User Acceptance Testing can be a daunting and frustrating experience. Too often, the exercise becomes an ordeal of tight deadlines, stress, and system issues. While UAT will always be a high-effort activity, good preparation, responsiveness, and follow-up will multiply your chances of success.Read More
Sure, we all want our IT initiatives to succeed. We regularly evaluate our projects, in-flight or upon completion, looking for tangible lessons to learn. We apply these strategic and tactical takeaways in hopes of increasing the chances of success for each subsequent initiative. We seek approaches that work for different industries, organizations, teams, and technologies.
But looking back at the many IT projects I’ve been a part of in my career, I can’t help but notice a common theme associated with success: people who genuinely care tend to find a way to get it done.Read More
Managing an IT project often requires working with resources across other teams—not just those fully allocated to your initiative. Supporting resources and teams can be important to the success of your project. (Ideally, all the resources you need are fully dedicated to your project. In reality, this isn’t always possible.)
How do you ensure your team can deliver results if you’re dependent on these partially allocated supporting teams?Read More
Organizations tend to divide the same resources over multiple, simultaneous projects and still expect the same level of productivity as if each person were dedicated to just one project.
PMOs, project managers, and resource managers need to reexamine this practice of assigning the same person to two or more projects at once. A project with many or all resources allocated to multiple projects usually run late, creating a ripple effect on all other projects.Read More
Communication plans for an IT project might come off as overkill, or even remind you of a nagging parent’s chore chart. In fact, the two organizational methods do have something in common: they tackle and alleviate misalignment. However, unlike helicopter parents, a strong IT project communication plan empowers workers and frees up their time. In an age where 1 in 5 projects are unsuccessful due to ineffective communication, taking the time to plan out and manage communication is crucial.
A successful communication plan ensures that:
- expectations are aligned across the organization;
- project managers have the information they need to guide the project; and
- purposeless meetings are eliminated so that everyone’s time is optimized.
To get started with your Project Management Communication Plan—and increase the chance of project success—make sure you’re prepared to perform the following 6 tasks.Read More
Preface: In a perfect world, key elements like project requirements and execution steps would be issued by a product owner or PM. But the real world is imperfect. What do you do when you find yourself sitting by the side of the road with a flat tire and a bleeding head, reading a manual that suggests you wear a helmet? Such a “best practice” is not very helpful when you’re in the thick of things. This post is written for an imperfect world. I’ll share what I do when reality happens—when I’m floundering for adequate direction, prioritization, or structure.
Here is how, from the chaos of tasks and daily priorities, order is born.
Recently, I found myself simultaneously working on 4 different IT projects (an upgrade, an infrastructure move, and 2 evaluations). Each day, I performed little tasks to move the projects forward, but each time I returned to my desk I kept thinking, “Is this the most important thing to do right now? How close am I to the final goal? Where am I on the map of project progress?” I needed a compass.
The solution I developed took the form of 3 simple lists: Requirements, Issues, and Execution Steps. Let’s explore each in detail.Read More
Part 5 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.
As project managers, we often run into team members that require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for managing superstars, who are often in need of TLC but it is not as apparent.Read More
Part 4 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.
As project managers, we often run into team members that require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output out of folks who see the project as a way to achieve a personal agenda. In one way or another, these team members have no interest in doing what is best for the team, but rather what is best for themselves.Read More
The title of Project Manager (PM) assumes a specific set of skills. While PMs certainly qualify as leaders, and the best possess the same qualities that define a great leader, project management is not an abstract art.
PMI defines a framework that is universal enough to apply to any project execution, anywhere in the world, under any conditions, yet, with a very precise set of tools. Some innate talents cannot be taught, but for the purposes of project management, the most important skills can (and should) be learned—and they improve with experience.Read More
Part 3 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.
As project managers, we often run into team members that require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output out of folks who have personal circumstances that are objectively more critical to them than work.Read More