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What 12 Christmas Gifts will Make You a Better Project Manager?

What 12 Christmas Gifts will Make You a Better Project Manager?

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate it). And a fabulous week if you don’t. Traditionally, Christmas has 12 Days. And that led to the traditions of 12 days of Christmas gifts and the Twelfth Night celebration.

And that got me wondering… What 12 gifts would a Project Manager want?

So, here are my thoughts…

If you prefer video, here it is in a 6 minute video:

What 12 Christmas Gifts will Make You a Better Project Manager?

12 Project Controls

Control is what we are all about as Project Managers. So, we want as many Project Controls as we can get. Here are my top 12!

  1. Stage Gates
  2. Checkpoint meetings
  3. Risk and issue management
  4. Schedule control
  5. Budget management and cost control
  6. Document management
  7. Version control
  8. Configuration management
  9. Project reporting
  10. Change control
  11. Quality reviews
  12. Handover

11 Plates Spinning

Sometimes Project Management feels like an exercise in juggling balls and spinning plates. But, if you’re going to do it… Spin as many as you can!

Project Manager - as Juggler and Plate-spinner

10 Points of Project Failure

Of course, we don’t want points of failure. But we do want to understand as many points of failure as possible, so we can avoid them.

The best way to learn more about this is with our short course, How to Avoid Project Failure will clue you in on:

  • 61 Primary Reasons for Project Failure, grouped into
  • 10 Points of Project Failure

Click the image to learn more…

How to Avoid Project Failure


Reference to Kindle eBook: How to Avoid Project Failure 

9 Ways to Crash Your Timeline

If you don’t know what ‘Crashing a Timeline’ means, take a look at this short video…

So,how can you crash your timeline? Here are 9 ways:

  1. Extended hours
  2. Reduced rigor you require for task or product definitions
  3. Trust more – and require less pre-approval
  4. Put non-project priorities to one side
  5. Trade budget for resources
  6. Reduce scope
  7. Buy in packaged solutions
  8. Increase risk tolerance
  9. Reduce planning and rely on experience and judgment

8 Steps of a Project

My book, How to Manage a Great Project is structured around an 8 step Project Management process.

  1. What do you want?
  2. Does it Stack up?
  3. Who Cares?
  4. How will you Get what you want?
  5. Who will help?
  6. What if it goes wrong?
  7. How is it going?
  8. How did it go?

I describe those steps in this 4 minute video…

7 Principles, Themes, and Processes of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 is one of the best developed and most important approaches to Project management. We have:

PRINCE2 is structured around 7 Principles, 7 Themes, and 7 Processes, as illustrated below:

PRINCE2 Methodology

For a quick answer to the question ‘What is PRNCE2?’ check out this video…

6 Risk Strategies

Our article on Risk Response Strategies won first prize in the MVP Awards, under the risk management category. So I’m very proud of it.

In it, I list what I believe to be the six project risk response strategies. But I also compare them to other frameworks, so you get – as you’d expect – an absolutely complete picture.

The six I list are:

  1. Remove the risk
  2. Reduce likelihood
  3. Reduce impact
  4. Contingency plan
  5. Transfer the risk
  6. Accept the risk

For a full guide to all of our risk management content (there’s a lot), check out our ‘Ultimate Guide to Project Risk Management’.

5 Basic Charts

There are a lot of different charts we draw in Project Management. But, in my view, there are none more basic than these:

  1. WBS – Work Breakdown Structure
  2. Milestone Chart
  3. Network Chart – in Critical Path or PERT Chart format
  4. Gantt Chart
  5. RACI Chart or LRC (Linear Responsibility Chart) – they are close cousins

4 Project Stages

As Project Managers, we divide our projects up into stages, to make them more manageable. Different models, organizations, methodologies, and different PMs all have different numbers of stages and names for them. But, the most fundamental approach that has all of the key detail is a four-stage process. The labels we use at OnlinePMCourses are:

  1. Definition
  2. Planning
  3. Delivery
  4. Close

3 Objectives

Every project needs clear objectives and the Triple Constraint, Triangle of Balance, or Time-Cost-Quality Triangle gives you the three primary objectives of:

  1. Time
  2. Cost
  3. Quality

Triple Constraint, Triangle of Balance, and Time-Cost-Quality Triangle are three names for the same thing. But if you are working in an American organization or were trained via the PMI’s PMBOK Guide, you probably speak of the Iron Triangle of Time, Cost, and Scope. Either way works. So, Scope offers us a bonus fourth Objective!

2 Competing Boks

We’re expecting a new edition of the PMI‘s Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (the PMBOK Guide) in 2021. That’ll be the 7th Edition. It will match the edition number of the APM‘s Body of Knowledge (the APM BoK).

  1. PMBOK (6th Edition or 7th Edition)
  2. APMBoK

And 1 Perfectly Well-defined Goal

It all starts from your goal. Without a clear, well-defined goal, you’re adrift without a rudder.

About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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