Good for Business - Kelly Project Solutions
FEBRUARY 2012 VOLUME 26, NUMBER 2
MAKING PROJECT MANAGEMENT INDISPENSABLE FOR BUSINESS RESULTS.®
GLOBAL PIPELINES: POLITICS,
PEOPLE & POWER
IS TECH STILL SEXIST?
DON’T GET SACKED:
10 MISTAKES TO AVOID
PROMOTE VS. RECRUIT: FINDING
A NEW PROGRAM MANAGER
February 2012 | Volume 26, Number 2
africa: High risk,
Dickinson AgyapongBempa, PMP, Accra, Ghana
The world’s second-most
remains a largely untapped
market. The potential
windfall is huge—if project
teams can manage
the myriad obstacles.
By Sarah Fister Gale
FEBRUARY 2012 | VOLUME 26, NUMBER 2
Embedding project managers in business
units ties strategic goals to execution.
By Sandra A. Swanson
Pushers & Process Police
Negative stereotypes hurt your reputation,
discourage team-building and undermine
your authority. Here’s how to change that
image and justify your value.
By Kelley Hunsberger
Is in the Air
Critical chain and a full kitting process
provide a much-needed boost for a faltering
By Peter Fretty
Should your program managers come from
your project manager ranks? Five experts
discuss the pros and cons.
By Denene Brox
Nine tips to help organizations implement
project management tools.
By Michelle Bowles Jackson
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February 2012 | VoLUMe 26, NUMBer 2
making project management
indispensable For business results.®
Pipelines Face Tough Border
Skeptical stakeholders make
10 Snow Patrol
A Chicago, Illinois, USA website project helps residents
11 On the Road to Better ROI
Transportation projects face
12 China Targets Greener
A new plan looks to build on
13 New Policy, New Promises?
Multi-nation Durban pledge
could boost sustainability
14 Retail Apps Target Mobile
“Pocket stores” pose
15 Fighting Crime With
How algorithms can battle an
16 One Disastrous Year
2011 was the costliest in history
17 For Business Intelligence,
Short Is Sweet
Success rates on BI projects are
tied to time
also in this issue
20 Peer to Peer
Is Tech Sexist?
Ashley Kotik Rice, CAPM, and
Maja Ferle, PMP
24 From the Top
Antti Kämi, PMP, Wärtsilä,
26 Project Perspectives
Advice for Managing
28 In the Trenches
10 Mistakes That Could Get
By Sunil Kumar Ojha & Krishnaprasad Bannanje, PMP
Are you a project driver
How does your salary
65 Help Desk
Google+ and project
By Peter Fretty
Books on project
71 Services Directory
72 Closing Credit
Building a space elevator
23 The Agile Project
Less Is More
By Jesse Fewell, CST, PMP
25 Thinking Positive
By Alfonso Bucero, MSC,
PMP, PMI Fellow,
66 Career Q&A
By Lindsay Scott
DOWNLOAD THE PM NETWORK APP and read the magazine on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.
Could the future of project
management platforms be found in
//POLL// Before You Enroll
What is the most important factor to consider
when selecting a project management course?
Ron Young Jr., PMP, comments:
Cloud computing increases the risk profile for
today’s megaprojects. Rapid access to data
and information is paramount for making key
decisions, analytics and reporting. Relying on
remote platforms (and potentially wireless
networks if in a remote location) creates additional risks. It is best to maintain project controls systems locally with the project team.
What’s your take? Join the discussion at
VOICES ON PROJECT MANAGEMENT BLOG
Are You a Project Driver or Enabler? asks Dmitri Ivanenko, PMP, in a blog post:
A driver is someone who takes on the responsibility and accountability for the project deliverables.
Enablers act as complements to the driver.
Jeff Lee responds:
I have found myself in both roles, but can honestly be classified as an enabler. Teams where I was the driver felt more
like being in the military, telling everyone what to do. As an enabler, we are working together, and my excitement
level with regards to the project is higher and experienced by the other team members.
I am a team/people-oriented person, so the enabler role comes naturally. I believe a project succeeds or fails as a
team, not because of one person. When project managers are enablers, they are more in touch with the team dynamics
and human factors as well as the project requirements. I am not one to toot my own horn, but I can speak from the feedback I have received that teams
tend to run more efficiently and
are more motivated when the
//POLL// Learning From the Past
project manager is an enabler.
Does your organization hold meetings to discuss lessons learned
Neeraj Arora, PMP, responds:
Most of the
About half the
From the Voices on Project
Management blog at PMI.org
You might be successful only
being a driver or an enabler if
you are a consultant. But working in a company (especially
with a matrix organization)
where you have to work with
the same people again for
various projects is more challenging and requires you to play
both together. Being the driver
gets you attention from management, which leads to the
next project. Being an enabler
helps form a healthy relationship with people.
CLARIFICATION: Search, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics (“New Ground,” December 2011,
page 44), is headquartered in Sacramento, California, USA.
PM NETWORK FEBRUARY 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Is a Statement of
Is there any legal risk
or issue to executing a project without
receiving a signed
statement of work
(SOW) but after
receiving a purchase
Mike Brown, PMP,
The only way this
works out is if you
have done 10 of these
projects already for
the same customer
and everyone is
already on the same
The best thing you
can do at this point is
halt any work that is
going on and get the
SOW signed. Let the
customer know that
you can’t work on
the project without
a signed SOW. If the
customer won’t sign
the SOW or if problems come up, reject
the purchase order,
issue your customer
a credit and start the
sales process over. It
may not make you
the most popular person in your company,
but it beats taking a
huge loss on the project later.
Do you agree? Weigh
in at the PMI Career
Central group on
The cost of the Nord
oil reserves to the
While many cross-border pipeline
megaprojects stall out, Nord Stream
forges ahead, set to connect Russian
natural gas reserves to Europe by the
end of the year.
(72 billion cubic yards)
The capacity of
the pipeline when
The length of the
proposed Keystone XL
Alberta, Canada to
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Image courtesy of Nord stream ag
In the quest for energy security,
countries are joining forces to
launch massive pipeline projects—
with mixed results.
Project leaders must run a perilous gauntlet as they attempt to
navigate intricate political landscapes, secure financing from a
wide array of sources and address
complex environmental issues.
These barriers can prove to be too
big to overcome, with cross-border
pipeline megaprojects in North
America and Europe stalling out.
But at least one project has
remained on track. After a mere
20 months of construction, the
first part of the US$10 billion Nord
Stream Pipelines project linking the
vast natural gas reserves of Russia
to the European Union (EU) energy
markets opened in November 2011.
The 1,224-kilometer (761-mile)
line consists of two parallel pipes
with the capacity to deliver 55 billion
cubic meters (72 billion cubic yards)
of gas per year once the second part
is completed in late 2012.
The pipeline was built by a global
consortium of five companies known
collectively as Nord Stream AG:
OAO Gazprom, Wintershall Holding
GmbH, E.ON Ruhrgas AG, N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie and GDF SUEZ.
A salt truck stuck on Lake Shore
Drive in Chicago, Illinois, USA during
the blizzard of 2 February 2011
After a blizzard all but
Illinois, USA last February, the city launched a
project to build a comprehensive new website
to help denizens
respond to the notoriously brutal winters.
allows residents to
track the city’s 300
snowplows, a transparency local government
officials hope will head
off perennial accusations that certain
“If that’s happening, you’ll see it,” city
CTO John Tolva said in a
The site will also
volunteers to areas
that need clearing and
alert residents to snowrelated parking bans—or,
if that doesn’t work, to
where their cars have
been towed. There’s
even an “adopt-asidewalk” option for the
But the inherent
weather has kept the
site from getting much
use. Through mid-January
2012, Chicago had seen
less than 2 inches (5 centimeters) of the white
Although Russian gas giant Gazprom is the majority stakeholder, each company had clear
incentive to push the project forward. “From a financial perspective, they all have a shared risk and
shared equity in the outcome, and everyone is working toward the same goals,” says Andrew Neff,
senior energy analyst for IHS Global Insight, in Moscow, Russia.
The goal of the Nord Stream project was to increase the energy security of the targeted EU
nations by developing alternative transportation routes for natural gas. Two gas crises—in 2006 and
2009—that cut off supplies to the EU for several days solidified the case. “These events reinforced
the need for new pipeline routes,” he says.
Yet like most cross-border pipeline projects, Nord Stream had its opponents. Ukraine, Latvia,
Lithuania and Estonia, for example, all objected to the use of international waters for the pipeline
construction and feared the project’s environmental impact.
Nord Stream responded by investing €100 million in research and project planning to assess
and minimize the project’s effects on the environment.
The consortium also worked to secure government backing through a unilateral approach,
bringing together leaders from EU nations to discuss project goals, confirm environmental impact
studies and ultimately win buy-in. “By having meetings with all stakeholders, Nord Stream was able
to build support for the project and undermine the voice of the opposition,” Mr. Neff says.
With powerful industry and governmental backers in tow, Nord Stream delivered the project on
schedule and on budget without using any taxpayer dollars. The consortium supported 30 percent
of the investment, with commercial loans from a group of nearly 30 international banks covering
the remaining project funding.
Not all high-profile pipeline projects are faring as well as Nord Stream. Oil and gas company
TransCanada has faced setback after setback in its attempt to build a 2,673-kilometer (1,661-mile)
pipeline to deliver oil reserves from Alberta, Canada’s tar sands to Texas, USA.
The Keystone XL project has angered environmentalists, who fear the devastating potential
impact of such a lengthy pipeline. Part of the issue comes down to geography, according to a
report in Toronto’s Globe and Mail. The proposed route goes right through the “boiling sands” of
Nebraska, areas of sandy soil where the ground is so thin that “groundwater can bubble up through
it to the surface.”
And some of it was just bad timing: “Keystone XL was the first major pipeline to confront a country that had suddenly turned a sharp eye on the oil industry,” the newspaper reported. “Against that
backdrop, Nebraska’s boiling sands transformed from an engineering challenge into a political and
social challenge—one that TransCanada, and the industry in general, was ill-equipped to handle.”
The project is currently in limbo as U.S. President Barack Obama considers permit approval.
Stakeholders are posing a similar threat to the Nabucco pipeline project, a proposed natural
gas pipeline from Turkey to Austria. Its intent is to lessen Europe’s dependency on Russian oil,
but despite support from several EU nations and the United States as well as nearly a decade of
planning, the project is floundering.
Collaborating Across Countries
Nord stream is a joint project involving five major companies:
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
IMaGE cOuRTEsy Of WIKIPEdIa
IMagE cOuRTEsy Of METROPOlITaN TRaNsPORTaTION cOMMIssION
That stalemate is
due in large part to
excess cost and poor
proof of concept. The
estimated budget for
has ballooned from
€7.9 billion to €14 billion, and stakeholders
continue to argue
over its viability and
Getting suppliers to commit has
also been a struggle.
“Nabucco’s consortium of stakeholders is all on the
demand side,” Mr.
Neff explains. “Their
approach is, ‘We
build the pipeline,
A piece of excavating equipment known as a giant roadheader pokes through the plug separating the east and west sides of the Caldecott Tunnel,
connecting Oakland and Contra Costa County, California, USA. Expansion of the tunnel is expected to be completed by early 2014.
and you supply the
gas,’ but the gas production side involves
a whole different consortium all together.”
The Nabucco project also lacks the industry
support of Nord Stream, which impacts its political clout—and its ability to secure financing.
“If Nabucco is as strategic to the European
Commission as they claim, they should have
funded it by now,” Traycho Traykov, Bulgaria’s
economy, energy and tourism minister, told The
Home of the world’s eighth-largest econWall Street Journal at the Atlantic Council’s Black
omy, the state of California, USA pumped
Sea Energy & Economic Forum in Istanbul,
US$81 billion into transportation infrastrucTurkey in November 2011. “On one side, we
ture projects from 2000 to 2010, according
say it’s strategic, but we’re haggling about every
to a report by the fiscal advisory Legislative
In the meantime, Keystone, Nabucco and
Now one state agency is taking a new
other pipeline projects may want to follow the lead
track to make sure those investments are
of the Nord Stream team.
“Nord Stream did its homework and recogNetwork with
Responsible for allocating project funds
your peers at
nized the potential hurdles ahead of time,” Mr.
to nine counties in the San Francisco Bay
Neff says. “By getting German and Russian coopArea, the Metropolitan Transportation Comvc.pmi.org
eration, they were able to steamroll opposition
mission (MTC) updates its 25-year investfrom the Baltic states, and once they got approval,
ment program every four years, assessing
they moved quickly to make the project happen.”
project plans and scope against expected
—Sarah Fister Gale
budgets, risks and priorities.
february 2012 PM NETWORK
This year, local agencies sent roughly 900 project suggestions totaling US$180 billion—much higher than the agency’s
US$33 billion budget for discretionary investments. Deciding
which ones will make the cut is “a massive undertaking,” says
Lisa Klein, senior transportation planner at the MTC in Oakland, California.
Over the past several plan updates, MTC has refined
its approach to consider the benefits and costs of potential
investments. In the past, projects were assessed on their
projected benefits alone—for example, speedier commutes
or increased accessibility—without much regard to the costeffectiveness of different initiatives. This time around, the
agency is adopting a more complex analysis of its 180 projects budgeted over US$50 million.
Under the new process, MTC has evaluated each of these
larger projects in two ways:
n the extent to which each supports the agency’s 10 strategic goals
n the benefit-cost ratio, which is consistent
with best economic practices and incorporates many of the adopted targets
Each project is scored, and the ones at
The amount the extremes get the most scrutiny. Those
California, with the highest cost-benefit ratios and those
USA spent that most strongly align with the agency’s
on trans- overall strategy get top priority for funding.
portation For example, a potential project to speed bus
infrastructure lanes and give buses priority at traffic signals
from 2000 would increase ridership, reduce operating
to 2010 costs for the transit system and reduce parSource: A Ten-Year
ticulate emissions by taking cars off the roads.
“That’s a great example of an efficiency
Legislative Analyst’s Office
project that tends to be the most cost-effective
type of project,” Ms. Klein says.
The process hasn’t brought many major surprises, but it
helps the agency gain buy-in from project sponsors.
“The value is in the data,” she says. “It’s useful to put this
information in front of decision-makers to create momentum
behind the right projects.”
Before, the most vocal sponsors typically held more sway;
the new assessment process adds more quantifiable data to
“It’s a useful tool to start discussions about what a costeffective project ought to include,” Ms. Klein says.
Agencies are now forced to more carefully consider costbenefit analysis and to more closely align their project goals
with MTC’s overall strategy targets.
“It makes it easier for all of us to see the business case for
the projects we pursue,” she explains. —Sarah Fister Gale
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
One of the fastest-growing economies, China also ranks as the
world’s largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. Looking
to shed that dubious distinction, the country recently issued a
comprehensive blueprint for cutting its carbon intensity by 16 to
17 percent by 2015.
China’s intensity target acknowledges that while the country’s
total energy use and carbon dioxide emissions will keep growing as
its economy expands, the amounts used for producing each unit of
GDP will shrink.
Issued just before the U.N. Climate Change Conference held in
Durban, South Africa last December, the plan is a continuation of
China’s push to more eco-friendly growth. Between 2005 and 2010,
the country lowered its energy intensity by 19.1 percent, according
to a report released by the Climate Policy Initiative at Tsinghua University. China also slashed its greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 billion
tonnes between 2006 and 2010, the biggest decrease of any country
in the period, according to a report by the Institute of Global LowCarbon Economy, the University of International Business and Eco-
A solar water heater project in China
nomics, and the Social Sciences Academic Press.
