A few weeks ago, Cornelius Fichtner was interviewed by Martin Berneburg and Oliver Lehmann of the Project Business Foundation about his career as a project manager, project leader and experience in project busines management. Here is the announcement:
For many practitioners in project management, Cornelius Fichtner is a household name. He is known mostly for the digital offerings of his company OSP International LLC, such as the PM PrepCast for project managers heading for the PMP® certification of PMI®, the Project Management Institute.
Meanwhile, his lineup of exam preparation tools was expanded by a family of further podcasts, augmented with simulators and inhouse offerings for corporations.
Much less known are his personal roots in project management and particularly in project business management.
Interviewed by Martin Berneburg and Oliver F. Lehmann, he will tell us the most interesting stories of his years as a consultant and project manager under contract, working hard to make the customer happy, but also with the obligation to make the project profitable.
As a reminder, if your company’s products and services are delivered to your clients through projects, then your company is a project business. If we compare this to another industry, then a company that sells consumer goods is a retail business.
In this premium interview, we are going to be discussing the 7 challenges of a project business:
Acceptance of Status Quo
Failing to identify as a Project Business
Optimization of Project Management silos has maxed out
Inadequate communication among key stakeholders or “Lack of stakeholder collaboration”
Lack of governance/Lack a structured, standardized system of organizing their data
What type of project are you currently working on? Is it an internal project, where your own company pays for everything or is it an external project, where an external customer pays your bills? If you are part of the second group, then your project falls into what we call project business.
And now look at your company and the projects you deliver as a whole. Do you see mostly internal projects or external projects? Well… If your company’s products and services are delivered to your clients through projects, your company is a project business.
That means that the term project business is used to classify both individual projects and organizations as a whole. Both are project business. Confused? We can help.
In our conversation, we define the term project business from that angle, we discuss the central characteristics of a project business, briefly talk about some challenges, and look at why productivity in project business is lagging behind other areas like manufacturing or retail.
Every project that you have ever worked on had at least one constraint. Maybe your current project has a fixed budget and maybe the previous one had to be completed by a certain deadline. But I am also sure of this: your projects had to follow laws and regulations.
The laws you have to follow can be major laws, like Sarbanes-Oxley here in the USA, the protection of personal data laws in the european union, or the intellectual property laws that most countries around the world have. And if you work in aerospace or healthcare then you will know all about rules and regulations concerning personal safety. But on the other hand these must-follow laws and regulations could simply be an internal regulation that tells you that all rental cars must be rented from one particular company.
So laws and regulations limit our choices and freedom to shape our projects.
And to explore this in more detail, we have Jim Franklin with us today. He has managed over $500M of Government contracts in California and knows a thing or two about laws and regulations.
Today, we welcome Cindy Anderson (LinkedIn Profile) who is the VP, Brand Management at Project Management Institute (PMI)®.
This interview was recorded at the PMI® Global Conference 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. We'll talk about the elements of PMI's new brand and the fact that there is a lot more to it than "just" a new logo. And that's an important distinction. While the new logo is what most of us see, the new brand and its slogan/positioning "Powering the Project Economy" are so much more than just a few new visual assets.
In the interview, we talk about how the new brand was developed and how it affects the many stakeholders around the world.
Today, we welcome Sunil Prashara (LinkedIn Profile) who is the President and CEO of Project Management Institute (PMI)®.
This interview was recorded at the PMI® Global Conference 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. We discuss Sunil's responsibilities within PMI, how project management is changing the world, delve into PMI's transformational journey and touch upon how PMI members can help the organization succeed in today's constantly evolving environment.
Here is what one of my colleagues had to say after listening to the interview:
Bravo! That was an awesome interview! I was very impressed with Sunil, on many levels. He is a true visionary who knows himself and the changing world around him. He is an excellent speaker who understands project management, PMI, and it’s potential future.
This is an interview that many people will listen to and say, "Wow! This is where the future of project management and PMI is headed and it’s inspiring."
Jonathan Hebert, PMP, CSM, PMI-ACP
I cannot agree more with what Jonathan is saying. This is one of our best podcast interviews.
There's no shortage of great ideas, whether you are going through a transformation or adapting to digital innovation, but not every great idea becomes a reality. Pinpointing 'why' is at the core of the Brightline initiative's mission.
Brightline (www.brightline.org) is a new strategic arm of Project Management Institute (PMI)®. And as stated on the website: "The Brightline™ Initiative delivers insights and solutions that empower leaders to successfully transform their organization’s vision into reality through strategic initiative management."
Today, we welcome Ricardo Vargas (LinkedIn Profile) who is Brightline's Executive Director.
This interview was recorded one day before the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. We talk about the history of the initiative, the 10 principles developed to help your organization bridge the costly and wasteful gap between strategy design and delivery, and we look at how you can apply this on your projects. And we also identify issues that prevent strategies to become reality.
By 2029, 76 million baby boomers will retire. And organizations, including yours, are losing knowledgeable employees due to retirement and a competitive labor market.
