Resilience, determination, dedication…all attributes
found in a good project manager. However in the
aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, these are the necessary
attributes our colleagues, neighbors, and loved ones
must muster or possess in dealing with the clean-up,
repair and rebuilding of their homes, businesses and
Caring is also a strong attribute of a good project manager, they care for their projects and project teams. And some take it a step further to care for others in need outside of the workplace. I must express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the PMINJ members that answered my call to volunteer and assist those in need within NJ and our surrounding areas. Many thanks to those that participated in the food drive at the monthly chapter program meeting earlier this month.
Volunteer efforts will be going on throughout the upcoming months, not just for a few short weeks. If you still want to volunteer, but have not had the chance to contact firstname.lastname@example.org, it is not too late to help those in need.
In addition to our volunteer efforts, PMINJ has made substantial donations to the Red Cross, Trenton Soup Kitchen, Greater Newark Holiday Fund, Elijah’s Promise, and Operation Shoe Box. They are all charitable organizations serving those in need within the state of New Jersey.
Welcome to the World of Gala Events: PMINJ Symposiums
If you want to experience the workings of a high performance team and their capabilities, you should look no further than PMINJ Symposium team. The Symposium team performs significant planning activities since requirements for these large and complex projects have fixed budgets and high customer standards. In other words, these are Project Managers at their best!
The Symposium team flawlessly executes two large events in a calendar year:
Due to the chapter’s superior quality of work, these
symposiums have both sold-out. The Symposium team aims
to bring you an opportunity to earn Professional
Development Units (PDUs) with cutting edge topics and
content that relate to PMINJ member interests. In the
process, the team strives to present the best speakers
in the country.
The symposium team consists for 40 to 50 chapter volunteers. These volunteers believe in giving back to the PM community with their unwavering work ethics. Below is the list of the symposium teams and current team leaders:
|CoP / LCI
|Facilities and Audio Visual
|QA, Operating Procedure
||Joyce Nussbaum, Suzanne Walsh
|Thin Folder / Handouts
The PMINJ Community Outreach Team will conduct a warm
clothes drive during the PMINJ IPM [International Project
Management] Day event on November 29, 2012.
Several times during the year the team has “New Jersey Cares” initiatives where volunteers from PMINJ reach out to help those in need in the community.
In the past we have done food drives to help stock food pantries across New Jersey during the holiday season and recently in the summer months.
This new initiative is in collaboration with the United Way of New Jersey’s program ‘Gifts of the Season’. It entails collecting new:
Women, Men and Children's:
It is simple to help. All those that are attending IPM
day on November 29 should bring their donation of new
items to the Community Outreach Table.
Many thanks to Sandy Seidorf for her idea for this initiative and for taking the lead to make it happen. You can help by volunteering to staff the collection table along with Sandy. Let her know that you will be a volunteer by contacting her at Spseidorf(:@:)aol.com.
PMINJ, the Community Outreach team and the community need more volunteers like Sandy, if you are interested contact us at volunteers(:@:)pminj.org.
Join PMINJ’s celebration of International Project
Management (IPM) Day on November, 29, 2012 at The Palace
in Somerset Park, NJ
This 7th IPM Day also marks PMINJ’s 30th Anniversary!
Confirmed speakers include Keynote Gene Bowers, Mike Weber and Sally Elatta.
Volunteer activities and member donations were noted at
the PMINJ meeting on November 13th. An estimated 80 pounds
of food plus toiletries were collected for those in
need. All proceeds were donated to My Neighbor's
Pantry in Somerset and the Somerville Food Bank.
PMINJ Chapter started our 2012-2013 year in a BIG
way. And, when I write, “big,” I mean, really
BIG! At the September 19th, 2012 chapter meeting, we
were fortunate to have Virginia A. Greiman, PMP speak
about “The Big Dig: Megaprojects and Risk Management”, one
of the biggest transportation projects in the United
Professor Greiman began by sharing a bit of her personal background. She spent her childhood in Pennsylvania and loves our New Jersey beaches. While she currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts, she has fond memories of our state. She then captivated the audience by describing her nine years of experience on The Big Dig in her role as Deputy Chief Legal Counsel and Risk Manager on the project.
