PDUs: Technical Project Management

Episode 411: The Future of Project Management (Free)

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S. Maye
Stephen Maye, Projectified host

The Project Mangement Institute (PMI)® launched their new podcast "Projectified with PMI®" at their thought-provoking Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

And during the conference I had the opportunity to sit down with Stephen W. Maye (LinkedIn Profile) who is the Projectified host.

We begin by looking at PMI's new podcast itself, but then quickly move on to a number of "futuristic" topics. Stephen has had the opportunity to interview some of the brightest project management thinkers from around the world. Anand Swaminathan, Dr. Michael Chui, and Jacqueline Van Pelt to name just a few. Stephen summarizes their thoughts and ideas for us.

We also discuss what Stephen sees as the number one trend in project management, what this trend means for us project managers, and how digitalization, artificial intelligence and the internet of things will influence the way we manage projects going forward.

You can find Projectified with PMI by visiting http://www.pmi.org/podcast.

Episode 408: How to Write Excellent User Stories (Free)

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Betsy and Cornelius
Betsy Stockdale and Cornelius Fichtner

In agile, technically anyone can write user stories. Sounds easy, right?

However, many people really do not have a good understanding of how to write high-quality stories or effectively manage the product backlog. In this interview you will learn about the full life cycle of agile requirements, including how to use visual models at each step of the iterative process.

This interview with Betsy Stockdale (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the inspiring Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

We explain the life cycle of agile requirements and how to use visual models to identify epics and user stories, and how to write testable acceptance criteria using a variety of techniques. Those currently working on their PMI-ACP training will find this interview valuable for their general understanding of Agile approaches.

Episode 407: The Agile Practice Guide (Free)

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Mike G, Jesse F, Cornelius F
Jesse Fewell, Mike Griffiths and Cornelius Fichtner

Work is changing from industrial, routine work to knowledge-oriented work that requires more of an ongoing collaborative endeavor to manage change, complexity, and uncertainty. Learn how project management has evolved to reflect these changes with the publication of the new “Agile Practice Guide,” developed in collaboration with the Agile Alliance.

This interview with Mike Griffiths (LinkedIn Profile) and Jesse Fewell (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the splendid Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

We not only discuss the implications that The Agile Practice guide has on the PMI-ACP exam and your PMI-ACP exam prep, we also examine the core chapters of the new guide and discuss application and adaptation implications. We explore many elements of the guide and learn more about its content and use in a variety of domains.

Episode 403: Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) (Free)

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M Ericson
Marygracesoleil Ericson

Advanced product quality planning (or APQP) is a framework of procedures and techniques used to develop products in industry, particularly the automotive industry.

This interview about APQP with Marygracesoleil Ericson (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded one day before the excellent Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Marygracesoleil was an attendee of the congress (not a speaker) who contacted me and suggested that we do an interview on a topic relevant to her industry. She is the PMO manager of a car audio equipment manufacturer, leading a team of program managers who build designs and coponents for the audio divisions in the automotive industry. If you have a premium sound system in your car then you might be using their speakers.

For more information about APQP please visit the APQP Wikipedia Page.

Episode 399: Situational Project Management (Free)

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Oliver Lehmann
Oliver F. Lehmann, MSc., PMP

The one thing I really like about project management is how unpredictable my days can sometimes be. I come to the office in the morning with a clear plan of what we are going to do today, and then something happens.

Maybe something breaks, a critical resource is unexpectedly not available today, or -- even more normal -- the customer wants a change and he wants it now. I love this challenge, because as a project manager I now have to re-evaluate the situation and change my plans accordingly. That is situational project management.

However, there's more to situational project management than just responding with a knee-jerk reaction. These times demand situational awareness, skill and finesse from us project managers.

And so I’m very happy to welcome Oliver Lehmann (www.oliverlehmann.com -- www.linkedin.com/in/oliverlehmann/) who literally wrote the book on this topic. The book is called Situational Project Management the dynamics of success and failure.

PDU Tip

Most of this interview is on technical aspects, but a little over 15 minutes are on leadership topics. That is why you can claim 0.50 'technical' and 0.25 'leadership' PDUs.

