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Estimating Realistic Activity Times

A Critical Pseudoscience Problem and Workaround Solution

 

ADVISORY ARTICLE

By Dr. Kenneth F. Smith

Hawaii, USA

 


 

ABSTRACT

This article highlights a flaw underlying the traditional “PERT” approach for estimating project activity durations and proposes a workaround solution.

THE PROBLEM

Estimating activity durations and scheduling project delivery and completion dates is particularly critical for both Contractors with Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contracts, as well as Clients/Donors awarding Cost Plus Fixed or Incentive Fee (CPFF & CPIF) -type contracts.

However, the difficulty of developing realistic time estimates has been pinpointed by participants in my project management seminars as one of their major concerns.   Experienced project managers unanimously acknowledge that — for one, or more, reasons – planned schedules were typically under-estimated.  Even those using the standard “PERT” formulas to estimate activity & project duration said that in practice both the “Most Likely” and the subsequently-calculated “Earliest Expected” times were unrealistic; being significantly over-optimistic!

As a bit of background, the Program Evaluation & Review Technique (PERT) is a statistical probability-based time-estimating technique of the Critical Path Method (CPM) — introduced in the late 1950’s — with which I became acquainted in the early 1960’s when I was a management intern on the U.S. Navy’s Polaris Project.  Today, PERT is a standard tool, incorporated into some scheduling software for use when there is uncertainty with individual activity time duration estimates.  [Not incidentally, when visiting Pearl Harbor with some of my grandkids a few years ago, I was shocked to see a Polaris Missile on exhibit as a museum piece near the entrance to the visitors’ center!]

The PERT formula for estimating an activity duration is: te = ( Opt + 4M + Pess ) / 6

Where: 

te     = earliest expected time estimate, i.e. a weighted average or “mean” of the range of possibilities

Opt    = optimistic time estimate

M      = most likely time estimate

Pess   = pessimistic time estimate

4        = a constant weight

6        = a constant divisor

For example, where:        Opt = 3;   M= 7 and    Pess = 23:

 te   =  [3 + 4(7) + 23] / 6    =  [(3 + 28 + 23)] / 6    =  54 / 6    =    9

Although seemingly more statistically sophisticated than a simple 3 point ‘average’ estimate – i.e. an arithmetic mean — the fundamental flaw in using this formula to estimate an Activity (or activities, and the overall project schedule) duration is that — by definition — the resultant te is merely a weighted average.  Hence the probability for completing the Activity (activities, and/or project schedule) by the expected time is still only 50%.  In other words, if/when applied to project activity scheduling, the calculated Project Activity te duration is under-estimated at least half of the time. Consequently, from the outset, the odds of the resultant activity milestones – and, indeed, the overall project – being completed as planned are just 50 / 50 — a very high risk that the estimated schedule will be overrun.  In essence — despite giving more weight to the Most Likely estimate — this pseudoscientific approach to take probability into account in estimating activity durations is still no better than tossing a coin!

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

How to cite this article: Smith, K.F. (2019).  Estimating Realistic Activity Times: A Critical Pseudoscience Problem and Workaround Solution, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Smith-estimating-realistic-activity-times.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Dr. Kenneth Smith

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

 

 Dr. Kenneth F. Smith has been a project management consultant for ADB, the World Bank, and USAID for decades. He earned his DPA (Doctor of Public Administration) from the George Mason University (GMU) in Virginia and his MS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Systems Analysis Fellow, Center for Advanced Engineering Study). A long-time member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and IPMA-USA, Dr. Smith is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) and a member of the PMI®-Honolulu Chapter.

NOTE: Ken’s book — Project Management PRAXIS (available from Amazon) — includes many other innovative project management tools & techniques; and describes a “Toolkit” of related templates available directly from him at kenfsmith@aol.com.

 

 

How to enhance role and responsibilities of managers

in Head Office despite their projects being offshored to the Offshore Center

 

ADVISORY ARTICLE

By Vimal Kumar Khanna

New Delhi, India

 


 

A large number of global companies are running Offshore Centers in distant countries. These companies have augmented their project teams in their global Head Office (HO) with the Offshore Center teams. The projects are distributed across the Offshore Center and HO, with the Offshore Center managers and HO managers leading the project teams to deliver on the project objectives.

In the absence of an Offshore Center, the managers in HO manage large projects with large directly reporting team sizes in the HO. However, as the company starts its Offshore Center, it offshores some of these projects. As time progresses, more projects with larger team sizes are offshored because of the advantage of lower cost of executing projects in the Offshore Center.

Initially, the managers in HO directly control the Offshore Center project teams working on their globally distributed projects. As the project size and project team size increases, the Offshore Center components of these distributed projects are managed by local managers in the Offshore Center. Over a period of time, the Offshore Center teams and managers gain in expertise and experience in executing projects. The company then decides that some of its projects will be executed totally within the Offshore Center and will be independently managed by local managers in the Offshore Center.

However, giving more responsibilities to the Offshore Center managers may possibly dilute the authority and responsibilities of the HO managers. The HO managers end up managing much smaller teams in the HO. These HO managers feel that their authority and span of control over the teams has been significantly reduced. They start feeling insecure about slowly losing all their projects and all their authority to the Offshore Center management.

We suggest that these insecurities of the HO managers should be addressed by assigning them new and additional offshoring-related role and responsibilities. The suggested techniques can not only prevent dilution of the authority and responsibilities of the HO managers but can also make their role more critical to the company and can significantly enhance their contributions, even compared to the earlier role being played by them in the absence of the projects being offshored to the Offshore Center.

