Long live the Decision Gates

Long live the Decision Gates

PMD Pro, PMDPro Guide, Program Management, Project Management

During the project launch meeting, suddenly, the Project Manager raises from his chair and shouts: “long live decision gates!” Yes, decision gates must live long and walk through the entire project life. But what are decision gates?

According to the PMD Pro Guide, decision gates consist of a series of points in the project that require a decision to either proceed with the next phase of the project, modify the Scope, Schedule or Budget of the project or end the project outright. Each successive decision gate builds on the work that was developed in the previous stage.

Although more common at the Setup Phase, when a formal approval is required to mobilizing resources and beginning the iterative planning and implementation phases, decision gates are helpful and necessary to connect each phase and stage of the project.

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The End of the Project – Game of Thrones Season Finale

The End of the Project – Game of Thrones Season Finale

Project Management, Uncategorized

I am almost sure that I’ve read an article comparing Project Management with Game of Thrones. But, with the coming of the season finale, I cannot avoid thinking on how the project would end if the project manager were one of the Game of Thrones character…

Tyrion Lannister

Using diplomacy skills, he would advise each team member and to negotiate with local partners and seek for the best possible end of the project. He would jump from supporting the partners to attending donor requirements, also searching how the implementing organization could achieve its own needs. Despite of his good will, shifting masters he would like to please would lead to not attending anyone’s expectations. A (continuous) project redesign would probably be the adopted scenario.

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Oliver Filler from Plan International discusses project management and the benefits of PMD Pro

Oliver Filler from Plan International discusses project management and the benefits of PMD Pro

Project Management, Uncategorized

This article was originally published on Humentum

Oliver Filler, Program Quality Manager at Plan International, talks about his experiences in project management, rolling out program-wide improvements and how PMD Pro has helped provide a foundation for project management learning in the developing world.

George Miller: Hello and welcome to this podcast from Humentum. My name is George Miller and I recently had the opportunity to talk to Oliver Filler, the project management lead at Plan International, about his experience of rolling out PMD Pro training. Why did they choose PMD Pro? How did they prepare to introduce it and, critically, how have people found it and what impacts has it had? But before we got onto these big questions I began by asking Oliver about his own background in anthropology. What had got him interested in that?

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Why choose project management?

Why choose project management?

Project Management

This article was originally published on APM

A career as a project manager can be exciting, varied, fulfilling, and productive. The fact there is a clear start and end date means you will feel a sense of achievement on completion, with clear milestones along the way. Many project managers talk about the feeling of pride they experience in delivering something that makes the world a better place.

While salary is an important aspect to consider, and certainly, project managers tell us that theirs is a very healthy one (£47,500 being the average salary of and experienced project manager according to APM member survey respondents), people also report a high level of job satisfaction: 80 per cent. Find out more in APM Salary and Market Trends Survey 2018.

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.

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