The undertaking of The Big Dig, also referred to as the “Central Artery Tunnel,” was imperative in order to handle the daily traffic of 190k vehicles where the existing roadway infrastructure was built to handle 75k vehicle capacity. In the 1980’s people spent an average of 4-5 hours in commuter traffic. In order to alleviate the traffic issues and deteriorating infrastructure, a combined effort or “joint venture” was created with the Federal government, two state government groups and contractor companies, Bechtel and Parsons, to begin this project. Actual construction began in 1992 in what was the largest, highly complex and technically challenging highway and tunnel project in recent history. Today, with the completion of The Big Dig, the Boston area highways can now handle 225k vehicles.
As you can imagine, some of the very complex challenges and risks that were faced included:
Virginia shared important details of the innovative
techniques utilized to address these concerns and the
lessons learned from this unique undertaking:
All Roads Lead to Governance: Although it is
not unusual to have multiple bosses and various
stakeholders, clear accountabilities and organization is
crucial. The management team worked diligently to develop
the most effective governance with clear roles and
responsibilities across the government, private entity,
public entity and project organization.
Checks & Balances: Although the management team was successful in bringing together the public and private sector to work as one team, auditors felt that they were too “cozy” and needed to demonstrate that they had procedures to demonstrate effective checks and balances of each other.
Shared Risk & Incentivize Project Vendors: In order to minimize cost overruns, schedule delays and quality risks to the project, consultant companies were required to invest some of their own equity into the project with incentives on the back end for positive results. Tracking “lost time” was used to reward contractors with actual compensation if there were no absences for a defined period of time.
Formal Risk Processes: It was crucial to have a formal process for the Risk Management of this initiative and what was used was very close to what is in the PMBOK. Drafting a Risk Policy and having formalities around Risk Assessment, Risk Control, and Risk Response with consistently identifying risks, developing mitigations, and looking for patterns were key in managing current risk and anticipating future ones. Risk strategies were also used to create opportunities. Partnering approaches were used to improve understanding of stakeholder needs and concerns and incentive programs to motivate workers. Scenario planning was used to stimulate innovation and test current processes. An emergency response and critical infrastructure protection program was used to monitor risk.
Formalized Safety Program: There was an obvious concern for the expected number of fatalities due to the complexity of putting tunnels in water and securing them. The initial Risk Analysis expectation was that 52 fatalities could occur and this eventually grew to 170 over the life of the project. However, Virginia and her team set their goal of zero fatalities and incentives were put in place to achieve this key goal. Under the remarkably high-safety standards in place, there were just four actual fatalities. Root Cause Analysis was employed to prevent similar accidents from recurring as well as forward looking, beyond project completion, to assess loss exposure potential. Some questions they addressed in the analysis follow:
Constant Feedback: Lessons Learned meetings were
conducted weekly at 6am. The attendees learned a
great deal from all the managers around the table.
This included all areas of the project from the project
participants, stakeholders in the private and public
sector as well as government oversight.
Virginia concluded by saying that while megaprojects bring many challenges and complexities for project risk management in order to prevent disastrous failures and assure project success, in the end, they can be very rewarding. More of her expertise and insights can be found in her upcoming book on Megaprojects scheduled to be published in 2013.
Virginia A. Greiman, PMP, Professor of Project Management, Boston University
Professor Greiman has more than 20 years of experience in international project finance and development in both developed and transition economies and is a recognized expert in mega project management and finance, risk management, legal reform, and privatization. She is an Assistant Professor at Boston University in project and program management and planning, and holds teaching appointments at Harvard and Boston University Law Schools and the Kennedy School of Government. She previously served as Deputy Chief Legal Counsel and Risk Manager to Boston's $14.9 billion dollar Central Artery/Tunnel Project (The Big Dig) and as international legal counsel to the US Department of State, the US Agency for International Development and the World Bank in Eastern and Central Europe, Africa and Asia on privatization, infrastructure development and legal reform projects. Prior appointments include serving as United States Trustee to the U.S. Department of Justice where she oversaw the reorganizations of Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant and the Bank of New England. She has published extensively and lectures internationally on project management and risk management, project complexity and infrastructure development. She is a certified PMP and a member of the legal bars of Virginia, D.C. and Massachusetts.
