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.

I started studying the course step by step taking notes and important pieces of information on my notebook. Learning PMD Pro is honestly exciting process. It needs you to be patience and it requires to focus and to concentrate on different Important details which includes all analysis processes, treatments, plans and charts from different sides and aspects. This is because PMD Pro course is really comprehensive one. It has rich and valuable content. I studied unit by unit making use and exploiting my past experience and knowledge in Humanitarian domain. I could feel the increase of my knowledge during the progress in learning process among the content units. So many concepts, topics and ideas with which I am familiar are enhanced along with my acquisition of new concepts, principles and fundamentals of project management.

Maged Kassoum success story with Project Management in Syria

Really, this course is ordered in proper manner which enables trainees to understand, practice and to test themselves. Moreover, PMD Pro course is divided into separated modules in a proper way in order for the trainee to absorb every subject well.

Another fundamental landmark which distinguishes studying PMD Pro is the ability to pause your study whenever you are obliged to depart your computer: cut or weak internet access or sudden loss of power resource-as most frequently happened in conflict states like Syria. You can resume your study from the point you stopped at last time at any time you are ready again.

In my opinion, primary exam of the units and quizzes for each unit or basic and essential idea and concepts in PMD Pro program are the most distinguished features of the adopted methodology in this platform.

After I successfully finished studying the course including all assigned materials and units, I contact PMD Pro training team requesting access to attend the exam. Short time later, they answer me with approval and they dispatched me the code which enables me to take the exam. I prepared myself well to take the exam taking into consideration all preparedness. I started the exam on 4th September. Unfortunately, I did not reach the middle of the exam as I remember when my town encountered brutal air raids. Many air strikes hit the area where I live. Internet access was cut and I was forced to leave my computer. This DESTROYED my entire dream! Two days later, I access the exam portal to know I lost my chance to resume the exam. I think I left it open when I exited it first time.

There is no hope left! I reflect on my situation and I decided to contact the administration of PMD Pro Exam Administration and PMD Guide to explain my situation. Really, I communicated with them illustrating my situation and conditions. Immediately, they respond to my appeal and promise me to grant me the opportunity to take the exam again. Many thanks from my heart to The Disaster Ready Team, APMG and others!

The order of the PMD exam is excellent. The way, according to which the questions are prepared is interactive. In addition, there is enough time given to students who studied the course to pass it. Furthermore, the exam has variety of questions which amazingly cover the entire course so that students who studied the course well will definitely feel content with the PMD Pro exam and its questions.

Now I feel pleasure and satisfaction after I passed the exam and after I got the certificate which will be issued soon. Again, I would love to express my gratitude for PM4NGOs for helping me reaching my destination. Really, PMD Pro has increased my knowledge in humanitarian work and development project sector. I am sure I will apply what I learnt from this course in the coming days making use of the content and I am sure PMD Pro course will upgrade my career status.

Cordially, thank you PM4NGOs for this self-learning material and for PM4NGOs’ team appreciated help.

Sincerely,
Maged Kassoum 15/09/2018″

Would you like to share your PMD Pro story or a success case study from your organization?

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

Inspiring students about project management

Inspiring students about project management

Project Management

Posted on APM by Bobbie.

Over 180 teachers from schools and colleges across the UK have signed up to our campaign, ’Make it Happen’, with the specialist youth engagement agency We Are Futures.

Part of our suite of outreach support for schools, colleges and universities, the campaign was designed to inspire and raise awareness of project management as a career. It is also aligned to help schools and colleges meet their Gatsby benchmarks of good career guidance.

Aimed at 15 – 18 year olds, the ‘Make it Happen! toolkit’ gives an inspiring and practical solution for students to help them manage their school projects. The kit includes a student project guide, a teacher guide, a launch PowerPoint presentation, and a selection of case studies. Registered students can also request a half day mentoring session with a project professional.