Let us consider the case of a global product development company with an Offshore Center. The product features are decided by the company’s Product Management team. The product management team interfaces with the key customers of the company to understand their pain-points and requirements, to decide the right set of features for the product. Since most of the key customers of the product are typically based in the country of the HO, the product management team is also based in the HO of the company.

Some components of the product are developed by executing independent projects in the Offshore Center that are managed totally by local managers. Although the Offshore Center manager of an independent project will have the management expertise and experience to deliver on it, it should be noted that the company’s product management team and key customers are still based in the HO.

More…

 

To read entire article, click here

 

How to cite this article: Khanna, V.K. (2019).  How to enhance role and responsibilities of managers in Head Office despite their projects being offshored to the Offshore Center, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Khanna-how-to-enhance-role-and-responsibilities-of-head-office.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Vimal Kumar Khanna

New Delhi, India

 

 

 

Vimal Kumar Khanna is the Founder and Managing Director of mCalibre Technologies. He has more than 34 years of industry experience. He has won multiple international honors for his contributions to the management and technology domains – being listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World and being Honorary Editor of IEEE Communications. He is the author of Amazon #1 Best Seller Book “Leading and Motivating Global Teams: Integrating Offshore Centers and the Head Office” published by CRC Press – USA (Taylor & Francis group). His sole-authored papers have been published in leading global refereed journals, magazines, and conferences. He is a frequent speaker at Project Management Institute (PMI) Global Congresses―North America, EMEA, and APAC. He is a frequent contributor to multiple PMI official global publications – PM Network and PMI E-Link.

 

 

The Digital PMO: Shifting Organizations

from Project base to product base organization

 

Article two in a three-part series

ADVISORY ARTICLE

By By Waffa Karkukly, PhD and Ian Laliberte, MBA

Ontario, Canada

 


 

Abstract

In the first article of this series, we focused on the need for PMOs to become digital to stay valuable for their organization and continue to improve and adopt industry trends; and to be more equipped to support their organizations’ digital transformations. We explored the PMOs landscape today and what is expected of them to do and not do to transition to digital and how the internal readiness and external readiness preparation play an essential role in ensuring success in digitalize themselves, and be ready for their organizations’ digital shift.  In this second article, we will explore what it means to be a product based and differentiate the areas of focus for a product based vs. a project-based organization.  We will step through the required elements for a successful transformation and explain the details for each of these elements. Further, leverage a specific organization transformation to share the challenges and benefits from a product-based model, and explore what changes the new model will make to ensure success, and what are the expected outcomes and measures.  Finally, the success of the new model relies on the orchestration of the various functions namely the EPMOs/PMOs and explain the reason they need to be re-invented, as well as the for a new oversight function to be setup to support the product-based organization in the digital landscape.

Key Words:  DPMO, DMO, Journey, Platform, Product-based, Project-based, Agile.

Introduction

Nearly two-thirds of CEOs and senior business executives already have a digital business transformation initiative underway at their organization. Some 90% of corporate leaders view digital business initiatives as a top priority, but 83% are not making any meaningful progress (5).

Organization differentiate themselves based on their business model, PMO is a business model that some organizations created to seek differentiation in the way they deliver products and services, or in the way they optimize on their strategic investments while maintaining the lights on for their operation.  The main problem that many organizations face today in the digital transformation is the operating model which impacts the PMO regardless of the PMO digital to gain the anticipated benefits.

In Deloitte’s most recent industry 4.0 reports, 48% of executives indicated that introducing new business models was one of the top five topics discussed most frequently within their organization, yet only half of those leaders consider themselves ready for new business model. The business model has become the basis of competitive differentiation in creating, delivering, and capturing value in the digital realm (2). According to the 2019 Gartner CIO Survey, enterprises are changing their business models and requesting help from the IT function to do so.  Forty-nine percent of the organizations surveyed reveal they experienced business model change, with 13% reporting they have already changed and 36% in the process of changing (5).

One of the most popular models that are on the rise is the product-based organization.   Businesses are making a model shift in becoming a product focus organization rather than a project focus organization for many reasons; one of the primary reasons is the digital disruption and what it means in delivery expectations. What does it mean to be a product-based organization?

More…

 

To read entire article, click here

 

How to cite this article: Karkukly, W. and Laliberte, I. (2019).  The Digital PMO: Shifting Organizations from Project base to product base organization, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Karkukly-Laliberte-the-digital-pmo-part2.pdf

 


 

About the Authors


Dr. Waffa Karkukly

Ontario, Canada

 

 

 

Dr. Waffa Karkukly, PhD, MIT, PMP, ACP, CMP has over 20 years’ experience in IT, and Project Management. Waffa has helped fortune 100, midsize, and small sized organizations improve their project management practices and PMO establishments through building scalable standards and proven solutions that improved their delivery process. She held many positions ranging from big 5 to small startups where she held the responsibility of managing IT strategy and operation; in her career progression she became head of PMO with titles ranging from director to VP, responsibilities ranging from $50 million to $1billion in Enterprise assets for global and international organizations.

Waffa is a strategist and change agent who had many organizations’ transformations in building agile organization culture and building CoE for IT organizations. Waffa teaches various beginners and advance project management and IT courses at various Ontario universities and colleges. She is a program and curriculum lead developer for variety of topics aligning education certificates with practical industry needs and trends.

