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PMD Pro Success Story: Maged Kassoum

PMD Pro Success Story: Maged Kassoum

Case Studies, PMD Pro, PMD Pro Certification, Project Management

Name: Maged Kassoum
Country: Syria
Study: Self-Study or Training 

“I am Maged Kassoum. A humanitarian young man worker based in Syria. I think no effort is required to define or explain SYRIA.
I am writing to tell you about my experience in achieving PMD Pro Level1, especially how I proudly gained PMD Pro certificate.

Living in conflict zone, I apprehend the deep need for acquiring more professional skills and competences in humanitarian domain, especially in project development sector. I joined many INGOs: Syria Recovery Trust Fund/SRTF as field coordination officer; Islamic Relief Worldwide as FLS project officer and ACTED as TVET and SME Livelihoods assistant.

During that time, my need to have more knowledge about managing projects increased fast; it even turned to a must. I was eager to attend and to study the most professional course which enable me to manage relief and aid projects professionally.

Again, short time available to educate myself due to my engagement in relief work, unsafe environment due to different war works- fighting between opposed sides, battles, air attacks and different bombardment- and other catastrophic circumstances prevented me from attending development and training center.

At last, I decided to search the internet for the ideal platform which can grant me this professional training. I registered in disasterready.org because I see it verified and reliable one. I read about PMD Pro in its content.

(more…)
Applying Agile Project Management Methodology to Natural Disaster Projects

Applying Agile Project Management Methodology to Natural Disaster Projects

Project Management

by Peter Marlow

This research paper, entitled “Applying Agile Project Management Methodology to Natural Disaster Projects” by Marie Desiree M. Beekharry, University of South Australia, investigates how agile methodology can best be applied to the management of natural disaster projects to ensure more effective outcomes. It’s available for download/access at the UNISA Website.

The increasing volatility of our global environment is proving a major challenge for governments, aid and private organisations in delivering effective and efficient post- disaster relief and recovery project management (PM). When disasters strike, especially when consequences become catastrophic, demands on all resources and capabilities in the affected countries exceed supply. The traditional PM decision-making system is impeded by overly bureaucratic and political issues, and in addition there is a lack of local knowledge and ability to diffuse problems. Therefore, it is essential for the disaster management (DM) community to consider alternative methods to enable more effective PM and assist those affected to transition from post-disaster chaos to smooth recovery.

The aims of the research were:

1. To assess the current PM practices in post-disaster projects;
2. To evaluate which elements of best-practice PM are most essential for an adaptable methodology to manage post-disaster projects;
3. To understand the issues and challenges and seek potential solutions for the management of post-disaster projects;
4. To examine whether national and international organisations face similar issues and challenges and how an adaptable methodology would impact post-disaster projects; and
5. To propose an agile framework which can be applied to post-disaster projects.

Eight Disaster Management projects (earthquake, typhoon and tropical cyclone disasters) were studied and analysed in depth. Project Managers and emergency managers were surveyed. Based on the findings and lessons learned, an agile framework for post-disaster projects has been developed.

Introduction to Agile Project Management

Introduction to Agile Project Management

Project Management, Uncategorized

by Peter Marlow

Agile is defined as “relating to or denoting a method of project management, used especially for software development, that is characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work [delivering value early and often] and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans”. Agile concepts can be applied to many projects and can achieve better outcomes than more traditional methods.

In every project the project manager’s challenge is to balance the triple constraints of Time, Cost and Scope (see section 1.3 of the PMD Pro Guide). Each of these constraints is connected to the others. Whenever one of these constraints is restricted or extended, the other constraints will also need to be extended/increased or restricted/reduced.

The project manager needs to understand the relationships and trade-offs that exist between each of the constraints and agree priorities with stakeholders before the project is launched. It’s often hard to change these once the project is in progress.

Generally, donors and stakeholders can be inflexible about the project scope, so time and cost have to be adjusted to balance the triple constraint and build an acceptable plan. The problem is that circumstances often change during projects that impose a change of scope. This forces a difficult rebalancing process, which, if unsuccessful, causes time delays and cost overruns – and unhappy stakeholders.

