5 Ways to Get Users to Follow Your Local Project Methodology

Tell me if this scenario is familiar. You have lots of projects underway. You have many project managers, some trained and others not trained. Each one is using their own approach to project management.  In addition, project plans are being managed in email and Excel with project documents are floating around in obscure file locations. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. The absence of a consistent approach to project management has numerous impacts on organizations, including: Projects delivered too late or over budget – if at all! Failure to meet original goals or business objectives, leading to inadequate Benefits Realization. Poor stakeholder satisfaction Lack of change management processes, resulting in low user-adoption.   According to research conducted by the Project Management Institute, organizations waste an average of $97 million for every $1 billion invested, due to poor project performance. Wouldn’t it be better if you had a project management methodology to get this situation under control? With the introduction of any new process or business system, you’ll likely run into some resistance from users. The task becomes about managing the change and getting users to buy-in.  If you don’t make it easy for them to adopt the new approach, they will inevitably revert back to old habits! Here…

5 Critical Success Factors for Project Management Improvement

For over twenty years, BrightWork has worked with customers across lots of sectors. In that time, we’ve learned a few things about successful project management!  In this blog post,  I outline the five factors we have identified as being essential for successful project management and project management improvement in any organization. To help you on your journey, I have included self-assessment questions to help you identify any missing factors. The practical implementation of the factors with three BrightWork customers is demonstrated in this free ebook.   1. Executive Sponsorship Definition: Senior management recognize Project Management as a strategic capability and necessity for the organization, and desires to improve this capability. Executive sponsorship can mean one senior executive is supporting a company effort or even better, the entire senior management team. The effort, in this case, is the improvement of project management across the company. Oftentimes, when you picture an executive sponsor, you see someone who has a “seat at the table” but is disconnected from the day to day running of the business.  They simply secure the funding and initial resources needed for a project and disappear until the project is completed. This is not the type of executive sponsorship…

A Three-Step Framework for Collaborative Project Management

Project management has been around for centuries. From the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China through to the Industrial Revolution, the construction of the Transcontinental Railway, and other contemporary feats, projects have always been a route to transformation and change. This should mean that we are all brilliant project managers, adept at leading projects and teams to success. Unfortunately, as these examples of failed projects prove, this is simply not the case. Project management is not going away but it’s not getting any easier! So what’s the solution? How can project managers and teams overcome the many challenges and obstacles facing projects to achieve their goals? Collaborative project management, which emphasizes teamwork and cooperation, may hold the answer. In this article, I will explore the benefits of collaborative project management and outline a three-step framework to help you implement this approach with your team.   Project Management Challenges “Health warning! Project Management does require a determination to keep going to the end, as there will be difficult periods on most projects”, Eamonn McGuiness, BrightWork CEO and author, ‘Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook’. I am sure that many of you are nodding vigorously whilst reading the above…

Tackling Scrum Agile for the First Time: A BrightWork Approach

If you know Scrum Agile, you may be thinking about introducing this methodology to your projects. To help you get started, I’ll share some experiences and tips following our application of the methodology in 2016. The Need for Change Our team is responsible for developing custom business solutions internally for BrightWork. We have delivered many successful projects over the years without the help of Scrum Agile, so let me start by saying only change your formula if you feel it is going to bring about a real positive change. Giving Scrum Agile a run made sense for us and we felt it was the right fit for some of our development programs. Only change your formula if you feel it is going to bring about a real positive change We wanted a change because we felt more traditional methods of project management were missing a certain versatility. We would begin with a requirement, kick off our development, and come back to the table some time later with a release candidate. We felt we were failing to get adequate feedback from the product owners along the journey but more significantly, the solution we were building never had a chance to adapt…

