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The Way You Describe a Risk Is What Makes It Manageable

Project managers know that risk management is an ongoing process, and risk identification happens throughout the project life cycle. In many projects, the team is empowered to draft risk log entries. Of course, one of the basic requirements in identifying project risks is describing each risk in such a way that it is meaningful to management and other stakeholders who aren’t part of the project team. If you’ve ever seen a risk log entry like …

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Finding Value in Event Monitoring

Fact: Your IT operations are monitoring your infrastructure in some capacity. Whether it is network traffic, database activity, application health, or a combination of these, your goal is to ensure stability. How well is this working out? Depending on your IT organizational structure, each “silo” may answer that everything is working rather well, so you might want to reframe the question to determine what value your monitoring is adding. If you were to look at …

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Failure Is Not Optional: Why Project Failure Is OK

Back when I was on active duty in the U.S. Navy assigned to a systems command, I was assigned as project manager in the development of a methodology to incorporate technical performance within the realm of overall project performance measurement and control. I sat down before my boss, who was a brilliant engineer, and he asked me this question: “What is the value of failure?” Then, after a bit of discussion, he said: “That is …

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Four Questions for Quenching Knowledge Management

The thirst for knowledge must be quenched. Every day people are looking for answers that they need. The question you have to ask yourself as a service provider is, “Are you positioned to satisfy their needs?” One of the fundamental challenges with knowledge management isn’t capturing the information; it is usually the ability to actually manage it. Part of the discovery process should lead us to ask ourselves why we need to do this in …

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The Missing Link in Your Project Process

We are project managers. We know the importance of establishing a proper process to manage our project. It is a matter of effectiveness: We want to achieve the results. It is also a matter of efficiency: We want to use the most optimal process. Choosing and establishing the best processes for your project is an important step in managing your project. Let’s take the world of software development. The process can include many steps, such …

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Using the RACI Matrix to Maximize Project Accountability

One of the challenges of planning and controlling a complex project is delineation of roles. This can be especially challenging when representatives of multiple organizations are participating in the project. For any particular phase or task, it can be difficult to explain what participation is expected of each assigned team member, as roles might change from one task to another. Responsibilities The PMBOK includes a brief description of a RACI matrix or chart in the discussion on …

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How to Use Metrics to Optimize Service Delivery

I want you to think about all the different types of organizations you worked for. Whether they were Finance, Communications, Energy, Agriculture, or Transport, there was likely one similarity among them: The reporting that was done from an IT perspective did not produce metrics that mattered. Why? It’s simple—we (as an IT organization) tend to loop endlessly on the metrics as they apply to IT. We must move away from thinking that “recovery from failure …

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Open a Window: Using Data and Self-Awareness to Remove Organizational Blind Spots

In 1955 the American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Igham developed a technique to help individuals place themselves in context to the world and the people around them. This technique originated in the study of group dynamics and organizational behavior at the University of California and is a feedback/disclosure model of self-awareness. By combining the first names of the technique’s founders, this model came to be known as the Johari Window, represented by four quadrants. …

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Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Decisions That Bleed Projects Dry

Decisions in project management From the project initiation to project closure, decisions are an essential part of project management. For simple projects, it will rarely be an issue. The most usual problem would be that project decisions are only made informally. There is a temptation on simple projects to keep processes simple. However, while it is important to keep the processes aligned with the size of the project, it is essential to correctly manage decisions. …

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10 Powerful Questions in a Checklist to Save Your Projects

The CHAOS Reports have been published every year since 1994 and are a snapshot of the state of the software development industry. The Standish Group 2015 Chaos Report studied 50,000 projects around the world, ranging from small enhancements to massive systems implementations. It revealed that 29% of the projects were successful, 52% were challenged, and 19% failed. Successful projects were defined as projects that were completed on time, on budget, with a satisfactory result. If …

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