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Newsletter - Jun 2013

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PM Essence
PMPC 2013
Project Management Practitioner's Conference 2013

for business transformation...

September 12 - 14, Thu-Sat, 2013
NIMHANS Convention Center, Bangalore

"The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday's logic".
- Peter Drucker

We realize what brought us here will not take us there. We need to embrace change as part of our journey to remain relevant and be successful. History is replete with many examples wherein yesterday's leaders, as a result of resisting change, either went into oblivion or were forced to become followers.

Business transformation has enabled organizations to successfully adapt to change. It has also allowed organizations to run their business faster and smarter to set up a strong foundation for long term success on an ongoing basis. Leaders driving successful transformation are able to address the formidable challenges associated with strategy, people, culture and business processes to seamlessly integrate it with the external environment to deliver business value.

Project and Program Management discipline is a key to successful execution of this transformational agenda, as it has always served as an important catalyst to drive these changes. With a quest to search, present, discuss, share and learn linkages and unleash the potential of project management to drive business transformation, we announce the 8th annual Project Management Practitioners' conference (PMPC) in Bangalore during September 12th -14th  2013.

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PM Essence

Mapping of PM process groups, Knowledge Areas in a Medical Surgery

By Shikha Vaidh, PMP
Prev. issue - In our last edition (Jan 2013) we covered the initial part of this article which showed how the philosophy of project management can be successfully applied to a nontraditional area such as medical surgery.

Quick Recap: Unlike a pilot, there are no check lists during a surgery procedure, it is just the surgeon's experience and intuition that dictates how a procedure is performed.

As we understand, everything which has a start and an end and has a specific goal is said to be a project. So a surgery which happens for a specific goal can also be considered as a project.

It can be the operations for a Surgeon who is specialized in doing the surgeries as it may be his daily task, but still each surgery can be different for him with a unique start and an end.

Here we bring the remaining and conclusive section…

ExecutingThis is the time when actual execution of the plan happen to achieve the goal. “Project Charter actually gets signed here by the customer [i.e. Sponsor or the head of family, which authorizes the doctors to start with the surgery which documents that patient has agreed to go for the surgery and made familiar with the accompanying procedure]”

In this phase the Surgeon:
Prepares the patient as per the sequence of planned steps. Direct & Manage project execution. Arranges medicine including anesthesia, surgical tools, blood (usually done by the family/ friends)  Conduct procurements. Arranges the team who will conduct the surgery (The anesthetist, the nurse, the support staff) – Conduct Human Resource Management.
Monitoring and Controlling– While monitoring and control goes on during the surgery process as well, the critical time is when the patient comes out of the Operation Theatre till he / she gets discharged from the hospital. In this phase the two key activities that takes place are: Monitoring the health of the patient immediately after surgery. Verifying Scope, Monitor & Control project work.

Communicating and observing the improvements, monitoring & controlling the risks. Schedule post-surgery checkup plan. Report performance, Monitor & Control Risks. Controlling hospitilization cost, e.g. by discharging the patient in time, by giving post surgery do's and don't including prescription of medicines to be taken and schedule for statutory checkups.

Closing When the patient gets discharged from the hospital it is considered to be the closing phase of that particular project.

This includes: Getting the discharge papers and necessary documents. Close project or phase.

Compile all the reports for future reference – [i.e. this is the discharge summary which contains the information of the problem and its solution]. This can be referred by any doctor in future if he has to handle similar case – Document lessons learnt. Settlement of full and final bill (covered with or without insurance). Close procurements.

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PM Essence
Satisfying the Customer beyond
Contractual Obligation :

                The Growing Demand in Project Management

- Amaresh Porey, PMP

A difficulty often experienced in Project Management is with regard to strict adherence to the stated project scope. Since dependencies , assumptions and even acceptance test plan and the criteria for acceptance are often not defined upfront , customer's expectations (i.e. undefined requirements, as against 'needs' which are defined requirements) go up, resulting in scope creep, erosion into profits, and often loss of goodwill. The customer expects them to be guided at every phase of the project.
Usually the solution involves a great deal of stakeholder management, establishment of relationships and a strong control of the project budget.