At the September Networking meeting at the Pines Manor,
attendees heard a presentation from Barbara A. Fuller PMP
on the topic of Strategic Networking. Barbara
pointed out that while we all know how important it is to
build a strong network of professional and
non-professional contacts that can help with career growth
as well as in various other ways, many of us don’t go
about building that network in a very organized way.
Yet as project managers we know the steps we should take
to approach any strategic project:
Barbara illustrated this with stories of how a
half-hearted networking effort could become much more
interesting and productive with a solid plan. Each
of us might come up with a different plan to meet our
individual goals using the particular resources we have
available. Perhaps you’d like to be recognized by
more for your skills. The goals that you set should
have a timetable and be measureable, and the strategy
should identify how much time will be spent in each of the
available areas, such as attending various networking
group meetings, arranging interviews, participating in
online social networks, writing articles, volunteering,
etc. Quality counts too. Networking is a game of
collecting the most business cards. This is about how many
people you follow up with afterwards in a meaningful way,
perhaps by offering help and it is definitely about
building a more lasting relationship. Finally,
Barbara pointed out that attitude is critically important
when meeting new people, so if times are stressful, “get
it together before entering the room”!
Barbara A. Fuller PMP is a consultant and coach with a specialization in working with small businesses, and also a speaker and writer. She has a BS degree in Information Technology and MBA in ‘Systems Approach to Management” from Baldwin-Wallace College.
The featured speaker for October was Anthony Reed, CPA,
PC, and the title of his presentation was “Nailing Gelatin
to the Wall or How to Gather Business Requirements.” Mr.
Reed has over 25 years of experience in the field of IT
project management. He has worked for various companies,
including Ernst and Young, Siemens and Frito-Lay. He’s the
author of five books and is also an accomplished runner
who has competed in 118 marathons.
Mr. Reed’s experience both in his work and personal life hascontributed to his success and ability to translate basic project planning principles using real-life examples into concrete ideas so non-project management workers can relate to and understand. The main premise he sought to illustrate with his presentation – relationship building with stakeholders and fostering their understanding of the work which needs to be done. Mr. Reed believes this is of paramount importance to the success of a project, and without it, the project is doomed to failure from the start.
Mr. Reed began his presentation outlining why the Business Requirements Phase is the litmus test which will predict a project’s success. He stated that without the understanding and ultimate buy-in of the stakeholders , specifically the executive sponsors and the subject matter experts, the project will be started without the necessary information you need to adequately plan and deliver the project to completion. He advocated focusing on the people involved to make the project a success, not the methodology or technology. He reasoned that if you understand the people you are working with and how they think, you can more effectively manage both the information you glean from them, as well as their expectations. This ultimately will lead to agreement and successful working relationship throughout the project.
Mr. Reed did not advocate a “magic bullet” or fool-proof process for gathering business requirements. His process is fairly simple; get to know the people involved, what they do in their everyday work life, and how they think. This inside-out understanding of the various elements involved in the project and relationship building that happens in the process, will contribute to a successful Business Requirements Phase, leading to a successfully completed project in the end.
Storm chasers are professionals (or should be) who watch
for tornados and hurricanes during the summer months in
the southern and Midwestern United States. Their
goal is to get close enough to a storm to photograph and
video it without incurring any harm to themselves.
Some do it for the thrill, while others chase storms for
legitimate research purposes. Though most are trained and
experienced in what they do, they can in no way control
the direction the storm will take (without warning, storms
can often veer off in a new direction). One way to
view the situation is as a high-stakes ‘cat and mouse’
game, with the participants risking injury or even death
if they get caught in the path of the storm. To
mitigate the risks, storm chasers rely on inputs (such as
seismic data and weather predictions), using modern
technology and expert judgment for the planning and
execution of their work.