“The carbon-emission reduction policy in China has been
one of the strictest and most effectively implemented in the
world,” the research team said in a press release.
Yet meeting future climate goals will be difficult given China’s explosive economic expansion, particularly in the nation’s
cities, says Yang Fuqiang, PhD, senior adviser on energy, environment and climate change at the Natural Resources Defense
Council in Beijing, China. Urban migration is occurring so
quickly that the equivalent of the entire population of the United
States—about 312 million people—will move from rural to
urban areas by 2030. “That’s a huge challenge to contend with,”
The Combo Approach
China’s emissions reductions have been achieved largely through
a combination of programs aimed at eliminating polluters while
bolstering clean alternatives. The push has included projects to
shut down several energy-inefficient thermal power plants, steel
and cement factories, and coal mines.
At the same time, the country launched 10 major projects to
save energy by:
n Updating coal-fueled industrial boilers
n Improving the energy efficiency of its heating supply network
Promoting green buildings
Installing low-carbon public-lighting systems
China has also invested heavily in renewable energy projects, increasing manufacturing capacity
for solar and wind power.
China’s progress owes much to the power of the government, Dr. Yang says. Many major energy
companies are state-owned, which means the government can dictate project goals and expectations
for emissions reductions.
“China benefited from its political system to make these projects happen,” he says, noting that the
government made trimming carbon emissions a priority of many capital investment projects.
Percentage from 2005 base
China Takes energy reduCTion seriously
China has plenty of company
in launching ambitious projects to cut carbon emissions—
and there could be more on
The United Nations
Climate Change Conference, held in Durban, South
Africa last December, brought
together 194 countries and
resulted in a new agreement,
the Durban Platform for
For European Union members and 37 other industrialized nations, the agreement
extends the Kyoto Protocol,
a 1997 treaty with aggressive
The rest of the Durban platform is a promise to negotiate
a new climate deal by 2015,
which will replace the Kyoto
agreement in 2020.
The Durban plan also ties
large economies not obligated
to the Kyoto Protocol—including the United States, India
and China—to legally binding
In the meantime, the
Durban agreement encourages governments to “adopt
national-level policies that are
ambitious, transparent, measurable and build the foundations for a future international
It could provide an immediate boost to carbon
capture and storage projects
in the developing world by
allowing project owners to
issue and sell carbon credits
for the emissions they capture and store.
Source: Climate Connect Research
februAry 2012 PM NETWORK
The Chinese government also mandated emissions cuts in local communities, Dr. Yang adds. “If city
officials didn’t meet their goals, they would be required to step down or would not be promoted.”
The new 16 to 17 percent national goal has been allocated among provincial governments, which will
be held responsible if they fail to meet the targets, according to the blueprint.
Moving forward, Dr. Yang predicts that China will focus more research and effort into creating sustainability mandates for new construction projects. But he thinks the biggest gains will come through
the push to renewable energy, including a project currently underway to create large-scale distributed
solar electric generators in 100 counties across the country. Over the next five years, the government has
vowed to spend US$473.1 billion on clean energy investments.
China reinforced its commitment at the Durban conference, agreeing along with more than 190 other
countries to reduce carbon emissions. The agreement won’t take effect until 2020, however, and it hinges
on five pre-conditions, including a review of the steps taken by wealthier countries to address the issue.
For China, the conference was a powerful way to highlight its progress, while ratcheting up the pressure on its economic rivals—and itself.
“China will meet its targets with these projects,” Dr. Yang says, “but there is always room to do
more.” —Sarah Fister Gale
Retail Apps Target
invest in mobile
Retailers want to reach consumers whenever and wherever they’re looking to buy. And these days, it’s
not necessarily in stores or on websites, but rather on smartphones and tablets. Two-thirds of U.S. smartphone owners shop from their mobile devices, according to a December 2011 report from comScore Inc.
And Juniper Research estimates the total global mobile retail market will reach US$15 billion this year.
There’s one big problem. “Retailers haven’t mastered the mobile environment at all,” says Van Baker,
vice president and research director at tech research company Gartner in San Jose, California, USA.
Few apps have commerce capabilities, with development teams sticking to basics such as simple search capabilities and in-store promotions. Fully functional retail apps remain the outliers,
but a few new projects are testing the boundaries of the mobile screen.
Kid’s clothing retailer Tea launched an app that includes access
to behind-the-scenes video and a virtual
dressing room, along with the ability to
share outfits on social networks. Also
looking to better engage with mobile
customers, pizza franchise Domino’s
unveiled an app that lets users make a pizza
onscreen and then place a real-life order.
They can also follow their delivery with the
app’s Pizza Tracker feature. And in November, retail giant Walmart unveiled two
mobile options: A new iPad app lets users
browse and purchase online as well as check
product availability at a specific store, while a
revamped iPhone app lets users add items to their
shopping list by speaking into their phones, then
calculates the total.
PM NETWORK FEBRUARY 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
41% of smartphone owners have made a purchase from
their mobile phone:
A Three-Click Attention Span
The biggest difference between creating a retail
app and a traditional website is that project teams
must build an engaging user experience in a much
simpler user environment. “Consumers want a
complex app, but they only want to go three clicks
deep,” Mr. Baker says. “That’s a constant struggle
for project developers.”
Retailers must also decide how many apps to
build and on what platforms, the functionality
of each, and how much time and money they’re
willing to spend. “Retailers today want one set of
code to run everywhere—on the website, the app
and the tablet,” he explains. “But they’re just not
Done right, apps can deliver a huge payoff.
Fashion retailer Anthropologie, for example,
expects its new iPad app to account for 20 percent
of sales within a year.
It’s up to the project team to find that sweet
spot where budgets, goals and functionality
“From a project management perspective, it’s
important to define the project goals very early in
the project,” says Luciana Guarnieri, cofounder
of Revel Touch, a Los Altos, California, USA
developer that built apps for Anthropologie and
Tea. “That includes defining what you’re trying to
achieve, what your customers’ expectations are
and how you can leverage the device to benefit the
brand.” And that goes beyond the shopping stage
to include every aspect of customer interaction
with the app.
The answers to those questions shape the project outcome. “An app built to promote a deeper
level of engagement with the brand will be different than one designed for ease of commerce,” she
These goals must also align with consumer
demands, Mr. Baker adds. That means talking
to consumers, watching how they interact with
merchandise in store and online, and then figuring out how to translate that experience into a
mobile environment. “The functionality has to be
something the consumer wants or they won’t use
it,” he says.
Form Follows Function
As with brick and mortar stores, apps have to find
11% toys and games
15% food and beverages
8% home goods
4% sporting goods
17% travel reservations
8% other products
Source: Chadwick Martin Bailey
ways to stand out from the pack. “Retail apps are
still a moving target, and there’s a lot of experimentation going on,” Mr. Baker says.
“The challenge is to create something that’s
fresh and will keep usage rates up so that it delivers value,” Mr. Baker says. He points to beauty
retailer Sephora, which recently launched an iPad
app that uses the front-facing camera as a “virtual
mirror” so users can see their image side-by-side
with a video on makeup tips.
But Mr. Baker recommends teams do their
experimenting early in the process to avoid any
stakeholder messiness. End-users won’t care about
those ultra-cool features if the app doesn’t work.
“It’s better to create something that is simple
and efficient but functions properly than something that is complicated but frustrating,” Ms.
Guarnieri says. —Sarah Fister Gale
to 2011 Source: Appcelerator and IDC
Stymied by resource cuts, police are turning
to data-analysis projects that could not only
help crack a backlog of unsolved cases, but also
change the way they battle crime.
FebruAry 2012 PM NETWORK
CRIME LEVELS IN LONDON
= Above average
2011 was the costliest year in
recorded history for natural
disasters, according to global reinsurance firm Munich Re. From
Australian floods in January to
Tropical Storm Washi in midDecember, the total damage
from these disasters added
up to about US$380 billion.
The March earthquake
and subsequent tsunami that
wreaked havoc on the coast
of Japan cost an estimated
US$210 billion alone, making
it the most expensive natural
disaster ever recorded.
It was also the deadliest of
the year, killing 15,840.
Munich Re board member
Torsten Jeworrek told USA Today
that last year’s spate of disasters
doesn’t signal a doomsday
trend: “A sequence of severe
natural catastrophes like last
year’s is a very rare occurrence.”
More good news: Although the
financial toll was one for the
record books, the number of
fatalities caused by the disasters
was below average.
The U.K. police force launched a £300,000 crimemapping site with detailed maps that provide a monthly
snapshot of crime and antisocial behavior on every street
across England and Wales. When the site went live last
February, it attracted 18 million hits an hour, causing
repeated crashes. It has since attracted more than 430
million hits, and police recently upgraded the project so
users can see how their local officers are faring against
those in other areas.
Crime-mapping software also helps law-enforcement
agencies see crime hotspots. The police department in
Lorain, Ohio, USA is using software to move to “intelligence-led policing,” Sgt. Mike Failing told local newsCity of London, England crime map
paper The Morning Journal. The department inputs data
from community members into the program, he said, and “we sort through it and see what patterns
are coming out of this.”
Teams of mathematicians from two U.S. universities are taking it a step further, developing algorithms that can predict where crimes happen, as well as the likely perpetrators. And now they’re sharing the results of those projects with law-enforcement agencies.
Police in Santa Cruz, California, USA wrapped up a six-month pilot project adapting earthquakeprediction technology to do predictive policing across the community. The goal, according to deputy
police chief Steve Clark, is “to get smarter about the way we do the basic elements of police work.”
The software targeted property crimes, including home burglaries, car break-ins and vehicle thefts.
Project leader George Mohler, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of mathematics and
computer science at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, had hypothesized that such crimes
tend to cluster and spread in a way similar to tremors after a large earthquake. Facing a diminished
force due to budget cuts, the police department approached him about putting the theory to practice.
As the first round of the project wraps up, the effect is already being felt: Five months in, the city
has seen 20 percent fewer burglaries than in the six months prior to the project’s launch.
Safety in Numbers
Tapping into software could ease the pain of budget cuts seen in police departments around the world.
“Technological programs like this can help equalize the gap there,” Santa Cruz police department spokesman Zach Friend told local newspaper Mercury News.
Sometimes it takes some convincing, however.
“There has to be a certain level of trust and dialogue. Police won’t just hand that data to anyone,” says
Andrea Bertozzi, PhD, professor of mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
Dr. Bertozzi and her team are currently working on a predictive algorithm to identify street gangs
suspected in unsolved violent crimes. The team spent two years analyzing more than 1,000 gang crimes—
about half of them unsolved—that occurred over a 10-year period in a Los Angeles area home to 30-some
gangs and nearly 70 gang rivalries.
To test the algorithm, the researchers created a set of simulated data that closely mimicked the crime
patterns of the area’s gang network. They then omitted key information—the victim, the perpetrator or
both—and tested how well the algorithm could calculate the missing data.
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
IMaGE cOuRTEsy Of METROPOlITaN POlIcE
= Below average
The Los Angeles Police Department helped guide the
research, telling the project team it would like to know the top
three most likely gangs that committed a given crime, Dr. Bertozzi says. That information was then used as a performance
metric for the team’s analysis.
“Our algorithm placed the correct gang rivalry within the top
three most likely rivalries 80 percent of the time, which is significantly better than chance,” said Martin Short, PhD, an adjunct assistant professor of mathematics at UCLA and coauthor of the study,
in a press release. “That narrows it down quite a bit, and that’s when
we don’t know anything about the crime victim or perpetrator.”
With those kind of data-driven projects, criminals may find their
days are numbered. —Sarah Fister Gale
Short Is Sweet
Business intelligence (BI) projects fuel fundamental business
strategies—but their value often hinges on razor-thin delivery
The longer a BI project takes, the lower the reported benefits,
according to a recent survey of 3,000 global IT professionals by
Business Application Research Center in Wurzburg, Germany.
“Of all the dimensions we considered, none had a bigger
impact on project success than length of time,” says Barney
Finucane, leading analyst and author of the report. “On longer
projects, the risk is high that they will fail.”
The annual survey ranks BI projects by a list of target benefits, including:
n Reducing headcount
n Cutting costs
n Delivering better and faster data analysis
n Improving data quality
n Achieving higher customer satisfaction
“It’s shocking how fast the business benefits fell on projects that lasted longer than six
months,” Mr. Finucane says. “Projects that last
one to three months have the highest number
of benefits, and those that last three years or
more have the lowest.”
Not only did benefits decrease, but problems
increased. The longest projects faced the most
challenges, with the biggest obstacles coming from human, rather than technical, issues.
Political conflict, administrative problems and
lack of user buy-in topped the list. Poor due
diligence and a lack of alignment between user
needs and the tool selected also added complexity and risk to longer projects.
“For bigger BI projects, the tool is often
chosen because it’s bundled with other tools
or because the company has a relationship
with the vendor,” Mr. Finucane explains, “not
because it’s the best tool to meet the needs of
He advises project teams to engage end-users
in the selection and implementation process.
Using their feedback to tweak the system makes
it easier to secure support. “It’s not like an enterprise resource planning project where end-users
have no choice,” Mr. Finucane says. “If they
don’t like your BI tool, they’ll refuse to use it.”
Longer projects are also subject to shifting
IT planning processes or business goals, sometimes making the project obsolete before it’s
To avoid going too far down the wrong
path, Mr. Finucane suggests implementing
shorter, incremental projects—even if that
means tweaking the budget or schedule along
the way. “It’s better to spend a little more time
and money if it increases your odds of success.”
—Sarah Fister Gale
Scoring the Benefits
The Business application Resource center used a weighted scoring system to determine the Business Benefits Index of BI projects. The
average score of BI projects of varying lengths is shown below.
lEss ThaN 1
1 TO 3
3 TO 6
6 TO 12
1 TO 2 yEaRs
2 TO lEss
3 yEaRs OR
february 2012 PM NETWORK
All figures are in U.S. dollars.
HOW DOES YOUR SALARY STACK UP?
THE MEDIAN ANNUALIZED SALARY OF PROJECT
PROFESSIONALS AROUND THE WORLD
The survey shows that certification, as well as geog-
raphy, positively affected salaries. Project Management Professional
(PMP)® credential holders in the U.S. earned an average of 16% more
(approximately US$14,500) than their non-credentialed peers in 2011.
The portion of respondents who reported that
their total compensation increased over the
12 months prior to completing the survey
THE THREE GREATEST FACTORS
THAT INFLUENCED SALARY:
Country of employment
Number of years’ experience
in a position or role
Average size of projects
budget and team size)
Source: PMI Project Management Salary Survey—Seventh Edition. Results based on a survey of 30,823 project professionals from around the world conducted in June and July 2011. PMI members have complimentary
access to the survey as a downloadable PDF, as well as an online Salary Survey query.
PM NETWORK FEBRUARY 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
The three with the biggest gender gap:
The three countries with the smallest gender
gap among project professionals:
Source: PMI Project Management Salary Survey—Seventh Edition
PICK AND CHOOSE
The amount granted to 46 transportation projects in
33 states and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT) in December 2011
The total amount requested by applicants
The DOT said it gave priority to projects expected to
create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
(155.6 million square meters)
The amount of existing
U.S. commercial space
that’s LEED (Leadership in
Energy and Environmental
exceeding for the first
time the amount of LEEDcertified new construction
Source: U.S. Green Building Council
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation
DATA HEADS TO INDIA
Estimated data center colocation and hosting
market in India in 2012
Source: Gartner, November 2011
Estimated market by 2016
for the new
used by the
2020, at least
Are women still a step behind their male counterparts
and Maja Ferle, PMP, share some unpleasant experienc
exists in the field.
