When Does A Project Begin?

PM ChangeAgent Commentary

One of the greatest challenges in managing a project is managing its duration. And yet, inconsistent standards about when a project actually begins makes everything from duration metrics to Customer expectations inconsistent.

Let’s look at a hypothetical example. The dates are arbitrary, just to show the progression of steps, and are related to the diagram you see below. Whenever we share this insight, it never fails to stir discussion.

January 2, Inspiration: Your best internal Customer, a Functional Manager, riding or driving to work (there is lots of time to daydream in the morning journey), gets an inspiration for a project that would significantly improve operations. Once in the office, events of the day cause the idea to be shoved aside.

Read more

Understanding the Competence Difference

PM ChangeAgent Commentary

Some people don’t know what we mean when we say at IPMA-USA, “Discover the Competence Difference.” And yet, would you want incompetent performance (or more politely, “not yet competent) in your organization, your government, or even in your yard service (for those who can still afford it)?

So while most people clearly understand incompetence, too many still fail to understand the competence difference when it comes to Project Management. From one of our presentations, and repeated in a June article, Closing the Gap, the Competence Difference is clear from the following scenarios:

  • Would you fly as a passenger in a plane piloted by two “Air Academy” graduates who passed their final exam, but have never taken off or landed a plane (not even in a simulator)?
  • Would you consider “going under the knife” for brain surgery by a Surgeon who has attended all the classes, read all the books, passed the exams, but has never wielded a scalpel?
  • Would you allow a Lawyer to represent you in a criminal case, who, while having passed the bar exam, has never practiced before a jury?

Read more

The Elephant in the Room

PM ChangeAgent Commentary

In the World of Project Management, any discussion about PM Societies must consider what we call  The Other Organization (the elephant in the room). Many IPMA-USA members are also members of the other organzation. In fact, a handful of our members can take credit for helping make it the success it is today.

If it is a great, successful organization, why does the USA need IPMA-USA? We are often asked that when we staff booths at major Conferences. There are several answers. First, any discipline that is dominated by just one strong provider is a discipline that is in decline. Part of the reason we started IPMA-USA was to increase the rate of advancements in Program and Project Management that slowed during the 1990’s.

Second, we saw the need for Advanced PM certifications, that actually assess and certify Project and Program Performance. This initiative has taken our volunteers three years to deliver. The good news, by the end of 2009, the entire suite of Advanced, Performance-Competence-based certifications of Project Manager, Senior Project Manager and Program Manager will be available. There are more reasons why the USA needed IPMA-USA. But they will be the subject for some later posting.

Read more