The Agile approach to Project Management turns this approach upside down:

• Time is fixed by dividing the project into short fixed time iterations;
• Cost of resources is fixed;
• Scope is variable. It focuses on the highest priority requirements, with the expectation that the scope will evolve as the project progresses.

There is a decision gate at the end of each iteration to re-prioritize existing requirements, to consider any new ones as the project moves forward, and to plan the next iteration. It’s a form of rolling-wave planning. The aim is to deliver the most important requirements within the budgeted cost and time, but maybe not all the requirements. For this process to work it has to be highly collaborative. It’s essential that project stakeholders are closely involved, particularly users.

With this approach, donors and stakeholders will be more confident approving the project because costs and schedules are defined up front and the overall risk is lower. Hopefully, donors and stakeholders will accept that they can’t have everything, but what they do get will meet the main objectives of the project. So ultimately, the Agile approach to project management can result in a more successful outcome.

The essential element of the Agile process is to be able to prioritize the project’s requirements into four categories of importance:

• Must have – these requirements are guaranteed to be delivered;
• Should have;
• Could have;
• Won’t have at this time.

This is known as the MoSCoW priorization (the term MoSCoW itself is an acronym derived from the first letter of each of four prioritization categories). This process can be difficult as stakeholders often prioritize all their requirements as Must Have! A rule of thumb is that typically the ‘Must have’ requirements should take 60% of the project effort whereas the ‘Could have’ requirements will take no more than 20% of effort in each iteration.

Agile focuses on small incremental changes. The challenge can be that the bigger picture can become lost and create uncertainty amongst stakeholders. Building consensus takes time and challenges many norms and expectations. Resource costs can be higher; for example, co-locating teams or investing in infrastructure for them to work together remotely. The onus can be perceived to shift from the empowered end-user to the empowered project team with a risk that benefits are lost because the project team is focussed on the wrong things.

Another criticism of Agile is that it can encourage project teams to cut corners, resulting in a poorly supported outcome. It’s important to remember that Agile projects need to be managed carefully just like any other even if they are “light touch”. For example, the necessity for heavy project documents should always be questioned with stakeholders. Things should not be done just because “we’ve always done it that way”.

The critical governance decision is to select the appropriate approach as part of the project strategy and keep this under review. Level of certainty versus time to deliver is the balance that needs to be considered when selecting suitable projects to go Agile.

Agile integrates well with PMD Pro phase model as part of the tailoring process. But before using Agile you should discuss what you are trying to do with your line management, donors and stakeholders, and seek buy-in from them. It may require a change of organizational culture to make it work!

NGOs need to be Agile to survive and thrive – Agile is for everyone, it just needs to be applied with a big dash of common sense.

So, in summary:

Agile is a way of working which initially seems to be counter-intuitive;
• It’s a mind-set that follows a philosophy and a series of principles;
• It’s flexible and adaptable to changing environments;
• It works in increments or iterations;
• You need to ruthlessly prioritize to make it work;
• Deliver little and often, test frequently to ensure greater quality;
• Needs focused, collaborative, empowered, transparent;
• With the right projects it can produce better outcomes.

With acknowledgement and thanks to the Agile Business Consortium at http://agilebusiness.org and the Association for Project Management (APM) at http://apm.org.uk

6 tips for keeping your team motivated

6 tips for keeping your team motivated

Development Sector, Leadership

This article was originally published on APM.

 

The motivated team is the more productive team. That’s a fairly well established fact. As the project manager or PMO director how do you get there? How do you make sure your project teams are as motivated and engaged as possible every time out on every project?

As usual, I have some thoughts and opinions – coming from experience, logic and observation – that result in my personal list of six key tips to keep your project teams focused on the end goal…

 

1. Pay them well and timely
This may apply more to consulting situations but consultants are people, too. Your project management staff and supporting team members – pay them well. Trust me, keeping the good ones around – and you know who they are and they know who they are – is very important to the success of your projects, the satisfaction of your project clients and the financial viability of your company. Don’t let or force the good ones to leave. It’s expensive to acquire and onboard good new talent and your projects and customers are important.

