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Six Steps to a (More) Useful WBS

Project Management, Tools

The very first time I taught a class in project management was well before the days of PowerPoint and LCD projectors. In fact, my presentation materials consisted of overhead slides that I had created by hand with rub-on letters since color printers were more expensive than manual labor. As a result, I tried to keep the amount of text down to an absolute minimum. So on the slide that introduced the concept of a Work Breakdown Structure, I used the acronym WBS without spelling it out in full.

I was well aware of the potential for confusion, and I am pretty sure that I explained what the acronym stood for when the slide went up. But either I hadn’t explained, or I hadn’t done it very well, because not long after I began to discuss WBSs, a participant at the back of the room raised their hand and asked, “I understand what the last two letters stand for, but what does the first one mean?” While I was still trying to digest that question, another student towards the front of the room called out “wholesale!”

Unfortunately, this perception is all too common. When it comes to developing a WBS, all too many project managers are still swearing at it instead of swearing by it. Continue reading “Six Steps to a (More) Useful WBS”

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Logical Framework – A friend with many faces

Logical Framework – A friend with many faces

Project DPro, Project DPro Guide, Project Management, Tools

There are several different definitions, formats, templates and structures for project logical frameworks available in the main project management methodologies. If you google “logical framework” then you will probably get lost in the hundreds different models.

According to PMDPro, the logical framework is an analytical tool used to plan, monitor and evaluate projects. It derives its name from the logical linkages set out by the planner(s) to connect a project’s means with its ends.
It is intended to serve as:

  • A systematic tool for organizing the project thinking and identifying relationships between resources, activities, and project results;
  • A visual way of presenting and sharing the project intervention logic;
  • A tool to identify and assess risks inherent in the proposed project design;
  • A tool for measuring progress through indicators and means of verification.

So, let´s agree that it is a friendly tool that is capable of demonstrating the project main logic and dependencies in one matrix. It´s a friend… but, let´s meet its many faces. Continue reading “Logical Framework – A friend with many faces”

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Global NGO online technology stats

PM4NGOs

Nowadays, it is difficult to find statistics about the development and humanitarian sectors that are updated, global and free. A collaborative research project by the Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good, the 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report is an effort to gain a better understanding of how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide use online technology to communicate with their supporters and donors. Based upon the survey results of 2,780 NGOs from Africa, Asia, Australia & Oceania, Europe, North America, and South America, the report presents either global and regional statistics.

Some global stats from the report:

  • 92% of NGOs worldwide have a website.
  • 75% accept online donations. Payment methods accepted include credit cards (82%), PayPal (52%), direct debit (47%), mobile text (6%), and digital wallets (3%).
  • 95% have a Facebook Page. Small NGOs have an average of 5,723 likes. Medium NGOs have 28,337. Large NGOs have 127,930.
  • 78% agree that social media is effective for online fundraising.

If you would like to download the full report, please visit the Global NGO Online Technology Report website – http://techreport.ngo/

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What did the Project Managers ever do for us?

Leadership, Program Management, Project Management

There is that famous scene in Monty Python and The Life of Brian where the rebels are demanding action against the oppressive Romans and ask the question ‘What did the Romans ever do for us?’- The answers came back over and over again as the rebels listed the many things that the Romans brought with them … medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health. So, quite a lot!

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I sometimes hear of project management and project managers being challenged in much the same way … ‘what has project management done for us (the organisation)?’ The thinking presumably goes that there are projects but if the business keeps doing projects then they become (presumably) less unusual and less risky and therefore they don’t need this elite band of project managers to constantly be ‘on the case’. Or perhaps it I less a matter of thinking and more a matter of memory loss, forgetting what project based business life was like before project management was in place and making a real difference. Continue reading “What did the Project Managers ever do for us?”

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Program Management for Development Professionals Guide

Diagrams, Program Management

PM4NGOs is developing the Program Management for Development Professionals Guide to provide advice, tools and guidance to help Program Managers work effectively at a pivotal level in local, national and international NGOs.

Program managers play an essential role by providing an interface between their organization’s strategic management team and project managers who are accountable for the successful delivery of small, medium, and large projects.

The Guide is expected to be launched in the first semester of 2016. However, we would like to anticipate discussion about this new approach and to gather feedback from the PM4NGOs community in advance by sharing our new Program Lifecycle diagram and approach.

Continue reading “Program Management for Development Professionals Guide”

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PM4NGOs and APMG announce the recipient of the 2015 Alan Harpham Award

Alan Harpham Award, NRP, Project DPro, Project DPro Certification, Project Management

The Alan Harpham Award honors and recognizes an individual with distinguished actions in promoting the professionalization of project management in the international development and humanitarian sectors. The selected winner demonstrates not only leadership in advocating for project management professionalization within the sector, but also in making it available to those who are most in need and to a range of stakeholders in the sector such as community based organizations or local NGOs. The award is named in honor of Alan Harpham, former Board Member of PM4NGOs and Chairman of APMG, and a global citizen dedicated to making this sector and community a better place.

PM4NGOs and APMG are delighted to announce that the recipient of the Alan Harpham Award in 2015 is Liziane Silva.

Liziane is responsible for bringing the PMD Pro methodology to over 1000 people.

We at PM4NGOs as well as the team of APMG International congratulate Liziane and wish her all the very best in the future to succeed in the field of project management for NGOs. Continue reading “PM4NGOs and APMG announce the recipient of the 2015 Alan Harpham Award”

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Managing Programs: are you in a horror movie?

Program Management, Project Management

A program is a group of related projects and activities that are managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually (PMDPro). In other words, the whole (the benefit of the program) is greater than the sum of its parts (the projects, activities, and tasks).

However, even well designed programs might include projects that do not properly contribute to the program goals… in fact, some of these misplaced projects might and often do haunt the program, its projects and, especially… the program manager! Continue reading “Managing Programs: are you in a horror movie?”

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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.

Continue reading “Developing a Program Management Standard”

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Is Traditional L&D Still Relevant?

Project Management

Last month we published a survey, based on Jane Hart’s recent blog post, that asked readers to rate 10 different ways they learn at work. We did not receive 3,500 responses from 55 countries (as Jane did), however, 69 individuals from our sector responded to our survey. Their responses reveal a number of interesting trends about the way development/relief organizations learn, identify the similarities/differences between “our learners” and learners in other sectors, and raise the challenging question, “Is Traditional L&D Still Relevant?”

First, there is one very strong area of alignment between development/relief learners and learners in other sectors. Both surveys’ results identified knowledge sharing within teams as the most important source of sharing in the organization. Over 90% of LINGOs respondents identified team knowledge sharing as either “Essential” or “Very Important.” In Jane Hart’s survey, this category also took the top prize, with 87% of respondents identifying it as Essential or Very Important.

Continue reading “Is Traditional L&D Still Relevant?”

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