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Project Management World – Top Sessions

This past week I was fortunate to attend Project Management World in Toronto!  There were some amazing sessions – I’ll briefly give a run down on the sessions I liked best:

Tips for using MSP to capture project information during a fast paced planning session by Paul Bergman

This was an amazing session – jam-packed with information from start to breathless finish. Some of the tips were covered in my OntarioLearn course last semester but it certainly was great to get a reminder. Here are just a few of the tips:

1) Set up your calendars in advance of the planning session –  keep in mind the standard calendar has no holidays other than Sat and Sun – create a calendar with holidays noted and copy it to the global file or copy to individual project!

2) Add resources in advance to resources table – share resources from other files if you are sharing across projects. D’oh – why didn’t I think of this one!

3) Create a ‘presentation’ view with larger font for display in meetings. So many times I’ve presented the plan at meetings and everyone had to squint at the screen!

The presenter also showed an amazing way to use mail merge plus Excel and a laser printer to print out copies of the activities on the critical path – so clever!

More than a quick fix: organizational change that works by Lori Silverman

The big tip I received from this session was that a “Change Impact Assessment” should be written while the business case is being written. The assessment answers questions such as what will change as a result of the project? (for e.g. roles, responsibilities, processes.) This assessment needs to be broader than training, communications and buy-in!  This, like many of the tips, is common sense – and yet, it is so infrequently done.

Effective Project Recovery Management – Stephen Matthews

All the steps for recovering a project were outlined in this session. I didn’t even know “project recovery” was a thing – but it turns out it is. A big take-away for me was the need to interview everyone on the project to find out why it is failing. Eventually you will see a pattern and the root cause will emerge.

Another great tip: Manage people to their commitments instead of managing to a plan. I love this. In the planning meeting, get the team to commit to the deliverables and the timeline – that way, you are not managing to some arbitrary plan.

No-Nonsense Advice for Successful Projects by Neal Whitten

This was a day long workshop. It was completely worthwhile – a lot of the tips were, again, common sense, but it was still good to think and reflect on them. Some of the tips:

–          Manage your own project responsibilities and priorities and not the organization’s – if everyone manages their own projects, the organization will be managed well;

–          Focus daily on your top three project problems – you and your team should know what these are!

–          You (PM) are responsible for the behaviour of your team.

There were loads more (a whole day’s worth) …the good news is that the presenter has written a couple of books where you can find out more:

Neal Whitten’s No-nonsense Advice For Successful Projects and Neal Whitten’s Let’s Talk!: More No-Nonsense Advice for Project Success

These titles are now on my wish list.

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Topics Covered

research article on PM in libraries available at The Partnership