Ashley Kotik Rice, CAPM: If I had a dollar for every man who told me I shouldn’t be in
IT because I’m a woman, I wouldn’t need to work anymore. Not only am I a woman, I’m
28, so I’ve got ageism and sexism working against me.
Ashley Kotik Rice,
CAPM, is manager
of product delivery and release
platform in Denver,
Years in IT: 5
Maja Ferle, PMP: In my opinion, IT is not sexist. I’ve never felt that because I am female I
might be treated differently from my predominantly male colleagues. With my strong technical background and dedication to my work, I always felt like I fit into any IT team as an
Ms. Kotik Rice: When I first entered IT, I never even thought there would be an issue. I
consider any female in IT who doesn’t get discriminated against at least once very fortunate.
PM NETWORK februarY 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Maja Ferle, PMP,
is a Ljubljana,
project management practice
leader at SAS, a
business intelligence software
Years in IT: 27
when working in the IT world? Ashley Kotik Rice, CAPM,
es and debate whether or not gender discrimination
Ms. Ferle: I have loved working in IT ever since I started in my
profession and I guess my passion shows in my day-to-day work
because I feel like an equal member of the team, able to discuss
tech topics in depth with my male counterparts.
Ms. Kotik Rice: I disagree that dedication to work earns you
respect. I work 70-hour weeks. I come in on weekends. I manage
highly complex multimillion-dollar projects and need to meet
deadlines. I work side-by-side with my male peers, but I always
feel that I need to work much harder to prove that although I am
a woman, I can play in this man’s world.
Ms. Ferle: I cannot say I’ve never experienced sexism in the
workplace. There was an occasion when I worked as a technical lead on a team, and my manager specifically instructed me
that I shouldn’t assign tasks directly to my male team members
because men don’t take commands from women. Rather, I
should ask him to assign tasks to the team members. Since I was
used to working with the team members from a previous project,
we were tight and there was no need to go through my manager
in order to communicate with them. I just chalked up my manager’s behavior as his personal bias, and I never associated the
company or IT in general as sexist.
february 2012 PM NETWORK
WoMen shouldn’t alloW theMselves to be
boxed into a gender role... by discovering
What their oWn unique strength is, they can
use it as an advantage When coMPeting With
Men in the WorkPlace.
Ms. Kotik Rice: At one place, I am known as the Den
Mother. I’ve also been called Techretary. It’s a running
joke. If I don’t laugh, I’m not one of the guys.
I know it’s my fault. I allow it to happen. I do it
because I’m afraid that if I don’t, they will think I’m
uncooperative and not a team player. They’ll chalk
me up to a feminist who whines and moans about the
injustice of my sex. But, there are times when I do stand my ground.
One gentleman told me he didn’t take orders from a
“girl.” I stopped, turned around, and walked into his
cube. I responded with, “What did you say to me?” I
was not laughing or smiling. He didn’t respond. “I don’t
appreciate you speaking that way to me and would
appreciate it if you’d stop. Do you understand?” No
response—he was clearly embarrassed, and folks were
peeping over their cubes curiously. “Look at me!” I said.
He looked. “Do. You. Understand?”
“Yes,” he whimpered. He never bothered me again.
Ms. Ferle: I believe that in order to establish authority
as a project manager there are many personal traits to be
considered, such as excellent communication, mediation
and negotiation skills, and the ability to motivate project
team members and help them to overcome obstacles.
None of those are directly related to a person’s gender.
Ms. Kotik Rice: I agree, but I have found that there are
male individuals who do not agree and put their sexist
opinions and actions first before considering the many
personal traits not related to gender.
Ms. Ferle: I do believe that there are fewer women in
IT management because women often don’t want executive positions (either consciously or subconsciously).
But I have seen enough successful women in powerful positions in IT that I believe anyone can get there,
regardless of gender, if they only want it.
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Ms. Kotik Rice: I agree—mostly. Anyone can get
there. However, it is much more difficult for a
woman than a man. In my career, I have seen two
women in IT executive management. Female executives in IT don’t get by without having to do some
work that requires a “woman’s touch.” They are
asked to put together PowerPoint decks to make
them “look pretty.”
Women are taught: Don’t ask for more pay, don’t
argue in a meeting, don’t disagree. If a woman does
things that appear to be aggressive and uncomfortable, men and society in general tend to say that it’s
not “ladylike.” Women don’t yell in a meeting; they
don’t pound their fists. I’ve seen plenty of men do this
because it is accepted and expected.
Ms. Ferle: Women shouldn’t allow themselves to
be boxed into a gender role. They should focus on
getting their job done on a professional level. By discovering what their own unique strength is, they can
use it as an advantage when competing with men in
Ms. Kotik Rice: Despite sexism existing today, I think
there is hope that things will get better. I am noticing
many older men in IT retiring, and with their exit,
they take their old-fashioned sexist attitudes with
them. Very rarely do I see young men emerging in
the field take on these sexist attitudes and behaviors.
Even five years ago, I was the only female on my team.
Now, we’ve got four, three of whom are managers.
I am hopeful there will come a day when all women
will be earning a fair salary based on my experience,
skill set and performance—not because of gender. For
those like Ms. Ferle who haven’t really been discriminated against, I am very happy for them. The fact that
there are women out there who don’t have to fight
this battle is encouraging. PM
in the it
Source: U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics’ 2011
Women in the Labor
Force: A Databook
of U.K. IT
Source: e-skills UK’s
Technology Insights 2011
THe AgIle Project Manager
Want more successful projects?
Do less work.
by Jesse Fewell, CsT, PMP
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: You’ve been handed a project charter, a detailed requirements document, an unrealistic plan—and a mandate to be
successful. Then, as a dutiful project manager, you simply accept the unreasonable, and march forward to inevitable disaster.
An agile approach calls for a different idea: replan. Find a new path that
involves the shortest distance between today’s problem and tomorrow’s victory.
First, deFine business success. Each project is funded to achieve a better future for your sponsor, so you need to know his or her vision. For example, a
new payroll system might be developed to lower the cost of back-office operations. Or it may be that the organization plans to dominate a niche market with
an innovative product.
Agile frameworks emphasize project charters for good reason. They should
have this desired future documented as a high-level scope statement, maybe with
some measurable business capabilities. But the important part is to ignore the
detailed requirements in the giant 3,000-page contract appendix.
second, deFine your business constraints. Do not simply assume
that scope, schedule, cost and quality are all fixed. Instead, ask what are the most
important constraints to your sponsor. Because each case is different, you must
have a discussion as to which constraints are fixed and which are flexible. Then
you have more options.
third, deliver the minimum necessary to meet the business
goal within the business constraints. This is where you have to
unlearn everything you’ve been taught. You’ve been told that project success is
implementing all the detailed requirements with the best possible implementation,
on time, on budget.
But real success is not in the requirements, nor the implementation; it is achieving
the high-level business goal within the business constraints. You are moving from a
scope-driven project to a constraint-driven one. Agile practitioners call this “flipping
the iron triangle upside-down.” Why do so?
1. Most of the requirements do not contribute to the desired future state:
Studies reveal that more than half of all technology features are rarely or never
used. That means sponsors are merely guessing which requirements will achieve
more revenue, market share or customer satisfaction. Agile frameworks encourage sponsors
to regularly reprioritize requirements. What if
you were able to deliver the project with half
the budget and schedule?
2. Most implementations are over-engineered.
Recently, Research in Motion announced the
BlackBerry 10 will not be released for another
year; as a result, the company’s stock price fell
almost 40 percent. Could it be that the project
team created an unacceptable schedule in the
quest for cutting-edge technology, when in fact
it wasn’t really needed? You don’t have to gut
a building’s entire internal structure to lower
its carbon footprint. Agile finds the minimum
solution possible to achieve a business goal.
Challenge your project teams to propose the
simplest solution. Prototype that solution, and
then see if it meets the business objective.
The most dramatic cause of project overruns is
that we are doing more work than is absolutely
necessary to achieve the high-level scope statement. We dig into the weeds and lose sight of
the garden we’re trying to create.
But you can be the exception. Do not simply
accept the project plan handed to you. Facilitate true innovation: the most business results
from the least amount of work. PM
Jesse Fewell, CST, PMP, is the managing
director for offshore agile projects at RippleRock India and founder of the PMI Agile
Community of Practice. He can be reached
at [email protected]@pmi.org.
February 2012 PM NeTWORK
voices From the Top
Antti KäMi, PMP, Wärtsilä,
roject management was making a solid difference at Wärtsilä, a global provider of
complete life cycle power solutions for the
marine and energy markets.
Looking to leverage those hard-earned best practices,
Wärtsilä started a project management office (PMO).
Since then, the company has developed and harmonized
project management practices across the corporation
and its branches in 70 countries.
“Without good project management practices, Wärtsilä
would not be as successful as it is today,” says Antti Kämi,
PMP, vice president of project management in Wärtsilä’s
power plants division and chair of the corporate PMO.
all of the
and the risks.
What is Wärtsilä’s approach to project
Every project has at least four key gates, and at each gate
a governance board makes sure certain requirements
have been met before it can move forward. For example,
in development projects, the first gateway requires a formal business case to support the project delivery. At the
execution gate, the project plan is reviewed to ensure it
meets customer and internal expectations.
This project model helps us plan better projects, keep
projects on track, and enables better communication and
engagement with the customer about project progress
and expected outcomes.
What role does the PMO perform at
Through the PMO, we arrange project management
training for everyone working on projects. We are developing a web-based project planning and tracking tool,
and we’re instituting formal project management processes for the whole organization.
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
This year, we’re also focusing more on portfolio management practice to ensure that we’re choosing the best
projects. Because resources are limited, we want to be
sure our projects align with our strategic priorities.
How do you ensure that alignment?
We focus on stakeholder requirements as early as possible, and we do a lot of up-front planning and due diligence.
We also have a process of classifying projects based on
their complexity. The most complex ones are given greater
project management resources, and the project team is
brought in sooner—often during the sales process—to
begin the transfer of knowledge and to educate the team
about customer expectations.
This is an important step for buy-in on these projects,
as the client and the project team start building their
Can you share an example of a time
when this approach has paid off?
In November 2011, we were completing a fast-track
power plant project in Timor-Leste that had to be able to
generate electricity by the country’s independence day.
Delivery of the combustion engine to the project site
was on the critical path for the project, so as part of the
preplanning, we identified several strategies to set up
the power plant in the shortest amount of time once the
engine arrived. As it turned out, the engine delivery was
delayed. Thanks to our preplanning efforts, we were able
to complete all other possible tasks at the project site,
and the first unit started up just 10 days after the arrival
of the engine. The team was then able to get the plant
operational in time for the important independence day
delivery date. PM
One of the main sources of stress in a team
is putting up with difficult people. Make
sure you’re not part of the problem.
by Alfonso bucero, Msc, PMP, PMI fellow, contrIbutIng edItor
Every project manager must work with different types of people—and that often
involves difficult personalities. I’ve dealt with many problematic people on projects
over the years, as I’m sure you have, too.
As human beings, we all have good and bad behaviors. When we feel appreciated by others, good behavior dominates. But in times of stress and conflict, bad
behavior can dominate.
I have found myself, as a project manager, moving from one extreme to the
other, from a high to a low in a moment’s time.
Once, while managing a project in Spain, I was so stressed out by the customer
that during a meeting I threw a glass of water onto a table and broke it. I felt terrible. However, my team members helped me calm down, and after some quiet
reflection and physical exercise, I recovered my positive attitude.
Keeping a LeveL Head
When we have high expectations of ourselves and fail to perform to them, we tend to
be very hard on ourselves. Zachary Wong, PhD, author of Human Factors in Project
Management: Concepts, Tools, and Techniques for Inspiring Teamwork and Motivation,
found that people working on projects can behave at either the “upper” or “lower” level.
Upper-level players promote cooperation and move the team forward, demonstrating a positive attitude, a problem-solving mindset, transparency and openness.
They tend to be open-minded, tolerant, giving and collaborative.
Lower-level players, on the other hand, are defensive, self-centered, insecure,
fearful and negative. They’re poor listeners and are impatient. Believe it or not, they
can be successful individuals who are often bright, enthusiastic and hardworking.
However, they do not work well with others and usually are not able to communicate clearly. They often feel that they are right.
Every time I manage a project, I observe how frequently these upper- and lowerlevel behaviors occur.
People who spend their time in these lower levels can be difficult to work with.
Their negative behaviors reduce productivity, teamwork and fluent communication.
Difficult people consume a lot of a team’s time, resources, attention and energy,
making everything a greater effort.
WHat can you do WHen you face a
These are my best practices:
n Do not join people on the lower level; it
will only add to a negative environment.
n Elevate your thinking and behaviors, and
practice maintaining a positive attitude.
n Understand that the common underlying element of difficult people is fear. By
addressing their fear, you move toward a
n Do not get upset; it is not your problem.
n Do not hate them; be empathetic.
n Offer your help.
Most people are not persistently difficult;
they have difficult moments. We can influence others and keep them on the upper
level by practicing three simple behaviors:
giving recognition, showing respect and
trust, and making others feel relevant.
To avoid remaining mired in the lower
level, we must either find the internal
strength to take the upper path or receive
help from others. If you need help, don’t be
afraid to ask for it. PM
Alfonso Bucero, MSc, PMP, PMI Fellow, is
an independent consultant who manages
projects in Europe and Asia. He is the author
of today Is a good day: Attitudes for Achieving
february 2012 PM nETWORk
voices Project Perspectives
Advice for Managing Multiple Projects
Michael Nadeau, PMP
Andrew Procca, PMP
business analyst and
project manager, Irwin
Mortgage, Noblesville, Indiana, USA
Create a project snapshot in Excel. Column
A can be the list of
projects; Column B
can be the status of
each; Column C can be
dates; Column D can
be outstanding issues;
Columns E through J
can be earned value
etc. Each tool is just a
high-level template for
a project manager to
stay on top of multiple
projects. Of course, one
can modify it to organizational needs and processes. This technique
helped me ensure that
my projects were moving forward, and I could
keep track of progress
and understand which
areas may need more
attention based on performance indicators.
project manager, Online Business Systems,
Every project manager,
knowingly or unknowingly, manages multiple
projects. You might be
managing a project big
enough to be a program
and hence running parallel workstreams within
it, which is like managing multiple projects.
In the past, I have
used simple tools like an
Excel sheet to maintain
about each project in
one place to give me an
overall picture. Having a
tool is great, but you
can manage multiple
projects without that,
too. Like other things
in life, if the projects
are not related to each
other, then you just
have to compartmentalize and switch the “context” of your thinking as
you move from tasks of
one project to the next.
LLC, Atlanta, Georgia,
Just as in a single
project, finding where
overlap is key to synchronizing and combining multiple projects.
In the event that the
only common variable
is you, I would question the purpose of
that are otherwise
independent. Once you
set up an independent
schedule for each project, you can then proceed toward how the
schedules should best
be interfaced and managed. Also, the overall
process is going to be
influenced by the software chosen, as each
has its own peculiarities
with regard to combining projects.
technical officer, National Research Council of
Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
information and shortMy rule of thumb is
term plans (action
three projects or major
items) resulting from
activities at a time. If
you try to focus on
many things can get
more, there is a tenlost in the heat of
dency to be inefficient
as you incur “overhead”
n All major decisions
each time you transition from one task to
should be noted and
another. If I truly had
more than three projscope changes.
n Focus on only three
ects active requiring significant attention, then I
things a day, keeping
would attempt to:
a flexible slot available
n Delegate as much
for critical issues. If I
find myself firefightdecision-making down
ing all day, I’m not
the project hierarchies
being effective. Rotate
as is practical.
n Use a database to
through the various
projects this way.
track meeting notes
and action items in
Shed all non-projectaddition to project
management softtasks and responsibiliware. The most difties. Otherwise, some
ficult work is dealing
of your projects can
with team members at
levels below the detail
of the project plan.