6 Reasons to Rethink Business Processes for Improved Projects [Guest Post]

During project planning, individual tasks can seem simple. However, as the project progresses, more tasks inevitably get added to the workload. Some of the tasks become more complex, making the entire process unwieldy and placing your project at risk. Taking some time to review and improve processes can really simplify the work needed to deliver a project. In some cases, it’s possible to automate some of the more rote tasks and use the structured workflow to keep things running smoothly. Business process re-engineering is a management strategy focused on analyzing and re-structuring workflows within an organization. Usually issues follow the introduction of a new product or service, new upper management, or new technology. When a pattern of inefficiency appears, project managers should promptly rethink how work is done in order to improve productivity and cut costs. Here are six areas to consider. Identify the Problem Identified issues could be due to some common causes: One department may use more than its share of resources. Busy schedules don’t allow time for process changes. Failure to recognize the extent or nature of problems. Inadequate employee training. Outdated or insufficient technology, tools, or infrastructure. Bureaucratic policies that create delays. Staff are not engaged or…

5 Phases of a Project: Initiating

In a recent article, I introduced five popular project methodologies: PRINCE2, Critical Path Management, Waterfall, Agile and Scrum. The purpose of selecting a methodology is to provide a roadmap to project success. As well as being familiar with different project methodologies and their application, project managers should also understand the five phases of project management defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK): Initiating, Planning, Executing,Monitoring/Controlling and Closing. In this article, I will outline the five phases before exploring the Initiating Phase. This article is the first in a series which delves into each phase in more detail.   5 Phases of Project Management   Initiating: A new project is broadly defined and submitted for formal approval. This phase often begins with a business case, which outlines the objectives, purpose and deliverables of the proposed project. Stakeholders are identified and preliminary requirements are documented. Key outputs include the project charter which assists with Planning. Any feasibility testing should also take place during this phase. Planning: A comprehensive project plan is developed which outlines the budget, scope, duration, deliverables and quality, communications, metrics, risks and resources. Executing: The project is now ready to launch!…

Choosing a Project Management Methodology

A project is about change and transformation. A temporary endeavor, a project often utilizes an established methodology to achieve certain goals for internal or external customers. A methodology is like a roadmap or a set of blueprints for your project, providing teams with a set of instructions and processes to deliver successful projects.  Choosing the methodology before starting the project will save time and resources as teams can get to work quickly rather than spending time figuring out how to execute tasks. There are many different types of project methodologies which have evolved to meet the needs of various industries and organizations. In this article, I will briefly outline seven popular approaches – PRINCE2, Critical Path Management, Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, Hybrid, and Kanban – before concluding with some tips to determine which methodology to use.   Project Management Methodologies PRINCE2 PRINCE2 (an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a process-driven approach with a focus on business justification and a defined organization structure for teams. Developed in 1989 and used extensively by the UK government, PRINCE2 breaks a project into stages and treats each stage as its own entity. The methodology consists of 7 Principles, 7 Themes and 7 Processes to ensure that projects…

The 3 D’s of a Successful BrightWork Deployment

When deploying any new software or business system, it’s the important to have a process in place to ensure you have a smooth and efficient roll out. It’s no different when it comes to implementing collaborative project management software. Your change management process should be transparent and focused on delivering value, driven by your needs. At BrightWork we work with our customers on the 3D Deployment Process which is comprised of three stages: 1). Design; 2). Deliver; 3). Deploy. This process enables you to have an iterative and purposeful approach to building up the project management processes in your organization. Design using best practices The first thing you need to do is gather your requirements. Decide your project management vision, both the short-term needs and your long-term goals. It’s a good idea to include senior management in this requirements gathering process. This makes sure they get what they need and you also get buy-in and have a champion. As you hopefully know, at BrightWork we are strong advocates of the Start | Evolve approach to project management. We don’t recommend trying to build all your requirements in the first iteration of the solution. Rather, in this phase you determine what will be in this iteration and what will come in a future…

How do I Manage My Project?

