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Thomas Swider

Author and PMP certified project manager, currently consulting for CAI’s Project Office Plus+ service offering.

November, 2014

  • 11 November

    Project Communications – Raising the Red Flag

    Take-Aways Be mindful when issuing warnings (red flags). Initial reactions to a problem are often wrong. This is natural because it takes some time to recover from seeing something incorrect and to clarify the situation. Abrupt stops can create unintended consequences. Project Management Information Systems can keep the team informed so that they can better interpret the red flag when it is raised. Email is a common way red flags are raised. The results often …

January, 2014

  • 14 January

    How Much is Knowing Worth?

    Take-Aways Defining the value of knowledge is elusive because of the number of variables that can influence outcomes. Information may have no value if it has no project impact. Determining if information impacts variable costs can facilitate decision making. Reviewing the value of information as part of a lessons learned review can help improve your intelligence efforts on future projects. Your Mileage May Vary Few will dispute that information is “good” but defining its value …

September, 2013

  • 9 September

    Create Lifetime Project Customers

    Take-Aways 1. Aligning yourself with your customers is more important in today’s environment of austerity. The better you understand and interact with your customer, the longer they remain your customer. 2. Customers want to be heard and they want to see continually improving results. This includes making it easy for them to do business with you, asking them what they want and constantly looking for ways to make deliveries faster and less expensive. 3. Project …

August, 2013

  • 16 August

    Want Outstanding Projects? Make Stakeholders CARE!

    Take-Aways Lack of sponsor and stakeholder support deprives projects of vision and resources. Project management presentation of important information can make motivate stakeholders to take actions that reduce project uncertainty and improve project outcomes. Talk to Me Those who are responsible for the outcomes of your organization's initiatives should be very concerned about how sponsors and project managers interact and exert their leadership. During times of economic danger, you may be wasting limited resources because …

July, 2013

  • 30 July

    PMO at Your Service

    Take-Aways 1. The core mission of a Project Management Office is to help organizations improve project outcomes and improving how projects are executed. 2. Trends towards organizations that embrace improvisation in dealing with uncertainties, information overload, and global competition require more decisions to be made by project managers. 3. Project managers need to leverage both their own experiences and knowledge assets so they know when to follow the rules and when to break them to …

  • 15 July

    You Need to Keep Stakeholders Happy

    Take-Aways 1.       The 5th edition of PMBOK includes a new knowledge area for Project Stakeholder Management, recognizing the importance of the role of politics. 2.       Awareness of stakeholders and their numerous and conflicting needs can reduce project risk. 3.       Stakeholders want to be heard and acknowledged. 4.       PMOs, although stakeholders, can also be allies in managing stakeholders. Stakeholders Acknowledged Projects do not take place in a vacuum, but rather in the rich context of the …

June, 2013

  • 28 June

    Project Management as a Service

    Take-Aways 1.Projects sometimes warrant dividing roles amongst multiple resources. 2.As a project progresses through its phases and stages, activity levels for project management resources fluctuates. A flexible staffing model provides the needed resources at the right time. 3.Engagements for project management services can be an effective way of providing missing competencies or capabilities. 4.Service providers can provide additional objectivity. Project Management Roles One theme raised in my blog post Balance of Power is that the duties …

  • 18 June

    Balance of Power

    Take-Aways Project managers are guardians and advocates for a project. If a functional manager assigned a development role to the same person who acts as the project manager, the project will no longer have a project manager. To avoid this situation, the proposed project manager can negotiate a split of the role's duties with the functional manager and act as project lead rather than project manager. A natural division of work is for the functional …