With 50% employee turnover in 2016, this brain drain of historical proportions increases our vulnerability to loss of institutional knowledge and critical skill sets required to conduct our business. In this interview, we explore the trends, urgency, value, techniques, and how-to of knowledge management — the new competitive and comparative advantage for high performing organizations.
This interview with Benjamin Anyacho (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the superb Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
In the interview we also discuss strategies for creating a knowledge management culture in your business environment and how to develop knowledgeable project teams.
If you are setting up a PMO for your company, then no matter what industry you are in, having the right PMO tools at our disposal can make a significant difference. And as they relate to the PMO, tools are the moment when you shift your focus from management to administration.
In fact, we project managers and program managers may even find ourselves scrambling around to find not only relevant but also accurate information to update our statuses, while resource managers may have to connect with several people to determine if they efficiently staffed their resources and have sufficient capacity for the upcoming initiatives.
And these are just some some of the reasons why our PMOs need the right tools. But what are the right tools and how do we identify them? And why on earth did we end up using this tool over here which is clearly wrong for our PMO?
All of those questions and also ‘Why are the right tools so important?’ is what we we are going to discuss today with Hussain Bandukwala (LinkedIn Profile).
For Project Management Professional (PMP)® Students: PMP Exam Prep :
All interview guests
Last year at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2017 in Chicago, Illinois I recorded about a dozen interviews. They have all been published over the past year and you've probably heard some or all of them. But what you don't know is what happened once each interview was complete.
I pressed the recording button one more time and asked each of my guests the following question: What business management skills are essential for today’s project manager if they want to become more and more involved in strategic projects for their organizations?
And today you are going to get all the answers. In one nice mashup. Here are all the presenters in the order you will hear their answers
Oh, and spoiler alert... the answer that I received most often was "Flexibility".
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has worked with PMOs around the United States to define a "best practice" for creating and delivering an annual plan.
This interview with Darryl Hahn (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the stimulating Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.
Our interview presents both strategic and tactical approaches for uncovering your organizations' goals and objectives and for creating the prioritized list of achievable projects. We also examine ways of categorizing and classifying types of work, identifying and weighting priorities and adjusting the completed plan for when it collides with real life.
In this second interview with Jamal Moustafaev (https://ca.linkedin.com/in/jmoustafaev we take what we learned about the project portfolio management process and discuss how to implement it in our organizations.
We look at PPM reviews, internal resource cost, the importance of our mission and strategy, how involved c-level executives need to be, a charter for portfolio management, how the halo effect can skew your project selection methods, and how to improve the quality of project proposals.
Project Portfolio Management and the realization that strategic alignment of all projects within an organization is crucial are both gaining ground. And this realization also emphasizes the need for having solid project selection methods.
But how exactly do you do all of this? The number of books that focus on practical advice for implementing a strategic project portfolio management process is quite small. Lucky for us that a new one with exactly that focus has just been published
Good strategy can be critical to organizational success, however in order for strategy to transform from ideas into results it must be successfully executed. In order for organizations to successfully formulate and execute strategy they must achieve sufficient strategic alignment.
Project managers and project team members can make a critical contribution to their organization’s strategic alignment. This paper examines strategic alignment through the frame of three strategic functions: formulate, align, and execute and how they interact with each other.
Additionally, three strategic alignment frameworks are presented and recommendations are made as to how they may be used by project managers to contribute to organizational strategic alignment at the project-level.
This interview is 29 minutes and 30 seconds long. This means that it is 30 seconds too short and you can "legally" only claim 0.25 PDUs for listening to it. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read the white paper on which it is based, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PMP PDUs!
Studying for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam? Get PMP Exam Prep on any mobile device!
NK Shrivastava and Cornelius Fichtner
This interview about why Agile might be failing in your organization with NK Shrivastava was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss his presentation and white paper Top Five Warning Signs That Agile is Not Working for You. Here are the abstract and conclusion:
Abstract: There are good possibilities of success when adopting an agile approach in an organization, but five symptoms in particular serve as warning signs that the organization’s agile transformation is not working well.
The five warning signs include: (a) no signs of value delivery for over 3 months, (b) teams resisting customer changes, (c) teams “waterfalling” sprints, (d) customers foregoing involvement in development and testing, and (e) lack of visibility for agile in the organization. Potential solutions for these problems are also described in this paper. Many organizations can solve these problems internally, but sometimes an external resource such as a change agent or an agile coach is needed. By addressing these issues, organizations can increase the chances of a successful agile transformation.
Conclusion: Agile doesn’t work by itself. Organizations that implement agile with minimal team support and expect it to work perfectly “out of the box” will likely be disappointed. Successful agile adoption depends on factors at the organization and team levels. Organizations need the right mindset, a strong commitment, a culture conducive to implement agile, and the ability to secure resources and outside help as needed. Teams need the training, skills, and empowerment to absorb and implement agile principles. With these factors in place, organizations and teams should be able to build the foundation for agile success.
