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From the Editor 
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December 8, 2011, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

If we build it, they'll know how to use it. If we start a PMO, our projects will become efficient. If our projects meet goals for time, scope, and budget, they'll be successful. If that wonky guy in business development is our business analyst, we can stop fretting over tradeoffs and feature sets. If we're working together, we should be able to get along without conflict. If we want our projects to be safe, they will be. Is there another profession as prone to magical thinking as project management? Maybe economists…

Featured Article

SMART Objectives Aren't Always Project-Specific by Kent McDonald

Kent McDonald Project managers for years have measured project success based on three criteria: was it on time, was it within budget, and did it deliver the agreed upon scope? That definition of success is so widespread that the Standish Group has even used that criteria as the basis for its CHAOS Study on Project Management. Unfortunately these criteria are insufficient for measuring project success and can be misleading. Instead of using cost, budget, and scope as measure of success, I use the achievement of business objectives as a true measure of project success.

My friend, co-author, and ProjectConnections contributor Niel Nickolaisen shared the story of a 14-month, $27 million ERP project in Stand Back and Deliver that was on time, on budget, delivered all the agreed upon scope, and was considered a complete failure. The project did not add features that helped the organization build and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage. The team and the sponsors thought that budget, cost, and scope were appropriate measures of success, when really they should have focused on whether what they were doing would help them achieve their business objectives. Read the rest »

Premium How-To Course

New! Dealing With ConflictPREMIUM
Presented by Mike Aucoin, Leading Edge Management

Michael Aucoin Even the best teams are not devoid of conflict! A strong team may simply have normal disagreements over project decisions; a weaker team may experience a range of style and communication conflicts. Either way, conflict management skills are important to the team, to the people on the team, and to the team leader trying to steer everyone toward the objectives management expects you to accomplish together (whether you want to or not). This course covers how to prepare for typical sources of conflict and deal with them constructively and quickly. 1 PDU Learn More »

Project Practitioners

Project Safety, by Morley Selver
Health, Safety, Security, and Environment -- have you planned for these requirements on your project? Morley Selver addresses an aspect of project planning and management that's often sidelined, but always important. Are you considering all of the possible issues, and their impacts to the project team, security, the public, and the environment? Read the rest »

Portfolio Management: Lamborghini Body on a Plymouth Horizon Chassis, by Brian Irwin
Having attempted rolling out project portfolio management at several organizations I can state with confidence that the portfolio management process fails to deliver on its promise to streamline an organization’s project pipeline and provide high value. However, it is not the fault of the portfolio management process. Rather, I have found that the fault resides primarily with how organizations are structured. Read the rest »

Site Highlights

Be a PM They Can Rave About - Standing UP for Real Release Dates
There's more to being a project manager than toeing the line and arranging the triangles. Sometimes, you have to call them as you see them. Do you want to be a PM your execs will rely on and listen to? Then you'll have to stand up sometimes.

Poof! You're a Business Analyst - BA Fast Track
Now what? This extensive Fast Track provides detailed, practical advice on what you need to know, do, and strive for as a new business analyst. If you're a project team member or team leader trying to understand the analyst role, you'll still want to browse this Fast Track, so you can see where your BAs are coming from.

Poof! It's a PMO - Introduction to Project Portfolio ManagementPREMIUM
Portfolio management sounds like a great idea, but what does it really mean? It's certainly more than "line up a few interested parties and announce that we now have a PMO." This presentation helps you explain -- both to the converted and the unsure -- what a successful portfolio management program will entail. No handwaving required.

It's So Simple, It Will Run Itself - Portfolio Manager Job DescriptionPREMIUM
If wishing made it so… You know better, though. Portfolio managers have wide-ranging (but not infinite!) responsibilities. This guideline describes the core responsibilities typically assigned to a portfolio manager, so you know what you're getting into, and what's usually expected.

If We Build It, They Will Test - Tools and Equipment ListMEMBER
Do you have everything you need to finish the project? There's nothing quite like getting all the way to testing, only to discover that some critical piece of equipment isn't in place. Don't get caught by surprise.

…And Then Our Users Are Productive - Training Needs Assessment GuidelinesSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until December 22, 2011
They asked for this, after all. So why do a training needs assessment? We're glad you asked. This guideline explains the reasoning, gives you a broad overview of the steps required, and discusses the different methods you'll want to consider. Make sure your users actually understand how to use what you're providing.

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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