 

2. Engage them as early as possible

You want an accountable and motivated project team? Get them assigned as early as possible to the projects. They can assist the project manager in early project planning and even take part in project kickoff. And the sooner the customer sees a full team the better. Your full team project engagement will be better if the team is involved in planning and the customer sees the teams as a well-oiled productive and collaborative unit as early in the project as possible. Yes, that can and will add expenses to the project so make that part of the sales culture and process to plan that in to the price of the projects overall. It is important if you can do it.

Continue reading “6 tips for keeping your team motivated”

Managing Complexity

Managing Complexity

Leadership, Program Management

Development professionals everywhere work to address the most complex global and local problems, ranging from extreme poverty and armed conflict, to outbreaks of infectious disease and gender-based violence. The root causes of the problems that development and on-governmental organizations (NGOs) seek to overcome often require multiple strategies and interventions to address the complex causes of poverty, violence, disease, social injustice, environmental degradation, and humanitarian disaster.

 

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Program Management for Development Professionals Guide - PgMD Pro Guide - English 6.40 MB 4344 downloads

Version 1.5. September 2018. ...

 

Working in a dynamic sector requires multi-dimensional solutions to bring about change and an approach that equips country and regional teams to be responsive and capable of delivering excellent programs in a continuously changing environment. To do this successfully, a Program Manager must have a good understanding of the external context and make sound judgments regarding the implementation of programs, projects and activities. Continue reading “Managing Complexity”

How to be productive when you’re juggling multiple projects?

How to be productive when you’re juggling multiple projects?

Development Sector, Leadership

This article was originally published on APM.

 

Do you feel overwhelmed by the number or variety of projects that you’re handling simultaneously? Many professionals welcome the opportunity to take on different roles and responsibilities, or to deal with several clients or campaigns at the same time – there’s no better way to avoid boredom. But just as juggling balls in the air requires coordination and dexterity, it also takes a certain skill-set to get things done while juggling in a metaphorical sense. Here are my top tips:

 

  1. Resist the urge to multi-task

    While listening to a conference call about one project, are you tempted to check your email, scroll through social media, or jot down notes about something totally unrelated. Or do you keep several screens open on your laptop, switching from one document or spreadsheet to another?

    Contrary to some perceptions, multi-tasking can damage productivity rather than enhance it. Indeed, research shows that only two per cent of the population can do it successfully. According to neuroscientists the brains of ‘supertaskers’ become more active as they take on more tasks but for the vast majority of us, no amount of practice enables us to perform in these conditions. Furthermore, repeatedly shifting attention is exhausting because it takes time and energy to focus.

  2. Declutter your diary

    Multiple projects can entail a deluge of demands on your energy and creativity. They can also lead to an inordinate amount of ‘time clutter’ – appointments, meetings, deadlines, etc.

    The key to getting things done efficiently and effectively is to review your schedule, to let go of surplus commitments and to focus on what matters most. You may have heard the expression ‘When everything is important, nothing is.’ It’s particularly relevant to being productive. Learning to plan and prioritise is paramount. And if there’s too much on your to-do list, decide what you can either discard or delegate.

  3. Aim for progress, not perfection

    Over the years, I’ve identified perfectionism as one of the most common challenges for anyone who struggles with time management. Are you putting yourself under pressure because you’re not only trying to complete several projects but you’re also endeavouring to do them all perfectly? If you’re aiming for impossibly high standards, it’s worth asking yourself this simple question: why aim for perfect when excellent will do? Another antidote to perfectionism is to distinguish between when 100 per cent is required and when it isn’t. More often than not, you’re likely to find that the projects you’re juggling don’t need to be perfect; they just need to be done.

