Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Magical Project Management

I really enjoy Magic and pretty much always have … all kinds of Magic … Magic that is sometimes known as Sorcery (a conceptual system that asserts human ability to control the natural world including events, objects, people, and physical phenomena through mystical, paranormal or supernatural means) and Magic that is a performing art that entertains an audience by creating illusions of impossible or supernatural feats, using purely natural means.

Recently, I came across an interesting article discussing The Seven Laws of Magic. The Seven Laws of Magic are intended to guard against the abuse of magic by wizards against other wizards and humans. Wizards in violation of the Laws are called Warlocks and can be spared from the punishment of execution if a wizard from the White Council (The White Council is the governing body of the Wizard community in the world. They primarily protect humanity from abuses of magic, but also shield this world from the Sidhe and other creatures that wish humanity harm. It is also a political and democratic organization seeking to unite Wizards throughout the world, and can make or break treaties with the other supernatural powers as necessary. The Council is governed by a Senior Council of seven wizards, with the leader referred to as the Merlin. Beyond the Senior Council, which constitutes the executive branch, there are the actual wizards of the council that contribute to the legislative branch. The Judicial branch belongs to the Wardens, a combination police force and military. Meetings of the Council are traditionally conducted in Latin, a procedural point which has, not coincidentally, served to keep younger wizards from gaining too much standing or momentum by making it very difficult for them to speak eloquently or even coherently to the rest of the Council) takes responsibility for them.

The Seven Laws of Magic are as follows:

1. Thou shalt not kill by use of magic.

2. Thou shalt not transform others.

3. Thou shalt not invade the mind of another.

4. Thou shalt not enthrall another.

5. Thou shalt not reach beyond the borders of life.

6. Thou shalt not swim against the Currents of Time.

7. Thou shalt not seek beyond the Outer Gates.

These Laws of Magic made me think that there should be similar Laws for Project Management, which would be referred to forever more as the Magical Laws of Project Management. I honestly don’t believe that they would make magical things happen to our projects, but they might just make Project Management the envy of all other professions … if it isn’t already … and guard against the abuse of Project Management by PMPs (Project Management Professionals) against other PMPs and Managers.

1. Thou shalt not kill Creativity by use of Project Management.

2. Thou shalt not Transform current Managers into PMPs.

3. Thou shalt not Invade the Mind or Ideas of another Project Manager.

4. Thou shalt not hold Captive another Project Team Member.

5. Thou shalt not reach Beyond the Borders of the Project Management Life Cycle.

6. Thou shalt not ignore History.

7. Thou shalt not Venture beyond the Concepts of the PMBOK.

The Magical Laws of Project Management may never become ‘absolute’ by themselves, but it might just be magical how much they can help some of your projects find their way to (or back to) success … Abracadabra …

Seven Laws of Magic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dresden_Files
Seven Laws of Project Management: Copyright © 2009, A. Sloan Campbell, MBA, PMP, P.Mgr, F.CIM

Friday, May 22, 2009

All I Really Need to Know About Project Management I Learned in Kindergarten

I came across this VERY interesting commentary on Linkedin (compliments of Mark Parrish, IT Project Manager - RN, MBA, PMP), it REALLY makes you think ...

I am interested in gathering project manager perceptions to a different take on Robert Fulghum’s book.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it and apply it to your job as a project manager and what these statements mean to you. I will post the results for everyone.

These are the things I learned:
• Share everything.
• Play fair.
• Don't hit people.
• Put things back where you found them.
• Clean up your own mess.
• Don't take things that aren't yours.
• Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
• Wash your hands before you eat.
• Flush.
• Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
• Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
• Take a nap every afternoon.
• When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
• Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
• Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
• And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Project Management Formulas

Following are the Formulas consolidated for PMP preparation, but they are also very helpful for every day activities ...

Earned Value Analysis
PV (Present Value) = BCWS (Budgeted Cost of Work Schedule)
EV (Earned Value) = BCWP (Budgeted Cost of Work Performed)
AC (Actual Cost) = ACWP (Actual Cost of Work Performed)

CV = EV – AC
SV = EV – PV

ETC = BAC – EV [Future Variances are Atypical or Not Consistent or Di similar]
ETC = (BAC – EV) / CPI [Future Variances are Typical or Consistent or similar]

EAC = BAC / CPI [simplest formula: typical or no variances]
EAC = AC + ETC [Initial Estimates are flawed]
EAC = AC + BAC – EV [Future variances are Atypical or Not Consistent or Di similar]
EAC = AC + BAC – EV / CPI [Future Variances are Typical or Consistent or similar]

% COMPLETE = EV / BAC x 100
% SPENT = AC / BAC x 100

CV% = CV / EV x 100
SV% = SV / PV x 100

Float or Slack
LS - ES and LF – EF

MEAN -> Average
MODE -> The “most found” number
RANGE -> Largest - Smallest Measure
MEDIUM -> No in the middle or avg. of 2 middle Nos

PERT = O + 4ML + P / 6
STD. DEV. OF TASK = P – O / 6
TASK VAR. = [(P - O)/6 ] squared = Std. Dev ^ 2
CP STD. DEV. = √ σ² + σ² + σ²

