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"No organization can afford to stand still in today’s warp-speed world. And all that change? It’s happening through projects."—Pulse of the Profession, PMI, February 2020

The importance of knowing when to prioritize speed over perfection is paramount!

Low-quality work is never a good choice, regardless of how quickly a project is delivered. Both project-level and (organizational) corporate-level governance decision-makers—and those responsible for oversight—must not fail to carry out their duties with diligence and integrity.

Noteworthy too is that W. Edwards Deming, the father of quality assurance, suggested that quality was "meeting or exceeding customer expectations." Deming states that the customer's definition of quality is the only one that matters.

Both private and public sector organizations must take a more customer-focused approach in planning quality management, managing quality and controlling quality.



The management of projects is key to providing value for money and demonstrating sound stewardship in program delivery.

"A comprehensive approach to managing projects, which is integrated across the department and is appropriate for the level of project risk and complexity, will enhance the likelihood of realizing project outcomes. This approach should ensure that accountability for outcomes is clear, appropriate controls are in place to minimize risk and limit project duplication and overlap, key project stakeholders are consulted, and outputs and outcomes are monitored and reported. The management processes and controls for individual projects will vary across organizations and horizontal initiatives, reflecting differences in mandate, operational requirements, risks, complexity and capacity.

Ministers have responsibility for the administration of projects in support of the mandated programs of their departments. Deputy heads are responsible for the effective management of projects according to legislation, regulations and Treasury Board policy instruments that promote due diligence, ethical behavior and sound management practices, thereby ensuring long-term sustainability and value for Canadian taxpayers. They are also responsible for ensuring projects are managed in a manner that fulfills any legal obligations with respect to Aboriginal groups and that the honor of the Crown is upheld."

— Treasury Board Ministers’ approved, “Policy on the Management of Projects” for the Government of Canada


NOTEWORTHY TOO (2019 update)

Government of Canada's 'TB Directive on the Management of Projects and Programmes' and the 'Policy on the Planning and Management of Investment.'

TB Directive on the 'Management of Projects and Programmes' states that the departmental senior designated official(s) for the management of projects and programmes is 'responsible.'



Who is to blame when a project fails, or is failing?Who is to blame when a project fails, or is failing?

Who is to blame when a project fails, or is failing?

One has to consider the organization's Responsibility Assignment Matrix. It describes the participation by various stakeholders, people and roles in completing tasks or deliverables for a project.


Responsible: This role conducts the actual work/owns the problem. There can be multiple Rs (this is called team working)

Accountable: This role approves the completed work and is held fully accountable for it. There should be only one A

Supportive: This role provides additional resources to conduct the work or plays a supportive role in implementation.

Consulted: This role has the information and/or capability to complete the work. Two-way communication (typically between R and C).

Informed: This role is to be informed of progress and results. One-way communication (typically from R to A).

Verifies: This role checks the work to ensure that it meets all defined criteria and standards.

Signs: This role signs off on the completed work.



Communications Management Plan: An integral component of the project, program, or portfolio management plan that describes how, when, and by whom information about the project will be distributed and disseminated.

RACI Chart: A common type of responsibility assignment matrix to define the involvement of stakeholders in project activities.



"Engage, Scrutinize, Hold Accountable—and Make Better"

An excerpt from a CBCNEWS article published on 23 April 2020:

"Despite those missteps, Naylor (Dr. David Naylor) said Canada should not re-examine its relationship with the WHO (World Health Organization) because it plays an important role in ensuring global co-ordination in a pandemic. Instead, Naylor said that such agencies need to be made better through scrutiny to ensure they can perform well.

They are simply too important to not be held to high standards," he said, "but also to be supported and be a source of multilateral collaboration that protects us all. So, engage, scrutinize, hold accountable … and make better."



What Rebels want From Their Boss...What Rebels want From Their Boss...



What is KM? Knowledge Management Explained 

The classic one-line definition of Knowledge Management was offered up by Tom Davenport early on (Davenport, 1994): “Knowledge Management is the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge.” Probably no better or more succinct single-line definition has appeared since.

 — Michael E. D. Koenig



Without the involvement of an effective Portfolio, Program and Project Offices (P3O®) model in change management, organizational strategic objectives may still be reached but potentially in a fragmented or unstructured way.

This can generate significant threats to the best use of scarce resources (the term that covers people, assets, materials, funding and services) and achievement of required outcomes.

P3O® is not a methodology, but guidance as to how to link strategy and policy with the delivery arm of the organization. P3O does this by providing best practice guidance in the establishment of an effective environment for running multiple business change programmes and projects, whilst ensuring change is balanced with business as usual.

What is P3O®? | AXELOS | Download the brochure >



What is Business Analysis?

Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. The set of tasks and techniques that are used to perform business analysis are defined in A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®Guide).

Why is a Business Analyst Like a Road Trip Planner?
According to Julia Scholz, who is a successful business analyst, a business analyst is like a "road trip planner", helping people plan their map and route. She says, "a BA will help a user determine their wants, focus on a destination or desired outcome, outline possible 'maps' of how to get there.



Skills of a Business Analyst

Skills of a Business Analyst

Skills of a Business Analyst

 Posted by Glenn Brule, CBAP, CSM, SMC



"Innovation is not a slogan, or a cliché; it’s a way of working. It’s an attitude of enthusiasm and curiosity. It’s about observing what we currently do and wondering how it can be done better."

— Ed Bernacki



What is the difference between outputs, outcomes and benefits? Answering this question correctly is vital to your success in project, program and portfolio management.

Projects produce outputs / deliverables. Benefits will usually happen after a product has been used for some time. A benefits realization plan assigns benefits owners who will be responsible for benefits realization after the project has closed.

Program management co-ordinates related projects to achieve outcomes and realize benefits. Programs deliver the capability and benefits realization.

Project portfolio management ensures that the right projects and programs are selected that will achieve the benefits desired by the organization’s strategy.

PRINCE2® gives a great graphic showing the relationship between outputs, outcomes and benefits in the Business Case Theme chapter. It is great way to engage your key stakeholders in conversations to fully understand what is the objective of this project?

— Advantage Learning (Adapted)



Project portfolio management, how do you maximize the return on investment?

"It goes beyond passive monitoring of progress to actively managing the composition and delivery of the portfolio as a whole, as well as ensuring that teams are energized, benefits realization is optimized and that lessons are learned and applied going forward."

— Management of Portfolios 2011 Edition ISBN: 978-0-11-331294-8



Are Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing Really Different?

"While the focus in lean is on eliminating muda (waste), the Six Sigma focus is on reducing the variation of process inputs and creating a robust process, thereby producing very predicable outputs."

— ASQ: The Global Voice of Quality



"For leadership to exist, a leader must cross paths with a crisis; an exemplary person must meet their “sinister mate.” Without an answering crisis, a would-be leader remains just a promising custodian of potential. (Imagine Lincoln without the Civil War or F.D.R. without the Depression.) Before a leader can pull us out of despair, we have to fall into it. For this reason, a melancholy ambivalence can cling to even the most inspiring stories of leadership."

— Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker magazine, February 29, 2016 Issue



Building Workplace Interpersonal Effectiveness

"He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is wise."

— Lao Tzu



We all know people are not as easy to manage as projects. They’re complex. Diverse. Prone to conflict. So what’s the secret?

"Equip them to understand each others behaviors, and they will be better able to work effectively together, creating a high performance workplace—and successful projects."

— Unknown



"Look after your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and with a spirit that knows how to thank the Lord.”

— Pope Francis, January 2015 on New Year’s Resolutions



“Unemployment is an interruption, in most of our lives, but interruptions are opportunities, to pause, to think, to assess where we really want to go with our lives.”

