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Archive | 2. Larger Project Skills

Increase your project management knowledge and skill set with techniques for successfully managing larger projects. These skills include: 3 different estimating techniques, analyzing and mitigating risks, working with multiple stakeholders and managing conflicts, using variance analysis tools like earned value, and making effective presentations and answering questions “on your feet.”

Project Estimation Sponsor Games

Project Estimation Sponsor Games are played by ineffective sponsors who use intimidation and manipulation avoid being held responsible for project results. These sponsors don’t play the sponsor role effectively by clearly detailing the project scope and the deliverables they want.  Instead, the dodge all commitment and seek to set up the project manager and team to […]

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How To Do Analogous Estimating – Video

Analogous estimating will improve the time and cost estimates for your project. First, let’s talk about why estimates are often inaccurate and useless to the project’s decision-makers. That’s because project managers frequently estimate cost and duration by “plucking numbers out of the sky.” Or they provide estimates that have no basis in reality but are what the project sponsor wants to […]

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Lessons Learned: Questions to Ask

What do organizations that have consistently high levels of project success have in common? They conduct lessons learned discussions and create project archives during the project close-out phase. The lessons learned documentation includes what went right, what went wrong and what the project manager and team could have done better. The archives also include plans from previous projects and […]

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Earned Value Management

Earned Value Management  is an integrated set of tools for managing project progress and spotting variances from the plan.  These tools help you identify variances between actual performance in the project’s schedule and variances between actual costs and the project’s budget. Earned value management can also provide forecasts of the likely completion date and final cost […]

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Project Risk Management

You should spend some time doing Project Risk Management even if your project is small.  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 performing project manager duties.  Most projects are small like this but you still should perform some Project Risk Management […]

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Project Estimation Techniques

Project estimation techniques are critical survival tools for predicting when a project will finish and how much it will cost. Estimating duration and cost accurately can make the difference between consistent success and frequent failure.  Project managers need to use different techniques during the project phases to provide good information to the decision-makers. Let’s look at some estimating situations and […]

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Project Duration

Managing project duration to make sure the sponsor and stakeholders are happy is the number one challenge for most project managers. Many executives think the most important metrics are the project duration and the finish date. Sometimes they are the only measures the sponsor and stakeholders ask about. Project Duration: Why Do Stakeholders Manage Only Dates? In […]

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Lessons Learned Project Management

Lessons Learned Project Management is a process that is often bypassed. That’s because project managers and team members are sick of talking about the project they have worked on for months. Skipping the lessons learned process says to your team, “This project is too small to do any of that fancy lessons learned stuff. Let’s save […]

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Cost-Benefit Analysis in Project Initiation

Cost-benefit analysis is a simple technique for comparing the business value a project will produce with the cost of producing it. Project managers use cost-benefit analysis in the project initiation phase to show the value of doing a project. During project initiation, the sponsor and project manager must justify the project to get the organization’s approval to spend the […]

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Project Contractors & Consultants

Project Contractors and Consultants Often times on projects, the project manager must work with project contractors and consultants. These are outside professionals, consultants and other vendors required to finalize some of the project tasks. This enables the project manager to secure high-level professional resources. The key to success with contractors and consultants is setting up control mechanisms […]

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PERT Estimates – Teaching Your Team How to Do It

PERT Estimates (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) are sometimes called 3-point estimates. The reason this technique is a best practice is that it gives you three benefits: Increased accuracy Useful information on the risks of each task that you estimate Better commitment from the project team members because the estimate considers the task’s risks.   […]

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Project Stakeholders

Managing Project Stakeholders As you move ahead in your project management career, you advance from managing small project teams who may share a common superior and work in the same department. The scope of those projects is aimed at providing something that project sponsor wants. They may be the only project stakeholder. After some project […]

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Project Cash Flow

Making Sure the Project Cash Flow Will be There Just as project managers must secure the availability of the project team members and the materials or equipment required for the tasks, they must also secure the project cash flow availability. While some contractors will wait until the completion of the project to receive payment, others must be paid […]

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Overconfidence in Project Management

Most successful professionals have a great deal of confidence. This is particularly true of project managers.  They have climbed the technical ladder to reach the project manager position and a few successes may have elevated them in the eyes of management above the other project managers.  This can cause overconfidence which is a situation ripe for […]

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Project Sponsor Types: Political Operator – Video

