PM leadership tips from someone who buries people for a living

PM leadership tips from someone who buries people for a living

That someone is Steve Muro who heads the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) responsible for 131 U.S. national cemeteries where more than 3 million veterans and their families are buried. The NCA is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs headquartered in Washington, DC. whose motto reads “for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan. These words were spoken by Abraham Lincoln during his Gettysburg Address and are now on a pair of metal plaques at the entrance to the VA. Next time you’re in Washington, take a short stroll down Vermont Ave NW. They’re really quite inspiring.

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Think Agile is a fad? Think again

Think Agile is a fad? Think again

What’s in your wallet? At Cap One plenty since they started using agile! In 2011, Capital One (the “what’s in your wallet? ” company) delivered only 1% of its development projects using agile. Today, it’s 85%. Here are some facts to get your (or your executives’) attention. Using an agile development methodology Capital One has 400 product releases per month 95% of products meet expectations on the first release delivery times have been cut by 3-6 months they have decreased costs significantly While you might think that Capital One has a pilot test of agile going on the fact is they have trained more than 3,000 developers and business users on this innovative development approach. This is no small feat.

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PM training through MOOCs? It’s just a matter of time

PM training through MOOCs? It’s just a matter of time

Coursera , one of the relatively new companies offering MOOCs (Massive Open On-line Courses) recently announced a couple of very interesting bits of news. First, the former President of Yale University, Richard C. Levin, who stepped down this past June, will become its chief executive next month. And, second, the company recently introduced what it calls “specializations” where an individual who completes several related courses will earn a certificate, all for the low price of between $250-$500! I’m sure Levin had his choice of jobs upon leaving Yale; most ex-presidents of Yale do. And yet, he chose to jump headfirst into this rapidly evolving, and somewhat controversial,  form of on-line learning.  Coursera sees rapid growth, especially in China, and Levin, with a great deal of experience in working with Chinese universities throughout his career, can help spur that growth, and grow his compensation as well. As regards certificates, this is another interesting development.

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EPC companies admit they didn’t invent project management and seek professional help.

EPC companies admit they didn’t invent project management and seek professional help.

There’s a revolution going on, and it’s going on in the EPC industry: Engineering, Procurement and Construction. These are the companies that work on the “megaprojects,” the projects that run into the hundreds of millions, and yes, billions of dollars. Think, The Chunnel, the Big Dig, and bullet train systems in China and Japan as examples of such large, complex, and extremely costly projects. For many years EPC companies did project management their own way. In fact, they thought they invented project management (engineers and constructors have been long time users of the Critical Path Method.) These folks believed they knew it all and no one could possibly teach them anything new. But the EPC world has changed.

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Portfolio Management takes center stage with PMI’s new PfMP credential

Portfolio Management takes center stage with PMI’s new PfMP credential

In a credential crazed world look out because here comes another one. The Project Management Institute (PMI) recently announced its new Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) credential. And, in my view, it’s about time. In an age where Baby Boomers like myself are looking to retire (we’re looking to retire, it might not be there yet!), balance sheets of corporations are flush with cash, yet spending on professional development is very tight, and certainly there’s as lot more work to do than people to do it, the ability to select the most high-valued projects in an organization has never been more important. But managing a portfolio of projects and programs is much different than managing a financial portfolio (even though it really is a financial portfolio). In financial portfolio management (e.g., stocks, bonds, CDs, alternative investments) a reasonable investor, such as myself, expects that at any given point in time there will be certain components of that portfolio that will be doing very well, while other parts of that portfolio will be lagging. In fact, professional money managers strongly suggest that an investor select investments that are not correlated with one another.

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