Health of Project vs Health of Team

As project and programme managers we are always concerned with the health of our projects - are we on schedule, how is the budget, will there be any scope changes?

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In today’s world, we have more and more tools and techniques at our fingertips to help us with this and we are often inundated with metrics, KPIs and data to diagnose issues in our projects. But are we neglecting the most important aspect of our projects – the wellbeing of our project team? Who is paying attention to the mental health of our project members and project managers?

We are living in an increasingly interconnected world, with communication across the globe being easier than ever. Technology has made the world smaller and has exponentially increased the availability of information and data. In our projects, we have software and dashboards that can tell us anything we want to know about the project with a few clicks of the mouse, whether we are resident on the project site or thousands of miles away from the project location. What all of this technology cannot tell us, and often will mask, is how the project team itself is faring. The interpersonal is being lost in the interconnectivity... Read more

Author: Raymond Poole, Managing Director of PMIS

Knowledge Management: Key Components and Critical Success Factors in Projects (Part 3 of 3)

Have you ever felt like Christopher Robin, continually doing the same thing but feeling there must be a better way?

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After all, many have tread this path too - if only they had shared their knowledge or perhaps they had but no one ever captured it! Let’s explore the environs that surround Project Knowledge Management in our final article on this topic.

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we discussed the benefits and difficulties of employing knowledge management systems within projects. In this article, we will offer insights into key components of project knowledge management, and suggest critical success factors for project knowledge management.

The components of a Knowledge Management system will ultimately depend on the purpose of that system. In project Knowledge Management (PKM), the tangible objective is to leverage an organizations competencies and knowledge assets to affect project success. The barriers to PKM that we discussed in Part 2, including lack of trust between temporary project players, time and budget considerations, diverse and/or dispersed project team, and cultural differences, must be overcome for a knowledge management system to be successful... Read more

Authors: Sinead Walsh and Raymond Poole

Knowledge Managmenet: Barriers to Managing Project Knowledge Assets (Part 2 of 3)

In order to examine challenges involved in project knowledge management, we need to first consider the definition of a project – “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service”. In our opinion, the very nature of a project creates barriers to knowledge management. In this article, we will explore this claim, and consider how this extends to knowledge between and within projects.

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In Part 1 of this series, we mentioned the three areas of project knowledge – organizational and cultural knowledge, general PM knowledge, and knowledge specific to the project. Each of these requires a particular management framework, and each presents its own challenges.

Organizational Memory

A project driven organization generates its own Organizational Knowledge from past projects, sometimes called Organizational Memory (OM). However, if mechanisms are not in place to capture this OM, project teams can become frustrated at the lack of historical data and feel like they are reinventing the wheel continually. This type of knowledge is very difficult to capture in a project environment, as the temporary and stressful nature of a project deflects team members attention away from knowledge capture, and towards the key project drivers, such as cost, schedule and scope... Read more

Author: Raymond Poole, Managing Director of PMIS

Knowledge Management: The Hidden Asset in Projects (Part 1 of 3)

With the investment of just $2million in Knowledge Management, Chevron Texaco saw a $2B reduction in annual operating costs with $670million alone coming from refinement of best practices. The Olympic Games achieved a reduction in median cost overruns from 166% to 51% in the years following the introduction of a Knowledge Management system.

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So what is Knowledge Management and how can we exploit it to increase our success rates in projects?

Knowledge Management (KM) is simply a formalized approach to the organization of the information assets of an enterprise. It determines how knowledge will be collected, classified, assessed, stored and distributed. This knowledge is regarded by many as a critical competitive asset, a resource that is generated as a by-product of the functioning of an enterprise. Therefore, managing this asset, by developing Communities of Practice, employing Knowledge Managers or establishing Knowledge Management Systems, can infer great financial, cultural and operational benefits to a company... Read more

Author: Raymond Poole, Managing Director of PMIS

As Project Managers What Can We Learn From David Bowie?

As the world comes to grips with the news of David Bowie’s passing in the early hours of this morning (11-JAN-2016) it may seem strange to find this posting on LinkedIn about what we can learn as Project Managers from someone like him. After all he was a musician, singer/songwriter therefore what parallels has he got to our profession?

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As a young teenager I was enthralled by his music, he was like no other and he definitely did not conform to what society wanted. This of course was the ideal recipe for young impressionable teenagers like myself to find someone to align themselves with. As the years went by and I grew up I realised that this artist was more than just a pop idol he was the proof to Darwin’s theory of evolution, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” In some ways we can say the same about Project Managers, after all change and their response to it is what will dictate whether they survive or fail. Projects, as we all know are filled with ambiguity, uncertainty and evolve as they progress, how we adapt to those situations is what will dictate our success rate. So with that in mind I would now like to reflect on the parallels our profession has with the enigma that was David Bowie (née Jones)... Read more

Author: Raymond Poole, Managing Director of PMIS

Closet Socialist Hits Bucket List Item by Feeding Off His Fat-Cat Capitalist Junkie Habit

One reads about the likes of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg donating millions to charities but rarely do we hear about the ordinary organisation struggling to pay their bills and keep the office ticking over who have a bigger challenge when it comes to donating to charities. The likes of Dan Price  can so easily go under the radar who aspired to spread his corporate wealth across all his employees and in fact gets criticized by some large corporations for rocking the boat!

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This year I managed to achieve one of my lifelong Bucket List items, something that I have aspired to do since I was a young teenager, to donate what is a substantial amount of money for a company our size to a charity organisation. Our small little company, PMIS Ltd that is nestled in the sleepy village of Blessington, Co. Wicklow in Ireland donated €1,000 back in September to UNICEF Ireland for their Refugee Crisis Children appeal, but more importantly I was delighted to then follow that up with a further donation of €10,000 for their Corporate Matching Programme which gets launched this weekend 11-DEC-2015... Read more

Author: Raymond Poole, Managing Director of PMIS