time

Now, Take The Apple, Dearie, And Make A Wish

By |December 5th, 2013|Categories: time|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

In 1934 southern California, a successful animator of cartoon shorts embarked on a project to make, for the first time, a feature-length cartoon. The cost to create it was estimated to be $250,000 over two years. But when the story line kept changing, the budget skyrocketed to $1.4 million, and the project timeline nearly doubled.

If you haven’t already guessed it, the animator was Walt Disney and the film was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It earned over $7 million in its first run, paving the way for Walt Disney Company to deliver other astonishing firsts.

In terms of project success measures, the project was abysmal. Disney blew the schedule, budget and scope, but for understandable reasons:

Nevertheless, in terms of sponsorship, the project was wildly successful. Here’s why:

This imbalance of strong sponsorship on the one hand, and an insufficient project management process on the other, is fairly common for companies at the 1.2 to 1.7 maturity level. This is a people-centric model centered on passionate individuals, but it doesn’t scale when four or five projects are being pursued in tandem. Assuming everyone at a company doesn’t have the passion or vision to drive his project à la Mr. Disney, it becomes essential to install and implement process, which moves you closer  to crossing over the level 2 maturity hurdle.

Disney did just that. Over time, he learned from his project management mistakes, leveraged this learning to build a repeatable process, and further developed his visionary sponsorship to give his customers something new and extraordinary time and time again.  For Walt Disney, it wasn’t all just wishing on a star—he is one of the greatest American innovators because of his mastery of realization.

If you’ve worked on a
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With A Little Help From My Friends

By |September 30th, 2013|Categories: time|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

In my travels, I try to pick up tidbits to help me be more effective at managing projects. We’ve all seen the various tools, techniques, methodologies, etc. to help us deliver against The Big Three: cost, scope and time—but is that really all there is? The funny thing about projects is that success is declared despite most of the project participants knowing that the outcome was somewhat less than successful. Why is that? You hear things like, “It came in on time, under budget and was executed exactly as documented in the requirements.” So it must have been a success, right? And yet there is an unspoken disappointment because it’s not really entirely what was envisioned.

The other day, I ran across a great piece by Gartner about improving project success. Its premise was that if you focus on three things—Partnership, Requirements and Resources—you can really increase the probability of a successful project outcome. Wow! . . .something different from The Big Three!! I was easily able to relate requirements and resources back to the big three, but what about partnership? The formal definition of “partnership” (courtesy of my dictionary) was of little use, but when I looked at its synonyms, I found words like alliance, collaboration, connection, relation, and union. And that’s when it hit me. Partnership doesn’t relate to the big three but rather comprises the foundation that enables us to deliver on them. Without true partnership, project realization or the ability to deliver the expected value from the project is unlikely.

This should have been obvious considering the successful projects I’ve participated in and led. It was partnership at all levels that helped drive realization. From various IT organizations to external partners to
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Terminate the time guzzler: Inefficient meetings

By |November 15th, 2011|Categories: time|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Are you a big fan of impromptu meetings via Skype, Instant Messaging or other technology? These meetings seem to be laser focused because the meeting originator contacts you for a specific reason and has some targeted questions already at hand. Therefore, your ad hoc meeting has a clear-cut purpose, and resolution and closure is fast and painless.

So, how do you take this paradigm and apply it to the biggest time guzzler in most people’s day—the inefficient meeting?

Here’s how. Every meeting should have an agenda and specific objectives. This information should be communicated to participants well in advance so they arrive prepared. Your meeting should also be run by a facilitator who brings well-formed questions to the table; these are considered time-management “gold.” Every item on your agenda should have specific, corresponding questions that are used to elicit information and move you on to the next item. For example, if your project has the agenda item Risk Planning, some questions might include:

An interesting thing occurs when the objectives and agenda are clear, the participants come prepared, and the facilitator keeps the discussion reined-in through the use of thoughtful questions: meeting objectives are met and meetings are adjourned on-time or early. Participants think, Wow! We finished everything on the agenda and I’ve even got some spare time to put back into my day…I love it. As the meeting owner or facilitator, you might even find participants actually look forward to your meetings as the most productive time of their workday. How cool is that?

– See more at: http://www.transaccelgroup.com/blog/2011/11/15/terminate-the-time-guzzler-inefficient-meetings-2/#sthash.A0bkSWDv.dpuf

Mark that project APPROVED…

By |October 17th, 2011|Categories: Planning|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Today, every company is pursuing more projects than it can successfully handle, and that puts your project at risk of not getting the approval it needs to move forward. So, what can you do to make sure that a governance committee review doesn’t leave you and your project on the outside looking-in? Follow these steps to give your project an advantage over other projects in the queue for review.

 

Understand and communicate the business case for your project.
This starts with understanding the business strategy and business drivers that prompted your project in the first place. If you don’t understand what the business is trying to accomplish, you have very little chance of your project hitting the mark.Once the business strategy and drivers are clear, identify very specifically—and quantitatively where possible—exactly how your project will provide benefit relative to the business drivers and business strategy.

Work with key people in the business area to develop and review the business case to ensure that it is sound and strong.

Creating a solid, strong business case is the most important factor in not only getting the project approved, but also in ensuring that the project team clearly understands what is to be accomplished, why, and how it will help the business.
Identify resourcing needs by role.
Resources, especially people, are always in high demand, and you need to be very clear about the resources that your project will require (people, facilities, equipment, etc.). Clearly identify your resource needs by being specific. Assuming that your request for two technical analysts you will get you what you actually need might be a mistake. Having the right skills, expertise and individuals detailed on a project can greatly improve the probability of project success.
Identify project interdependencies.
As
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