Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Project Management Articles

Facilitating a Requirements Validation Meeting with Ease!

Ensuring that a requirements document is accurate, complete and fully supported by key stakeholders can be critically important. Unfortunately, requirements validation sessions can be protracted and challenging. Oftentimes, the goal of the session is to gain agreement among various stakeholders on a lengthy, detailed requirements document. This can certainly be a tall order, but it can be done!

The 3 Different Types of Project Management Offices

There are 3 basic types of Project Management Office (PMO) organisations, varying in the degree of control and influence they have on projects within the organisation. You will need to determine which type you need to establish in order to have an effective project office.

Facilitating a Summit

Meetings are the lifeblood of a project. Whether they are held in person or virtually, there is no better way to communicate and make decisions. There are times, though, when short, regular meetings will not take care of everything, and there will be the need for a summit.

Government Projects and the Myth of Unlimited Funding

The recent shutdown of the US government aside, we all have the vision that government entities are bloated units with either unlimited funds to spend on projects or little oversight to know when they’ve spent too much. Right? Remember the $500 hammer concept?

Reducing Your Cost of Quality

How high is your cost of quality? The answer might surprise you. Yes, it includes reviews, the QA infrastructure, and preparing tests, those are your 'Appraisal Costs'. But how high are your 'Failure Costs' the cost of defects?

4 Ways to Motivate Your Project Team

There are times, of course, when I as project manager forget about my team and I have to be reminded how important it is to keep them and myself motivated and engaged. I'd like to share four tips that work for me.

Is Your Project Proposal READY?

The mnemonic READY is useful when creating a project proposal. It provides a useful memory aid to help ensure your proposal is relevant, engaging, authoritative, directional and yield optimised. This article describes how to write a compelling and well thought out proposal that will be hard to ignore.

Lessons Learned: It's Déjà Vu All Over Again

Lessons learned are one of the most powerful and cost-effective project management tools available today. If you consider that many projects make the same mistakes time and again, you soon realise that lightning does strike twice, often more frequently.

Six Clichés That Make You a Better Project Manager

Clichés are funny. We don't like to hear them, but we often use them in everyday conversation. Clichés are a useful way to make a point because the meaning of them is universally understood, even if not entirely true. Just because something is a cliché doesn't mean it can, or should be, ignored. Here are six clichés we can use to help us become better project managers.

10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management

The benefits of risk management in projects are huge. You can gain a lot of money if you deal with uncertain project events in a proactive manner. The result will be that you minimise the impact of project threats and seize the opportunities that occur. This allows you to deliver your project on time, on budget and with the quality results your project sponsor demands.

Purpose & Pitfalls of Website Redesign

There are many reasons to redesign your website. The most common are, keeping pace with changes in web technology to meet visitor expectations, and changes in the way you wish to promote your organisation and brands. What follows are some of the common pitfalls of website redesign projects.

The Key Elements of a Good Project Plan

It is often tempting to just roll up your sleeves and start bringing the project into being. But time taken to plan and create a project plan will actually ensure that you don't rush into something and make foolish mistakes because you didn't plan for something. The old saying 'Act in haste, repent at leisure' is certainly very true, but with a good project plan you simply will not have to repent, because everything will be fine.

Why Software Projects Fail and How to Make Them Succeed

According to the Standish Group Chaos Report 2009, only 32% of software projects are successful, 44% challenged (that is cost overruns, budget overruns or content deficiencies) and 24% failed, the highest failure rate in a decade. So failure rates in the IT industry are still far too high. What can we do about it? A good starting point is by addressing some of the key reasons software projects fail.

Project Leadership Styles

An effective Project Management Professional (PMP) is able to invoke various leadership styles. The key is to use each style at the right time. There are six distinct leadership styles that were identified by Daniel Goleman. He likens these styles to golf clubs in a seasoned professional's bag; you choose the correct club ('style') for each shot ('situation'). Here is a summary and an example of each style.

The Ten 'Uglies' of Project Management

Project management methodologies, classes and books are adequate at explaining the mechanics of running projects and the tools used to do so. Understanding these mechanics is essential, but it is experience that distinguishes successful project managers.

21 Project Management Success Tips

Managing software projects is difficult under the best circumstances. The project manager must balance competing stakeholder interests against the constraints of limited resources and time, ever-changing technologies, and unachievable demands from unreasonable people. Project management is people management, technology management, business management, risk management, and expectation management. It's a juggling act, with too many balls in the air at once.

Requirements Gathering for Software Projects

Capturing requirements can be the most challenging part of a software development project. If you don't get the requirements right, or miss key requirements, your project is in vain. Even if you do meet budget and schedule objectives, your project will fail to deliver the benefits your sponsors envisioned for it.

Creating an IT Project Timeline You Can Stick To

Developing a project timeline is a cornerstone of any project management strategy. But as many IT project managers have learned, developing and adhering to a timeline isn't easy. From technical glitches to human resource problems, unexpected complications can pop-up at any time, quickly throwing an IT project off-track.

Project Managers: Forget About Feedback and try a Little Feedforward Instead

Project management is a tough job. Where else would you be expected to manage something that is temporary, has not been done before, is loosely defined, is constantly changing, is laden with complexity risk and unrealistic expectations and is set within fixed constraints including resources, budget, time, process, organisation and culture?