— Richard N. Bolles, ‪What Color Is Your Parachute 2020: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers



"Project Management is NOT overhead! In everything you do you should follow the Equation: VO > EI. That is “Value Out is greater than Effort In.” You will find that project management follows this equation and therefore is well worth your time and effort. No, project management is not overhead. Project management adds value by reducing waste and improving performance. Therefore project management is a value add."

— "Project Management Is NOT Overhead!"



"Ultimately, the best way to avoid being viewed as 'project management overhead' is to deliver real value to the organization, which means executing projects successfully. It is not enough to create elaborate project plans. The goal of the project management (PM) practitioner is to execute these projects and help move the organization towards its objectives. Once you have a firm grasp on resource availability and have your team members tracking their actuals, you will be able to keep tabs on how the projects are going, as well as know who to talk to when there are bumps along the way. Executive visibility into all of this data is also essential. PMs today have a choice, they can either justify their existence by highlighting their achievements and illustrating their true value, or they can fall by the wayside when cuts are made. A project management solution that combines project tracking with financial reporting enables the PM to speak the language of the executive and therefore succeed where others fail."

— "How to Avoid Being Seen as 'Project Management Overhead', Project Smart



"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

— Albert Einstein



 The value of a Project Management Information System (PMIS)

"Knowledge is of two kinds: We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information about it."

— Samuel Johnson, 1709-1794

Accurate and timely information is essential for the management of a project. Project planning, organizational design, motivation of project stakeholders, and meaningful project reviews simply cannot be carried out without information on the project—and how it relates to the larger organizational context in which the project is found. An accurate and complete project management information system must exist to provide the basis for how the project is doing. The project manager─or any other manager for that part─simply cannot make and execute meaningful decisions without relevant and timely information.

Those individuals with real or perceived information needs about the project soon become disenchanted when inadequate or inaccurate information is provided. No stakeholder likes surprises that reflect a change to the project plan or anticipated progress. Surprises quickly erode confidence in the project manager's capability to manage the work and keep key stakeholders fully informed on progress. One corporate vice president in Rochester, N.Y., stated to her managers, "Surprises on projects are not career-enhancing moves."

— Project Management: Strategic Design and Implementation, ISBN 007147160X



"Did you know that almost 70 percent of people leave a club, organization or business because they feel that the people they deal with are indifferent to their needs?"

— Anonymous



I agree with author Lilianna Buchtik (see below) that, "The work breakdown structure (WBS) still doesn’t receive the credit it deserves. It’s common to find project managers defining a project from a schedule instead of from a well-defined scope and WBS. Some project managers talk about when to do something when it’s still unclear what the project must deliver. You might ask how reliable costs, resources, and time estimates are when the scope is not clear. That would be a valid question."

N.B. One of the typical confusions about a WBS is that it's confused with the schedule. In practical terms, the WBS is what to deliver. It's not the how or when you'll deliver it. It isn't what to do. It isn't the list of activities or the schedule that tells you how to execute the work and what tasks you need to deliver the project's end results. It's a fundamental tool to properly manage the project scope. It requires you to focus on outcomes, or, said differently, project deliverables. Focusing on products (project deliverables) is key to scope management. IMHO, either the product breakdown structure (PRINCE2) or deliverable-based WBS (PMBOK) is the keystone to effective resource management and capacity planning.

The WBS has deliverables, and thus, only uses nouns and adjectives to name components. This is a core characteristic of any WBS. Since verbs are used to describe actions, tasks, and activities and the WBS doesn't include any of those things, verbs don't apply to WBSs.

Lilianna Buchtik writes, "I don't suggest using scheduling software to create the WBS unless it allows you to properly represent the WBS components without confusing them with tasks. Use the WBS ID in a schedule to link the schedule with the WBS, but avoid using a Gantt chart to represent the WBS. When choosing software, consider a tool that allows implementing the principles and concepts of a well-defined or high-quality WBS."

Recommended reading from PMI Marketplace:

Practical Tips from Secrets To Mastering The WBS In Real World Projects, 2nd Ed. ISBN 978-1-62825-033-6

Aligned to the PMBOK® Guide – 5e, Lilianna Buchtik, PMP, PMI-RMP's WBS book will change the way you think about and understand the WBS. Learn the secrets to mastering the WBS and obtain smarter project results starting now. A must read book for successful project management practitioners.




The work breakdown structure (WBS) is a fundamental project management tool for identifying project work to be budgeted, scheduled and staffed.

A deliverable-oriented WBS' strength / benefit—is that it focuses on project outcomes.

When Comparing Alternatives For WBS Creation:

  • Process-oriented WBS (based on phases) construction does not articulate project outcomes
  • Action-oriented WBS construction does not provide clear direction for delivering project deliverables
  • Deliverable-oriented WBS construction focuses on project outcomes

—Norman, E. S. (2005). Creating effective work breakdown structures— or how to recognize a quality work breakdown structure when you see one. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2005—EMEA, Edinburgh, Scotland. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

N.B. Process-oriented WBS (based on phases) construction does not articulate project outcomes | Good for Software Development projects though. See: PMI Software Extension to the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition.

On occasion we'll see WBS construction (also embedded into MS Project schedules) based on phases (Process-oriented)---often using an organization's project management life-cycle as Level 1 headings.

—Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures-Second Edition, PMI



Work Package vs Activity

The terms “work package” and “activity” are often used interchangeably, they are very distinct concepts and should not be confused.

Work Package

The work package level is the lowest level of a work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS is developed during the “Create WBS” planning / scope process. The WBS level is achieved when the work can be accurately estimated (both cost and duration) and can be managed by one individual: the work package owner.

Although the work package can be managed by one person, the actual work within the work package (the activities) may be completed by multiple individuals.

It may be helpful to correlate “work package” to “scope”.


The work packages are decomposed into activities (or “schedule activities) to create the activity list. The activity list will then be used to develop the project schedule.

An activity has an expected duration. If the event has no duration, it is considered a milestone. Activities also consume budget and/or resources and are generally named in a verb-noun format.

You will notice that four of the five time planning processes have the word “activity” in their name (define activities, sequence activities, estimate activity resources, and estimate activity durations).

It may helpful to correlate “activity” to “time”.


A work package is the lowest level of a WBS. You know you have arrived at the work package level when the work involved can be accurately estimated and managed by one person.

The work package can then be decomposed into activities for inclusion on the project schedule. Activities may also be called “schedule activities” or “tasks”.

—Belinda Goodrich, PMP Concepts Learning Series

What is the difference between an activity list and a WBS?

"The WBS defines all the work that the project will deliver, while the activity list and the schedule define the tasks that you will need to deliver all WBS components or work packages. The WBS has to do with the project's WHAT, while the schedule deals with the project's HOW and WHEN."—Liliana Buchtik


Who is is responsible for producing the products outlined in the work package?

"The team manager or work package owner is responsible for producing the products outlined in the work package. They receive the work packages from the project manager and then issue the work to the team members. They’re responsible for reporting progress to the project manager and attend stage gate reviews as and when required. They don’t go to the steering committee meetings."Psoda NZ Blog



"About the work breakdown structure (WBS), for me, one other important factor in the use of deliverables over activities is that as PM you are there to achieve a successful project outcome and will be delegating elements of work to various teams/departments, as such you ENTRUST that work to those OTHERS. If they complete the deliverable within the project constraints and it meets the acceptance criteria, I'm happy, and to an extent I don't care what activity went into it. To concern myself with all of the activities would feel like micromanagement."

 — Paul Hollings, Project Manager



Progressive Elaboration Should Not Be Confused With Scope Creep

Rolling Wave Planning is an iterative planning technique in which the work to be accomplished in the near term is planned in detail, while the work in the future is planned at a higher level. Rolling Wave Planning is a form of Progressive Elaboration. Progressive Elaboration is the iterative process of increasing the level of detail in a project management plan as greater amounts of information and more accurate estimates become available. Scope Creep is the uncontrolled expansion to product or project scope without adjustments to time, cost, and resources.



