Project Management

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

How to Build a Project’s Business Case

Signing a Document
One of the many tasks business analysts are inevitably called on to do is create a business case. As defined by the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, a business case justifies the investment required to deliver a proposed solution. A business case is part of the due diligence process. By measuring the benefits, costs and risks associated with the investment being made in a particular project or product, it assesses and evaluates the options available to solve the business issue.… continue…

5 Interview Questions for Consultants

consultant thumbnail
A key to landing a consulting job is to answer interview questions with specific examples of previous challenges you’ve addressed and a sound demonstration of your ability to tackle projects, solve problems and think quick on your feet. Of course, the right answers alone won’t get you the gig, but they could make you a memorable candidate. Here are some of the questions you should be ready for in your interview. What types of projects do you typically work on?… continue…

Less Project Paper Can Make Your Life a Lot Simpler

Lots of Paper
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…

Aligning User Stories, Use Cases and Requirements

Pair_programming_ thumbnail
In a previous post, I contended that requirements are still an important part of most enterprise environments, even those that might be using Agile lifecycle methodologies. However, I didn’t specify exactly how those requirements should be captured — or what even constitutes a requirement. This is an important question that spans both Agile and Waterfall methodologies. Many organizations feel that user stories are sufficient to build both code and project structures around. Is it out of the question to consider… continue…

How to Head Off a Project Failure

Team
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…

Agile or Not, Requirements Management Can’t Be Skipped

agile thumbnail
These days, requirements management is often misunderstood or under-appreciated in IT. Many people have used migration to Agile methodologies as an excuse to discard requirements or rethink how they’re used to support most projects. One of the key tenets of Agile application development is not to over-think technical requirements in advance. The premise is that it’s usually impossible to accurately predict the details, which would invariably lead to costly rework after the fact—as opposed to an Agile approach of incremental refinement. So… continue…

Exiting Gracefully Now Can Land You a Job Later

exit sign bigstock thumbnail
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 Do You Apply Integrated Design?

bigstock-Design-Develop-And-Integrate-31478621
When people think about design they often visualize Apple’s products or a user interface. But design in IT is much more than that. While many pieces of an overall lifecycle are concerned with design tasks, say like the UI, the process itself is also driven by the need to create functional systems. This holds true for both hardware and software, as well as complex enterprise initiatives like ERP or even cyber security. If we consider “design” as a verb—the activity… continue…

5 Reasons ERP Projects Fail

ERP is high risk
Enterprise Resource Planning projects tend to be rather large, risky affairs. For many organizations an ERP roll-out or migration will represent the single largest IT investment they’re likely to make. ERP projects, however, have a well-deserved reputation for high rates of failure. Just this month, the U.S. Air Force finally canceled the remnants of the Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS) program after about eight years and $1 billion dollars invested. The challenges and risks associated with deploying an ERP are… continue…

How to Be Brilliant Without Alienating Anyone

Angry Man
Brilliance can get you only so far. Just ask Apple’s ousted senior VP of iOS Scott Forstall, or Microsoft’s former President of Windows and Windows Live Steven Sinofsky. Both reportedly clashed with other executives and employees, which factored into their departures. For rock star engineers on a management track, or talented IT managers, there are lessons to be learned here, especially for people who are aggressive to the point of being difficult. George Hallenbeck, Vice President of Intellectual Property Development… continue…