This paper discusses the various situations, challenges, and learning's with a couple of case studies.

The project was to transform the application maintenance process from the conventional way to ITIL framework and also to transition from the incumbent vendor to the new vendor for about 40 applications including 2 ERP applications SAP and Ariba. When the project was about to enter the final stage, the customer told the project manager that he could not ask the business users to follow the ITIL methodology and raise ticket for every problem they encounter in the system, thus shattering the basic pillars of the new process. The customer was expecting the project team to make the system go live and also to take care of the end user request to work in the old ways. Although the transition was successful, the customer and the project team, the continued non-cooperation from the end users created problems for the new vendor to manage and report the SLA adherence. The problem was ultimately solved when the customer and the project manager jointly decided to explain to the end users as to how the new process would benefit the business, resulting in a smooth and phased transition department by department. Here,, though the job of changing end user mindset was basically the responsibility of customer, the contractor had to help out. The risks involved in this situation were entirely foreseeable, and upfront stakeholder involvement could have mitigated them to a large extent.

In another case, implementation of a CRM solution involved the use of one module by 5000 users spread across the globe, and it was felt necessary to train them all in the use of the module. The SoW, however, had not included the training as part of the scope, though the project would not serve its purpose without it.

Neither the budget nor the schedule was elastic enough to admit this scope creep. The contractor's solution would be to have a remote video coaching, while the customer would ask for a Train-the-Trainer program at the contractor's expense. The point is that a solution with a minimum incremental costs is possible. Here again, a little foresight on the part of the contractor while making the Proposal could have avoided the problem.

Conclusion: The objective of the contract should be served at the end of the day. If the SoW that is drawn up does not have this understanding, and does not take into account this fundamental need, project
management practice should rise above the scope of the SoW in such cases. At the same time, one cannot afford to stretch oneself beyond a limit, and hence it is prudent to :

• Partner with customer to understand the project
• Establish a common goal
• Expore the experience and knowledge gained from past events to 'expect the unexpected' and
• Keep a continuous control over the budget.

Reference – Satisfying the Customer beyond Contractual Obligation : The Growing Demand in Project Management, By - Amaresh Porey, PMP, PM National Conference, 2011.

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PM Essence

Converting Intangibles to tangibles…. to achieve Customer Satisfaction

- Kapil Gupta, PMP
Projects by definition are meant to produce Products or Services or both as end results. Sometimes they produce products and at some other times services or just results. We should evaluate project requirements and deploy suitable solutions to challenges posed to Projects. Understanding and then applying Product and Service Characteristics can help improve Project deliverables and thereby delivering Customer Satisfaction and Profitability to the Project..

In this article, let us evaluate the topic of Project and Project Management with respect to its requirements, i.e. similarities and differentiation from Products and Services. Key Differentiating factors between Products and Services can be differentiated by four key parameters, i.e. Intangibility, Inseparability, Heterogeneity, Perishability of Services Versus Tangibility, Separable, Homogeneity and Un-perishability Characteristics of Products as shown in figure 1.

These factors differentiate the Opportunities and Challenges that vary between Products and Services. Figure 1 summarizes the key points to be noted. Coming to evaluating Project and Project Management with respect to Products and Services life cycle, we find a very close interrelationship with the characteristics of both the Products and Services. On one hand, a Project exhibits Product requirements by having tangible, measurable deliverables and final product, which is bought at a price, purchased (owned) and then consumed, Projects exhibit service requirements by allowing customer to first decide the right service to be bought, and then get it performed. Projects are initiated, results pre-determined and agreed and come with financial investments, by sponsor or initiator. Benefits are realized during the project lifecycle when the final product is being produced. It is then imperative to understand and know the product and service aspects of any project and project management, which will help us understand how they can deliver product or service value.

