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Dick Billows, PMP

Dick Billows, PMP

DicK Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com

I have been managing projects for over 25 years and have assisted over 300 organizations in improving their project results. Along the way, I have written 14 books, over 325 articles and directed 36 short videos on project management. I’ve managed projects all over the world as well as managing portfolios of projects and trained 1000’s of project managers. I am president of 4PM.com and directs the firm’s consulting, in-person seminars and web-based individual training programs for professionals.

I began my career in project management with an international consulting firm where he successfully managed performance improvement, cost reduction and systems development projects for clients across the United States and overseas for 12 years. He directed projects in the following industries: computer chips, aluminum extrusion, insurance, local and state government, food manufacturing, restaurant chains, international reservation systems, K-12 education, oil refining, law firms, hospitals, medical practices and construction contracting and sub-contracting in commercial, industrial and residential construction.  Dick’s system development projects include accounting systems, ERP, financial reporting, inventory control, scheduling, personnel management and claims processing.

I made partner at Grant Thornton International (the world’s fifth largest accounting and consulting firm) and later assumed responsibility for the entire regional portfolio of client projects in the western United States. I was responsible for training and developing dozens of project managers who managed thousands of projects each year.

A Fortune 100 client hired me to manage a 14 state region with responsibility for a portfolio of new products, including new locations, advertising, marketing, research and development. MY division achieved over 40% growth in five consecutive years.

A team of project managers and I formed 4PM.com to provide project management training and consulting for PMs and clients around the world.

My current duties are implementing project methodologies for clients, training project managers and consulting with project sponsors and executives.

Dick teaches in-person seminars for corporate clients and also directs the 4PM.com project consulting practice, helping organizations manage strategic projects and implement 4PM’s Achievement-driven Project Management™ methodology in their organizations.

I hold an undergraduate degree in economics and statistics from Johns Hopkins University, an MBA from the University of Colorado and has done doctoral work in organizational behavior at the University of Colorado.

Dick’s books include:

  • Project Manager’s KnowledgeBase, 10th edition 2012
  • Managing Information Technology Projects, 6th edition, 2010
  • Advanced Project Management Techniques, 4th edition, 2011
  • Construction Project Management, 5th edition, 2012
  • Essentials of Project Management, 11th edition, 2011
  • Managing Healthcare Projects, 3rd edition, 2009
  • Program and Portfolio Management, 9th edition, 2011

Dick spends his spare time cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking in the Rocky Mountains.

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  1. about project managementProject Tools & Techniques - December 29, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP What do landing people on the moon and cleaning up your department’s supply closet have in common? They are both projects. About Project management is producing deliverables like: a new payroll software, a bridge over I-25, a well-organized file room, hiring a new marketing director, producing a new personnel manual or taking a 20 minute moonwalk. Organizations need deliverables like these which cannot be produced by an individual as part of their regular job. In fact, many deliverables require work from a number of people. Larger projects may require the efforts of people from several different departments within the organization. Coordinating all the people, assigning them tasks and integrating their results is a challenging effort, requiring different tools and techniques than are used by a department manager. Organizations discovered this fact when they encountered difficulty producing the deliverables the organization needed and doing it on time and within budget. Modern project management gained many of its tools from the space program and specifically the Apollo program to land men on the moon. Today all kinds of organizations use the tools of project management for efforts that take as little as a few days. A project manager, who may have a regular job in addition to managing projects, leads a team of people in producing those deliverables. Projects are a one-time deal;, they are unique, which is why there is a special way of managing them. As I mentioned, project management has a special set of tools that have been developed over the years. They are now detailed in a project management encyclopedia called the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) published by the Project Management Institute. It includes hundreds of tools and techniques project managers and organizations have developed from years of experience. We don’t use all of them on every project. Instead, project managers learn the tools and techniques and how to select the right techniques for each project. For a very small project, the project manager will use simple techniques to define the scope, the project’s objective or goal. They must get this information from the project sponsor, who is the manager or executive who wants the project to be done. The scope of a project should be defined as a deliverable, that is a statement of what the project will produce. The scope statement should also include a metric, a measurement that tells everyone how success will be measured. The next step in the project management process is to gather requirements. That means to identify all the things that have to be done to produce the scope of the project. The next step on our small project would be to write up the charter which is a summary of the scope and requirements. The project manager also identifies the risks the project faces, the resources that will be required to deliver the scope, and how changes can be made to the scope and requirements. After the project charter is approved by the sponsor, the project manager works with the project team, assigning them tasks, estimating the work and duration for those tasks and then developing the project schedule and budget. When the project sponsor approves the schedule and budget, the project manager and team begin to execute the plan. The team members have their task assignments and report their progress on a regular basis. From that data, of the project manager prepares status reports and delivers them to the project sponsor. The project manager also deals with changes that people request to the project plan and schedule. The project manager’s role is to analyze these changes and make a recommendation to the sponsor about whether or not the change should be implemented. Finally, when the last of the project deliverables have been produced, the project manager closes the project, and archives the data. Having archives of past projects provides valuable information that makes managing future projects easier. […]

