PMINJ Networking April 2018 


 


Tools, Project Size and Certifications - Part 4 of Career Trajectories for NJ PMs
by
Beth Kujan
 

“Career is a verb” - Tim Clark

Up to this point, the Trajectories series has discussed differences in project management careers in terms of industries, business sectors, and labor classifications. The good news is that most PMINJ members are already working in sectors that are expected to grow. Also, while there are natural barriers to crossing industry sectors, a CAPM or PMP is helpful; both credentials increase career flexibility.

I’ve posited that as a chapter, we may have to accommodate a growing difference between IT and non-IT career paths. However, are more distinctions to be made between “types” of project managers besides industry experience and Agile vs Waterfall methodologies. Project management software tools, project size and certification types all show up in job descriptions. Of these three, the most important is proficiency with specific tools.

1.    PM TOOLS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has collected a list of 68 tools for Information Technology Project Managers. Albeit the list includes with Operations and Product Life Cycle Management tools. Excel wasn’t on the list, presumably because IT projects have moved onto more sophisticated tools. For Wind Energy Project Managers, software tools are listed under Technology Skills.

BLS highlights tool and technology requirements frequently included in employer job postings using a flame icon (flame ) designating a “hot technology.” The flame  (flame) identified tools are:
     flame Atlassian JIRA
     flame Microsoft Project
     flame Microsoft SharePoint
     flame Oracle Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

I would add flames to flame  Oracle Primavera P6 and  flame Changepoint Daptiv, because I’ve seen these tools called out in job descriptions for NJ jobs. Some companies have in-house systems. Port Authority of NY & NJ and JD Edwards are among them. In these cases, job descriptions specify the ability to learn software quickly.

JIRA is a project and issue tracking tool built especially for Agile teams by the Australian company Atlassian. JIRA is enterprise software, meaning that it has interfaces to other software, is web-based and was never intended for a single user.
MS Project began as a stand-a-lone product and is now offered in an enterprise version as well.
SharePoint began life as a document management and storage system, but has since gone on to be used as a web-based collaborative tool.
Daptiv is similar. It is a highly configurable software-as-a-service (SaaS) application that is used to manage multiple projects across a set of portfolios, often using MS Project data as an input. Daptiv is designed for companies that carry out mission-critical, complex and costly projects. In NJ, I know only of Daptiv being used to coordinate the manufacture of gas turbine and aircraft engine parts.
Primavera project management software debuted in 1983, one year before MS Project. They are both based on waterfall methodology, which has come under criticism as Agile and DevOps have ascended to prominence. Classically, a waterfall approach requires each step to be completed before the next one begins. Yet, project managers and these two software tools are much more flexible in their planning capabilities. Don’t expect either tool to become obsolete anytime soon.

Over the last 30 years, Primavera and Project have diverged. The most significant from my viewpoint, is that Oracle focused on large projects and large companies that also used its databases while Microsoft remained more accessible and affordable for smaller businesses and projects. Classes on MS Project are available at County Colleges across NJ; the license is affordable. In fact, Microsoft will provide a free license if one qualifies for their BizSpark program to support entrepreneurs. Oracle Primavera classes on the other hand, are hard to find and expensive; it doesn’t even get a flame icon (flame ) in the Wind Energy PM technology list. No guesses as to what a Primavera license might cost. I have seen Primavera used in the infrastructure construction management sector.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a discussion of some of the tools used by the “no collar” workforce. Entrepreneurial teams, non-profits and hackers use online tools that are (by and large) free. Trello, Team Gantt, Slack Channels, Google Docs, Alignable, Zoom Video Conferencing are not nearly as comprehensive in their capabilities as the more professional tools. Still, employers pick the tools. The no-collar workforce will include more and more PMINJ members over time. So, for anyone who wants to keep up with the times, feel free to play with some of the new cloud-based tools. 

2.    PROJECT SIZE

Demarcations as to project size are $2M, $10M and $100M according to my study of job listings. Construction and pharmaceutical industries will use project size experience as a proxy for capability, particularly if project management certifications are not common within the talent pool. There is not much to be done about this one – unless one can show that they’ve analyzed larger projects – it will be a barrier to entry.

3.    PM CERTIFICATIONS

If you are reading this article, you’ve undoubtedly chosen a PMI certification. Good choice from a salary perspective. PMI’s Program Management certification (PgMP) tops Certification Magazine’s list.

Yet there are competing certifications which are worth understanding. CIO.com recently highlighted 11 for consideration. The PMP is listed first. Certified Scrum Master makes the list. PRINCE2, short for Projects in Controlled Environments also makes the list. I’ve seen PRINCE2 listed as an equivalent for the PMP by European employers, particularly UK based operations. The American Academy of Project Management offers a Master Project Manager (MPM) certification. Though it made the CIO magazine list, it seems few, if any NJ employers recognize it. Near the bottom of the list is the Professional in Project Management (PPM) credential issued by Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM). This I have seen requested by firms in the automotive supply chain, which isn’t a large part of NJ’s economy. Before we dismiss it though, note that GAQM are the people who administer the Lean Six Sigma exams as well as PRINCE2.

In an interview, I was asked once to explain what distinguished the PMP from competing certification. I claimed the PMP was the most rigorous and that it was complementary to tools-certifications like MS Project. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it until corrected.

Universities are also getting into the act – developing curriculum and issuing their own certifications. Universities seem poised to be PMI’s best frenemies. This gives us a segue to next month’s article about growing the PMINJ chapter.

Until then you’re welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at .


 

Common Mistakes That PMs Need To Avoid That Even a Senior Project Manager Can Learn From – What Order To Place Attendees On An Invite?
by
Igor Zdorovyak


As a Project Manager or Business Manager or a Process Manager. Sending an invitation is part of the role. It’s a no brainer. It’s not even listed in the job description.

Sending an invite to attendees. What could be so complicated?

Well.

Alphabetical order seems to be reasonable. Until a high-level stakeholder complains to your manager of why he was placed after someone else with a lower title.

Sending an invite based on the highest title order. That seems a good way. Until you have to figure out who to enter first if there is more than one person with the same title. Do you place the name based on alphabetical order or on the years in service?

How about - you discovered that the Senior SME is not returning your calls because he / she was offended when you placed his / her name at the end of the invite list. When he / she was always been placed first.

Don’t forget about your boss. When the performance review time comes and you get a below stellar evaluation. Remembering that you might have entered him / her not in proper order on an invite would be a little too late.

As a Project Manager it is your job to communicate with your boss and other stakeholders to get a feel of what order the attendees need to be placed on an invite.

Do you have a common mistake that a Project Mangers Make? If so, please contact Igor and it might appear on the next article.

  • For previous articles see PMINJ Past Newsletters.
  • If you have a suggestion for a future topic or want to share your own success stories,  contact Igor at .
  • To learn more about Igor check his LinkedIn Profile.
  • For next steps on Project Manager ladder visit: WITS show where leaders and experts provide expertise in what it takes to succeed in career, in job and in personal life. 

 

How IoT will change project management
 

An increasing number of stakeholders are coming forward to learn, adapt and exploit the power of this technology - finding advanced ways to overcome obstacles with obligations in a timely, efficient and cost-saving fashion.  This projectmanagement.com article authored by Bharat Mathur on how advancements in technology can be used to create efficiencies when managing projects.  Use your pmi.org credentials to access the article.

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