Caspar Bartington, APM’s education manager said: “Recent APM research shows that the project profession is one of the most popular careers for students to aspire to. We are excited about the opportunities this pilot campaign offers us to engage meaningfully with students undertaking different projects, and in so doing make a worthwhile contribution to schools and colleges.” Continue reading “Inspiring students about project management”

Inclusive PMD Pro for Visually Impaired

Inclusive PMD Pro for Visually Impaired

Development Sector, PMD Pro, Project Management

Author: Cristiano Moura

Inclusive Project Management for Development Professionals methodology for Visually ImpairedInspired by the democratization of information and access to management tools provided by the PMD Pro Guide, Cristiano Moura developed a method to train the visually impaired in project management, specifically in the initial phase of the Project Life Cycle. This method proposes that the visually impaired can design projects, improve management, attract resources and be recognized professionals of the social development sector, after all, now they can see how to make a good justification of their projects and design structured projects, taking into account the tools of Identification and Design of Design, as Tree of Problems, Tree of Objectives and mainly the Logical Framework.

And how could that be possible? Eyes of a visually impaired person are also in their hands, so the idea was to enable them to experience the tools through touch. And why? Because there was a problem that in an expositive class would be extremely complicated to work with this audience. So, some questions guided the creation of this method, for example: “how to explain and make visually impaired that at the time of justifying the project we would have to use a problem tree?” “How could we make them understand that in roots, trunks and branches, we would have causes, central problem and effects?” Continue reading “Inclusive PMD Pro for Visually Impaired”

Desafios do Gerente de Projetos

PMD Pro, Project Management
   

Um desafio, por definição, é uma situação difícil ou perigosa que alguém enfrenta, então a primeira coisa que geralmente pensamos quando falamos em desafios é numa situação que enfrentamos, a partir da qual podemos triunfar ou não.

O interessante, então, não é somente analisar o desafio, mas também os elementos que farão a diferença entre encará-lo de maneira bem-sucedida, ou simplesmente enfrentá-lo e deixar ao acaso o sucesso ou o fracasso que se pode obter.

Na Gestão de Projetos Sociais, os desafios são inúmeros. Na grande maioria dos cenários, temos um problema social, muito difícil de resolver, causado por inúmeros fatores e que foram mantidos por anos.

Somados a esse problema, estão diferentes atores, com interesses diferentes, e muitas vezes a única coisa que fazem é contribuir para tornar o problema ainda maior. Embora alguns atores estejam interessados em contribuir para a resolução do problema, eles o fazem com sua própria metodologia, portanto é comum que alguns esforços sejam duplicados, mas é também comum que a abordagem ou estratégia de alguns atores dificulte a nossa intervenção (metodologias paternalistas, por exemplo).

Além do exposto, encontramos desafios na obtenção dos recursos necessários para a implementação dos projetos. De recursos financeiros, cada vez mais escassos, ao talento humano, onde o maior desafio que enfrentamos é encontrar a pessoa ideal no momento ideal para desempenhar o papel ideal para o projeto.

Para aqueles que tomam os desafios como uma grande dor de cabeça, o campo de gestão de projetos sociais pode ser um caminho errado. Mas para aqueles que apostam em um futuro com melhores condições e valorizam a satisfação de ver mudanças positivas nas comunidades em que trabalham, enfrentar esses desafios é o melhor incentivo para entregar um projeto de sucesso.

Qual pode ser a diferença entre encarar um desafio bem-sucedido ou falhar na tentativa?
A partir da minha experiência:

  1. Tenha uma ideia clara da magnitude do desafio. Uma chuva forte não é o mesmo que um furacão.
  2. Preparar a estratégia e as ferramentas necessárias, de acordo com a magnitude do desafio. Não há nada pior do que querer enfrentar o furacão com um guarda-chuva simples.
  3. Sempre tenha um plano B, um plano C e um plano D, se necessário. A magnitude do furacão geralmente muda durante a sua trajetória.
  4. Sempre tenha um objetivo claro. Isso faz que você veja o mesmo desafio de uma perspectiva única e, portanto, sua estratégia deve ser única. O furacão chega a todos, mas se você estiver no comando da companhia elétrica da cidade, sua estratégia será radicalmente diferente do que se você fosse responsável por uma creche!

Os 4 passos anteriores têm algo em comum… Cada passo implica preparação. Você não enfrentará desafios de maneira bem-sucedida sem se preparar para isso!

Inscreva-se para o Webinar Desafios do Gerennte de Projetos

Data: 4 de setembro 2018

Hora: 18:00 hora do Brasil

Facilitador: Juan Manuel Palacios

Project management – a first career choice

Project management – a first career choice

Project Management

This article was originally published on APM.

