7 habits of highly effective project professionals

Have you ever wondered why some really climb up the professional ladder where as many do not, despite having the same credentials and opportunities? When we studied the careers of very successful project professionals, we could identify the following 7 habits common across the achievers.

  1. Good foundation – Most of them had good grades in their academics and they pursued their project career in the areas related to their field of study.
  2. Application of Project Management – They had clarity on their academic and professional goals and they applied project management to achieve them.
  3. Focus on long term rewards – Their focus is on long term rewards than on the short term benefits.
  4. Continuous on the job learning – The first ten years of their career was dedicated to gaining hands on experience and learning new things.
  5. Strategic Credential enhancement – They continuously improved their knowledge and authenticity through globally accepted qualifications.
  6. Networking – They are good in networking with others in the profession.
  7. Pro-activeness – They are pro-active in sensing opportunities ahead and pursued them before others.

What is the Opportunity awaiting Capable Project Professionals?

By 2027, employers will need 87.7 million individuals working in project management oriented roles. The talent gap could result in a potential loss of some US$207.9 billion in GDP through 2027 for the 11 countries analyzed (China, India, USA, Japan, Brazil, Germany, UK, Canada, Australia and the Middle East region). PMI (2017). Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017–2027. Even though the pandemic might have negatively impacted these projections, this is good time to get ready to leverage the opportunities ahead.

How to leverage these 7 habits to advance your profession?

If you want to understand how to systematically plan your project management career goals proactively, and to achieve them at the appropriate time, then read ahead;

What is PMg-CMM?. How will it help career progression?

The objective of the Project Manager’s Capability Maturity Model is to provide a professional ecosystem comprising of aspiring professionals, mentors, trainers, organizations and recruiters collaborating around a structured road map for meticulous planning and progression of project management as a profession.

The diagram below depicts the five levels of project management professional maturity.

Level#1 – Beginner

At Level#1

  • Because you are technically good, you are asked to manage teams
  • You are not aware of the basic project management tools and techniques and their application
  • You think project management is about just getting things done at any cost
  • Success is inconsistent and short lived
  • In the longer run, You and the team members fail to perform as a single unit due to internal conflicts
  • Though you have technology mentors, you do not have mentors to guide you on the management side to the right degree

Level#2 – Professionally qualified

At Level#2

  • You get certified in one of the popular project management certifications, hoping to improve your job prospects.
  • You are aware of the globally accepted project management best practices.
  • You would have realized how the application of these best practices would have helped you to prevent some of the challenges you faced before.
  • You start applying and leveraging some of the project management core practices
  • As and when challenges arise, you leverage the models, methods & artifacts recommended by global standards
  • You have good mentors who can guide you professionally

Level#3 – Professionally proven

At Level#3

  • You have proven yourself as a dependable project manager who can manage small to medium complexity projects
  • You are highly respected within the project organization
  • You are considered to manage prestigious projects
  • You become a role model for other budding project managers within the organization
  • You are good at nurturing your professional networks
  • You have good mentors and you start mentoring others

Level#4 Strategic Role

At Level#4

  • You are invited to strategic project portfolio meetings
  • In some cases your expert advise is sought to improve the project management capability of the organization (PMO)
  • You will be asked to manage programs or very large projects
  • You leverage your professional networks to great advantage
  • You have mentors and you yourself is a highly sought after mentor

Level#5 Leadership Role

At Level#5

  • You are considered as an expert authority in project management
  • You contribute to the project management community by way of research and knowledge sharing
  • Great deal of you time is spent in mentoring individuals, teams, organizations and communities

How quickly one traverse through these levels depends on their ambition, commitment, mentoring and the ability to pivot according to the market trends. Instead of growing vertically through the five maturity levels, one has the opportunity to grow horizontally as ‘T’ skilled professionals who have in-depth domain expertise in a particular trade supported by good project management capability as well.

How to proceed?

