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viernes, 30 de diciembre de 2011

Communicating for effect

I´m reading in the PM Network magazine an article that has caught my attention in the first paragraph:

"There is no point in communicating with someone if you don´t want to cause an effect"

Interesting sentence... Never had thought about the communication from this perspective.

The article describes three key elements needed for the communication to be effective:

1) Form an unambiguous statement of precisely what it is you want the receiver to do or change
2) Demonstrate the reason why the communication is important
3) The communication should define what benefit the receiver can expect

Following these tips... I just want to say: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

viernes, 23 de diciembre de 2011

Why PMs should use EVM (Earned Value Management)

This week I have attended the monthly meeting of the Madrid PMI chapter. There were very interesting presentations this month. In this post I will refer to the one related to EVM. Two colleagues from the chapter attended recently the EVM world congress that took place in Valencia (Spain) and they exposed to us the presentations they made in the congress, and they told us as well about what topics and trends were discussed in the forum.

The presentation of one of them was focused on why PMs should use EVM in their projects. He based the presentation on his own experience about how he was able to control better his projects once he started applying EVM on them. Therefore, the first thing he says to all PMs that don´t use it is:

1- EVM is nice to have cause you will know more about the financial status of your project.
But, people say.... i don´t need to learn something as complex as EVM....

After this attitude from most of the PMs then he makes another attempt:

2- You are already using something similar in order to know the cost and progress of your projects.
But people say... EVM requires too much excel management

Therefore, finally he uses to apply as third attempt:

3- Use EVM is you need to control cost
And people say... well.... yes....

Because management wants you to control the cost of your projects... this is key... Controlling cost is KEY for our project sponsors!!!

And... you don´t need to use Excel for EVM... you can use many other tools, like.. MS project!!

sábado, 10 de diciembre de 2011

Project handover between PMs

Many times during our career we have had to take projects that were already ongoing managed by other PMs and the handover was just a short chat and an email with information. Familiar with this? Everything looks under control after this handover meeting but as soon as you take the project you start finding many issues that the previous PM did not make you aware of.

In order to avoid this, a formal handover meeting should be taken, using a check list covering the main project management areas. The one I use has this structure:

- Project details (Project name, Customer, Sponsor, etc...)
- Meeting details (Time and place where handover takes place)
- Scope (Project Spec clear?, WBS defined?, Change Requests reviewed?, ...)
- Time (Time plan updated?, end delivery planned date realistic?,...)
- Cost (Budget valid?, Addon sales opened?, Take actual costs as baseline for the handover!)
- Quality (Review project KPIs,...)
- Human Resources (Project organization, Feedback on project members,...)
- Communication (Review the communication plan, review latest progress report,...)
- Risks (Review risk analysis,....)
- Procurement (All purchase orders issued?, partner interfaces,...)
- Customer (Inform the customer you are the new PM!!! Better in a face to face meeting with the previous PM as well)

Following a checklist like this will make project handovers more smooth and succesful.

jueves, 1 de diciembre de 2011

10 ways to get a slipping project back in track

I´ve read an article today about ways to get back in track our projects. Some are quite obvious, but i think is worth to post the whole list:

1- Work overtime
2- Reallocate resources
3- Double-check all dependencies
4- Check time-constrained activities
5- Swap resources
6- Crash the schedule
7- Fast track it
8- Prevent all scope change
9- Improve processes
10- Scale back the scope of work

And the most obvious but not easy to communicate to the stakeholders....

11- Deliver the work at a later date!!