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sábado, 9 de agosto de 2014

Talking about mentoring in PMI Madrid

The last week I had the chance to talk in the monthly PMI Madrid meeting about the mentoring program that me, together with other four volunteers, have established for all the PMI Madrid partners.

PMI Madrid monthly meeting

The goal of the presentation was to show to the PMI Madrid partners that the program is available for all of them, acting as mentors or mentees or both, in order to increase the number of participants in the next edition of the program, that will be kicked off the next month of October. For it, I exposed the benefits that a mentoring program provides to the mentors and to the mentees, and a couple of partners who have participated in a previous edition of the program, exposed their personal experience, and the benefits they have achieved going through this mentoring program. 

As a summary of the main benefits for the participants I extract these ones:

  • Contribution to the project management profession
  • Strenght their leadership skills
  • Satisfaction of helping to other colleagues
  • Way to get PDUs

  • Professional development
  • Exposure to new ways of thinking
  • Increase their self confidence
  • Way to get PDUs

domingo, 6 de julio de 2014

Guide for getting projects back on track (Part 1)

My last assignments have been related to get back on track projects that have been running for several months and they were totally off track from all perspectives. I am going to write a series of posts related to my experience in these assignments, in order to build a guide of recommendations I suggest for getting the projects back on track.

First thing to do when you are assigned to a project that has been running for a while already, even for those ones that are not off-track, is to meet the current PM of that project in order to do a formal handover of the activities.

In that handover meeting I follow a template that is composed of the following sections:

- Project details: In this point of the agenda of the meeting I try to get basic project data like:
  • Project name,
  • Customer,
  • Sponsor,
  • Steering group,
  • and so on...

- Checklist: The next point in the agenda has as main goal to get detailed information from the following areas:
  • Scope,
  • Time,
  • Cost,
  • Quality,
  • Human Resources,
  • Communication,
  • Risks,
  • Procurement,
  • Customer.

- Additional Comments: As some relevant information of the project may not be covered in the points above, I include in the agenda of the meeting an slot for the PM and for myself to deliver and request additional information.

- Action Points: As during this meeting it may be not possible for the current PM to provide all needed information for the handover, is important to take action points and establish near time deadlines, in order to have all the needed information for managing the project as soon as possible.

Once you have had this meeting, you can have already a good view of why the project is offtrack. Most of the times is because the baseline of the project has not been defined or has not been monitored. You will realize in this meeting if this is the main reason, as you may not get from the PM most of the information you are requesting, or because you see that the documentation that is delivering to you is outdated.

What is next after this meeting??: It will depend on the outcome of it. From my experience, for projects that are offtrack you will not get from the PM most of the information requested in this meeting, and then you will have to create a new baseline starting from the planning phase, while you in parallel try to overcome the most urgent isssues that have already been escalated by the customer.

lunes, 24 de marzo de 2014

Project Management, a temporary fashion, or a need?

Project management, a temporary fashion or a need..... IS THIS STATEMENT TRUE?

Let´s make some research in order to check if we can consider that project management is a temporary fashion.

One metric that could make us think that project management is a temporary fashion could be the number of persons that belong to a project management organization or have a project management certification. Let´s look at the numbers in PMI, as the biggest project management organization with ones of the most worldwide accepted certifications.

In the WORLD: (31/01/2012)
  • PMI members: 377.589 
  • PMP certified: 471.437
In the world: (31/01/2014)
    • PMI members: 450.713 
    • PMP certified: 603.216
    This means a 19% increase of PMI members and 28% increase in the number of PMPs.

    If we check the same metrics for Spain: 

    In SPAIN: (31/01/2012)
    • PMI members: 2.638
    • PMP certified: 2.831
    In Spain: (31/01/2014)
    • PMI members: 5.270 
    • PMP certified: 5.984
    We find a 99% increase in the number of PMIs!! and 111% in the number of PMPs!!!


    And if we check the number of members that belong to the PMI Madrid Chapter for the same period:

    We see that the the number of members has increased by 66%.

    Looking at these figures is clear that something is making the people in Spain to join project management organizations and getting certified. 

    But.... which one could be the reasons for this impressive increase??

    If we search in Google "more demanded certifications", what it calls my attention first is that most of the links are related to IT certifications, but in order to not to be focused in just one particular area, i check the link that says 15 Top-paying certifications for 2014, for finding out in the 5th position:

    •  Project Management Professional (PMP®) - $108,525

    On the other hand, checking data at INE, we can see that in Spain we had a 24.44% unemployment rate in March 2012, and 26.07% in December 2013.

    And adding another component to the equation, there are companies, like the one I work for, where is mandatory to be PMP certified in order to be recognized as a project manager, what means that there are companies that are moving to a project driven mode as they have seen the competitive advantage that project management brings to the companies. (My company belongs to the IT & Telecom area).

