is This Agile Stuff Anyway?PREMIUM
Overview of Agile Development
Presented by Kent McDonald, President of Knowledge Bridge Partners
MP3 Download
9mb zip

Premium Course Agile teams don't do this. They don't use that. What do they do? What, exactly, makes a project or a team "Agile," and why does it work? Without lots of pre-ordained processes and techniques to guide (or restrict) them, Agile teams rely on key Agile values and principles as guardrails. Those values guide their decisions, and help them create the right amount of risk mitigation for their project, while still building business value. Understanding those values and principles and how they can be applied enables a richer understanding of Agile methods and their value. 1 PDU Learn More »

Site Highlights

You Can't Schedule Creativity! – Conquering Micro-ManagementMEMBER
Wanna bet? Tell that to the customer who's waiting for their delivery. Like most managers of creative teams, this one faced a highly resistant staff who pushed back against anything that felt like process or bureaucracy. Status reporting? Yuck! Low-value! Go away! Sound familiar? Makes it hard to find out what's really going on! Read this case study to find out how the manager finally got the information he needed to manage the project and meet the dates, without all that "yucky process stuff."

When Good Is Good Enough – Release Decision Process GuidelinesMEMBER
One of the most valuable skills for an overloaded project team is knowing when to say "When." This guideline helps your team and stakeholders strike a balance between good and good enough. Which issues need to be corrected before release, and which can wait their turn on the to-do list? Systematically review open issues and make the right decisions for your project -- with buy in from your critical stakeholders.

Trouble Me Not With Your "Logic" and "Reason" – Impact AnalysisPREMIUM
When you're trying to keep never-ending (and sometimes outrageous) requests in line with reality, it can sometimes seem as though people have forgotten basic common sense. More likely, they just haven't considered all the possible impacts to the project. Will it add to the development time? Will it require additional training, or reduce turnaround times? This template will help you correlate all those variables and make a rational decision -- even if it means actually saying yes.

Task Management: You're Doing It Wrong! – Action Item List FormatGUEST
Sometimes, simple is best. We often get so wrapped up in our wonderful tools and toys that we forget the basics. Not everything has to be embedded in a Gantt chart and allocated in a 6-month workflow. A simple, basic, easily updated action item list can convey a lot of information about simple, basic, but nonetheless crucial project tasks the team needs to track. This template provides some ideas.

OK, Maybe "Wrong" Was a Strong Word – Tracking with Visible DeliverablesPREMIUM
We'll admit it: there are times when a simple action item list isn't going to cut it. Maybe you need to produce and review progress reports that tell you more than "in progress" and "complete." Maybe you just need some way of managing that large, open-ended "code goes here" task in the WBS. Maybe you're working with outside vendors who aren't reporting in the same system. For situations like these (and many others) identifying and tracking "visible deliverables" can help you understand what's really going on with your crazy project, using tools everyone probably already has on their computer.

There's an App for That – Project Management Software Tools EvaluationSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until May 26!
Sometimes, you really do need a software tool to help you handle it all. This detailed evaluation form will help you find the tool you need, by comparing the fit with your process, your reporting needs, and a variety of other factors you may not have considered. But while you're conducting your review -- preferably with the help of several informed stakeholders -- remember to stack the new contenders up against the status quo and/or currently available processes and tools. Change for its own sake rarely addresses underlying issues.

Where's ProjectConnections?

Randy Englund and Alfonso Bucero will be in Dublin, Ireland to introduce their new seminar on "The Complete Project Manager: Integrating Technical, People and Behavioral Skills" at the PMI Global Congress EMEA May 12-13, 2011. This seminar tracks with their new book of the same title which just went to the publisher. You can also find Randy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 2-3 to introduce a new computer simulation for PMI's SeminarsWorld on "Managing People in Projects." This exciting people-oriented simulation will also be offered in Orlando, Florida on June 2-3.

Kent McDonald will be at I-BADD in Des Moines, Iowa May 13, for a session on Becoming a Business Advisor.

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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