ProjectConnections Newsletter
October 31, 2018
"As a project manager you may not have control over the entire portfolio, but you certainly have the opportunity to influence what stays in the portfolio and what gets removed. Exerting that influence is a key sign of an effective project manager." Kent McDonald reminds us that there's more to influence than formal authority. How can you, as a project manager, help your organization be more effective? Make sure the decision makers have the right information.
In this edition:
» Featured Article
» From the Blogs
» Winning at Tradeoffs
» Where We are
» Corporate Subscriptions
Featured Article
What Makes an Effective Project Manager?
Kent McDonald

Kent McDonald Organizations take on annual planning exercises where they poll their various business units to find out what work needs to happen and then pull all of those initiatives together and "prioritize" them. Unfortunately they look to priority as a set of buckets rather than a set of filters, which results in several projects finding their way to the high-priority bucket. The people responsible for implementing projects then find themselves facing more projects than they can realistically complete.

To be effective, you need to help your decision makers and your organization be effective.

Yes, you can (and should) influence the project portfolio »

From The Blogs
Conducting a Successful Brainstorming Meeting, by Alan Zucker
Facilitating a good brainstorming meeting is not magic. It is a matter of following the process. Two principles contribute to success: First, separating idea generation (creative) from idea evaluation (analytic). Second, minimizing discussions that lead to group think, stifles participation, and bog down the flow.

Winning at Tradeoffs
Kent provided tools to help project teams keep an eye on portfolio effectiveness in his column this week. These tools help portfolio managers head those problems off from the top of the funnel.

Impact Analysis – PREMIUM
When you're considering new projects, an Impact Analysis will help you understand how various changes or solutions will impact other business units. (Bonus: Check out this IT Process and Staff Impact Assessment for an IT-focused look at staff impacts from various solutions.)

Portfolio Data Collection Letter – MEMBER
Do you know what projects are active in your organization? This letter will help you conduct an inventory of your current portfolio, for both project and non-project work. (This is a great way to find and tackle unfunded mandates as well.)

Setting Strategic Project Selection Criteria – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until November 30, 2018
One of the best ways to prevent political logrolling is to establish rational project selection criteria and stick to them. This template provides typical strategic categories of project selection criteria, and a guideline for using these categories to screen candidate projects for your organization's portfolio. Designed for use with our companion Strategic Project Prioritization Worksheet.

Are These Benefits Real?
Don't settle for band-aid projects; make sure the cost savings your analysis predicts will translate to a real change in the business.

Project Business Case – PREMIUM
Avoid cost myopia and create a compelling justification for your project by documenting the anticipated costs and ROI, in context of all the reasonable alternatives. Documenting a business case gives your sponsor information required to understand risks and get funding approval, and can give your team a barometer for success throughout the project. And if you can't build an attractive business case for the project, maybe it's not the right time (or the right project).

Project Cancellation Guidelines – PREMIUM
Don't be trapped by sunk costs. Use this comprehensive guideline to decide whether a project should be cancelled, and to ramp it down smoothly if you decide it's time to pull the plug.

Where We Are
PMI Excellence Award winners Randy Englund and Alfonso Bucero present their last joint seminar of the year in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 10–13, 2018. Discover and practice a [more] complete set of skills in “Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills: The Complete Project Manager,” sponsored by PMI SeminarsWorld. Get PDUs, and a copy of their book, at this in-person seminar.

"The Ultimate PMP Boot Camp" with Carl Pritchard is coming to Columbia/Ellicott City, Maryland, on November 12. Get five days of intensive prep, three months of access to practice tests, and the PMBOK, all for under $1,000. If you can't make it next month, sessions are available January 21–25 in Frederick, Maryland, and February 11–15 in Rockville. There's also a virtual version for those who can't make it to Maryland (but you should—the crab cakes are divine).

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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