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Risk Management That Pays for Itself

You should scale your risk management effort to fit each project or initiative.  It’s difficult to persuade executives to invest time and money on risk management to avoid or limit risk. They prefer “being ready to react” when bad stuff happens. They think that is cheaper than spending money on what many see as a bureaucratic process […]

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Risk Management For Small Projects

Just because your project is small doesn’t mean you should skip doing risk management. Let’s say your boss is the sponsor and your project has just two team members. That means you will be completing tasks as well as doing project manager duties.  Most projects are small like this and they should have some risk management. Risk Management Main […]

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Project Risk Management

There’s a lot of talk in project management about superstar project managers being great at “putting out fires.” But actually, the superstar project managers are the ones who do risk management and avoid the fire entirely. These PMs don’t need “all-hands” emergency meetings when something unexpected happens. They don’t need to bring all project work […]

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How To: Construction Project WBS – Video

A key part of a good construction project plan is the work breakdown structure (WBS). It specifies the work assignment for every crew member, subcontractor, architect, and outside consulting engineer working on the project. You begin by defining the scope and major deliverables of the project. Then you breakdown each of those deliverables into smaller deliverables until […]

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How To: IT Project WBS – Video

The heart of a good IT project plan is the work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS tells everyone what’s expected of them. You start by breaking down the scope into 4 to 7 major deliverables. Then you break down each of those major deliverables into smaller deliverables. You continue the process all the way down to tasks you will […]

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How To: Project WBS – Video

A critical part of your project plan is the work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS is a decomposition of the project scope. You start by breaking down the scope into 4 to 7 major deliverables. Then you break down each of those major deliverables into smaller deliverables. You continue the process all the way down to tasks you will assign […]

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How To: Healthcare Project WBS – video

A key part of a good healthcare project plan is the work breakdown structure (WBS). You begin by defining the scope and major deliverables of the project with administrators, physicians and other caregivers.  Then you decompose or breakdown each of those deliverables into smaller deliverables until you get to the level of an individual assignment. When you break down the […]

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Basic Project Methodology – Video

This Basic Project Methodology is a five-step methodology for project managers who are doing smaller projects. This is a good process to follow if you are just beginning to manage projects. It is for projects within your own department and your boss is the project sponsor. The team members report to the same boss and there are few stakeholders or contractors. The project […]

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Work Breakdown Structure WBS

WBS: Deliverables or a “To Do” List? The work breakdown structure WBS provides the foundation on which a project manager works. The PM uses the Work Breakdown Structure WBS to control the project and the team. The WBS also provides the checkpoints against which the PM and the organization measure progress (What is the WBS). […]

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How To: Project Plan Template

On every new project, you need to decide what project plan template elements to include, which to exclude and how to develop them on each particular project. You can use this project plan template to define the project scope and identify major deliverables. You can also use it to manage the project risks, constraints and […]

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Five Small Project Planning Techniques

Small project planning techniques are often difficult to do well. That’s because new project managers frequently make the mistake of applying all the techniques in their project management textbook. They wind up burying small projects under too many meetings and too much paperwork. There are just a few critical pieces required for success on small projects. […]

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How To Use Dynamic Project Scheduling

Dynamic project scheduling and the diagram of a predecessor network show us the sequence of tasks and let us design concurrent or parallel tasks. This can significantly shorten a project’s duration. Main Project Planning Page Successful project managers use dynamic project scheduling because it saves them significant amounts of time and lets them quickly model the impact of changes […]

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Large Project Planning Techniques

When your success as a project manager leads to larger assignments, you shouldn’t assume that your small project techniques would continue to work.  Planning larger projects requires different techniques. When you started your career in project management, the projects were small and planning was relatively easy. So even bad techniques worked. Often the project sponsor was […]

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Influencing Project Stakeholders – Video

Watch this “project manager in action” video. It’s followed by a discussion of the best techniques for influencing project stakeholders and gaining their support. Stakeholders are anyone who is impacted by the project. That includes managers and executives, users, contractors, vendors and team members. You need their participation to define the project’s requirements and deliverables. Managers who […]

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Project Planning Turf Wars – Video

Watch this Project Team from Hell make every project planning mistake you have ever seen a team make. These people have a feudal turf war going and the project manager and sponsor can’t seem to tame it. See the Main Planning Page You’ll see these executives make a number of project planning mistakes including bringing their […]

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Top Down Project Planning

In many organizations, managers and senior management view project planning as a waste of time. To them, the project plan is needless. They want to “start work immediately without wasting time in useless planning meetings and creating mounds of paperwork.” As a result, project managers have difficulty engaging management in the project-planning task. Why do they […]

