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March 19, 2015

How to Speak "Executive"
Strategic Execution: The New Language of the C Suite
J. LeRoy Ward

J. LeRoy Ward Here's a fact I learned a long time ago. Companies who make their money on non-project related activities (such as manufacturing toys) also do projects and they need to be every bit as good at project management as a project-based business. Why? Because even in a manufacturing environment there are projects which could include designing and developing the prototypes that will eventually be manufactured. Additionally, and even more importantly, when the executives develop the company's strategy and turn it over for the operating units to implement, chances are many of the initiatives turn out to be projects.

However, many organizations don't recognize that those work streams are actually projects so they don't use the term projects, or project manager or any of the terms we use in our profession. They see it as "work" that needs to be done; work that needs to be "executed," and flawlessly, if possible.

The word "execution," and term "strategic execution," are getting a lot of play lately. I think the reason is simple: it's the new language of the C suite. In non-project based businesses executives don't talk about projects in the same way they would in, let's say, a construction company. They talk about work, or initiatives that need to be executed. And the ability to do this right can mean the difference between profit and loss.

Learn to speak the language of the C-Suite »

Measure What You Want
Be Careful What You Measure, You Just Might Get It
Kent McDonald

Kent McDonald Measuring knowledge work can be tricky. Do you measure productivity? (How many use cases can you complete in a week? How many lines of code can you write? How many bugs can you find?) Do you measure based on quality? (How many "errors" did you not put into those use cases, lines of code, or test scripts?) Do you measure based on performance to goals? (I said I was going to write four use cases this week, and by golly, I did.)

All of these approaches certainly provide useful information, but settling on one approach--or even combining metrics from different approaches--applies focus in the wrong place. If a business analyst is measured based on how many use cases they produce, use cases become the end product for that business analyst. If developers are measured based on how many lines of code they produce, the code will become very bloated, and probably not particularly efficient. Testers measured based on how many bugs they find will suddenly detect an infestation that may or may not actually exist. Read the rest »

Spotlight – Other Project Templates, Tools, and Techniques
New!  Mini-Course: Estimating Costs and Creating the Project Budget

If you find your projects are always over budget, it's probably time to look at your estimates. This mini-course with ProjectConnections founder Cinda Voegtli addresses some of the more common cost estimating concerns we've seen through the years with some dependable techniques for understanding what your project will really take.


Last Chance! The Study of Product Team Performance, 2015
ProjectConnections is proud to be a major sponsor of the 2015 Global Study of Product Team Performance. The annual study, conducted by one of our Silicon Valley partners, closely monitors industry trends affecting product development teams. Topics of interest include product development methodology adoption rates and team perceptions of effectiveness. Past surveys provided critical insights like five factors that could raise the chances of creating a high-performing team from just 2% to over 65%!

Powerful insights like that require input from a wide range of competent, high-performing project and program managers. Add your voice to hundreds of others by taking the survey before March 21. It only takes about 6 minutes, and all responses are anonymous.

Request the 2014 study results to get a sense of the research results. (It's free!) If you prefer a high-level overview, try these four infographics summarizing key data points from the 2014 survey.

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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