1. A new paper looking at the origins of CPM has been uploaded to our PM-History page – http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Mag_Articles/P037_The_Origins_of_CPM.pdf looks at where the concepts that evolved into CPM and PERT originated. All of our papers can be found at: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/PM-History.html
2. The PMI members’ only Scheduling Conference 2017 is going to be great! Over 17,000 people are registered already – I’m the last speaker for the day (which means I only have to get up at 6:00am Australian time to participate…..) More information see: https://www.projectmanagement.com/events/356123/PMI-Scheduling-Conference-2017 My topic looks at the effect of the data generated by BIM, drones and other technology on controls.
3. PGCS Canberra is on in early May – too good to miss, see: http://www.pgcs.org.au/
A couple of hour’s hard thinking can make the difference between project success and failure! Far too many projects are simply started without any real thought as to the best strategy for delivery and what control systems are really needed to support the management of that delivery – one size does not ‘fit-all’ and simply repeating past failures creates more failures. Similarly, far too many control systems are implemented that simply generate useless paperwork (frequently to meet contractual requirements) when what’s needed is effective controls information.
Remembering that all project controls documents have to be used and maintained to be useful; the three key thinking processes needed to help build project success are:
- First the big question – how are we going to do the work to maximise the opportunity of success and optimise risk?? This is a strategic question and affects procurement as much as anything – off-site assembly needs a very different approach to on-site assembly. This does not need a complicated document but the strategy does need to be agreed; see: www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1038_Strategy.pdf
- From the strategy, the project management team structure can be designed to best manage the work as it will be accomplished and these people (or at least the key people) can then contribute to the planning process. Pictures are as useful as anything to define the overall flow of the work; see: www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1039_Project_Planning.pdf.
- Once you know the way the work will be accomplished and the overall flow/sequence of the work you are now in a position to plan the project controls function aiming to apply the minimum amount of ‘controls’ necessary to be effective. Excessive controls simply waste money and management time. My approach is always to do a bit less then I think may be needed because you can always add some additional features if the need eventuates – it Is nearly impossible to remove controls once they have been implemented.
- Then you can develop the schedule and other control tools needed for effective management working within the framework outlined above.
This area is what PMI call Schedule strategy and Schedule planning and development. Getting this ‘front-end’ stuff right is the best foundation for a successful completion of a project; this is the reason these elements of project controls have a strong emphasis in the PMI-SP exam.
Conversely, stuffing up the strategy in particular, means the project is set up to fail and implementing control systems that do not support the management structures within the project simply mean the controls people are wasting their time and the time of everyone they engage with.
However, creating a project that is based on a sound strategy supported by a useful project controls system will require some cultural changes:
- The project manager and project executive will need to take some time to look at strategic options and develop an effective delivery strategy.
- The organisation and client will need to allow the project controls professionals to work through the challenges of developing a ‘light-but-effective’ controls system and then review/approve the system – this is more difficult than simply requiring every project to comply with some bloated standard controls process that no one uses (except for claims) but should deliver massive benefits.
- The organisation will need skilled project controls professionals……….
- And the project management team will need to be willing to work with and use the project controls.
The problem is easy to outline – fixing it to enhance the project success rate is a major challenge.
We have been busy beavers updating the PM Knowledge Index on our website with White Papers and Articles. Some of the more interesting uploaded during the last couple of weeks include:
And we continue to tweet a free PMI style of exam question every day for PMP, CAPM, and PMI-SP candidates: See today’s question and then click through for the answer and the Q&As from last week.
You are welcome to download and use the information under our Creative Commons licence
Mosaic’s PMP and CAPM training program for 2017 starts on the 20th March (there’s still time to book into these courses) with regular courses scheduled through to November.
The later than usual start this year was due to our moving office in February after 15 years in the old location. The worst of the move is over and we are looking forward to getting back to helping our Melbourne trainees pass their PMP or CAPM exams.