    What can we conclude from all these data??:

    It´s clear that there is an impressive increase in the number of people joining organizations like PMI and getting certified, but is not possible to know which one is the main reason while not having data like unemployment rate in the project management profession, percentage of companies demanding project management certifications, percentage of companies working on a project driven mode, and so on....

    Based on this, I can not say if project management is a temporary fashion...

    But I can confirm that project management is a NEED, just for one simple reason: Project Management impacts directly the bottom line of the companies financial statements, and as consequence in the shareholder value.

    viernes, 21 de marzo de 2014

    Project management is everywhere: Two events attended yesterday

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend two different events. In the morning one organized by Oracle titled "How to transform your business with Big Data Analytics", and in the evening one organized by the IE Alumni (Instituto de Empresa Business School) titled "Keys for an effective negotiation".

    What seems at a first glance to have both events in common? Reading the titles, you see that one is related to Technology and the another one is related to Human Skills. In the first case, you use the technology for the transformation of your business, and in the second one you enhance your human skills for making business. Therefore, BUSINESS may be what most of the people would say that was common in both events.

    But once you attend both events, you find out that there is another common thing in both, and are the PROJECTS, and the project management. Let´s see why, going briefly into the content of both.

    Nowadays, the world if full of data. The amount of data is so huge, that we do not have the capacity of processing all and make use of it. With big data technologies, not only you can handle all the data, if not that you can add intelligence on the processing, being able to get answers to questions that we have not formulated before. This area has an impressive future, and it would take many posts to be able to present it. Anyway, as this is a project management blog, I will jump directly in the agenda of the event to the presentation done by Luis Esteban, Chief Data Officer of CaixaBank, "Innovation for customer service".

    His presentation was about what is CaixaBank doing with big data analytics for improving their customer´s satisfaction. He is CDO, C-level, and I was impressed by the fact that he was all the time in his speech talking about PROJECTS!. They work in a project driven mode for achieving their business goals. And as it happens everywhere (as far as I know), he mentioned that all transformation projects face resistance in the organization, but they overcome it mainly with these two points:

    • Involving the final users in the project
    • Having as sponsor of the project the CEO
    How many companies around the world have this project orientation???...

    Regarding the event organized by the IE, driven by Pilar Galeote (IE professor), the relationship with the projects is inmediate. How many negotiations (internal and external) do you have in every project you lead? Negotiations are in all the life cycle of the project, since the opportunity is detected, till the the deliverables of the project are handed over to the customer.

    Briefly, the session was driven by the method case used by most of the business schools, and it was around the negotiation based on principles/interests. This event could take an additional post, therefore i will not expand the matter here.

    As can be seen, projects are everywhere, therefore the project management should not be considered a fashion, if not a need, but about this I will write more in my next post, under the initiative promoted by PMideas, where more than 30 bloggers will write about "Project Management, a Fashion or a Need?" on the 24th of April.

    viernes, 14 de marzo de 2014

    Using Earned Value Management Indexes as a team development factor and compensation tool

    The last week I attended a webinar organized by the PMI CoP Earned Value Management titled "Using EVM for Team Compensation" or in his longest version "Using Earned Value Management Indexes as a team development factor and compensation tool".

    The webinar was provided by Ricardo Vargas, who is very well known in the project management world. For those of you who have not heard about him yet, I copy an extract of his Bio:


    Ricardo is a project, portfolio and risk management specialist. During the past 15 years, He was responsible for over 80 major projects in several countries in areas of petroleum, energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, IT and finance, comprising an investment portfolio of over 18 billion dollars.

    Currently he is the director of the Project Management Practice Group at UNOPS and live in Copenhagen, Denmark. His work is focused on improving the management of humanitarian, peace-building and infrastructure development projects in dozens of countries, such as Haiti, Afghanistan, I
    Iraq and South Sudan.

    He is a previous Chairman of the Board for the Project Management Institute (PMI), the first Latin American volunteer to be elected to such position.

    He is the author of twelve books on project management, published in Portuguese, English and Spanish, which have sold over 250,000 copies throughout the world.

    Ricardo is a chemical engineer and I hold a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais). He also holds a Master Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University and he is a Project Management Professional (PMP), Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) and Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP) by PMI. He is also certified as a Programme, Project Management and PRINCE2® Registered Consultant (P2RC) and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Practitioner by the UK Office of Government and Commerce (OGC) and as Certified Scrum Master (CSM) by the Scrum Alliance. He attended the Program on Negotiation for Executives at Harvard Law School and has an executive formation in Strategy and Innovation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

    His twitter is @rvvargas

    His specialties are:
    Project, Portfolio and Risk Management
    Crisis Management
    Troubled Projects
    Microsoft Project 2013
    Coaching and mentoring


    The objective of this presentation was to present the main components of the development of a project team, the motivational characteristics inherent to the team work and an interrelation proposal between the earned value analysis and team development through the SPI and CPI indexes obtained by the tool and team development models and the compensation and reward in the project, allowing to reduce the evaluation subjectiveness of the human resource in the project.
    The presentation presents a brief report about the team development and compensation policies, as well as an introduction to the earned value concept aiming to align the approached concepts.

