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Episode 015: Status Reports

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Today's show contains the following show segments: Helpful Resources, News, The Tip of the Week, two Good Bad & Ugly Reviews, and in the main section of the show we are talking about Project Status Reports.

Two new Podcasts on Project Management are now available:

- The Project from Hell Saga by www.4pm.com
- Estimating Technology Projects by www.ireqwire.com [Update: the template website is no longer available, so we removed the link]

Project Management in the News
- Managing Megaprojects
- Microsoft to Acquire UMT, a Leading Provider of Portfolio Management Software and Solutions [Update: the template website is no longer available, so we removed the link]
- Voice Over Project Management Software Developer Interactive Voices Announces Trial VoiceSuite Account For Clients

Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of a computer-generated transcript with all its computer-generated quirks.

Speaker 1 (00:09): [inaudible]

Cornelius Fichtner (00:11):

You are listening to the project management podcast. We bring project management topics to beginners and experts. Find us on the web at pmpodcast.blogspot.com or send your emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Hello, and welcome to show number 15. I am Cornelius Fichtner. Now this is the project management podcast for the 24th of December, 2005. Merry Christmas to all of you today. We'll be looking at status reports, what to write in them and what to not write in them. And we also have two reviews in the good, bad and ugly series for you on the show today. And you can consider the second one as kind of a Christmas present, because I will be reviewing two new podcasts for you. That focus solely on project management. Actually it's two and a half new podcasts for you that comes out at the end of the show, but no fast forwarding here to start out the show. Here are a few announcements and items that I want to get off my chest. And we start with a message from our sponsor project load is the web based project management tool for your team as project manager, you create the tasks and assign activities as your team progresses. Their time sheets automatically feed into project reports with task forecasting documents, storage, integrated notes, and over 25 alerts project load is the one tool for project monitoring. Visit us at projectload.com.

Cornelius Fichtner (01:54):

Eric Johnson wrote in and he writes, I graduated from Tennessee technological university with a business M I S degree in December, 2003, I started working like most new it graduates with hardware and PC support and since moved to developing applications with.net tools. My goal is to use this experience in project management in the near future project management just makes sense to me, the more I learn about it and project management, the more I see the similarities between industries and processes, I've enjoyed your reviews and explanations on PM, techniques, events, and your podcasts. In general, I feel that your site references and podcasts are a great tool for me. As I developed my plan to pursue project management as a profession, the reason why I'm actually reading this to you is because of the question which follows. And he writes Cornelius, can someone XL in project management without a PMP certification?

Cornelius Fichtner (03:03):

Or do you think it is a necessary justification to be accepted within the profession? The only reason I ask is it seems that getting a PMP certification is very trendy for lack of a better word. I do not want to jump on the bandwagon just to get a PMP because it's the thing to do. I want to be a successful project manager. If those go hand in hand, then I have no problems putting the effort forth to get one. How do you feel about this? Well, in my view, the PMP certification more or less tells me that you were able to sit down for a four hour exam and answer a certain number of questions correctly, that you have passed sort of a minimal standard in project management to even get to this level, to even be able to take the test. You had to have certain number of hours in project management, certain number of years, you had to have certain training.

Cornelius Fichtner (04:10):

So that to me just tells me where you are at in your knowhow as a PMP, as a project manager in general. It does not tell me that you are a good project manager. I mean, have you ever had a doctor, a medical doctor with whom you weren't happy? Well, it's exactly the same thing with project managers. Being a PMP only tells you that you have some sort of a certification. It doesn't tell you you're a good project manager. Yes, you can definitely be a good project manager without having the PMP certification, but having gone through the training, having taken the test gives you a common vocabulary with me. It gave us both of us, the same common understanding of the tools and techniques and processes. And if I had to choose between two people, one is a PMP and the other one is not a PMP.

Cornelius Fichtner (05:11):

I would probably focus more or lean more towards the PMP simply because I know how this person is supposed to think because of the training that went into him, uh, into, into the PMP certificate doesn't mean that he's the better project manager. I don't really know. I will learn that afterwards. What you will also find is that the PNP seems to be more or less a required item. Now in most of the job ads that you see, PMP is no longer, um, suggested PMP is required. PMP will also give you our RESPECT. It will give you the respect. It will give you the respect from the HR department simply because they are looking for that. It will give you the, from your peers, project managements like myself. And it'll give you the respect of your colleagues at work, whom you work with because they know that you have a certification in what it is that you're doing.

Cornelius Fichtner (06:11):

So there are pluses and minuses as for me, yes, getting a PMP is worthwhile simply because it puts you on a level playing field with everybody else out there. Alright, enough said about whether or not to get a PMP or not, but I found something quite interesting in the Yahoo groups. I, uh, I monitor the Prince two project management Yahoo group, occasionally, and I found the following question from Gregory Tucker. I don't exactly know what Gregory is from, but he writes, I am currently studying for the practitioner exam. That's of course the Prince 2 practitioner exam. I have taken and failed at once. Does anybody know how many practitioners there are in the United States for Prince 2? Eh, doesn't seem very popular right now in the U S but with increasing adoption of ITIL in North America, I suspect there will be a growing interest in Prince too, as well over the next few years.

Cornelius Fichtner (07:17):

Well, Greg, I don't know, but let's put this out here to the listeners. If you are a Prince two practitioner and you've taken and passed the exam, I'd appreciate it. If you would drop me a quick This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I can tell you that number, and we can announce that in the next show, you may remember in the past, I have been talking about whether or not listening to the project management podcast would qualify for PDUs. If you are a PMP you're required to obtain 60 PDUs in three years to keep your certification going. Well, I had a bit of back and forth between the PMI and myself. I didn't agree with their initial. No, you can't do this, but I have now received a clarification from Edwin Delgado and he is the continuing certification processor at the PMI. He writes, I do not doubt the content of your broadcast or the work that you must put into your lecture style broadcast that you provide to the listeners.

Cornelius Fichtner (08:29):

The real question is in regards to reporting the PDUs, how would we, the PMI possibly know that they were really listening to the whole broadcast or just part of it? How do we know that actual learning took place? There is such a thing as distant learning, but interaction between the student and the teacher is always present such as in a or over the web. If you were to provide some sort of a PDU code at the beginning and end of YouTube, your shows, who is to say that the people reporting this code listened the entire session or that they were just given the code by someone else in a classroom lecture, there would at least be a person present to verify attendance and verify that they completed the entire lecture, or course there is an actual teacher to student interaction at all times. Okay. That makes it clear. Just listening to the project management podcast does not qualify for PDUs. I would, of course have preferred that the PMI says yes, and that listening to the project management podcast is a qualifying activity for you PMPs out there who are listening to the show, but I can understand the arguments that Edwin Delgado makes, and I accept his decision. And now let us move on to that helpful resources and followed right after that, to the PM news.

Cornelius Fichtner (10:08):

I have five resources for you today, but I'm just going to breeze through to the first forum, concentrate a little more on the fifth one here today. The first two are from the same website. There's a free registration that's required in order to read those. And there are both high level overviews. The first one is a high level overview of project management offices. And the second one is a high level overview of project management methodologies. They're both kind of something that you may want to give to a manager type person who is interested in understanding more about PMOs and project management methodology. And the second one about the methodology is also quite helpful. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about the basics of the PMI methodology, the third helpful resource is titled project management techniques for adaptive action. It is sort of a comparison between agile project management and also heavyweight project management as they call it.

Above are the first few pages of a computer-generated transcript with all its computer-generated quirks. A human-generated transcript is available to Premium subscribers starting with episode 136.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on projectmanagement.com and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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