Last week, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced the discovery of a fresh impact crater on Mars. For most of us, it's just a curiosity -- maybe even an interesting one. But that one "little" crater sends shock waves through many other aspects of the Mars exploration. Did it throw up ice? What does it tell us about the subsurface rock? Does it signal new ways to use the MARCI weather satellite? Lots of little impacts radiating out from that big one. All from a rock just 3 meters long -- just a third the size of the Chelyabinsk meteor -- because someone happened to notice a dark smudge in a picture.|
Little rocks can have big impacts on your project, whether or not you know about them. Are your teams coping with wasted work? That impacts your capacity. Who's assuming the risk on your materials shipments? That could impact your bottom line. Your best defense is to be sure you know about as many of those rocks as possible. A few impacts here and there are unavoidable, but wouldn't it be nice to avoid a crater?
Wisdom, Perspective, and Advice from the Field
Minimizing Work, Maximizing Energy
by Geof Lory
Since energy can be neither created nor destroyed, we have to make the most out of what we have. In this column, Geof Lory continues his thoughts on the Thermodynamics of Teams. Specifically how minimizing work (friction) can maximize the energy (potential) of the teams we work with. But where's the line between capability and chaos? "Identifying waste is... about striking the balance between too much and too little." This is true of both paperwork and management oversight, and in Geof's view, is the essence of leadership.
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Being a Business-Driven Business-Savvy PM (the kind Execs adore)
What does it matter how something is shipped? Depending on who's assuming the risk and at what point, it could matter to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Morley Selver provides an overview of arcane terms like FOB, FCA, EXW, and what they could mean to your project.
Impact Analysis – PREMIUM
When considering a project change or a particular solution, or choosing between multiple possible solutions, it helps to have a thorough understanding of how each option will impact business areas, systems, and external organizations. Will it add to the development time? Will it require additional training, or reduce turnaround times? An Impact Analysis will help you correlate all those variables and determine the best course of action.
Achieving "Just Enough" PM (Your team will thank you for it)
Adapting processes for the best project impact – PREMIUM
"But we've got a mandated project process!" That's fine. Having a set process doesn't have to mean that every action for the next several months has been pre-determined. Learn how your existing PM and development processes can accommodate different project lengths, risk profiles, and levels of complexity. This guideline includes examples of ways to communicate different project profiles to your teams, to help them select the right process elements up front.
Personal Power Tools! (Grow critical strengths and keep your sanity, too!)
How does uncertainty impact your project management style? – MEMBER
How do you choose the right management tools and approach for a project? This INSEAD presentation argues that the dominant type of uncertainty confronting the effort should drive your choices. It's a quick read (about 15 minutes) packed with insights and great ideas to consider when approaching your next project.
Spotlight – Other Project Templates, Tools, and Techniques
Staff reduction, unexpected costs, unexpected benefits, unrecognized risks -- all could have an impact on your project's success. These guidelines will help you act, not just react, to minimize potential issues and maximize potential gains.
- Resist the urge to have everyone do everything
You may be doing more with less because of a layoff, a skills deficit, or just an active vacation season. Whatever the reason, Margaret de Haan shares some practical, results-minded ideas for allocating work to a downsized team.
- Cost Benefits Analysis – PREMIUM
Is your project worth the cost? Have you included long-term costs and intangible benefits in your decisions about your project's value? This cost benefit analysis template walks you through consideration of all the angles, and a careful evaluation of the results.
- Risk Assessment and Mitigation Tables – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until June 12, 2014
Risk Assessment tables used during the early project selection process for documenting product risks, as well as several more detailed risk assessment categories for projects moving into full-blown planning.
Premium How-To Course
Agile Approaches to Planning
Presented by Kent McDonald
Going Agile is not a license to fly totally by the seat of your pants. A plan means the team has some idea of how they are going to do the project, but that doesn't necessarily imply reams of paper and acres of diagrams. This mini-course by Kent McDonald explains what Agile planning practices look like, and how the team works together to decide the project approach and timeline. 1 PDU.
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Taking the PMP® Certification Exam soon? Carl Pritchard is conducting a prep class June 3-4 in Rockville, Maryland. His 2-day session walks you through everything you need to know to prepare for and pass your exam. Click here for more information and registration (PDF).
Randy Englund and co-author Alfonso Bucero present a four-day seminar on "Integrating People, Organizational and Technical Skills: the Complete Project Manager" in Orlando, Florida June 23-26 for PMI's MEGA SeminarsWorld. Register now with 20% discount code AB20.
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 »
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