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May 23, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

Possibly the single most important skill for any project is communication. But the project landscape can be a veritable minefield, making communication difficult, or even downright scary. This week our highlighted templates (including a new worksheet) are all aimed at helping you manage some of the more frustrating, intimidating, or fraught aspects of project communication. Plus, don't miss Kimberly Wiefling's column this week on how to map your organizational DNA. What stories will people tell about your team in 50 years?

Featured Article

Creating and Perpetuating Your Corporate DNA
By Kimberly Wiefling

Kimberly Wiefling Recently, several of my clients have become extremely interested in exploring what they call their "corporate DNA." At first I resisted, because I was concerned that this metaphor implied that they were incapable of changing. But for the most part, this model is being used to explore the unique identity of an organization -- the strengths that are admired, and should be preserved and transmitted to future generations.

Most every kid who has the luxury of getting an education learns the basics of DNA. DNA is what causes a giraffe to have a long neck, kangaroos to have pouches, and porcupines to have quills instead of fur. Tadpoles turn into frogs, not butterflies, because of their DNA. And a lot of behavior has its roots in an organism's DNA. Birds have wings, but dogs don't, therefore dogs don't fly. Snakes, lacking both legs and wings, resort to crawling. But what is the meaning of the DNA of an organization?

Three powerful exercises for mapping your organization's DNA »

Featured Bundle

Project Closeout and "Lessons Learned" Bundle - Free for Premium Subscribers
At each subsequent stage of a project, correcting issues gets more and more expensive because of the growing number of people involved and the impact of changes on other pieces of the system. By testing pieces at each stage of development, then testing the system from the viewpoint of the how the customer will use it, teams can avoid painful and expensive end-game and post-deployment headaches. This collection of test plan outlines, guidelines, example formats, and related tools will help. Multi-user licenses available for PMOs. $39.95 for non-subscribers, free for Premium subscribers.

Premium How-To Course

Kicking Off a Virtual Project, Part 1
Cinda Voegtli Presented by Cinda Voegtli

To deliver a quality product, you need to get everyone aligned on the project goals. Perhaps even more importantly, you need to get them feeling like a team, not just a bunch of people who happen to be working on the same project sometimes. This mini-course with ProjectConnections founder Cinda Voegtli provides an overview of the challenges of organizing and leading a virtual team, and how to rise above them. First of a two-part series. 1 PDU Learn more »

For Team Members

Cost Benefits AnalysisPREMIUM
Is that project change worth the cost? Have you considered long-term costs and intangible benefits? Cost Benefit Analysis isn't just for project managers and business analysts. Everyone on the project should have at least a passing understanding of this important technique.

25 Project Management Terms DefinedMEMBER
Does your project lead use foreign terms like "sunk costs" and acronyms like RACI? This excerpt from the Dictionary of Project Management Terms, (3rd ed.) defines 25 terms from common PM-centric lingo, so you can figure out what they're trying to tell you.

For Project Managers

Hero shot New! Worksheet: Establishing Ground Rules for Issue EscalationPREMIUM
This worksheet guides the project manager, team members, and project sponsor through a matter-of-fact discussion establishing ground rules for communicating emerging project issues. Establishing ground rules early in the project can help reduce fear of escalating critical issues later in the project when tensions are higher.

Milestone Table with Driver TasksPREMIUM
Nothing communicates like a milestone. This template provides several formats for a milestone table including the completion dates and the status of major driving tasks for each milestone. The second format also includes a column indicating the completion criteria and success factors for the milestone. This is a great way to make sure scattered teams are all focused on the same objectives.

For Sponsors and Executives

Project Cancellation GuidelinesSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until June 6, 2013
Cancelling a project underway should not be a casual decision, but sometimes it really is the best choice. This comprehensive guideline walks you and your project manager through the decision process. If you decide that it really is best to stop work, it also provides tips for smoothly ramping down and closing out a cancelled project, taking into account possibly wide-ranging implications for your company and customers.

Deciding Whether to Outsource Work on a ProjectPREMIUM
Should you do that work in house, or farm it out? Check out 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. Review with your project manager and team leads so you can all make an informed decision.

Project Practitioners

Are you a Project Office of One? Randy Englund discusses the characteristics and toolkits of those project managers who seem to gravitate to the really crazy, people-driven projects.

If you specialize in avoiding confrontation, check out Margaret de Haan's excellent summary post on respectful confrontational styles. Margaret provides great pointers for using confrontation successfully, and the possible issues if your confrontations always seem to end unpleasantly.

Alfonso Bucero reminds of an inescapable (yet often overlooked) reality: You will influence better if you understand people. His five truths about people will help you understand where your stakeholders are coming from.

Where's ProjectConnections?

Morley Selver is running his 3-day "Fundamentals of Project Management" workshop this fall in the following locations: Calgary AB August 27-29; Denver CO September 25-27; Houston TX October 23-25; Calgary AB November 20-22. For information & enrollment please visit

Randy Englund is in California June 5 presenting "Negotiating Desired Outcomes" at the PMI Silicon Valley Tools and Techniques session, and a full-day workshop on June 8.

Sinikka Waugh is in Des Moines, Iowa June 4 and 5 for a public workshop series that includes sessions on delegation and time management, project management basics, and meeting facilitation.

Carl Pritchard is planning this year's Seminars at Sea cruise in August, which will cover the PMBOK¨ Guide 5th Edition and ISO 21500. Get more information at Carl's website.

Kent McDonald is chairing the Agile 2013 conference this year in Nashville, August 5-9. Of special interest to ProjectConnections readers is the Project, Program, and Portfolio Management track, which includes 24 sessions. Find out more about the conference and session schedule here.

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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