Project Management

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

How to Be Brilliant Without Pissing People Off

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…

5 Tips for Creating High Performing Product Teams

You’ve got a team, but the group’s got some quirks. That’s all okay if they’ve got the stuff that will make them high performing. Actuation Consulting’s study, the “five factors of high performing product teams,” was a must attend at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference at Foothill College in Los Altos, Ca. You can request a full copy of it; it’s worth the read. We also had a chance to speak with Greg Geracie, Actuation’s president. Here are… continue…

10 Traits of Inspiring Managers

Are you a good manager or a bad manager? Good managers inspire and motivate. Their employees are satisfied, committed, and productive. Employees who work under bad managers are usually dissatisfied and often hate their jobs enough to walk out, which then creates turmoil for the team. At the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp executive coach Mary Mills encouraged bosses  to “focus on solutions, not problems.” During her presentation, “For New Managers: How to Be a ‘Good’ Boss,” Mills covered SCARF, the… continue…

How to Manage Testy Programmers

Mad Programmer
There’s tons of  training to become a developer but developers who become managers  often have little or no training. That’s a big problem.  Software people are notoriously difficult to corral. Ron Lichty is an expert on the subject and co-authored the book, “Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams.” I spoke with him at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference. His number one rule for managing software teams is to connect with them… continue…

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 Manage a Project from Far, Far Away

Cat Miller
Managing projects has become more complex as companies distribute their teams across time zones. Each country has its own set of rules and assumptions about the way they work. And whose job is it to sync everyone up? Why, the project manager’s, of course.

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

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…