Waffa holds a BSC in Information Systems from DePaul University, an MIT from Northwestern University, and a PhD from SKEMA School of Business. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP), Agile Certified Professional (ACP), and Change Management Practitioner (CMP) who is dedicated to improving the understanding and standards of project management practices especially in the Value proposition of Strategy execution via Portfolio Management and PMO.

Waffa is an active PMI member who has held various positions of Director of Communication for the PMO CoP and Regional communication coordinator for the PMOLIG. Waffa was one of the committee members that built the standards for PMI-OPM3. She is a volunteer and an Academic Reviewer for PMI’s academic paper proposals selection. She contributes often in project management publications and is a frequent speaker in project management chapters and forums.

Dr Karkukly can be contacted at karkuklyw@yahoo.com

 

 


Ian Laliberte

Ontario, Canada

 

 

Ian Laliberte, MBA, PMP, PRINCE2, is Vice President of Delivery Transformation, responsible for the TD’s strategy and transformation to ‘Agile Ways of working’. Ian joined TD in January 2014 as Vice President, Canadian Banking, Auto Finance and Wealth Management PMO and led the transformation of the project execution framework. In this role, he was responsible for managing the end-to-end delivery of the change portfolio for both business and technology initiatives.  From there, Ian then took on the role of Vice President of Delivery, Shared Services, where he was responsible for strategy, operating model and overall operations of IT for Canadian Banking and Wealth.

In over 20 years he has held senior positions leading business and IT transformation through turnaround, realignment and revitalization within international distribution, manufacturing, insurance (Life and GI) and banking industries.  Before joining TD, Ian held diverse Information technology, Project Management, and leadership roles at Canadian Bearings.  He has also held executive technology roles with Aviva Insurance, which included Change and IT Strategy, EPMO, Management Information & Analytics, and he has led Commercial Lines business transformation and the implementation of a business and operating model for Aviva’s Digital business.

Ian graduated from New York Institute of Technology with an MBA in Global Management. Ian’s leadership thinking has also been recognized as part of the top 50 thought-leaders in change excellence, and he has been published in 2014 Project Management Best Practices: Achieving Global Excellence – 3rd Ed (by Dr. Kerzner), collaborated in 2012 Managing the PMO Lifecycle, by Dr. Karkukly, and many other recent PMI article and publications on standards.

Ian can be contacted at ian.laliberte@sympatico.ca

 

 

 

Comparative Analysis of Project Management Frameworks

and Proposition for Project Driven Organizations

 

ADVISORY ARTICLE

By Tarun Mohindra and Madhur Srivastava

DRDO – Institute of Technology Management

Mussoorie, India

 


 

ABSTRACT

Risk and uncertainty are inherently associated with every novel developmental effort. Project Management integrates a variety of activities undertaken to successfully achieve project objectives. Various organizations across the globe have developed frameworks for guidance in these activities focused on different facet and elements in projects. In this paper based on open source literature review information about various project management frameworks is obtained, and a brief description of various frameworks for project management, their evolution, global utilization, their comparative analysis and tradeoff is presented. The mandate of Defence Research and Development Organization to indigenously develop defense technology and systems and become self-reliant is dependent on technological innovations and development which is managed using Procedures for Project Formulation and Management in DRDO (PPFM) guidelines. To attain the project objectives within time, budget and scope (QRs) constraints, over the years a systematic framework is devised. The intent of this research is to obtain best project management practices from available frameworks, assess their applicability and to enrich DRDO PPFM 2016 framework by augmenting it with the available best practices.

Keywords: Project Management, Global Project Management Frameworks, Comparative Analysis.

 

  1. PREAMBLE

Technology development efforts are best managed by implementing project management strategies. The utilization of these strategies facilitates mitigation of risks and uncertainty associated with developmental efforts of a novel product or process. All projects are unique endeavors, and one size does not fit all [1]. A diamond shaped framework presented by Shenhar & Dvir[2] assists in demarcating projects based on 4 dimensions namely, Novelty addressing the uncertainty of goals, Technology describing the level of technological capability required, Complexity referring to system engineering approach of product complexity and Pace taking time as dimension stating urgency of project.

To attain project objectives within time and budget constraints, the framework encompassing project activities must adjust with the environment, the task, and the goal, rather than stick to one set of rules. Projects have existed, and have been managed, since medieval period; however project management, in its modern form, its language, tools, techniques and concepts, first appeared in the early 1960s. IPMA (formerly known as INTERNET) traces its history back to 1964[3], and rests at present with development of GAPPS (Global Alliance for Project Performance Standard) in 2012. Applicability of various frameworks in varying degrees to meet the need projects is dependent on quality standards; customer satisfaction and benefit realization and hence no individual framework includes entire spectrum of knowledge required to successfully terminate a project. Various industries, global regions have their own preferences in choice of framework.

Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) Govt. of India has also developed its restricted framework called PPFM (Procedures for Project Formulation and Management) [4] which encompasses the timeframe from pre-project activity to the post-induction life cycle support. The general tenets of project management were brought out in PPFM 2006 and were updated in PPFM 2014 & 2016. PPFM 2016 has brought out a common and standardized management framework for planning, sanctioning, reviews and accomplishing projects for seven different technology clusters of DRDO [4]. DRDO being an organization undertaking projects across spectrum of readiness levels from ab-initio research to proven system for induction into service can provide a roadmap to undertake projects in Indian context, using a structured framework.

