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An Interview with Dave Gordon on His Book, The Data Conversion Cycle

Businesses approach data conversion projects with apprehension, and perhaps rightfully so. But the Practicing IT Project Manager, Dave Gordon, has written a new book aimed at demystifying data conversion for all roles involved. We interviewed Dave about his book and his reliable, repeatable process for data conversion. Here’s what he had to say. AITS: Your book, The Data Conversion Cycle, describes a generalized approach to data conversion that can be applied by nearly anyone involved ...

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Are You Tired of Missing Big Project Risks? 3 Ways to Stop It

I have had the privilege of managing two PMOs, both composed of several project managers. It was always interesting to watch—the best project managers were the ones who had a habit of identifying risks, both threats and opportunities. And these individuals did not perform the risk identification just once at the beginning of their projects. Rather, they had a habit of making time to reevaluate their projects with an eye toward new risks. Wise project ...

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Managing Transitions between Outsourcing Vendors

With apologies to Sir Walter Scott: Oh, what a tangled contract we write, when first we practice to outsource. Having managed outsourcing projects on behalf of both the customer and the third-party administrator, and managed transitions from one outsourcing firm to another on behalf of several clients, I have a lot of anecdotal evidence that outsourcing generally works best on a spreadsheet—in practice, results tend to be rather variable. But because most business decisions are ...

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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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