It is clear the rate of change in today’s work environments has been aggravating with more emphasis nowadays on smaller teams, incremental and rapid delivery, faster payback, and frequent project status reporting. This acceleration has instigated uncertainty that forced organisations to start supporting their strategic planning with a longer term perspective of planning called scenario planning or scenario thinking/analysis. Scenario planning was established by Royal Dutch Shell during the 1973 petroleum shortage period and was adopted later by many big companies like US Steel, Microsoft, AT&T, and IBM.
One of the most effective ways to increase the number of page views and decrease the bounce rate of your site is by splitting your long posts into several pages. In the first part of the article, you will learn in 2 steps how to split a post in Wordpress using the codex function wp_link_pages() and the tag. In the second part, you will learn how to display both previous/next and page number links.
Ever heard of GZIP? It is a simple software application that compresses/decompresses files based on an algorithm named DEFLATE. It works by finding similar strings in a text file and replacing them temporarily to make the overall file size smaller which would drastically improve the performance of your website. The algorithm perfectly works with CSS and HTML filetypes which typically contain repetitions of whitespaces, tags, and strings.
In the previous part of the article Improving Quality of Project Estimation, six guidelines for improving project estimates were presented. Experience in this world tells us that estimates sometimes do not materialize as planned and to compensate for this problem, project managers might end up readjusting their estimates by adding 20 percent or more. But why after all the efforts that have been put on detailed estimates do these numbers slip? In this third and final part of the article, we discuss four reasons for this dilemma.
In the previous part of the article Improving Quality of Project Estimation, we highlighted nine important factors that need to be considered when making estimates. In this second part of the article, we present six guidelines that will hep project managers develop better quality of estimates and avoid common pitfalls in practice.
This post is the first part of the article Improving Quality of Project Estimation. It highlights nine factors that influence the quality and accuracy of project estimates.
It is clear that estimating a project is important for the project manager to determine how long the project would take, to figure out how much the project would cost, to decide whether the project is worth doing, to measure variances against the baseline plan, and to take corrective actions. However some project managers nowadays tend to put minimum effort on their estimations which is the primary reason why their projects slip or fail to be delivered. Although achieving accurate estimates is desirable, there still remain a hidden uncertainty that can not be factored. Besides, while accuracy in estimating incurs extra costs and inaccuracy leads to unpleasant outcomes and customer discontent. the process of project estimating then becomes more like a balance of benefits between the two.
Previously in one of my earlier articles, I discussed the key qualities required for a project manager to be effective in building a high performance project team. Believe it or not, though high performance project teams can produce incredible outcomes, there still remain some serious pitfalls that project managers need to be aware of in order not to fall victims in their trap. This post talks about those pitfalls in detail and presents techniques to reduce their probability of occurrence.
Contract management constitutes a major component of a project procurement system. Most work done nowadays on projects involves dealing with contracts or has a contractual nature. Although some companies have purchasing departments that specialize in procurement, one of the basic knowledge and skills of a project manager is to be able to read and manage contracts. This post basically discusses the project manager role in procurement, the different types of contracts, their pros and cons, and how contracts control the intentions and expectations of customers and partners. There are six steps that make up procurement management:
Most managers today dislike the performance appraisal process and view it as an annual, traditional, time-consuming, burdensome, counterproductive, and a painful practice where they only spend a small amount of time at the end of the year collecting employee information and filling out appraisal forms. Reasons include the inconsistency in using performance appraisals within the organization, the ambiguity in distinguishing among the different levels of performance, and the poor linkage between the appraisal system and the need to develop better skills and competencies for employees. Yet what these managers don’t know is that performance appraisal when properly conducted is considered invaluable to the organization since it builds up employee objectives, links them to the corporate and strategic goals, identifies employee strengths and weaknesses, and legally explains to an employee how HR decisions were taken. For more information on how to strengthen the performance appraisal process and strategically link it with employee training and development, check out my article Linking Performance Appraisal to Training And Development: Case Study Example.
This post builds on the principles discussed in the article Calculating Optimum Cost/Time Project Schedule to calculate the optimum cost/time schedule for the Whitbread World Sailboat Race project. It demonstrates how to construct a priority matrix for the Whitbread World Sailboat Race project to determine whether each of the criteria (time, performance, cost) can be constrained, enhanced, or accepted. Based on this matrix, it then calculates the optimum cost/time scheduling to determine whether the project can be completed within 45 weeks and within the planned budget of 3,200,000$.
This post presents a critical analysis of Porter’s Value Chain Analysis (VCA) framework by considering both its benefits and its limitations. It first defines the concept of value chain, discusses the primary and support activities, illustrates how to achieve competitive advantage using value chain, analyzes differentiation and cost using value chain, and finally analyzes all the weaknesses and limitations of the framework. For a critical analysis of Porter’s Five Forces model in IT industry, kindly check out my article Critical Analysis of Porter’s Five Forces Model – Information Technology (IT) Industry.
On December 17, 2002, Shelby County Habitat of Humanity, a nonprofit ecumenical housing ministry, broke the world record for the fastest habitat house ever built in 3 hours, 26 minutes, and 34 seconds. Chad Calhoun, the project manager, attributed the project success to the careful planning of each activity, the readiness and organization of all the resources and materials, and the serious commitment to the sensitive schedule. The project kicked off at 11:00 AM on December 17th with the prefabricated wall panels already set in place and ready to be lifted. This was immediately followed by raising the interior panels which lasted exactly 16 minutes as planned. A series of tasks were later executed by dedicated workers and involved plumbing, wiring, carpeting, flooring, painting, and installation of lightnings, cabinets, electrical outlets, windows, and porches. The construction of the 14,000-pound roof was taking place simultaneously on the ground. Upon completion, it was lifted using a crane and attached accordingly. During that time, another crew of workers was busy handling interior work like decorations while others were planting shrubs in the yard. The house was completed around 2:21 PM.
This post demonstrates how to use PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) to compute the weighted average duration, standard deviation, and the variance of each activity in a given project. It then calculates the average or expected project duration, which is the sum of the average activity times on the critical path. Finally knowing the average project duration and the variances of all activities, the probability (Z) of completing the project by a certain time is then calculated using standard statistical tables.
This post describes key qualities needed for an effective project manager. It discusses the differences between leading and managing a project, explains the importance of managing stakeholders, describes how to gain influence by reciprocity, stresses on the significance of leading by example and managing by wandering around (MBWA), explores how to deal with the contradictory nature of work, and finally depicts how to acquire high Emotional Intelligence (EQ).