If you are interested to have a mentor who can guide you, please provide us some details about your present career position

Watch the mentor talk videos

Unboxing PMBOK7 – Article 2

What is the point in completing a project on time, within budget and meeting the complete scope, if the product of the project does not provide value to the sponsor / owner?. The single biggest issue for project failure is lack of solid business case. Many projects have solid business cases while starting the project, and very often they become irrelevant due to environmental impacts. The unknown – unknown risk of the pandemic itself have made many travel and tourism related projects irrelevant. Projects are plagued by uncertainties like never before, and it is the responsibility of the project manager to navigate these complexities successfully and achieve the intended benefits from the product / service the project delivers.

The shift of the project success criteria from just meeting the time, cost and scope criteria to delivering value to the owner of the project is the biggest change in PMBOK7 when compared to the earlier versions of the PMBOK. As a true project manager, one has to ensure the value delivery. Projects are initiated to achieve certain business goals and it is the opportunity of the project manager to ensure the achievement of these goals by delivering the intended benefits for which the project is undertaken in the first place.

The PMBOK7 brings more clarity to the project manager’s role.

Project manager is ultimately responsible for the success and failure of the project. The project manager role demands active participation while deciding the project management approach which will help the project to eliminate all negative risks and maximize the benefits from the positive risks from the initiation till the closure of the project.

The project management team comprises of the Project controllers, Engineering managers, Architects, Team leaders, Project coordinators, Quality managers, Procurement managers, Risk managers . Resource managers, Communications managers etc.

The project teams comprises of the people who really execute the work

Till PMBOK7 shows the growth path for those who belong to the Project management teams at present to the true Project Manager who is at the helm of affairs and whose primary objective is to steer the project through all uncertainties and deliver the intended value to the project owner and end user.

Another key aspect of PMBOK7 is that it is general enough to be applied for any type of project with proper tailoring. It is a collection of Models, Methods & Artifacts that can be arranged / sequenced as per the project management approach of the project.

If we approach PMBOK7, with this as the context, then everything starts making sense.

Structure of PMBOK7

Values Principles Performance domains
ResponsibilityStewardshipStakeholders
Respect TeamTeam
Fairness StakeholdersDevelopment approach & Life cycle
Honesty ValuePlanning
Systems thinkingProject work
LeadershipDelivery
TailoringMeasurement
QualityUncertainty
Complexity
Risk
Adaptability & Resilience
Change Management

Most of the Inputs, Tools & Techniques from PMBOK6 with some new additions forms the section Mpdels, Methods & Tools in PMBOK7.

Models Methods Artifacts
Leadership models Data gathering & Analysis Strategy Artifacts
Communication models EstimatingLogs & Registers
Motivation models Meeting & Events Plans
Change models Other methods Hierarchy Charts
Complexity model Baselines
Project team development models Visual data and information
Other models Reports
Agreements & Contracts
Other artifacts

These models, methods and artifacts are linked to the performance domains. These linkages will be explained in the subsequent articles.

PMBOK7 – Impact Analysis

Till yesterday, when people anxiously asked me about the changes in PMBOK7, my reply was in the form of another question –  ‘Can you execute a project without any one of the knowledge areas (listed below)?’. The answer is a unanimous ‘No’. So they are inevitable. They have to be there in the new version hidden somewhere. If you can master the 10 knowledge areas and their application in both predictive and agile project management, you are pretty much done with project management. That is my view.

I am glad that my views hold good after going through all the 370 pages of the new PMBOK7.

The Ten Knowledge Areas evolved from Version 1 to Version 6 of the Project Management Body of Knowledge;

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Schedule Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Risk Management
  7. Project Resource management
  8. Project Procurement management
  9. Project communications management
  10. Project stakeholder management

These are immortal. Projects cannot succeed without them. The sequences may vary.