Becoming a Better Teammate, Building and Leading Teams

Share with the person next to you, treat acquaintances with kindness and respect, say thank you, and celebrate the successes of others.

If we can harness the skills to become better teammates, if we can learn how to consistently build strong teams, if we can learn to take joy not just from our own success but from the success of others and of the group, if we can learn to motivate people and cause them to want to work together, if we can learn to create an environment where human beings can thrive and succeed together, we will have perhaps the most-sought-after skills in the 21st century. We will have significant competitive advantage and create enormous value for ourselves and everyone around us.

— SHARING THE SANDBOX building and leading world-class teams in the 21st century, Dean M. Brenner



Avoid Communication Disconnects At All Costs, They Can Absolutely Kill Our Effectiveness With People

Disconnects are things we say or do that push colleagues and customers away from us emotionally. They make people less open to us—make them like us less, trust us less. They’re also a major cause of communication gaps. You could even say the gap is the distance someone has been pushed away by these disconnects. The more disconnects, the larger the gap; the fewer disconnects, the smaller the gap.

The bottom line is that disconnects absolutely kill our effectiveness with our colleagues and clients. Being effective means getting someone to buy into a new initiative, for example, or to take the lead on a project. Or maybe they start following through on their development plan or more freely contributing ideas. Or at a more basic level, maybe someone simply starts showing up on time and doing a good job. Whatever you’re hoping to accomplish with someone, being effective means you’re able to get it done.

Disconnects keep us from doing that.

The main disconnects are:

  • I don’t respect you.
  • I don’t understand you.
  • I don’t care about you.

Think about the time when you felt someone:

  • Was only interested in themselves.
  • Didn’t respect you or value your opinion.
  • Didn’t care about you.
  • Was so different from you that they couldn’t possibly understand you.

— David L. Levin (Author), Don't Just Talk, Be Heard!



 Which project management practitioner is most likely to become a star performer and who is most prone to derailing?

"The rules for work are changing. We're being judged by a new yardstick: not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other. This yardstick is increasingly applied in choosing who will be hired and who will not, who will be let go and who retained, who passed over and who promoted. The new rules predict who is most likely to become a star performer and who is most prone to derailing. And, no matter what field we work in currently, they measure the traits that are crucial to our marketability for future jobs. These rules have little to do with what we were told was important in school; academic abilities are largely irrelevant to this standard. The new measure takes for granted having enough intellectual ability and technical know-how to do our jobs; it focuses instead on personal qualities, such as initiative and empathy, adaptability and persuasiveness."

— Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of Emotional Intelligence and Working with Emotional Intelligence and co-author of Primal Leadership



Knowledge vs. Experience

Knowledge vs. ExperienceKnowledge vs. Experience

 — Author Unknown

The original is from cartoonist Hugh MacLeod, who came up with such a brilliant way to express a concept that's often not that easy to grasp. The image makes a clear point—that knowledge alone is not useful unless we can make connections between what we know. Whether you use the terms "knowledge" and "experience" to explain the difference or not, the concept itself is sound. Lots of great writers, artists and scientists have talked about the importance of collecting ideas and bits of knowledge from the world around us, and making connections between those dots to fuel creative thinking and new ideas—Belle Beth Cooper



Gemba Walk - Use Resources Wisely

Gemba Walk - Use Resources WiselyGemba Walk - Use Resources Wisely

— Author Unknown

IMHO, as change agents, project management practitioners and leaders we must reach out to identify and engage the (sometimes hidden) knowledge, talents and competencies of the people around us—project team members and stakeholders alike. Don’t exclude anyone because of their level in the organization! There are many people who are in junior, or seemingly inconsequential, positions that are underemployed, highly educated and have so much to offer. It can be their ideas, experiences, interpretations, and judgments that keep our projects moving forward. (i.e. improvement ideas) What is the most effective way to conduct outreach? Management by wandering around (MBWA) can be very helpful—we must pull ourselves away from our office computer and engage in conversation face to face with team members and stakeholders. Another somewhat similar approach that can help us is a a gemba walk. Gemba, is a Japanese word that literally means "the real place", used in business process improvement contexts to refer to the place where value is added. In lean manufacturing, the idea of gemba is that the problems are visible, and the best improvement ideas will come from going to the gemba.

— Mark E. Geres,  PM Success by Design



Are you a good leader? Are you a good teammate? Do people follow your lead because they want to or because they have to? (Are you sure?)

Being a good team leader or teammate is about three things:

  • Your ability to contribute to the performance of the team
  • Your ability to observe the interests and needs of other team members and meet those needs and interests
  • Your ability to put the needs of other people before your own

— SHARING THE SANDBOX building and leading world-class teams in the 21st century, Dean M. Brenner



Integrity (honesty, fairness and transparency) equals "Trust" in project management relationships.

— Mark E. Geres, PMP® MoP® PRINCE2® ITIL® 




Understanding Why We Keep Secrets or Lie

The number-one reason people keep secrets or lie is to "keep the peace." We hold onto secrets to keep other people happy, safe, set in their vision of the world, and in their vision of us.

— Understanding Why We Keep Secrets, HuffPost, 05/15/2011


Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World

Can you identify complete nonsense or something that is not true? Are you contributing to it, or lending support to it?

Project Management practitioners, including those responsible for governance and oversight, must navigate their bullshit-rich work environments by identifying bullshit, seeing through it, and combating it with effective analysis and argument.

— A noteworthy new book. “Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World”, Jevin D. West, Carl T. Bergstrom



Requirements Elicitation & Business Analysis "When you do requirements gathering, it can be difficult to uncover all the information needed from all the different stakeholders. It's one of the primary reasons projects fail."

— Filipe Altoe, Cal-Bay Systems, San Rafael, California, USA



"Documenting requirements isn't done for the sake of documenting. We want to reduce waste by documenting things in a selective manner, and we want to drive satisfaction by collaborating interactively across all stakeholders."

— Waffa Karkukly, PhD, PMI-ACP, PMP Global PMO Solutions Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada



How do you balance the need to get a project out the door with quality assurance?

"No one wants to compromise on quality, but if you're 10th to the market, that's not as good as if you’re number 1 or 2. To walk that line, we stick to the fundamentals of project management but also consider the environmental factors that we're working in. For example, it's not realistic to take a month for planning in my industry. So we build a very focused two-week plan instead and still spend a few hours up front to create that plan. Quality is one of the pillars of good project management. It's my job to ensure that overall quality of each project leads to the release of quality products.

— Daniel Bharadwaj, Head of Quality Control at billing-services provider Billtrust, Princeton, NJ, USA



Programmes deal with outcomes; projects deal with outputs.

"Programme management and project management are complementary approaches. During a programme lifecycle, projects are initiated, executed, and closed. Programmes provide an umbrella under which these projects can be coordinated. The programme integrates the projects so that it can deliver an outcome greater than the sum of its parts. Programme management does not replace the need for competent project direction and management. Programmes must be underpinned by a controlled project environment of effective direction, management, delivery and reporting disciplines that are common to all projects within a programme."

— MSP®, Best Management Practice, Crown Copyright 2011



People have been doing business analysis for a very long time, but it is only recently that it has emerged as a recognized discipline encompassing a well-defined set of tasks and techniques.

Previously, it was informal, ad hoc, and inconsistently practiced.

Just as organizations have recognized the value of the discipline of project management, which is promoted worldwide by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and PRINCE2 (Cabinet Office – Gov. UK), ISO 21500 Project Management, etc., they are beginning to recognize the value of a disciplined approach to business analysis.

If you solve the wrong problem, or invest in the wrong opportunity, or if you attack the right problem but don't really understand what an appropriate solution is, or if the solution doesn't actually solve the problem, then great project management and great software development won’t help you.