Without a method to
track and manage the
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Patrick Beyer, PhD,
project manager, Morgridge Institute for
Get yourself a good
Microsoft Project and
Primavera work well on
building multiple projects into one portfolio
with shared resources,
cost tracking and milestone tracking. That
helps, but it’s up to you
to be organized, be able
to monitor progress and
manage change control.
Break your tracking into
one-day, three-day and
so you can get an idea
of what is happening
today, three days from
now and a week from
now. Ask yourself,
“What are the critical
tasks for these periods,
and are they on track?”
Saadi Adra, PMIRMP, PMI-SP, PMP,
CMCS Lebanon, Beirut, Lebanon
I think organizing multiple projects as a program
is only viable if they are
related in some sense, so
as to share the same benefit. When there are three
independent projects, for
example, then you must
budget your time. If there
is no project management office, the key is
to have three baselines
next to each other on a
two-week look-ahead for
each. Manage the longlead items first, as delay
in these will be quite critical. Then identifying your
priority for each half-day
will be easy. Don’t do
anything technical at all,
as one technical activity
can keep you from managing your projects for
days, which is dangerous.
You have to macromanage and delegate micro
tasks to others.
project manager, UHS
City, New York, USA
I am managing the
entire software development for a startup
and a healthcare IT
implementation project. The projects differ in scope, time and
resources. I prioritize
my time by focusing on
what needs attention
immediately. At the end
of day, I feel a sense of
Agile project implementation has been
successful where the
focus of deliverables
is estimated in terms
of hours and days, not
weeks or months. The
moment an estimate is
made weeks out, I start
to lose focus. I always
strive to have a visibility
of the next two weeks
of deliverables. Otherwise, I will start to lose
If your related projects
share resources, align
the individual schedules
to resource calendars,
ensuring that you have
minimal resource conflicts. Also, critical path
tracking and resource
will help to make sure
that you remain on track.
is the most important
factor when managing
multiple tightly related
provide key critical information at a glance when
questions or issues arise.
I found my administrators to be champions
when provided with
opportunities to shine.
Give credit to all your
resources who perform
well. Good people skills
will take you and your
teams a long way toward
project manager, Tam
Iran Khodro, Tehran,
Today, one of the costreduction methods
implemented by companies is to use project
managers for several
projects at same time.
I am managing three
It’s not easy, takes more
time than normal and is
stressful—but it’s possible. If your projects are
in the mining, energy,
aerospace or military
fields, these are large
initiatives, and it is risky
to manage several of
them at the same time.
One mistake can lead to
My policy to manage
multiple projects is to
use one worker and several professional team
coordinators for all of
the projects. That gives
me enough time to focus
on significant items such
as risks and customer
february 2012 PM NETWORK
voices In the Trenches
10 Mistakes That could
Get You Fired
A list of the biggest offenses a project manager can make on a
software development project.
by Sunil Kumar Ojha & Krishnaprasad Bannanje, PMP
With heightened competitiveness and ever-increasing pressure to
reduce time to market, the tolerance level for mistakes has significantly diminished. Sometimes even a small flub can cost you your job.
Here are 10 practices likely to land you a career setback in software development project management.
A “guess estimate,” also referred to as a “gut feel,” is based on personal intuition
and past experience. But even the most strongly held conviction could be faulty.
An inaccurate estimate can leave a project team slogging day and night to meet a
deadline. The project might finally be delivered on time—but with a huge effort
overrun. If time is pressing, use the Delphi technique, which takes multiple views
on estimation by various small to medium-sized enterprises and helps remove
bias in estimates. Also, applying Delphi iteratively can improve accuracy.
“What is the point in creating a release checklist when you know what you are going
to release?” you might ask. Or you rationalize, “Let’s be practical: Bugs are going to
be there, whatever you do.” But process not only provides predictability, it helps in
identifying key areas of improvement. It also offers a disciplined means to collect and
report data. By looking at key metrics, a project manager can accurately measure an
initiative’s current status and precisely predict future performance.
always saying “yes” to the customer.
Many behaviors can cause a project to fail, but accepting whatever the client says
is sure to spell project doom. Initially, a stakeholder might appreciate your flexibility—but that will be overshadowed later by the impact of possible schedule
slippage and unmet objectives. This isn’t to say that you should always tell customers “no.” If you do that, they’ll feel their concerns are not being addressed.
Before you commit to something, perform due diligence and analyze the pros
and cons of your decision.
skipping code review.
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Bypassing unit testing.
Like code review, unit testing often falls victim
to cutting corners in project execution, especially when there’s a tight schedule. You might
think, “This code was developed by experienced professionals; there won’t be any bugs.”
But by testing individual modules, integration
testing is simplified. Let’s say there are three
components, each having three test cases (or
conditions). In unit testing, that comes to nine
test cases total. If you have to cover all these
cases in the system testing stage, you need to
have 3 x 3 x 3 = 27 test cases. Also, unit testing
can catch defects early in the life cycle, leading
to less rework and improved productivity.
Forgoing user FeedBack.
Defects can result from a misunderstanding
of requirements and a misinterpretation of
stated requirements. Even if requirements are
well-documented, they must be validated for
correct understanding. Only by a visual walkthrough of a prototype can users spot the differences in what they expect and what’s being
built. Feedback must be planned at various
stages throughout a project to reduce risks.
These feedback loops will help you spot gaps
early and provide enough time for correction.
Don’t assume that testing will catch bugs or that defects are fixed faster when
you know where code is breaking. You’ll only end up increasing the risk of
schedule slippage as the inflow of defects rises during testing and the turnaround
time for code fixes increases. Code review helps produce a stable, quality deliverable. Its focus is not only to catch code defects but also to look at critical dimen-
sions that may not get caught during testing,
such as code optimization and requirement
Change is inevitable, irrespective of the size of
your project. Whether good or bad, it must be
managed well to ensure the project continues
without disruption. Every project must have
EvEn thE biggEst ProjEct
thE succEss of
can MEan thE
a change control process, and every change
request, however small,
must go through it.
The change’s impact
should be documented,
approved and presented
to key stakeholders so
that everyone understands its effect on quality, cost and schedule. For a large project, set up a change control board and have every change request pass through it.
Keeping problems to yourself.
Quite often we face the dilemma of whether or not to deliver bad news to stakeholders. And too often we forget this truth: Clients have a vested interest in the
success of the project. They have every right to know any development impacting the outcome of the initiative.
sKipping configuration management.
Team members commonly have two misconceptions about using configuration
management to track and control software changes: It slows down work, or it’s
a waste of time. So the first step in implementing an effective configuration process is to raise team members’ awareness about the disadvantages of eschewing
a defined process. The second step is installing strict discipline to ensure that
every team member adheres to what the plan delineates. You must also schedule
regular audits to validate that things are under control and to coordinate the
code merge process.
leaving the details to developers.
This is always a topic of debate for project managers: Should they just focus on
pure project management activities such as reporting, cost and issue tracking, or
should they also dive into ground-level review
and design? There is no correct answer. Even
the biggest project depends on the success of
the smallest components. Every detail contains
a seed that can mean the difference between
success and failure. On relatively inexperienced teams, project managers must be
involved in the details for key activities. This
will help them have better control of the effort
as well as provide true status of the project to
Sunil Kumar Ojha is a Melbourne, Australiabased portfolio delivery manager for operational support systems fulfillment at Infosys,
a consulting and IT firm.
Krishnaprasad Bannanje, PMP, is the head of
client engagement and business development
for the embedded mobility solution group for
North America and Europe at Neusoft, a software development and IT services company in
february 2012 PM NETWORK
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
special report: AfricA
The world’s second-mosT populous
conTinenT remains a largely unTapped
markeT. The poTenTial windfall is
huge—if projecT Teams can manage The
by saRah fisT
ER galE / illu
by NEil WEbb
february 2012 PM NETWORK
— Gwendolyn Appel, DAI,
Washington, D.C., USA
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
he business world has long eyed Africa, but many companies have also been
put off by the poor infrastructure and massive poverty. Now, backed by vast
natural resources and a surging youth population, the continent is on the
verge of living up to its great economic potential. The International Monetary
Fund forecasts that Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP will jump 5.8 percent in 2012.
And standouts such as South Africa and Nigeria are drawing the attention—
and capital—of organizations launching projects in everything from IT to
Yet project management success in Africa requires conquering a host of
Political upheaval in North Africa, for example, is expected to slow GDP
growth in the region to below 1 percent in 2011, down from 4.7 percent in
2010, according to the African Development Bank.
Across the continent’s 53 countries, infrastructure needs are massive
and frequently prohibitive. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, the total financing
required for infrastructure development is an estimated US$93 billion a year,
according to World Bank. China now dominates that market, funding twothirds of all new infrastructure development in Africa in the last five years.
But limited local talent and personal safety issues can derail projects
if these challenges are not carefully factored into every project and riskmanagement plan.
“Investors coming into Africa will be well-advised to understand the nature
of the environmental factors that rule in these countries and develop effective
strategies for dealing with such factors,” warns Deji West, finance director at
Afren Nigeria, an oil and gas exploration and production company in Lagos,
Nigeria. “To underestimate some of the complexities resulting from these factors would be to undermine project success significantly.”
The obstacles shouldn’t dissuade companies from the abundant opportunities Africa offers, says Gwendolyn Appel, director of project management at
DAI, a global development firm in Washington, D.C., USA.
“If you are avoiding Africa, even Sub-Saharan Africa, you are missing out,”
says Ms. Appel, who oversees the home office operational support team for
several projects in Somalia, Nairobi and Liberia. “Investors looking for projects
with strong value propositions will find tremendous opportunities in Africa.”
show need for change
During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa showed off a dazzling infrastructure overhaul that included new rail lines and roadways, huge stadiums,
and an upgraded airport. However, much of the continent remains woefully
lacking in even the most basic infrastructure.
Solving the massive deficiency in Africa will require an evolution in the
way projects are selected, planned and managed, says Dickinson AgyapongBempa, PMP, an Accra, Ghana-based project management consultant. “Many
PorTrAITs oF DIckInson AgyAPong-BEmPA By nyAnI QuArmynE
infrastructure projects in Africa either fail altogether or
are completed but do not meet their objectives,” he says.
The reasons? He cites:
n Lack of proper risk assessment
n Poor stakeholder engagement, especially with local
n Deteriorating infrastructure
n Poor reporting and communication
It’s also common for projects to be abandoned midway
through due to funding losses or disagreements among
builders and financiers. Many countries are littered with
half-built roads to nowhere, says Mr. West, president of
the PMI Lagos, Nigeria Chapter. A June 2011 report by
the Nigerian government revealed that there are more
than NGN7 trillion worth of unfinished or abandoned
projects in the country.
Not only do these false starts and bad investments
waste precious infrastructure funds, they also make it
more difficult to get new projects off the ground, says Mr.
Agyapong-Bempa, president of the PMI Ghana Potential Chapter. “Those failures impact the funding we will
receive in the future because there’s not a lot of confidence in the way any projects will be managed.”
Such waste could be eliminated if business owners,
government leaders and contractors invest in developing
project management skills and processes, Mr. West says.
But such a transformation may be a long time coming.
“The unwillingness to embrace project management
as a standard in government suggests that the vision for
Nigeria to be one of the 20 best economies by the year
2020 remains unattainable,” he argues.
Working in Africa can be dangerous
for foreigners. Project leaders must
develop education plans, provide
secure working and living arrangements, and develop evacuation
strategies. For example, when Egypt’s
government was overthrown early
last year, several companies were
forced to pull projects and staff
out of the country to avoid getting
caught in the unrest.
It may be possible to continue
the project, leaving day-to-day
project tasks in the hands of local
employees. Those who remain can
safeguard data, act as a signatory
on the project’s account to maintain
cash flow and otherwise keep an eye
on things so that the project doesn’t
come to a complete halt.
A project team
should include the
An escape route from the
project site to the nearest airport or open border,
including alternative routes
in case roads are closed
Yet the situation may also serve as an incredible
opportunity to showcase the value of project management to local governments and businesses. “If we had the
right project management competency—especially in risk
management, communication, project planning and benefits realization—we could derive much more value from
our investments,” Mr. Agyapong-Bempa says.
Such results could have a cascading impact by proving
that African countries are a safe—and lucrative—place to
invest project funds, he adds. “Stakeholders won’t continue to give us money for projects unless they see processes in place to ensure effective delivery.”
Cash and Carry
The scramble to secure project funding is hardly unique
to Africa, but managing the actual
cash flow can be a logistical nightmare. Because some African countries
have unstable banking systems, placing a large
amount of money for several months in a local
bank account is inadvisable, particularly with
dramatic currency fluctuations, Ms. Appel says.
Local organizations sometimes split assets
among several banking institutions and/or use large
international banks, she adds.
At the same time, project leaders need enough cash
to pay for materials and contractors to avoid delays. “The
key is to have enough cash to operate, without having so
much that the bank decides to keep it. You could incur
Enough cash on site to
facilitate a fast exit for
all foreign employees
A strategy for
at the project site
and a contingency
plan if those files
Consistent, reliable access to electricity is an infrastructure weak spot
in Africa—and a constant challenge
for project teams.
More than 30
African countries face
regular power outages.
Only 24 percent
of Sub-Saharan nations have
consistent electricity coverage, according to the African
High energy costs have
contributed to lowering
productivity rates at African
companies by as much
as 40 percent, the
United Nations estimates.
Some project teams bring in dieseloperated power generators, says Jens
Schleuniger, Africa portfolio manager
at VCH, an asset management firm
in Frankfurt, Germany. This can cost
two to three times more than relying
on coal or hydropower, but it eliminates the risk of power outages.
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
substantial risk if the money is lost in an unstable
situation,” Ms. Appel explains.
Project managers must be able to predict
cash-flow needs several months in advance, then
update those projections frequently to define the
funds needed for any one-to-four-week span. As
part of that planning process, they should also
factor the time it takes to bring money into the
When DAI works in an African nation with
an unreliable or unknown banking system, project managers sometimes minimize the risk by
looking to neighboring countries with more
stable financial environments. When the company launched a project in Somalia, for example,
the team initially set up a bank account and
project office in neighboring Nairobi, Kenya until
it found an acceptable banking solution in the
country. Working with an international banking
firm, the team wires funds weekly to members on
the ground while maintaining a secure distance.
“It gave us a relatively close base of operations and allowed us to start working on the
ground very quickly,” says Steven O’Connor,
DAI’s director of communications.
Think Global, hire local
Whether they’re building a highway or creating
a high-speed Internet network, companies need
project talent—and there Africa is sorely lacking.
Although North African countries such as
Morocco and Egypt have carved out niches as IT
outsourcing hubs, project management skills are
in short supply. Much of the continent suffers
from brain drain, with many of its most promising people pursuing opportunities in other parts
of the world.
Africa also faces high unemployment rates,
particularly among its younger and best-educated workers,
according to the International Labour Organization. Twothirds of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under 25, yet this
group only represents one-third of the workforce, according
to The World Bank. In some countries, such as South Africa,
Tunisia and Morocco, youth unemployment rates are three
times higher than those of their older counterparts.
With such high unemployment rates, foreign organizations that import their own workers on projects in Africa
may find themselves stoking tensions.
