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Project Management Blog
Tuesday, 28 August 2007 13:15

Date for a Date

What can you do if a participant at your project status meeting is only a representative and has no power to make decisions provide information?

As a proactive and proficient project manager you have done everything possible to guaranty that the right people show up at your weekly or monthly project status meetings.

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The creation of a Project Scope Statement doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Through the use of collaborative decision making and facilitated meetings techniques, it is realistic to build the components of the scope statement while gaining alignment from all project stakeholders in as few as two (2) days. The alignment gained from this upfront scoping effort will form the foundation for success throughout the remainder of the project. The key to this dynamic activity is effective planning and execution of a Project Scope Facilitate Meeting, using collaborative JAD techniques, to build the necessary scope outputs for a project.

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Monday, 23 April 2007 08:24

Diffuse Anger, Strengthen Relationships

What me, upset? OK not you, but let’s consider the fact that perhaps one day, someone close to you may become angry. Perhaps even in the workplace. And you already know that communications become clouded when anger does the talking. Try this recipe next time anger appears on the menu.

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Saturday, 27 January 2007 17:33

Risk Monitor & Control

This is the process of identifying, analyzing, and planning for risks. The PM keeps track of the identified risks, reanalyzing of existing risks, monitoring trigger conditions for contingency plans, monitoring residual risks, and reviewing the execution of risk responses while evaluating their effectiveness. It is done by using techniques, such as variance and trend analysis, which require the use of performance data generated during project execution. Project work should be continuously monitored for new and changing risks. Other purposes of Risk Monitoring and Control are to determine if:
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Saturday, 27 January 2007 17:15

Risk Identification

PMI defines risk identification as determining which risk events are likely to affect the project and documenting the characteristics of each. This process involves identifying three related factors: (1) potential sources of risk (schedule, cost, technical, legal, and so on), (2) possible risk events, and (3) risk symptoms.

The timing of risk identification is also of vital importance. PMI® advocates that risk identification should first be accomplished at the outset of the project and then be updated regularly throughout the project life cycle. 

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Thursday, 25 January 2007 15:18

Organizational Structure

Projects, of course, are not operated in a vacuum. They are parts, or subsystems, of much bigger organizations with much larger goals. Each project has or uses elements such as processes, participants, policies, procedures, and requirements, some of which are dependent upon and interact with related elements in the larger business system. By taking a systematic approach, the project manager can see how all the elements interact, and assess the impact on the individual project. Project managers must recognize the role of the project as a component within an organization. The role of the project, as a component, is to support the business model of the organization as a whole-not to necessarily replace it. Organizations are categorized into one of five models:

This traditional structure groups people by specialization (for example, marketing, contracting, accounting, and so on). The project manager has no formal authority over project resources and must rely on the informal power structure and his or her own interpersonal skills to obtain resource commitments from functional managers. Conflicts tend to develop over the relative priorities of various projects competing for limited resources.

Weak Matrix
The matrix organization maintains vertical functional lines of authority while establishing a relatively permanent horizontal structure containing the managers for various projects. The project managers interact with all functional units supporting their projects. In a weak matrix, the balance of power leans toward the functional manager rather than the project manager. That is, workers’ administrative relationships, physical proximity, and relative time expenditures favor the functional manager.

Balanced Matrix
A balanced matrix structure has many of the same attributes as a weak matrix, but the project manager has more time and power regarding the project. A balanced matrix still has time accountability issues for all the project team members since their functional managers will want reports on their time within the project. In a balanced matrix the project manager has a full-time role as a project manager with a reasonable level of authority and has a primarily part-time project team

Strong Matrix
The strong matrix is the same as the weak matrix except that the balance of power favors the project manager rather than the functional manager. The project manager has medium to high formal authority.

In a projectized organization, a separate, vertical structure is established for each project.  Personnel are assigned to particular projects on a full-time basis. The project manager has total authority over the project, subject only to the time, cost, and performance constraints specified in the project targets.

These are the functional organizations; project expeditor, which is little more than a functionary who helps support the concept of project management but not really the practice; the project coordinator is a step up from that. Then a weak matrix is where you actually have the project manager getting resources from the functional organizations; a strong matrix is where the balance of power is shifted to the project manager. The way you tell whether or not that balance of power has shifted is where the money and the reporting come from. If all money and reports are generated by the project and are respected as being from the project, then it is a strong matrix. If the functional organizations are seen as generating revenue for the organization rather than the project organizations, then it is a weak matrix. And finally, PMI’s ideal structure: the projectized organization, a place where the project has its own reporting structure within the organization.

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