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Control Your Project Using the OODA Loop

Have you heard of a tool called the OODA loop? While the tool itself was created based on military fighter pilot observations and is now often used to train law enforcement, it has applications for use in business and personal life as well. Here we will discuss the applications of the OODA loop in business, and more specifically, in managing projects. First of all, OODA stands for this: Observe Orient Decide Act The concept of ...

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How Can I Realize Benefits If I Don’t Manage Change?

Whenever we talk about benefits realization, we start from the idea that (we) project managers are always managing part of an organizational change. Such changes are expected to enable our organization to achieve at least a business objective that generates value. This whole process of getting from the current situation to the future improved or optimized situation is what we call a benefits realization lifecycle. However, now and then people come to me in events ...

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Case Study: Portfolio Scoring Model—Western European Pharma

Company assets were in dozens of billions of dollars in 2012 whereas its income was measured in billions of dollars. Despite an overall strong position of the organization, the executives of the company were somewhat concerned with a slow growth in revenues (4-8% per year) and net income (1-3% per year). Consequently, they felt that the company was falling behind the competition and, in the long term, in danger of losing the leading position in ...

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No More Limits! Why WIP Targets Are Better for Improving Team Performance

For decades now, the Operations Research and Industrial Engineering communities—and especially Lean and Theory of Constraints (TOC) practitioners—have preached the importance of limiting “work in progress,” or WIP, in order to improve flow in a process or system. The conceptual foundation for such WIP limits is known as “Little’s Law,” named after John Little for having provided the first proof of the theorem back in 1961. In order to boost the throughput of a system, Little’s Law asserts ...

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Over 30 Years of Hacking—and No Improvements on the Horizon

It is 31 years ago that Cliff Stoll discovered a hacker tunneling into US government networks by passing through his computers at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Stoll was asked to clear up a billing discrepancy, discovered the German hacker who was working for the KGB, and alerted the US government managers of the networks that the hacker was targeting. He later wrote about it in The Cuckoo’s Egg, which remains an excellent read. Unfortunately, Stoll did better ...

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Measuring and Managing Customer Profitability

The only value a company will ever create for its shareholders and owners is the value that comes from its customers—current ones and new ones acquired in the future. To remain competitive, companies must determine how to keep customers longer, grow them into bigger customers, make them more profitable, serve them more efficiently, and acquire more profitable customers. But there’s a problem with pursuing these ideals. Customers increasingly view suppliers’ products and standard service lines ...

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The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO – How to Run a Successful PMO

Despite what you might read in the news, or hear at the water cooler, there’s a growing demand for information on building a PMO (project management office). Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to share my perspectives on this topic based on my book The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO. It has been a fantastic opportunity; people have enjoyed the presentation and have told me they now have some “amazing takeaways” ...

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Organizational Project Business Management and PMOs: Executive View

Written with Darrel G. Hubbard Introduction During our PMO case study research over the past 13 years, we delved into the construct, organizational concept, and framework of Organizational Project Business Management (OPBM). In addition, we delved deeply into the models, framework, and organizational concepts of the Project Business Management Or­ganization (PBMO). We documented those research results in our latest book, A Compendium of PMO Case Studies – Volume II: Reflecting Project Business Management Concepts {Bolles ...

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Negotiating with Difficult People: We Have a Hostage Situation!

Chances are high that at at least one point in your career or personal life, you’ve had to negotiate with someone who was holding something you value as “hostage.” This may have included a particular service, payment, or resource, or quite possibly the TV remote, your favorite TV show, or having to tell your 5-year-old to put down the phone extension. Chances are even higher that you probably dreaded the whole process of getting what you ...

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Managing Distributed Projects

Projects are increasingly distributed across different sites. But distributed teams and suppliers complicate communication and create numerous frictions. Over half of all distributed projects do not achieve their intended objectives and are then canceled. Traditional labor cost-based location decisions are replaced by a systematic improvement of business processes in a distributed context. Benefits are tangible, as our clients emphasize: Better multi-site collaboration, clear supplier agreements, and transparent interfaces are the most often reported benefits. There ...

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