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Honing IT project management skills? Become master of the obvious.

Overlooking the obvious happens to the best of us, and as Karen Goulart points out, it can just as easily happen in Project and portfolio management. Goulart goes on to explain how this isn't limited to those new in the field ““ point in fact, PPM veterans are more likely to overlook the obvious simply because of how much they know. Goulart gives three examples of how oblivious a team can be to the obvious, the causes, and the solutions. One problem listed is “putting the cart before the horse”:

Apfel insists that many a project management office would avoid failure if it asked this question from the start: What business problem are you trying to solve, and does everyone agree it's worth the effort to solve it? Too often the “problem” is actually the sought-after solution, she said. She will ask a client what the problem is, and the answer often will be, “We're standardizing our PPM process.” That's a solution, not a problem, she noted, and that proverbial cart will go nowhere until the problem is identified.

Other problems can occur when you don't realize a project isn't a project (for instance, when it's just everyday work ““ not needed a risk management plan or additional planning), and being too inflexible with your processes.

About Richard Wood

Richard Wood has been the publisher of CAI’s Accelerating IT Success newsletter since its inception in 2011. A Marketing Major at Cal Poly Pomona he has been working with Computer Aid since 2001. He can be reached at

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