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A Risk Boundary Problem

A Risk Boundary Problem

“If I concern my project with risk assessment, then my project targets such as Budget, Schedule, and quality become more reliable, but this will require me to define better project boundaries between strategy, program mandates, and project requirements.”

What is risk? The answer to this question depends on who answers it and the boundaries the individual establishes around themselves. If the answer comes from someone who is responsible for all processes within the Integrated PM system boundary, a clear answer can be expected.

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Defining the Project Management Life Cycle Stages

Defining the Project Management Life Cycle Stages

"If I use standard project life cycle stages, then the organization will have a common language and reporting, but the typical PMI stages don’t align well with our projects."

IT project management is different from managing any other project you may have worked on in the past, yet it has many things in common. The point is that the project management life cycle is very different from project type to project type.

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Distinctions between Projects and Programs

Distinctions between Projects and Programs

"If we formalize our Programs, then we should expect a more consistent growth rate, but we don’t even understand the difference between projects and programs."

Given the commonality of terms and the connection between program performance domains, and project processes, it is not surprising that the terms "program" and "project" are often used in ways not consistent with the definition in the standards. The boundaries can become blurred.

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Filling Your Lake of Cash

Filling Your Lake of Cash

“If we use systems thinking, then we can keep the ‘Big Picture’ in mind, but we don’t want to throw out the other things about projects we know. ”

The drama continues with our Boat Captain/Small Business Owner. Yes, he’s learned the relationships between collected revenue and the operational costs. But the cash level in the lake is still dropping- no matter what he does. He’s maximized the collected revenue, and he’s cut every operational expense, if he cuts any more he’ll be the only one paddling his boat.

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Integrated PM Frameworks (1 of 7)

Integrated PM Frameworks (1 of 7)

"If we use a framework to base our transition roadmap on, then we can establish a common vision, but the Integrated PM framework isn’t broad enough to be practical."

Improving the level of project management and systems engineering integration is a journey that will be unique to each organization. The journey's ultimate goal is to develop and strengthen the organizational and behavioral competences that drive higher performance, stronger team engagement, and results that leave customers delighted. Frameworks and integration roadmaps can help organizational leaders and change agents evaluate where they are, where they want to be, and possible steps for transitioning from a current to an intended future state. This series of posts lays out a framework that defines the key factors impacting effective integration between the program management and systems engineering disciplines, and how those factors link to overall program performance.

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Recent comment in this post
Sarah Vaughn
Hey Val, Where is the Roadmap, or how does it fit into the framework? I can only see the framework.
Monday, 22 January 2018 13:28
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Integrated PM Frameworks (2 of 7)

Integrated PM Frameworks (2 of 7)

"If we begin our Integrated PM journey, then we will gain additional experience in Integrated PM methods, but we should address some of the thinking found in Dimension 1 of this transition framework."

Dimension 1:

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Integrated PM Frameworks (3 of 7)

Integrated PM Frameworks (3 of 7)

"If we begin our Integrated PM journey, then we will gain additional experience in Integrated PM methods, but we should address some of the thinking found in Dimension 2 of this transition framework."

Dimension 2: Organizational Environment

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Integrated PM Frameworks (4 of 7)

Integrated PM Frameworks (4 of 7)

"If we begin our Integrated PM journey, then we will gain additional experience in Integrated PM methods, but we should address some of the thinking found in Dimension 3 of this transition framework."

Dimension 3: People Competencies

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Integrated PM Frameworks (5 of 7)

Integrated PM Frameworks (5 of 7)

“If we begin our Integrated PM journey, then we will gain additional experience in Integrated PM methods, but we should address some of the thinking found in Dimension 3 of this transition framework.”

Dimension 4: Contextual Factors- The fourth dimension of the Integration Framework captures contextual factors that may positively or negatively impact the degree of integration in a given program and business context. Some of the elements of contextual factors identified during the integration research include:

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Lynchpin – Integrated PM – Projects

Lynchpin – Integrated PM – Projects

"If I want to receive the benefits of Integrated PM, then I need some kind of Performance Measure Framework, but this requires an upfront investment in requirements definition."

