New PM Articles for the Week of March 31 – April 6

Cartoon NewsboyNew project management articles published on the web during the week of March 31 – April 6. We read all of this stuff so you don’t have to! And Elizabeth Harrin was kind enough to give me a guest spot on her blog, PM4Girls – thanks, Mum! Also recommended:

PM Best Practices

  • Glen Alleman explores the clever phrase, “Do it right or do it twice.”
  • Gary Nelson notes that there is an appropriate window of opportunity for change. After that, everything gets expensive or impossible.
  • Bruce Benson sings the praises of arguments, disputes, and debates.
  • Barry Hodge argues that Nozbe is the best “to do” list app for project managers, and gives five excellent reasons. I’m still not ditching Trello, though …
  • Dick Billows notes the advantages of using a software-based project scheduling tool, and shoots down the arguments against it.
  • Marian Haus recaps the three “traditional” techniques for overcoming project schedule constraints.
  • John Goodpasture shares a challenge question he puts to his risk management students, on how to assess the impact of a new technology, process, or vendor.
  • Tony Adams traces the link between the project charter and the engagement of the project sponsor.
  • Henny Portman links us to some great how-to videos for Excel – the project manager’s Swiss Army Knife.
  • Sue Geuens notes that incorrect data records can lead to some pretty serious consequences.

Agile Methods

  • Jeff Pierce addresses requirements gathering for those development projects with a lot of constraints.
  • Johanna Rothman continues her series on designing your own Agile project, with a look at dealing with the unknowns.
  • Cheri Baker looks into the post-success bounce, and why success is so often temporary.
  • Soma Bhattacharya talks about what to do once you’ve succeeded, and your Scrum team is successful, productive, and stable.
  • Dave Prior reflects on how he’s using (and benefiting from) his personal Kanban, as a follow-up to his interviews with Jim Benson.
  • Paulo Dias looks at the down side of starting a Sprint on a Monday.

Strategy and Governance

  • Martin Webster asks an interesting question: “Does strategy emerge or is it planned?”
  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell’s new book, “Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future .”
  • Michael Wood notes that the maxim “simpler is better” also applies to project portfolio management.

Your Career

  • Dennis McCafferty shares a slide deck that shows compensation and career prospects for experience project managers are looking very good, indeed.
  • Linky van der Merwe links us to a few resources for project managers looking to make a career move.
  • Michel Dion provides some tips for those preparing for a job interview.


PM FlashBlog 2014 – Europe

pmflashblog2014As I mentioned in last week’s installment, the PM bloggers in Europe were to publish their FlashBlog posts on Monday at 01:00 GMT. In practice, they weren’t all published at the same time, but that’s not a problem for those of us reading them on Wednesday! So without further ado, here are the Week 2 posts: Europe.

  • Allen Ruddock reports from the UK on two debates: is project management a profession, and do qualifications trump experience?
  • Barry Hodge also weighs in from the UK, saying that Prince2 adoption seems more focused on training than implementing the governance processes.
  • Sam Barnes gives the recent history and present of digital project management in the UK, and the growth of a digital PM community.
  • John Carroll observes massive, failing projects from his seat in Exeter, in the UK, classifying them as Leviathans and Vanities.
  • Deanne Earle notes that project management in Europe is made more complicated by cross-border governance and cultural diversity.
  • Ian Webster reflects, from a hill in Spain, on the growth of project management in IT projects as a response to failures and increased risks.
  • Russell Whitworth dials in from Guildford, UK on how everything is a matter of culture, and the best project managers come from the UK.
  • Paul Naybor suggests that a fresh approach to project management is needed in the UK, based on a few simplified, basic activities.
  • Lindsay Scott summarizes the key findings of the Arras People Project Management Benchmark Report on what’s happening in the UK.
  • Michel Operto gives us the view from the technology parks of suburban Nice, France: diversity, community, and the Mediterranean!
  • Simon Harris offers a training-based solution to the problems of project management in the UK.
  • Simon Buehring notes that an average of 3,000 people around the world take a PRINCE2 exam each week, but the UK is still the largest market.
  • Henny Portman reports that the Netherlands is working on matching up the right project owner and project manager.
  • Peter Storm observes the growth of both PMI-NL and IPMA-NL in the Netherlands, but with different constituencies.
  • Neil Walker writes about the growth of programme management as a discipline in the UK.
  • Carlos Pampliega reports from Northern Spain on the challenges to adoption of good project management practices in small to medium sized firms.
  • Angel Berniz describes a very sophisticated project management community in Madrid, taking a unique approach to Agile and other “initiatives.”