  2. project managementProject Tools & Techniques - December 29, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Project management starts when the boss calls you into his office and says something like, “We’ve got a big problem with the supply room. Our people are wasting dozens of hours every day because they can’t find the office supplies they need to do their jobs. I want you to run a project to fix the supply room problem.” That’s when you may do a Google search on “project management “to find out what the heck to do. Well, here’s the answer. The first thing you do is pin the boss down about exactly what he means by “fix the supply room problem.” To do project management the right way, you need to have a definition of the project’s scope, the goal that defines success. The boss’ “fix the problem” statement is way too vague. It will be a moving target and your goal will change each week because everybody can interpret it differently. . So you must ask the boss questions about how he will measure your work at the end of the project. When he says something like, “People will be able to find the supplies they need in less than 2 minutes,” you have a clear scope. Project managers know how to ask the right questions to pin down the scope. The second thing you do is subdivide that scope into the major deliverables that will take you from where you are now to the end result the boss wants. You will usually have 4 to 7 major deliverables and each one must be defined with a metric like, “fewer than two stock-outs a week in the supply room.” That’s a measured deliverable and it defines success before you and your team start work. The third step in project management is to write your project charter. That can be a one page document that tells the boss: your understanding of the project goal, the resources you need to do the work on the major deliverables and the risks you see in the project. When the boss signs off on the charter, you can start work creating the project plan. The fourth step is to develop your project plan and schedule. To do that, you work with your team to estimate how much work each of the deliverables and tasks will require and lay out the sequence in which you will do them. Then you make the work breakdown structure (WBS) which is a hierarchy of the deliverables in your project. It’s easiest to use project software to develop your schedule. One of the best programs is Microsoft Project®, but it’s expensive. There are less expensive options like Gantter which is a free project management scheduling software that you use with your browser. (I don’t think it’s going to be free forever.) The fifth step is to get the sponsor to approve the project schedule. Then you and the team can start work on the tasks in your project plan. The sixth step is to track actual progress on those tasks and compare them to your approved schedule. You will give the sponsor status reports on how things are going and what problems you’re encountering. When the project is complete, the seventh step is to archive all the information about the project. That data will make doing the next project a lot easier. That’s what project management is in a nutshell. […]

  3. what is project managementProject Tools & Techniques - December 29, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP What is Project management? It’s about producing something called a deliverable. A deliverable can be a conference table, a highway, a building, computer software, a book, a full-length movie, and many other things. There are special techniques to manage projects and they start with creating a plan. The project plan is a document that details what the project is going to deliver (the scope), what resources we need and how we will manage the people working on the project. As we break down the scope into smaller deliverables, we are developing a pyramid of clearly defined deliverables that lead from the smallest tasks, to the largest deliverables. At the top of the pyramid is the project scope. Good project managers maintain this focus on deliverables that are defined by metrics because it has a number of very important benefits. First, when we assign deliverables to our project team members, they know exactly what is expected of them before they start work. They don’t have to guess or worry about failing on their assignment because, from the very beginning, we have defined what a good job is in measurable terms. Second, using deliverables as the basis for our projects lets us develop much more accurate estimates of the duration and cost of each task. It also lets us determine how long the project will take and what it will cost. We give each team member a work package which describes their deliverables and details the risks and other factors that will affect their assignment. Then we use that same work package to develop the estimate of the amount of work in the task. This gives us much better data than vague assignments and it gives the team member something very much like a contract; it explains the expectations the team member must meet. Third, managing a project that is built with deliverables gives us unambiguous checkpoints to measure how the project is doing versus the approved plan. Each deliverable has a crystal-clear and measurable definition of success so neither the project manager nor the sponsor have to guess about how far along the project is. After the project plan is approved, the project manager executes it by assigning work to the team members so that all of the project deliverables get produced. As the team is working on their tasks, the project manager is monitoring their progress, controlling the project schedule, budget and scope and solving problems. As part of this monitoring and controlling process, the project manager makes periodic status reports to the sponsor who initiated the project. Deliverables are reviewed and accepted as they are produced during executing phase. The project sponsor examines what the team produced, compares it to the specifications and accepts or rejects the deliverable. We don’t wait until the end of the project for the stakeholders to review the deliverables. We do it as they are produced so we can identify and fix problems early. After the last of the deliverables has been produced, the project manager closes the project by verifying that the sponsor got what they wanted from the project. The project manager will also archive all the data generated by the project so it can be used by other project managers in the future. That information will make it easier to plan their projects. […]

  4. project managerProject Tools & Techniques - December 29, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP A project manager is a person who has been trained in the specific skills of planning, scheduling, tracking progress, managing teams and other skills needed to successfully manage projects. It’s a special set of skills that is very different from managing a department or a business. Several things make a project manager’s job different. First, the project team members are not usually the project manager’s subordinates. They do not report to the project manager all the time. Some of the team menbers may be borrowed from other parts of the organization for a limited time. For example, they may work on the project half-time for a few weeks. Other people on the team are contractors, consultants and other specialists hired from outside the organization. Those people have a contract to produce specific deliverables but they do not report to the project manager eitherThere are significant challenges to managing a project team. Compounding the difficulty is the fact that in many cases, working on the project is not the team member’s full-time job. But even if working on projects is their full-time job, they may work on a dozen different projects with different project managers. So the project team oftenis not terribly committed to achieving the project goal. That requires a skilled project manager to motivate them. Project managers need leadership and communication skills to manage the team and build the support among the stakeholders. Stakeholders are the people who will be affected by the project. Very often the stakeholders are executives in the organization who have an interest in the project because it affects their area of responsibility. Project managers must be able to persuade stakeholders to loan their people to the project and possibly supply other kinds of support. What makes it more difficult is that the project manager is usually a relatively low ranking employee and has no formal authority. Project managers also must possess technical skills and knowledge that is relevant to the project.. The project manager does not have to be the most knowledgeable expert on technical issues. It’s not a problem if members of the project team have more expertise than the project manager. But the project manager needs to know the special tools and techniques of project management, like running the planning and status report meetings, scheduling people and tasks to finish the project as soon as possible, spotting variances and optimizing the schedule to finish as soon as possible. These tools and techniques can be quite complex when applied to larger project. Becoming a project manager requires a lot of learning as well as mastering leadership and communication skills which are often the key to a project manager’s success. […]