Business analysis: The practice of enabling change in the context of an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders."---A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) v3, pg. 442

— ACAAT, Business Analyst Essentials



"Portfolios decide, programs direct, projects deliver"

— Gary Scherling, PMP, P2P, PMOC


Portfolio Offices differ from Program and Project Offices in that: They are primarily concerned with doing the right changes, whereas program and project management office are primarily concerned with doing the change right.

— Portfolio, programme and project offices (P30), pub. 2008 by UK OGC - Office of Government Commerce, ISBN: 978-0-11-331124-8


"Portfolio management is an integral part of the organization’s overall strategic plan. While project and program management focus on “doing the work right,” the purpose of portfolio management is “doing the right work. Portfolio management balances conflicting demands between programs and projects, allocates resources (e.g. people, funding) based on organizational priorities and capacity, and manages so as to achieve the benefits identified. Program management's focus is on achieving the cost, schedule, and performance objectives of the projects within the program or portfolio. Project Management is largely concerned with achieving specific deliverables that support specific organizational objectives."

— The Standard for Portfolio Management, Third Edition, Project Management Institute, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-935589-69-3



"The single most important factor in a person’s success is not their knowledge, education, experience, or charisma—it’s their ability to communicate effectively with others."

— David L. Levin (Author), Don't Just Talk, Be Heard!


"My personal development goals include; improving my succinctness and delivering an impactful message within the allotted time!"

— Mark E. Geres, Project Success by Design


"Do you want to become a confident public speaker and strong leader? If so, Toastmasters is the place for you. You'll find a supportive learn-by-doing."

— Toastmasters International



Let's not forget the important change management (continuous improvement) adage, "Always remember that people buy-in for their own reasons and not yours.

— Anonymous



Are We Effectively Communicating The Benefits Of Our Project(s) To Stakeholders?

Features, Advantages & Benefits: What's the difference?

If you are in sales or marketing, don't leave the logical progression from feature to benefit up to your customer - particularly for very technical features. Explain the benefit first. If that is a benefit that the prospect cares about, they will be interested in how your solution is able to deliver that benefit. You then explain how your solution has the specific advantage over other solutions that leads to that benefit. The customer might want to know what it is about your solution that gives it this advantage, and then you can explain about the feature that delivers that solution that gives it this advantage, and then you can explain about the feature that delivers that specific advantage.

—Gavin Finn (Adapted)



When it comes to making successful Project Management happen what is more important - the right people or the right process?

"You will need a little bit of both, but if you must prioritize---it's people. If you have motivated people in your team you can move mountains. You will prevail even if nobody knows exactly how to do what etc.. But the road to success might be bumpy."

"People over process every time, a good team will ensure appropriate processes - given the right leadership! I would add a 3rd variable which is Environment. Without organizational support and resources, even the best professionals and processes will be challenged to succeed."

— Thomas L. & Paul S., LinkedIn, The Project Manager Network - #1 Group for Project Managers



Plan Quality Management vs. Manage Quality vs. Control Quality

Plan Quality Management--The process of identifying quality requirements and/or standards for the project and its deliverables, and documenting how the project will demonstrate compliance with quality requirements and/or standards.

Manage Quality--The process of translating the quality management plan into executable quality activities that incorporate the organization’s quality policies into the project.

Control Quality--The process of monitoring and recording the results of executing the quality management activities to assess performance and ensure the project outputs are complete, correct, and meet customer expectations.

– PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition



Using Empathetic Listening To Collaborate

"Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.

 — Stephen R. Covey


The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

 — Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (1989)


"To understand someone is to repeat back to them what they said better than they originally described it."

— Dale Carnegie


"Those that fight don't listen, those that listen don't fight.

 — Fritz Perls


"A good listener is a silent flatterer.

 — Spanish Proverb


What's wrong with an ego? "Ego will not allow us, to accept others and their Views, and their Feelings.

 — Pushpa Selvam


"Leaders who refuse to listen (or don't listen) will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing significant to say."

 — Andy Stanley


The biggest mistake with communication is assuming that it actually happened.

"Don't assume people know what you mean. All too often during each day, for multiple communication exchanges, we assume that someone else knows what we mean. In our normal day-to-day lives we often don’t stop and take the time that we should to inquire about what someone else means or is trying to say. We don’t practice active and reflective listening. Active listening is when we seek to understand, more than wanting to be understood. We ask questions, we probe for what’s underneath a person’s statements, and we engage until we have our own personal “Ah-hah!” about what the other individual is trying to communicate. Reflective listening is when we mirror back what we think we have heard."

 — Beverly D. Flaxington, Psychology Today (Adapted)



You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.

— John Wooden, an American basketball player and coach. He was the head coach at UCLA and won 10 NCAA National Championships in a 12 year period, including an unprecedented 7 in a row.



"Strength in the face of adversity is one of humankind’s most desirable characteristics. On occasion hard work may not make you successful — but fostering better self awareness, self confidence and self esteem will."

— RMIT University



CA PPM (formerly CA Clarity™ PPM) is ranked 1st in Project Portfolio Management reviews vs Microsoft Project Server which is ranked 2nd in Project Portfolio Management reviews. The top reviewer of CA PPM writes "Flexibility is the most significant feature that we take advantage of". The top reviewer of Microsoft Project Server writes "It links company strategy with each project and provides an overview of portfolio projects showing resource, budget and forecast perspectives". CA PPM is most compared with Microsoft Project Server, Planview Enterprise and SAP Portfolio and Project Management. Microsoft Project Server is most compared with CA PPM, SAP Portfolio and Project Management and Planview Enterprise.

 IT Central Station  <<CA PPM vs. Microsoft Project Server Report from IT Central Station 2018-05-04>>


SIDE NOTE:  Using Microsoft SharePoint for projects? Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox. — Microsoft 


Out of the box, SharePoint is an online file repository for sharing and collaborating. When planning a project, using SharePoint can be a huge help with organization and management. You can attach specific plans for the project in specific folders and then put sub documents related to the project in those folders for anyone to view. You can use SharePoint features like sites, libraries, folders and tagging to organize files basically any way you want. — PTG



Project Management: Public Sector vs. Private Sector

So what makes government organizations different from private enterprise, and how do those differences influence project management?

Here are a few things to consider…

  • Lack of Profit Motive
  • Entrenched Silos
  • Tenured Employment Status
  • Failure Without Repercussions
  • Form over Function, Process over Outcome
  • Everything is Political
  • True Success is Hard to Achieve

Excerpt: Michael Wood - November 1, 2017 |



Mantras: Predictive vs. Agile Project Management Approach

For predictive projects, the mantra “plan the work, work the plan” applies.

If agile projects had a corresponding mantra, it would contain words such as “incrementally build the highest value solution via collaboration in empowered teams.

Mike Griffiths, Illuminating the Intangibles of Agile, Southern Alberta Chapter (PMI) - September 30, 2020


9 Of The Most Popular Project Management Methodologies9 Of The Most Popular Project Management Methodologies

 — Ben Aston15/01/2021, dpm Blog



Powerful, High-Impact Feedback Conversations Share the Following Elements

  • An intention to help the employee grow, rather than to show him he was wrong. The feedback should increase, not drain, the employee’s motivation and resources for change. When preparing for a feedback conversation as a manager, reflect on what you hope to achieve and on what impact you’d like to have on the employee, perhaps by doing a short meditation just before the meeting.
  • Openness on the part of the feedback giver, which is essential to creating a high-quality connection that facilitates change. If you start off feeling uncomfortable and self-protective, your employee will match that energy, and you’ll each leave the conversation frustrated with the other person.
  • Inviting the employee into the problem-solving process. You can ask questions such as: What ideas do you have? What are you taking away from this conversation? What steps will you take, by when, and how will I know?

