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Newsletter - Oct 2012

 
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PM Essence
Key takeaways from PMPC 2012

- Sridhar Chadalawala, PMP
Presented by Dr. Prajapati Trivedi
Secretary, Government of India - Cabinet Secretariat

The conference kicked off with power packed speech of Dr. Trivedi which has set a right mood and given right nutrient for the conference. Dr. Trivedi's speech on the “Performance Monitoring and Evaluation” in government has changed the perception we currently have with respect to the government projects and initiatives.

One of the paradigm used by the Economist as “A blind man looking for black cat in dark room” is not only humorous but a thought provoking fact. It is sometimes true in the project management paradigm also as most of the times we try to understand the real scope/requirement of a project in the above sense.

Few of this below mentioned thoughts is very relevant to any project manager in any age of project management

• Top down accountability works more than the bottom up accountability
• We need to get rid of “Not me syndrome”.
• Communicate the status- It makes stakeholder feel better
• Performance depends primarily on “20% of skills of the person and 80% on the System and processes that have been adopted”.
• Take ownership.
• Ask relevant questions – revalidate.

Industry Perspective of Project Management Trends

Presented by Mr. Bhaskar Bhat,
Managing Director, TITAN Industries Limited

Mr. Bhaskar Bhat has given us a clear insight of “how we can make challenges for you, instead of you working for challenges”. Especially in managing the upward and downward trend of their retail jewellery stores “Tanishq” is truly inspiring.

To achieve a success in any field of expertise one must “Dare to Try” and failure doesn't always mean we are not successful but it actually means that we have tried something new and we have not attained perfection in making it success.

Case Study - Implementation of Sevottam Seva and Project Arrow

Presented by Mr. Rajinder Kashyap, Deputy Director General (PG, QA & Inspection) and Mr. Prannoy Sharma,
OSD to Secretary Posts

This was a real eye opener to all of the audiences in this presentation which has changed the entire perception on the “India Post”. With the advent of internet and many other communication tools one can challenge the existence of postal services in the future but this has changed the entire perception of many (including myself). The important take away from the presentation is that it is not enough for us to implement a system but more important is to “monitor and control” it in order to make it effective and sustainable.

Definition of Done

Presented by Mr. Naveen Nanjundappa,
Agile Coach

This is another unique presentation which has given real insight for the definition of “Done” in three important areas namely the product quality, business value to customer, and software best practices. Also the definition should address not just the functional but also the non-functional requirements and standards like
usability, performance, capacity & maintainability.


What does cloud computing mean to project managers?

Mr. Deepak Vijayaragavan,
Sr. Delivery Manager, Aditi Technologies

Project Management is taking a paradigm shift with the evolution of “Cloud” based applications. Project management skills and competencies are an important part of the framework for this paradigm shift. Cloud computing for a Project Manager, means a more green, less costly, and more carefree processing environment for the customer.

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PM Essence
DidYouKnow
Q. This is a tendency for project requirements to take more time and money than anticipated. What is it?
A. Feature creep (sometimes known as requirements creep or scope creep) is a tendency for product or project requirements to increase during development beyond those originally foreseen. Feature creep may be driven by a client's growing "wish list" or by developers themselves as they see opportunity for improving the product. To control feature creep, project management tools, such as the requirements stability index (RSI), are sometimes advocated. While RSI MONITORS the stability of the features and the extent of avoidance of the Creep, the CONTROL is made by rigidly following the Change Control Board (CCB) protocol. One useful guideline is the Acceptance Criteria. Whatever is needed to fulfill the Acceptance Criteria is not to be considered a creep, but within the scope, and whatever is not needed to satisfy the Acceptance Criteria should necessarily be processed through the CCB.

[source – Internet & SSV]

We like to hear what you think!!

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The structured approach to manage any project, as propounded in PMBOK, helps me to ...

The Lighter Side of PM
Oct2012LighterSide
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PM Essence

Basics of Critical Chain Project Management & Theory of Constraints


Lt Col (Retd) L. Shri Harsha, PgMP, PMP

As I sat through the talk on “Theory of Constraints – Applicability in Critical Chain Project Management and Agile” during the Footprints session on 19 Jul 2012, two thoughts crossed my mind. One, linking two topics which need indepth explanation to the “generalists” of today is not a wise approach for a talk with a limited time period, something which I hope future speakers at Footprints will keep in mind. Second, that I should make an attempt to simplify the subject for better assimilation, which I am trying now and hope that I succeed.

