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December 22, 2014 In this edition:
Ever wonder what goes on at the North Pole during the last minute holiday frenzy? Surely even elves struggle with last minute requests, change orders, and unforgiving deadlines. We took a peek into the workshop's archives. Here's what we found. We hope peeking like this doesn't get us on the naughty list.

» Wisdom, Perspective, & Advice
» Santa's Project Plan
» Where's ProjectConnections?
» Corporate Subscriptions

Wisdom, Perspective, and Advice from the Field
Geof Lory Festina Lente
by Geof Lory

Several years ago I was on a project to combine 32 disparate systems into one. Several sponsors had a strong interest in seeing the project fail to protect their parochial interests and organizational autonomy. And if that was not enough, finance was also looking for a good reason to pull funding so they could allocate it to other projects they preferred. Overcoming this confluence of project hurdles required us to make demonstrable progress, and make it quickly. There would be little tolerance for anything less. How fast is too fast? Here's how to find out »

J. LeRoy Ward What does a war in Ukraine, and Chinese government policies, have to do with project success in the luxury goods business? Plenty, if you know what you're looking at! J. LeRoy Ward points out the clear signals that could have been spotted with a robust risk management process. Is your organization looking beyond the obvious production cycles?

Alan Zucker In Alan Zucker's words, "Every project manager can construct a good project schedule. Great project managers can take that same body of work and deliver it more quickly without reducing scope or compromising quality." Bold claims! But he follows through on them, providing 4 Ways to Shorten a Project Schedule -- reducing your schedule by as much as 10%-25% if you understand how your teams work and estimate.
Santa's Project Plan (A peek into the North Pole Workshop archives)
Thank you everyone for such a productive pre-holiday retrospective. Your input was extremely valuable. Here is our revised plan for our final iteration.

Critical Success Factors – PREMIUM
December 24 delivery remains non-negotiable. Fortunately, most of our customers are somewhat flexible on features. Due to time constraints, hoverboards will be put on hold again this year. We will attempt to make up for this disappointment with programmable robots, which should keep our older clientele sufficiently baffled.

Staff Organization & Responsibilities – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until January 8, 2015
Our hoverboard teams have volunteered to work in testing and shipping to meet the anticipated load increase. Our operations manager, Mrs. Claus, will oversee the necessary cross-training and orchestrate our shift changes. See the attached Task Responsibility Matrix Formats for details.

Product Manufacturing Plan – PREMIUM
Manufacturing will be escalated to turn out high-quality toys ahead of our fixed delivery date. See the attached plan for details. Please note that safety regulations prohibit using repurposed hoverboard maglifts to move toy sacks. Lift with the knees, team!

Risk Management and Testing – MEMBER
In addition to our usual product testing, we need a thorough review of our Tools and Equipment List. An extra team has been assigned to testing and all reindeer harnesses will be equipped with distinctive LED lighting for airspace safety. Our Refreshments Team is also requested to substitute vegetables for one cookie snack a day, to avoid a repeat of the 2013 Chimney Incident. Please review our Beta Test Plan (and our toy bags) for any holes.

Future Proofing – MEMBER
Maintenance of the Nice/Naughty Lists grows more challenging every year. Our EIT (Elf Info Tech) team will investigate the possibility of an agile data warehousing overhaul for 2015 and beyond. Despite the group's skepticism, EIT is convinced that no magic will be required. We look forward to their next report.
Where's ProjectConnections?
ProjectConnections will be waiting by the fireplace, cookies and camera in hand, starting December 24. We'll be back at the office Monday, January 5. If you have questions or need assistance during the holiday break, don't hesitate to leave a voicemail or email message. We'll keep an eye out for anything urgent, and get back to you as soon as we can.

Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a wonderful 2015!
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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