Sunday, June 25, 2006

Filling time sheets -How important

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Its very important to fill work package level time sheets by every team member in the project team. The advantage of filling the times sheets are

1. As the Project Manager, You can track exactly the time taken for each work package, Actual vs. Estimated. That gives a good review about your time estimations

2. Time sheets help to understand the work performance of each individual in your team., These are good baseline documents for a project Managers to review his team

3. These records provide you information to be more accurate on your next project estimates and the contingency planning

Why most projects are completed without time sheets?

1. Projects doesn’t have an exact allocated budget or schedule

2. Project doesn’t have a Project manager to plan allocate and control tasks

3. No team members buy-in for filling time sheets. Normally the team members feel that they are going to be trapped with the time sheets and its only a controlling mechanism to find the number of productive hours.

4. Team members are allocated to many ad-hoc tasks, they answer support calls, help some other projects, etc. In this case they feel that the time tracking is just burden to them.

5. No proper system to view project tasks allocated to them and key in actual time against the estimates. ( If you don’t have proper software application, Don’t worry, recently I understood that you can set this simply using Microsoft portal server., You dine the Work package of your team., Allocate members., assign the time. Ask the team members to log in and key in timesheets.. Very simple. If its still complicated for you, Why don’t you use a simple excel sheet..)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Outsourcing .. Offshoring.,.. Multisourcing ....Is it that bad..???

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I have been working in my whole career in the Outsourced/Offshore IT Project environment. My Project management research topic is also something related to this. While surfing the web, I came up with the following blog accidentally,

http://stopoffshoring.blogspot.com/

In this blog,one post says “I saw an Indian boy yesterday and thought, "He's going to take away my child's job one day."

--- Can you believe this??

(Oh boy..Luckily I never had customers or teams from US or Europe who had this mentality.. The people I have worked with were very friendly and they always respected each others talents and abilities.. )

I know that there are many concerns towards outsourcing their Projects and services to other countries. But I have never come across with such criticism before J..My personal thinking is that, If you are competitive, if you are talented.. always there is a job waiting for you and nobody can takeyour place... If you are not.. Sorry..Its your problem..

Do something what you are talented at....

There is a Bright side of outsourcing which this author has never seen. …




Sunday, June 11, 2006

Payback of PMO - 1

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Recently, lot of people asked me .. What’s the payback of PMO? So I thought to write this brief note.

To understand the payback of PMO, First you should understand the following,

1. Understand the cost of your current project issues

The Current Project issues you have, and the cost incurred to your organization due to these issues. (Ex: Cost of Effort Slippage and Cost of Duration Slippage etc. There is a CD with a very good XL sheet to calculate the Effort Slippage and Duration Slippage which comes with Jolyon Hallow’s “The PMO Tool Kit” book.).

Understand the hidden costs. Think of the time taken by your senior management to go through various types of inconsistent project reports from various project managers. You may not have any standard method to calculate the time taken by teams to complete each work package, due to that there must be lot of unproductive time hidden in your project resource planning. Understand and calculate the cost of your current issues which can be eliminated once you initiate your Project Office.


2. Understand the cost of setting up a Project Office


Estimate the cost of setting up the Project Office. What are the common types of costs?

    1. You may need a consultant who has experience in setting up a project office., Or you can do by yourself with some support from your senior management
    2. If you don’t have good experienced Project Managers, You may need to recruit them. Or you may have to train your existing PMs and mentoring them., There is a cost for that too.
    3. You may need to Purchase some PMIS software, Or you can create your own one.,
    4. You may need to purchase some good PM templates or you can simply create them

(Start Small , Then you can keep your budget low.)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Collecting PDUs???

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I renewed my PMP membership last week. One year has passed and Im left with no PDUs..Too bad…. How do I claim PDUs with All the project related work I do ?

How does other PMPs in SL collect PDUs? Have they given up on that?

Btw, what is PDU ?


