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PM Corner

This blog is the work of various authors sharing theory, insights and personal stories about project management.

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Project Manager Role in Procurements

Posted by James Truesdale on October 13, 2017 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Often as a Project Manager, I will take on a project after the contractual related activities have been completed. For example, the technical product has been procured. My job as PM is to implement the solutions and ensure that it had been moved into production. Hence, I am not initially aware of how any additional services were procured nor the plans to procure additional services or products in the future. But, as you know, the Project Manager is accountable for all aspects of the project which means that he or she must understand all contractual-related activities. To that end, as a Project Manager, it is in your best interest to do the following:

1. Understand the procurement process

2. Ensure contract has all project management requirements

3. Identify risks and incorporate mitigation of risks into contract

4. Account for products / services to be delivered per SOW, contract, etc.,

5. Work with contract manager to manage changes to the contract

6. Review and update contractual documents

7. Review and sign-off on delivered products or services

8. Monitor and report on contract performance

Again, as the PM, it is your responsibility to understand the procurement process from end to end. This will give you an edge when contractual related issues arrive because they will.

How to Advance Your Project from the Failure Zone to the End Zone

Posted by James Truesdale on March 11, 2017 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I have never been on a project that had not been in the ditch at least once during its lifetime.  So, I have seen my share of projects that look like they would never turn around. Those projects had the common symptoms of cost overruns, undisciplined team members, scope creep just to mention a few.  Projects are a lot like.  We know what we should be doing but we lack the discipline to carry out those necessary steps.  So, just in life, we procrastinate on projects.  We fail to have the difficult conversation with the team member who is not performing as expected. We are reluctant to really look at our bank account to see where all the money is going. Projects are made up of people, tools and processes just like the workings of daily life. And, just as we are central to our own lives, the Project Manager is central to the project.

So, let's review a few steps to get our failing project back on track. I always start with the Project Manager by asking a few straightforward questions. For example, a touch but essential regarding the PM might be posed as such: Does the PM have the experience and depth of knowledge required to lead the effort from this point of failure going forward.  It is virtually impossible to solve a problem with the same ingredients that were part of the current problem.  I am not suggesting that you blame the PM for the current state of the project.  What is done is done?  The real question to ask is can is person lead the project to its successful conclusion once it has been set back on course.  This project of evaluation be conducted for all members for the existing team.  Here is where you make some personnel changes, perhaps.

Then, I would look at the project processes to review the approach that is being taking to conduct requirements analysis for example or maybe how project actions are being tracked.  Maybe the steps that planned previously are inadequate and has caused a point of failure.  The way in which you go about completing the project is just as important the outcomes you have planned to deliver.  This is where you make any necessary adjustments to your project management processes.

Next, I would examine at all external influencers be that people, technology or process based.  Perhaps, some key stakeholders were overlooked and they are now doing everything they can to sabotage the project.  Or, the technical solution may have not been properly vetted and now the best technical solution is coming up short resulting in tough discussions with the customer.  About technology, it might be imperative to review he initial requirements to ensure they can be met by the technical solution that has been presented.  It may be necessary to adjust the designs and hence the software solution that is being developed.  Concerning the stakeholders, a revisit of the stakeholder analysis document to review the stakeholder list and all activities taken.  it might be necessary to re-engage the stakeholder team to ensure that all voices have been heard and addressed where appropriate.

These initial actions will begin the dialogue leading to a tactical plan to get your failing project back on track.


Transparency is the New Currency....The Path to Becoming a Trusted Advisor

Posted by James Truesdale on March 8, 2017 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

With plenty of ompetent professionals in your field, your client is looking to engage with a professional whom can deliver and deliver well consistently. In addition, they also want to see if you are willing to tell it like it is even when the news is not the best. Being transparent is an art and not simply an articulation of what is own your mind. You must be diplomatic while being transparent. By diplomatic Ido not mean politic. I mean you must demonstrate empathy along with a dose of courage. All the best in your engagement. May your transparency increase your receipt of financial currency? Yes, transparency is the new currency.

Many of our competitors in our field of study are very competent.  Certifications are abounding.  It is hard to compete with degrees and sometimes even with experience. Yes, we all have great resumes and if we do not we can find a ghost writer with the right words to enhance our resumes.  You can obtain a degree without stepping on a physical campus. You can obtain just about any certification on line from any location in the world.  So, we cannot win the competition based on access.  Access to great information is availble to anyone as long as you have a reliable internet connection. And, for some web sites a secure connection may be a requirement. But ths is becoming less of the norm because internet access has become ubiquitous.

So, what is your edge? What will allow you to beat your competition when you are on equal footing with regards to all the necessary tangibles? (credenbtials, education, access)  The edge that will assist you in beating your competition is transparency under-girded by a healthy dose of transparency.  Let me explain what I mean by transparency.  Most people view honesty and transparency as one in the same.  This s simply not true   For example, I can deliver an honest presentation in that I am delivering what I promised.  You asked for an objective discussion of x and I provide that.  So, you might say that is how you define transparency.  Well, here is my definition of transparency by way of an example.  Transparency is about being transparent.  You are coming from a place of integrity with yourself.  You are willing to be more than honest in all your dealings.  You are willing to be vulnerable.  Vulnerability is displayed when you honestly say you do not know something at the risk of losing a client or even a friend. It is from this vantage point that you are recognized by your clients as a Trusted Advisor.

So, here a few characterisitis to determine if you are viewed as a Trusted Advisor:

  • Clients ask for you by name.
  • You are sought out for advice that goes beyond your described expertise.
  • You maintain relationships that aren’t just technical.
  • You have such a strong personal brand that outsiders seek you out for speaking engagements, writing articles, or special projects.


The Art of Project Management versus The Science of Project Management

Posted by James Truesdale on March 7, 2017 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Everywhere you look someone has the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation or some derivation of it. And, that’s great because it shows how important the designation has become in the world of project management. I got my PMP in 2003 and am glad I got it.  Simply put, I needed it to get the next Project Management assignment after being downsized, a nice way of saying you have been fired. Anyway, I digress.  And, at the time, I had been a practicing Project Manager for at least ten (10) years.  So, the PMP got me back into the workforce with less friction. Let's get to the subject at hand.  What art and science am I talking about as it relates to Project Management?

Project Management can be a very disciplined way of getting work done.  It aids the Project Manager in providing a structured way to execute a project.  There are scopes to manage, risks that need mitigating and actions to complete.  And, lots of others interesting things to be mindful of such as Earned Value. And, I know how much we love EV.  So, if you are an A type like me; then the science and discipline of Project Management is a place of comfort that we share.  

But, there is the art of getting a project completed successfully.  What do I mean by art?  I am thinking about the approach you take to get your team to work.  The art is in the delivery of the message especially when the message is not so positive. The art is in the ability to keep your team focused when the end is nowhere in sight.  The art is in disrupting the thinking of the team to look at a problem from a different and perhaps an unorthodox point of view.  Essentially, the art of PM is the act of putting persuasion in front of execution.  

So, without art, most projects would not succeed.   Yes, project management is a very tasked orientated and disciplined approach to getting work done.  But, it is the finesse of getting work done that creates a masterpiece.  I believe that without art, the transactional nature of projects make the work mundane and your project assignment just becomes a chore that must be completed.  We need the art component just as much as science to keep the project going and to make it interesting.  

 




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