As products and services are defined by their tangibility quotient on the tangibility scale, projects can also be classified according to their tangibility quotients and suitable planning performed to address the needs of specific projects. Customer involvement enhances service satisfaction. This factor is crucial as it relates to customer interactions with Project team while the project deliverables are being prepared for final delivery.

Although service by definition does not result in permanent ownership of the product or the facility, (e.g. Movie ticket, can be bought only once for a 3 hour experience and at end of the movie one does not own anything, except the experience and memory of the 3 hours spent), the key differentiating factor for projects is that services performed during projects do result in permanent ownership of final deliverables Fig. 2 highlights the differences between products, services and projects. Product lifecycle is linear consisting of Supplier, Manufacturer, Distributor, Retailer. Purchaser then consumes the products owned. Service lifecycle consists of Purchaser, Supplier, Manufacturer and then Consumer while it is still being performed. Services are delivered by employees who are in constant or close touch to customer. Hence, employee services and customer satisfaction are the main elements of success for any service or project interaction. It is therefore very important to engage customer closely and ensure employee and customer satisfaction to be achieved together in order for any project to be successful.
These factors, although are intangible from customer perspective (when the definition that customer is not paying for these services is used), they indeed are part of those critical 'tangible' attributes that determine the success criteria of the projects. Hence companies and project managers should have to focus on this key intangible deliverable, which helps in bringing customer satisfaction and hence future business and revenues for the business. Whatever, intangibles are created are real 'core competencies' or assets or best practices of the company that forms the Organisation Process Assets (OPA) which can be leveraged as inputs for all future projects.
In summary, the route to Tangible Growth for any company or project is to handle the Intangible part of the project with complete planning and care and ensure full compliance to all the service industry standards. Only then the final product will be accepted with complete customer satisfaction with a Win-Win-Win situation for Customer, Employees and the Company.
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PM Essence

Definition of Done

- Naveen Nanjundappa, PMP
Definition of Done (DoD) paper presents the structure, composition, attributes of good definition of 'DONE' and how to effectively document the same. “The story is all about Done... Done... Done.!” The Definition of Done (DoD) is important for Agile teams to accurately measure their progress. Clear definition and understanding of this term across stakeholders is absolutely necessary in the Agile way of working. When a team claims the story is 'done', it means the team has completed all the work needed to satisfy that story, and it has become potentially shippable. This implies 'Done' has definitive and measurable activities that contribute to evaluate the progress of the project, for the story during iteration and releases.

The good Done definition also addresses the contextual meaning to various focus groups at individual, team and organizational levels. Standard definition of 'Done' statement that suits all situations in an organization across teams is impossible to create; 'Done' has a contextual reference specific to a team that suits their unique environment andstories. Also the definition addresses not just the functional but also the nonfunctional requirements and standards like usability, performance, capacity and maintainability. The paper also discusses the responsibility and contributions from team, product owner and organization in authoring good definition for the word 'Done'.

The Agile framework's Definition of Done (DoD) has 3 important focus areas; to demonstrate business value delivered to customer, to check the product quality, and follow the software best practices while the team create their DoD list, which in turn will help them develop acceptable user stories every time. DoD should not be a rigid list of items, each user story is different so there is no single fit to the entire DOD list for all user stories and teams. It should simply support the team to finish the user story and be accepted by product owner.
A good DoD is created by a team which has a clear understanding of the acceptance criteria and support from the product owner on every user story. Team brainstorming is one of the best ways to create the DoD list. Steps to create Definition of Done for team is a good takeaway from this paper where it talks about Definition of Done. Checklist creation is never a single time activity; this list is live and updated during the integration planning. Having a visual DOD List as described in the paper also works as information radiator. Apart from being a visual indicator of status of the story, it also serves as motivator and true reflector of team's progress towards the goal.

Reference – Are you really done?
By - Naveen Nanjundappa, PMPC 2012