I’m told the definition of Project management is the ability to administer a series of chronological tasks resulting in a desired goal, but Lynchpin theory is not far from this definition, nor is Integrated PM. But definitions can be misleading, the magic is in the application.

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Multi-Faceted Nature of Projects

Multi-Faceted Nature of Projects

“If I categorized and studied the correlations between all the factors (state variables) of project performance, then I could control and optimize the project’s performance, but gathering and computing this information would take too long, and the project portfolio’s state would change before I could interpret it.”

When we consider the many facets of enterprise project management we can quickly see we need a different way of examining the forest instead of analyzing each tree. Due to the lack of a standardized approach, the popular approach is to divide the various disciplines such as Risk Management, Resource Management, Project Management, Portfolio Management, Capacity Planning, Scheduling, and Finance and then approach each facet separately.

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Placement in Performance Measure Framework

Placement in Performance Measure Framework

“If we use a Performance Measure Framework, then holistic project performance can be governed, but the creation of the framework takes time and specialized skills we don’t have.”

How can an organization know if the process improvement efforts are having the desired effect? Maybe the new practice being deployed is at fault, of maybe no one is using it. It could be a great practice, but current policies and procedures may be preventing success. A performance measure framework provides a holistic look at a single practice in context of current processes, policies, and procedures.

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Planning for KM within Integrated PM

Planning for KM within Integrated PM

"If we manage our project information flows, then we can leverage the information in our Knowledge Management system, but we should align our Key Strategic areas with the Project Portfolios."

We can define a key strategic knowledge area, (KSA) as a knowledge topic that is of primary importance to the business, representing knowledge and know-how that supports delivery of the business strategy, and where Knowledge Management (KM) can therefore deliver the greatest strategic value. This is the same exercise you should go through while defining you Project Portfolios. Your KM strategy should identify the KSAs and use them as focus points in both your Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and KM efforts.

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Project Management Methodology and Frameworks

Project Management Methodology and Frameworks

“If I standardize our project team’s templates, then I can gain efficiencies that lead to cost reductions and increases in perceived value, but to call it a quagmire of standards, frameworks, and methodologies is an understatement.”

Most companies seem to recognize the need for one or more project management methodologies but either create the wrong methodologies, or misuse the methodologies that have been created. To avoid this I recommend to my clients a Performance Measure framework. But before I get into that, I’d like to provide a few lists that might help with methodology discussions.

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Project or Program and Integrated PM

Project or Program and Integrated PM

"If we implement Integrated PM within our organization, then we can gain project, program, and portfolio performance improvements, but we don’t want to ignore all of the typical practices we’ve developed over the years- we would never be able to get adoption."

There is no one commonly accepted definition of a program, and as such, many different definitions prevail. Some definitions sound much like that of a project, and others are similar to a portfolio. However, it is commonly recognized that a program is:

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Structure of a System

Structure of a System

“If we use Integrated PM Systems for our projects, then we can get better project Performance, but it helps to learn a little about systems thinking.”

We choose to define a system as follows:

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System Boundary

System Boundary

“If we have clear system boundaries, then we can limit the amount of conflicts experienced, but we may have to reevaluate program and portfolio boundaries which are typically based on business unit responsibilities.”

System Boundary and Relevant Environment

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System Example

System Example

“If we better understand applying systems thinking to our projects, then we can get more out of our projects, but we first must understand what this means as a group."

A project plan full of tasks in a WBS, and task execution order, i.e.

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Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking

“If I considered all the business functions impacting project success holistically, then project performance would be more consistent and manageable, but there are just too many factors to consider, and management would be ineffective due to analysis paralysis.”

Projects are at the root of Integrated PM. Change is at the root of projects, and it follows that change is at the root of Integrated PM. Central to Systems Thinking is the performance management of this change. Systems Thinking is applied successfully when these three situations below exist.

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The Lake of Cash

The Lake of Cash

“If we use systems thinking to balance project requests, then we can increase project performance, but it will involve making changes to our request processes.”

I’d like to share a mental model with you. The story was taught to me many years ago, and I continue to find it useful. It’s a good example of applied systems thinking, and Integrated PM Systems.

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