Professional Development Unit (PDU)
According to PMI’s rules, a person holding a PMP® certificate must work actively to develop his or her competence in project management. This is a must in order to keep one’s PMP® certificate. Every PMP® certified project manager must renew the certification every three years, and this requires PDU points. One is required to collect at least 60 PDUs during a three-year period.”. <..semcon.se>

How do we collect PDUs ? We don’t have such opportunities and PM events in Sri Lanka ..( Do we??? )


There are some Free stuff which you can get enrolled to earn PDUs online.

http://www.iil.com/webinars/ (Thanks to my friend who sent me this..)

Some other info I found:

PMP Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR): PDUs Made Simple

By: David M. Sides, PMP – January, 2006

Professional Development Units (PDUs) are divided into two basic groups:

You get Project Management – Take courses, training, learning experiences for yourself.

You give Project Management – Perform PM, publish, teach or coach others.

To maintain PMP certification, PMPs must accrue a minimum of 60 PDUs for each 3-year cycle. The cycle extends from the PMP exam date through December 31st of the third calendar year. Typically one hour of qualifying activity equals 1 PDU. PDUs can be earned in any combination, subject to restrictions shown below. Up to 20 excess PDUs earned during the final year of the current cycle may be applied to the next cycle.

Note: If you do not meet these requirements you will lose your PMP certification. To regain PMP status you must apply, pay, and retake the PMP exam.

The reporting process includes completion of an online CCR form, review by PMI, and subsequent renewal payment of $60 for PMI members ($150 for non-members). Since you must keep appropriate

documentation in case of audit, PMI recommends that you maintain PDUs online as they are earned. [I find it easier to keep an offline file and enter once at the end of my cycle.] Examples of required backup documentation include grade transcripts, certificates of completion, program agendas, published materials, program agendas, or class rosters.

Within these groups there are categories, each with specific requirements and possible limitations.

Category 1 – Formal Academic Education

PM-related course from a college or university for degree credit. 1 degree credit = 1 PDU. For

example, a 15-credit semester course = 15 PDUs.

Category 2 – Professional Activities and Self-Directed Learning

There are nine sub-categories, each with different PDUs, requirements, and restrictions.

2a – Author of PM article in refereed journal (30); co-author (20).

2b – Author of PM article in non-refereed journal (15); co-author (10).

2c – PM Speaker at conference, symposium, formal course (10).

2d – PM Speaker at PMI chapter meeting (5).

2e – Member of PM panel at conference, symposium, formal course (5).

2f – Author of PM textbook (40); co-author (20).

2g – Developer of content for structured PM learning program (10).

2h – Practitioner of PM at least 1,500 hours per year (max 5 per year, 15 per cycle).

2SDL – Individual PM-related learning, research, study, or coaching. 1 hour = 1 PDU (max 15 per cycle).

Category 3 – PMI Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.)

PM-related course from a PMI R.E.P. 1 hour = 1 PDU.

Category 4 – Other Provider

PM-related course from any other provider. 1 hour = 1 PDU.

Category 5 – Volunteer Service to Professional or Community Organizations

You may earn a maximum 20 PDUs per cycle in Category 5.

Serve as officer in PM organization.

o Minimum 3 months = 2 PDUs per year.

o 6 months service = 5 PDUs per year.

o 12 months service = 10 PDUs per year.

Serve as committee member in PM organization.

o Minimum 3 months = 1 PDU per year.

o 6 months service = 3 PDUs per year.

o 12 months service = 5 PDUs per year.

Provide PM-related services to community or charitable group (5 PDUs per year).

For more details, see the CCR Handbook on pmi.org. Contact: david.sides@sogeti.com

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

PMO Objectives -2

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Ok, you have already listed the objectives of your project office, the responsibilities, and now you have a Sponsor and a budget. you have the go ahead and the management buy – in.

The next big question. …. Do you have sufficient PMs in your project office to deliver the expectations? How do you find out? You can try the following,

Assess your existing Project Mangers (Their Knowledge, Experience, Training, and Past success records),

In this case, I would setup an interview with each PM., not more than 15 minutes per interview. Just an informal discussion. Before that I will be ready and list down all my expectations of PMs in the New Project Office.

At the time of the interview, I will give some marks for each expectation listed in my list. So end of it I know where I stand with my exiting Staff. This really helps to identify the individual’s different skill levels and areas needed to be improved. They may need some training, or some formal certification. You can make lots of decisions by using this simple matrix.