As you begin to plan your project, you’re probably already thinking about team structure, budgets, and timelines. Before getting too far ahead, it’s important to take a step back and ask a simple yet tricky question – how am I going to manage my project? It’s useful to think of project management as a spectrum ranging from Unstructured to Structured with various tools and processes for each level. As the project progresses, you can ramp up or reduce the level of management required. You just need to get started.       Agreeing the management approach with your team before beginning any work will reduce issues later on.  For example, you may track issues in a list but not manage risks formally. However, this does not mean that you are not carrying out risk management. You are likely to take actions to mitigate risks regularly without documenting or communicating them. Your team should be aware of these process from the outset. The level of required project management will also impact upon the design of your collaborative project site. There are two ways to decide how much project management you need.   Option 1 – Use Existing Guidelines Check if your organization has some guidelines or templates available…

4 Tips to Avoid This Common Project Management Trap

Organizations who are new to formal project management often fall into a trap.  They realize that project management is important and that they need to get something in place. Great, that’s step one. However, it can be tough to know exactly which processes they really need to deploy to get started.  And this is where they start to go astray. It seems like more often than not, organizations make the mistake of trying to implement a  fully-structured project management process on day one. But when you’re just starting out, this can be overwhelming to project teams.  It takes time to build up to that level of project management structure. In addition, you can have small projects and big projects.  Simple projects and complex projects. Teams that are trained in project management, and teams that are not. People who buy-in and people who resist change at all costs. To accommodate this reality, you can’t think of project management as “one-size-fits-all.” Instead, at BrightWork we like the idea of project management as a spectrum. The beauty of a spectrum like this one is that there is no one “correct” spot. Only the spot(s) that are appropriate for you and your team. With all the above in mind, here a four…

4 Ways to help with Project Document Management

Document management can be such a headache! Are your projects documents a bit all over the place? A version here, a copy there? Or perhaps two or more people are working on different versions of the same original but should really be collaborating together? There are so many ways that inadequate document management can impact the success rate of your project. Even if your project charter and plan are perfect (should such a thing exist!), getting the correct control on how you mange your project documents must happen in tandem. Your project team must be able to access the right and relevant documents and templates as soon as they need to, without interfering on others. I’ve picked out 4 Ways to Better Manage your Project Documents to help you get on top of your document management using BrightWork and SharePoint and keep the proper controls in place. 1. Bin the Hard Copies I heard an interesting fact lately. There are more mobile phones than toothbrushes in the world today! Regardless if it’s true or not, it’s a safe assumption to say that pretty much everyone has access to technology these days. It’s time now to give the printer a break…

Repetition (REP) is the Key to Mastery

One of the things we found at BrightWork is that people, they fall into this trap of maybe doing a little bit and having great success and maybe stopping and starting. So we coined the phrase “REP”. REP is a play on the word repetition. And we all know that when we repeat something often enough, we tend to get good at it. Now we have to repeat it intelligently, so we can’t repeat it the exact same way every time. We have to make adjustments. It’s like riding a bike. If you ride a bike for weeks and months, you get good at riding a bike. Repetition is an important aspect of mastery. The people we work with at BrightWork, they want to be masters of collaborative project management. They want to be masters of their own destiny. They want to be good at it. They just want to be great. And repetition is part of the key. So the REP in BrightWork terms: the R stands for research, the E execute, and the P is post-mortem. So this short video explains REP in BrightWork terms and gives you a practical approach to making change and becoming a master…

How To Handle Dependencies In Your Projects

Project Managers must be able to plan for and manage the dependencies among tasks in their projects they are going have successful outcomes. The more complex a project is, the more dependencies there will be among project tasks that must be planned for. What are Project Dependencies? A project dependency is where a task, milestone or activity is dependent on another task or milestone being completed before it can start or be completed. Dependencies exist when an output from one task or another project is needed as a mandatory input for another task or another project. Dependencies are something that must be delivered to enable a project’s delivery and these must be identified and tracked as they will impact on project success. Dependencies form a key part of workload prioritization during the program and are a basic agenda item for any meetings and decision-points. As such, they must be consistent with all other aspects of the plans, projects, and programs. Dependencies may be items that are being delivered from elsewhere, and that may not be directly under the control of a project manager. The dependencies log will capture at least who the project is dependent upon and what they should deliver…

Are You Making The Most Of Issue Management In Your Projects?

