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Take the risk of trusting your team

From the part of the person who gives it, trust is hard. It requires a leap of faith. It requires that we believe the person we trust is worth it.

From the part of the person who receives it, trust is energizing. It means that someone was willing to take that leap of faith for us. It means we are worth it. Trust also carries responsibility: if we want to keep that trust, we must prove the giver right. This means delivering on that trust.

Project management requires a high level of trust

  • The project manager must trust the team to do quality work on time and on budget.
  • The project team must trust the project manager to lead them efficiently and help them meet their deadlines.
  • The stakeholders must trust the project manager to understand their needs.
  • The project sponsors must trust the project manager to control the project and prevent cost and schedule overruns.

In a nutshell, the project team must trust each other. That includes the project manager, the team, the stakeholder and the sponsors. For most of us, […]

By |2009-06-08T11:20:00-04:002009-06-08|

eBook Review: Getting Started in Project Management

Since blogs are online, I thought it would be fitting to begin reviewing eBooks. This time, I’ll tell you about “Getting Started in Project Management” by Josh Nankivel.

Josh is the founder of pmStudent.com, a website dedicated to those learning the skill of project management – a skill we may never be finished learning! pmSutdent is set apart from all the other learning-oriented sites for project managements, who are usually focused on PMP certification, and little else beyond that. With pmStudent, the focus is on learning, and getting certified is a subject secondary to that.

Josh wrote “Getting Started in Project Management” to help others getting started with project management, basically to provide a resource he would have liked to have when he got started in 2004.

The book is divided in two parts. In the first half, Josh tells his own journey into project management, from his last lay off in 2004, until he was asked to lead a major project in the aerospace business. This was an interesting read, especially where he writes […]

By |2009-06-02T12:04:00-04:002009-06-02|

Sharing the burden of project updates with your team: why collaborative project management tools are a time-saver and team-builder.

There are two schools of thought with project management tools: project management OR collaboration.

Why should project teams have two tools, one for project management and one for collaboration? Shouldn’t both these uses be united in one tool?

Project management is not about secrecy, quite the contrary. It’s about sharing information with everyone who needs it. Project management is about getting your team to work together to achieve results.

When using a collaborative project management system, you not only share information on the project with the team, your stakeholders and even your clients, you also get to share the burden to updating project information with your team. Instead of the project manager being the only one updating task statuses and entering time sheet data, it’s everyone in the team who does. The project manager simply double-checks and approves the updates.

Not only does it save tremendous amounts of time, it also empowers the team. It gives the team members responsibility towards the project, beyond their assigned work.

By |2009-05-29T14:42:00-04:002009-05-29|

The fisherman’s take on project management

I went fishing last weekend. It was a beautiful (yet a little cold) weekend in the woods. We were on a good lake for fishing: our quota was 15 catches per person. That’s a lot of fish!

We were thinking: if the outfitter allows 15 catches per person, there’s got to be a lot of fish in this lake. And there was. As we arrived the Friday night, we could see the bass jump at flies on the surface of the lake. We were stoked for a good day of bass fishing on Saturday!

Well, it was not a good day of fishing. We caught a total of 10 fish between the three of us. This was underwhelming.

Here’s why we didn’t get the fish we were hoping for

  1. The fish was jumping at the flies, but we were bait-fishing. Wrong technique. Wrong approach. If the fish is going for flying insects, it won’t respond to bait just floating there, will it?
  2. The mayflies were swarming the lake. Mayflies look like mosquitoes, but they only live a […]
By |2009-05-25T12:15:00-04:002009-05-25|

Project archives: get out of the Project Manager’s head

Project management is a big world. With the PMI’s PMBOK running at 400 pages or so, it can be challenging to keep up with methodologies. Even more challenging is keeping up the practice of closing projects well. It’s easy to sign-off on the work and to do the administrative closure stuff, but building good, usable project achives is harder. It takes time, and the value of this time is not seen in the short term.

