May 24, 2012, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
Should you really be doing that? In the modern business world, the truth is you may not have much of a choice. But that doesn't mean we have to be foolish about it. Managing risk isn't about eliminating it. It's about being smart about your risks. Learn to see them coming, decide what to do about them (if anything), and tackle them in a calm, organized manner, just like your project work. Sure beats flailing around hoping the pavement doesn't come up and hit you in the face.
The Fine Art of Tempting Fate
Ever had one of those moments where someone exclaims, "I can't believe you're doing that! Talk about tempting fate"? Tempting fate is creating conditions that invite higher levels of risk -- in many cases unnecessarily. Why do we care? We should be the clear defenders of when we are -- and more specifically, when we aren't -- tempting fate.
by Carl Pritchard
My wife just returned from one of the most amazing vacations of her life. She took the Titanic Memorial Cruise aboard the MS Balmoral. There would seem fewer more perfect examples of tempting fate than following the route of the Titanic at the same time of year on the centenary of the liner's sinking. But the trick to tempting fate is not just doing things that sound risky, but doing things that are risky.
Are you really tempting fate with that project? »
Listening is a skill that can, and should, be actively practiced and mastered. This week, Alfonso Bucero reminds us of all the competition to our message and our understanding of others. His most recent post, Are you listening to me or hearing me?, is packed with practical suggestions for assessing and improving your listening skills.
Premium How-To Course
Earned Value Management, Part 1
Presented by Carl Pritchard, Pritchard Management Associates
Have you ever found yourself halfway through a project, with only 10% of your budget left? This two-part course provides an overview of the Earned Value approach to tracking project progress. The first installment focuses on laying the groundwork. (Part 2 will be released in June.) 1 PDU
Learn more »
For Team Members
So you think risk management is the project leader's job? If only. After all, who's going to end up coping when things go sideways? Take an active role in your project's risk management, and make things easier for everyone -- including yourself.
Project Risk Checklist – MEMBER
Drafting a risk list can be a daunting proposition. This risk checklist prompts you to consider common risks across a wide variety of categories, to reduce the odds of missing one of those dreaded "unknown-unknowns."
User Acceptance Test Plan (IT) – PREMIUM
Plan ahead for testing that ensures the new system meets the necessary user requirements, from their perspective. This annotated outline for user testing prior to the production-level build and deployment will help you begin with the end in mind.
For Project Leads
As project leader, it's one of your roles to manage risks -- but not to do it single-handedly. The most successful project leaders involve the whole team in these critical activities, sharing out both the work and the worry so no one carries too much and nothing gets missed.
Product and Project Risk Assessment and Mitigation Tables – PREMIUM
Risk Assessment Tables are used during the early project selection process to document product risks, and evolve over the planning process to outline various possible strategies for prioritizing and coping with the risks you've identified. This guideline includes formats and instructions for assessing the true risks in areas such as market competition, technical innovations, and the nuts-and-bolts, boring-but-potentially-painful things like resource shortages and vendor/partner delivery delays.
Agile Technique Brief: Planning Poker – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until June 7, 2012
Estimates are always a gamble on some level. This agile technique for generating task estimates faces up to that reality in a very obvious way. Team task estimates can be more fun and more accurate if you focus less on precise time estimates (which will be wrong anyway) and more on relative feature sizes and actual production during a project iteration.
Lessons Learned Meeting Report – PREMIUM
If you don't know where you've been, you can't avoid going there again. This guideline outlines a process for holding a meeting aimed at capturing project wins, challenges, and resulting "lessons learned" and producing a report at the end. Promote continuous improvement across all your projects.
Project management tools can be a valuable asset for your PMs, or a pointless distraction. Make sure yours are serving the right purpose by ensuring you have the right tools, assuming you need any tools at all.
Project Management Software Tools Evaluation – PREMIUM
Use this checklist during the evaluation of project management software to help get to the short list of candidates. It helps you document the features important to your PM process and track which software packages have which features. It also helps capture comments on different packages.
Getting the Right Value from a Project Management Tool – PREMIUM
If you're determined to use a new project management tool, this checklist (and the accompanying guidelines) can help you make sure that people are using the tool wisely.
Sometimes, tools aren't really where it's at. Margaret de Haan challenges us to ditch the PM bling and Think Simple Whenever Possible. Her pull-quote: "Is it really all about the tools, or is it really about our brains?" Where is your value to your organization?
Project Selection – Multi-User License
One of the best risk strategies in any project environments is to make sure you're taking on the right projects in the first place. This bundle will help you develop an organized approach to project selection with templates, guidelines, and worksheets that help you select the projects that should make the cut, and cut the projects that shouldn't. The included multi-user license for your project steering group ensures you can put the tools to immediate use, so you can start saving time, money, and frustration right away.
Learn More »
WBS and Schedule Models
Commercial Construction WBS and Draft Schedule – PREMIUM
This Microsoft Project WBS for a commercial construction project runs from the initial demolition work to interior finishing touch-up, with separate work packages for each functional group. With draft scheduling estimates and high-level resource allocation, it illustrates how to break a years-long project into manageable chunks at the PM's level of control.
Kent McDonald is at IIBA Northeast Wisconsin on May 22, where he will speak on business analysis topics, including "Beyond Requirements: Becoming a business advisor." On June 13, you'll find him at the Better Software West Conference, discussing "Context-driven Leadership."
Kimberly Wiefling is back in Japan, but she'll be home in the States in June for several appearances, including PACTA's Scrappy Project Management Dinner Meeting. Find out where you can cross paths with Kimberly.
Randy Englund and Alfonso Bucero are excited to share the publication of their new books, The Complete Project Manager: Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills and its companion The Complete Project Manager Toolkit. They'll be exploring the topics with participants during their new seminar at the PMI Mega SeminarsWorld in Orlando, Florida on June 18-21.
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.