In the life cycle of any project, there will always be unexpected problems and issues that arise. When these issues arise, a project manager has to be ready to deal with them or they will potentially affect the project’s outcome. What is Issue Management? Issue management is the process of identifying and resolving issues Problems with staff or suppliers, technical failures, material shortages, these might all have a negative impact on your project Unresolved issues can be a source of conflict that delays or prevents the project team from attaining project goals, milestones, and deliverables Issue Management is designed to minimize the negative effects of issues on a project Issue Management follows many of the processes applicable to risk management and these two areas are usually considered in tandem Issues arising should be recorded on a Project Issues Log Issue Management addresses obstacles that can hinder project success These obstacles can include such factors as: Differences of opinion Situations to be investigated Unanticipated responsibilities The purpose of issue management is to identify and document these issues and to resolve them by reviewing and carefully considering all relevant information. Project issues must be identified, managed and resolved throughout the project in…

Do You Practice Assumption Management With Your Projects?

As few projects start with absolute certainty, most projects will be based on many assumptions. If PM’s had to wait for absolute certainty, most projects would never get off the starting block within organisations. Some assumptions must be made on projects when there is a lack of information available to predict the future accurately. Experienced Project Managers do their best efforts to get better at making assumptions and eliminating as many of them as possible. Assumption Management As projects are planned and executed, some facts and issues are known, others must be estimated. Project Managers can’t just hope they will have the necessary resources to complete a project successfully. For example, if the required resources are not available, then key project milestones may be missed and the project will fail to achieve a successful outcome. Project Managers have to manage and mitigate using informed assumptions and constraints. Project Managers need to make a brief and clear-cut description of any project assumptions related to: Scope Budget Business Sponsorship Requirements Resources Customers Technology Expectations Third Parties Other Assumptions The PM will document and communicate these list of those assumptions to key stakeholders. Assumptions in Projects Assumptions apply at all stages of the…

What Are The Challenges With The Enterprise Project Portfolio Reporting Problem?

Global and dispersed organisations often struggle on how to have an effective status reporting solution for their enterprise project portfolio. PMO’s within many large organisations still use Excel and PowerPoint for project status reporting and although they provide a useful format they are not easily shared in real time. The problem is further complicated when has many PMO’s spread geographically across the globe. Key Enterprise PMO Challenges Many PMO’s within global organisations are constrained to stay with Excel and PowerPoint as their organisations don’t have the appetite for implementing an enterprise project management information reporting tool usually based on incorrect assumptions of high cost or security issues. How to manage a large portfolio of projects over a wide geographical region? How to provide project status reporting from country to region to global audiences? How to present this status reporting in formats suitable for different audiences? How to ensure project management information quality of a sufficient standard? How to make sure project status is current as status can change significantly within days? How to adopt project management best practices with many users who have immature project management skills and knowledge? How to centralise management of projects management information over a large geographical region? How to ensure…

A Template for Managing the New Project Pipeline in SharePoint

A key to project success is a proper project approval process. Projects need to be assessed for things like cost, likelihood of success, strategic fit, and availability of resources.  But in reality, one of the most common challenges for senior executives is that the project approval process does not always select the right projects! In many organizations, the process for deciding which projects get dropped or deferred and which ones get approved is often informal, ineffective and inconsistent. Clearly, just because someone has an idea for a project, it does not mean it should just go ahead. Some projects that get approved are not in alignment with key organizational objectives. Sometimes the right projects get the go ahead at the wrong time or with the wrong resources. The BrightWork Project Request Manager template enables organizations to deploy an objective methodology to assist with deciding which projects get approved, which ones get dropped and which ones get deferred. The Project Request Manager provides a single location to log, rank and assess new project requests. If desired, Project Request Manager can also be used to create the new project sites. This means projects cannot start without approval and ensures approved projects are better aligned…

Do You Know These Best Practices for A Lean PMO?