If you think that you need to recruit some new PMs for your project office, you have 2 options, either you promote somebody among your team members who is willing to be a PM or you recruit a PM from another organization.

Don’t ever do the mistake of promoting your best techie to a PM, unless he/she has PM skills. This is a common mistake done by most of the senior managers., either we force best techies to manage projects or they take that responsibility due to some other reasons. Unfortunately the result is that not only the project suffers, you loose your valuable technical resource too. My personal belief is that , Project Management is a born skill. You cant get a developer, teach him some methodologies and expect him to be a good Project Manager overnight.. Unfortunately it never works that way…A PM needs lot of experience to be a good PM., the decisions that he or she makes should be situational and practical. In this case, find capable people from your staff, Interview them and make sure their career path as a PM., Create some test cases for them with some complicated project issues., see their reactions to it., In this way, you can judge whether they will fit in to your Project Office.

In SL , recruiting an experienced PM from outside the organization is simply impossible., I do have lot of bad experience with that. One simple reason is that Project Management is still a very young profession in SL and no many experienced good PMs available in the job market., the few experienced PMs are already working in some reputed organizations and they are not willing to join another company easily. The other problem is that their financial expectations are too high., (With this job market, its impossible to practice Projectized Organization structure. You cannot release your PMs once the Project is over simply because you will never find any to start a new project again. In SL still there is no contract basis IT resource market. People are still thinking of stable jobs.. which we should discuss in some other post)

Lets think that somehow you got set of good candidate for your Project office., How do you select a good PM out of them., Recently I read one article ( Sorry I forget the name or reference) which says simulation is one of the best methods of interviewing a project manager. As an example, you setup the interview panel as a team, they act like stake holders with different attitudes. You provide your case to the PM candidate and ask him or her to conduct a meeting. You can observe how he or she handles the situation and overcome problems. But the problem I see in this is that you need to spend quite a lot of time for interviews, (though you try this only for short listed candidates). My simple method is again a Matrix. I prepare it with various expectations. Communication, presentation, conflict handling… the list is very long.. then I make sure that I ask at least one question to cover each area., I give marks based on their answers.. That works for me..

Monday, June 05, 2006

I feel I am truly blessed .. Thanks to some wonderful people around the world.!

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I think I must write this note.. this is for all the good people who help others to come up in their career….

When I really thought of doing a research in PM ,I thought its an impossible thing to do. Who is going to help me? There are no many people in Sri Lanka who does research in Project Management.. That's why I posted my idea initially, with the heading "Something Stupid"…
But Its not something stupid any more…some wonderful people.. (I have never seen some of them)., made me think positive.. I'm so grateful to them. Dr.Bandu Ranasinghe spent time to listen to me and discuss about my Ideas and to guide me to do the right thing by forgetting his very busy schedule. Dr. Hewagamage - Colombo University agreed to help my research with no hesitation. (That really changed "my thinking" towards Sri Lankan Academic people) Cornelius Fichtner - My never seen PM friend from Switzerland (Currently in USA and he conducts the PMPODCAST SHOW) always encouraged me. Bill Bates- Principal of P3M Governance Inc.(and a member of PMI's Research Advisory Group- 2005) is going to the extend of helping me by putting me in touch with a number of project management researchers at the masters and PhD levels in USA. He himself gave me some ideas of PM research. There are so many other great guys around me including my best friend and colleagues. You guys are really great!

Friday, June 02, 2006

MPhil/PHD in Project Management

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Today I met Dr.Hewagamage at Colombo University ( School of Computing) to explore the possibility of doing MPhil/PHD in Project Management.( Thanks to Dr. Bandu Ranasinghe who directed me there )

We discussed it further and the areas which I can get in to., He explained me how I should get in to the research and the process. Its hell of a work load and needs lot of commitment as I will do it while working.. But this is what I want to do. So Im sure I will have that commitment.

After the discussion I collected the registration form and came back to office., I got to prepare my research proposal. Before that I should be very clear with the area that Im going to do research on.. After the discussion that Dr. agreed to be my mentor. I’m honored..!

.............There's a battle ahead, many battles are won!!!


 

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