Giving developmental feedback that sparks growth is a critical challenge to master, because it can make the difference between an employee who contributes powerfully and positively to the organization and one who feels diminished by the organization and contributes far less. A single conversation can switch an employee on — or shut her down. A true developmental leader sees the raw material for brilliance in every employee and creates the conditions to let it shine, even when the challenge is tough.

— Harvard Business Review, Coaching, How to Give Tough Feedback That Helps People Grow, Monique Valcour, August 2015



Governance vs. Management ─ Does Your Organization Do a Good Job at Discerning Between These Roles and Responsibilities?

What’s the Difference?

Governance Provides Oversight and Direction for Management. Making Sure That the Right Thing Is Done!

Governance activities ensure that management activities are defined, planned and implemented within portfolio, program, and project management. Governance focuses on overseeing and approving the framework, functions, and processes to provide guidance and decision making for portfolios, programs and projects.

Management is the Implementation, Monitoring, Control and Direction for Productive Activities. Making Sure That the Work is Done Right!

Management activities are more operational and tactical than governance activities, which are more strategic and focus on oversight and guidance. Management focuses on the implementation activities that are defined, planned, and executed to achieve organization strategic and operational goals through individual portfolios, programs, and projects.

Low-quality work is never a good choice, regardless of how quickly a project is delivered. Both project-level and (organizational) corporate-level governance decision-makers—and those responsible for oversight—must not fail to carry out their duties with diligence and integrity.

Beware of Ineffective Project Governance! Using a Corporate Governance Structure at the Project Level Is a Recipe for Disaster.

Your Organizational Process Assets must discern between Corporate (Enterprise-level) and Project-level Governance!

Governance as it applies to portfolios, programs, projects, and project management, coexists within the corporate governance framework.

Project Governance is all about effective project decision making.
Using a Corporate governance structure at the Project Level is a recipe for disaster—and, it's not uncommon that Corporate Governance and Project Governance are confused as being the same.

Project-level governance is best served by the steering group. The steering group is the principle institution for project governance. Although the steering group may not always be the only institution for governance of projects, it is the institution that carries the most authority when it comes to project execution. The steering group has ultimate responsibility for project success; therefore it owns the business case and is accountable to upper management for achievement of the intended project outcome, objectives and benefits.

Steering group members are decision-makers and it is essential that they have managerial authority to assign or withdraw resources (for example, financial) from the project. They also must have authority to accept or decline proposed changes to the project. They are the ultimate authority that rules on whether the project has accomplished its objectives or not.



Spotlight on Project Life Cycle | Nuances of How Project Management Processes Are Performed With Respect to the Project Environment

Project Life Cycles (aka approaches or development life cycles) can be Predictive (plan-driven/waterfall), Adaptive (agile), Iterative, Incremental, or a hybrid.

Source: "The Continuum of Project Life Cycles" found in the current Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) 6th Ed.'s APPENDIX X3.

This seven page Appendix is one of the bestsimplified, yet impactful--synopses that I've encountered to date.



Did you know that the current "PMI Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures - Third Edition (July 15, 2019), ISBN: 978-1-62825-619-2" elaborates on the implementation of work breakdown structures in various project life cycles?


Project life cycles--aka approaches or development life cycles--can be predictive (plan-driven/waterfall), adaptive (agile), iterative, incremental, or a hybrid.

Different project life cycles have the following characteristics.


  • Predictive (plan-driven/waterfall) / Manage cost
  • Adaptive (agile) / Customer value via frequent deliveries and feedback
  • Iterative / Correctness of solution
  • Incremental / Speed

N.B. The project management team determines the best life cycle for each project.




Managing Project Resources – Scheduling and Costs of People, Equipment, and Materials?

To me (Mark E. Geres,) resource planning- people, equipment, materials & money in an Agile Methodology environment- would be really difficult to tie down for annual or multi-year budget forecasts! Yikes!

Melanie Franklin’s quote below reflects my thoughts/concerns.

“Some of the greatest push-back comes from the concept of the evolving solution. To those who have little exposure to Agile methods, an evolving solution appears threatening. They are being asked to commit the money and resources to an unknown deliverable. There is fear that the Agile initiative, with its sprints and increments, is never-ending. One director recently queried if I was asking for an “open cheque book”.

--APMG International LinkedIn Webinar Description, April 2020 | Reducing resistance to Agile methods.


Q: Can you discuss your project delivery approach and its benefits?

A: We’re dedicated to a hybrid approach, so that as technologies change, we can adapt. We started implementing agile in 2012, and now most of our projects use agile. But in government, we can’t fail fast the way they talk about elsewhere in software development. If the private sector has a large project budgeted at US$10 million and someone kills it after spending US$1 million, they might get commended for saving the company US$9 million. But if you waste US$1 million of taxpayers’ money, no one’s going to commend you for not wasting US$9 million more. So we have to do a lot of due diligence upfront rather than rushing out with a minimum viable product. We do a lot of research on the technologies and the work processes using waterfall-like approaches, which helps us ensure a very high likelihood of success.

--Cordell Schachter, CIO and CTO at the New York City Department of Transportation, PMI Voices Inside Track, April 2020



Project, Program and Portfolio Management | Tools or Processes - Which Comes First?

"They Die or are Ignored and leaders use sticky notes instead. Change in Mindset has to come first! Paradigm first, then Policies/Procedures and finally Tools.

Like I said neither of these should be 1st. As we agreed, Mindsets top-down and bottom-up to have complete buy-in. Then comes the rest. The next two are the chicken and the egg conundrum. Bottom line who cares!

If everyone is on the same page we have a win-win and we can really change a company or program or project by picking processes/tools that work with our organizational change!"

— Replies posted in LinkedIn Group "PMI Project, Program and Portfolio Management" April 2020 | Lonnie Thomason PMP, MBA, Senior IT Infrastructure PgM, PrM, EPMO PgM



Excerpt, PM Times--Gareth Byatt, Gary Hamilton & Jeff Hodgkinson

The case for processes first, tools second

While a tool can embody good processes, one can argue that it is the behaviors and actions of individuals that make the real difference – regardless of the tool or tools they use. Such behaviors are a result of understanding how to perform certain activities; this cannot be taught by a tool

The case for tools first, processes second

Tools can undoubtedly provide structure to our work. As long as they are task-appropriate and designed to support the process, they help us to become more efficient. And that is one of the keys to using tools – we need to use the right one for the job at hand: it should be a platform to achieve efficiency, and should be used appropriately and properly as a result of training.



Design vs. User ExperienceDesign vs. User Experience


Let's not forget the important change management (continuous improvement) adage, "Always remember that people buy-in for their own reasons and not yours.” 

— Anonymous



What keeps CEOs up at night—my hypothesis?

Failing/failed projects—attributed to their organization’s ineffective project costing & analysis; capacity management/ planning;  business intake and demand management.

— Mark E. Geres, PM Success by Design



Effective Requirements Elicitation

"Be sure you have everyone in the conversation that should be, define the business need before designing the solution, ensure that there is a shared vision of the requirements and document the requirements in a collaborative approach with the project team. This will help ensure that you do an effective job at eliciting the requirements for your organization."

— Aaron Whittenberger, "The Top 8 Mistakes In Requirements Elicitation"   BA Times



Earlier today, I went back to my IIBA BABOK-based, 2013 ACAAT Corporate Training BA course material and got a helping hand up up with the Gathering vs. Eliciting nomenclature question. I recall now that "Gathering" carries the connotation that the requirements are already written down and actionable. I learned in 2013 that the term "Elicitation" is preferable because business analysis aims to identify not just the things that are written down, but also to discover unstated and implied requirements, and requirements which may be derived from other requirements. Discovering requirements can be challenging. Sometimes requirements are buried and lost in large, complex IT systems; sometimes they exist only in peoples' heads; sometimes, when a new venture is undertaken, requirements exist even though we are unaware of them.  

