Archive for the ‘ Being Both Creative and Analytical ’ Category

The ‘hard’ benefits of project management

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Here are the benefits of project management that you can really quantify, and use to do an ROI for improving project management practices, or putting a PMO in place.

Projects that are challenged – and the Standish Chaos Report said that over half of IT projects are – are challenged in all three areas of Scope, Time, and Cost. Challenged projects cost over twice their original estimate, or take over twice the time planned, or accomplish less than 2/3 of the scope planned.

So one really quick way to measure this in your organisation currently, is to survey your experienced project managers. You can ask  – anonymously – for their estimate of what their stakeholders’ satisfaction has been, how much functionality has been dropped, how much rework has been required, and what the deadline slippage has been like.

You can compare this against industry averages, and decide upon a goal for yourselves.

With a few assumptions about headcount cost and project size, you can then cost out the impact of moving from the current situation to the goal.

Here’s a worksheet to get you going! – a template in Excel

(This one is for a sales support organization.)

Being BOTH Creative and Analytical

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

I always find it frustrating to be asked questions about myself by someone obviously trying to determine if I am a creative type. I know that the minute I admit to loving spreadsheets, and lists, I will be labeled. There seems to be a binary either/or related to the words creative and analytical.

It is no more true that a scientist must be absent-minded, or a painter unable to do math, than it is that physics is not creative, or beautiful; or that there is no logic to an artists’ process. Creativity can be learned, and so can analytical skills, and they co-exist all the time.

In project management, we are presented with many tools, and methods, and a very complete set of steps to follow. The more well-versed we are in these tools and techniques the better. Once into the fray of a project environment, the deeper our knowledge of models and past situations, the better. But it is an extremely creative and dynamic undertaking to customize what’s needed for a given project, at a given time.

The challenge is to apply the level of detail as appropriate, and the amount of method that will garner the most results with the smallest overhead.

I find the start of projects, where you are really brainstorming with people about the extent and the nature and the purpose of a project, to be an exciting time.  The use of color in the latest version of MSProject is helpful, but working out the high level gantt with other tools, like Powerpoint or mindmapping software can be more effective initially. Some plans never garner the eyes of the whole team, but the ones that use color, simple naming, and are built originally with input from the whole team, have a better chance.