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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Think implementing one PPM tool was hard? Companies now need two!

Think implementing one PPM tool was hard? Companies now need two!

PPM tools: you can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them. In 2012 Gartner estimated the value of the PPM tool market at $1.65 billion up 11% from the year before and it is projected to climb even higher. That’s a lot of tools, a lot of money, and, a lot of investment. And just when many organizations thought they were in good shape after spending years refining and perfecting their PPM usage, along comes Agile and turns everything on its head. Why? Because the traditional PPM tool is based on the waterfall approach to managing projects, one that has been around a long time and comes with a standard set of processes, terms and vocabulary.

Read More