How to Make a Gantt Chart Using Microsoft Excel

A Gantt chart is a popular bar chart that aims to show the timing of tasks or activities as they occur across time. Although the Gantt chart did not initially show the relationships between activities, this has become more common in current use as both timing and interdependencies between tasks can be identified. This video presentation is a step by step guide to making a Gantt chart using Microsoft Excel 2007.

Outsourcing Software Development to India

The advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing software development projects to India, an insider's view. The primary advantage is cost. The cost of resources is up to 30% of an IT resource in the United States or Europe, and probably better qualified. The salary of a developer is a mere $9000 USD per year. The resources that you are using are likely to incur lower expenses and promise to be more flexible.

Why Use Programme Management

Programme Management is a structured framework for defining and implementing change within an organisation. It provides a framework for implementing business strategies and initiatives through the co-ordinated management of a portfolio of projects that change organisations to achieve benefits that are of strategic importance.

Helping Project Teams Succeed

How often do we hear project managers complaining that they have been set-up to fail? If you're like me then quite often. I am sure that most organisations want their project managers to succeed. If this is true where does the "set-up to fail" idea come from. Could it be that the organisation doesn't have an environment that supports success?

Avoiding the Duplicate Application Trap

Have you ever wondered how much time and money organisations spend developing or buying duplicate software applications just because they do not know they currently exist. Experience and research suggests that organisations (especially large decentralised organisations) spend a large part of their IT budget on unnecessary duplication. What if we put this money to better use elsewhere, or use it to improve the quality of current application development?

How to Keep a Design Project Moving

It happens all too frequently. Everyone read the Creative Brief and gave their sign-off. The design team was selected because they had the most experience in your industry. The project schedule had plenty of padding built into it. But your web or graphic design project is nowhere close to final and you're a month past the deadline. How does this happen? Following are seven common causes for a design project to get held up, and suggestions to help you meet your deadline.

The ABC's of Project Management for Project Managers

This article covers 7 ABC's of Project Management. Derived from the competencies of project managers, this article reviews areas that make project managers successful in their vocation. As a contributor and reviewer of the PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition, Bill Thom feels that it is our responsibility as Project Managers to learn and share with each other in a manner that will assist in project success.

A Framework for Programme Management

In business today organisations manage multiple projects concurrently with shared or overlapping resources, often in different geographical locations. Today's traditional project management methodologies and techniques do not recognise the reality of organisational structures and workplace priorities, nor do they leverage the potential benefits that accrue from multi-skilled and multi-location teams. Programme management is a technique that allows organisations to run multiple, related projects concurrently to obtain significant benefits from them as a group.

Waterfall v Agile: How Should I Approach My Software Development Project?

Software development projects are usually approached using one of two methods, Waterfall or Agile. Both have pros and cons and each have their exponents who espouse the value of their chosen approach. In this article, I look at both methods and try to understand which is best and under what circumstances answering the question, "How should I approach my software development project?"

What is Project Portfolio Management?

Project Portfolio Management is about more than running multiple projects. Each portfolio of projects needs to be assessed in terms of its business value and adherence to strategy. The portfolio should be designed to achieve a defined business objective or benefit. Project management guru Bob Buttrick summarised it when he said; "Directing the individual project correctly will ensure it is done right. Directing 'all the projects' successfully will ensure we are doing the right projects."

Eight Key Factors to Ensuring Project Success

As a project manager, you are ultimately responsible for delivering a successful project. The buck stops with you, so it is in your interest to make sure relevant tools and techniques are used to make this happen. Some of the following may sound obvious, but I encounter these basic mistakes month in month out, with project managers left scratching their heads wondering where it all went wrong.

The Four Levels of Project Success

Project based organisation have become more common over the last decade, meaning the work they do is split into programmes of projects designed to deliver the organisation's strategy. Good management of these projects is essential if the organisation is going to succeed. Equally important to individual project success is ensuring they carry out the right projects.

Managing IT Projects Offshore

Today, many organisations have decided to move their IT development offshore to reduce costs and increase competitiveness. Work is sent to places such as India, China and Russia. The cost savings in these countries is significant, but the headline saving is only a small part of the equation. Running projects offshore is different to running them at home. Having spoken to many project managers over the past year, it has become clear the same issues are arising time and again. Understanding these before you start an offshore project will help you be better prepared.

Project Planning A Step by Step Guide

The key to a successful project is in the planning. Creating a project plan is the first thing you should do when undertaking any kind of project. Often project planning is ignored in favour of getting on with the work. However, many people fail to realise the value of a project plan in saving time, money and many problems.

Avoid the Same Old Mistakes by Focussing on Lessons Learned

It's said there are no new project management sins, just old ones repeated. It's also said that we don't learn the lessons from past projects and this must be true, otherwise why would we keep making the same old mistakes?

Successful Projects: It's Not Rocket Science

There is often a misconception that managing an IT project is difficult. Avoiding the common pitfalls of IT project management is not rocket science, it is simply a case of taking some sensible measures. This article identifies 5 killer mistakes of project management and their solutions.

Avoiding the Project Management Obstacle Course

Let's get straight to the point, project management by form filling is not an effective way of managing projects. These days many organisations and individual's whole project management strategy revolves around becoming slaves to a methodology. Don't get me wrong, there are many very good methodologies out there and they all have their part to play, but it's not the be-all and end-all of project management.