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 Hold an Effective Project Postmortem

MIcroscope
The end of every project calls for a postmortem session where the team can review the project itself. Among other things, these can be called “Lessons Learned,” or “Retrospectives” in the Agile world. Whatever you call them, the objectives are similar: Pull the core team together, talk about what worked, what didn’t and how to improve things next time. To make a retrospective succeed, it’s essential to assemble both team members who were involved with the project, as well as… continue…

Project Managers: Multi-Taskers or Single Project Players?

Project managers are often put to the test in juggling large projects, or a multitude of small ones. I frequently get asked this question; Is it easier to manage one large project that takes up all of your time, or to run multiple projects at once? I’ve actually been able to do both and found it depends upon individual preference and the type of projects you’re working on. If you’re managing a larger project, depending on the timeline and team, you… continue…

How Project Managers Can Improve an Effort’s Requirements

As a project manager, I am always looking for ways to improve how I get things done. Obviously, my goal is to make sure things run smoothly, but there are always things that can get better or be done differently to improve the overall effort or even processes that currently rule over the space in which I work. One specific area where this applies is in the development of requirements. Many companies have resources devoted understanding the company’s overall strategies,… continue…

How to Nudge Clients to Agile

AGILE WATERFALL
Agile is getting hot. Really hot. But not all companies have adopted these principles for software development. That’s my situation. I work in an area that’s just starting to leverage Agile. One of my past contracts developed strictly in a waterfall environment. It was heavy with process and difficult to manage the red tape. Needless to say, it was riddled with a ton of overhead and regulations that did not allow for much flexibility. Though multiple project process failures and persistence… continue…

Where Do You Hang Your Hat?

In my consulting career, I have always had the opinion that I’m never “home.” I never really feel like I can ever get comfortable enough in an environment that I am able to truly let my hair down. While that may seem strange to some, it is my way of remaining objective and professional. I’m in someone else’s home, I should treat it with respect. I was in a meeting today and another consultant was exceptionally disrespectful to the manager… continue…

5 Steps to Fix Bugs In Your Vacation Plans

VACATION
With the July 4th holiday, I took a few days off from my work as a project manager. I needed some R&R from my daily life and just booked a few days. Do you ever do that? If you do, you may be in a similar situation as me – who takes care of things while I’m gone? It’s an interesting question to have. If you’re lucky enough to be part of a well-oiled machine, you may already have a… continue…

Project Management Consultants Can Build A Status Dashboard

Project management consultants need to communicate their status among a number of stakeholders. Building a status dashboard achieves that goal, and helps building your business at the same time. Typically, there are several audiences a project manager needs to update with their status. So, stakeholder meetings tend to require a lot of preparation. Typically, these meetings are held once a month and offer up a large amount of information in a very brief format. This is where the status dashboard… continue…

Project Management Leadership is All About Partnering

Among the challenges project managers face is how to lead. I once heard someone say, “a good project manager is one that knows how to lead the team without getting in the way.”  But really, it’s more about enabling the team to do its job by being a partner. I say that because I’ve spent the last part of my career in the agile space, which lends itself to that type of management. It also pushes the conversation away from… continue…

Comparing Agile and Waterfall

Ah, the ever so fun debate between agile methodologies and waterfall for IT development. Take a deep breath. Not only is this a big debate, but it’s often very heated. Waterfall was the way to go for many, many years. Recently, though, the agile methodologies have been providing more of a sustainable path for companies because of the flexibility and success. Because I actually leverage both, I thought I’d share some insights into both methodologies. Waterfall This is the typical… continue…

3 Tips for Becoming a Project Manager

Looking to break into project management? A question constantly asked is whether training or securing the right experience is the path to take. Experience is essential, but taking a three-pronged approach is even better. Here’s why: Experience is essential. If you are looking to get into the IT field, then do your best to find positions that will enable you to gain experience pertinent to where you want to go. Even a seasoned PM has to continually improve in order to stay… continue…