3 things you need to make better, faster, project decisions (Part 1)

3 things you need to make better, faster, project decisions (Part 1)

What do you need to make better, faster, project decisions? I think there are 3 essential “things” if I can call them that. They are: Good data, at regular intervals, from trustworthy people (or sources) The ability to make a timely decision under uncertain conditions A project governance structure that allows decision-making at the appropriate level In this, and in two subsequent posts, I will explain what I mean by each one. That said, let’s begin with the first— Good data, at regular intervals, from trustworthy people. Good data…… What does good data tell us, and, where do we find it?  Good data tells us about the Past , the Present , and the Future . We typically find data about the past in project reports.

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Want more innovation on your project team? Ask the right questions

Want more innovation on your project team? Ask the right questions

On a vacation in 1943 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Edwin Land took a picture of his young daughter. When she asked if she could see the photo immediately he, of course, said no, he had to take the film to be developed. He then asked himself something along the lines of “why not?” “Why can’t someone invent a way to take pictures that you could see right away?” It changed photography until the digital camera changed it! As you probably have surmised this was the very beginning of what became known as the Polaroid Land Camera, an invention that changed photography forever. In fact, the company he started had tremendous success, so much so, it was placed it on what was known as the Nifty-fifty , a group of high-flying growth companies that dominated trading on the New York Stock Exchange in the 1960s. In his highly readable work entitled A More Beautiful Question, Warren Berger points out that it’s not just asking questions that leads to innovation; it’s asking the right kinds of questions. What kind are those? The ones that Edwin Land’s daughter asked; namely, open questions

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Can 2,000 yr old technology spur innovation on your project? You bet!

Can 2,000 yr old technology spur innovation on your project? You bet!

Paper. It’s been around for 2,000 years. Thankfully, in 1968,  Dr. Spencer Silver, of the 3M Corporation improved upon it by, accidentally as it turned out, inventing the Post-it Note. According to Jeff Hillins, 3M’s global business director for the Post-it Brand, it was initially conceived as a way to bookmark pages. However, people quickly began using them for all sorts of things such as routing stacks of paper documents around the office.

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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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