A framework by definition is a basic structure underlying a system, or concept. Various Project Management frameworks intend to increase the project success rate by putting emphasis on different prospective. The frameworks are classified into [5]:

  • Standards – A standard is a document established by an authority, custom, or general consent as a model.
  • Methodology – A methodology is a system of practices, techniques, procedures, used by those who work in a discipline.
  • Guides – A Guide is a foundation upon which organizations can build methodologies, policies, procedures, rules, tools and techniques, and life cycle phases needed to practice a discipline (project management)
  • Manuals – A manual is a book giving instructions or information to be adhered to.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

How to cite this article: Mohindra, T. and Srivastava, M. (2019).  Comparative Analysis of Project Management Frameworks and Proposition for Project Driven Organizations, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VIII, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/pmwj85-Sep2019-Mohindra-Srivastava-comparative-analysis-of-project-management-frameworks.pdf

 


 

About the Authors


Sh. Tarun Mohindra

Mussoorie, Uttarakhand State, India

 

 

 Sh. Tarun Mohindra has received his B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering and MBA in Operations Research. He is serving Institute of Technology Management, Mussoorie as Sc. ‘G’ and has experience of over 25 years in Technology Management. His research interests include Technology Management, Project Management and Science Diplomacy

 


Madhur Srivastava

Mussoorie, Uttarakhand State, India

 

 

 

Madhur Srivastava has received his B.Tech (Mechanical Engineering) from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow and M.Tech. from Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, Pune in Aerospace Engineering. He is presently working as Junior Research Fellow at Institute of Technology Management Mussoorie with research focus on Project Management and Technology Management from October 2018. Madhur Srivastava can be contacted at msrivastava.itm@gmail.com

 

The Digital PMO

How PMOs need to Digitalize themselves and evolve to support their organization Digital transformation

 

ADVISORY ARTICLE

By By Waffa Karkukly, PhD and Ian Laliberte, MBA

Ontario, Canada

 


 

Abstract

Congratulations! Your executives are ready to go Digital. Is your PMO ready to become Digital?

PMOs have proven their success and their worth in the industry; we do not need to re-prove this fact.  This series of three articles will explore the need for PMOs to digitalize themselves and evolve towards their organizations’ needs in order to support their organization digital transformation. In the first article, the authors will shed light on PMOs today and explore, what it means for PMOs to digitalize themselves and the areas of focus to achieve a DTPMO (Digital PMO).  In the second article, we will explore how DTPMOs can shift the current thinking to forward thinking and facilitate their organization digital transformation to move from a project base focus to a product base focus. In the last article, the authors will focus on the ultimate future destination for the digital office to become the core unit in their organizations to connect all CoE’s (Center of Excellence) and sustain a product/platform-based organization.  Furthermore, we will share a case study that explores the digitalization journey, and how one organization was successful in their transformation.

Key Words: Digital PMO, DTPMO, DTMO, EPMO, SPO, SRO, CGO,

Introduction

(Gartner 2019) Nearly two-thirds of CEOs and senior business executives already have a digital business transformation initiative underway at their organization. Some 90% of corporate leaders view digital business initiatives as a top priority, but 83% are not making any meaningful progress. In addition, 60% of EPMOs are not aligned to the strategic direction, or ready to enable their organization digital transformation.  PMOs need to become digital themselves before they are able to support their organization’s digital transformation. The industry is predicting that by 2021 which is less than two years from this article date, a 50% of large organizations will have hubs to enable digital transformation (e.g. Digital COEs, Transformation COEs, Agile COEs, etc.).  For who is leading the way?

Elements for Digital Transformation

“Future proofing your business as Digital is woven into everything we do” (Deloitte, 2019). This statement speaks to how digital is shaping our everyday life at the individual level and as consumers of products and services, soon will demand services if organizations are not embracing and moving forward faster than their competition, they might be left behind. First, what does it mean to be digital? Organizations today are struggling with a consistent definition to what “digitalization” means, to some it is automating the business including client experience via mobile, social media, etc. For others, it is instituting the myriad of practices PPM, Agile, Platforms, PMO, COEs, etc. and trying to make sense of which way will help them compete in the future. Second, what are the main digital transformations elements that drove transformations? They can be summarized into: Automation, Connectivity, Real-time information, Change management, and Risk management. Digital business transformation is changing the PMO/EPMO operating context. Before we explore how we foresee this happens, let’s explore today’s PMO landscape successes and challenges.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

How to cite this article: Vanderjack, B. (2019).  What is the Difference Between DevOps and Scrum? PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VIII, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/pmwj85-Sep2019-Karkukly-Laliberte-the-digital-pmo-part1.pdf

 


 

About the Authors


Dr. Waffa Karkukly

Ontario, Canada

 

 

 

Dr. Waffa Karkukly, PhD, MIT, PMP, ACP, CMP has over 20 years’ experience in IT, and Project Management. Waffa has helped fortune 100, midsize, and small sized organizations improve their project management practices and PMO establishments through building scalable standards and proven solutions that improved their delivery process. She held many positions ranging from big 5 to small startups where she held the responsibility of managing IT strategy and operation; in her career progression she became head of PMO with titles ranging from director to VP, responsibilities ranging from $50 million to $1billion in Enterprise assets for global and international organizations.

Waffa is a strategist and change agent who had many organizations’ transformations in building agile organization culture and building CoE for IT organizations. Waffa teaches various beginners and advance project management and IT courses at various Ontario universities and colleges. She is a program and curriculum lead developer for variety of topics aligning education certificates with practical industry needs and trends.