  5. Project BasicsProject Tools & Techniques - December 27, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Even if you have succeeded on your first project assignment by working with “seat of your pants” techniques, you need to learn project basics. Those are the skills you need to deliver the scope on time and within budget. For small projects at this entry-level, a five-step methodology is more than sufficient. Those five steps are: project planning – focused on a clear scope and a deliverable-oriented project plan and work breakdown structure. project scheduling – dynamic techniques with project software so that you can stay on top of your project in less than 10 minutes a week. assigning work to the project team – assign work to your project team members and give them a crystal-clear understanding of what’s expected before they start work. tracking progress against the plan and spotting variances – use project management software and status data from your team to anticipate problems rather than being surprised late in the project. designing corrective action and reporting status- design corrective action when you encounter problems and clearly report problems and solution options to the project sponsor. Learning a simple methodology like this will allow you to be successful on 80% of the projects that are done in most organizations. […]

  6. What is a ProjectProject Tools & Techniques - December 16, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Here is an example of what is a project. The manager of the department you work in tells you the people are wasting time getting supplies from the supply room. He wants you to do a project to fix the problem. Most projects are small like this example and will have three or four people work on them. They have a specific objective and the goal is we achieve that objective so we do the project only once. If you keep doing the same project over and over, obviously you’re not achieving the results the manager wanted. Some projects are much bigger than that example but the characteristics of projects are the same; they have special and specific objectives and we do them once. Examples of projects include: […]

  7. Why Project Fail | Project Tools & TechniquesProject Tools & Techniques - December 11, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Summary: Some organizations have project failure rates that threaten their existence. In some cases they can’t deliver to a customer or client profitably. In other cases they can’t deliver new products and services that allow them to successfully compete. The failure rates are as high as 70%. […]

  8. Project Plan | Project Tools & TechniquesProject Tools & Techniques - December 10, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Do you do your project plans like you were taking an order at a fast food drive-in window? The fast food approach to planning is focused on getting started quickly. This appeals to a lot of project sponsors who often complain about the planning meetings and paperwork that are necessary to get a project going. In the fast food approach we reach agreement with the sponsor on the first couple of things we’re going to do and then we start delivering them. Unfortunately, all too often those first few things fail to lead to the end result the project sponsor really wants. That’s why we should always start by defining the scope of the entire project and by encouraging the project sponsor to define project success with a metric. That metric gives us the crystal-clear project end result. Then we need to identify the major deliverables to craft the work breakdown structure Too many PMs use the fast-food approach and it makes a mess. See the right way to do it. REad more Share this:EmailFacebookLinkedInGoogle +1 This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, People Skills, Planning/Scope and tagged Sponsor, Stakeholders by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  9. Body Language | Project Tools & TechniquesProject Tools & Techniques - December 10, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Being an effective presenter is critical to building project support and influencing people; both keys to project success. In all our classes you make live presentations privately with your instructor over the web. You get a video of your presentation along with your instructor’ feedback and coaching. Practicing presentations and seeing yourself on film are the best ways to get better. […]

  10. Project Schedule Software 2013 Survey of Project Software | 4PM.com Project Best Practices4PM.com Project Best Practices - December 4, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP As the importance of project management increases in organizations, so does the number of tools available for people managing projects. In our latest survey of project schedule software, we found over 500 legitimate software packages. There were hundreds more that did not meet our minimum criteria, which was: 1. Produce a Gantt chart that clearly communicates the start and finish date for each task and the sequence of tasks. 2. Display the name of the person accountable for each task and its duration. 3. Allow you to generate graphics and data comparing actual performance to the baseline project schedule. If those criteria are all you need, then there are plenty of packages that will give you that capability for $25 or less. You could also spend thousands of dollars for packages that don’t do much more than the above three capabilities; they just do it fancier. Before buying any project software (and by the way we don’t sell any software) you need to decide what you want it to do for you. In addition to the above criteria, there are other capabilities that even beginning project managers on a small project should have in their project software. For managing small projects, you should add these capabilities to the basic list: 4. Allow you to control task sequencing with predecessor relationships, rather than having to reenter start and finish dates every time something changes in your schedule. An astounding number of the packages we reviewed did not do this. This capability will allow you to update your schedule in 10 minutes a week rather than spending hours on data entry. 5. Allow you to enter “estimate to complete” data into the software. This capability lets you gather data from your project team on when they’re going to finish their tasks and then use the software to forecast when the project will finish. This makes your status reports much more complete and lets you communicate that you are in control of what’s happening on the project. Read More Share this:EmailFacebookLinkedInGoogle +1 This entry was posted in Other ideas & comments by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  11. Project Sponsor from Hell | 4PM.com Project Best Practices4PM.com Project Best Practices - December 1, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Watch our investigative reporter confront a sleazy executive who is blaming everyone else for the monumental failure of his last project. Sure he claims to be a nurturing executive but our reporter unearths the trught about this sponsor from hell. […]