There’s no question that taking on several projects can prove testing but if you enjoy a challenge, the rewards can be immense. In fact, once you become accustomed to managing different teams, topics and tasks, you may never wish to handle just one project at a time.

 

Read the original article at APM.

PM4NGOs: A certification also for social communicators

PM4NGOs: A certification also for social communicators

Uncategorized

Being part of an NGO, as member of the communication team, makes possible to apply all of your knowledge either to document the results of a project, position your brand, or make the organization known by its activities. But also, and one of the most important roles, is the good relations a communicator can build, between communities, authorities and the Organization working on different intervention areas.

For this reason, the PM4NGOS training course, becomes an excellent tool for the communicators to accompany the implementation of the projects that an Organization performs. It helps the professional to get a bigger and a detailed portrait of the intervention and how the results will, in the future, impact the lives of families and communities. This, in addition to the communications specialists’ knowledge and tools, can make possible to identify the future achievements and the improvement of live skills the project will produce in the families, making possible, this way, to get ready to know the materials that can be prepared, in different formats, in order to document, and show the results of the project.

As part of the communication team in the Organization, the specialist supports the process of evaluation, getting in touch with the families, leaders, and other actors, to identify their needs and how can these be solved. With the tools provided by PM4NGOs, the professionals can listen and identify the needs more appropriately and help them to translate them in activities.

Also, the course provides the chance to innovate and propose new projects related to communications for development, that can be led by the communications professional trained in Project Management. With PM4NGOs and the tools provided, which are flexible and simple to apply, the project can be easily monitored, being possible to execute the projects in time and in budget.

Therefore, it doesn’t matter your role in the Organization you are part of, or your position, either if you visit communities more or less often, PM4NGOs gives you the tools to understand and implement all kinds of development projects.

PM4NGO: Una certificación también para comunicadores sociales.

Uncategorized

Al ser parte del staff de una ONG, en el equipo de comunicación, tienes la posibilidad de aplicar todo tu conocimiento, ya sea para documentar los resultados de un proyecto, posicionar su marca o dar a conocer a la organización por sus actividades. Pero también, y uno de los roles más importantes, son las buenas relaciones que un comunicador puede construir, entre las comunidades, las autoridades y la Organización, en los diferentes lugares de intervención en los que se implementan lo programas.

Por este motivo, el curso de capacitación PM4NGOS se convierte en una herramienta excelente para que los comunicadores acompañen la implementación de los proyectos. Ayuda al profesional a obtener un retrato más amplio y detallado de la intervención y cómo los resultados, en el futuro, impactarán las vidas de las familias y las comunidades. Esto, además del conocimiento y las herramientas de los especialistas en comunicación, permite anticiparse a los logros futuros y las mejoras en la calidad de vida de las familias impactadas por el proyecto, permitiendo, de esta manera, prepararse para desarrollar distintos materiales e insumos, en diferentes formatos, para documentar, y mostrar los resultados del proyecto.

Como parte del equipo de comunicación en la Organización, el especialista apoya el proceso de evaluación, facilitando el acercamiento a las familias, los líderes y otros actores para identificar sus necesidades y cómo pueden resolverse. Con las herramientas proporcionadas por PM4NGOs, los profesionales pueden escuchar e identificar las necesidades de manera más apropiada y ayudarles a traducirlas en actividades.

Además, el curso brinda la oportunidad de innovar y proponer nuevos proyectos relacionados con la comunicación para el desarrollo, que pueden ser dirigidos por el especialista en comunicación, capacitado en gestión de proyectos. Con PM4NGO y las herramientas provistas, que son flexibles y fáciles de aplicar, el proyecto se puede monitorear fácilmente, siendo posible ejecutar los proyectos a tiempo y dentro del presupuesto.

Por lo tanto, no importa su rol en la organización, o su posición, ya sea que visite comunidades con mayor o menor frecuencia, las PM4NGO le brindan las herramientas para comprender e implementar todo tipo de proyectos de desarrollo.