Waffa holds a BSC in Information Systems from DePaul University, an MIT from Northwestern University, and a PhD from SKEMA School of Business. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP), Agile Certified Professional (ACP), and Change Management Practitioner (CMP) who is dedicated to improving the understanding and standards of project management practices especially in the Value proposition of Strategy execution via Portfolio Management and PMO.

Waffa is an active PMI member who has held various positions of Director of Communication for the PMO CoP and Regional communication coordinator for the PMOLIG. Waffa was one of the committee members that built the standards for PMI-OPM3. She is a volunteer and an Academic Reviewer for PMI’s academic paper proposals selection. She contributes often in project management publications and is a frequent speaker in project management chapters and forums.

Dr Karkukly can be contacted at karkuklyw@yahoo.com

 


Ian Laliberte

Ontario, Canada

 

 

 

Ian Laliberte, MBA, PMP, PRINCE2, is Vice President of Delivery Transformation, responsible for the TD’s strategy and transformation to ‘Agile Ways of working’. Ian joined TD in January 2014 as Vice President, Canadian Banking, Auto Finance and Wealth Management PMO and led the transformation of the project execution framework. In this role, he was responsible for managing the end-to-end delivery of the change portfolio for both business and technology initiatives.  From there, Ian then took on the role of Vice President of Delivery, Shared Services, where he was responsible for strategy, operating model and overall operations of IT for Canadian Banking and Wealth.

In over 20 years he has held senior positions leading business and IT transformation through turnaround, realignment and revitalization within international distribution, manufacturing, insurance (Life and GI) and banking industries.  Before joining TD, Ian held diverse Information technology, Project Management, and leadership roles at Canadian Bearings.  He has also held executive technology roles with Aviva Insurance, which included Change and IT Strategy, EPMO, Management Information & Analytics, and he has led Commercial Lines business transformation and the implementation of a business and operating model for Aviva’s Digital business.

Ian graduated from New York Institute of Technology with an MBA in Global Management. Ian’s leadership thinking has also been recognized as part of the top 50 thought-leaders in change excellence, and he has been published in 2014 Project Management Best Practices: Achieving Global Excellence – 3rd Ed (by Dr. Kerzner), collaborated in 2012 Managing the PMO Lifecycle, by Dr. Karkukly, and many other recent PMI article and publications on standards.

Ian can be contacted at ian.laliberte@sympatico.ca

 

 

 

Continuous Process Improvement

as a Function of Program Management

 

ADVISORY

By Steve Ford

Colorado, USA

 


 

Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) is the process of improving processes. While a somewhat esoteric definition, the reality is that CPI is ubiquitous throughout industry and is necessary to improve the manner in which a company develops and implements processes (Eaton, 2013; Carleton, 2016). A robust CPI program can result in overall improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of both existing and emerging processes, thereby helping to streamline the overall production process, to include the critical path (Eaton, 2013; Carleton, 2016).

Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) also refers to the management effort of improving organizations via a focus on customer satisfaction as a function of organizational effectiveness and efficiency (Eaton, 2013; Carleton, 2016). CPI is not difficult to reconcile within existing practices of program management, as it is now considered mainstream and is therefore commonly accepted as a facet of program management. Indeed, the Project Management Institute (PMI) lists it as a process within the discipline of program management (PMI, 2013). Six Sigma, Lean, Total Quality Management (TQM), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and Agile techniques all have their established places in program management (Sanchez & Blanco, 2014).

Paradoxically, CPI is both hundreds, if not thousands, of years old and also an emergent trend in program management (Eaton, 2013). CPI includes a philosophy of continually improving one’s processes for production, which is apparent in ancient weapon and pottery production processes (Eaton, 2013). It is also evident in the more recent example of the commonly accepted birth of Lean, the Venetian galley production process in the 16th century. By utilizing Lean concepts such as “standardized processes and interchangeable parts” (Eaton, 2013, p. 4), the Venetians could produce a high-quality, low-cost galley in as little as an hour (Eaton, 2013). In the last 50 years, the Toyota Production System and Motorola’s manufacturing arm showed similar results regarding cost and quality (Carleton, 2016).

As well as being an ancient philosophy, CPI is an emerging trend in program management, only receiving broad acclaim in the last 50 years (Vanwersch et al., 2016). Modern CPI can trace its roots to the work of Shewhart in the 1920’s and his work regarding controls and statistical analysis of systems (Eaton, 2013). However, it was not until Deming and his work with Japanese industry in the 1950s that CPI gained notoriety following the Japanese industrial explosion centered around lower costs and higher quality (Carleton, 2016). Even more recently, CPI techniques such as Just-in-Time (1970s), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 (1980s), Six Sigma (1980s), Total Quality Management (TQM) (1980s), Lean (1990s), and Agile (1990s) are still currently being adopted and adapted by program managers across all industries (Eaton, 2013; Carleton, 2016; Sanchez & Blanco, 2014).

CPI’s Emergence, Relevance, and Importance

The major CPI initiatives include Just-in-Time (JIT), Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM), Lean, ISO, and Agile (Sanchez & Blanco, 2014). All six of these methodologies existed for some time before being thoroughly vetted and defined. As previously discussed, the Venetians instituted Lean methods in the 16th century. Six Sigma practices can be traced to Shewhart’s work with control charts in the 1920s. In short, all six of these now mainstream methods can be traced back decades, which is why the more recent emergence of formal methodologies in the last 30 years is paradoxical.

