As project managers, we’ve likely been faced with getting a one-line explanation of what a sponsor needs—along with a deadline. Depending on the organization, there could be a range of responses—from doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation, getting people in a room to estimate the work, or using a comparative initiative to assess feasibility.
Now, I’m not here to criticize your organization’s approach, but I have found that having something that enables the PM to rough-cut an initiative using some standards can be helpful in providing a lens on whether a date is even remotely achievable. This is where the work-back timebox model comes in.
Read more at ProjectManagement.com.
Some time back my son and I participated in a service project to help a young family clean out a back yard. At one time the yard was a wonderful oasis with a swimming pool, lush garden, and beautiful walkways. The once beautiful oasis was neglected over time and became an overgrown jungle of northwest foliage with its prime resident being thorny blackberry bushes. The blackberry bushes were six feet tall and covered most of the yard. What a prickly mess!
Dean, a project manager, was conducting a project post-mortem with Tania, his VP.
“Why the month slip, Dean?” Tania asked.
“Well,” Dean started, “we didn’t get on the vendor’s calendar early enough for integration testing. They couldn’t schedule us in when they needed us, so we had to slip.”
Tania shook her head. “Hold on, Dean. The vendor is Conset, right?”
“If I remember correctly, we did a project with them last year and the same thing happened; we didn’t get on their calendar early enough and it caused a slip. Were you aware of that?”
“I specifically asked the project team to include that in the lessons learned. If I recall, Tarun was the PM. Did you talk with Tarun or look at his lessons learned?”
Dean looked down. “Um, no.”
Tania kept her gaze. “Honestly, what good are lessons learned if we don’t bother to use them? This was clearly avoidable.”
“I’ll make sure to document this for the next time, Tania,” Dean said.
“Do you look at lessons learned from other projects?” Tania asked.
“Well, not really, they’re all over the place and in different formats. It’s kind of like finding a needle in a haystack.”
“Unbelievable. We’re willing to make the same mistake over and over and not bother to learn from past mistakes. What a waste.”
Read more at ProjectManagement.com.
Years back a required skill for administrative assistants was shorthand. There are a number of shorthand systems including Gregg Shorthand, Pitman Shorthand, and Handywrite Shorthand. With the advent of technology, texting, and 140-character tweets the Mad Men-era shorthand has been replaced by a world of abbreviations and phonetic acronyms which describe the most popular thoughts, feelings, and reactions that we use in our daily speech. Most acronyms are easily decipherable, some take a bit of noodling to understand, while still others require a quick web search to translate.
My wife, son and I went to New York City some time back to celebrate my son's graduation from high school. We stayed in a great hotel that my wife scored right in Times Square. While in NYC we took the opportunity to take in a couple of Broadway shows. One that we were all very excited about seeing was Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. The music, acting, and effects were all terrific and were executed flawlessly....with one exception.
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