Dickinson Agyapong-Bempa, PMP, on site at a project involving the laying of fiber optic telecommunications cables in the city of Accra, Ghana.
“When foreign firms run projects in these communities using all foreign workers, it creates strained
relationships with the local community,” Ms. Appel says. That can lead to red tape, permit delays and, in
some cases, safety issues. For example, over the last three years, more than 140 foreign nationals have been
kidnapped in Nigeria, reports the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Foreign project owners in Africa are far more likely to succeed if they hire local talent, according to Ms.
Appel. Not only does it help build better community relationships, hiring local workers is far less expensive
than bringing in foreign workers. And the workforce is improving: The education and skill level of African
workers is steadily increasing, and the sheer size of the available labor pool is substantial.
Hiring people familiar with the local customs also increases the chance that community leaders will
embrace a project. And project managers can then tap into local networks for information and resources.
february 2012 PM NETWORK
South Africa’s highspeed Gautrain cut
travel time between
Pretoria and Johannesburg from two
hours to 38 minutes
when it began service in August 2011.
How can we make project
management take off in
africa? asks Tony Van Krieken,
PMP, in the PMI International Development Community of Practice.
Oren Whyche-Shaw, PMP,
Make greater use of local implementing agencies. Contractors
should develop capacity for project
management office (PMO) functions. However, few governments
are in a position to insist on the
PMO function in multilateral development bank (MDB) grants and
Second, most people negotiating
the funding don’t have the knowledge of project management nor
sufficient appreciation for the value
add of the PMO function.
And in truth, MDBs aren’t aware
or convinced of that value, either.
Once MDBs (or bilateral banks)
start raising the bar, hiring certified
Project Management Professional
(PMP)® certification holders in their
own shops, and having them write
project implementation units and
international contracts into funding
agreements, then by example, local
private consultants and contractors
will go for the certification to stay
What do you think can be
done to improve project management in Africa? Weigh in at
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
“It’s always better to try and build capacity in the country, and only bring in
expatriates when a skill or expertise can’t be found,” advises Mohamed Noureldin,
independent construction consultant and former associate director at Davis Langdon,
Maadi, Egypt. On the Mall of Egypt project, he hired Egyptian contractors for all of
the excavation, with foreigners and locals overseeing project management and construction.
“By using a blend of local and international experts, you can guarantee the quality
of the product and the project reporting that you require,” he says.
Companies adopting a hybrid approach must be prepared for communication
issues, though, Mr. Agyapong-Bempa warns. He worked with vendors in Ghana
who brought in foreign laborers who couldn’t communicate with local team leaders, causing delays and daily frustrations. To eliminate this risk, Vodafone assesses
the skills and language of all vendor teams as part of contract negotiations. “On a
high-value project, you need to be able to communicate with everyone on the team,”
the Fine Line Between giFt-giving and BriBery
Companies implementing projects in Africa must learn to manage the fine line
between a gift and a bribe. “In our culture, when you want to do a project in a community, it is customary to engage the chiefs and elders of the community. In doing
so, you may show your respect by bringing gifts to the chief,” Mr. Agyapong-Bempa
says. “But this does not align with PMI practices,” such as the PMI Code of Ethics
and Professional Conduct.
In fact, such gift-giving can be seen as a bribe, which is considered unethical—
and is often illegal.
“You have to be very clear in your project plans about what acceptable practices
are,” Ms. Appel explains. “Bribes can take many forms in these countries, and if you
are not careful, you can end up violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,
which can include time in jail.”
One way to avoid even the perception of bribery is by requiring sealed bids and
using committees to choose contractors. DAI has learned, though, the practice often
requires educating local workers.
“In strong family communities, it’s not uncommon for people to say, ‘My cousin
can do this, so what would we have to do to compete?’” she says.
Project owners must strike a balance between showing community leaders
respect and hewing to international codes of conduct.
Vodafone, for one, outsources this responsibility. When the company needs to
acquire a mobile site in a region with such a custom, it partners with a local vendor,
who manages the permit (and gift-giving) process on its behalf. PM
special report: africa [Case studies ]
Three case studies illustrate the obstacles that project
teams in Africa face. But they also show that with the
right approach to the continent’s unique risks, these
projects can deliver real rewards.
A Mall Rises as a Regime Falls
(1.7-million-square-foot) structure will
rank as the country’s largest horizontal
mall, complete with an indoor ski slope.
As one of Africa’s more stable and mature economies, Egypt was
long considered a relatively low-risk environment for projects. Or
at least it was until the 2011 revolution turned the country upsidedown. Project leaders were suddenly confronted with violent riots
throughout the capital of Cairo and other Egyptian cities, followed
by the overthrow of longtime president Hosni Mubarak.
Before the uprising, Mohamed Noureldin was leading development of the EGP4.4 billion Mall of Egypt project in Cairo. Once complete, the 160,800-square-meter (1.7-million-square-foot) structure
will rank as the country’s largest horizontal mall, complete with an
indoor ski slope.
The project team considered many risks during the planning
phase, including fluctuation in the price of concrete reinforcement
steel and possible changes in regulations.
But it didn’t factor in the political climate: “An Egyptian revolution was not in our risk registry,” says Mr. Noureldin, former
associate director for Davis Langdon, a global construction
consultancy in Maadi, Egypt.
At the time of the revolution, the excavation had been
completed and construction had just begun. Work was
stopped until June, two months after the riots were over,
though many project activities continued, including contract
development and bidding. The developer, Majid Al Futtaim
Holding, has since rebaselined the project to be completed
“Unstable governments are one of the constant challenges that project owners in Africa face,” Mr. Noureldin says.
“You’ve got to brainstorm the eventualities and monitor the
political and economic environment regularly to be sure you
Although teams can’t predict every revolution, they can
take the time to identify the major risks and likelihood of
their occurrence. “Explosive inflation, political coups and
sudden, dramatic changes in the price of raw materials are
some of the risks that project teams have to be prepared for,”
he says. Steel price fluctuations, for example, was a predicted
risk on the project that the team mitigated by buying the
material early to avoid a possible future price increase. n
february 2012 PM NETWORK
Connecting a Continent
in a country not designated a hub,
Looking to help wipe out the continent’s digital deficit,
the project scope can be reduced
France Telecom’s Orange partnered with about 20 orgawithout seriously impacting the
nizations, including African telecom and development
project. The problematic nation
companies and governmental agencies, to launch a project
could then be connected later
aimed at bringing Internet connectivity to nearly two dozen
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
on, when conditions improve.
African nations. Teams are installing a 17,000-kilometer
Santana, São Tomé and Príncipe
This type of contingency plan is
(10,563-mile) undersea broadband cable linking France and
particularly important on the ACE project
Portugal to 21 countries along the west coast of Africa,
because many of these countries may face political
from Mauritania to South Africa.
instability, piracy or worker safety issues.
Scheduled to be completed the second half of the year, the
While Orange is overseeing the undersea cable
US$700 million Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) Submarine Cable
side of the project, each
Consortium project will provide costeffective, reliable access to global
Teams are installing a 17,000-kilometer nation is responsible for building
the coastal facilities necessary to
telecom networks for the first time
(10,563-mile) undersea broadband
Cape Town, South Africa
bring the cables onshore.
to half of the ACE countries, and
cable linking France and Portugal to
When the plan was initially
cable diversity to the others.
drawn up, Côte d’Ivoire was
But getting the cable laid and
deemed one of the most stable
connected requires keeping everyalong the west coast of Africa,
countries involved—hence its selection as a hub.
one in sync.
from Mauritania to South Africa.
But in November 2010, a hotly contested presiden“The biggest issue is coordinatial election spurred a civil war that lasted until April 2011.
tion,” says Cynthia Perret, project manager for submarine
All this unrest occurred in the midst of construction, threatening to
systems deployment at Orange in Paris, France. “We have so
derail the project, Ms. Perret says. “A branch connection only affects
many partners and stakeholders, and everyone has tasks to
that country, but a core connection affects the whole system.”
The team devised an alternative solution to bypass the Côte d’Ivoire
The cable network begins in France and ends in South
connection, but it would add significant cost and delays. Before the conAfrica, with core hubs in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, São Tomé and
tingency plan had to be enacted, though, the nation stabilized. Power and
Príncipe, and South Africa; other nations will branch off the
water were restored, and Ms. Perret feels confident Orange can complete
main line. This way, if a situation arises during construction
that leg of the project.
that prevents the team from making an onshore connection
But even with a happy ending, the Côte d’Ivoire
experience serves as a powerful case study for any
company launching projects in the region.
“On international projects of this scope in Africa,
the problems you anticipate tend not to be the problems that occur,” Ms. Perret says.
The best way to handle such dramatic interludes
is to be flexible, stay in close contact with stakeholders and constantly manage the risk registry,
she says. In this case, stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire
alerted the project team early on about the need for
an alternative plan and kept their French partners
abreast of the situation so they could make decisions in real time.
“If we didn’t have good communication and a
solid project plan, this wouldn’t have worked,” Ms.
Perret says. n
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Special report: africa [Case studies ]
Battling Violence and Funding Gaps for the Greater Good
photoS courteSy oF DaviDShepherD.org
Last October, Sport Beattie and his team
spent 41 hours in a race across Zambia as
part of a rescue effort to save an orphaned
elephant whose mother had been killed by
Heavily armed poachers ambushed the
project team, and two rangers were murdered in the ensuing battle.
In the end, the 6-month-old emaciated elephant was rescued and driven
back across the country to the safety of
a staging post in the capital of Lusaka. It
will remain there until it has regained its
strength and is able to be relocated to the
elephant orphanage in Kafue National Park.
Although such a harrowing event is
unimaginable for most project managers, it’s
all too typical for Mr. Beattie, CEO of Game
Rangers International, a nongovernmental
And he contends the financial obstacles
can be equally daunting. “Access to the necessary levels of funding and support is the
greatest challenge to making any conservation
project a success story,” he says.
Along with the rescue missions, the organization completed a project to construct a
care-and-release facility in Kafue National
Park, where orphans are rehabilitated in
preparation for joining the local wild elephant
population. The team is now in the planning
stages to build a nursery facility and education center on
the outskirts of Lusaka, set to
be completed this year.
The need for the orphanage project is clear, as the
country’s elephant population
shows a staggering decline—
one-tenth of its size 50 years
ago. But inconsistent funding
governs many of the organization’s project management
decisions, from the size and
timeline for new facilities to
the number of elephants they
can rescue. It also means that
Mr. Beattie and his team must constantly
parse their time between caring for the
animals, supporting anti-poaching efforts,
increasing awareness among local communities and raising funds.
“Project management of something like
an elephant orphanage project is very threedimensional,” he says. “One must always
remain cognizant of the impact each and
every decision will have on the project, the
overall conservation effort and the local
communities. It can be quite a balancing act.”
The team has learned the value of flexibility, even for mundane project tasks such as
transporting milk powder to the remote bush
camp. “Throw a broken-down Land Rover in
the middle of the bush, and suddenly some
quick decisions need to be made,” Mr. Beattie says.
Patience and a willingness to adapt are
key ingredients to successful project management in Africa’s remote locales.
“Keeping the problem in perspective and
maintaining a sense of enjoyment for what
you are doing are crucial to your long-term
survival as a project manager in this kind of
environment,” Mr. Beattie says. “We survive
by focusing on the day-to-day challenges and
remaining completely adaptable to the situation in front of us.” n
The number of elephants in
Zambia in the early 1960s
The current number of elephants
Kavalamanja, one of the rescued elephant orphans
Source: David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
photo © rhoDa-lee aMor
february 2012 PM NETWORK
managErs in businEss
units tiEs stratEgic
goals to ExEcution.
by SaNdRa a. SWaNSON :: PhOTO by jIMMy WIllIaMS
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Robert Kelly, PMP, Red Hat,
The old silos are
It’s not enough to just
know the tools and techniques of project management, says J. LeRoy Ward,
PMP, PgMP, executive vice
president of global learning
and development, corporate
marketing and consulting at ESI
International, a project management
training and consulting firm in New York,
New York, USA. “These days people hiring managers and business executives
want them to have a full understanding
of the business they’re working in.”
His company partners with organizations that, as a general rule, only
assign the role of a project manager to
those who have a technical or business
background, or who are already in the
business unit. “Organizations definitely
prefer to have a project manager who
knows the business from the ground up,”
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Many organizations are implementing new, less rigid business structures that
emphasize collaboration across departments. To that end, project managers
working within business units can help provide a big-picture view of the organization—one that sheds light on resource allocation, aids portfolio planning and
Any disconnect between an organization’s project management staff and its
business units causes major problems, says Dave Pratt, PMP, managing partner
for DHP Project Services, a project management consultancy in Yelm, Washington, USA.
Mr. Pratt stepped in to help a state agency with a US$15 million project
that had derailed after six months. It stalled, he says, because the project manager worked for the IT department—even though the initiative supported the
agency’s primary revenue-generating business operations.
“The project manager did not know who the business sponsor was for the
project; the vendor hired to deliver the system didn’t deliver; and the users
had been left out of the loop,” explains Mr. Pratt, who also serves as an adjunct
professor for South Puget Sound Community College’s project management
It was a highly technical project, but Mr. Pratt found answers not through the
IT department but from the business unit. He says he “prowled the halls of the
agency” one day, looking for the project sponsor. “Once I found him, educated
him and introduced him to the project manager, the project immediately gained
traction,” he says.
“A couple of the project’s objectives were deferred until another phase could
be started, but the majority of the functionality was brought online,” Mr. Pratt
Having project managers as core members of the business unit has significant
benefits—not the least of which comes in portfolio planning, says Robert Kelly,
PMP, project manager of global lead management at Red Hat, an open-source
software maker in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. When he worked at the
computer manufacturer Lenovo, he
was an embedded project manager
in the service, sales and marketing
department. “The project managers
on our team partnered with the product managers to optimize, create and
implement new service offerings in
our project portfolio,” says Mr. Kelly,
also a managing partner at Kelly Project Solutions, a project management
Product managers are often the
ones who analyze the competition,
review market trends, and validate
their organization’s current capability
to provide a roadmap of new services
or products to help achieve revenue
targets, Mr. Kelly says. “Traditionally
this is done in somewhat of a bubble,
with little or no input on the viability
of the proposed plan from other functions in the organization.”
As a result, executives unknowingly
sign off on a plan riddled with resource,
budget and capabilities conflicts. “And
the organization spends the next year
trying to move mountains to hit the
numbers,” he says.
But when project managers are
core members of the business unit, the
portfolio more accurately reflects the
organization. Because project managers work closely with all of the functions in an organization, they often
know of systems limitations or other
initiatives that could affect the proposed roadmap, Mr. Kelly says. In
addition, project managers are often
cognizant of similar efforts or vendors’
capabilities, allowing them to combine
or more efficiently leverage existing
When project managers work
across functions, they know the
workload undertaken by various
departments, including IT, legal and
marketing, for instance.
“Let’s say a business wants to
The First Line of Defense
When organizations have a project manager who understands risk management from a business or technical perspective, he or she can help
identify and qualify risks to develop a response strategy as well as monitor the risks over time.
“It’s amazing how lax organizations are in risk management,” says J.
LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, ESI International, New York, New York, USA.
“As projects get going and there are so many things to do, they are not
diligent enough in their risk management reviews as project milestones
A thorough lessons-learned session at the end of a project will focus
on how well the risk management process was conducted during project
execution, Mr. Ward suggests.