Even if the methods existed previously, it was not until the late 1970s that these systems were codified and instituted at a global level. Along with a substantial shift towards efficiency and quality in the manufacturing industry, CPI as a philosophy hit its stride in the 1980s (Sanchez & Blanco, 2014). Since then, CPI has been included in every major program and project management instructional course (Vanwersch et al., 2016). It is now a part of health care initiatives, the service industry, and mainstream to the point that the Environmental Protection Agency recently stood up an office of continuous improvement (Environmental Protection Agency, 2018).

In any case, CPI’s emergence and relevance is, like the methodology itself, a continually evolving mechanism. New methods are introduced continuously, such as Lean Six Sigma being introduced as late as 2001. Tweaks to the Agile process were released in 2011 (Vanwersch et al., 2016). All six primary methods of CPI are undergoing the CPI process, enabling more specific and effective practices, in addition to a near-constant emergence cycle.

More…

To read entire paper, click here

 

How to cite this paper: Ford, S. (2019). Continuous Process Improvement as a Function of Program Management; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VII, August.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/pmwj84-Aug2019-Ford-continuous-process-improvement-as-function-of-program-management.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Steve Ford

Colorado, USA

 

 

 

Steve Ford holds a BS from the US Air Force Academy (2004), an MS in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota (2009), and is currently in the Doctorate of Management- Project Management program at Colorado Technical University (2021). Steve is currently the managing member of Advanced Applied Project Management Solutions (LLC), a project management consultant firm. He holds numerous project management-related qualifications, including Project Management Professional (PMP), Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Professional, Project Management- Lean Process Certified, Lean Supply Chain Management Certified, and Lean Culture Certified. He has more than 18 years of aerospace and construction experience in project management.  He can be contacted at steven.w.ford.jr@gmail.com.

 

 

What is the Difference Between DevOps and Scrum?

 

ADVISORY ARTICLE

By Brian Vanderjack

Illinois, USA

 


 

As a professor in the graduate program at Illinois Institute of Technology, in the Information Technology Management department, I teach Information Technology (IT) team leadership, mainly via scrum and waterfall. During class discussion last semester, one of my top students asked, “What the difference was between Scrum and DevOps?” This article will capture the answer that I provided to this student and will answer this question for others who have the same question. The outline I will use to address this question is:

  • What Agile is (and what it has to do with Scrum and DevOps);
  • What Scrum is;
  • What DevOps is; and
  • What the difference is between DevOps and Scrum.

This is an important discussion become Scrum is now recognized as a significant contributor to success in the IT space and DevOps is becoming a key component of adding business value in the IT industry. Having IT people read this article could introduce them for the first time to DevOps and Scrum, encouraging even more organizations to employ Scrum and DevOps as competitive weapons in the marketplace.

 What is Agile, and what does it have to do with Scrum and DevOps?

“Agile is credited for ‘dramatically’ increasing the productivity of many (software) development organizations” (Kim, Humble, & Willis, 2016, p. 5). The seminal document that defines the Agile movement, quoted below in its entirety, is hosted on the website AgileManifesto.org (2001):

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

(authors) Kent Beck, Mike Beedle, Arie van Bennekum,
Alistair Cockburn, Ward Cunningham, Martin Fowler,
James Grenning, Jim Highsmith, Andrew Hunt, Ron Jeffries,
Jon Kern, Brian Marick, Robert C. Martin, Steve Mellor,
Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, and Dave Thomas

There are a few development methodologies used in IT to achieve the above standards, and Scrum is one of these methodologies.

On the next web page of the Agile Manifesto, there are 12 “principles.” One of these principles opened the door for “DevOps,” which aims to “Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale” (Beck et al., 2001). I have underscored the words in the relevant principle (above) that can be considered to have launched the DevOps movement.

So, what can you tell me about scrum?

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

How to cite this article: Vanderjack, B. (2019).  What is the Difference Between DevOps and Scrum? PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/pmwj84-Aug2019-Vanderjack-what-is-difference-between-devops-and-scrum.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Brian Vanderjack

Illinois, USA

 

 

 

Brian Vanderjack, PMP, MBA, PMI-ACP, CSM is a graduate level adjunct faculty member at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), a top 100 University in the USA.  For IIT he is a professor of Information Technology Team Leadership (mainly using Scrum and Project Management).  In 2019, he was awarded Adjunct Faculty of the year from his department.  He was a contributing subject matter expert for the creation of AT&T’s class on How to Pass PMI’s Agile Certified Practitioner certification exam; this class has a 100% pass rate.  He has also taught many classes on how-to-pass-the-PMI-PMP-certification-exam.

Brian’s professional certifications are: The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP), MBA (earned from DePaul University “with distinction”), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and PMI’s-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP). Brian’s title at the Fortune 10 company which currently employs him during the days as his full-time-day-career is “Senior Scrum Master.”  His track record of success there includes 8 years as a successful Sr. Scrum Master and Agile Coach.  Also, he served as a Project Manager for over 10 years at this Fortune 10 company.

As an award-winning nationally respected speaker, he has spoken at many venues including Microsoft, IBM, AT&T, Abbot Labs, Freddie Mac, IIBA Chapters, and many PMI chapters across the USA on team leadership, communication, emotional intelligence, Scrum, and Project Management.  He has also spoken at the University of Chicago’s Booth Graduate School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Business.

His ability to share information has resulted in many articles published in the PM World Journal (distribution approx. 15,000), and a book on Agile/Scrum called “The Agile Edge” which was published by Business Expert Press.  He is honored to have received over 1,000 Linkedin “endorsements”, and dozens of LinkedIn “recommendations” for his contributions in leadership and other areas.  At his former university, he was honored to have earned “faculty of the year” for teaching Project Management.

