Developing a Program Management Standard

Program Management, Project DPro, Project DPro Guide, Project Management
L-R: Kim Kucinskas, Chris Foster, me, John Cropper, Brandy Westerman, Lucy Davies (not pictured Edson Marinho)
L-R: Kim Kucinskas, Chris Foster, me, John Cropper, Brandy Westerman, Lucy Davies (not pictured Edson Marinho)

This past week I had the pleasure of working with a fantastic group of people as we developed the next offering from PM4NGOs – The PgMD Pro Guide (Program Management for Development Professionals Guide) standard.

The PgMD Pro Guide will be the next step in establishing solid program and project management standards within the Humanitarian Aid/International Development sector. We (PM4NGOs) have had great success with the PMD Pro (both the Guide and certifications) over the past 5 years, and we are excited about this next step.

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#NoEstimates – De-Mystified

Board Members, Project Management

INTRODUCTION

For some time now within the software development community on Twitter, and by extension, some in the project management community, there has been an ongoing discussion surrounding a concept called No Estimates. Actually, the discussion (sometimes heated) has been around the hashtag #NoEstimates.

These discussions started out, as most discussions do, as an interaction between supposed professionals over a central concept, with both proponents and opponents, supporters and detractors. And like most conversations on the internet, it soon devolved into name calling, accusations of trolling, questioning of professionalism or qualifications, blocking of accounts, etc.

– I’m thinking of Godwins’ Law here – “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.”

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The Triple Constraints are NOT Success Criteria

The Triple Constraints are NOT Success Criteria

Project DPro, Project Management

What defines a project as a success?

For a lot of Project Managers, the answer to this question (unfortunately), is “on-time, on-budget, on-scope”. These are known as the Triple Constraints, or the Iron Triangle, and are the Holy Grail for Project Managers. Hit these three and you can call your project a ‘success’.

But, so the thinking goes, you can’t actually hit ALL three. You can hit two of them, and get close to the third. But one of those always has to be sacrificed. Okay, then as long as you got two, and close to the third, your project is still a success.

Or is it? What really defines whether a project is successful?

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Estimate or Budget?

Estimate or Budget?

Project DPro, Project Management

Are you working from an Estimate, or a Budget?

These two get confused quite a bit. They seem to be the same, and one usually derives from the other, but they’re not the same.

An estimate is an approximation of what your project (or piece of it) will cost. The budget is what you’re allowed to spend. The estimate provides a guideline, the budget provides hard edges. You can’t go ‘over-estimate’, but you can go over-budget.

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Are You Creating a WBS?

Board Members, Project DPro, Project Management

We’ve all heard it the old joke “how do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.”

One of the more common questions we see from newer Project Managers is “where do I start? I have a project, I know the scope, but I’m not sure what the next step is.”

The next step is to develop a WBS, a Work Breakdown Structure.

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The High Cost of Losing Focus

Board Members, Leadership, Project Management

Leadership is all about being focused. That’s the leaders single biggest priority. To determine where to lead to, and then to focus on that and move forward.

But what happens when the leader loses focus? Disaster.

See, the leader’s job is to lead others, not just themselves. So when the leader loses focus, everyone he’s leading suffers, not just the leader. We see this in the news every day, and we see this in our own personal lives.

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Welcome

PM4NGOs

Welcome to PM4NGOs. We’re dedicated to advancement in the Project Management skills of individuals and organizations working in the development sector throughout the world. Our aim is to reach not just donor organizations and NGOs, but individuals on the ground who are making the difference, often against the odds and with minimal resources.

Development projects, large and small, depend on effective project management to gain maximum value from every penny donated by individuals and donor organizations. If you’re a project manager working on those projects, our mission is to help you do a more worthwhile, satisfying job. If you’re a donor organization or NGO working in the field, our mission is to help you get the most from the project management professionals working on your projects. Our PMD Pro series of contextualised project management certifications provide a proven route to greater competence.

With trainings being conducted all over the world, and over 10,000 people having already taken our exams, we know we’re making a difference.

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