EVM3 Overview

Earned Value Management Maturity Model
Each year, I work with hundreds of business people to prepare for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam. One of the most challenging topics in the course is Earned Value Management (EVM). Asking for a show of hands in response to the question, “who here actually figures out the Earned Value Management on their projects?” the response is, overwhelmingly, week after week, less than 10%. In an audience of 20 people, that is only one or two people at best. Continue reading

Managing Scope Creep: An Ounce of Prevention

Managing Scope Creep
Project managers often speak of “managing” scope creep, which begs the question: “Shouldn’t we be trying to eliminate it instead?”

To answer that question, we should first consider whether scope creep is actually avoidable in the first place. And if it is, do we really want to “avoid” it altogether? After all, many innovative products and solutions were developed because of – not in spite of – scope creep. Continue reading

Transform Chaos into Results: How To Juggle Multiple Projects

Juggling Multiple Projects
Are you having trouble juggling multiple projects? Does it seem like nothing is getting done? Does your task list grow longer and longer each passing day? These feelings are quite common and can often lead to burn-out. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. In this article, I’ll explain some simple and effective ways to manage multiple projects, conflicting priorities and a seemingly impossible workload. Continue reading

Project Selection Methods: A Primer for the Project Manager

Business decisions
The success of an enterprise often hinges on the projects it selects, so this is an area of project management – and indeed business management – that should not be overlooked. While there is no “one size fits all” approach for selecting a project, and organizations will differ widely in how they approach this task, the following may help the project manager be as useful as possible in the process. Continue reading

Brainstorming: Lessons from the Film Industry

Brainstorming
In the film and television industry, the process of brainstorming is often described using the more visceral and more visually descriptive term “spitballing.” The term spitballing comes from the idea that participants can throw ideas around and “see what sticks.” Although the terminology feels quite informal, spitballing is a hugely important part of developing a creative project and is typically utilized consistently from project inception through project close. Continue reading

Five Tips to Improve your Communication Style

Technology in the hands
Whether in email, phone conversations or face-to-face meetings, communicating effectively does not come easily for many people. A lapse in communication in the workplace can lead to something as trivial as a rift between colleagues to missed deadlines or rework. Examples abound for each of these cases but the common theme is the same – communication failures result in lost productivity. By making a few simple changes, you can avoid these common pitfalls and improve your communication style. Continue reading

Risk Management

Risk Management
Projects are, by their nature, unique. In fact, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) says that a project is “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.”1 So in that uniqueness is uncertainty and with that uncertainty, risk. If you think about it, pretty much everything on a project is risky including availability of resources, estimates for both cost and time, procurement lead times and requirements. Continue reading

Free PMP Training: How to Get Your Employer to Pay

Get your employer to pay for it
As project managers, we tend to view training and certifications as enhancements to our own credentials, and they certainly are.  But remember, our employers stand to benefit from our additional training and credentials far more than we do.  Good PM skills can save huge amounts of money, prevent catastrophic project failures, and help maintain good client relations (among other benefits).  As such, most companies pay for their employees’ Project Management Professional (PMP)® training and exam fees. Continue reading

Keeping your PMI Certification Fresh: A Tutorial on PDUs

Tutorial on PDUs
Project management is a complex, ever-evolving forum of methodologies, principles, and best practices. So, it’s little wonder why Project Management Institute (PMI®) asserts that continuing education is an essential part of a project manager’s professional development. Consequently, PMI requires certain post-exam educational standards be met in order to maintain certification status. These requirements, known as Professional Development Units (PDUs), may seem ill-defined at first, but in this article we’ll attempt to answer questions about the quantity, frequency, and availability of PDUs necessary to maintain your certification. Continue reading

What You Need to Know About the PMP Certification

PMP Certification - Meeting
In recent years, project management has emerged as one of the world’s prevailing new professions. The Anderson Economic Group projected in a recent survey that an average of 1.2 million new project management positions will need to be filled each year until 2016, with healthcare, infrastructure development, and green technologies cited as some of the industry’s fastest-growing niches. This rapid growth, coupled with competitive industry salaries, has incentivized many employees and students to consider a career in project management. Continue reading