Also, a special thank you to Jeremy Hajek for providing feedback on this article.  Brian can be reached at BVanderjac@gmail.com.

 

Important Things for building a great Product

 

ADVISORY ARTICLE

By Ajay Shenoy

Bangalore, India

 


 

Every product organization would dream of creating a great product, which can be popular among the masses and create a market segment in the meshwork. In the short time, I have spent building great products. Developing a great product may just not lie down to hard word or luck or a great strategy. Vision, Strategy & Tactics may not be mere enough to create a successful product. All the 3 elements hence influence each other. Building a product should also mean to benefit your customers and end users to fix the pain points. By building this it should create a value for you company and hence your overall company vision should align with the product vision you are trying to build. Below are the following things you may need to ask before you create a great product

Vision for your Product

As a Product Manager, you may need to be clear about the product you are intending to build, target customer, the way the product will shape and problem you are trying to solve. If any of the above things do not align it may not create ripples in the market. This will also not add any business value to the customer or value to the company.

Target Group for your Product

As a Product Manager, you would need to ask the below questions

  • Does the market address the right segment?
  • Where do my user/customers who would use my customer reside?

Most product managers would talk to potential customers while evangelizing the product. Potential customer will give you insights in what they would like in the product. You may to need to talk users from different age groups. As the needs of 70year old will differ from someone in younger age group.

Needs of your User/Product

As a product manager, you would need to ask the below questions

  • What kind of pain points does it address for my users?
  • What special benefit does it provide?

You should place yourself in customer shoes to understand his pain points and understand the user behavior. If you want to create a product for farmers for them to sell their produce. Work with them for a month to understand their need, their problems and challenges they would typically face.

The chances of this failing will be much lower as now you are creating a product for yourself. Interact with them on regular basis to understand if their needs have not changed over time so you can build the right product for them.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

How to cite this article: Shenoy, A. (2019).  Important Things for building a great Product, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VI, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/pmwj83-Jul2019-Shenoy-important-things-for-building-great-product.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Ajay Shenoy

Bangalore, India

 

 

 

Ajay Shenoy, a certified Scrum Professional and Agile Coach, has been involved in Technology Solutioning since 2007. He started working as a Solution Engineer and slowly incorporated into a technical program manager. He is a Certified Scrum Professional and has good knowledge on Prince2, Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kanban and SAFe frameworks. Along with expertise in Project management, he has deep interest in Technology side. With these skills, Ajay can help people understand process as well as Agile. Ajay has a perfect blend of project management with technical skills and business acumen.

Ajay started his Agile journey in 2012, as part of engineering teams. He practiced scrum and other agile frameworks in delivering successful products within limited time frames. Ajay is proficient in Engineering practices such as Scrum, Lean Software development, and Kanban and has designed several solutions and market rollouts working with product/services companies. He believes in following key agile practices like Just In Time, Value Stream mapping, Refactoring, Improving lead and cycle time.

He single handedly built a group comprised of 700 employees with different skills/roles. He indulges in several meets/ conferences and sharing knowledge on public platforms like linkedin with reference to agile. Ajay has coached/trained several teams in different organizations; he was part of an agile team to improve an existing framework.

He has a Master’s degree in IT & Finance and is currently based out of Bangalore.

You can reach him on his email @ shenoyajay82@yahoo.com.

 

 

Scope & Stakeholder Management,

Pain Points, Perils and Prosperity

 

ADVISORY ARTICLE

By Doug Orlando, MBA, PMP®

Treasurer/Director of Finance
AT&T Project Management Network Board of Directors
President Emeritus, PMI Phoenix
Chapter Member Advisory Group, PMI GOC

Arizona, USA

 


 

Abstract

This topic will provide deeper understanding of project “requirements management” elements, scope planning, and a description of the contents of the scope-stakeholder management plan. The purpose of the paper is to share best practices in reviewing scope using the charter, change management, communications, Statement of Work, WBS, and critical alignment of 10th knowledge area “Stakeholder Management.”  Specific content is from PMI PMBOK® and listed sources from PMI’s Scope Management Community of Practice. The summary of research-based findings will show that scope creep is to be avoided, but in contrast, scope change is to be embraced with recommendations and examples of, what, when, why and how to accomplish this premise.

Introduction

This paper describes the elements that make good project scope management important, with various examples in the IT and Telecom Domain.  It will:

  • Discuss the scope planning and management and describe the contents of a scope management plan
  • Explain best practices in reviewing a scope statement using the project charter and preliminary scope statement
  • Review alignment of the SOW (Statement Of Work – scope statement) with the creation of the WBS work breakdown structure
  • Define and discuss Scope Creep, and pose the question – “do we need to stop it?”

As we go through this paper today, I’d like you to be thinking:

  • What are some current challenges you have in your projects relative to Scope?
  • How do we ensure we recover from scope changes faster than anybody else?
  • How do we be sure we anticipate these things?

Write down some “Golden Nuggets” to remember from this paper; practical things you’ll want to use and remember in your vocation as well as daily life.