!إدارة المشاريع التنموية تستحقُ العناء بكل تأكيد

Case Studies

تلعب المنظمات غير الحكومية اليوم دوراً أساسياً في مكافحة الفقر وذلك من خلال التدخلات التنموية والإنسانية في العديد من البلدان التي يحتاج فيها الناس الى المساعدات والإغاثة.

كُنتُ أعمل قبل عِدة سنوات في إحدى المنظمات غير الحكومية الرائدة في اليمن، وعندما انضممت لأول مرة ، كنت مرتكباً ولم أكن أعرف آلية العمل ومنهجيته إذ كُنتُ مستجداً في المجال الإنساني آنذاك، إستغرقني الأمر حوالي عامين ونصف وذلك من خلال الممارسة والعمل المباشر مع مختلف الوحدات الأساسية والمكاتب الخدمية هناك، بالإضافة إلى الكثير من القراءة للأدلة المختلفة التي تشرح آلية عمل كل وحدة بالإضافة الى تصفح ومطالعة عدد من الموارد الأخرى المتوفرة عبر شبكة الإنترنت. عندها فقط تمكنت من فهم المجال وآلية العمل ودور الوحدات المختلفة التي تعمل بتناغم من أجل مساعدة من هم بحاجة الى الدعم، وبالتالي، أصبحتُ أكثر نشاطا وإندماجاً كما اني كُنت أستغرق وقتاً أقل لإنجاز الأعمال التي يتم تكليفي بها وبذلك أصبح ألجميع سعداء بما أُنجِز.

بعد عامين أخبرني أحد الاصدقاء المقربين عن دورة إدارة المشاريع وكنت متشوقاً حينها لمعرفة المزيد عنها، وكيف بإمكانها ان تُضيف الى مهاراتي ومعلوماتي التي سبق لي أن إكتسبتها، أرسل لي صديقي الرابط والكتاب الإلكتروني و أبدى أعجاباً شديداً بالمحتوى، وكيف أنه استمتع بهذه الدورة التدريبية كثيراً، وأضاف: “لقد انضممت مؤخراً إلى إحدى المنظمات الغير حكومية الدولية العاملة في اليمن، وقد ساعدتني هذه الدورة على فهم آلية عمل المنظمات غير الحكومية. الآن يمكنني الانضمام إلى الاجتماعات مع مختلف المدراء هناك بثقة أكبر”. عندها إنطلقت لإلقاء نظرة ورؤية على هذا المنهج، لأنه وبصراحة، صديقي هذا كان ذكياً وما حدثني به عن هذه الدورة التدريبية والمنهج الذي يقدمونه كان بمثابة تشجيعاً إضافياً للحصول على الشهادة

بدأتُ القراءة ومن دون شعور مني كنت ابتسم وأومئ برأسي إقراراً عند قراءة كل صفحة من المنهج، كان مايسرده واقعياً وفي الصميم. تمنيتُ حقاً لو أنه تسني لي الحصول عليه وتصفح محتواه قبل سنوات سابقة.

خلال أسبوعين فقط، كنتُ قد قرأت محتوى الدورة التدريبية مرتين، واثناء ذلك ملأت دفتري بملاحظات قيمة جداً. عندما انتهيت من القراءة قمت بالإمتحان التجريبي و نجحت! حينها قررت أن آخذ الاختبار الفعلي، نجحتُ أيضاً! الإمتحان لم يكُن سهلاً على الإطلاق، لم تكُن الشهادات تُقدَم بالمجان، كان الأمر جادّاً مما جعلني احترمهم ومايُقدمونه أكثر.

الجديرُ بالذكر أني كُنت أمتلك ثلاث سنوات من الخبرة الجيدة في منظمة غير حكومية كُبرى في اليمن، كما ذكرتُ آنفاً، لذا لم يكن كل شيء في الدورة التدريبية جديداً بالنسبة لي، ولكنه كان بلا شك أكثر تركيزًا وقد وضع كل القطع معًا مكوناً تُحفةً فنيةً أشكُ قطعاً أن أي عامل في منظمة غير حكومية لن يُحبها بل وسيحتفظ بها كمورد ثمين أثناء التخطيط / الإدارة / المراقبة / المساعدة في أي مشروعٍ تنموي أو إنساني.