There are many project sponsor types. Some are focused only on delivering business value to their organization and have excellent strategic vision. They know how to support the project manager and the team so they can be highly effective. Unfortunately, not all project sponsor types operate like this. There are a number of project sponsor types […]

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Accurate Project Estimating – Video

Making accurate estimates of project duration, cost and completion date are critical to your project manager credibility and career. No matter how good your technical skills and judgment are, if decision-makers can’t count on your estimates of cost and duration, your credibility will inevitably suffer. Accurate estimating is not primarily a matter of knowledge or […]

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Change Control Video – The Wrong Way & The Right Way

Change control is a constant challenge for project managers. They have to deal with stakeholders who want to submit scope changes. This occurs daily on some projects.  Project Change Control Main Page Change Control – The Wrong Way The project manager in this video faces two aggressive stakeholders who want to make significant additions to the scope […]

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Project Bidders Conference

Project bidders conferences are part of the process of selecting vendors/sellers who provide goods or services to the project. That process begins during planning when the project manager and team formulate the request for proposal  (RFP). At the same time, they create the vendor/seller selection and evaluation criteria they’ll use to rank the proposals. During procurement planning, the project manager […]

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Project Change Control – Video

When project managers handle project change control badly, it irritates stakeholders and cause overruns on budget and duration. Fighting all changes doesn’t work and neither does accepting all of them. We’ll discuss the mistakes project managers make on change orders. Then we’ll review a methodology for doing it the right way. On many projects, the […]

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Project Requirements Video

Project Requirements: The Key to Stakeholder Management, Scope Control & Change Requests Managing project requirements builds the foundation for: Effective scope and change control Strong support from stakeholders and users Finishing your project without last-minute requirements surprises. Stakeholders are the principal focus of managing project requirements. You must continuously try to identify new stakeholders so you […]

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Project in Trouble

Is Your New Project In Trouble Already? As project managers, we spend a lot of time and energy staying on top of the projects we’re responsible for.  But let’s say the boss hands you a project that’s already underway, one that you’re not familiar with and that has been managed by someone who is no […]

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Project Management Risk – Three Levels

The project management risk process has a bad reputation among executives. Often that reputation is well deserved. Too many project managers get carried away with fancy mathematics, too many meetings and far too much paperwork. The cost and level of effort are out of proportion to the benefits the project receives from the risk management effort. […]

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How To Do Risk Analysis

Here is How To Do Risk Analysis for your project. After you have identified the risks your project faces, you need to do a risk analysis to determine which ones call for a risk response and which do not. The purpose of risk analysis is to rank the list of identified risks in order of significance […]

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Project Charter

The project charter documents the project’s scope, objectives, resources, risks, assumptions, change control and the project manager’s authority. It should let the project manager identify problems and conflicts early so they can be resolved before the project work starts. It should help the project manager cope with the executive’s expectations about the project and how the PM will […]

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Project Lessons Learned

The project lessons learned process is ineffective in most organizations. One project after another suffers from the same mistakes.  What is even worse is that the bigger the project failure, the less likely they are to learn from it.  The same issues that cause a project to fail also prevent the people involved from learning from […]

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Project Charter Template

Use this project charter template to create the charter at the end of the project initiation process. This is after you have the scope information, the statement of work (SOW) from the sponsor and before the detailed planning begins. It includes the following: scope major deliverables assumptions constraints risks required resources and change control.  Starting work is still […]

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Critical Path

The critical path is the longest sequence of tasks in a project. The tasks on the critical path control the duration of the entire project. Any increase in duration of a critical path task will always cause the project’s duration to increase. The Critical Path is a great tool to help you shorten the duration […]

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How To Do 3-Point Estimating – Video

It is worth learning how to do 3-point estimating because it is the best technique for developing estimates with your project team members. It is called 3-point estimating because the team member provides their pessimistic, optimistic and best guess estimates for their deliverable. It is also called PERT which stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique. […]

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Risk Strategy – Video

Here is how to plan a Risk Strategy for your project. You have gone through the risk identification process and you have done qualitative analysis of those risks. You may have also done quantitative analysis on a few major risks. Now you have your data on the probability of each risk occurring and the magnitude of the […]

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Risk Management Plan – Video

Successful project managers always have a Risk Management Plan to avoid fires on their projects. That’s much better than putting out the flames after they have ignited.  These PMs don’t need “all-hands” emergency meetings when something unexpected happens. They don’t need to bring all project work to a halt and give people new tasks to respond […]

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