Project Management

Information and discussion on best practices, communications, and keeping your wits about you

Want a Successful Project? Try a ‘Pre-Mortem’

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Many companies host post-project meetings to discuss what worked and what didn’t, a process known as “post-mortems.” But instead of waiting until the end of a project to figure out what might have gone wrong, how about holding “pre-mortems,” in which all aspects of planning are discussed before everybody gets to work? The latter could help avert real failures. Click here to find project management jobs. With software projects, a pre-mortem might work something like this: At the very beginning… continue…

3 Things Business Analysts Should Know About Agile Methodology

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Over the past few years, software development has moved more rapidly toward Agile practices. This change impacts how business analysts perform their role. Click here to find business analysis jobs. Here are three key aspects of how business analytics works differently in an Agile environment: 1. The Analyst Evolves to Become a Key Player in Helping Companies Avoid Costly Software Development Problems There are many definitions of “software architecture,” but its ultimate point is to make sure that the development… continue…

Opportunities Expand for Program Managers

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As more companies look to better manage costs and align strategy across multiple tech projects, the role of program manager is gaining notice and becoming better-defined. And for some project managers, the job seems to be a logical next step. Program managers are responsible for overseeing a number of project teams at the same time with the mandate of meeting client and company needs. Making the leap isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re a long-time project manager more interested in… continue…

Apple’s iOS Maps and the High Cost of Management Failure

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In 2012, Apple abandoned its longtime reliance on Google’s mapping data to power its iOS Maps app, opting instead to go with data collected and curated in-house. The result was an epic disaster, with iOS users complaining that the new data was highly inaccurate. As Apple rushed to repair the damage, CEO Tim Cook even posted a public apology on the company’s website: “With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are… continue…

How to Estimate a Budget When the Project’s Undefined

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December and January are when most companies focus on budgets, but you can be asked to estimate a project most any time of the year. And no matter what happens, managers are always measured against their budgets, so you want to get your estimations right. But when we don’t know exactly what the dev team will be doing, we’ll have to take some educated guesses that involve estimates. That’s why managers fan out across their teams to start asking questions… continue…

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…

What Does a Project Manager Do, Anyway?

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A few months ago, we looked at what a developer does all day. This month: What on earth is the project manager up to? Project managers don’t actually make anything. They don’t write code. They don’t make graphics. They don’t sell the software. Yet a good project manager can be the glue that holds a project together. So how does that actually happen? What does a project manager do all day? Meet Jeff Jeff is the sole project manager at… 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…

Yes, Project Management Skills Trump Tech Skills

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I was having a great interview for a Project Manager position. It was a team interview and as we neared the end, everyone was acting as if I was a member of the group, I knew I had the job. As I was getting ready to leave, I asked my standard exit question, “Does anyone have any questions or concerns about my skills that have not been addressed yet?” Normally this leads to a bunch of “Nos” — but not… 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…