The PMBOK7 looks like an apex manual explaining the;

  • 12 principles of professional project management (new)
  • 8 project performance domains (new)
  • Tailoring guidelines
  • Models, methods and artifacts (Not part of the PMBOK7 document, but accessible from the digital library, Old, taken from PMBOK6)

High level mind map of PMBOK7

PMBOK7 comprises of 12 principles, 8 performance domains, tailoring guidelines and the models, methods and artifacts contained in a digital library ‘PM Standards Plus’ maintained by PMI. The immediate thought can be, about the 10 knowledge areas, 5 process groups, 49 processes and the inputs, tools & techniques and the outputs of the PMBOK6. Where is the place for them in the PMBOK7. All of that is under the digital library ‘PM Standards Plus’. In essence, nothing is lost during the transition from PMBOK6 to PMBOK7, and at the same time 12 principles, Eight project performance domains and the tailoring guidelines sits on top of the digital library PMStandards Plus which is nothing but the PMBOK6 contents, that makes up the 10 knowledge areas evolved from version 1.0 till 6.

How will this impact the different stakeholders who comprise the project management community?

  • Impact on Practitioners – the organizations who have shaped their project management policies and procedures around the structure of PMBOK versions 1 to 6 will have the added opportunity to embrace value driven delivery which can accommodate the whole gamut of project management ranging from large infrastructure projects to research and development projects. Even if they do not change anything, nothing will be in contradiction to PMBOK7.
  • Impact on 12,0000 PMPs World Wide – Change will always push us outside our comfort zones. Initially there can be expectation mismatch and the frustration stemming out of it. Once one dig deeper, like me, they also will realize that the changes are more to the value system and structure, than to the content.
  • Impact on PMP trainers – PMP trainers who are good at both predictive and agile project management will not find it difficult. The ones, who have not yet understood the true spirit of agile may need to gain hands on experience on agile to really understand and explain value driven project management.
  • Impact on the new PMP aspirants – PMI, keeps on repeating the fact that the PMP aspirants can still use the PMBOK6 as the reference material. Going by the earlier revisions, even if one use PMBOK Version 5, it should not make much of a difference because the fundamentals of project management cannot be changed as it revolves around the famous Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle and around the 10 knowledge areas. If you have already completed your PMP preparatory training, then do not disrupt your preparation. Proceed with PMBOK6 as the basis. It will be good if you can go through the new PMBOK7 quickly to understand those new jargon (not many any way).
  • Impact on other Agile frameworks and certifications – If the PMBOK7 gets wider acceptance, and if the new PMPs are equally adept in both predictive and agile project management frameworks then other agile frameworks and certifications will face a strong contender in PMBOK7 and PMP2021. PMI themselves will be forced to stop the PMI-ACP, as it will become redundant within PMI’s portfolio.

Abrachan Pudussery (Aby)

Project Management Domain Expert, Wrench Academy

New 10 Week PMdistilled PMP Preparatory Program based on PMBOK7

Interpreting Sprint or Iteration burn-down charts

If you learn to interpret the iteration burn down charts or sprint burn down charts, then you have understood agile or scrum conceptually correct. This article will walk you through the iteration burn down chart of a sprint.

Day#1

The Iteration or Sprint starts with the Iteration planning meeting. The output of the iteration planning meeting are;

  • The list of features to be developed during the iteration
  • Estimated story points (feature points) for the features (Fibonacci series)
  • The activities that need to be performed and their effort estimates
  • The tracking board (kanban board) which has the columns for;
    • To be done
    • Being done
    • Done
  • Two types of the Iteration / Sprint burn down chart
    • One with cumulative effort required to complete the sprint on the ‘Y’ axis and the duration of the sprint on the ‘X’ axis. The balance effort required to complete the sprint gets updated on a daily basis. This is a re-estimate by the team on a daily basis (this is not planned effort – consumed effort). This type of iteration burn down charts with the effort required to complete the iteration on the ‘Y’ axis and the iteration duration on the ‘X’ axis will help teams to speed up when required.
    • Teams use Iteration burn down to monitor the story points completed against the story points planned within the iteration. In this case the ‘Y’ axis will have the total story points planned for the sprint. This will get decreased based on the actual story points completed. This type of iteration burn down charts help the project stakeholders, especially the product owner to monitor and control the story points planned Vs achieved within the iteration.