Episode 397: Lessons Learned Management Techniques (Free)

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Elizabeth Harrin
Elizabeth Harrin, FAPM

There is no doubt in my mind that you have heard the term lessons learned before.

It is mentioned extensively throughout A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide), I teach it as part of my PMP training lessons and my favorite search engine gives me over 51,000 results for the search term “lessons learned in project management”. In fact, as an experienced project manager you have probably participated or even chaired one or two lessons learned meetings yourself on your own projects.

But let’s consider the bigger picture around lessons learned. What process do we follow? What management techniques are there for lessons learned? Are all documented lessons learned equally valuable?

These questions need answers. And so I’m happy to welcome Elizabeth Harrin (www.girlsguidetopm.com -- www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethharrin/ - ) who has the answers for us!

Episode 396: More Projects Are Using Agile Than Ever (Free)

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Joseph Flahiff
Joseph Flahiff, PMP, PMI-ACP

Are you using an adaptive life cycle to manage your projects? You know, something that falls under the general umbrella of Agile like Scrum, XP, Kanban or DSDM?

And if your answer to this question is yes, then think about when exactly you started using these approaches, because that date says a lot about you and your organization. If you started 20 or more years ago then you can consider yourself to be an innovator, but if you started just recently you are a laggard. (And just in case you are wondering, I would put myself in the middle with what is called the "early majority".)

But no matter when you started your journey into Agile it might be interesting to know how many of us out there are actually using Agile on our projects. And according to Joseph Flahiff (www.whitewaterprojects.com -- www.linkedin.com/in/josephflahiff) there are more than you would think.

How many more? He doesn’t have an exact number, but then again nobody knows how many waterfall-based projects there are either. However, studies done on this subject and a number of other indicators lead him to believe that Agile is now the new normal. The number of Agile projects is massive, which is just one more reason to also get started with your PMI-ACP Exam Prep

PDU Tip

This interview is 28:59 minutes long. This means that you can "legally" only claim 0.25 PDUs for listening to it, because in order to claim 0.50 PDUs the interview must be 30 minutes long. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read the article on which it is based, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PDUs!

Click to read the article

Episode 392: Face it. Your Project Requirements are Poorly Written! (Free)

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Jordan Kyriakidis
Jordan Kyriakidis, CEO of QRA Corp

My goal of having these show notes on the website is to give a quick and concise introduction of the podcast topic and to tell you what you can expect to learn from it. Sometimes I am right on point and sometimes I’m a little more vague.

And tomorrow, when you are back at the office working on your project requirements your goal will be to correctly and succinctly describe the requirements for that project your company is going to launch. The big difference here is that your descriptions have to be 100% on point. You cannot afford to be vague, because requirements that can be misinterpreted is a sure-fire way to doom your project. So what can you do to improve your requirements?

The problem of poorly written, ambiguous, and inconsistent requirements is something that Jordan Kyriakidis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordankyriakidis/) has thought about a lot. And his answer to this problem is not only a list of “21 Top Tips for Writing an Exceptionally Clear Requirements Document” (https://qracorp.com/write-clear-requirements-document/) but also to use computing power. Yes, there is actually a software that will scan your requirements document and tell you what's wrong with it.

But we’re not going to talk about the software much, because that would be pretty boring here on an audio podcast. Instead, Jordan and I look at the root causes of poorly written requirements and then we introduce you to the most important 6 out his 21 tips. In that way you can start using your brain power to write better requirements.

Episode 389: Conflict Resolution in Project Management (Free)

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Karin Bruennemann
Karin Brünnemann, PMP

Conflict in project management is inevitable. In fact they say that the only way to not have a project management conflict is to have a one-person project. And even then, some people have a tendency to argue with themselves.

Karin Brünnemann (https://www.linkedin.com/in/karinbrunnemann) recently gave a presentation on the topic of Managing Conflict in Projects to the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Slovakia Chapter. And because it was such a success she suggested that we bring it to you as well!

