Tag Archives: Portfolio

My First Project Portfolio

PM ChangeAgent Commentary by Stacy Goff; ProjectExperts CEO.
Many years ago (1973), in a Data Processing group in a local government organization (Lane County, Oregon) we had several large projects, and a large backlog of small maintenance, support, and “quick fix” projects. And, for this backlog of projects, the priorities continually changed. The changes were so frequent that we could plan our week’s work on Monday, but by Friday, little of that work was complete, because of many new, “even more urgent” projects, and because of priority changes in our backlog.portfolio

We addressed this challenge by prototyping a solution: Keeping track of our “backlog” in (of all things) a box of punched cards. That was the primary input to many computer systems in earlier days. After we perfected the information we needed to track, we began to use an online version. In that era, online often meant a simple listing of card images on an 80-character screen. Unfortunately, our solution did little more than depress us—the backlog kept growing.

And then, several new books on Time Management emerged. We especially liked Alan Lakein’s How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life. We decided that his insights, including better methods of prioritization, were the key. We added Urgency and Importance fields to our backlog list, with entries limited to 1, 2 and 3, where 1 was most important or most urgent. Note that Alan Lakein used A, B and C for the three choices, we used 1, 2 and 3, because they could be more easily averaged. And, we required that all entries must average 2, to force a sense of high, medium and low Urgency and Importance. Otherwise, everything would soon become Priority 1, destroying the value of the system. Continue reading

Declare Victory, and Take the Weekend Off

PM Commentary by Stacy Goff, ProjectExperts CEO.
Is it time now, to “Declare Victory, and Take the Weekend Off?” You’ll have to read more than this article’s “teaser” to find out.

The Backstory
We founded IPMA-USA in 2001 with a vision of accelerating the advancement of the project and program management (PM) discipline for beneficial change in organizations, the USA, and the world. But first we had to reverse a downward trend.

Our founders——many of whom had key roles in the success of other professional associations——believed that PM had not kept pace with the increased complexity of initiatives. Despite the heroic efforts of PM thought leaders like Lew Ireland, William Duncan, Bob Youker, and others, during the 1990s the momentum of beneficial change through PM had dramatically slowed and showed few signs of regaining traction. And so these same people met to share their insights about the symptoms and causes of the downward trend, and about how to regain momentum.

Downward or Upward? The Insights
Our IPMA-USA founders collected their insights into seven areas that needed serious attention to halt the downward trend and begin its upward acceleration. The areas (numbered here for easier referencing; no ranking implied) are:

  1. Author ownership of PM intellectual property
  2. Learning focused on improving PM performance
  3. Demonstrating PM performance
  4. Improving communication with stakeholders
  5. Improving integration and coordination across PM-related groups
  6. Managing projects to fulfill business objectives and deliver business success
  7. Establishing PM as a core, life competence

Some of the areas required redirecting the practice of PM in general. Some required establishing ways to demonstrate and measure PM performance and business value. Some areas would be easier to measure than others. And some areas would require a seismic shift in thoughts and acts about who we serve and why. Continue reading

The Wonders of Emperor Qin’s Project Portfolio

PM Commentary by Stacy Goff, ProjectExperts CEO.
This article continues impressions from our recent trip to China, to honor PMRC, the Project Management Research Committee, and to celebrate their 20th Anniversary. And while we earlier mentioned the TerraCotta Warriors, a must-see adventure for any visitor to this part of China, there is much more to know about the founder of Xi’an, the heart of China’s governance for 2000 years.

We did our research before our visit, not wanting to be ignorant about this important part of China. Books in English about the area are not as common as those covering Beijing, Shanghai, and other parts of this fascinating nation. Among the books we read, we found a very useful book, Xi’an, Shaanxi and the Terracotta Army, by Mooney, Maudsley and Hatherly, published by Odyssey Books and Guides, 2009. We liked this book because of its great blend of geology, geography, art, history, politics, intrigue, and its description of the culture, tourist attractions, foods, and other facets unique to the area.

But the most interesting part was the story of Ying Zheng’s ascendance to his father’s throne as King Qin Shi Huangdi (Qin is pronounced Chin) in the year 246 BCE, and creation of a portfolio of projects that set the stage for unifying China as a nation. He began this at the age of 13—he would not yet even qualify for IPMA Young Crew. Over the next 25 years, he brought together (in battle) the Seven Warring States, and became China’s first Emperor.

Before proceeding, let’s clear up a bit about Emperor Qin’s name. Ling was his family name. Qin was the name of the state. Huang came from legends of three saintly sovereigns; Di came from legends of five saintly emperors. Shi? That means, the first. Such branding! Emperor Qin’s lasting impact was only partly based on his strong military power—his Dynasty was relatively short in duration—it expired quickly after he did. It is his wondrous portfolio of project results that has endured–such that still today, over 2000 years later, China benefits from his peoples’ achievements. Continue reading

A Rainbow of Different Purposes for Your PMO

PM Commentary by Stacy Goff, ProjectExperts CEO.
In the previous post about PMOs, Program or Project Management Offices, we discussed the different flavors of PMOs, and made an assertion that everyone has one, but some are informal, rather than formal. And, the informal ones can be at least as effective as the formal ones. In this post, we discuss the different purposes of your PMO. Once again, as a reminder: what brings this topic to our blog was the IPMA-USA-supported November 8-10 PMO Symposium, in Atlanta Georgia. We hope you attended!

PMO Purposes
This summary list of purposes, functions and services for your Program or Project Management Office (PMO) is from ProjectExperts’ Modular Project Management® series. I usually offer it as a coaching session for organizations that wish to establish or extend the effectiveness of their PMO. Continue reading