I recently attended a conference from Laurent Bellavance, the director of Rimouski‘s economic promotion society. His role is to facilitate the projects: he puts together the local governments, specialists and investors to create innovation and prosperity in his city.  Bellavance has been in his post for about a year. One of his challenges is to get information on past projects. While the other directors who preceded him at the head of his organization can still be reached if needed, they are focussed on other goals and do not always remember the specifics of projects that […]

By |2009-05-13T12:49:00-04:002009-05-13|

Competition or colleagues?

The world of project management is a crowded place. There are multiple profesional accreditation options, multiple project management methodologies and countless books, blogs and tools to manage projects.

This is a good thing. I have never talked to two organizations who managed projects the same way. It makes sense that there would a wide range of options.

In most markets, when you sell something, the other products that are sold to do the same thing as your product are called competition. The customer base is finite and the game is to win over the heart of a majority of those customers. When we talk about AceProject and the world of project management software, this feels wrong to me.

There are many, many, many project management tools out there. Open source tools, free tools, affordable tools, expensive tools, web-based and desktop-based. The Google search for project management tool comes up with 188 million results. With that many players in the race to win over users and fans, how can we even see it […]

By |2009-05-08T13:23:00-04:002009-05-08|

The discipline of producing new, fresh content

Go Ahead, Manage is over one year old. I know, it’s young compared to most of the blogs out there. I’ve been writing the majority of Go Ahead, Manage’s content. After a year, I find that the greatest challenge is to have something to say.

This blog is not about my personal life, but about the life of the whole team here, the life of our product, AceProject, and the life of our field, project management.

When we began this blog, I had a lot of things to say, I even had a backlog! As time passed, I got through that backlog and now I find my inspiration a few minutes before I start typing the new post away.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned about blogging is that it requires discipline to produce new, fresh content three times a week. In the last few months, with Twitter taking the world of project management by storm, there is even more content out there about project management, project managers, and managing a business. It becomes a challenge to create content […]

By |2009-05-06T13:24:00-04:002009-05-06|

Project metrics: earned value management with a 6-function calculator, part 2

Last time, we focused on how to get the basic project metrics without so much as a basic calculator. On the second part of this post, we’ll focus on estimates.

Estimates seem even trickier than variances and indexes. Because a lot of the original estimating process is fuzzy, it’s easy to assume figures like Estimate to Complete and Estimate at Completion would be hard to understand and hard to believe that – Gasp! – they can be computed with a pen and paper.

Just like last time, we’ll work with a  6-month fictional project with a 50 000$ budget. In order to compute Estimate to Complete and Estimate at Completion, we need the following figures:

  • Budget at Completion is your project’s total budget. This is (usually) decided when the project is approved
    • With our project example, the Budget at Completion is 50 000$.
  • Earned Value is how much you’ve really accomplished in the project.
    • Working with our 6-month project. Let’s pretend that you’re
      only 40% done with the project. That portion of your project budget is
      the Earned Value.
  • Actual Cost […]
By |2009-05-04T13:39:00-04:002009-05-04|

Project management and firefighting

One thing most bloggers won’t admit to is how they often find inspiration for their posts: in other blogs and tweets. Anywho, I found my inspiration for today’s post from this Tweet: “Why do so many professionals say they are project managing, when what
they are actually doing is fire fighting? – Colin Bentley” from

  1. It’s a vicious circle.
By |2009-04-29T14:47:00-04:002009-04-29|

Virtual teams make everything more difficult

Virtual teams are a fact of today’s projects. With outsourcing and increased mobility for the workforce, there is a higher proportion of people who either work in satellite locations, or simply work from home.

The project team becomes virtual. How can we keep up with everyone when we can’t see them?

A huge part of project management is getting a feel of how the team is doing

How can we do that without seeing the people we work with? After all, the biggest part of a person’s message is not conveyed with words. It’s transmitted via pitch and intonation of voice, the way she sits or stands, her facial expressions and hand gestures. These are all things someone can’t show in an email, a tweet or a chat window. And while video conferencing and conference calls can help getting a bit more from that team member, it’s still not the same as being right in front her.

Another issue is created by writing instead of talking. In writing, people have different personalities. When we write something, it’s not spontaneous. […]

By |2009-04-22T14:42:00-04:002009-04-22|
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