All Melbourne classroom courses are held at the Bayview Eden hotel in Albert Park (close to the PMP test centre) and include full catering and everything else needed to fully prepare for your examination. For more information see:
If you aren’t lucky enough to live in Melbourne, Australia our unique Mentored Email courses are available worldwide for PMP, CAPM and PMI-SP exam prep. As a PMI approved R.E.P. all of our courses are guaranteed to provide the training needed to be eligible for the respective examinations.
The chair of any meeting has a unique ability to destroy the value of the meeting!
Eight of the key ways to reduce the meeting’s value are:
- Playing favourites. Bad chairs tend to shut down some attendees whilst allowing others they see as politically important to occupy most of the speaking time. The outcome from this behaviour tends to be poor decision-making; bad chairs don’t care. Their interest is to stay the good books of the people they see as politically important.
- Changing the rules. Bad chairs keep the rules to themselves and change the rules when it suits them. They don’t give advice on what preparation attendees need to make or advise how the meeting will be conducted. While this trait may appear to appear to be a gambit to leave the chair in control, in reality it means the meeting is likely to be less than useful.
- Showing bias. When there is a vigorous debate between various groups in the meeting a bad chair will obviously be supporting one side. Good chairs remain neutral whilst they may feel strongly about subject their primary function is to ensure the meeting reaches a consensus, not that the meeting reaches a decision that they predetermine as being optimum (although they need to be part of the consensus).
- Failing to define its purpose. Bad chairs do not define a clear objective for the meeting, fail to set priorities, and don’t circulate an agreed agenda. Good chairs define the purpose of every meeting with crystal clarity so attendees can come prepared and stay focused.
- Losing control. The hallmarks of a bad chair during the meeting include running over time, getting off track, get rattled, and allowing discussion to descend into personal arguments. Good facilitators keep their hands firmly on the reins consistently and politely guiding discussion back to the purpose of the meeting.
- Failing to communicate. Bad chairs tend to display no sense of appreciation for the points made by contributors to the discussion and tend to ignore many of the attendees. Good chairs are great communicators remember everybody’s name, include newcomers, and are excellent at active listening and summarising points to ensure everybody has a clear understanding of the current state discussion.
- Failing to make decisions. Deadlocks happen in most meetings, bad chairs cannot solve them. A good chair will either take a vote, extend discussion for a set (limited) period, set up a working party, or call an extraordinary meeting to deal with the item later; any of these options are better than allowing the meeting to waffle on allowing tension and confusion to grow.
- Failing to engage with meeting participants outside of the meeting. Bad chairs are missing in action, too busy to be involved with the delegates other than during the meeting. Good chairs recognise the meeting is part of a continuing process that requires responsive input and support between meetings.
Meetings are an expensive resource often costing thousands of dollars an hour to run. If you are the chair of the meeting, or are responsible for calling a meeting, you need to ensure the meeting is managed effectively to maximise the opportunity for success. This is important for every type of meeting from a short team ‘stand-up’ through to company board meetings – the further up the hierarchy the greater the cost of ineffective meetings. Unfortunately ‘bad chairs’ seem to be common at all levels; the idea for this post came from an article by Kath Walters in the AICD March 2017 magazine focused on the behaviour of dysfunctional boards of directors.
Recognising poor performance is one thing, doing something about it is another; for more on managing effective meetings see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1075_Meetings.pdf
Meeting management and effective communication also feature in our PMP and CAPM courses – the next 5-day intensive course starts 20th March, see: http://www.mosaicproject.com.au/
 For more on active listening see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1012_Active_Listening.pdf
Why not attend the Project Management College of Scheduling (PM-COS) annual conference either as a speaker or delegate and collect your ‘ticket to project success’?
Some of the reasons for joining us at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta include:
- CPM Scheduling has been around for more than fifty years. How much is art? How much is science? Help us decide.
- Network with schedule professionals from around the globe including many of the top practitioners and experts in the field.
- Learn tips from experts such as the role that case law plays in schedule delay analysis.
- Help us address important issues facing the scheduling profession today and how to resolve them as we move forward.
- Attend presentations and panel discussions to learn the recent developments in the profession and how to implement them on your projects.
For more information and to register, visit us at www.pmcos.org!