What does this have to do with program and project management? Well, aside from the obvious dangers that storm chasers face, one could say that these professionals deal with a high degree of complexity and ambiguity, much like many project and program managers. There is another similarity to which we will draw a comparison, having to do with the internal structure of the storm. Inside the tornados/hurricanes storm chasers are chasing, there is a calm environment known as ‘the eye of the storm’. As the program or project manager, you must hypothetically keep yourself and your team positioned in a calm environment, even if and when serious issues arise and various chaotic events are ‘swirling’ around you. What steps and actions can you take in order to shield your team from the chaos, and ensure they stay in the calm eye of the storm when times are difficult?
Although every situation on a program or a project is different, below are our principle suggestions for dealing with the difficult situations on projects and programs, garnered from our combined experience:
Follow the plans
At the start of the program or project, under your guidance, your team will have developed several project plans (Risk, Communication, Schedule, Success, Cost, Implementation, Iteration, Quality, Training, perhaps Safety, etc.) that, at the time they were created, were your team’s best assessment of the work to be done and how it should be performed. We also assume that your customers and stakeholders approved your plans so that you could begin to execute them. It is important to continually refer to those plans as your baseline for documenting gaps or deviations. Even simple things such as tracking Milestone dates and showing missed or updated milestones are important to managing the plans. For example, if a milestone is missed, keep it in the document but mark it as ‘crossed out’ and insert the new date beneath the original milestone, or rebaseline in the schedule to reflect both the previous agreed date, and the new. This approach will keep all parties aware of and in tune with the plan versus reality.
It is widely agreed that communication comprises 90% of project management. We believe how communications are delivered (both the medium, tone, and expression) is just as, if not more, crucial as what is being communicated. When focusing your team and stakeholders, to remain within the eye of the storm, we believe it’s best to follow some key principles which we summarize below:
Others Will Follow Your Example
At all times, ‘Remain Calm’. If you as the leader of the team begin to waver or fall apart, it will have a ripple effect throughout your team. Further, your stakeholders and customers will continue to believe in the team’s success if confidence permeates team communications. Let people vent their emotions when necessary (when appropriate and in the right environment – negativity should be controlled). Allowing time for venting may serve no other purpose but to reduce the pressure or stress proportionally, but it will be appreciated later.
Focus On the Key Milestone Dates
‘Keep the eye on the prize’ (remember that the agreed benefits are the reasons your program or project exists) and continue to drive to the next milestone date. Getting there will increase everyone’s confidence and you can then do an impact analysis on the changes from baseline.
80/20 Decision Making
Don’t wait on all facts to make an informed decision. When you have sufficient information – act upon it. Yes, it’s a bit of a gamble but delaying action can also have the same negative impact. This is where experience, instinct, and ‘gut’ feel come into play. However things turn out in the end, it was the right action to do at the time. Sometimes mistakes may occur as a result, but you will learn from any mistakes made. By keeping focused on what you need to do, you will get there.
Clearly Define Success vs. Time
If the benefits change during program/project execution, advise the appropriate stakeholder and customers accordingly so they adjust their expectations. Ensure that they want to continue the effort. Accept discontinuation of the project if it gets to the point at which the costs (not just financial) outweigh the benefits. Always capture and record lessons learned, and agree on how to share them so that new programs and projects take them on board.
In conclusion, remember that, as the program/project manager, you are the leader and your team will tend to mimic your actions – particularly in a crisis or in times of stress. Follow the basics of keeping cool under pressure and maintain the ‘calm eye of the storm’ for your team. Remember, your program or project is a temporary endeavor and ‘it too shall pass’. We hope you take this short article and put a copy in your crisis or risk folder for reference.