Karin’s presentation and our interview is full of solid advice and best practices you can apply to the conflicts you will inevitably encounter. We will discuss:

  • Definition & Characteristics of Conflict
  • Conflict in the Context of Project Management
  • How to Analyse a Conflict
  • How to Manage Conflict.

A big part of the interview is actually focused on that last part -- the actual project management conflict resolution. We are, however, not going to talk about conflict resolution on multicultural projects. That’s reserved for next week.

Conflict management is something that many project manager coaching and mentoring sessions discuss, because it's such a common concern for project managers. It's also a topic that comes up often on social media for project managers, because we all face challenges working with our teams from time to time, and the wider stakeholder community beyond that.

Before we dive into the podcast interview, one more important point: we don't talk about specific project methodologies or approaches in any depth. For example, we aren't going to cover the role of project manager in SAFe agile, but project managers in that position would still find conflict management techniques useful to understand. Conflict doesn't discriminate! Regardless of the method or approach you are using, you are still going to find that stakeholders clash from time to time.

Presentation Slide Deck

Karin has made her presentation slides available for listeners of The PM Podcast. Download the file here:

Click to download the presentation...

Episode 386: Interpersonal Skills for Project Success (Free)

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Presenters Collage
Congress presenters reveal their most important interpersonal skill

Last year at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California I recorded an all time high of 14 interviews. They have all been published over the past few months 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: Which is the interpersonal skill that you attribute the most of our success in your career to? In other words, what skill has helped you most on your projects when you interact with others?

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

  • Jay Payette
  • Kristy Tan Neckowicz
  • Nk Shrivastava
  • David Hillson
  • Denise McRoberts
  • Joy Beatty
  • Kristine Hayes Munson
  • Andrew Burns
  • Kim Wasson
  • Wanda Curlee
  • Beth Spriggs
  • Cyndi Snyder Dionisio
  • Connie Inman

Oh, and spoiler alert... the answer that I received most often was "Relationships".

It's not a surprise to me, a this comes up time and time again in the things we see on social media for project managers, and you'll have picked up the trend in my past interview. Whether you are leading a PMO, directing a huge project, taking part in an IT software development initiative, or working in the role of project manager in SAFe agile, or any other project role, relationships are the things that power our success. Project manager coaching and mentoring can only get you so far. Building effective working relationships with your colleagues is what really makes the difference. But I have a feeling you might have already known that!

Enjoy this special episode.

Episode 383: Project Failure Is Not An Option (Free)

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Kristy Tan Neckowicz and Connie Inman
Kristy Tan Neckowicz, Connie Inman and Cornelius Fichtner

At some point in their career, every project manager has to deal with troubled projects.

This interview about project recovery with Kristy Tan Neckowicz and Connie Inman was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss their presentation and white paper Recognize Warning Signs and Rescue Your Troubled Projects. Here are the abstract and summary:

Abstract: Come to this session to hear real stories of troubled projects and recovery journeys from two seasoned project management professionals. You will learn to recognize common warning signs of troubled projects, approaches to right-sizing your project management processes, and applications of stakeholder management lessons for project success.

Summary: The common theme across the case studies is a focused spirit of continuous improvement to rescue troubled projects. Although projects are temporary in nature, project management processes are always evolving.

It is tempting to move on to the next project when a troubled project has been placed safely back on track. However, you will have more assurance of the project manager’s future success by conducting a lessons learned evaluation focused on the practice of project management before claiming victory.

By sharing the warning signs, right-sizing approach, and lessons learned from these case studies, we hope you will leverage our experience to keep your next project “on track” to successful delivery.

PDU Tip

This interview is 29 minutes and 57 seconds long. This means that it is 3 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!

Click to download the white paper

Episode 375: Project Assumptions (Free)

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Beth Spriggs
Beth Spriggs and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview about assumptions in project management with Beth Spriggs was recorded at the 2016 PMI® Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss her paper and presentation The Risky Business of Assumptions - Uncovering the Truth, as We Assume It to Be. Here is the abstract:

We all hold assumptions, then make decisions and take actions based on those assumptions without verifying their validity. Worse is when other people hold assumptions about our work and we don’t know it. This can impact user adoption, timeline, scope, quality, and overall project success. Not to mention personal frustration, stress, and desires to pull out one’s own hair.