Though the speaker did his best to clarify doubts, to the best of his ability within the constraints of time and words which he could muster to explain, I guessed many left the venue with a hope that they could have understood the concepts better.
Critical Chain Project Management

Most of us are conversant with the Critical Path Method (CPM). Just to recapitulate, as part of time management, we identify activities, sequence them, estimate resources and durations, and finally develop the schedule, which we then analyse by using CPM. At the end of this process, we will have the schedule data in a form, something similar to this.

SDCPM1
In this method, based on the risks at activity levels we estimate the additional time required to complete the activity and keep it as a reserve.

Though the reserve is not to be considered while developing the schedule, invariably it gets merged with the duration estimates and the activity duration defined is inclusive of the reserve. As a result, at a work package level buffers disproportionate to the actual requirements have been created inadvertently. During execution, the execution team is unaware of these buffers, consumes the time and it becomes very difficult to track these buffers at every activity level.

As a process improvement, when the CPM was analyzed, it was identified that buffers were actually getting consumed at activity levels, irrespective of whether the risk events occurred or not, and monitoring was not effective. This deficiency in the CPM technique gave rise to the “Critical Chain Project Management” method of developing schedules. The only change that was done over the CPM method was to combine all the time reserves and group them separately under the Work package. The data will now look like this:-
SCCCPM1
The last two columns change position. This ensures that for the project team, the activity duration is what they are entitled to execute the activity. This grouping of activities of a Work package is called a “Chain” since they are interdependent and one weak link, i.e. delays in execution, delays the complete chain of activities. This technique is called the “Critical Chain Project Management”.
Based on the risks identified, which may or may not occur, the complete chain of activities will be affected.

As project managers we should be aware that the delay in execution of one activity will delay completion of only that particular activity, and only impact the start and finish of succeeding activities to the extent of the delay that has occurred without magnifying.

Therefore, it calls for effective management of the chain for restoring the situation to the original plan. This will doubly ensure that the delay is not carried forward to all activities in the future and facilitate corrections at every stage of the project. The advantages of this approach are:-

• Reserves, which are needed only in case of risk events occurring, are segregated from activity duration; thereby ensuring that realistic time estimates are communicated to the team.

• Ensures that time reserves are consumed only on occurrence of risk events, not as a routine, and easily identifiable for effective tracking.

• Identification of reserve utilization facilitates better root cause analysis of risk events and improvement of processes, which may also include reassessment of planning parameters.

• In case risk events did not occur up to a particular point of time, there is no necessity of these reserves in the future, which earlier was inadvertently carried forward in the system. Hence, forecasts made during periodic reviews dropped these buffers and were realistic.

• Consumption of reserves up to the completion of a particular work package would caution the team that there are no more reserves for future activities in the chain and that belts have to be tightened to ensure that the rest of the activities go as per plan.

• Monitoring and controlling is more effective and proactive. On a personal note, I have found this technique to be definitely better than the CPM technique. Though it involves some minimal additional work during the planning stage, it simplifies life to a great extent during the execution stage.
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PM Essence

Why should you take PMP Certification


Santosh Varma, PMP

Projects managed by people who are not PMP certified project managers have only 25% success rate in contrast to 75% success rate of projects handled by PMP certified managers.

Two to three years ago, it was my main and ONLY aim of my life to be PMP Certified. Such was the craze and trend during that time that I was carried away by this new fantasy in town. PMP Certification is one of the most sought after certification among professionals, be it IT or manufacturing or any field of profession. On this basis, and for my future aspects, I also decided that this was the time to take on this certification. I came to understand that anyone having 4 years IT experience is eligible to write PMP Certification Examination. As long as the role involves any process of a project, anyone can go ahead and appear for this exam.
PMPLogo
I knew that passing out this exam would be a Herculean task, considering that I did not have full time project management experience and was a bit nervous about taking the examination. However I was confident with myself that I can clear this certification, if I study and understand the PM concepts and take the help of other PMP professionals and managers in my company.

PMP Certification basically tests the different phases of Project life cycle eg. Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Controlling and Closure. It is not necessary for one to have experience in all of these phases, but at least knowledge in all these areas is required and this can be obtained by reading PMBOK and other PMP related books.

