October 11, 2012, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
Final quarter deadlines are breathing down our neck, and sometimes it's a race to figure out what to worry about most. Carl Pritchard has some suggestions: worry about the same stuff that got in your way last quarter (and the quarter before that, and the quarter before that). This week we also have some great blog entries from Margaret de Haan and Ann Drinkwater, another new WBS, and great tools for managing Q4 challenges like conflicted teams, conflicting demands, and whether it's time to call in some outside help.
As a side note, we're making some infrastructure changes over the next few weeks, so you may notice slight differences in how the newsletter appears in your email client, along with streamlined email optouts, forwarding links, and more. If you have any questions about these changes, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be happy to help you out!
Boo! Terror in the Every Day!
As we work through the season of ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night (as the traditional Scottish prayer warns us), we tend to think of risk in one of two categories. It's either free-floating anxiety or something so massive, dark and evil that we can't possibly overcome it. We should, instead, be more leery of those ordinary visitors to our project doorstep.
by Carl Pritchard
Very few projects die in the heat of a blistering fire. It's a death of a thousand paper cuts. And even then, it's not unexpected, out-of-the-corner kind of paper cuts. It's paper cuts that we have incurred a hundred times and will incur a hundred times more in a hundred other projects.
The ghoulies and ghosties we should be worrying about are the familiar ones we know are coming and know will come again. Let me suggest five of them for you and five specific game plans for trying to pull the mask from these Halloween (and all-season) visitors.
Read the rest »
Carl Pritchard will be the dinner speaker at the Pittsburgh, PA PMI meeting on October 11. Plus, he's running another of his acclaimed PMP Certification Exam Prep classes in Rockville, MD October 17-18. Check out Carl's website for more information.
Premium How-To Course
Change Management for Working with Partners
Presented by Mike Aucoin
By definition, partnerships generally involve changing something about how one or both sides work. Even if you're incredibly confident in the partners and vendors working on your project, different organizations still have different practices, cultures, people, and styles to navigate. This course by Mike Aucoin, author of Right-Brain Project Management, helps you learn techniques for approaching a new project or partner relationship and laying the groundwork for success. Mike discusses how to create enough alignment up front, monitor the relationship, and make necessary adjustments throughout your joint effort. 1 PDU
Learn more »
For Team Members
Projectized Holiday Gift Shopping – MEMBER
A seasonal and only slightly silly example of how project management processes can be tailored for any type of project. If you think your side-/sub-project is "too small" to merit any disciplined management, this should change your mind. (Plus it might help with holiday stress.)
Effective Meetings Checklist – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until October 25, 2012
Got a meeting coming up that you really need to go well? This comprehensive checklist will help you plan and run an effective meeting, so you can all get back to your day jobs.
For Project Leads
Deciding Whether to Outsource Work on a Project – PREMIUM
That year-end crunch is looming. Is it time to consider some outside help? Try this step-by-step guideline for deciding whether or not to consider outsourcing (or employing an outside supplier or partner) for part or all of a project.
PRE-EMPT Conflict: How to Actively Prepare for, Engage, and Overcome Project Conflict – MEMBER
Is conflict inevitable in projects? If conflict occurs, how should a project manager resolve it? This paper provides conflict-resolution strategies for project leaders who want to actively avoid the minefield, instead of just figuring out how to navigate it.
Matrix Management Reinvented – MEMBER
Need a prescription for matrix management that actually works? Here's a different look at cross-functional organizations, focusing on alignment with strategic objectives and customers rather than just rearranging the organizational chart.
Software Release Manager Job Description – PREMIUM
This job description outlines and details typical duties for a Software Release Manager -- the person essentially acting as a "program manager" of a set of projects slated to come together in a system release.
WBS and Schedule Models
Brochure Planning WBS – PREMIUM
Brochure creation is a great example of a simple project that can benefit from some simple work breakdown planning. This WBS in MS Project format includes general scheduling and dependencies, plus notes on the potential scheduling conflicts they raise.
Margaret de Haan discusses the pros and cons of various methodologies in her blog entry this week, and why there may not be any "right" answer. To demonstrate, she makes a compelling argument for one of her favorite project methodologies, and then proceeds to explain why it won't be showing up in her current position any time soon. Her explanation of the organizational context and balance necessary to these discussions is forthright and enlightening. Check out Project Management, Methodologies, and Organizational Maturity.
Ann Drinkwater explains how to keep a practical project journal that can improve your lessons learned, and maybe even help you spot downstream impacts before they happen. If you've ever avoided documenting your project history, her simple, reassuring tips will help you get started on your project chronicles.
Kent McDonald is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on October 30 for a presentation at Building Business Capability on using business models to guide project decisions. You can also catch him at Better Software East in early November.
Sinikka Waugh is running several classes in Iowa this fall, including the Business Analysis Survival Guide on October 11, Secrets to Strong Facilitation on October 26, and Problem Solving and Action Planning on November 7. For more information call DMACC Registration at 515-964-6800 or email email@example.com.
Randy Englund presents highlights from his new book The Complete Project Manager the Project Summit / Business Analyst World in Chicago, Illinois (November 12-15, 2012). Participants in the symposia and workshop will explore the missing ingredients to move from good to great.
Morley Selver is giving a free webinar on Operators as Part of the Project Team in November. (See the link for registration information.) His workshop on Fundamentals of Project Management will be offered November 22-24 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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