1 = 68.26
2 = 95.46
3 = 99.73
6 = 99.99

Channels of Communication (N x (N – 1)) / 2

Project Selection
PV = F V / (1+r)ⁿ (or) FV = PV x (1+r)ⁿ

Cash Flow = Cash Inflow – Cash Outflow
Discounted Cash Flow = CF x Discount Factor
ARR = S Cash Flow / No. of Years
ROI = (ARR / Investment) * 100 % [Bigger is better]
BCR = Benefits / Cost

Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR)
[Bigger is better ]
((BCR or Benefit / Cost)Revenue or Payback VS. cost) Or PV or Revenue / PV of Cost

Net Present Value (NPV) [Bigger is better]

Internal Rate of Return (IRR) [Bigger is better]

Payback Period Less is better - Net Investment / Avg. Annual cash flow

Exp. Value = Probability % x Consequence $

Class of Estimates
Definitive +5%
Capital Cost +10-15%
Appropriation +15-25%
Feasibility +25-35%
Order of Magnitude > +35% (-50 - 75%)

Contract Incentives
Savings = Target Cost – Actual Cost
Bonus = Savings x Percentage
Contract Cost = Bonus + Fees
Total Cost = Actual Cost + Contract Cost

Expected Monetary Value Probability * Impact

Point of Total Assumption (PTA)
((Ceiling Price - Target Price) / buyer's Share Ratio) + Target Cost

To Complete Performance Index [TCPI]
Values for the TCPI index of less then 1.0 is good because it indicates the efficiency to complete is less than planned. How efficient must the project team be to complete the remaining work with the remaining money?

( BAC - EV ) / ( BAC - AC )

Cost of Quality (CoQ)
(( Review Efforts + Test Efforts + Training Efforts + Rework Efforts + Efforts of Prevention) / Total efforts) x 100 %

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Project Manager as a CEO

Being and exceptional Project Manager is like being a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of your own business. Great CEO’s have five defining characteristics:

1. Personal Insight. They are great leaders. They know themselves and what they stand for. They have been called on all their lives as problem solvers because others know them to be fair and impartial. People respect their opinions and look to them for guidance. Great CEOs are mature people. They can suffer disappointment more gracefully than others and give others credit for their achievements. They don't come in the office door yelling for something they need. They aren't as concerned about titles or power structures as they are about the welfare of those who work at the company. They are trustworthy because they've always been honest with people and have earned that trust. They care about families, and they know that people are more important than dollars and express it in their actions every day. Finally, great CEOs seek out feedback. They want to know how others see them so that they can understand themselves better and continue to grow as people. They also want feedback about the company from an employee perspective, and they use surveys as a starting point for creating a dialogue to make things better.

2. Resourcefulness. They seem to have boundless energy. They come to work with the greatest enthusiasm. Even when they don't feel like it, they find ways to reenergize themselves and come in ready to go. They take good care of themselves physically and emotionally so that they can be there for the employees and the needs of the company. They give much more than they take every day. They don't give up. If the wall is too high, they back down and find another way around. They don't blame, but they do look for solutions to problems so that those problems are less likely to happen again.

3. Courage.They have one of the world's toughest jobs. No matter how tough it was to start the company, it's even harder to keep it going and growing. A CEO must decide what he or she stands for and do what is right, all the time.

4. Willingness to Look at Risk.They aren’t afraid to look at the downside and answer the hard questions he or she hopes will never become a reality. They need a backup plan-one that is designed by looking at the company's worst-case scenarios. This plan addresses questions such as: What if your industry experiences a slump? What if new governmental regulations affect your business? What if you lose the client that accounts for 50 percent of your sales?
Preparing yourself and your company for these eventualities may be the difference between a tough year or two and bankruptcy. The key is to be ready and able to take immediate action to reduce the loss.

5. Foresight.It seems some CEOs have an uncanny ability to predict the future. They may have unusual insights into their particular markets, and luck may play a part as well. In addition, they are prepared to create their own luck by cultivating an ability to see opportunities for their company and to make the deals that convert those opportunities into realities. Some things that may seem like amazing foresight are actually the result of the hard work and discipline it takes to constantly look forward to build a successful company. Great CEOs must also constantly develop new products to build and retain a customer base. Foresight is also the ability to hire and retain the right people, looking ahead toward the growth of the company. Finally, over time, each company must develop a steady source of business during both good economic times and bad, because there are sure to be bad economic times during the life of a business.

Five Defining Characteristics of a Great CEO: http://www.sideroad.com/Management/best-ceo-great-ceo.html

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Principles of Common Sense Project Management - Vol. 01

The following are my 10 Principles of Common Sense Project Management, Vol. 01 ...

1. The process of Project Management is basically the same on EVERY project; it is the intangibles that make the difference in the success of the project.

2. LEADERSHIP is not synonymous with Project Management.

3. CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING is essential to Project Management. The SIMPLEST answers are usually the best one.

4. If you are not part of the SOLUTION, then you are part of the PROBLEM.

5. Bad news is not like an expensive bottle of wine; it DOES NOT get better with age.

6. Communication should never be MANAGED from stakeholder to stakeholder.

7. Of all of the project constraints … TIME controls the Cost, Quality, SOW (Statement of Work) and Customer Satisfaction.

8. It is better for your project, if the TECHNICAL EXPERT is not the Project Manager.

9. Your TEAM is the most important resource you have on a project.

10. Documented Lessons Learned are MANDATORY after the closure of a Project.

Common Sense is not common; otherwise more people would have it !!

Copyright © 2009, A. Sloan Campbell, MBA, PMP, P.Mgr, F.CIM