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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.

Visioning – A Change Management Tool

Visioning is a powerful method for getting an organization to adapt to change.  Visioning is when you create a vision of the future state and the organization changes to adapt to the vision.

With visioning, the vision must be unique and short enough to be both memorable and repeatable in the absence of the leader.  Memorable and repeatable!  People should be able to see themselves and the organization in the vision.  Once the vision is defined the goals and objectives should naturally fall out of it

In the famous book “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen he makes the premise that a man eventually changes to match his thoughts, if your thoughts are noble you become noble, if your thoughts are impure you become impure. 

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Team Building.

Portfolio Management Tools

As the project management profession matures, the number of automated portfolio management tools that claim to control and maximize the value of the organization’s portfolio of projects increases dramatically. While there is nothing wrong with these tools, my observations and experience lead me to believe that…

Many organizations are not ready for sophisticated portfolio management tools.

Why? It is because a lot of organizations haven’t yet mastered the basics of portfolio management. Before portfolio management tools are purchased and rolled out, the basics must be in place.  Basics like putting all the projects in priority order does not require a fancy tool.

Let’s quickly define a portfolio. A portfolio can include multiple programs, and/or the projects within a single program can be a portfolio. A portfolio is just a logical grouping of projects under a common leadership structure.

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

Framing Success – Four Tips for Program Managers

Very often the program manager feels squeezed between the company’s goal of making a profit and maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction. That’s why the framing success is a must for the program manager must in terms both of his work with customers and or her leadership within the organization.

Make no mistake . . .framing success is critical and should be performed early and continually.

I know a program manager whose leadership team gave him two not-so-subtle hints about his relationship with the customer. The first hint was a cartoon picture of a dead man in a coffin. The caption read: “Here lies the program manager that gave the customer everything they wanted!” The second hint was a job application for the Salvation Army, since he obviously wanted to unselfishly serve the needy without adequate payment.

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

Project Managers or Bean Counters?

A second-career program manager (who retired as program manager for one company and came out of retirement for another company) confided in me that he believed his organization would perform better program management without any of the automated project management tools on the market today.

He further stated that too many people think the tool is the solution—that the tool will solve all the communication problems and virtually run the project as if it is on cruise control. His point was that he thinks many project managers today have become simple administrators, essentially bean counters rather than implementers of the project. As such, the bean-counting project managers rely on the tool to send automated e-mail messages to team members informing them that a task is behind schedule or completed.

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