Unmitigated risks can have a ripple effect on an organization’s project
portfolio, warns Robert Kelly, PMP, Red Hat, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
He worked on a project to develop a stand-alone service offering,
which was not a core aspect of the organization’s business. The plan
included rolling out the service in about 75 countries, but a member of
the finance team pointed out that there would be an enormous tax burden for the business in certain parts of the world.
“We eventually identified which countries the organization could sell
stand-alone service in while not putting the rest of the business at risk,”
Mr. Kelly says. “If I was not a part of the business unit, then I would have
delivered the service and moved on. However, I was a project manager
in the business unit and knew this would have an effect on the entire
Delays in project launches, deteriorating vendor relationships and
uncovered systems limitations all have an effect on the assumptions
and dependency of other projects within an organization.
Mr. Kelly uses a bare-bones risk matrix that includes:
Risk Item: A description of the risk.
Probability: Assign a number from 1 to 100 (with 100 representing the
Impact: Assign a number from 1 to 100 (with 100 representing the
Priority: Add the numbers for Probability and Impact, then divide by 2.
The risks with the highest numbers need to be addressed immediately.
Preventative Action: What can be done now?
Owner: Who is responsible for the preventative action?
Contingent/Response Action: If the event is realized, what is the plan?
Owner: Who is responsible for the contingent/response action?
february 2012 PM NETWORK
Embedded project managers improve the prioritization
process, attests Kristen Carney,
product manager at Vertive,
an online coupon company in
Austin, Texas, USA. “When project managers are embedded in
business units, companies can
launch better products faster.”
That includes a more
informed approach to making
decisions about what gets cut from a project to accommodate demanding schedules. This skill was put to
the test when Ms. Carney and her team led a project
that required a rapid turnaround. Instead of a typical
seven-day turnaround, the company wanted to launch
a new website in four days, in time to announce it at an
Her team, which consisted of two developers and
a designer, spent two hours asking questions such as,
“What are the top three problems our new site will
solve?” and “What are the top three features our site
will use to solve those problems?”
The process helped uncover features the team
wanted for the site but ultimately had to postpone due
to their technical difficulty.
The site launched on time, Ms. Carney says, because
the up-front planning resulted in highly targeted prioritization of the site “wish list.”
“Because I knew ahead of time what features would
be technically difficult, what were the three most
important features and our four-day project goals from
the CEO, it was easy to say, ‘Cut improvements to
email sign-up so that we can spend more time working
on improvements to the display of coupons,’” she says.
develop a product that requires new terms and conditions to be
created in two dozen countries, and will require that the call centers
provide support for their customers,” Mr. Kelly says. “The project
manager will be able to work with these groups to understand their
contributions, the sequence and timing of these activities, and how
that fits into the rest of roadmap.”
Additionally, the project manager might know that the legal
team is writing terms and conditions for a similar product, or that
IT is developing a new functionality for a current product that
would work on this project.
“Legal is concerned with legal, and IT is concerned with IT,” Mr.
Kelly says. “It is the project manager who can provide 360-degree
vision of the business goals, market trends and strategic objectives
with the tactical efforts of the development teams to both the business and functional managers.”
No ChoiCe iN the Matter
iN the software
iNdustry, aNd iN
are aN iNtegral
Part of the
— Tathagat Varma, PMP, Yahoo!, Bengaluru, India
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Some organizations would never even consider not placing project
managers in business units.
“In the software product development industry, and in my
organization in particular, project managers are an integral part of
the business units,” says Tathagat Varma, PMP, senior director of
strategic programs and business operations for Yahoo!’s research
and development center in Bengaluru, India. “Yesterday’s bloated
monolithic organizations were too territorial and inefficient. Ultimately, they became self-serving and slow to respond to changes,
let alone proactively manage them.”
The solution? Project managers need to manage interdependencies across multiple reporting structures and align all parts to the
overall strategic objectives of the business unit, he says.
By embedding project managers in business units, an organization can maximize its portfolio’s ROI and navigate complexity. PM
Negative stereotypes hurt your reputation, discourage team-building and und
You’re obsessed w
There is no denying that reports are an important part of a
project manager’s job description. Between project plans,
Gantt charts, financial run-downs, change requests and status updates, the documentation often piles up.
“Paperwork and reports in a project are like blood in the
human body,” says Nashaat Younis, PMP, a Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia-based area project manager at Thales Group, a company specializing in IT systems and security. “Being obsessed
with reports is like being obsessed about having a healthy
circulatory system in your body.”
But project managers may spend so much time compiling,
trafficking or presenting these reports that team members
and other colleagues start to believe it’s the only role they fill.
What internal stakeholders might not realize, however, is
that project managers aren’t fans of spending a vast majority
of their time on paperwork, either.
“I don’t think that project managers are obsessed with
paperwork,” says Dimitris Antoniadis, PhD, operations and
by KEllEy HuNsbERgER + illusTRaTiONs by lEON MusscHE
ermine your authority. Here’s how to change that image and justify your value.
compliance manager at Carillion, a construction company in Worcester Park,
Greater London, England. “On the contrary, most of the project managers I’ve
worked with complain about the heavy levels of company reporting and do not
understand the reasons for most of the reports.”
Upper management often fuels this stereotype, he adds. “Companies try to
reinvent the wheel by rejigging standard reports to such an extent that in the
end, they become very cumbersome to produce and easily understand.”
First, work with your organization to see if it’s possible to minimize the volume
of project documentation and manage filtering the information.
“There are a handful of reports that are of value,” Dr. Antoniadis says. “The
rest unnecessarily repeat information.”
Then, clearly communicate to team members the important role the basic
reports have in the project.
“Paperwork and reports ensure proper controlling and monitoring of the
project in addition to future lessons learned, and the most important thing—
proper funding,” Mr. Younis says.
There are a handful
of reports that are
of value. The rest
—Dimitris antoniadis, PhD, carillion, Worcester
Park, greater london, England
february 2012 PM NETWORK
Project managers aren’t the only ones
whose reputations sometimes precede
them. Stakeholders have acquired some
negative stereotypes of their own. Below
are two of the most difficult types of
stakeholders project managers can find
themselves teamed with—and tips for surviving the experience.
Maintainer of the Status Quo: Working
with a client or key executive who is not
open to new ways of thinking or doing
things can be especially problematic. “The
reason is simple: Projects are dynamic,”
says Ethan Huang, EA (Electronic Arts),
Shanghai, China. “Teams should be deciding the best way to accomplish the project
goals, and that’s an experimental, empirical learning process.” Creating this kind of
open environment is a top-down effect.
For it to work, stakeholders need to be as
open to new ideas as project teams are
willing to present them.
Ice King or Queen: These stakeholders
don’t consider the social factors—such as
personality and relationships—that play
a role in projects and building a strong
team. Stakeholders with this mentality
feel they are removed from the project
team and therefore don’t need to make
that human connection. Instead, they
should be embracing it, insists Dimitris
Antoniadis, PhD, Carillion, Worcester Park,
Greater London, England. Project professionals can break down that “them and
us” barrier by inviting the stakeholder to
team-building exercises and other project
events. In addition, keep in close contact
with the individual on a one-on-one basis.
“By understanding this behavior very early,
try to become the ‘buffer’ between the
stakeholder and the team,” he says.
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
You’re a control freak.
“Some project managers face the stereotype that they’re not only telling people what to
do, but also telling them what not to do. And that they’ll use their authorization to punish
anyone who doesn’t follow orders,” says Ethan Huang, project manager at EA (Electronic
Arts), an online game developer in Shanghai, China. That’s a common misconception of any
professional with “manager” in his or her title, he adds.
Project managers who are a bit controlling should consider a change in attitude. Instead of
operating as autocratic leaders who exert absolute power over their teams, project managers can adopt a “servant leader” mentality and encourage respect, Mr. Huang suggests.
“Teams are people with feelings, passions and emotions—not ‘resources,’ like 90 percent
of project managers call them. You need to trust they’re willing to commit and will try
their best to meet their commitment. You need to respect the individuals and understand
that they’re usually more junior than you, and thus need your coaching and support badly.
Transfer your responsibility from making decisions for the team to coaching them so that
they can make their own decisions.”
Part of being a servant leader means removing obstacles the team might face.
“In Scrum, we have the ceremony of daily stand-up meetings, 15 minutes to discuss
what’s going on, what’s next and what might be a roadblock,” he says. “And whenever there
is something blocking the team from moving forward, the leader needs to jump in and get
the issue sorted out.”
As servant leaders, project managers should also work to protect team members. For
example, if leadership complains that the team isn’t working overtime like others in the
organization, you must ask yourself, “Are you going to transfer the pressure directly to your
team and ask them to work more, or are you going to invite executives into a meeting, tell
them what’s going on in your team, how hard everybody is working and how great they
are?” Mr. Huang asks. “You have to stop leadership from impacting the team morale.”
You do everything
by the book.
Have you ever found yourself saying something along the lines of
“Projects cannot deviate from the plan”?
Traditional project managers spend a lot of time and effort on a
well-detailed project plan—and following it exactly often seems to
be the best way to achieve success. In addition, a project manager
may be nervous about straying from an organization’s methodologies for fear of being reprimanded.
“It is usually lack of training and trust that pushes this stereotype,
as well as internal pressures,” Dr. Antoniadis says. “The flexibility of
the project manager is dependent upon the room for maneuvering
he or she is allowed by senior management.”
Project managers need to open themselves up to new ideas.
“Because we have to deal with different people in every project we
undertake, we need to consider if the way we do things is appropriate for the teams and the stakeholders we are working with or for,”
Dr. Antoniadis says.
These new ways of working may come from a number of
sources: books, journals, talking to other project managers or
attending project management events.
“It should go without saying that project managers should
be talking to the project team continuously, exchanging
ideas and considering all facts,” he says.
And don’t just rely upon more experienced project professionals to discuss tech advances and new ideas, Dr. Antoniadis
adds. Young project managers can offer a fresh, open way of
thinking that contributes considerably to innovation.
“We should be challenging new recruits
more about what they see around them
and how they would do it differently,” he
says. “Then we can implement the good
A word of caution, however: “New ideas
usually mean ‘change,’ and that needs to be
managed,” Dr. Antoniadis warns. “Resistance to change could be from both
sides, top-down as well as bottomup, and therefore having a good plan
and an ally—someone who is open
to suggestions—on both sides is very
Change at the
Organizations can do their part
to put to rest any misconceptions
about their project managers.
“Education and training in general will enable lateral thinking,”
says Dimitris Antoniadis, PhD, Carillion, Worcester Park, Greater London, England. “Individuals should
always be looking for opportunities to improve and broaden their
knowledge, and companies ought
to be supportive.”
Personal development plans,
for example, help to identify and
honestly address weaknesses, and
propose training and education in
Organizations must also ensure
that all parties involved in a project—sponsors in particular—are
willing to accept new ideas and
changes. One way to go about
this: Have a project management office (PMO), with senior
management’s full support, audit
the various project management
approaches used. The review will
highlight, without bias, what processes work and which do not, Dr.
february 2012 PM NETWORK
CritiCal Chain and a full kitting proCess provide a
muCh-needed boost for a faltering aerospaCe Company.
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
by Peter Fretty
february 2012 PM NETWORK
For mankind, flight has always been the direct result of
phenomenal engineering—starting with the Wright brothers’ successful foray at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA,
back in 1903.
The industry has grown to become highly competitive
with a comprehensive supply chain of technology-advanced
firms jockeying to capture market share. The complexity of
aircraft has also intensified to the point that most planes
today have millions of parts and require numerous companies to produce.
Considering the need for continual innovation and collaboration, many successful organizations heavily depend
on their engineering teams to guide their forward propulsion. So when the engineering department at Spirit
AeroSystems, a company that manufactures airplane parts,
regularly struggled to meet its project commitments, the
management team at the propulsion structures and systems
business segment altered its processes and procedures.
“Any missed commitment erodes our credibility with
customers. Even more important is the internal cost for late
engineering, which can force high overtime rates, supplier
expediting fees, rework and potential quality issues,” says
Steve Pryor, engineering director of propulsion structures
and systems at Spirit in Wichita, Kansas, USA. “We needed
to change the way we performed managing product engineering. We came to a point where we needed to make a
drastic change. We had implemented various project management initiatives to help improve performance, but these
did not provide the change we needed.”
In fact, since 1996, the tier-one aerospace component
contractor had tried a number of approaches to correct its
deficiencies, including lean, knowledge-based engineering,
cycle-time and cost reduction teams, 5S and FIFO (first in,
first out) work cells.
“These were all improvement ideas yielding nominal
results. It was not until we took a critical chain project management approach that we have been able to enjoy significant advances,” says Joseph Zenisek, critical chain project
manager at Spirit. “We now look at critical chain project
management as a true game-changer for us.”
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Links to the
This technique to
limit the number
of active projects
is a key element
of critical chain.
at one time allows teams to focus and
reduces multi-tasking. This not only
allows projects to be executed faster
but creates capacity to undertake more
effective Buffering: Typically, a
project is planned to be completed 25
percent faster while being protected by
a buffer that absorbs individual task
Buffer ManageMent: Uniform task
priorities are implemented across all
departments and levels of management.
The focus is on having the right number of
resources focused on the right tasks
at the right time. Tasks are prioritized
based on how they consume the overall
full Kitting: The approach requires
having all the pieces in place prior to
moving a project work package forward.
This step helps significantly reduce the
number of second actions to complete a
Although we had a kitting process in place for manufacturing, our new approach is
more stringent in that everything needs to be in place before a work package is fully
staffed and actively worked. This full kitting system is now being applied to engineering. — Joseph Zenisek
photos courtesy of spirit Aerosystems
from left, steve pryor and Joseph Zenisek, spirit Aerosystems, Wichita, Kansas, usA
The organization implemented two key strategies:
1. Manage resources more effectively according to buffer
consumption. Providing projects with buffers helps avoid
any padding during the estimation process and can allow
for faster execution because work does not expand to fill
the time available.
2. Have a resource pool of highly qualified engineers who
can provide short-term support as dictated by the buffer
The goal of the critical chain process was to reduce work
in progress and create and manage a project buffer to ensure
better program visibility and resource management.
The new approach also included a comprehensive kitting
process for each work package, split into high-level groups
such as structural systems. The completion of the full kit is an
integration point so that the work package can be fully staffed
and actively worked.
“Although we had a kitting process in place for manufacturing, our new approach is more stringent. Everything
needs to be in place before a work package is fully staffed and
actively worked. This full kitting system is now being applied
to engineering,” Mr. Zenisek explains.
For instance, if the manufacturing project team performs
assembly with missing pieces, it eventually has to disassemble
some things to fit in the late arrivals.
Within engineering, using the full kit process makes sure
that data, such as loads, temperatures, pressures and interfaces, are in place so that project teams can complete analysis
and design without interruption, rather than allowing information to trickle in and prompt costly changes.
february 2012 PM NETWORK
Putting the Process to the test
An opportunity to prove the mettle of this new approach arose during a project
to manufacture pylons for a regional jet customer, one of the first initiatives to
incorporate critical chain processes.
The first key deliverable was a pylon assembly needed to perform a fan
blade-off test. During this test, an engine’s fan blade is rigged to fail to see if it
remains contained and to ensure that the engine and pylon attachments do not
fail. Comprised of a handful of systems and more than 300 parts (not including
fasteners), this task once took 17 months from initiation to delivery, according
to Mr. Zenisek.
“However, using our project management-focused critical chain approach,
we were able to cut three months off of the time allotment,” he says. “This was
an 18 percent reduction in cycle time.”
That time savings “meant we had figured out how to plan and manage
resources far better than ever before,” Mr. Pryor says.