My primary focus of this article would be to provide my perspective on the following oftenasked questions :-

• As an individual / Project Manager, why should I be PMP Certified ?
• What advantage would I have over Non-PMP Certified Project Manager ?
• What is the marketability opportunity of any PMP Manager?

The following explanations would try to explain the above concerns.

PMP is a credential offered by PMI (Project Management Institute) . To pick up the details from Wikipedia,

• As of 31 July 2010, there were 393,413 active PMP certified individuals worldwide.

Government, commercial and other organizations employ PMP certified managers in an attempt to improve the success rate of their projects in all areas of knowledge, by applying standard project management principles. A professional with PMP Certification is recognized worldwide to handle projects with confidence / professional and constructive approach. It certifies his/her expertise in Project Understanding, Risk management, Stakeholder management, Time management, Cost management, Quality control, Leadership , Budgeting, Communication and Documentation.

Projects managed by people who are not PMP certified project managers have only 25% success rate in contrast to 75% success rate of projects handled by PMP certified managers, according to a survey by Foote Partners LLC, an IT workforce research company.


As we know Project Management processes help in improving existing processes and in mitigating the challenges at the right time. There were of course failures and success in projects before PMI introduced these processes, but once PMP certification became widely adopted, the way to approach the failures and success of any project drastically improved. The challenges were now getting mitigated at the right time, using a very professional and process driven approach.


As I see it, a typical PMP manager adopts the following processes with passion and sincere diligence for managing his/her project.
• Project status reporting
• Project schedule management
• Conducting regular project status meetings
• Coordinating all project communications
• Formal and informal meetings
• Project budget and resource management

To me this set of processes brings in many advantages, not only to the project, but to the overall Organization. Many people have argued with me saying that they as Project managers have succeeded without doing PMP Certification and their projects have also succeeded without actually following any processes. I am not here to advocate PMP Certification, but I would definitely like to advocate that the processes / guidelines / standards, if adopted will positively influence the projects which will result in vastly improved quality of the project deliverables. Market will definitely look for, hire and nurture those kind of project managers. Not only they deliver the 'scope' of the project, they deliver the 'value' to their clients, their organization and to themselves.

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PM Essence
KartikayenKarthikeyan Paalankishe, PMP
Karthikeyan Paalankishe is presently working as Program Manager, India at Lifesize Communications. He has been associated with the PMI Bangalore India Chapter as a volunteer since April 2009. He has been taking increasing responsibility and currently involved end to end in one of the Flagship events of the chapter which is PM Footprints. Karthikeyan has also contributed during the Project Management Conference. He has got various awards from the Chapter for his volunteering contributions. Some of the recognitions are Champions award for the contribution for the PMPC-2011, Gold Star award for Volunteering the year 2011-2012. He holds a Bachelors in Engineering along with an MBA and is a PMP credential holder since 2008.

Roughly how many hours per week do you typically spend for PM volunteering?
About 1000 hours from 2011 till date.
About two hours a week to sometimes 8 hours on the weekend.


What motivates you to volunteer for PMI?

It gives me an opportunity to network and learn from fellow project practitioners. It gives me a sense of satisfaction of doing something different from the regular office work and gives me the opportunity to give back to the project management community.

What is the hardest thing about doing volunteer work?

The hardest thing at times is to juggle between my commitments be it personal or official and finding time for the volunteering work.

PMI Volunteering, Professional commitment, Personal commitment -How do you balance the three?

I prioritize things on a daily basis and spend time based on the priority and urgency. I strongly advocate the fact that all the three are essential for an overall grooming of the personality.

Name any 1-2 best volunteering experience?
Involvement in the PM Footprints and the PMPC 2012 events gave me an immense sense of ownership and satisfaction.

Tell us your hobbies, or things you are passionate about, other than volunteering at PMI?
My hobbies are playing Tabla and enjoy any sort of percussion instruments.

What will be your message for your fellow volunteers?
PMI Bangalore Chapter has various opportunities for volunteering and these opportunities really help one to groom his/her professional life. These volunteering opportunities provide you the view of the other side of the
coin.

What is your thought on recognizing volunteers?
Recognition of the volunteers in an open forum:
- It would be nice to carry his/her picture on the website.
- A nice volunteering memento like a watch/shirt/pen would be a good idea.

Karthikeyan Paalankishe, PMP