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Project Management Blog
Tuesday, 21 August 2007 15:49

Point 13 - Deming in Project Management

Training Not Related to Job/Task

In order for continuous improvement to become organizational culture, it must also become a personal goal for every employee. Self-improvement should not be limited to immediate application, that would be an example of short-term thinking. Employees are the most important assets of an organization, and therefore require effort to retain and enhance them.

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Sunday, 12 August 2007 21:11

Point 12 - Deming in Project Management

Enable Pride of Workmanship

Deming claimed that the sense of having helped other people is the most significant motivator and source of job satisfaction. It is one of the biggest enablers for pride of workmanship.

Of the projects you have worked on, think about the ones you are most proud of. What is it that makes you look back and say, “Wow! Look what we did!!!”
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We’ve beaten Mr. Genius, Ms. Bellows, Mr. Promise and Mrs. Process.  But what chance do we have against Ms. Meetings?  She is very sweet.  As a matter of fact, she brings donuts to all of her meetings.  And she certainly has a lot of them.  Any time there is a question she calls a meeting.  She has regularly scheduled Status Meetings, Team Meetings, Progress Meetings and Recap meetings.  During testing there is a meeting at 7:00 AM to determine the daily schedule, a meeting at noon to check on status and one at 6:00 PM to review results.  Then every hour on the hour she meets with the individual areas to make sure progress is being made.  She even had a couple of meeting to determine why productivity was so low.
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Dr. W. Edwards Deming was recently re-introduced to me in my Project Performance and Quality Assurance class. I have heard of him before and touched on some of his philosophy in other classes, but focused much more in-depth this time. The majority of his philosophy around quality and organizational management resonates with me. So, I've decided to do a series of articles on Deming's 14 points, and how they relate specifically to the field of project management.

Here are Deming's 14 points, paraphrased in my words:

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Today's PM PrepCast PMP® Exam Tip is: A few basic PMP® Study Tips.

Studying for the exam is a highly individual journey. However, here are a few basic study tips, that you may want to consider:

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Petra Goltz, PMP asks: How do you see the role of a project or program manager changing to keep pace with today's fast moving commercial environments?

I say: That's an very interesting question. Without giving it too much thought, I can see the following trends taking place:

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Monday, 09 April 2007 08:24

Audit Failures

I have a friend who used to work for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a tax collector for the United States.  When he performed an audit he expected you to be honest and work with him to determine what was owed.  He had the authority to make your life miserable if you chose to mess around.  After trying unsuccessfully on one case to work through issues with an individual he showed up at the company before 6:00 AM with padlocks and chains to impound all of the vehicles.  In concert with this move he froze all financial assets as soon as the bank opened. 
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Thursday, 22 March 2007 10:02

The Success Conundrum

I hope that since you are reading this, you are a project management proponent and interested in “spreading the word” so to speak.  Many of us find ourselves a lone voice in the wilderness singing the praises of project management, yet unable to make any headway. 

Why is this so and what can be done about it? How do we get those obstinate so-and-sos to listen? 

In one way we are our own worst enemy.  Our consistent success and brilliant performance is often interpreted by others as an inherent talent.  In other words, we are seen as good at project management in the same way that musicians are seen as good musicians – it’s a talent thing.   Now, not taking away from anyone’s talent, our personal attributes are not the only cause of our success – you know that or you would not be reading this.  The first hurdle then is to demonstrate that skill AND talent make good project managers, that you can learn this and be good – never as good as those of us who are truly talented, but – hey - not everyone can be the best... just us J This means that success alone can not demonstrate the benefits of project management – let me say that differently – the prevailing mindset in a capability-maturity ignorant world is that people alone create success.  

I’m not saying that a great process can overcome incompetence, it can’t.  Nor am I suggesting that you credit your achievements solely to a great methodology (you worked hard!) – so what do you do? There are a lot of actions you can take, but since I’m a PMO guy, I’ll start there.  In the case of building a PM culture, a PMO can succeed where individual achievements fall short.  A PMO is an organizational entity, and as such does not suffer from the success conundrum. 

When a PMO succeeds, the prevailing opinion will be “they must be doing something right.”  This process-oriented point of view is an opening into organizational consciousness.  If you don’t have a PMO, consider creating a community of practice around project management.  Meet with other PMs and share ideas and practices.  Publish these on the company’s intranet (if you have one).  Send emails on PM topics or print articles and pass them around. 

I’ve really had some good luck with sharing short articles and ideas via email.  In fact I just sent another one using Josh Nankivel’s article on Theory of Constraints.  The cartoon is great, and fun communications never hurts!   So that’s my first two cents, PMOs and other PM-based organizations are a great way to demonstrate and communicate the benefits of our profession, get together with your peers and spread the word.

 

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Thursday, 25 January 2007 20:48

Cost Budgeting

Cost budgeting involves aggregating the estimated costs of individual schedule activities or work packages to establish a total cost baseline for measuring project performance. The project scope statement provides the summary budget. However, schedule activity or work package cost estimates are prepared prior to the detailed budget requests and work authorization.

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Thursday, 25 January 2007 19:06

Activity Resource Estimating

This is the process of estimating how many resources a project team should use to perform project activities. Before estimating activity durations, the PM must have a good idea of the quantity and type of resources that will be assigned to each activity. Consider important issues in estimating resources:

  • How difficult will it be to complete specific activities on this project?
  • What is the organization’s history in doing similar activities?
  • Are the required resources available?
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