When projects involve so many partners—including the original equipment
manufacturer, engine supplier and certification agency—any one component or
piece of information that runs late can cause delays. This often creates a situation where rush requirements become a necessity downstream.
“Critical chain implementation played a key role in enabling value stream
customers to fabricate, procure the parts and build the tooling—without paying for overtime or rush expenses—while still meeting the customer-defined
deliverable,” he adds.
Because teams often complete projects faster, cost can be reduced as
throughput increases. But more importantly, it reflects on the organization’s
reliability, Mr. Zenisek explains.
“We accomplished what we said we could do. We satisfied the customer.”
the Whole Kit and caboodle
A number of measurable changes in man-hours, resource investments and
product costs become apparent when comparing the project to past initiatives.
But the overall culture is the most noticeable change at Spirit, Mr. Zenisek says.
“The difference is especially noticeable when considering our implementation of an unwavering full kitting step,” he explains. “Before, people would be
As part of Spirit’s new approach to project management,
most programs have integrated product teams with 10 to
15 members. They are now aware of their group’s critical role in supporting the engineering schedule on a project and can see task priorities, which lets them know what needs to
“We have a similar relationship with assembly,” says Joseph Zenisek, critical chain
project manager. “We get a pulse of a program by looking at the value stream,” the
materials and information required to bring a product or service to a stakeholder.
For one customer, the team quickly understood the health of its pylon program by
the status of the work package full kit and the rate it was being filled, he says.
“Such interconnectivity among organizations can only help improve the relationships
among functions going forward,” Mr. Zenisek asserts.
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
for a fan
and flight test
yelling for resources. But now they understand the importance of having full kits before they move forward and of staying focused on fewer work packages. We have become adept
at addressing near-term deliverables and then moving on to
the next item of importance to develop a more systematic
approach. Completion has taken on a new meaning at Spirit.”
At the same time, the overall sense of urgency has also
increased. “The propulsion structures and systems department has seen the escalation of issues,” Mr. Pryor says. “As
problems arise, we are more active in communicating. When
you are focusing on fewer work packages, you can more
quickly address and focus on the deliverable. Issues no longer
Mr. Zenisek attributes the change in culture to Spirit’s
operational structure enabled by the critical chain approach.
“We have a steering team that incorporates senior leadership, such as program managers, chief engineers and the
general manager’s leadership team, so that they remain
actively engaged in our very visible approach to continuously
improve and manage our programs,” he says.
Teams use software that reveals such items as the percent
of the critical chain that has been completed and how much
of the buffer has been consumed.
This creates an atmosphere where it’s possible to identify
and address causes of extensive use of safety buffers, allowing the organization to manage the impact of variation and
uncertainty around projects—before problems creep up and
impact completion times, Mr. Zenisek adds.
In embracing the critical chain project management
philosophy, the engineering team had leadership backing,
including an endorsement from the vice president/general
manager and CTO. However, even with executive support,
transformational projects always run into resistance, Mr.
“We had to really build upon the strengths of the culture
change as supported by the philosophy. We focused on getting leadership and the lead engineers engaged so that there
was an acceptance of the changes associated with our new
processes,” he says. “We see this as a journey of constant
learning and continual improvement. There is not an endpoint or destination. We are constantly addressing areas of
concern to perfect our approach.”
Spirit plans to apply critical chain techniques to new programs for its other customers.
“The division has gone from being a stress on the organization to being able to support program commitments to a
point that it is a best practice within our business segment,”
Mr. Pryor says. PM
Identify full kit items.
Review with in-house
Execute full kit within
Full kit manager accepts full
kit, including resources.
Full kit review by
Work package released
based on work in
management to a
reduction in employee
overtime and an
reduction in project
cycle time for the pylon
february 2012 PM NETWORK
by Denene brox
to name a new program manager. Do you find a candidate among your project management ranks or look outside your organization? Not every project manager will make an
effective program manager—and not all of them even want to go down that career path.
Learning to identify those who can trade the tactical work of managing projects for the
strategic mindset essential for successful program management will save you the costly
mistake of appointing the wrong person.
We asked five professionals how to find those project managers within your ranks with
the skills, experience and potential to shine as program managers. The panel also has advice
about what to look for in outside hires.
What are the benefits of promoting a project manager at
your organization to a program manager role?
Eric S. Norman, PMP, PgMP: One of the main benefits is the person typically knows the
ins and outs of the organization—the political atmosphere and the technology environment, and is aware of how to work effectively within them.
Hemanshu Joshi: The internally recruited program manager knows the organization’s influencers and followers and can quickly tread his or her way through the labyrinth,
operations manager at Cleverlance Enterprise
Solutions, a software developer
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
eric s. norman,
pmp, pgmp, program
director and senior
principal at SRA
International Inc., an
IT and strategy consultancy in Atlanta,
phD, pmp, executive vice president of
operations and COO at
Thurston Companies, a
construction and management firm in Washington, D.C., USA
john l. Warren, vice president
of strategic business solutions and
executive director of the Stanford
advanced project management
center of excellence for strategy
execution at IPS Learning, a project management training firm in
San Mateo, California, USA
because a rapport is already established. This helps when a program must be launched
With a hire from within, internal stakeholders are confident the individual will perform the task efficiently and deliver results. The stakeholders’ confidence reduces the
urge to constantly monitor the program manager’s performance, which might be the
case when a program manager is hired from outside the organization.
What are the potential pitfalls?
Mr. Joshi: Those already established relationships might not always be positive. If the
project manager doesn’t have a good rapport with the team, his or her promotion to
program manager would hamper the program more than facilitate it.
In many cases, the person concerned has been with the organization for a long
time, and the organization’s environment affects his or her mindset. Such people might
not be able to think creatively; they think within the boundaries of the thought process
they were groomed in. Their confined thinking will harm programs if they are not
trained, groomed or exposed to new challenges, technologies or practices.
Erik Lukac: It could be a drawback if the organization does not have clearly defined
processes in place for all areas of program management and is relying exclusively on
project management techniques for the management of complex programs. Or if the
senior project manager has no experience in managing inter-project dependencies, it
would be better to hire an external program manager with the requisite experience.
What’s a good Way to judge if an internal project
manager is ready for a program management role?
Mr. Joshi: I recommend that the project manager have been responsible for delivering
multiple large projects that have diverse team sizes, cultures, timelines and technologies. The project manager in question should begin the transition under the supervision of mentors, but gradually he or she should be allowed to work independently,
supported by teams. This initial incubation period will help stakeholders evaluate the
new program manager’s performance and decide whether or not the person is ready
to continue in the position of program manager.
John L. Warren: Look at your messiest, most challenging projects and find the
project managers or technical leads who excelled in working through the challenges
to successful conclusions. You want to find people who keep their cool in a crisis.
Mr. Norman: A good indicator is if a project manager has demonstrated competence at producing consistent results at the individual level and is able to interact
with leaders at all levels of an organization—including senior executives and board
members. Effective communication with all levels of an organization is an important
element of a program manager’s role.
plus: The candidate has an inside
knowledge and understanding of
the inner workings of the organization—helping to speed up the
minus: The person could be
locked into a limiting mindset
about the organization’s culture.
plus: Promoting from within may
motivate other employees who
see that the organization rewards
minus: The candidate may have
a tendency to approach program
management as a very large
Project managers who think
big-picture and keep the
broader program and goals in
mind while working on their
n Candidates with solid records of
achievement over the course of
n Those who know how to
effectively delegate tasks and
don’t get mired in minutiae.
What’s the best Way to groom these candidates?
Mr. Norman: Find opportunities for them to take part in larger, strategically important initiatives. Also, clarify the project manager’s vision as to where the program is
going, and ensure that the person is aware of the connectivity between the program’s
february 2012 PM NETWORK
components as well as the program’s importance and alignment with the organization’s strategic objectives.
For example, public health programs include a variety of diverse projects. The
individual project managers may not be fully aware of the relationships of their
efforts to the larger programs. Project managers leading a marketing or datacollection project in one area may not know the details of the overall effort. How a
project manager seeks out, learns about and participates within the larger context
demonstrates his or her desire and underlying capability for transition to the role
of program manager.
What are some signals that a project manager Would
not be a good fit for a program manager position?
prove to be a
win-win for both
the employee and
head to pmi’s
career central to
Pieter Oosthuizen, PhD, PMP: Some individuals have a natural “feel” for managing
projects and will always excel. However, not all good project managers have the ability to manage at a higher level. Those who are willing to step up and succeed outside
traditional boundaries are your best program manager candidates.
Project managers won’t make good program managers if they get bogged down
in details, are unable to resolve conflicts and have poor people skills. A project
manager will focus on the specific project—its scope, goals, resources and completion—while a program manager has to focus on several projects in the same program, all related to achieving a greater goal. Harmonizing several projects is much
more difficult than managing an individual project.
Take the global fight against AIDS. A project manager in an African country is
totally focused on achieving that country’s set goals, whereas a program manager
working for the World Health Organization has to manage limited resources for 30
countries and still ensure the overall goals are achieved.
A red flag in this scenario is if your project manager spends an inordinate
amount of time on one aspect, such as providing AIDS medicine to the last vial,
rather than on achieving overall patient-treatment goals. Yes, it is good to manage
the details—but not at the expense of the larger program’s success.
do you have any success stories of grooming internal
project managers into program managers?
Mr. Lukac: Yes, two, at my previous job as project management office director
at the IT company PosAm. At the time of appointment, each was a senior project
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
a program manager has to focus on
several projects in the same program,
all related to achieving a greater
goal. harmonizing several projects is
much more difficult than managing
an individual project.
—Pieter Oosthuizen, PhD, PMP, Thurston Companies, Washington, D.C., USA
manager with extensive knowledge of project management
techniques and long-term experience in complex-project
management. Both had also obtained external certification
at the senior project manager level. A further plus: They
had worked for the company for a long time and had risen
through its ranks, from the developer and analyst level to
They had to extend their knowledge by dealing with
various situations related to the management of inter-project
dependencies, enterprise-wide allocation of resources, process optimization and change management at the organizational level. They also had long-term experience in
communicating with internal stakeholders at the executive
level. After approximately one year, they were fully adapted
to the program manager role.
Mr. Norman: I actually came from the project management
ranks. My natural inclination was to gravitate toward program
management. I successfully made a smooth transition because I
was attracted by and interested in making contributions at the
organizational level, looking at the bigger picture and working
more closely with senior leadership.
What should you look for in outside
hires? hoW can you assess their skills?
Mr. Warren: For large, complex programs that are new to an
organization, an inside candidate with the requisite skills and
experience may not exist. If you’re going outside, find a program manager who has actually led and shouldered responsibility for similar types of programs. Do not rely only on a
résumé. Talk directly to the sponsors of those programs—people who saw the candidate in action—and determine exactly
how much authority he or she had. Ask candidates to walk
through a typical week on a large program they led, describing
what they did and where they focused their time.
Mr. Norman: I ask about a particular individual’s understanding of the difference between project and program
management. The answer is often very illuminating. Many
project managers perceive programs simply as very large
projects. This is not the case. Program management requires
a number of skills and competencies that are not necessary
at the project level. Most importantly, program managers
must be aware of how projects and programs operate and
perform together within an organization.
What is the most important thing to
look for When recruiting for a program
manager position—Whether you’re hiring
from Within or not?
Dr. Oosthuizen: You can only go so far in screening candidates. The presence of real experience with a solid track
record remains the best metric to find a good program
I believe that everyone establishes themselves for the rest
of their careers after about 10 years. Achievements, or the
lack thereof, indicate how the person will perform in the
future. A good project manager will very quickly build a solid
record of achievement, and that is a good starting point in
selecting program manager candidates. pm
february 2012 PM NETWORK
Bring It On
by MIchEllE bOWlEs JacKsON
Nine tips to help organizations implement project management tools.
change isn’t always welcome—a fact
project professionals know all too well.
Even though automated project management tools are intended to make
teams more efficient and effective,
introducing them within an organization can cause a big shakeup.
Executives might see the tool as yet
another big-ticket item, while team
members might see it as an additional
task to eat up their valuable time.
These factors are amplified when the
tool is implemented in an organization
with low project management capabilities.
Whether the tool being deployed is
a ticket-tracking system, enterprise
resource management software program, wiki or mobile app, software
decision-makers need to keep these
nine considerations in mind.
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Don’t use the tool to increase
your organization’s project management abilities. In less projectized
organizations, there’s a tendency to purchase a tool and assume it will immediately lead to project management success.
“It will not,” asserts Elizabeth Larson, PMP, CEO of
Watermark Learning, a project management and business
process training and coaching firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. “Often, these organizations struggle to get projects under control after they go down the path of a tool.”
Organizations that gain a solid understanding of project
management principles before implementing any automated tool tend to have better longer-term project success
rates, she says.
realize that process comes first, tools second.
Oftentimes, organizations may mistakenly expect automated project management tools to make up for a lack of
processes, says Joseph A. Sopko, PMP,
OPM3® Professional, Princeton, New Jersey, USA-based senior project management consultant at Siemens Corporate
Research, the innovation division of the
engineering conglomerate. “If you don’t
have standardized and defined processes,
the tool is not likely to be used to its full capabilities and
deliver the intended benefits.”
Organizations should first identify the areas where the
tool will apply—project control, planning, scheduling or
resource management, for instance—and define processes
for those areas.
“If you have low maturity, look at the processes recommended by A Guide to the Project Management Body of
Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) or other standards associated
with the tool being implemented,” Mr. Sopko advises.
Have a clear, specific goal in mind when selecting a
tool. From wikis to mobile apps, and from software to cloud-based
solutions, there is no shortage of automated tools that can help organizations improve their project management prowess.
But the tool must answer a very specific business need.
“Tools are not a replacement for improving organizational project management maturity,” Mr. Sopko says. “Higher-maturity organizations tend to gain the most potential benefits from project management
tools and information systems.”
For instance, after implementing resource management processes within
project teams, an organization might want to gain a more efficient way to identify and manage resources. Only then can it determine which tools would be
most effective at achieving those goals, he explains.
The objective must also be defined in a way that makes the effectiveness
of the tool measurable, Ms. Larson adds. Improved reporting capabilities, for
example, can be quantified.
understand the difference between “capabilities” and
“benefits.” A tool can provide all the capabilities under the sun—
and implementing the tool
must be able
and then measure—the
are trying to
—Joseph A. Sopko, PMP, OPM3® Professional,
Siemens Corporate Research, Princeton,
New Jersey, USA
but stakeholder groups are more likely to buy in when they see the
benefits. The person in charge of purchasing and implementing the
tool must be able to explain—and then measure—the benefits they are
trying to realize with a tool, Mr. Sopko says.
It’s a similar situation as when an organization implements a new IT system. “The new
system goes live on time, it provides all the capabilities it was supposed to per the specs,
and it was delivered on cost,” he says. “But then you ask the organization, ‘Did you ever get
the benefits the system was meant to deliver?’ And they say, ‘No.’ The same thing happens
with project management tools.”
Speak the language of the executive suite to gain buy-in.
The expectations of executive stakeholders must be translated into specific
numbers or results, says Panayotis Agrapidis, CEO of Organization Strategic Systems, a portfolio, program and project management consultancy in
Athens, Greece. For example, if a portfolio manager wants to gain executive
buy-in for a new tool with advanced reporting capabilities, he or she should
present hard numbers:
n The actual time it currently takes to pull a specific report
n The estimated time it would take to pull the same report with the new tool
n The estimated report accuracy achieved as a result of the new tool
You don’t want just any metrics; you want the data that matters most to senior management. It’s not enough to simply provide schedule or cost variance, Mr. Sopko says. You
have to communicate the value of time to the organization. “For instance, if you deliver a
project one week earlier or later, what does that mean in terms of increasing or decreasing
value to the organization?” he explains.
february 2012 PM NETWORK
Get the team comfortable with the tool. Team members
can be hesitant to introduce a new process into their workflow—even if
the solution is intended to help make their work lives easier. To further
complicate things, they might not clearly communicate any concerns.
