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From the Editor 
Featured Article 
Premium How-To Course 
Planning is Everything 
Plan Your Project 
Plan Your Processes 
Project Practitioners 
Where's ProjectConnections? 
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February 14, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

I stood watching the water seep into our master bedroom from the master bath and thought about all the completely unrelated ways we'd wanted to spend our money this summer. Then I asked the contractor what our first step should be. "Just pick out what you want and we'll figure it out," he said.

Oh, no. No no no. So much no. If I've learned anything since we launched ProjectConnections, it's that Eisenhower was right: plans are nothing, but planning is everything. Of course, he doesn't have to know we're managing to "a plan" as long as we've planned it out. The best kind of planning is simple, easy to manage, and unobtrusive. That's what we like about the new Simple Change Control Process you'll find in the newsletter this week, as well as the other resources we've highlighted below. (The renovation WBS may or may not be entirely coincidental.)

Also, if you tuned into the first installment of Alan Koch's "Process Genesis" back in December (and by the looks of it, most of you did), you won't want to miss Chapter 2. It explains how we ended up in this mess to begin with.

Featured Article

Process Genesis: Chapter 2 of 2 – The Department of Eden
by Alan Koch

Alan Koch The Lord God hired a man and assigned him the Role of Process Owner, and the man took on that Role.

Now the Lord God had planted a department in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had hired. And the Lord God made all kinds of activities grow out of the ground -- activities that were pleasing to the mind and good to do. In the middle of the department were the activity of Resourcing and the activity of Doing Things in Other Ways.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Department to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to do any activity in the department; but you must not do the activity of Doing Things in Other Ways, for when you do it your process will surely die."

Last time, we recited Process Genesis Chapter 1, Creation. This time, we continue with Chapter 2, and recite the story of the first Process Owner, Manager, and Auditor.

Premium How-To Course

 Estimating the Work to Get a Realistic Schedule
Cinda Voegtli Presented by Cinda Voegtli

Have you ever used your project end date to determine task length? Have you developed a schedule for the team instead of with the team? Is every resource in your plan booked at 100 percent capacity 45 hours a week? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to learn some new estimating techniques to take the load off of you -- and off of your team members. Learn how to use practical and meaningful estimating techniques with your team to get a schedule everyone believes in. 1 PDU Learn more »

Planning is Everything

It's so tempting to just jump in and start working, usually as a way to avoid the micro-management and bureaucracy that has plagued us in past projects. But planning serves a valuable purpose if it's done at the right level.

Why Plan? Let's Just Get Moving!MEMBER
This excerpt from Scrappy Project Management covers one of the most common and most destructive pitfalls in project management -- the nearly universal resistance to actually planning anything. Given the option, most people will either under-plan or not plan at all. Kimberly Wiefling explains why planning is still important, even though schedules are almost always wrong and it's much more satisfying to simply charge ahead.

Conquering Micro-Management: Picking the right tools for your environmentMEMBER
How do you pick the right way to do "project management fundamentals" like scheduling and status tracking, for the size and culture of your environment? This mini-case study relates the experience of a small game company's founder and the decisions he made for making PM work for a fast-moving, bureaucracy-hating team.

Process?? EWW! - Getting Process Skeptical Teams to Adapt and Use PMMEMBER
Find out how a company with process-skeptical team members made their project management and development process adaptable and used by all. (Really!)

Plan Your Project

Project plans do not have to be 30-page monstrosities. The best plan is one that will actually be used.

 Just Pick Out What You Want… - WBS Example: Office RenovationPREMIUM
This Microsoft Project schedule for an office renovation project includes a detailed work breakdown, draft scheduling estimates and dependencies, and high-level resource allocation. It illustrates decomposition of a complicated project into manageable work packages, from design to move-in. It's also a great illustration of why "just pick out what you want" is bound to be a bad idea.

It's Just a Little PM - Micro-Project Plan Template and ExampleMEMBER
A simple, fast template for planning so-called micro-projects -- short, usually low-cost, low-effort projects that will take just a few days, or at most a few weeks, to complete. A fast outline to keep you organized and help you spot and overcome obstacles to success.

For We, Not Just For Me - Collaborative Milestone-Driven Planning ProcessSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until February 28, 2013
What do you do when you have to plan a complex project involving members from different organizations with varying expectations about planning -- level of detail, who does it, whose work has to show up in the plan, etc.? Try this approach to practical collaborative planning that works off visible "business milestones" important to the success of each and every group on the team.

Plan Your Processes

Planning isn't just for projects. Any time your team implements a new process, it's worthwhile to decide exactly how and when that process will be used. That counts as planning, and it's a great way to be sure you're keeping things as simple as possible ... but no simpler.

 As Easy As 1, 2, 3 - Simple Change Control ProcessPREMIUM
This process outline shows how one team implemented a lightweight change control process that allowed them to monitor and communicate important impacts without burying the team in paperwork over trivial changes. It's short and simple, and easy to follow -- as easy as 1, 2, 3. (Well, OK, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, but that's still pretty easy.)

Plan to Succeed - Review Meeting Planning WorksheetMEMBER
Use this worksheet to plan your next review meeting, to be sure it will accomplish your goals. While it's geared toward reviews, this same strategy can be used to plan any key meeting when you have a pre-defined issue and need to walk out with agreement on the resolution.

Project Practitioners

A Day at the Oscars, by Ed Reynolds
Information is so important, and leadership starts with sharing that information!

Where's ProjectConnections?

Carl Pritchard is teaching PMP Certification Exam Prep in Rockville, MD next week, and is already planning this year's Seminars at Sea cruise in August, which will cover the newly released PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition and ISO 21500. Get more information from Carl's website.

Blogger Sinikka Waugh is teaching several public classes in Iowa in early March, including Play Well with Others on March 5, Becoming the Best Leader You Can Be on March 6-7, and Be Heard on March 7. See all the session descriptions here.

Kimberly Wiefling is in Japan again, but she'll be in San Diego in May, providing a keynote and workshops for the PMI San Diego Chapter Annual Conference.

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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