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October 13, 2011, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

To build a winning team, you need players who know their positions, and you need to know the score. This week, Alan reminds us of the importance of seeking out metrics before we start process improvement efforts (how quaint!), Alfonso Bucero reminds us to talk to our team and let them talk to us, and a new audio course from Cinda Voegtli reminds you to make sure everyone knows how, why, and when they matter.

Featured Article

Little ITIL®, Big Results: Know the Score by Alan S. Koch, PMP

Alan S. Koch, PMP Talking is all well and good, but we are not in this to hear ourselves talk! We need to do something, so let's get to work! But before we make any changes in our IT shop, we must lay some important groundwork. So, we continue in this article with Step 3, "Know the Score."

Having begun dialogs that will continue in all of the even-numbered steps, you now need to turn inward. You have heard about problems and opportunities for improvement from all sides. When there are many problems to address, it's tempting to dispense with the quaint idea of metrics and jump right into the important work of changing things. This impulse is foolhardy. Without baseline metrics, you lack an objective basis that will allow you to do four very important things.

If you're going to be a player, you have to know the score »

Want to hear from Alan in person? He'll be in Philadelphia on October 10 to present Agile Software Development Methods, a session which will be reprised November 7 in Las Vegas. He also has several virtual sessions on the books for the next few months. Check out his calendar at

Premium How-To Course

Defining What Each Person Owes the ProjectPREMIUM
Presented by Cinda Voegtli, founder of

Premium Course Reduce project confusion and head off problems by defining crystal clear expectations for what each person will do, own, and take responsibility for on your project, no matter what organization they're in. These practical, real-world techniques emphasize explaining why each person is involved with the project, and make it easier to understand how and when their contribution is critical. You'll have better cooperation between team members, better support from cross-functional managers, and fewer of those awful "Oh, I didn't know they were waiting on me" moments. 1 PDU. Learn More »

Live Webinar

Project Leadership and Change Management: What Really CountsPREMIUM
Tuesday, Oct. 18, 11 a.m. Pacific (2:00 p.m. Eastern)

Premium Course There's still time to register for this month's webinar, and give your project a fighting chance with your end users. Effective change management involves anticipating what is changing, who is impacted, and how they'll feel about it. This session with Sinikka Waugh of Your Clear Next Step will help you understand the process required for change and transition, so you can navigate it faster and more successfully. Planning for necessary communication will take the guesswork and panic out of the later parts of the project and help you garner the organizational support necessary to project success. $39.95, 1.5 Category A PDUs. Learn More »

November webinar: The Second 5 Traits of Risk Management Excellence
January webinar: Portfolio management

Project Practitioners

Giving Feedback: A Powerful Tool for the Project Manager
Do you share feedback with your team? Do you go out and ask for it? Alfonso Bucero provides his insights -- and a challenge -- in his blog entry this week. His encouragement and suggestions can help you learn more from your project team, and find ways to be constructive about necessary improvements.

Site Highlights

Let's Do Lunch – Agenda: Software Development Manager's Offsite MeetingPREMIUM
Trouble rallying the troops around your process improvement efforts? Get them off site and bribe them with food. Meetings like this can be challenging, even intimidating. We hope the sample agenda and instructions in this guideline will help. They detail how one department head managed to get the managers on board successfully.

Agile != Scrum – Agile Method Brief: CrystalSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until October 27, 2011
Did you know there's more than one flavor of Agile? One of the interesting things about the agile movement is the variety of different techniques and approaches available, to allow teams to adapt to different project types and environments. This brief provides a quick overview of Crystal Clear, which is intended for small teams working on low-criticality projects. Because sometimes it absolutely, positively, doesn't have to be done overnight.

Is That a Crick or a Canyon? – Conducting a Gap AnalysisPREMIUM
Whether it's launching a new project or discovering how well the current solution is meeting expectations, you need to know how to get there from here. A gap analysis will help you figure out where there is, where here is, and how best to bridge any gaps between them.

Sounds Great, See You Next Quarter – Product Manager Roles & ResponsibilitiesPREMIUM
You need Product Managers that are more involved than just showing up at quarterly review meetings. This 1-page table documenting the Project Manager Role was created by a company as part of their project life cycle documentation. Use it for quick reference during a project, and to ensure a detailed understanding of the responsibilities Product Managers have to drive, contribute to, and review key project deliverables throughout the product life cycle.

Tell Me About Your Other – Requirements Interview ChecklistPREMIUM
You know, the words that strike dread in any PM's heart: "Just like it says on the spec… and maybe a few other things." A requirements interview is a focused interview with a key stakeholder or subject matter expert designed to elicit a specific set of requirements. This checklist is organized into sets of questions you should consider for each interview; important preparation that will increase your credibility and help you make the most of your time with these key resources.

Where's ProjectConnections?

After speaking at Heartland IIBA Conference 2011 on October 27, Kent McDonald heads for warmer climes by spending a couple of weeks in the Sunshine State. He'll be at the national IIBA conference October 31 - November 4 in Hollywood, Florida, followed by a stint at the Better Software Conference East November 7-9 in Orlando. Keep up with Kent on Twitter at @beyondreqs.

Carl Pritchard is celebrating his Annual CEO Recognition Day today, but he'll be in the Big Apple mid-October, followed by a client engagement in not-quite-so-sunny Swindon. Keep track of Carl's goings-on with his online calendar.

Kimberly Wiefling is touring the US with other project management authors. Their schedule is still tentative, but so far plans include New York City on October 13 and Cleveland, Ohio on November 3. Follow her breadcrumbs at her online calendar.

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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