Next week: Australia and New Zealand. Enjoy!

Project Management: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Las Vegas Ferris Wheel

Las Vegas Ferris Wheel

This post is part of the second world-wide #PMFlashBlog event, “Project Management Around the World.” Each of us is writing about the current state of project management in our own locale, published on a staggered schedule over the next few weeks. This is my contribution, Project Management: Las Vegas.

Last year, Project Management Institute (PMI) tasked the Anderson Economic Group to follow up on a set of forecasts originally developed in 2008, in an attempt to project the worldwide growth of the project management profession. Their study identified seven industries – construction, utilities, manufacturing, business services, finance and insurance, oil and gas, and information services – that will drive rapid growth. The report estimates that this decade will see the creation of over 15 million new project management roles globally, and annual growth in U.S. demand for qualified project managers by over 12%. The PMI study expects there will be over six million workers in project management roles in the United States by 2020, managing trillions of dollars in projects each year. Of course, Nevada has a slightly different mix of businesses, and consequently a slightly different outlook.

Project Management: Las Vegas

Las Vegas has never been a center for manufacturing, finance and insurance, information services, business services, or oil and gas. Prior to the Great Recession, Nevada had three primary industries: mining, gaming and hospitality, and construction. The growth in gaming and hospitality over the last sixty years also drove the growth in our population, and most of the heavy construction. Our population grew from 285 thousand in 1960, to 1.2 million in 1990, to 2.7 million in 2010. Consequently, residential housing, public utility, and civil engineering construction continued, even through the downturn. Today, planned expansions and renovations of casino resorts are in the news, as is the ongoing renovation of downtown Las Vegas, led by Zappos and a few other visionary local companies. We’re once again seeing a lot of demand for project managers with construction and civil engineering experience, in addition to those with experience in corporate IT and the gaming and mining industries.

There’s one other expected growth segment in the United States: health care projects. Whatever you might think of the Affordable Care Act, it is proving to be a driver for employment among those prepared to help drive costs out of health care delivery. PMI expects the annual growth rate for health care project manager positions to be about 30%. Here in Las Vegas, we have a mix of software vendors, hospitals, and managed care providers with over twenty open requisitions for project managers. We often say that to get the best medical care in Las Vegas, you have to go to the airport, but it looks like these folks are serious about driving change.

Our Evolving Processes

As for our processes: it’s been interesting to watch the growth of Agile methods in software and manufacturing industries. We’ve embraced Scrum, Kanban, and various other approaches, with greater or lesser success, and the trend shows no sign of abating. Of course, we’ve also gotten much better at stakeholder management and change management in general. Another interesting trend is a focus on measuring ROI as a part of project portfolio management, rather than simply estimating it in order to get funding. I’ve recently seen two local projects cancelled because the ROI wasn’t going to warrant completing them. We’re also getting better at risk management, but not in all industries. We’re still trying to figure out what to do with the Harmon Hotel, which is uninhabitable due to construction errors, but impossible to either repair or implode without risking other billion-dollar buildings.

Looking Ahead

Ivanpah Solar Plant

Ivanpah Solar Plant

I have a lot of hope for the continued growth of project management in Las Vegas. The local PMI chapter has an excellent mix of folks from different employers, including government and industry. We have a young, diverse work force, and a lot of visionaries like Tony Hsieh of Zappos and the folks behind the Ivanpah solar power site. And of course, we have over 40 million visitors every year – thank you for supporting our economy!