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Project Portfolio Management – Understanding Where Your Program is Today

There are three commonsense categories of past, present, and future when dealing with the basics of project portfolio management: (a) assessing where your program has been, (b) understanding where your program is today, and (c) driving where your program is going.

Understanding Where Your Program is Today

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Portfolio Management, Program Management.

Project Portfolio Management – Assessing Where Your Program Has Been

There are three commonsense categories of past, present, and future when dealing with the basics of project portfolio management: (a) assessing where your program has been, (b) understanding where your program is today, and (c) driving where your program is going.

Assessing Where Your Program Has Been

Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Unfortunately, many organizations do not look back at the preceding year with enough thoroughness. The leader should look back at the preceding year and document the following:

  1. What were the business’s goals and targets for the year?
  2. What was the variance of actual results compared with those goals?
  3. What was the root cause of each variance?

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Portfolio Management, Program Management.

Project Reserve: Eight Tips You Should Know

Project Reserve: Eight Tips You Should Know

A key aspect leading to  a successful project outcome is having adequate project reserve.  Adequate project reserve also ensures a smoother, less stressful journey to the successful project outcome.  Inadequate project reserve is rarely cited as a cause of project failure, but it is a contributing factor to the failure of many projects. Having adequate reserve is just common sense.  Below are eight tips you should know about project reserve.

1.       Make sure you have it. –  Ask for project reserve.  Use all your pervasive influence skills (Influence the Psychology of Persuasion, How to Get People To Do Stuff, Magic Words) to get the reserve.  If you cannot get adequate reserve through influence of the proper channels, then sneak it in.

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Leadership Skills, Program Management, Project Management.

Accountability – Do You Work with Sideline Vultures?

An armadillo had been struck by a car near my house. I live in Florida and anything that dies, quickly has vultures on its remains.  I was close enough to the carnage to hear the vultures and the sliding of the Armadillo’s carcass, as it was being dragged on the street as the vultures pulled and tugged on it.  As I watched from my garage, it was apparent that a few vultures were doing the majority of the work, while some just observed from the sideline.  These sideline vultures did nothing but position themselves near the Armadillo’s carcass, while the other vultures worked on it.  However, as soon as one of the working vultures pulled out a large chunk of fresh Armadillo, the sideline vultures sprang into action by trying to steal the meat from the vulture that had worked to remove it.

Posted by Dr. James Brown in accountability.

The Program Manager’s Risk Environment

The program manager’s risk environment is complex, because risks at the business level, program level, or project level can impact the program. That’s why categorization of risks facilitates better risk identification activities.

Additionally, the program manager must scrutinize which business- and program-level risks project manager’s should address. It would be too burdensome and unnecessary for project managers to try to address all the risks that exist at each of these levels. Just as the program manager filters and decides what project managers need to address, the project manager also has to filter and decide what project-level risks are shown or escalated to the business level. Realize that the business level would be overwhelmed if its managers saw or even knew about every project-level risk.

So what are the various risks in each category?

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Risk Management Strategies and Tactics, Risk Mitigation.