If you’re reading this, you are probably a project professional. You won’t need convincing of the fact that project professionals make things happen.

Among a student audience, the project profession has had relatively little visibility, typically being part of a STEM-related activity which, while laudable, doesn’t do justice to the sheer breadth of opportunity projects offer.

If you have several years of work experience, your project life is likely to have been your second or third career stage rather than your first – or something you had previously done alongside another role. There is nothing wrong with that but there is a sense that the time has come to promote the first-career project professional.

Aside from the Royal Charter and the Chartered Project Professional title, the other timely opportunity to help us broadcast the message is the recent launch of the Project Manager Degree Apprenticeship, a fantastic way to gain a degree, a professional qualification and sector experience.

As the chartered body for the project profession, it is important that APM raises the profile of the world of projects with everyone, including those still in education.

The good news is that the more students understand what projects are, the more they like the idea of being part of one. We know this thanks to our recent research. Continue reading “Project management – a first career choice”

Trends in Project Management in 2018

Trends in Project Management in 2018

Project Management

This article was originally published on APMG International.

There are two trends that have been growing in 2017 and will start to have a real impact in 2018.

The first is the greater understanding of agility. Now you may say that Agile has been around for years and has really taken off in 2017 and that’s not new. But I am not talking about Agile, I’m talking about agility.

In the last couple of years lots of people have jumped on the Agile bandwagon as if is it the answer to all project problems. These Agile evangelists tell us that every project should be Agile and Waterfall projects are doomed to failure.

They are wrong and the profession is starting to realise this. In 2018 we will start to talk about agility as something that we apply to different degrees according to the context of each project. It isn’t a binary choice between Agile vs. Waterfall, it’s about how much agility do we need to apply to respond to the different levels of uncertainty in every project. Continue reading “Trends in Project Management in 2018”

Using Iterative Planning Models to Manage Change

Using Iterative Planning Models to Manage Change

PMDPro Guide, Project Management

Does this scenario sound familiar? A three-year project has entered year two of its implementation phase. In general, the project is going OK. The logic of the project intervention is still valid, and the deliverables are still viable. There is, however, a significant problem with the project plan. The field reality of year two implementation has little in common with what was predicted when the project plans were developed 20 months earlier. It is increasingly clear that certain budget estimates were significantly underestimated, while other line items are no longer needed because of changes to the roles of implementing partners.

While these challenges can be addressed through a combination of issues management and change requests, some projects have addressed it through a strategy of iterative project planning.

In an iterative planning model, an initial project plan is established when the project is approved. However, recognizing that the field reality of project implementation can/will vary over time, the details of the project plan are not set out until later. Instead of establishing a single detailed implementation plan, the projects subscribe to a planning model that includes periodic updates of implementation plans. In development projects, these periodic plans are usually made on a yearly basis and are called Annual Operating plans. In an emergency response project, this time frame for updated plans might be significantly shorter. ECHO, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection group, for example, permits an adjustment to project proposals once every three months, based on an understanding about who needs to authorize changes for each of the levels of the logical framework. Continue reading “Using Iterative Planning Models to Manage Change”

Managing global project teams – the trials and tribulations

Development Sector, Project Management

This article was originally published on APM by Paul Naybour.

Although we all work hard to make the management of projects as simple and streamlined as possible by following tried and trusted processes and best practice, in reality many projects are complex and difficult to manage well.

Add to the inherent difficulties of a complex project a diverse team in terms of location and culture and any problems risk being magnified. Yet, for mostly commercial reasons, organisations continue to employ diverse teams with the hope of acquiring the best talent in the most cost-effective way; even though this can result in problems with efficiency, administration and reporting.

If, like me, you have worked with global teams you may not be entirely convinced that the cost savings actually stack up when compared with the added complications of running projects with global teams. But whatever my personal opinion it looks like global projects are here to stay so what is the best approach to make them work for your projects and how can you best adapt your reliable processes to accommodate team members in different locations and time zones?

 

THE PROBLEMS

 

Time zone constraints

A mini-crisis has occurred and you need someone to tackle it straight away but on the other side of the world your team have just packed up for the day. What do you do? Continue reading “Managing global project teams – the trials and tribulations”