As agile project management grows in popularity and use, it's important to consider what that means for us as project managers. There is no 'formal' role for a project manager in an Agile approach, but that's not to say project management isn't needed. We simply need to look for ways to provide project management, aligned with how the business works. From Scrum to Kanban, from the role of project manager in SAFe Agile and other ways of scaling, project managers have so much to offer in an agile environment.
Abstract: Almost all large enterprises are making some transition to agile practices. There are many approaches to scale agile in the large enterprise, and we’ll give an overview of the most common scaled approaches and their limitations. This paper also discusses the most common challenges our customers’ teams are facing when scaling agile and provides suggestions to overcome those challenges.
Final Thoughts: This sounds like a daunting task—to transition to agile approaches in a large organization. However, with solid collaboration and communication, it’s absolutely doable. Teams will constantly be collaborating through elicitation, answering questions, and testing the actual product. Business analysts have a critical role to play in keeping the collaboration running smoothly, including helping to facilitate backlog grooming and elaboration, participating in planning in sprints, working with interfacing teams to identify dependencies, and serving as a product owner proxy on any teams as needed. Likewise, project and program managers can act as advisors about appropriate levels of process, help guide projects toward common goals, and ensure a focus on prioritization based on business needs. Instead of instilling a hierarchical control between PMO and product owner, in agiLE the PMO and product owner work together to achieve the objective. The real goal for agiLE teams is self-organization and creativity, while still contributing as a part of a large organization
Scrum project management might sound like a term that doesn't fit into the 'traditional' view of Agile methods, but when you are looking to scale up your approaches, you do need to add structure. Scrum agile project management training is one way to support a team through a transition to scaled agile, and you'll learn more about agile in large enterprises in this episode with Joy, so you can make a decision about whether it is right for you.
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Andrew Burns and Cornelius Fichtner
Agile began with the promise to make smaller project teams more able to react to ever changing customer requirements. Scrum project management teaches us how to make that happen and how to work in flexible, agile ways to deliver what the customer wants. But what if your project is big? I mean really, really big. Can we have scaled agile?
Product portfolios can easily scale to 50 teams or more in meeting large organizations’ needs. Large portfolios with strong foundations are derived through values-based leadership. The technique links corporate and individual values to scientific principles. Scientific principles inform us that change is constant and therefore adaptation defines good practices. Values-based leadership’s agile practices take root, thrive, and adapt at the pace of business change.
The three-hundred software engineers considered herein innovated within a portfolio of 18,000 colleagues. Their agile, adaptive product development practices continue to evolve from plan-driven provenance. Leveraging agile practices at the portfolio, program, and project level continually unleashes innovation, quality, and throughput of value. Though contextualized in terms of software product development in the 2010s with Scrum, the message of innovation through values-based adoption of scientific principles is timeless and framework unallied. Implementation of practices observant of values and principles endures as a way to deliver the best products regardless of toolset.
Setting up a PMO usually means setting up some Project Management KPI (Key Performance Metric). But which?
This interview about PMO metrics with Denise McRoberts was recorded at the PMI® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss her paper and presentation "Meaningful Metrics -- The Path toward Measuring what Matters". Here is the abstract:
"The project management office (PMO) was in a rut. The number of projects in work at any one time was increasing; project managers were routinely reporting that all was well while schedules slipped, and there was limited understanding of true project costs." Does this sound all too familiar? In this session, attendees will learn some innovative methods to implement metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to better understand your organizational weaknesses and how to overcome them. This session will provide a case study on how a PMO did just that, with plenty of practical examples
You will learn what makes a 'good' metric, how metrics should be developed, and that we also need specific project metrics and project portfolio metrics.
For your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam use PMP exam prep on your phone with The PM PrepCast:
Dave Davis, PMP, PgMP, PBA
When we last spoke with Dave L Davis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/dldavispmp) we learned about the basics of benefits realisation and benefits realisation management? We discussed the benefits management process and focused on the important aspect of how all of this fits into project benefits management.
Now that we understand the theory of benefits realization management it’s time to take the next step and ask “How do we actually do all of this”. Luckily, Dave has a lot of experience in applied benefit management and he happily agreed to this second interview, so that we can take a look at a case study.
You’ll hear how we project managers are involved in the overall process, the importance of engaging stakeholders, how to ensure alignment between benefit management and organizational strategy, and of course, we will also look at metrics.
A project is truly successful only if it delivers the benefits an organization envisions.
Mark Langley, PMI President and CEO
At first glance this sentence is awfully obvious to us project managers. But having good and successful benefits realization management and thereby turning this statement into a reality is what makes our job so hard. And rewarding.
So what exactly are benefits realisation and benefits realisation management? Is there a benefits management process and how does all of this fit into project benefits management?
How about if I let Dave L Davis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/dldavispmp) explain it all to you? He has authored one of the articles in that Pulse of the Profession report from where I took the earlier quote. The article is titled “The Benefits Management Journey” and serves as our guide.
We’ll learn what exactly benefits realization management is, review the process of implementing it on projects, meet the people involved, and we’ll even talk about tools.
And at the very end of this episode you’ll learn that even failings project have benefits