Unchecked assumptions can be very dangerous in the workplace. We should be mindful of some common assumptions and actively work to uncover assumptions. Doing so will bolster project work and open up new paths for identifying risks.

Some project assumption examples that Beth introduces us to are assuming a project or task is easier or faster than it actually is, assuming priorities are aligned and haven't changed, and assuming who owns, or is responsible for, what.

Very importantly the paper and discussion also include a section about uncovering assumptions. Here, Beth offers us 5 ideas on how to develop and expand our project assumptions list.

PDU Tip

This interview is 23 minutes long. This means that 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!

Click to download the white paper

Episode 373: Stuck on your Project? Get Un-Stuck with ProjectManagement.com (Free)

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Danielle Ritter
Dani Ritter and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview with Dani Ritter was recorded at the 2016 PMI® Global Congress in San Diego, California. Dani is the Manager, Community Engagement at Project Management Institute and her primary focus is the PM community of www.projectmanagement.com.

In the interview we discuss:

  • Why projectmanagement.com is at the congress
  • Its mission and relationship to PMI
  • How much it costs being a member (spoiler alert: it's free!)
  • The available resources, some of which are free PM templates, white papers, or webinars
  • How the community can help you if you have a PM related question
  • The online games (PM Wars and PM Challenge) that it offers
  • How members can get the most out of the site
  • How anyone can earn free PDUs by reading articles and attending virtual events

PDU Tip

This interview is 14 minutes 46 seconds long. This means that you can "legally" not claim any PDUs at all, because the minimum is 15 minutes for 0.25 PDUs. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also visit the site and spend at least 14 seconds reviewing all the great templates that they offer, then you can go ahead and claim 0.25 PMP PDUs in the technical category!

Click to visit the website

Episode 372: Stakeholder Analysis Reduces Project Risk (Free)

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David Hillson
Dr. David Hillson and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview with Dr. David Hillson was recorded at the 2016 PMI® Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss his paper and presentation My Stakeholders are my biggest risk -- help!. Here are two passages from the paper:

Abstract:

Stakeholders can pose a real risk to our projects—at least some of them can—and project managers and their teams need to be aware of this and take steps to control risks to their project that arise from risky stakeholders. As with all risks, stakeholders present both positive as well as negative risks, and we need robust ways of identifying which stakeholders offer opportunities, and where potential threats might lie.

This paper presents a structured way of identifying risky stakeholders based on a best-practice stakeholder analysis model (The Stakeholder Cube). It explains how risky stakeholders might influence a project based on their power, interest, and attitude. Finally, the paper shows how applied emotional literacy can be proactively used to influence risky stakeholders in order to optimize the outcome for the project.

Conclusion:

A risk is any uncertainty that could affect achievement of project objectives. Some of the biggest risks in projects arise from stakeholders, and project managers and their teams need to be aware of these risks and manage them proactively. As with all risks, there are both positive and negative stakeholders, and it is important to identify which stakeholders offer opportunities, and where potential threats might lie—and then act appropriately.

David is retiring and this was his last active participation at a PMI Global Congress in North America. He plans on continuing to attending the EMEA congresses and he has offered to be available for interviews over Skype in the future.

PDU Tip

This interview is 26 minutes long. This means that 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!

Click to download the white paper

Episode 371: PMBOK 6th Edition (Free)

Update!

Please note that we have released a more current interview:

Listen to our interview on PMBOK® Guide Seventh Edition

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Cyndi Snyder Dionisio
Cyndi Snyder Dionisio and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview with Cyndi Snyder Dionisio was recorded at the 2016 PMI® Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss her presentation "PMBOK® Guide -- Sixth Edition: Preview of Coming Attractions". Here is the session description:

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is being updated as we speak, and the Sixth Edition will soon be published. This session provides insights into the new edition, including a peek at a new chapter on the role of the project manager. For each Knowledge Area, there are new sections describing key concepts, emerging trends, and tailoring considerations, as well as updates to ensure the PMBOK® Guide remains relevant to most projects, most of the time. Come and find out what to expect!