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How To Managing Multiple Projects

After successfully managing projects in IT, healthcare, construction, or general business, project managers can move up to managing multiple projects, programs and/or portfolios of projects. Here they must allocate resources across all the projects in the program or portfolio they’re responsible for managing. They must also deal with executive sponsors and stakeholders more often. They must try to enforce effective organization-wide processes […]

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How To: Post-Project Review

The post-project review processes are ineffective in most organizations. Consequently, they suffer from the same mistakes on one project after another. Even worse, the bigger the project failure, the less likely the organization is to learn from it. The same issues that cause a project to fail also prevent the people involved from learning from that failure. Organizations need […]

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How To Run Project Launch Meeting

The project launch meeting is an opportunity for the project manager and sponsor to build enthusiasm for the project among the project team and the project stakeholders. The team members are the people who will be doing the work. The project stakeholders are people who will be affected by the project and they will be participating in […]

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How Project Methodology Evolves

  Organization’s project methodology evolves through these five stages as they reach project management maturity: 1. Ad hoc projects 2. Increasing density 3. Resource overload 4. Initiation control 5. Consistent success   Knowing which stage your organization is in can help you be consistently successful with your projects. You can adjust your work efforts (or job hunting) to make the […]

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The Cost of Internal Project Management Failures

Internal project management failures are costly in terms of wasted time and money. They also erode the executive’s confidence in the ability of its project management staff to deliver strategic results, take advantage of opportunities or remedy problems. This puts the organization at risk competitively if it’s competitors can use projects to take advantage of opportunities and […]

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How To Initiate Projects

Projects fail when executives and stakeholders initiate projects like they’re ordering lunch at the drive-through window of a fast-food joint. In this situation, you, the project manager, can’t control the scope so the project finishes late and produces very little business value. Consistent project failure usually starts when PMs and sponsors initiate projects with fast food order-taking techniques. […]

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How To Use the Project Critical Path Technique

The critical path is the longest sequence of tasks in a project. It determines the project’s duration and completion date. It’s easy to use project critical path analysis to determine the duration and optimize your project plans to finish as quickly as possible. Let’s see an example of how to correctly use the critical path technique. Chris […]

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Project Manager Skills – The Right Stuff

Let’s look at a typical day in the life of a project manager and the right project manager skills they use. You arrived at work a few days after the management plan for the supply room project had been approved. This project was a tough one that required all your project manager skills. You reviewed the project management […]

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Project Scope Statement

The project scope statement is not completed by the project manager politely writing down what the sponsor wants done. Project managers must know how to ask the right questions to get the sponsor to state their acceptance criteria in measurable form. That’s the real definition of what the sponsor wants and how they will measure if […]

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Project from Hell – Video

Project From Hell: Launch Meeting A Project From Hell is bad from the beginning. Watch as a project sponsor uses the project launch meeting to make finish date demands, add new features and threaten the team. The project manager “wimps out” and agrees to everything over the teams members’ objections. He promises suicidal working hours and blindly […]

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Problems Created by Team Micromanagement

Project teams have a wide range of cultures and attitudes toward the project and its manager. Project team members bring expectations based on their prior project experience as well as their attitudes about being on project teams. But the primary determinant of the culture of a project team is the project manager’s behavior on such […]

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Cost Benefit Analysis

Project managers use a cost benefit analysis to demonstrate the value of doing a project. When a new project is initiated, the sponsor and project manager must justify the project to obtain organizational approval to spend the money. Many organizations have rules about what cost to benefit relationship the project must produce to be approved. In some, […]

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Project Management Bidders Conference – Select Vendors

Project management bidders conferences are part of the process of selecting vendors provide goods or services to the project. The request for proposal (RFP) that is sent out to potential sellers/ vendors contains information about a meeting to be held prior to the submission of the seller bid/proposal. All prospective bidders are invited to this public […]

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How To Identify Project Stakeholders

One of the most important tasks in project management is to identify project stakeholders.  Stakeholders are the people who are affected, positively or negatively, by the project. You must always make an effort to identify project stakeholders early in the planning process.  Let’s look at an example of a small project and see how to […]

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Project Management Careers – Join a Profession In Demand

Project management careers offer you one of the fastest growing professions because people who have the ability to deliver business results on time and within budget are in demand in every industry. Salaries are high with the average income of a certified project manager topping $114,000 US. Project managers are in demand all over the […]

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Questions about the PMP® Exam

Preparing to pass the Project Management Institutes’s (PMI)® Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam is tough. People have lots of questions about the PMP exam. Here are answers to some of the most common questions. Is there somewhere I can find a list of all the questions/answers that are going to be on the PMP exam? Unfortunately […]

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