— Mark E. Geres, PM Success by Design



"Don't mistake activity with achievement."

— John Wooden, an American basketball player and coach. He was the head coach at UCLA and won 10 NCAA National Championships in a 12 year period, including an unprecedented 7 in a row.


Discourage Busywork; Applaud Dragon Slaying!

Busywork: Work that keeps a person busy but has little value in itself.  A Dragon-Slaying Story is a very short story with three parts;  Problem, Solution and Impact.

— Mark E. Geres, PM Success by Design



"Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. So, keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work. "

Denziel Washington, 2017



 "Forecasting is an essential component of good financial management and informed decision-making, and taxpayers bear the costs where poor forecasting means projects or services cost more than anticipated, are delivered late or produce fewer benefits than predicted. Effective forecasting requires organizations to recognize that forecasts are more than a technical activity, and emphasize their importance to financial and operational management. It is essential that departments generate cooperation and understanding between the analysts who produce forecasts, and their policy, operational and finance colleagues who use them to manage the business."

 — National Audit Office, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Ordered by the UK House of Commons, Cross-Government, Forecasting in government to achieve value for money, HC 969 SESSION 2013-14 31 January 2014



Resource Planning | Capacity Management | Project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) | Project Portfolio Management (PPM)Resource Planning | Capacity Management | Project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) | Project Portfolio Management (PPM)



"Define people by contribution – not rank," defining people by the “contribution they make rather than the level they occupy in an organization” is key to being an effective leader.

— 2016 Public Service Leadership Award Winner, Dan Couture, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Government of Canada



"There is no such thing as an ‘IT project’. There are only business projects with an IT component.”

— June Drewry, CIO of Chubb Corp., InfoWorld, 2006



ITIL ITSM | Change the Business vs Run the Business

ITIL ITSM | Change the Business vs Run the BusinessITIL ITSM | Change the Business vs Run the Business

 ITIL ITSM | Change the Business vs Run the Business? 

Adapted from ISBN 978-0-11-331294-8



Adopting Best Practice In Our Organizations | We Must Not Become a Slave to Process Or Methodology

More often than not, adopting best practice will improve an organization's business processes, deliver effective change, and increase operational efficiency. As project management practitioners though it's very important to focus on the end, not the means. We must not become a slave to process or methodology. We must ask ourselves if filling in all those forms, creating all those documents, chasing all those sign-offs, really will enable us to do a better job. If it won’t, tailor the process or methodology. Above all we must never, ever lose sight of what we’re trying to achieve.



What Do You Think Are the Most Important Attributes In a Leader?

"As a retired navy chief, my goal as a leader of people, was to know each sailor personally and professionally in order to know what motivated them and what they brought to the table, to be as consistent as possible and set a good example, always remember that it is not about me, praise in public and punish in private, and do everything I could to set those sailors up for success. Servant leadership is the best way to achieve goals and complete the mission. I derived my success from enabling my sailors to succeed whether it was a college degree, promotion to the next pay grade, or qualifying for a new watch station. A humble attitude and quiet confidence are key to a leader's success."

— Louis Johnsick, Littoral Combat Ship Naval Systems Subject Matter Expert, at Cubic Global Defense via LinkedIn (The Project Manager Network Group), May 2015



Are You a Project Leader or Manager?
Good managers do things right. Good leaders do the right things.

--Vijay K. Verma, PMP, MBA, P.Eng and R. Max Wideman, FPMI




Project Management | He Who Can, Does. He Who Cannot, Teaches?

"I think we have all seen teachers / trainers that were masters of theory, but completely ignorant of practical knowledge. I had a biology professor that frequently used this saying: "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." Holding a position as a teacher / trainer / instructor / coach isn't the albatross... unless that is all you have done. In fact, having to teach a concept should necessarily deepen your understanding of its application, but only if you have practical experience with it in the first place."

— Jay Green, Leading Petty Officer at Personnel Support Detachment, Gulfport via LinkedIn (Pulse), July 2015



"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

— African Proverb



Power Struggles Create Distance and Hostility Instead of Closeness and Trust

"Distance and hostility create resentment, resistance, rebellion (or compliance with lowered self-esteem).

Closeness and trust create a safe learning (and workplace) environment.

You have a positive influence only in an atmosphere of closeness and trust where there is no fear of blame, shame or pain."

— Dr. Jane Nelsen



So, you're in a project management leadership role--what’s the basis of your authority when leading virtual teams?

It can change from situation to situation!


Generally, authority could be defined as: the power, the right, the clout to influence people and get them to do what you want and need them to. But in active leadership we can delineate that definition a bit further. Here are several types of authority that can be leveraged.

Legal – based on the ability to influence others based on your official authority and position.

Expert – based on the ability to influence others based on your knowledge and expertise

Reverent – based on the ability to influence others based on your behavior, manner and approach

Reward – based on the ability to influence others by giving or withholding rewards

Punitive – based on the ability to influence others by imposing a penalty for fault, offense or violation

— Michael Holland, Author, The Missing Leader: One Man's Journey to Leading Well - A Leadership Fable



Culture eats process for breakfast.” If you don’t work as hard on creating new culture, a culture supported by systems, structure, skills and style—your culture will eat your process.

— Unknown



There is an old saying that all truth passes through three phases:

  • It is ridiculed.
  • It is violently opposed.
  • It is accepted as being obvious.

— Gary Cokins, Author, Activity-based Cost Management: An Executive's Guide



"The best definition of the word culture (workplaces included) that I’ve heard is that it’s how people behave when nobody is watching."

 — Gwyn Morgan



Adapting to group-think is a sound survival skill, but allowing yourself to slavishly follow the prevailing norm is most often a form of intellectual and moral suicide.

"Every culture (workplace included), wittingly or not, pressures each of us to forswear independent, critical thinking, and in so doing, join the herd. Our job is to think our way through this pressure."

— Mitchell Frangadakis


The Difference Between Belonging and Fitting In

Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW talks about the difference between belonging and fitting in. When you “belong”, you have found people who value the attributes you bring to the table. When you “fit in”, it means you’ve bent yourself into a pretzel trying to blend into some pre-determined mold. And while belonging is what we’re all after, so many of us are taught that fitting in is the key to success.

We are taught to conform. Noteworthy though, is that questioning authority is difficult but important.



How Do You Measure Project Success—Is It Really By Means of the Triple Constraints Criteria?

Reference to the project management triangle (called also Triple Constraint or the Iron Triangle) is no longer used in both the 5th and 6th Ed. of the Project Management Institute's PMBOK® Guide.

“The newest, PMBOK 6th Ed. states that a project's success is measured by product and project quality, timeliness, budget compliance, and degree of customer satisfaction.

One of the most common challenges in project management is determining whether or not a project is successful. Traditionally, the project management metrics of time, cost, scope, and quality have been the most important factors in defining the success of a project. More recently, practitioners and scholars have determined that project success should also be measured with consideration toward achievement of the project objectives. Project stakeholders may have different ideas as to what the successful completion of a project will look like and which factors are the most important. It is critical to clearly document the project objectives and to select objectives that are measurable.

Three questions that the key stakeholders and the project manager should answer are:

  1. What does success look like for this project?
  2. How will success be measured?
  3. What factors may impact success?

The answers to these questions should be documented and agreed upon by the key stakeholders and the project manager. Project success may include additional criteria linked to the organizational strategy and to the delivery of business results.  The project team needs to be able to assess the project situation, balance the demands, and maintain proactive communication with stakeholders in order to deliver a successful project. When the business alignment for a project is constant, the chance for project success greatly increases because the project remains aligned with the strategic direction of the organization.  It is possible for a project to be successful from a scope/schedule budget viewpoint, and to be unsuccessful from a business viewpoint. This can occur when there is a change in the business needs or the market environment before the project is completed."