Cyndi was the chair of the team that worked on updating the guide and in her presentation (as well as in this interview) she introduces us to the publication timeline as well as many of the changes that are coming our way. This was of particular interest to me professionally, because the guide is a central text that we use in our PMP certification training for our students.

More About PMBOK 6

If you would you like to know more about what's coming in the new version, when and how it will be released and when the PMP exam will change to the new standard, then please click to visit our PMBOK 6 article.

Episode 368: How to Make Remote Work Productive (Free)

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Bruce Harpham Senior Financial Analyst
Bruce Harpham, PMP

Does your project rely on virtual teams? If yes, then it means that working remotely is the norm for your project team members.

Are they doing their work effectively and efficiently? And even if you answered yes, there is always room for improvement, right? Good, because how to make remote work productive is our topic today.

Our interview guest is Bruce Harpham (https://ca.linkedin.com/in/bruceharpham and http://projectmanagementhacks.com) who has written about remote workers and how to increase all our effectiveness. He argues that working virtually is simply the reality on many projects and project teams these days.

And so in order to help us improve remote work he recommends the following four steps:

  • Evaluate your current tools
  • Review communication preferences and strengths
  • Analyze the project’s requirements
  • Adjust your communication practices

We’ll go through each of these in detail with lots of examples from his own experience.

Episode 367: PMO Benchmark Report 2016 (Premium)

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Lindsay Scott
Lindsay Scott

If you are working in a PMO then we have something good for you today.

Lindsay Scott (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/projectsmanagementrecruitment) from Arras People is back to talk us through the PMO Benchmark Report 2016. Yes... last week we looked at the overall PM Benchmark Report and right now it’s all about PMOs.

We are going to review who PMO practitioners are, who they work for, what their professional development looks like, how PMOs are set up, what functions they provide, where in the organization they are located from a reporting perspective, we’ll hear some PMO thoughts and challenges, and finally, we are going to be talking about www.pmoflashmob.org.

To download your PDF copy of this report, please visit the Arras People website and Request the PMO Benchmark Report 2016. You are also going to be invited to fill in the survey for the next report.

Episode 366: Project Management Benchmark Report 2016 (Free)

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Lindsay Scott
Lindsay Scott

For over a decade now, Arras people has been publishing their yearly project management benchmark report and so I’ve invited Lindsay Scott (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/projectsmanagementrecruitment) to introduce it to us to this latest version.

Lindsay says about the report, that even after all this time of doing the research and seeing the changes over the years, it is hard not to be drawn to the fact that project management is still an exciting and growing field. The fact that projects are still failing suggests that even with all the effort and time expended we are still searching for that magic bullet which will ensure we deliver.

Of course, the report doesn’t give us this magic bullet, but it provides an interesting insight into what you and I are doing day after day.

There are two options for you to get a copy of this report:

Episode 359: How to Manage a Shipyard Project (Premium)

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Fernando Remolina
Fernando Remolina, PMP

Shipyards and dockyards are the places where ships are repaired and built. Here we are talking about yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other types of cargo or passenger ships. And of course, in order to stay on time, on budget and on scope, a shipyard project manager oversees the project.

Fernando Remolina González (https://www.linkedin.com/in/remolinaf) has been working in ship repair and shipbuilding project management for about a decade. He is one of the few voices that write and speak about their experience in managing projects on ships.

It's a fascinating and centuries old industry that requires the project manager to have lots of technical experience. Beyond that shipyard project management follows a pretty standard approach. You initiate, plan, execute, monitor & control, and then you close the project. But as in any other industry, it’s what you do that makes all the difference.

This interview is based on Fernando's article titled "Shipyards: Fast and Complex Projects" [2019 Update: the website is no longer available, so we removed the link].

PDU Tip

This interview is 24 minutes long. This means that 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 article on which it is based, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PDUs!

Project Management for Beginners and Experts

Going beyond Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®

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