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.

How to Make Project Retrospectives Work

Tug of War
Each place that I’ve worked, I have always seen a “Lessons Learned” step as a part of the standard process for projects. It’s always baked into the methodology with an expectation that it’ll get done. In reality, I’ve them to be a step that doesn’t produce much more than  negative feelings across teams and a bunch of finger-pointing. Maybe that’s only my experience but as a project manager, I’m always looking for ways to focus on the positive and to… continue…

How Project and Program Management Compare

Gannt Chart
In my Project Management career I’ve been asked, why don’t I become a Program Manager? You could say it’s the same thing, just bigger. Let’s spend a little time defining and illustrating the difference. By the Project Management Institute’s standards, a project is: Temporary, in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources. Unique, in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a… continue…

3 Steps to Creating an Agile Environment

Project Management Doodle
I recently enrolled my child in a Montessori school where the emphasis is on independent thinking as well as students’ personal accountability for themselves and their environment. To the uninitiated, the classrooms appear chaotic and lacking in structure, though this isn’t the case. While some may question its free-for-all approach, the program uses Agile theory to educate and whether you’re four or 40, it’s an effective, intuitive way to get things done. As an Agile PM, I often hear that agile… continue…

How to Effectively Estimate Your Project’s Budget

Rising Numbers Charts
Project sponsors typically want to keep a close eye on their budget. They want to know what’s been spent and what the expected total will be at completion. When you’re trying to estimate budget costs , you have two ways to look into the future: Estimate at Completion (EAC) and Estimate to Completion (ETC). So what do these really mean and how do you effectively use them? EAC is simply the forecasted cost of the project. There are a few… continue…

5 Steps to Pump Up Your PMO Performance

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Delivering projects on time and on budget is a common IT struggle. And it’s why many corporations leverage PMOs to create sets of standards and methodologies to help facilitate project management and enable its PMs to deliver the best results for the customer. Larger companies and specific industries tend to also leverage PMOs to boost IT efficiency, cut costs, and improve project delivery. But I find it’s important that all companies, of any size, develop a set of standards and a… continue…

Gold Plating: When Less is More

Gold-Plating---Big-Stock
Do people gold plate anymore or do they just expand the scope to include new features and functions? You know what “gold plate” is don’t you? It’s a general term that usually means adding more to the system than specified in the requirements. I’m always amused when I hear, “It didn’t take much time.” “It works better this way,” or “I needed to do this to make the other requirement work.” It can seem like some folks are just adding… continue…

Top Tips For Managing IT Projects That Combine Offshore-U.S. Workers

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Managing projects across geographic lines and cultures is becoming more complex as companies expand their workforce options. Project teams can span multiple countries as companies choose offshore resource pools. Each country and organization has their own set of rules and assumptions for they way they work, and it’s up to the PM to help the team understand that and provide those guidelines back to the team. Here are some tips for managing IT projects that combine offshore and U.S. workers:… continue…

How to Piggyback Projects Without Getting Slaughtered

Pigs
If you work in a large enough IT organization, you’ll eventually need to manage your project alongside other projects of similar scope.  As you start working through the initial planning stages, reach out to management and other PMs to understand what other projects are running and start identifying commonalities. Here are some quick guidelines to help manage your efforts. 1) Assess Project Overlaps Work with other PMs and BAs in the organization to find out if there are any overlaps… continue…

PM Priorities for Working at Home Effectively

How many project managers actually work from home? I’m always curious. Most of my time is spent managing teams or dealing with customers, so it would seem difficult to actually work from home. But some do it. I recently spoke to a few work-at-home PMs and got the lowdown on how to ensure organization, effectiveness and overall trust with the team they manage. Here are a few tips to ensure you get off to the right start and stay focused… continue…

How to Chart Your Critical Path for Project Management

Do you know how to deliver business value to your project management customers in the shortest amount of time?  No? Then, you need to start with a critical path. A project’s critical path includes all the items that must be delivered, as well as the projected effort needed to complete these items. As a project manager, I think it is very important to understand the scope of the project you are managing, and it’s equally important to understand what it… continue…