About the authors:
Gareth Byatt, Gary Hamilton, and Jeff Hodgkinson are experienced PMO, program, and project managers who developed a mutual friendship by realising we shared a common passion to help others and share knowledge about PMO, portfolio, program and project management (collectively termed PM below). In February 2010 we decided to collaborate on a three (3) year goal to write 50 PM subject articles for publication in any/all PM subject websites, newsletters, and professional magazines / journals.
Our mission with these articles is to help expand good PMO, program, and project management practices by promoting the PM profession, to be a positive influence to the PM Community, be known as eminent influencers of good PM practices, and in earnest hope readers can gain benefit from the advice of their 66+ years of combined experience plus the expertise of co-authors who kindly write with us on particular subjects.
Gareth Byatt has 16+ years of experience in project, program and PMO management in IT and construction for Lend Lease. Gareth has worked in several countries and lives in Sydney, Australia. He can be contacted through LinkedIn. Gareth holds numerous degrees, certifications, and credentials in program and project management as follows: an MBA from one of the world’s leading education establishments, a 1st-class undergraduate management degree, and the PMP®, PgMP®, PMI-RMP®, PMI-SP® & PRINCE2 professional certifications. Gareth is a past Director of the PMI Sydney Chapter, he is currently the APAC Region Director for the PMI’s PMO Community of Practice and he chairs several peer networking groups. He has presented on PMOs, portfolio and program and project management at international conferences in the UK, Australia, & Asia including PMI APAC in 2010.
Gary Hamilton has 17+ years of project and program management experience in IT, finance, and human resources and volunteers as the VP of Programs for the PMI East Tennessee chapter. Gary is a 2009 & 2010 Presidents’ Volunteer Award recipient for his charitable work with local fire services and professional groups. He has won several internal awards for results achieved from projects and programs he managed as well as being named one of the Business Journal’s Top 40 Professionals in 2007. Gary is the 5th person globally to obtain the six PMI credentials PgMP®, PMP®, PMI-RMP®, PMI-SP®, PMI-ACP®, and CAPM®. In addition to these, Gary holds numerous other degrees and certifications in IT, management, and project management and they include: an advanced MBA degree in finance, Project+, PRINCE2, MSP, ITIL-F, MCTS (SharePoint), MCITP (Project), CSM (Certified Scrum Master), and Six Sigma GB professional certifications.
Jeff Hodgkinson is a 33+ year veteran of Intel Corporation, where he continues on a progressive career as a senior program/project manager. Jeff is an IT@Intel SME and blogs on Intel’s Community for IT Professionals for Program/Project Management subjects and interests. He is also the Intel IT PMO PMI Credential Mentor supporting colleagues in pursuit of a new credential. In 2012, he earned an IAA (Intel Achievement Award), Intel’s highest recognition, with the team for work in implementing an industry-leading private cloud solution. Jeff received the 2010 PMI (Project Management Institute) Distinguished Contribution Award for his support of the Project Management profession from the Project Management Institute. Jeff was the 2nd place finalist for the 2011 Kerzner Award and was also the 2nd place finalist for the 2009 Kerzner International Project Manager of the Year Award TM. He also received the 2011 GPM™ Sustainability Award. He lives in Mesa, Arizona, USA and is a member of Phoenix PMI Chapter. Because of his contributions to helping people achieve their goals, he is the third (3rd) most recommended person on LinkedIn with 590+ recommendations, and is ranked 33rd most networked LinkedIn person. Jeff holds numerous certifications and credentials in program and project management, which are as follows: CAPM®, CCS, CDT, CPC™, CIPM™, CPPM–Level 10, CDRP, CSM™, CSQE, GPM™, IPMA-B®, ITIL-F, MPM™, PME™, PMOC, PMP®, PgMP®, PMI-RMP®, PMI-SP®, PMW, and SSGB. Jeff is an expert at program and project management principles and best practices. Jeff is currently focusing on gaining expertise in energy efficiency and home energy alternatives
| Aparna Agrawal
| Rajagopalan Gurumoorthy
Karthik Sriram LakshmiNarasimhan
| Jagannatha Poojari