حاليّاً أنا أعمل في إحدى أكبر المنظمات غير الحكومية الدولية في العالم، فقد كان العمل في المجال الإنساني شغفي مُنذُ البداية. وعلى الرغم من خبرتي التي تجاوزت الست سنوات في مجالات مُختلفة منها الإتصال والإعلام، والمراقبة والتقييم، وإدارة البيانات، وعلاقات المانحين فإني ما زلت أجد منهج إدارة المشاريع التنموية مورداً قيماً كلما احتجت إليه، إنه بمثابة توجيه لمن يرغب في إحداث تغيير بطريقة صحيحة ومهنية.

الى يومنا هذا، لن أنسى كيف شعرت عندما تصفحت محتوى هذه الدورة القيّم، كُنتُ سعيداً للغاية وشعرتُ بأني مُطّلع بعمق في هذا المجال بعد قراءته، وعلى عكس العديد من الدورات الأخرى، لم تُخفِ هذه الدورة شيئاً، بل أعطت كل المعرفة التي يتطلبها هذا المجال، وكانت للعقل غذاءاً كما الأمُّ لوليدها.
أُدين لهم بكل الإحترام الذي يستحقونه، وأتمنى أن يستفيد أكبر عدد من الناس بهذه الدورة كما إستفدتُ أنا.

ابراهيم يحيى الوزير

PMD Is Definitely Worth It!

PMD Is Definitely Worth It!

Case Studies

NGOs play a major role today in fighting poverty through development and humanitarian interventions in several countries where people are in need. I was working in one of the major and leading NGOs in Yemen and When I first joined, I was really confused and I didn’t know how it operates, it took me about two years and a half through practice and working closely with the different units and supporting offices, in addition to lots of reading through the different internal manuals of each unit and many other external resources online. Only then I became aware, thus, more active and involved and it took me less time to do things while everyone was happy with what I achieved. 2 years later a friend of mine told me about pm4ngos Project Management for Development (PMD) course and I was intrigued, he sent me the link and the electronic book and he explained that he was impressed by it and that he enjoyed it much. He said: “I have recently joined an international NGO, this course really helped me understand how NGOs operate, now I can join meetings with the different managers there with more confidence”. I said well, I am going to have a look and see, because honestly, that friend of mine was smart and him saying that about the PMD course was an additional encouragement for me to get the PMD certification. I started reading and without knowing I was smiling and nodding my head with every page I read. It is just realistic and straight to point. I wished I had access to it years before. In 2 weeks I had read the course twice and filled my notebook with valuable notes from it. When I was ready, I took the demo exam and I passed, so I took the real one, I passed too, the exam wasn’t easy though, they weren’t just giving away certificates, they were serious about it and I respected that much.
It is important to mention that I had 3 good years of experience in a major NGO in Yemen as I said earlier, so it wasn’t all new to me, yet, it was more focused and it had put all pieces together forming an amazing masterpiece, that I doubt any NGO worker wouldn’t love it and keep it as a valuable resource while planning/managing/monitoring/assisting-with any project.
Recently I am working with one of the biggest, most influencing INGOs in the world, it has been my passion since the very beginning to be a humanitarian worker. Despite my 6 years experience that varies between media, monitoring and evaluation, data management, donor relations and communications, I still find PMD valuable whenever I need it, it’s like a a guidance for those willing to make a change, the right way, professionally.
Until today, I won’t forget how PMD made me feel when I first had access to it, I was so delighted, well-informed and at peace, unlike many other courses, PMD hid nothing, it gave all the knowledge a humanitarian might need, it nurtured the brain as a loving mother nurtures her son, I owe them all the respect they deserve and I wish as many people will benefit from PMD the way I did.


Ibrahim Yahia Alwazir