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Project Management Blog

We have all been told that communication with all stakeholders, particularly the core project team, is one of the central responsibilities of the Project Manager. We support this idea and have mentioned it in several of our previous articles. You may have seen a well-known communications formula of ‘N(N-1)/2’ used as proof that the addition of new members to any program or project team increases the number of communication channels exponentially. For example, if your team increases from 15 to 17, the number of possible communication channels goes up by 31; try the calculations and you’ll see what we mean.

Applying this theory, a small team may have ten to fifty communication channels, while a large team may have thousands. A Project Manager should understand that the time required to manage communications grows with the number of channels, and begin to look for ways to effectively and efficiently communicate with their project stakeholders – keeping in mind that different stakeholders require different information at different times in the project. (Our article on Project Success Planning covers this topic.) With the ease and availability of blogs in today’s corporate setting, you may be asking yourself, “Is blogging a good communication option for my project?”

Because each project phase requires the appropriate emphasis at a given time, the number of channels the program or project manager must manage varies throughout the lifecycle of a project. For example, in the early stage of a project – let’s call it Preliminary (or Discovery, the term we use in our article “Nine Essential Steps for Project Success”) – you may have a relatively low number of channels because you are only working with a few key stakeholders. In contrast, in the Execution or Deployment phase, your team will be fully engaged with many people. Further, communication by the project manager is a key area of focus as the project lifecycle draws to a close. Figure 1.1 below illustrates an example/typical scenario. (Note: the lifecycle phases are examples; your organisation probably has different ones).

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011 21:00

Team Sports and Project Management

If you spend a reasonable amount of time working on projects, you are likely to hear team members use sports metaphors. This is a positive trait. Sports metaphors can be great motivators and examples of “how to do things.”

Beyond the metaphors, can methodologies in team sports suggest core practices for project management? We think the answer to this question is yes.

There are many similarities between project management and team sports. For the purpose of this article, we focus on eight areas that we feel are particularly relevant.

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 02 June 2011 21:49

Nine Fundamental Steps to Project Success

85If you are an experienced project practitioner you may be asked at some point, ”What are the key things that a Project Manager should do in order to be successful?” There is no one-line, simple answer to this question. Success depends on many factors, including the organization for which you work, the power granted or bestowed on the project manager, the responsibilities they are given on their project, and other influencing criteria. Having said that, we have found over the years that there do exist certain factors which, when done well, usually influence success. Let us elaborate.

First, we must establish your expectations as the reader. The nine steps we put forth in this article are not a “Holy Grail” for successfully managing a project. They represent actions which, if undertaken with purpose and meaning, can help set your project on the path to success, and keep it on that path. Think of the nine steps in this manner: if you are planning a road trip by car, there will be many steps to your plan (many of which you will do automatically); check that your vehicle is in good working order, ensure you have a map of the route, be certain that you have fuel, and so on. Some steps in this plan are more critical than others. This is the same principle we are applying to these “success factors” for project management. The nine steps are not in a sequence; whilst Step 1 will be undertaken before the others, the others may be undertaken in a different order.

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In mid-2010, we wrote an article about project communications which focused on the challenges and techniques of communicating in a virtual team. We gave some examples of when to use different communications mediums to suit the task at hand. In this follow-up communications piece, we talk about some of the nuances of working in an international project team, and in particular, some things to bear in mind when you communicate with, and present to people from cultures different from your own.
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I wrote this in response to a friends inquiry about Outsourcing. The basic risks, concerns and strategy of outsourcing as I see them today are: The basic risks, concerns and strategy of outsourcing as I see them today are:

1.    Language Barrier - this often makes requirements gathering sessions harder. It takes longer which is more costly both in terms of capital dollars and opportunity costs.
Published in Blogs
Sunday, 28 October 2007 02:32

How Male Machismo Shaped Project Management

Imagine a man dressed in black sitting next to you in the office. He looks over your shoulder, observing as you type up a report. He takes notes, nods and mumbles quietly to himself. He counts the number of keystrokes you perform per minute. You try to ignore him, but have little luck.

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 25 January 2007 21:02

Project Quality

What is Project Quality Management? Project quality management is concerned with the management of the project and the product of the project. The project Quality Management Processes include:

  • Quality Planning
  • Perform Quality Assurance
  • Perform Quality Control

PMI’s approach to quality management is intended to be compatible with that of the International Standardization Organization (ISO). This generalized approach should be compatible with proprietary approaches to quality management such as those recommended by Deming, Juran, Crosby and others. Non-proprietary approaches should be compliment Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, etc. 

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