“Teams that are not used to working with project management
concepts might be terrified of a new tool because they think their work
will be micromanaged,” Ms. Larson says. “They may react adversely and view it as added
bureaucracy and imply that learning a new tool gets in the way of getting the job done.”
Address user concerns and build trust by helping team members understand why the
tool is being introduced.
“If you are asking them to track their time through an automated tool, show that
you’re doing it to benefit the team rather than to judge personal performance. For
example, tracking the actual status of the project might help gain additional resources
for the project team,” she says.
Consider interoperability issues. Regardless of the type of
automated solution chosen, organizations must assess the potential impact on existing tools, Mr. Agrapidis says. When selecting
software, organizations must ensure that it’s capable of exchanging data and interacting with previously installed software and
Similarly, any mobile app chosen should provide complete interoperability with
installed applications, as well as support both iPhone and Android devices, he says.
of a new tool
work will be
—Elizabeth Larson, PMP, Watermark Learning,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Support team members as they get up to speed with
the tool. Training team members on the new solution is especially crucial in non-projectized organizations, Ms. Larson says.
“Some team members might not understand the concept of the
tool and might fear looking foolish if they don’t know how to use
it,” she says. “Have someone sit down with the team members to
train them on how to use the tool and then provide coaching. You
need a supportive environment to gain buy-in.”
Treat the tool implementation as a project. Regardless of the type
of tool being introduced, the deployment should be planned
in the same way as any other internal project, Mr. Sopko says.
Adopt a step-by-step approach and set specific targets over
short periods of time, Mr. Agrapidis suggests.
“Anyone implementing an enterprise project management
system, for example, should provide a plan and a schedule for
how to get the system up and running. There should also be a
program through which the tool delivers benefits and sustained organizational
improvement,” Mr. Sopko says. PM
PM NETWORK february 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
APPEARANCE OF ANY PRODUCT OR MANUFACTURER IN PM NETWORK DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN ENDORSEMENT.
The New Social Media Contender
Google+ enters the fray—and offers a new way to communicate on projects.
by Peter Fretty
When the number of subscribers for
can secondarily facilitate team communica-
are more likely to have higher success rates,”
Google+ reached 18 million last July, one
tions,” says Tres Roeder, PMP, president of
Mr. Roeder says. “If organizations want
month after it was introduced, the chatter
Roeder Consulting, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
well-communicating teams, they need to
intensified around whether or not the new
“Given the reality that project management
understand and embrace the tool capable of
offering will be the demise of Facebook.
is more about people and communication
facilitating this level of interaction.”
While that doesn’t seem likely, Google’s
than arbitrary tasks and timelines in a soft-
social media platform is piquing interest in
ware tool, perhaps a social media platform
Not So Sticky yet
niche environments—and it’s showing great
is a better place to start for one’s central
Acceptance will undoubtedly be the biggest
promise in getting project managers to re-
project management software.”
barrier to Google+’s widespread adoption,
The project failure rate has been highly
asserts William L. Weaver, PhD, associate
publicized—63 percent of software initiatives,
professor in the department of integrated
that can secondarily assist with proj-
according to The Standish Group’s Chaos
science, business and technology at La Salle
ect management—whereas traditional
Manifesto 2011. Much of that is due to poor
University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
project management software tools, such
communication, Mr. Roeder says, so it may be
“Although somewhat raw and still under
as Primavera and Microsoft Project, are
time for forward-looking project managers to
development, the technology and capabili-
primarily project management tools that
take a fundamentally different approach.
ties should not serve as a stumbling block,”
think how they use communication tools.
“Google+ is primarily a social network
Yet for Google+ to realize its potential
The average number of new users
who sign up for Google+ every day
he says. “Instead, the challenge seems to
within this realm, project leaders need to
be both political and cultural. It can be a
help stakeholders understand the impor-
struggle to get people to abandon what they
tance of interpersonal communication.
already know or appreciate. However, as the
“Research repeatedly shows that orga-
next generation continues to enter into the
nizations who train more than their peers
workforce, the difficulty in embracing Google
around leadership and interpersonal skills
will rapidly fade.” PM
Key CoMPonents of GooGle+
Circles: One of the main differentiators of the Google+ social networking platform, circles allow users to group contacts according to an
established relationship. They’re a great way to share relevant content
with the right people. Adding a user to a circle is as easy as checking
a box and then dragging and dropping. Users can appear in as many
circles as you want. On a project, you could have circles for stakeholders, end-users and team members, for instance. This same principle
could apply at the program and portfolio level as well.
Hangouts: As the video component of Google+, hangouts allow users
to bring together up to nine individuals for meetings, whether planned
or impromptu. With mobile capabilities, project managers can easily
address issues with dispersed team members in a virtual face-to-face
manner, no matter where they are.
App integration: Users have the option to share information with everyone in an organization, even those they haven’t added to a circle. For
example, app users can join hangouts and benefit from added features,
including screen sharing and integration with Google Docs.
Pages: Much like a user profile, pages serve as a means of hosting content
and interacting with others. They could serve as a means of keeping the
public apprised of a project’s status. Stakeholders, including end-users,
can also use the page to ask questions and offer comment. Once Google
activates private pages, they could serve as an internal portal or repository.
february 2012 PM NETWORK
These tips will help you show off
your competence and presentation
skills during an interview.
by Lindsay scott
I have an interview coming up for a project manager position, and I’ve been
informed that it will be competency-based. How can I prepare?
A: Competency-based interviews are intended to find out your project management skill level. The questions are “situational,” rather than directly relating to
your career history. They’re also specifically chosen so the interviewer can ask
the same ones to all the interviewees and compare each response.
To prepare, you need to understand what the key competencies are for the
role. If these aren’t listed in the job description, refresh your memory by reviewing
a competency framework for project management.
When preparing for the interview, think about how you demonstrate your
abilities, skills, personality, style and approach in each of the key areas.
Let’s take two competencies as examples—one that covers technical project
management and one that covers behavioral aspects.
Question 1: Describe the steps you take when starting to plan a project for the
Your Response: Choose a project that had a particularly challenging or complex
planning phase. Begin with a brief overview of the project you have chosen, then
describe your actions. For example, you might say, “In a previous project, I was
responsible for delivering X, and the planning phase started with A, B and C.”
The answer should focus on definition, scope, schedule, planning and best practices. You should also clearly convey the favorable outcomes of your actions.
Question 2: Can you describe a time when you had to manage team conflict?
Your Response: State the situation at the beginning of your answer: “I was leading
a team of 20 software developers, and there was a personality clash between two
members of the team.” Your answer should continue with the specifics of the actions
you took to resolve this conflict and then conclude with the positive outcome.
PM NeTWOrK february 2012 WWW.PMI.OrG
Tell interviewers what you want them to
hear: that you have the experience required to
deal with the various challenging situations that
arise when managing projects.
Q: I’m at the second stage for an interview
for a project management post and I’ve been
asked to give a presentation. What hints and
tips can you give me?
A: Giving a presentation during the interview
process is becoming increasingly common for
project management positions. It is an ideal
opportunity for the interviewers to test many
aspects of interviewees, including their understanding of subject matter, time management
skills, presentation style, communication skills
and confidence levels.
You will normally receive a brief for the
presentation a few days before the interview.
Some organizations, however, like to provide
Tell inTerviewers whaT
you wanT Them To
hear: ThaT you have The
experience required To
deal wiTh The various
ThaT arise when
the brief upon your arrival, with instructions to create a presentation within a set
timeframe—usually a tight one.
Popular presentation briefs for project management tend to fall into two categories:
1. Scenario-based: You are expected to present what your actions would be
in a given situation.
2. Document-based: You are expected to analyze and summarize information.
With each brief, there will be specific questions posed that you will need to
The key to any successful presentation is structure, time and confidence. Set
the scene; do not assume the audience understands what the project is. Cover
what was actually done and your part in it, and the outcome and benefits.
If you are using PowerPoint or other presentation software, don’t use too
many slides. About one slide per three minutes is adequate.
Always have an introductory slide that clearly states your name, the title of the
presentation and its objectives.
The next slide should be a bulleted list of contents that you should briefly
The remaining slides should not be too busy with detail. Instead, keep them
bulleted and to the point. Use the slides as a prompt.
Handouts can be a good way to leave your mark with the audience; distribute them at the end of the presentation. Don’t just provide a printout of
the presentation, though. Because time constraints likely mean you’ll only get to discuss
the topic at a high level, include more detail
on these sheets.
Poor time management is to blame for
many unsuccessful presentations. Practice to
make sure you’re timing things carefully.
Practicing can also boost your confidence
level. Once you feel comfortable with the presentation, brainstorm potential follow-up questions you may be asked.
Remember, there is often no right or wrong
answer to how you choose to interpret the
presentation brief—within reason, of course.
Instead, it is all about your delivery. PM
Lindsay Scott is the director of program and
project management recruitment at Arras
People in London, England. Send career questions to [email protected]
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february 2012 PM NETWORK
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Project Management Institute
Practice Standard for Earned Value Management—Second Edition
Now in a new edition, this standard augments the earned value information in A Guide to the Project
Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Fourth Edition. It addresses the use of earned
value management (EVM) for medium-sized and smaller projects while still being relevant for larger
ones. It provides detailed explanations of the basic elements and processes of EVM, and demonstrates how to scale EVM to fit varying project sizes and situations. The standard also provides indepth coverage of more complex EVM subjects. It is filled with graphical examples that allow readers
to establish and execute EVM on projects in almost any environment.
Project Management Institute, 2011, ISBN: 9781935589358, paperback, 135 pages, $44.75 Member, $55.95 Nonmember
Serghei Floricel, PhD, John L. Michela, PhD,
and Mark George with Line Bonneau, PhD
Refining the Knowledge Production
Plan: Knowledge Representations
in Innovation Projects
Standing apart from
the authors of this
report hold the view
exists not abstractly
in the brain but
concretely in the
form of external
representations, ranging from sketches or
email texts to high-resolution images and
prototypes. Qualitative research includes
the results from interviews with managers in 18 different projects in a variety of
business sectors; quantitative research
includes results from an online questionnaire that drew 151 responses. This report
is rich with information that might serve
as a foundation for further investigation
or for analysis and development of knowledge representations in practical contexts.
Project Management Institute, 2011,
ISBN: 9781935589389, paperback, 197 pages,
$23.95 Member, $29.95 Nonmember
PM NETWORK fEbruary 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
Tom Kendrick, PMP
Agile Project Management:
Creating Innovative Products—
101 Project Management
Problems and How to Solve Them:
Practical Advice for Handling
Real-World Project Challenges
all levels, this
the best project
product management and software
development practices into an overall
framework designed to support highly
improved speed and mobility. The
many topics added in this new edition include incorporating agile values,
scaling agile projects, release planning,
portfolio governance and enhancing
organizational agility. Project and business leaders will especially appreciate
the new coverage of promoting agility
through performance measurements
based on value, quality and constraints.
collection explores a
wide range of project
problems and offers
practical answers to
urgent questions and
simple strategies for
obstacles. How-to solutions help readers
keep a project on track despite unavoidable
interruptions, prevent unreliable outside
collaborators from jeopardizing the entire
project, manage project teams that have
little or no project management experience,
make up for lost time without cutting corners, and succeed in the face of threatened
budget cuts. Plan-ahead strategies and onthe-fly solutions make this a valuable project adviser and on-the-job troubleshooter.
Addison-Wesley Professional, 2009,
ISBN: 9780321658395, paperback, 432 pages,
$47.50 Member, $49.99 Nonmember
AMACOM Books, 2010, ISBN: 9780814415573,
paperback, 260 pages, $18.95 Member,
Monique Aubry, PhD, MPM, Ralf Müller, DBA, MBA, PMP, and Johannes Glückler, PhD
Governance and Communities of PMOs
ore and more, large organizations are deploying project management offices (PMOs), not as single entities with broad organizational responsibilities, but as concurrent, multiple entities
with individual mandates, functions and characteristics. To date,
research efforts have focused almost exclusively on single PMOs.
Governance and Communities of PMOs breaks this mold with a report of
international research conducted by the authors, who hail from three different
countries. The report also provides a new and highly relevant multi-disciplinary
approach by integrating the foundations of project management with social
geography and innovation, allowing a more revealing analysis.
Practitioners and academics alike can read this report, confident that there is
something in it for each group.
The report’s literature review and conceptual framework is no mere listing of
what has been said before. Instead, it’s a comprehensive survey and discussion of
the theory surrounding the matter of multiple PMOs. Readers will immediately
see the authors’ orientation toward knowledge management as a principal outcome of PMO implementation. To this end, the authors suggest three paradigms
for PMOs: islands, networks and communities.
They further describe three roles for PMOs in a network—controlling, serving
Project Management Institute, 2012,
ISBN: 9781935589488, paperback, 106 pages
and partnering—each with a different influence on governance and knowledge
sharing. The communities of practice is the newest and most revolutionary of the
February ITeM OF THe MONTH
three paradigms. Readers will see the opportunities it offers and the hurdles it faces
aT PMI MarKeTPLaCe
During the month of February, purchase this title
in current management contexts.
from Marketplace.PMI.org at the PMI member price of
The report augments theory with four international case studies from the
$19.15 (regularly $23.95). Nonmember price $23.95
telecommunications, healthcare, financial and pharmaceutical industries. Each is (regularly $29.95)
analyzed in terms of:
n project governance
n PMO formal structure
n governance of multiple PMOs
n relationships between PMOs
n learning mechanisms
Graphics illuminate theoretical concepts and summarize case study data in ways that simplify matters that otherwise might be too esoteric or complex.
The authors codify their research into a discussion of PMO roles in networks. The conversation culminates with
an interesting and revealing “bagel metaphor” that discloses the shortcomings of centrally implemented PMOs.
All research is a step on the never-ending path to better understanding. This report is one such step, but one
with additional practical value: PMOs are not just a means of corporate compliance and control. They can also be
powerful contributors to organizational learning, improvement and success.
february 2012 PM NETWORK
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“This is no
image courtesy of pcb.com.au
We came out of [a space
saying, ‘We may very well
be able to do this.’”
—David Smitherman, technical manager of future space projects,
NASA, Washington, D.c., USA
PRojEcT: Space elevator
SPEcificATioNS: 35,786 kilometers
(22,236 miles) into space
MoTivATioN: NASA will award US$2 million
to the team that creates a strong enough cable
PM NETWoRK february 2012 WWW.PMi.oRG
Rocket power could face competition as the only means to access outer
space. Scientists are working on a project to create a space elevator that
would act as a cheaper mass transportation system for moving people, payloads and power between Earth and space stations.
The current project blueprint involves a tram that climbs a cable 35,786
kilometers (22,236 miles) into space. The cable is balanced by a counterweight in orbit—perhaps an asteroid moved into place for that purpose—and
held taught by inertia, much like a guitar string. Plans call for a base tower
at the equator about 50 kilometers (31 miles) high, making it vulnerable to
The cable has proved tricky: The project team determined that carbon
nanotubes are likely the best bet, but they’re difficult to weave into a tether.
NASA (the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has promised a US$2 million prize to motivate teams, but so far none have hit the
target strength for the cable.