Project Management

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

Opportunities Expand for Program Managers

Gantt Charts
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

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 10.38.25 AM
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

Calculating the Budget
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

Project-Planning-Thumbnail
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?

Project-Management-Thumbnail
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

Team-work-Thumbnail
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

Group-Interview
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

gannt-thumbnail
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…

The Cost Analysis Dilemma in Project Management

Calculating ROI Thumbnail
By Russell Harley Using cost analysis is an important tool in almost every kind of project. It helps determine if a project will improve a business’s profitability or not, so a great deal of effort goes into it during the beginning stages of a project. If an effort’s Return on Investment looks good, then the project moves forward and work begins. The major issue with cost analysis is that a project’s future benefits are predicted by past and current behavior.… continue…

How to Get Your Team’s Buy-In to New Processes

buy-in thumbnail
In my last post, we discussed the tactics of process change, in particular choosing either a “big bang” or incremental approach. This time we’ll address the other big factor in making a process change successful: team buy-in. Buy-in takes effort. You have to start early. You have to take the meetings. You have to be convincing. You have to do something the team will accept. Fiat is a lot easier. So why bother with buy-in? Why Does Buy-In Matter? The… continue…