Source: Project Success Measures, Section, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), 6th Edition ISBN 978-1-62825-382-5, Pg. 34-35



The following, IMHO, are noteworthy too.

"The ultimate purpose of project management is to create a continuous stream of project successes. This can happen provided that you have a good definition of "success" on each project."

— Harold Kerzner, Ph.D.


Another similar perspective.

W. Edwards Deming, the father of quality assurance, suggested that quality was "meeting or exceeding customer expectations." Deming states that the customer's definition of quality is the only one that matters.

  • If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
  • If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
  • If you don’t measure it, you probably don’t care.
  • If you can’t influence it, then don’t measure it.

— Peter Drucker & Anonymous



"The ultimate purpose of metrics and dashboards is not to provide more information but to provide the right information to the right person at the right time, using the correct media and in a cost-effective manner."

— Project Management Metrics, KPIs, and Dashboards, A Guide to Measuring and Monitoring Project Performance



"Achieving zero production defects (doing it right the first time) reduces inspection time and eliminates rework time."

— Management Accounting, 6th Canadian Edition



"The practical man is the adventurer, the investigator, the believer in research, the asker of questions, the man who refuses to believe that perfection has been attained.... There is no thrill or joy in merely doing that which any one can do.... It is always safe to assume, not that the old way is wrong, but that there may be a better way."

— Henry R. Harrower



Flying By The Seat Of Your Pants

"Meaning: To proceed or work by feel or instinct without formal guidelines or experience. A very ineffective way to run a business."

— Author unknown



"Good managers do things right. Good leaders do the right things."

— Vijay K. Verma and R.M. Wideman. Project Management Institute, 1994



Soft Skills Deliver Hard Results

"Delivering projects on time and within budget and scope requires more than the ability to apply project management processes and techniques. It also takes soft skills which address the human side of projects. After all, it’s the people who deliver the work, not the tools."

— Susan Kemp, Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation Partnership Conference Series, 2006



The only way to learn about life (or project management) is by exploring. "We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

— T. S. Eliot


"The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds."

John F. Kennedy



"Failure begets knowledge. Out of knowledge you gain wisdom, and it is with wisdom that you can become truly successful."

— The Standish Group Chaos Report, 1995



Private and Public-sector Organizations Are Seeking New Methods To Change The Productivity Equation In Their Favor

"I believe that through the application of proven project management (PM) concepts, methods (tactics) and best-practices we can sustain PM excellence. In its simplest form, excellence is all about improving productivity.

Including, but not limited to the Project Management Institute (PMI®) PMBOK and the Cabinet Office UK's (part of HM Government) PRINCE2®. Do PMP’s Need PRINCE2? I believe that the differences between PRINCE2 (a method) and a BoK (good practices)—PMI's PMP accreditation is based on their PMBOK—make them highly complementary."

— Mark E. Geres, PM Success by Design


Extended version: Original graphic by Hugh MacLeod & extended by David Sommerville. 

Extended version: Original graphic by Hugh MacLeod & extended by David Sommerville.Extended version: Original graphic by Hugh MacLeod & extended by David Sommerville.



You're asked, "What's the difference between PRINCE2, International Standards and Bodies of Knowledge?"—How would you respond?

In a nutshell, a narrative that you might consider could be, “PRINCE2 provides a framework of what needs to be done, by whom and by when. The BoK provides a range of techniques of how those things can be done. A standard provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results.”



A standard (ie, ISO 21500:2012, BS 6079-1:2010, ICB4® IPMA 4th Ed., etc.) provides rules, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose; it does not, however, state how activities should be carried out to achieve this.

A method, such as PRINCE2, provides not only a set of activities to be done, together with roles, but also techniques for undertaking these activities.

A body of knowledge (ie, PMBOK® 6th Ed., APM 2012, etc.) looks at what a competent project manager should know and focuses on what and how to do it.

Citation: Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, 2017 Edition, Chapter 2 - Project Management with PRINCE2, Pg. 14, ISBN 978-0-11-331533-8



A new edition of PMI’s PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition is due out before the end of 2020.

While the guide portion has expanded the breadth of tools and techniques in a new section titled “Models, Methods, and Artifacts,” content on how to apply these tools and techniques by project type, development approach, and industry sector is presented in more depth on the digital platform PMIstandards+™.



If you’re “leading the charge,” you’re the Project Manager.

— J. LeRoy Ward,  Executive Vice President – Enterprise Solutions, IIL



PRINCE2 (a Method) Should Not Be Confused With a Body of Knowledge (Good Practices)


PRINCE2 is an integrated project management method providing a set of processes and themes that can be applied to manage a project from start to finish.

A Body of Knowledge covers the broad spectrum of project management competencies and techniques that Project Managers may need to apply, such as leadership and negotiation.

The comparison between PRINCE2 and a Body of Knowledge (BoK), such as the Association for Project Management’s Body of Knowledge, the Project Management Institute’s PMBoK or the International Project Management Association’s Competency Baselines, can be seen below.

Comparison between PRINCE2 and a Body of Knowledge


  • A project management method
  • Prescriptive
  • An integrated set of processes and themes (they are not isolated silos that can be selectively applied)
  • Covers all project management roles
  • Does not cover interpersonal skills
  • References techniques

Body of Knowledge

  • A broad collection of ‘good practices’ for project management
  • Non-prescriptive
  • Each topic area can be referred to isolation from others
  • Targeted at Project Managers
  • Covers interpersonal skills
  • Describes techniques

The differences between PRINCE2 (a method) and a BoK (good practices) make them highly complementary.

PRINCE2 provides a framework of what needs to be done, by whom and by when. The BoK provides a range of techniques of how those things can be done. For example, in PRINCE2 a critical step in creating a plan is estimating. PRINCE2 does not say how estimating should be done as there are a number of techniques that can be applied depending on the project context, whereas a BoK provides an explanation and analysis of the range of estimating techniques available so that the planner can judge which one is most suitable to use.

Tailoring PRINCE2 if the organization is aligned to any particular BoK should include:

Agreeing a single set of terms to apply. For example, in the Association for Project Management’s Body of Knowledge, the steering group is equivalent to PRINCE2’s Project Board.
Aligning PRINCE2’s management products with any management products recommended by the BoK. For example, in the PMBoK the project charter is equivalent to PRINCE2’s Project Brief.

— OGC Official PRINCE2 Guide (ISBN 978-0-11-331059-3) – Pgs. 230-231



Management of Project Portfolios and Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" Lyrics. How are they connected?


Excerpt "If you're gonna play the game, boy, You gotta learn to play it right".

Playing it right?

Good and best PPM - Project Portfolio Management practices exist for deciding what work is in, and what’s out.

Management of Portfolios (MoP®) portfolio definition cycle includes 5 steps to help business managers decide what work is in, and what’s out.

── MoP®, pub. 2011 by UK OGC - Office of Government Commerce, ISBN: 978-0-11-331294-8

The five (5) practices found within the portfolio definition cycle:

  • Understand
  • Categorize
  • Prioritize
  • Balance
  • Plan


Kenny Rogers' The Gambler Lyrics

"The gambler said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin'

Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep
'Cause every hand's a winner
And every hand's a loser"



Project Management and Business Analysis: The Dynamic Duo!


Project Management focuses on the creation of the “product, service, or result” of the project in order to meet its objectives. Business Analysis aims at understanding the needs of the business stakeholders and at defining the characteristics of the solution to meet those needs. Through the integration of these two disciplines, the organizations can achieve superior project performances, both from the standpoint of the realization of project deliverables, as from that of the creation of business value.

— Michele Maritato, The Business of Business Analysis

PMI suggests that candidates for their BA certification include “anyone focused on evaluating and analyzing business problems and anyone managing requirements with a project or program.