  12. Project Planning Blunders | 4PM.com Project Best Practices4PM.com Project Best Practices - December 1, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Watch this project team from hell make every mistake you have every seen a team make. Just in case you miss a few, I’ll detail the mistakes they made and talk with you about the right way to plan project with people from multiple departments. Share this:EmailFacebookLinkedInGoogle +1 This entry was posted in Other ideas & comments by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  13. Launching the Project from Hell | 4PM.com Project Best Practices4PM.com Project Best Practices - December 1, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP First watch a sponsor and PM conduct the worst launch meeting in the history of project management. Then listen to the project team members privately describe their reaction to the meeting. Finally, listen to an my what went wrong. You will also hear the private thoughs of the team members who were in the meeting and see how what happended has affected their attituces. Share this:EmailFacebookLinkedInGoogle +1 This entry was posted in Other ideas & comments by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  14. Feedback | 4PM.com Project Best Practices4PM.com Project Best Practices - December 1, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Project managers need to deal with poor performing team members on a regular basis. If you are ineffective in these situations, the poor performance will repeat itself and your working relationship with the team member will be adversely affected. Even worse, your actions can cause other team members to perform less well. For those reasons, you need to know the best way to deal with poor performance and a procedure to follow in those situations. You need to focus on changing undesireable behavior to avoid it in the future and not attempt to punish the team member when you deal with them. Let’s work through a real-world performance problem a project manager has with a team member’s deliverable and working relationship with a stakeholder. We’ll look at the wrong things to say and how they make things worse. Then we’ll look at the right things to say and how they positively affect the team member’s future behavior. Read more Share this:EmailFacebookLinkedInGoogle +1 This entry was posted in People Skills and tagged Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  15. Feedback | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 27, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Project managers need to deal with poor performing team members on a regular basis. If you are ineffective in these situations, the poor performance will repeat itself and your working relationship with the team member will be adversely affected. Even worse, your actions can cause other team members to perform less well. For those reasons, you need to know the best way to deal with poor performance and a procedure to follow in those situations. You need to focus on changing undesireable behavior to avoid it in the future and not attempt to punish the team member when you deal with them. Let’s work through a real-world performance problem a project manager has with a team member’s deliverable and working relationship with a stakeholder. We’ll look at the wrong things to say and how they make things worse. Then we’ll look at the right things to say and how they positively affect the team member’s future behavior. Read more Share this:Email This entry was posted in People Skills and tagged Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  16. Project Estimating | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Coming up with good estimates is a challenge for all project managers. There are foour techniques for developing estimates and project managers should learn all floor and when to use them. We’ll talk about analogous estimating which uses historical data from previous projects to calculate estimates for the new one. Also discussed parametric estimating which uses published data bases to provide the information we need to create the estimate. Use those first few estimating technique earlier in the project when we don’t have much information about exactly what we have is. Second two techniques we use LinkedIn planning and during the next few project. 3-point estimating is a very useful technique when working with your team members to develop the final estimates for their tasks. It allows not only the calculation of work and duration estimate but also an assessment of the risk inherent in the task. The final type of estimate is a rolling estimates which we do each week as we execute the project to give the sponsor updated information on the cost and duration. We detail you the 4 different estimating techniques in the article. Read moread more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, Estimating, People Skills and tagged Team, templates by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  17. Reduce duration | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Project managers must handle requests to finish earlier all the time. There is a right way you handle these requests and a wrong way. All too often project managers handle requests to finish early incorrectly. They try and prevent any change to the project plan. What generally happens is a project manager triggers a great deal of conflict by simply denying requests and winds up with unhappy users or customers who find go over the PM’s head. The better way to handle these requests can reduce duration is to welcome and skills with the stakeholders the impact of implementing the duration or West which usually includes increasing the resources the choir on the project team and often the cost of those resources. Then the stakeholder can make an informed decision as can the project sponsor when the request comes to their attention. You’ll see the right way and a wrong way to handle request to reduce duration in the video and I’ll give you my commentary on the good things that the project manager did in dealing with the stakeholdere. Watch the video Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Change control, Enterpise Project Methodology, Estimating, People Skills, What do PMs do and tagged Sponsor, Stakeholders, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  18. Leadership | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Leading your project team is challenging for many reasons with the lack of formal organizational authority being number one on the list. Project managers need to adapt their growth to the personality of the team member or stakeholders with whom you. Once they have tight the persons personality and selected the right techniques for dealing with them we have the Battle have one. The second part of effective leadership is to apply the best practices in project in terms of how we train and treat our project team members. Watch this video of a PM dealing with a situation where a team member has been pulled off the project and assigned elsewhere. In the first video, we see the PM use a technique that does not fit the personality of the team member. The result is complete failure. Next watch an analysis and then see the PM do it the right way, using the right technique for the team member. Watch the video Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, Lectures, People Skills, What do PMs do and tagged project manager, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  19. Lessons Learned | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Organizations that wish to be consistently successful with their project include a lessons learned process in their project methodology. Most of the work takes place in a single meeting after the project is finished. The project manager assembles the sponsor, the stakeholders and the entire project team impossible. We use a formal agenda to avoid having the meeting slip into a repeat of the project conflicts. Instead we focus on the problems the project encountered and how we can avoid them on the next project. We also identify the things we did well and write them up so that future project managers can use them on their project. Last item is the archiving of data for use by future projects in their estimating and planning. Even a small project can benefit. A “quick and dirty” lessons learned process can not only improve the project manager’s performance but also provides an opportunity to help executives and team members play their roles more effectively. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, Lessons Learned, Other ideas & comments, People Skills and tagged Sponsor, Stakeholders, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  20. WBS | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP The work breakdown structure provides the foundation for project control and much more. But if we adopt a “to do”list approach we lose both those tools. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, Other ideas & comments, What do PMs do, Work breakdown structure and tagged MS Project, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  21. Project Variances | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP one of the techniques that separates consistently accessible project management from the rest of the pack, is their ability to identify problems early when they are small and easily solved. Many other project managers are routinely surprised by big problems that they find out about when they’re too late to fix the damage that the date and project already done. A few prudent steps during project planning can make all the difference. Early problem identification and the when you define the scope and major deliverables the project. The spot problems early need unambiguous checkpoints in the project so you don’t have to guess whether you’re on track. With the deliverables defined by metrics you will know exactly where you are. That’s what lets you take action at the first and of a problem. Do you want to be regularly surprised by problems when it is too late to fix them or do you want to spot problems early and fix them before they mushroom? Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, People Skills, Status Reports, What do PMs do and tagged project manager, Sponsor, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  22. Project Software | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP No matter how small your project or, you should use some kind of project management software to save time. Even the free project software that is now available to save you hours and making your plan and schedule and reporting actual project progress to the boss. It’s important to save time so you can use it to manage the project and anticipate problems. People who tried to manage projects using spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel can waste hundreds allow on even a small project. There are thousand of project software packages on the web, in the cloud or installed on your PC. Here is how to pick the right package for the kind of projects you manage. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, Scheduling and tagged MS Project, project manager by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  23. Project Planning | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Many project sponsor want to “start work immediately without wasting time in useless planning meetings to create nothing but paperwork.” Project manager who are caught in that trap are due to have a failed project. The same executives who force the project manager to start work quickly will be exceedingly dissatisfied with the results and the money and time that was spent to produce them. The only way out of this situation is to explain the project executive that project success is a direct result of a solid planning effort. The project sponsor will need to define the scope of the work and define the acceptance criteria that will be used at the end of the project to judge its success. That’s the key to boot project planning if we have a clear scope definition, we can decompose it into high level deliverables. That in turn gives us the basis for a lean and mean work breakdown structure that minimizes the amount of work that has to be done to deliver the project scope. Now let’s look at the details of project planning more closely Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, People Skills, Planning/Scope, Presentations and tagged project manager, Sponsor by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  24. Scope Creep | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP scope creep is the number one cause of project failure. What it involves is continual addition of new features and functions and good ideas to a project.usually, these additions to the project scope are approved without any compensating adjustment to the project budget or duration. Some organizations are plagued by scope creep on every project because the project manager that is a good job of defining the scope or engaging the project sponsors in scope control. This leaves the project manager with little option. Trying to fight every change to a project doesn't work. Even if the customer doesn't ram the change down your throat, they are still unhappy with the project and with you. Watch a video of a project manager trying to fight a change and failing. Then see him handle the change correctly, with narration by Dick Billows would identifies both the good points and bad points of the project manager’s effort. Watch the lecture Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Change control, Enterpise Project Methodology, Planning/Scope and tagged project manager, Sponsor, Stakeholders by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  25. Dysfunctional Team | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP during the course of a project management you, every project manager has to deal with a dysfunctional project team. The people on the team may be in that state is a result of bad experiences of previous projects for you may inherit by taking over a failing project from another project manager. Either way, the dysfunctional project team is unlikely to produce satisfactory project results. More likely, I work will be a waste time in turf battles between team members from different functional units. People will spend inordinate amounts of time trying to avoid blame for the certain project failure that they see just down the road. Finger-pointing will also be rampant which destroys morale. In some, dysfunctional project teams can cause major overruns and project duration and budget. There are techniques that project managers can you to salvage dysfunctional project team and turn them into a high performing project team. Watch the lecture Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, People Skills, What do PMs do and tagged project manager, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  26. 3-Point Estimates | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Estimating with your project team is not simply an exercise in getting good numbers for your work estimates. An equally important component is to gain team member commitments to those numbers. If the team members do not feel that they had a fair opportunity for input and participation in the estimating process, they will have no commitment to the numbers. Instead, you will have team members who begin the project looking for excuses on why there estimate was impossible to hit. Is a better technique called three-point estimate that yields accurate numbers that reflect the risk of the task. As importantly, there is a process of three-point estimating that actively involve the project team in creating calculating the number. It gives them meaningful participation. When a project team is committed to their work and time estimates, it significantly increases the odds of finishing on time. The 3-point technique for estimating helps you get that commitment with a proven team process and also gives you more accurate numbers for scheduling. Watch the video Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Estimating, Other ideas & comments and tagged 3-point estimates, project manager, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  27. Project Tracking | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Communicating project status can be difficult, particularly when some of the people in the audience do not understand project for the significance of some of the data recorded during the meeting. Project managers are often their own worst enemy when they deliver status reports that are overly technical with too much project data was the project manager assumes everyone understands. When people are confused by status data they assume the worst and they also have much less confidence in the project manager’s analysis and recommendations. We remedy this situation by using simple visual communications with the stakeholders and sponsors. Communicating with stakeholders and sponsors effectively requires that project managers use easily understood visuals that communicate project status. The tracking Gantt chart lets everyone see where the problems and opportunities are quickly. It also makes it easy to explain your options for corrective action. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, Other ideas & comments, Status Reports and tagged project manager, Sponsor, Stakeholders by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  28. Project Work Breakdown | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP People always have questions about how to build the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). They often ask us how big the WBS should be and how many tasks it should have in it. There is no magic number tasks in a project. The number to have in your work breakdown structure depends on the capability of your team members. If you’re fortunate enough to have a project team made up of experienced professionals know how to do their tasks because they’ve done them dozens of times, then you will have a small number of very large tasks. Professionals like that should be given larger more challenging assignments and the independence that goes with it. On the other hand, you may have a team composed of new hires who have little experience with your company and no experience working on business project. Are these people you would have a large work breakdown structure with a relatively small short duration tasks. That kind of WBS would work best with inexperienced people because you will be accepting several deliverables from them every week which gives you opportunity for frequent feedback in coaching to improve their performance. Watch the lecture Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, Work breakdown structure and tagged project manager, Sponsor, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  29. Communications | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP One of the most challenging parts of project management is communicating effectively all of the different people who are involved with your project. Each of those team members, stakeholders and executives has a different personality and different communication preferences. You need to be able to type each of those personalities, and then you the kind of communication that is most effective for them. What you can’t do is try and communicate in the same way with each of those different people. That may sound like a sufficient but it is certainly not effective. Let’s watch a video of a project manager working with the team member. As you’ll see they are a very different personality types in the project manager is ineffective in the beginning because he communicates with the team member in a way that suits his personality not the personality of the team member. Point out some of the key mistakes the project manager may and then we’ll look at the same meeting but now the project manager tailor your communications to fit the team member which yields a much better result. Watch the lecture Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Estimating, People Skills and tagged project manager, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  30. Risk Management | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP The majority of executives who sponsor projects are hesitant to authorize expensive risk management efforts. This is because they have, in the past, gotten burned by risk management efforts that cost a great deal of time and money and produced little. So it’s hard to get risk management approval. Most times executive will say, “start work and we will put out fires when they occur.” But firefighting is not way to succeed on projects. A tailored risk management process can pay big dividends, particularly when we scale it so it fits the project. In fact, the entire risk management effort can take place over a lunch. We can identify risks, analyze them and plan ways to avoid or mitigate them over a lunch. Take a look at these bear-bone risk management techniques without a lot of paper work. Watch the lecture Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in People Skills, Risk and tagged project manager, Sponsor by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  31. Project Launch | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 24, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP The project launch meeting has many purposes including establishing expectations for performance and behavior and explaining to people how their tasks are connected to the overall scope and objective of the project. It’s also useful to explain how the project result will affect their office employees and how good performance on their task can yield benefits in their careers. Ideally, we alao generate enthusiasm and some level of commitment to the project. Unfortunately, too often launch meetings leave team members wondering about how they can avoid being blamed when the project failed and leave everyone concerned about finger-pointing when things don’t go right. Watch this video with me as a sponsor and PM conduct the worst launch meeting in the history of project management. Then listen to the project team members privately describe their reaction to the meeting. Finally, I will analyze what went wrong and how to do better. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Lectures, Planning/Scope and tagged project manager, Sponsor by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  32. Estimating with the Project Team | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP In this video, we’ll look at a video of a project manager working with her team to develop estimates using the best practices in project management. Specifically, she is using 3-point estimates which give her not only accurate numbers but also some statistics on the likelihood of being over or under the estimates. You’ll see the techniques she uses with each of the team member to get going work estimates and also build the team member’s commitment to getting the task done with and that estimate. She explains three kinds of estimates and how she’ll use that data to quantify the risk in each of the tasks the team will complete. She shows each team member the calculation and the resulting work estimate she will use on their tasks. Everything is going famously until the project sponsor comes in and wants to really squeeze the team’s estimates so the project finishes early. We’ll see how she handles the sponsor and talk about the different techniques to use in defending estimates. Watch the video Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, Estimating, People Skills, What do PMs do and tagged Sponsor, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  33. Project Team Conflict | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP in this lecture video, we’ll watch a project team in a conflict situation and the project manager uses fairly typical techniques actually make the conflict worse. I’ll point out what the project manager did wrong and then we’ll look at the right way to handle these conflicts situation with a focus on deliverables not on personalities. Then we’ll see the same situation where the project manager uses good techniques and gets everybody back to work on their deliverables. In the good version of this story point out these civic techniques the project manager you to remove personalities from the situation and focus on deliverables and due dates and costs. Project manager does not attend to make everybody friends of the team. Instead the project manager focuses on getting the project done and getting a person to produce their deliverables as planned. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, People Skills, What do PMs do and tagged project manager, Sponsor, Stakeholders, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  34. Getting Good Status Data | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Hike the shore of a barrier island off the South Carolina coast as Dick discusses how to gather good status data from your team members. He'll also describe techniques to avoid having the team hide problems until it's too late for you to fix them. Consistently successful project manager get early warning on problems that will affect the project. They encourage team to success problems at the first hint that the project will be adversely affected. Getting that information is not as easy as it sounds. The project manager explodes every time somebody reports a variance, the team will very quickly learned that to report problems until they are too big to hide. Project managers will behave that way in the face and are often doomed to find out about problems when it’s too late to fix them. On the other hand getting problem information early lets us solve the issue quickly and cheaply. That makes good project status reports and projects that finish on time and within budget. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, People Skills, Status Reports, What do PMs do and tagged project manager, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  35. Project Sponsor | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP That first session with a new sponsor can determine the project's success. Getting off to a good start requires that you talk persuasively about how the executive and project manager should work together. Getting the roles straight and processes understood is critical. Specifically, you need to address sponsor role in each stage of the project and how the project manager should work with the sponsor. The sponsor needs to understand that during initiation sponsor must specify the end business result the project should produce. Without that the strategic goal, the project is unlikely to produce anything of value. The sponsor needs to do the thinking about the end result is that with a metric you to decide whether the project succeeded or not. The sponsor will also work closely with the project manager on a project charter where we specify the major deliverables, the risks project faces, the resources it requires and how those resources will be acquired. In the sponsor won’t changes as the project manager begins to work with the team on the details of the project planning and work breakdown structure and estimate. Then the project sponsor’s role switches to more review and approval. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in People Skills, Presentations, What do PMs do and tagged project manager, Sponsor by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  36. Lessons Learned | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP A “quick and dirty” lessons learned process can not only improve the project manager’s performance but also provide an opportunity to help executives and team members play their roles more effectively. It is often difficult to assemble the project sponsor, team members and stakeholders who were involved in the project. Getting them together is especially difficult the project was not success and if there were significant conflicts. Yet it is in exactly that situation that the lessons learned process is most valuable. In a matter of a few hours, the assembled players can discuss what worked well, what did not work well and how those problems can be avoided in the future. It’s often worthwhile to examine the major problems the project encountered and to discuss ways other project managers could avoid those problems in the future. Read about how to structure the sessions to keep is short, avoid conflicts and unearth lessons to improve future projects. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, Lessons Learned and tagged project manager, Sponsor by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  37. Which Tier of Project Management is Your Company In? | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP As project management is first introduced and then evolves in an organization, it passes through 5 tiers of development and crisis. Each tier affects the project failure rate and the level of project chaos team members, project managers and sponsors experience. Learn the symptoms of each stages and what to expect in the next tier to come. Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology and tagged Enterprise PM, Sponsor by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  38. Project Manager | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Consistently successful PMs have a tool kit with solid techniques and interpersonal skills but they also know how to select the correct tools for each project. The don't bury small projects in paperwork and meetings. They also know which sophisticated tools to use on the big ones. But in addition to the “hard” project management skills, there are a number of soft skills which consistently successful project managers always possess. Project managers have to be effective communicators that’s important with project team members who must clearly understand what’s expected of them on their tasks. Project managers communications with stakeholders also have to be set so that the project manager can persuade and influence these people to support the project. Project managers also have to be effective motivators to build project team enthusiasm and morale. That said skills and abilities is very extensive and shows how far project managers have, from the days when they were viewed solely as technical experts. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Careers & Certification, People Skills and tagged project manager by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  39. Marching Behind the Elephants: Team Moments of Truth | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Are you leading your team from in front or marching behind them carrying a snow shovel like that poor guy at the circus? Three moments of truth when leading your project team go a long way to determining their motivation and if your project will succeed or fail. Those critical moments are; gaining commitment to estimates, handling “bad news” and reporting status. The first moment of truth happens while you’re estimating the project team member. If you have an open discussion and the team member feels that they were able to participate in setting the work estimate for their tasks you will get much higher level of commitment to the estimate that if you arbitrarily reduce the number. The second moment of truth occurs when you deal with variances on project. Your behavior in the face of this “bad news” largely determines whether your team members tell you about problems early or hide them from you because they don’t want to be blamed. Last moment of truth occurs when the sponsor is disappointed in the project progress. How you handled the is also critical your credibility. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterpise Project Methodology, Estimating, People Skills, Scheduling and tagged Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  40. Project Plan Approval | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Project plan approval meetings bring out the worst in lots of executives. They have three fantasies about project managers and their plans that can ruin your day. You need to be prepared to handle them so your project has a chance of success. You will need to be prepared with principal trade-offs. These trade-offs are answer the inevitable questions that are always asked him project plan approval meetings. Stakeholder and executives always ask how the project manager can finish earlier and how the project manager can deliver the scope or less cost. You should prepare options for accomplishing these reductions. Specifically you need to have model options for finishing 10 and 20% earlier and delivering the scope for 10 and 20% less than the budget you are submitting. The reason you want to have these alternatives in the project approval meeting is that if you don’t have the data the executives will decide that you can finish 20% earlier without any more people or budget. The result of being unable to respond to a reasonable question about finishing earlier is that you leave the meeting with the project is no longer feasible. Read more Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Planning/Scope, Presentations and tagged Sponsor, Stakeholders by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  41. Work Breakdown Structure Wbs | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is the backbone of your project and the basis for the assignments you give team members and contractors. But what is the right balance between too much detail and not enough? Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterrpise Project Methodology, Work breakdown structure and tagged Sponsor, Team, wbs by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  42. Project Management Team | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Project managers need to set the performance expectation for every assignment they assign to team members. As work progresses and the team produces their deliverables, the project manager compares what was actually produced to the original assignment. Your team's behavior and performance are always affected by what you count in making assignments and evaluating performance. So count what matters and read about how to do that. Read More Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterrpise Project Methodology, People Skills, Work breakdown structure and tagged Stakeholders, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  43. Project Management Tracking | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 23, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Too many project managers erode their own credibility in their project management tracking, particularly when one project after another has a bad surprise when it is too late to recover. Project sponsors soon think your projects are out of control and question everything you recommend or present. The answer is to present hard-edged data, not guesses, in your status reports so you can spot problems early when they are small. Solving them early is a real credibility builder. See how to do it. Read More Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Status Reports and tagged Sponsor, Stakeholders by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  44. 3-Point Estimating | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 22, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Estimating is tricky for project managers because the customer wants it fast and cheap and you want your team to be committed to the numbers. Both audiences are concerned with risk that is always present on a project. Either the risk of finishing late or the risk of being blamed for it. The best approach is to quantify both the estimate and the risk of not hitting it . The technique of 3-point estimating (from the NASA space program) lets us estimate with the team in a process where they can communicate the risks they see on their assignments. It also lets project managers give sponsors the opportunity to decide what level of risk the want to run. Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Estimating, People Skills and tagged analogous, Sponsor, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  45. Project Scope | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 22, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP The scope statement is the foundation for every component of the project plan. It tells everyone what the goal of the project will be an we will measure if we achieved that goal. A scope has to be objectively measurable. So a good scope statement contains a metric like “less than 2% of our customers complain about service.” When the project is over we can count the number of customer complaints and see if we hit the goal. Within scope that said nothing more than “deliver world-class service” we will have all kinds of problems because people will interpret it differently. With an unclear scope the project’s foundation is weak. With a clearly defined scope with a metric we can craft a clear work breaqkdown structure, make good estimates and track progress with precision. Coming up with a good scope takes time but it’s well worth the effort for both the project manager and the project sponsor. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterrpise Project Methodology, Other ideas & comments, Planning/Scope and tagged Sponsor, Stakeholders by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  46. Project Requirements Gathering | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 22, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP It’s a best project management practice would identify all of the requirements during the planning process because requirements that are discovered later can cost us dozens of times more than if we had found out about them during the planning process. So instead of making requirements gathering of the secret with private meetings, we do all we can to have them emerge early, during our planning process. Let’s required here is that we first identify all of the stakeholders, people who will be affected by the project and then solicit their requirements. When not saying that every requirement will be added to the project; most will not be. But we want to identify and consider all the requirements and accept or reject them before we finalize our project plan. Then we can identify the requirements that are necessary to produce the project’s deliverables. So consistently accessible project management publicize the requirements gathering process so they can identify all of their stakeholders and deal with all of their requirements. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterrpise Project Methodology, People Skills, Requirements, Work breakdown structure and tagged Sponsor, Stakeholders by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  47. Team Member Work Packages: a Simple Tool to Improve Project Results | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 22, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP The assignment work package is a simple tool that improves the clarity of project assignments and at the same time increases the level of team member commitment to their estimates. In a very real sense, the work package is the contract between a project manager and the project team member. In it, the project manager makes clear exactly what is expected of the team member on each particular text. The work package details the metric project manager who used to measure the assignment as well as the approach the team members should take when you and the input deliverables which the team member needs to start work. We also specify the output deliverables which are the things that other members of the team need before they can start their. The work package also allows the team member project manager to discuss risks and how to handle them and it is a very important component of the estimating process. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterrpise Project Methodology, Estimating, People Skills, Work breakdown structure and tagged Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  48. Project Charter: Early Problem Solving | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 22, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP A one page charter is an easy way to avoid problems early, build support among stakeholders and control expectations. Here are the step-by-step instructions and samples of the verbiage to use to surface potential problems and solve them before you start work. The point of doing the charter is to avoid problems in five areas of the major sources of project failure. These areas are: scope expectations, resource availability, project change control and risks. The point of the project charter is to raise these issues and force decision-making on these problems before they can damage the project. This approach is far superior to waiting until problems occur and then going into “firefighting mode.” Often raising these issues can trigger conflict. As an example if the organization has a history of department managers not honoring commitments to provide resources to a project, we want to talk about that during the charter presentation. In this way we have the conflict before we started work on the project, and hopefully get the sponsor and other stakeholders to focus on the issue and ensure that the project is given the resources it needs. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Charter, Planning/Scope and tagged Sponsor, Team by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  49. Four Estimating Techniques & How to Use Them | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 22, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Project managers should use these four estimating techniques staring during initiation, high-level and detailed planning and then weekly during the project to give executives good data about the project's duration and cost. The key here is giving the best data we have while recognizing that our certainty about the cost and duration increase as we progress. That let's us give estimates without making commitments that we can't deliver on. We will examine analogous estimating which is a techniques based on historic data from previous projects. Next we will look at parametric estimating based on published rates and data. Finally we will look at 3-point estimating where the data is generated by the people who will do the work. Each of these techniques has its strengths and weaknesses and each should be used in specific situations depending on the availability of dats, the experience of the team members in estimating and the project level of risk. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterrpise Project Methodology, Estimating and tagged 3-point, analogous, parametric by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  50. Five Make-or-Break Situations with a Sponsor: How to Handle Them | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 22, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Project managers routinely face high-pressure situations with sponsors, trying to do things that will harm the project. If you let the intimidation get to you, the project fails. Here’s what to say, and what not to say in each situation. The first of the situation during the initiation of the project. In that first session project manager needs to take a very strong position in defining The scope of the project in measurable terms with a metric. Often times we have to sell sponsor me that clear on the scope and defining what he or she wants with numbers not vague subjective. Other make or break situations occur when you discuss your authority as the project manager to direct the project team, change orders affecting the project scope, duration or cost and finally status reports when you have your first bad variance. Handley each of these situations is critical to your relationship with the sponsor and to the success of the project. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Change control, Enterrpise Project Methodology, People Skills and tagged Client, Sponsor by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  51. Project Planning: Step-by-Step | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 22, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP A good plan let's us finish on time and deliver the scope as defined which gives us a happy sponsor or client. Doing one is a complex and political task. Is the right one to is a and counting yes no what I do is read out by doing it this way-not to give you a crushing six you to do that is. That is a little bit the latest update of word press was and everybody is you and the work that you lost me what you see is what you get is a so this is what they’re gonna look like abortion less like this via the HTML they then I’ll go you know what is in it put the link in your something somebody. In the new edition andFollow these steps to craft a solid plan for your next project. The key is working top down from a measurable project deliverable, your scope, and then breaking that down into smaller deliverables. Each deliverable is defined so we can measure the result. See how. Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Enterrpise Project Methodology, People Skills, Planning/Scope and tagged Client, Sponsor by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  52. Handling Changes to Scope, Cost & Duration with Critical Path | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 22, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Successful project managers know they will have to deal with requests to change the project finish date, budget or the scope from people who outrank them or sign their paycheck. We rely very heavily on critical path analysis to assess the trade-offs between the various dimensions of the project. In that way we can present options to the sponsor and stakeholders for changing the the budget, scope or duration better fit their requirements. In fact, the best technique is to go into meetings with options for those changes so you can present the whenever someone asks. That way You have the data available to tell people what the change in the scope will cost in terms of increased budget and increase the duration.The best technique is to use trade-offs between those dimensions, or corners, of a project to handle the change request while maintaining the project's feasibility. They use trade-offs between scope, duration, risk & cost during planning, in each week’s status meeting and on all change orders. Read more Share this:Google +1EmailFacebookLinkedIn This entry was posted in Change control and tagged Contractor, Sponsor, vendor by Dick Billows, PMP. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  53. The Best Way to Criticize a Team Member | 4PM.com Project Best Practices - November 22, 2012

    […] By Dick Billows, PMP Summary: An important part of a project manager’s job is setting norms of behavior and conduct so the team works together effectively and efficiently. That requires setting and then enforcing the standard.  The key is focusing on changing bad behavior and not falling into the very natural tendency to punish with your criticism. That is ineffective in changing how people behave. […]

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