Lean Management is a set of tools that helps to improve productivity, reduce costs and improve quality. A successful PMO aligns continuously with customer value. The goal of Lean Management PMO is the creation of a continuous stream of projects which delivers customer value with minimum waste of resources within the fastest time possible. Some Best Practices for a Lean PMO Simple Processes The key to a successful PMO is to keep the processes simple, fit for purpose, clearly explained and understood, and aligned with the needs of the stakeholders Each project should be viewed as an individual process with inputs and outputs and the project portfolio as a whole is the management of these individual project processes. Identified Stakeholders A PMO needs to identify its stakeholders, their part in the project lifecycle process, their responsibilities, their requirements and align on metrics to measure the PMO performance against their measures of customer satisfaction. Project Charter / Mandate A fundamental critical success factor for a Lean Management PMO is that every project should have a project charter or mandate. A project charter ensures initial alignment between all the stakeholders There should be a clear statement communicated to stakeholders and adhered to –  No Project…

Would a One Page Overview for Successful Deployment Strategy and Planning Be Useful?

Deployment of new solutions or upgrading existing ones can stretch an IT groups resources to meet deployment project goals reliably, cost-effectively, and in a timely manner. Sometimes all the preliminary steps of a project to develop a new business solution goes to plan and falls down at the implementation and transition stages. What is Implementation and Transition? Implementation of a new software application is is getting the application into production whilst transition is turning the product over to the staff responsible for maintenance and support. Both the Implementation and Transition Plans describes the steps necessary to turn a new business solution over to a business unit and maintenance & operations support staff. The plans ensures that all of the necessary steps are identified and that each of these steps has resources assigned to them. Sources of information for implementation and transition planning should include representation of all key stakeholders who are affected by the project’s outcomes. Download Here is a One Page Plan Overview of Deployment Strategy and Planning that may be a useful aid.   Ken Martin Enterprise PMO Consultant Author background: Ken’s long career in business, IT and PMO’s has spanned many dynamic and demanding blue chip  organisations in…

3 Key Activities for PMO Initiation

When you are establishing a Project Management Office in your organization, you need to start by assessing your current situation.  Do you have any PMO at all?  Or do you have one with some room to improve? So you need to decide where you are, in terms of your PMO and then where you want to be. In the next step, you move into the PMO Initiation phase. Key Activities for PMO Initiation Here we suggest you treat the establishment of the PMO like a real project, and all the elements that go along with that… getting a sponsor, having a project charter, a roadmap, decide on the scope, and so on. 1.  Create business case and PMO charter One of the first things you want to do is create the business case for the PMO.  Establish why you are undertaking a project like this.  As well as the business case, you want to have a project charter, just like you would have for any project really. In BrightWork for example, you could house this information in what we call the Project Statement.  This one in BrightWork is a SharePoint list, that opens up to a form. You can see here the kind of information we are capturing, such as: Project Description – what you…

PRINCE2 Vs PMP – Which to Pick First?

If you’re looking to get certified in Project Management, you might be wondering which exam to take? There are lots out there but the 2 main contenders would be PRINCE2® (PRojects IN a Controlled Environment, version 2) or PMP® (Project Management Professional).  Before deciding which to pick, it might be worth which one to focus on and get certified in first. Yes first! I’d highly recommend getting certified in both. So, lets take a look at PRINCE2 Vs PMP. Research First Find out first of all which is being used in your organization, industry andor region. PRINCE2 is used with the majority of UK governments. PMP would be more used more globally, but both are internationally recognised accreditations. Don’t forget to chat to people that are currently in the role. LinkedIn could be a great resource to connect with people if you don’t know anyone. Also, it’s worth doing some research with job search engines. What are recruiters looking for? Why are they looking for it? Methodology or Standard? PRINCE2 is a methodology that would be very process and template driven. It goes into details the roles that each person would play in a successful project and their involvement. It’s based…