Cathlynn Carman

I'm a Project Manager with a passion for consistently finding new ways to make projects run smoother. With certifications with PMI and Scrum, I am torn between two worlds (traditional and agile), but love both. I live and working in the greater Cincinnati area and enjoy spending my non-work time with my family and friends.

Defining a New Project Requirement Process

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When faced with a new type of project, I often find myself questioning if my usual approach will work. My proactive nature helps me to think ahead and tweak processes and documentation to fit the new project’s efforts. Unfortunately, with my last project I ventured into new territory and found my doubts were correct. I ended up in a situation where I was constantly scrambling to manage situations instead of being able to be a typical forward-thinker. To briefly outline… continue…

How to Manage User Acceptance Testing

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User acceptance testing (UAT) has been an ongoing topic of influence for me in my career. It’s particularly interesting because I’ve typically been on the IT side of things. But business organizations/partners often don’t have the knowledge or aren’t willing to do take part in testing for themselves. So, I’ve started to just volunteer to lead and manage UAT to ensure the stress of managing a foreign process is removed from the team. It also goes a long way toward… continue…

The Basics of Resource Acquisition and Management

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Resource Management is defined by the Project Management Body of Knowledge in four different categories: resource planning, resource acquisition, project team development and team management. In the past, I’ve written about how to manage a team and difficult resources. But defining your team and what you, as a PM, are responsible for is a little different. Resource Planning focuses on understanding the scope of a project and defining the types of resources needed to complete it. Depending on the organization… continue…

How to Protect Yourself Against Problem Projects

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Even projects that start strong can begin to unravel as time goes on. Sometimes the problem lies in scope, budget or other issues that are beyond the team’s control, but in other instances the issue lies with the team, either in whole or in part. It’s not surprising. Each project team has to figure out how to get along, how to work together and — if it’s an Agile team — what each individual’s role is to be. During one… continue…

4 Steps to Effective Change Control

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Change control is something that is inevitable even with the most successful projects. I’m not sure I’ve ever worked on a project that didn’t have at least one modification made along the way. What’s critical is that you know how to manage change and ensure the project remains on track — and ultimately successful — despite it. When you’re starting a project, it’s important to ensure there is a change control process available. If the company you work for doesn’t… continue…

Less Project Paper Can Make Your Life a Lot Simpler

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One of the surprising discoveries made by early advocates of the “paperless office” was that very often emails, Word documents and the like resulted in more paper, not less. Nowadays, as more people get used to the idea of reading of a screen of one sort or another, my guess is that’s becoming less of an issue. Still, in some areas the need for paper is stubbornly hanging on. One of them is project management. Through experience I’ve learned that… continue…

How to Head Off a Project Failure

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What happens when someone forgets to do the very thing that absolutely had to be done? You know, that thing you were counting on to push the project forward. And what if the guilty party is your client or a team member? In every project you’ll ever work on, there will typically be some element of failure. Nothing works perfectly and the second you think things are going well, you better look up and pay careful attention. I’m not being… continue…

Exiting Gracefully Now Can Land You a Job Later

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Sometimes you and a client must part ways, maybe even before your projects are completed. If you’ve decided that you’re leaving, what do you do? How do you leave gracefully? First and foremost, you want to make sure that your reputation—a good one, if you’ve managed it right—will stay intact. This means you need to ensure that you depart on a positive note and remain a positive influence even after you’re gone. Here are some things that I do in… continue…

How to Plan for Your Next Consulting Gig

Posted In Looking in Tech
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Life as a consultant is always interesting. We get to dodge some of the political issues, typically get better pay, and are seen as an industry expert. Despite those benefits, we also have to potentially deal with finding work on a more frequent basis. This is the time of year when contracts can end and the mad search for the next gig begins so that consultants don’t have too much of a break in their income stream. With the holidays… continue…

Are You Ready for Your Interview?

Posted In Looking in Tech
It seems like a silly question. Of course you are, right? Maybe not. Each time you schedule an interview, you need to do some prep work. 1) Research the company that is interviewing you Nothing is more annoying to the interviewer than the consultant knowing nothing about the company with which they’re interviewing. Make sure you know some of the more important things about the company. If they’ve been in the news, be up to date on those events. That… continue…