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The Human Equation in Project Management

Approaches to project management have focused on the systems, procedures, and software put in place to determine progress and likely outcomes. These outcomes are usually expressed in terms of cost, schedule, and technical achievement against the project requirements and framing assumptions—the oft-cited three-legged stool of project management. These analytics, and the methodologies used to derive them, are effective in recording progress as it occurs. Analytics are then compared against an expected outcome over time based ...

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Reducing Costly Incidents through Knowledge

How can you improve the customer experience though knowledge management, you might ask? From an incident perspective we should start with the Service Desk to determine exactly what types of calls are coming in, a “top ten” of sorts. These may be common questions that, if they are handled through some form of self-service functionality, can reduce the calls into the Service Desk right at the beginning. It is likely that your Service Desk has ...

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Decision-Making under the Influence: SME, HiPPO, and BOGSAT

The most significant driver of cost and schedule risk in any project is indecision. While most projects can absorb a few bad decisions or even course-correct without a hitch, delaying a decision almost invariably creates damage. Agile practitioners will typically defer decisions until required to move forward so that the Decider has as much information as possible, but a lack of information isn’t always—or even usually—the problem. Sometimes the Decider just doesn’t feel empowered, and ...

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How to Facilitate a Successful Project Launch under Time Crunch

What does it take to facilitate a successful project launch? Let’s look at two scenarios, one that results in potential failure and one destined for success. The Wonder Wheels Company assigned Tom Dooley to manage a high-profile project, a project critical to the achievement of the company’s annual goals. Jane Johnson, a senior leader and the project sponsor, called Tom to her office, handed him a few memos, and described the project deliverables. Coldly staring ...

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Cover Your Assets

The other day as I was waiting on the train platform, I bumped into an IT operations manager whom I hadn’t seen for a while. Since I normally saw him in the evening ride home I had assumed he was on holiday. “Quite the opposite, I’m afraid,” he sighed. “We have had our major software vendors reviewing our compliance, so I have been working late and explaining our problems to leadership.” “Didn’t go that well?” ...

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In Defense of Empiricism: The Truth Hurts, but Lies Destroy

As readers of my articles know, my expertise in writing here at AITS spans the disciplines of project management and information management. These disciplines relate to others as well, such as the use of statistical methods, mathematics, engineering, physics, and psychology. All of these areas of study and practice rely upon empiricism. The simplistic definition as found in the link is the use of facts, evidence, and research in order to derive knowledge. This reliable ...

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So They Called It a ‘Project’… but Is It?

Many large organizations have projects. The level of attention provided to these corporate projects can vary a lot, along with the rate of success. In organizations with significant operations, it is very easy to minimize the importance of proper management and leadership on projects. Projects are notably different from regular operations of the organization. They are not secondary activities that are managed on the side of the desk, whenever someone has time for it. It ...

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On Being Intrepid as a Project Manager

In an earlier age, someone might have been approvingly described as “intrepid,” from the Latin for “not alarmed.” Some naval vessels, including at least one aircraft carrier, have borne the name Intrepid. In the modern age, usage has deteriorated to the ironic or even humorous. Of course, that doesn’t make intrepid behavior—the ability to perform effectively under conditions of uncertainty in complex environments and difficult circumstances—any less valuable. Conditions of Uncertainty (Risk Management) The purpose ...

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Almost Perfect CSI: Doing Is Learning

“If you can’t do something right, then it’s not worth doing,” was something a stern professor told me early in my college career. With this sage advice in front of mind, I rapidly dropped his class, knowing that this method of learning might not work out for me in the long run. The trouble is that this mode of thought makes its way into everyday routine, not to mention how it infiltrates how we operate ...

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Business Analyst & Project Manager: What’s the Real Difference?

Steven Covey said, “The cause of almost all relationship difficulties is rooted in conflicting and ambiguous expectations around roles and g6oals.” Do you know the difference between a business analyst (BA) and a project manager (PM)? Clarifying these roles can greatly enhance your chance for project success. What Is a Business Analyst? The business analyst works with stakeholders to understand the structure, policies, processes, and operations of an organization. Ideally, business analysts have strong business ...

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