    The main learning objectives were:

    1. Understand the main components of the development of a project team, the motivational characteristics inherent to the team work

    2. Understand the interrelation proposal between the earned value analysis and team development through the SPI and CPI indexes

    3. Briefly understand about team development and compensation policies concept. Also get basic understandings of the earned value concept aiming to align to team development.

    You can get more details in the paper he published for this topic that can be found at his website:

    The webminar was very well conducted, and it was explained in a way that helped to understand perfectly all the concepts and formulas used for obtaining the HPI - Human Performance Index.

    My point of view about this new index, HPI, are:

    - As it is linked to EVM, it can not be obtained in projects where for their nature EVM can not be implemented.

    - It does not take into consideration dependencies that may be causing deviations on time or cost to that specific task.

    - Baseline cost may not be correctly estimated and that will impact the compensation of the resources/teams assigned to that task.

    - Baseline scheduled may not be correctly estimated and that will impact the compensation of the resources/teams assigned to that task.

    - It may impact the team collaboration as they will be more focused on trying to achive their individual tasks rather than helping to the other project team members.

    It is remarkable the innovation attitude from Ricardo, trying to bring new indexes in techniques like EVM, helping to develop the project management profession. I recommend all of you to check his website and follow him in twitter.

    lunes, 10 de marzo de 2014

    PM Agility Survey

    Some weeks ago I contributed to this survey from MIT and PMI Global Research Alliance which goal is to explore the theory of Agility in the project and program management perspective.

    It seems they have opened again the survey till the 12th of March. I copy their communication and what you can get if you collaborate and fill out the survey just in case you are intested to contributed to the study.


    Survey Invitation

    We kindly invite you to participate in a joint global survey related to Agile Program and Project Management. This survey is part of a research program conducted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at the Consortium for Engineering Program Excellence (CEPE) and has collaboration of researchers from University of São Paulo, São Carlos School of Engineering.

    The Project Management InstitutePMI is supporting this research as an alliance partner with MIT. You can also check the survey invitation as posted at in the session "Participate in a survey":

    Your collaboration matters!
    This survey will help with the development of Agility concept for Project and Program Management. Your experience and contributions will help us to identify the relationships between management practices, organizational factors, and agility performance, with their impacts on project and product performance.

    We expect this research to ultimately help companies to identify the most suitable combination of agile management practices to achieve better project and product performance, innovation, customer value, and business performance.

    What are the near-term benefits/results to you?
    At the completion of the study, all participants will be eligible to access and download an exclusive executive summary report containing the results and main findings of the study. This report will be available within 60 days after survey completion and data analysis. It will be useful for:
    • Gaining a better understanding of Agility Theory and how to build agile organizational competences to improve program and project performance and results;
    • Understanding what practices and organizational factors, and their combinations, are more likely to improve Agility Performance as well as the project and product performance;
    • Gaining a broad perspective of how to improve project and program management processes to foster greater Agility Performance.

    Who is eligible to participate?
    All certified or non-certified professionals are eligible to participate, including: Project or Program Managers, Portfolio Mangers, Chief Systems Engineers, R&D Managers, Product Development Managers, Scrum Masters, Team Members from different business sectors or industries.

    How do I participate?
    The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete. We ask you to complete the survey from the perspective of a single project with which you are familiar that is already completed or is in the last phase of execution. You can complete the survey multiple times for different projects in your organization if you wish, or may also ask for your colleagues complete the survey for their projects.

    Your participation is highly appreciated! Thank You!
    Follow this link to the Survey:
    Take the Survey
    Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:

    viernes, 7 de marzo de 2014

    Leadership: It´s a Marathon not a Sprint

    It has been a while since my last post. Almost one year....

    One year where I have been very busy with work assignments, but where I have managed to keep saving time as well for attending webinars, seminars, reading books, checking tweets, and so on, related to project management, that I will publish in this blog in the next weeks.

    This week, Gordon Tredgold sent me a copy of his book: "Leadership: It´s a Marathon not a Sprint", that I am planning to start reading as soon as I am able to open prc files in my laptop.

    The title of the book attracted me at the first glance due to these two words: LEADERSHIP and MARATHON.

    Leadership is a key skill every project manager should master on for being a great project manager, and on the other hand, I am avid marathon runner, that tries to run one marathon every year in a different city of the world. (Prague is the city chosen for this year).

    With these two words I was already convinced for reading the book, but when I have checked in Gordon´s blog the history behind this book, and I have seen that all started due to the plague of our century, cancer, my motivation to read it and share it has increased even more.

    I will post my feedback about the book in a few weeks here, but in the meantime if you want to know more about the book and about Gordon, please check his blog.