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Stephen Wise Blog

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7 things to carry in your Project kit

Here are 7 things to keep on your person or nearby that will help you excel as a Project Manager. 1. White Board markers A magic device that propels a conversation and creates a record. 2. Wristwatch Place a wristwatch in front of you so you can keep your eye on the time so that the important items get covered and you end meetings on schedule.

Integration Professionals Project Kit 

Integration Professionals Project Kit

3. 2 kinds of Pain reliever - ASA and Ibuprofin Make a drawer in your desk available for your project team with necessities. Learned this one from a wedding planner. Could also include stain remover, candies, taxi chits. 4. Project contact list with email, phone, and mobile contacts Missing a team member?, late for a meeting?, need urgent help from an executive? – always carry a printout of your contact list with email and phone info. 5. Project Issue / Risk log , Schedule, Change Log, and Budget Summary Some people like to carry around a complete Project binder. I’ve boiled it down to a few key items that I update periodically – the purpose to have written notes to be able to give unplanned “hallway” updates if you bump into an important stakeholder. 6. Post-it notes and Black Sharpie markers See number one above and add steroids. Get all meeting participants working on a plan, issue, or risk concurrently, if appropriate. Keep one idea per note. Print in large block letters. Post on wall and re-arrange to suit. Use a camera phone to snap the results. 7. Coffee-cards for instant recognition Giving out $5 coffee cards just to recognize folks for attending a meeting smacks of desperation – but it is still appreciated. What items should be added to the list? Add your ideas by replying below. 

Stephen Wise

  http://www.IntegrationProfessionals.com/

Two themes for Portfolio Agility

I have seen the future and it is agile. The agile I am talking about is not a tool, or methodology, or a movement. It is the outcome when Project Managers have discussions with Sponsors on how to go faster, or how to beat competitors, or how to win new business. Portfolio management is listing, prioritizing, selecting, and controlling business ideas/investments in the context of the top success drivers and constraints affecting the business. In my experience, many projects are handed to the Project Manager that have risks or budget or schedule issues that the PM can’t even quantify. Unfortunately, these very items are likely to be the root cause of missed expectations, budget overruns or schedule delays. Our challenge is to enter into an ongoing conversation to ensure the right investments are being made at the right time. We need to develop and design a new way of thinking to respond to the needs of the business. Here are two themes to help support this change: 1. Focus on enhancing the collaboration and communication between the person managing the work (Project Manager) and the person who wants the work done (Sponsor).
  • Create visibility anytime and to any desired level of detail.
  • Speed everything up so that we can see business benefits/failures faster.
2. Gain trust by eliminating multiple sources of data/truth by bringing data integrity into the project and program environment.
  • Ensure culture is conducive to increased reporting.
  • Communicate better about those things that people care about.
I first head the following from an industry research analyst, “We need better brakes … so we can go faster”. How true! By investing in portfolio management skills and tools to improve communication and data quality, the organizations we support will have improved agility to amplify successes and reallocate resources from underperforming projects.

Earned Value Management - turning on the headlights

Earned Value - Why do I need it?

To paraphrase the words of the Project Management Institute’s standard, when I rely only on a project schedule of tasks, finish dates, and % complete, I will not know where the project is or where it is going. I will simply know where the project was supposed to be and where it is supposed to be going.

What is Earned Value?

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a technique that looks at the relationship between a) actual cost expended, and b) actual work completed, and compares this to c) original budget and work timeline. More formally, the three data points you must understand and memorize are: a)      Actual Cost (AC) – What amount of resources have been expended to complete the work at a given point in time. b)      Earned Value (EV) – Snapshot of work completed at a given point in time. c)       Planned Value (PV) – The Baseline – How far along the project work is supposed to be at any given point in the project schedule.

How do I implement Earned Value? (My cheat sheet below)

  Step 1 (Planning)

  1. Create a Work Breakdown Structure.
  2. Ensure all tasks on the schedule are assigned.
  3. Estimate time to complete each task.
  4. Determine how you will determine that tasks are complete as the project progresses.

 

Step 2 Periodic monitoring

  1. Obtain cost and / or hours expended.
  2. Obtain status on task completion.
  3. Forecast Cost and Schedule performance.

My usual workflow is to enter the planned and actual data into MS Project and then export the time-scaled data to an excel chart. An excel chart (example below)  isn’t 

required, but I highly recommend it as a support to your table of data – a picture is worth a thousand words.

  S-curve  

Combine the data into actionable forecasts

By using Earned Value techniques, you use Project Management discipline to provide key feedback and forecasting to the project team and executives. See four sample 

questions and formulae below.

  EVM formula table

Limitation

Earned Value is not sensitive to the quality of the deliverables. You can be near the end of the project and forecast on budget and on schedule even if the deliverables are poor and the customer will not accept the final product. The expectation is that the PM is using other tools and techniques to manage and control quality.

Stephen Wise

http://www.IntegrationProfessionals.com/

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