Sprint burn down – Immediately after the planning meeting

Sprint burn down after day#2 of the sprint

Sprint burn down after day#3 of the sprint

Sprint burn down after day#4 of the sprint

Five points to get the best out of the online meetings with Instructor?

One of the key features of our training is the individual attention to the course participants. Course participants are encouraged to communicate with the instructor as and when required. Apart from the video lessons, interaction with the instructor is also equally important for knowledge transfer. In order to get the best out of instructor meetings, we suggest the following points;

  1. Be on time
  2. Come prepared with the list of questions to be clarified
  3. In case, you are unable to attend, inform the instructor (Contact us)
  4. In case you are unable to understand some of the key concepts, schedule separate meeting with instructor
  5. It is a good idea to discuss the questions you went wrong in the practice tests. The best way to discuss this is to share your screen with the instructor and discuss the wrong answers.

When in doubt, contact the instructor via any of the options given in the contact page like;

  • Whatsapp
  • Email
  • contact form
  • Schedule a meeting with Instructor
  • Weekly review meetings

Scoping the Project Management Information System (PMIS)

I am googling on the key word ‘Project Management Information System’ and the results were disappointing. That motivates me to write this article which will have answers for the following questions when completed;

  1. What is the scope of project management information system (PMIS)?
  2. Will one system cater to the needs of different types of project organizations?

Scope of the PMIS

A good project management information system should support the planning, monitoring & controlling aspects of;

  • Contracts
    • With customer
    • With Sub-contractors and suppliers
    • Claims
  • Scope
    • Change management
    • Configuration management
  • Time (both schedule and effort)
    • Planned Vs Actual
    • Forecasts
  • Cost
    • Planned Vs Actual
    • Forecasts
  • Procurement
    • Request for Information (RFI)
    • Request for Bid (RFB)
    • Request for Quotation (RFQ)
    • Purchase orders
  • Resource management
    • Human resources
    • Machine, material and equipment
  • Risk management
  • Quality management
    • Snag (defect) management
    • Price of Conformance (POC)
    • Price of Non Conformance (PONC)
  • Communications management

Well captured, accurate project data not only helps in managing projects but also provide the basis for planning and controlling of future projects. This aspect become all the more important for the application of artificial intelligence in project management.

Will one system cater to the needs of different types of organizations?

The answer is a definite ‘No’. Projects involve various stakeholders and their needs are different. Another key aspect to be considered is the type of contracts the organization is participating or intending to participate like;

  • Cost Reimbursable Contracts
    • Cost Plus contracts
    • Cost Plus Percentage Contracts
    • Cost Plus Fixed Fee Contracts
    • Cost Plus fluctuating Fee Contracts
  • Lump Sum Contracts (Also known as Fixed Price Contracts)
  • Piecework Contracts
  • Unit Pricing Contracts
  • GMP Contracts (Guaranteed Minimum Price Contract)
  • Rate Contracts
    • Item rate contracts
    • Percentage rate contracts
  • Target Contracts
  • Materials and Labor supply Contracts
  • Time and Materials Contracts
  • Operate, Maintain and Transfer (OMT) Contracts (popular in roadworks)
  • Build Operate Transfer (BOT) Contracts
  • Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) Contracts

Another parameter to be considered is the discipline. The project’s stakeholders come from various disciplines like Architecture, Electrical, Mechanical, Piping, Air conditioning, Structural, I.T, Product development, R&D etc. These parameters play a major role in while deciding on the PMIS.

Budget availability is another option.

Another parameter is the project segment.

Hence there is no single system which will meet the requirements optimally, as every system is aligned to a particular industry.