— BA Times magazine the ultimate destination for the ever-growing Business Analyst community



"Business Analysts elicit, analyze, communicate, and validate requirements for changes to business processes, policies, and information systems."

Business analysis involves:

  • Identification of business problems and opportunities
  • Elicitation of needs and constraints from stakeholders
  • Analysis of stakeholder needs to define REQS. for a solution
  • Assessment and validation of potential and actual solutions
  • Management of the “product” or requirements scope.

— Barbara A. Carkenord, Author of Seven Steps to Mastering Business Analysis



"Project management practitioners need to be mindful of management accounting and business analysis best-practices."

— Mark E. Geres,  PM Success by Design



Management Accounting is the process of identifying, measuring, accumulating, analyzing, preparing, interpreting, and communicating information that helps managers fulfill organizational objectives.

— Management Accounting, Sixth Canadian Edition



Business analysis is the practice of enabling change in the context of an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.

— A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) v3



Financial Accounting is different from Management Accounting. Financial accounting is the field of accounting that serves external decision makers such as shareholders, suppliers, banks, and government regulatory agencies.

Accounting / metrics. What gets measured gets done. When people can see hard proof of the results of their efforts, they comply with the mandate. That’s the good news. The bad news is that traditional accounting is obsolete. Traditional standard cost accounting inadequacies and impediments to project success?

"From time-to-time, thinking about the traditional costing systems in use (particularly for projects) ─ it would seem to me that we’d be better served by activity-based costing (ABC) systems. What are the main differences between traditional and activity-based costing systems and why ABC systems provide value to managers? Traditional systems usually allocate only the indirect costs of the production function. ABC systems allocate many (and sometimes all) of the costs of the value-chain functions. Traditional costing accumulates costs using categories such as direct material, direct labor, and production overhead. ABC systems accumulate costs by activities required to produce a product or service. The key value of ABC systems is in their increased costing accuracy and better information provided that can lead to process improvements Recall that managers’ day-to-day focus is on managing activities, not costs. So, because ABC systems also focus on activities, they are very useful in cost management. Using an activity-based costing system to improve the operations of an organization is activity-based management (ABM). In the broadest terms, activity-based management aims to improve the value received by customers and to improve profits by providing this value. The cornerstone of ABM is distinguishing between value-added costs and non-value–added costs."

─ Mark E. Geres, PM Success by Design | Referencing Chapter 5, Cost Allocation and Activity-Based Costing Systems, Management Accounting, Sixth Canadian Edition, Charles T. Horngren, Gary L. Sundem, William O. Stratton, Phillip Beaulieu, Published by Pearson Canada, 2012, Print. ISBN: 978-0-13-801159-8



Who really calls the shots on what is acceptable vis-à-vis project management excellence—the project management practitioner or the customer?

To me excellence and quality are synonymous.

"William Edwards Deming states that the customer's definition of quality is the only one that matters."

Deming was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant.

Depending on where you look in my organizational work history you'll see various definitions—penned by different authors, drawn from different sources (see below) and sometimes hybrids of two or more—the common thread though is "conformance to requirements" or "fitness for use".


PRINCE2® 2017 defines quality as the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics of a product, service, process, person, organization, system or resource fulfills requirements.

PMI PMBOK®'s 6th ed. is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.

APICS®' Dictionary 13th ed. states that it's conformance to requirements or fitness for use and that quality can be defined through five principal approaches;

  • Transcendent quality is an ideal, a condition of excellence.
  • Product-based quality is based on a product attribute.
  • User-based quality is fitness for use.
  • Manufacturing-based quality is conformance to requirements.
  • Value-based quality is the degree of excellence at an acceptable price.

Also, quality has two major components:

  • quality of conformance—quality is defined by the absence of defects, and
  • quality of design—quality is measured by the degree of customer satisfaction with a product's characteristics and features.


IIBA® 's A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge Quality v3.0 says that quality is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills needs.

ITIL®'s is the ability of a product, Service, or Process to provide the intended value. For example, a hardware Component can be considered to be of high quality if it performs as expected and delivers the required Reliability. Process Quality also requires an ability to monitor Effectiveness and Efficiency, and to improve them if necessary.

ASQ-American Society for Quality's, "Quality Glossary" states that Quality is: A subjective term for which each person or sector has its own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two meanings: 1. the characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs; 2. a product or service free of deficiencies. According to Joseph Juran, quality means “fitness for use;” according to Philip Crosby, it means “conformance to requirements.”



Features, Advantages & Benefits: What's the difference?

• Feature: foam seat (Output-->Deliverable/Product)
• Advantage: softer than springs (Outcome-->Result)
• Benefit: rider's rear end hurts less (Benefit-->Business Value)

"Features describe the attributes of a product or service. Consider it "the what" the consumer is getting.

Advantages describe the factual significance of the feature. Consider it "the how" it provides value to the consumer.

Benefits describe why the advantage is valuable in a way that emotionally connects with the consumer. Consider it "the why" that value matters for the consumer".

—Aja Frost

"Benefits are defined as “the measurable improvement resulting from an outcome perceived as an advantage by one or more stakeholders, which contributes towards one or more organisational objectives”. ... They ensure there is alignment of effort, resources and investment towards achieving organisational objectives.

Benefits are best titled with a change term at the beginning (such as 'increased', 'faster', 'lower', 'cheaper', 'bigger') and should be accompanied by a measurement (such as percent, monetary value etc). Avoid generic terms like 'better' or 'improved. without further details, as these terms are not specific enough for further analysis.

—Managing Successful Programmes: 2011

Value: The worth, importance, or usefulness of something to a stakeholder within a context.

Value can be seen as potential or realized returns, gains, and improvements. It is also possible to have a decrease in value in the form of losses, risks, and costs.

Value can be tangible or intangible. Tangible value is directly measurable. Tangible value often has a significant monetary component. Intangible value is measured indirectly. Intangible value often has a significant motivational component, such as a company's reputation or employee morale.

In some cases, value can be assessed in absolute terms, but in many cases is assessed in relative terms: one solution option is more valuable than another from the perspective of a given set of stakeholders.

— A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) v3



The Difference Between Information & Communication Technology?

Put simply, information technology is all about how computers work and what they can do, while communication technology is about facilitating communication between people. Communication technology includes not only computers, but also telephones, radios, faxes and other devices. Information technology refers to devices (hardware) and algorithms or programs (software) used to store, retrieve and process data. In simple terms, it refers to all computer applications and devices. In the modern sense of the term, communication technology includes electronic systems used for communication between individuals or groups not physically present at the same location. It is about ways people can talk or write to each other and exchange messages, pictures or sounds. Because of the convergence of the two technologies in the sense that we increasingly use digital data to communicate, a new term has been coined: information and communication technology (ICT).

— Alex Kocic



Requirements Classification Schema: Identifies levels or types of requirements that assist the business analyst and other stakeholders in categorizing requirements. Business requirements | Stakeholder requirements | Solution requirements (includes functional requirements & non-functional requirements) | Transition requirements

MoSCoW Prioritization: A method to prioritize stories (or other elements) in incremental and iterative approaches. MoSCoW (must have, should have, could have, won’t have) provides a way to reach a common understanding on relative importance of delivering a story or other piece of value in the product.

User Story: A user story represents a small, concise statement of functionality or quality needed to deliver value to a specific stakeholder. Situation (When...), Motivation (I want to...), Expected Outcome (So I can...)

— A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) Version 3



Levels of Project Scheduling Proficiency


Ever wondered what the commonly used terms ‘introductory’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘advanced’ mean in terms of Microsoft Project proficiency?


1. Time Modeling—‘Introductory’
2. Workload Modeling—‘Intermediate’
3. Cost Modeling—the highest or ‘Advanced’ level of proficiency


Levels of Project Scheduling ProficiencyLevels of Project Scheduling Proficiency