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Category Archives for Tools and Techniques

Indispensable Guide to the Sources of Project Risk

If you are taking on Project Management, you will need to come to terms with its necessary consequence: project risk. It’s a topic I’ll be covering a lot, over time, because it is so central to project management. I have already written, at length, about why projects go wrong. In this article, we’ll look at some of the sources of project risk.

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Do You Know How to Craft the Perfect Project Name?

Craft the Perfect Project Name

Does your Project Name matter?

After all, Juliet told Romeo that ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. But we use names all the time. And sometimes the name we hear colors our interpretation, before we find out anything else about a person, a product, or a project. Project names do sometimes matter.

But naming projects is a tricky business, with more getting it wrong than right.

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One Minute Project Manager: Applying the Principles to Projects

The One Minute Manager (by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson) is a deserved best-seller. Its guidance is simple and valuable for any manager. So how does it translate for a Project Manager? Could you be a One Minute Project Manager?Continue reading

The Essential Guide to Robust Project Decision Making

Robust Project Decision Making

One of the challenges a new Project Manager faces is project decision making. It is easy to find the constant stream of small decisions overwhelming. But there’s more to it than that. Some decisions are big, and getting them right is a matter of good governance.

The Twin Challenges of Project Decision Making

Robust Project Decision Making
And so we have the two requirements of project decision making:

  1. The need to get it right, in terms of accountability, transparency, and approach, to satisfy the need for good governance
  2. The need to make project decisions quickly, to satisfy the need for speed, so you don’t hold up progress.

In this article we are going to focus on the need for good, robust, accountable project decision making. In next week’s article, we will look at how to satisfy the need for speed, and make a good decision in a hurry.Continue reading

How to Define your Project Scope

How to Define Your Project Scope

Project Scope is simple in concept; but hard in practice. It is a measure of the breadth and depth of your project. Put another way, it is everything you need to do.

We call the process of defining the scope of your project, ‘scoping your project’.

Scoping your Project is Hard

Come to think of it, scoping your project isn’t just hard; it’s the hardest part of project management. After all, it’s at this part of your project management that you have to reconcile all of the different needs and desires of a wide range of stakeholders, of varying influence, importance and attitude. Scoping is fundamentally an exercise in negotiation.

But here’s the thing. If you get your project scope wrong at the outset, you will end up with the wrong outcomes. Not only that, but you will also have angry, upset, and frustrated stakeholders. And no one wants that!Continue reading

Take Control with John Boyd’s OODA Loop

Take Control with John Boyds OODA Loop

John Boyd’s OODA Loop deserves to be better known than it is. It is a simple and powerful model of the decision-making cycle. Consequently, Project Managers, Change Managers, and Risk Managers can apply it in a broad range of situations.

Likewise, it is also a useful model for time management, personal effectiveness, conflict, coaching, influence, and many other areas.Continue reading

The Secret to Reading Minds with Perceptual Positions

Wouldn’t it be great if you could see the world from someone else’s point of view? Maybe that would help with conflict, influence, or negotiation. This is exactly what John Grinder and Judith DeLozier’s Perceptual Positions technique will give you.Continue reading

Bruce Tuckman and How Groups Develop

Bruce Tuckman How Groups Develop

Small groups are an important part of organisational life. We deploy them to tackle short-term problems and as regular work units. Outside of work, we encounter them in many contexts. It was Bruce Tuckman whose research gave us the clearest and most useful model of how they develop.Continue reading

The Easy Way to Create a WBS with a Mind Map

Blog - Create a WBS with a Mind Map

One of the most under-used Project Management tools of all is the Work Breakdown Structure, or WBS. For some reason, it seems to intimidate new Project Managers. Yet it is nothing more than a listing of everything you need to do in a structured way. And there is one very friendly and familiar tool that many people use, which can do this for you. In this article, you’ll learn how to create a WBS with a Mind Map.Continue reading

The Secret to Getting Your Project Documentation Right

Getting Your Project Documentation Right

When I am training Project Managers, one of the main concerns I hear is about Project documentation. No-one likes the feeling of bureaucracy. But we do know that some record-keeping is necessary. So what is the right amount of Project documentation? And what is the secret to avoiding unnecessary reports and form-filling?Continue reading