The Project Management Knowledge Areas (PMI PMBOK® version 5, 2012)

Let’s do a quick refresh of the PMI Knowledge Areas:

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

How to cite this article: Orlando, D. (2019).  Scope & Stakeholder Management, Pain Points, Perils and Prosperity, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VI, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/pmwj83-Jul2019-Orlando-scope-stakeholders-pain-perils-prosperity.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Douglas Orlando, PMP

Phoenix, Arizona

 

 

 

Doug Orlando is Sr. Technical Director for Program Management at AT&T Global Business Solutions.  He is an accomplished Fortune 50 professional with over 25 years’ experience focused on strategic planning, delivering complex project/programs, transitions, transformations, and process service excellence for AT&T’s largest IT outsourcing accounts. Productive mentoring leader and global people manager motivated by driving ideas of efficiency design into tangible results. Conceptual value driver recognized for customer relationship and communications management, time-cost savings through organizational development, training-workforce optimization in IT Telecom network operations and strategy with multiple awards such as AT&T Diamond Club.

Numerous technical and leadership positions held at Fortune 50 companies, including:

  • AT&T – Global Service Director, Lifecycle and Program Management
  • IBM – Delivery Program Executive, National Field Network Engineer
  • Advantis Inc. (IBM/Sears JV) – Service Operations Executive

Mr. Orlando holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, Telecom and music minor, from Roosevelt University Chicago, and an Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) with concentration in Strategic Management /Finance/ IT Operations from Northern Illinois University College of Business.  He has multiple certifications including Project Management Professional (PMI PMP), IBM Certified IT Availability Manager, ITIL Foundations, Six Sigma Green/Orange Belt, Cisco CCNA, Arizona Government IT Agency (GITA) of project professionals, and several AT&T technology certifications (SDN, Agile, IP Networking, Big Data, Security First).

He is an active volunteer and member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), Past Chair/President of PMI Phoenix Chapter, PMI Global Board MAG Leadership Advisory member, speaker at PMI Global Congress, Leadership Institute  and PMO Symposiums, current AT&T Project Management Network (PMN) Executive Board member, AT&T Asia Pacific Islanders for Community Advancement, and the Aspire Mentoring Academy, Outside of work he is an active volunteer in his church directing, producing, writing, playing and teaching at music performances, loves to travel, and has won the PVSA President Volunteer Service Award on 6 occasions.

 

 

Understanding & Applying Earned Value

A ‘Quick & Easy’ Approach for Monitoring Project Implementation

 

ADVISORY ARTICLE

By Kenneth F. Smith

Hawaii, USA

 


 

This article demystifies the Earned Value Methodology (EVM), and provides several practical innovative techniques to monitor, analyze and report accurate integrated project schedule & cost performance status.

Earned Value Methodology (EVM) has been around since the 1960’s and during project implementation is the iconic ‘Best Practice’ for effectively monitoring, measuring, analyzing & forecasting integrated schedule and cost performance status.  However — from my experience as a practitioner, trainer, consultant and itinerant observer — EVM is the most misunderstood, and probably least-utilized technique in the project manager’s arsenal.    At numerous project management meetings which I have attended, I get predominantly negative feedback to my inquiries regarding other participants’ grasp &/or on-the-job application of EV.

It seems as though even after being exposed to earned value concepts during preparation for exams — such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) of the Project Management Institute (PMI) – subsequent application of earned value is shunned.  One major barrier seems to be the multiple measurements (18 at last count) of which EVM consists — replete with acronymic variables, indicators & equations.[1]  After initial exposure, long-term retention is fleeting and — somewhat like calculus — atrophies for many.  The other major factor is that EVM is both radically different from – as well as largely unknown by — professional accounting, financial management & auditing practices and practitioners.

This is regrettable, because without applying earned value analysis, invalid cost performance assessments are usually made, which – unless successfully rebutted by the project manager – result in inappropriate recommendations, triggering incorrect executive management decisions and action!

Comparing the Actual Work Completed vs. the Baseline Work Schedule during each reporting period – as shown in Figure 1 — is a logical and valid practice for monitoring physical work performance.

FIGURE 1– Work vs. Schedule

However, although perhaps useful for cash flow analysis and other financial management purposes, comparing the Actual Cost vs. the Baseline Budget Schedule for each time period (as shown in Figure 2) is insufficient, as it is not relevant and mostly erroneous – for assessing project Cost Performance.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

How to cite this article: Smith, K. F. (2019).  Understanding & Applying Earned Value: A ‘Quick & Easy’ Approach for Monitoring Project Implementation, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue V, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/pmwj82-Jun2019-Smith-Understanding-and-Applying-Earned-Value.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Dr. Kenneth F. Smith

Hawaii, USA

 

 

Dr. Kenneth Smith, PMP is a member of PMI and IPMA-USA, with many years of experience as a practitioner, researcher-evaluator, advisor, consultant and instructor/facilitator in project management.  He was formerly a management systems specialist with the US Department of Defense; later a manager / advisor / evaluator on various sector projects — world-wide — as a representative of the US Government and the international development donor community — i.e. the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank Group, African Development Bank, the UN, and the Asian Development Bank.  Dr. Smith now conducts workshop-seminars in various aspects of project management, monitoring and evaluation for PMI as well as other government, academic, and private sector organizations.  [These and other analytical techniques for project planning, monitoring and evaluation are contained and available in his recently published book Project Management PRAXIS, available from Amazon.]

For further information, contact Dr. Smith at kenfsmith@aol.com.

 

[1] Of which several indicators in this ‘formula fog’ – IMO – are exhaustively, but pedantically trivial.  Furthermore, some indicators are frighteningly complex – or deceptively simple – amalgamations of indicators with variables derived from other equations, and at least one is counter-intuitively formulated with the negative resultant being a positive outcome, and vice versaBut I digress . . . !

 

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