Projects at Work

Opinions

Provocative thinking from the field.


Are Projects Really ‘Unique’?

- by Dan Patterson, PMP

Have we got the formal definition of a project completely right? A finite start and finish, sure. But approaching each project as a “unique endeavor” can lead us to overlook opportunities to capture, reuse and benefit from prior knowledge, experiences and lessons learned. We need to better connect our closing phases with upfront planning.

Flies, Bees and Project Context

- by Dr. Alexander Laufer, PhD

The prevailing project management paradigm still emphasizes context-free processes and practices, rather than tailoring them to the unique context of each project. Alas, clinging to “one best way” is often counterproductive, as intelligent bees and systematic teams often discover at their own peril.

Mobility Now!

- by Guy Barlow

It is no longer a question of if organizations should embrace mobility, but when. Mobile solutions offer project, program and portfolio managers unprecedented access to essential information that has a direct impact on high-stakes decision-making and communication. Those who overcome resistance and address concerns will lead the pack in innovation, opportunity and growth.

Who Cares About Tasks?

- by Dan Patterson

Wouldn't it be better if scheduling tools focused on deliverables rather than the work — the activities and tasks — needed to deliver them? Execution is about creating value, and stakeholders care little about the busy details. Project managers who get this distinction right will reap the benefits of more realistic and achievable plans.

Pseudo PMOs?

- by Guy Barlow

Most large organizations have established project, program or portfolio management offices, but there is a disconnect between many PMOs and the wider businesses they support, according to a group of senior executives and academics that studied the trend. They recommend that some organizations would be better served by a decentralized approach that creates “pseudo PMOs.”

Don’t Shoehorn Your Projects

- by Ken Rock

The best process for your project should be determined by careful consideration of key factors, including overall complexity, the level of risk involved, and time-to-market requirements. Often, a flexible hybrid approach fits best, but it must agreed upon by management and the team before the project starts.

Programmers, Testers, Users

- by Ireti Oke-Pollard, MBA, PMP

Programming and testing are two completely different skills. When it comes to validating that requirements have been met and new issues haven’t been created, programmers need to step away from their own work; testers need to think like users and treat the system like a mystery.

Planning By Consensus

- by Dan Patterson

So much hinges on the project schedule, yet so few team members contribute to it. Whatsmore, they typically don’t care about critical paths, constraints and other building blocks; they just want to know “what, where and when.” We're overdue for consensus-based planning tools that bridge execution and analytics.

No Problem Project Management

- by David Schmaltz

The problem-solving skills on which project managers largely build their reputations might be greatly improved by mastering the challenge of problem-selecting instead. In short, the difficulty isn’t the problem; it's how we’re coping with it. Radical acceptance is a start.

Wanted: EPMO Leaders

- by ProjectsatWork.com

Most large global organizations will rely on “activist” enterprise program management office (EPMO) leaders by 2017, according to research analyst Gartner. The emerging role is a response to the need to significantly improve strategic execution, and increased pressure toward innovation and differentiation.

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TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Dave Prior

Agile Consultant, LeadingAgile
Dave Prior, PMP, CST, MBA is an Agile Consultant for LeadingAgile where …

Andy Jordan

President, Roffensian Consulting Inc.
Andy Jordan is a well known author and speaker on project management and…

Bart Gerardi

Sr. Technical Program Manager, Amazon.com
Bart has been an ecommerce program manager for 15 years, and can’t…

Mark Mullaly

President, Interthink Consulting Incorporated
Mark is a project management iconoclast -- love him or hate him, he stil…

Kathleen O'Connor

I’m a freelance journalist and digital content strategist with 15+…

Aaron Smith

Editorial Director, ProjectsAtWork.com
Aaron has been the editor of ProjectsAtWork since 2001, leading its evol…

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