Downloads about Strategy Deployment, Portfolios, Programs, and Projects


  1. Setting Strategic Direction @ PMI-PDX 2016 Conference
    If an organization doesn’t know where it wants to get to, having the best project management in the world doesn’t matter.  Lewis Carroll said it well: "Alice said to the Cheshire Cat:   “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat. I don’t much care where -, said Alice. Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk, said the Cat.” Therefore, this conference session introduces strategic planning concepts and techniques so you know how this key management activity shapes projects.   (August 2016)
  2. Flexible Project Management @ PMI-PDX 2015 Conference
    Agile methods have revolutionized IT and software development projects, bringing impressive successes, especially in volatile or uncertain environments.  Unfortunately, Agile doesn’t translate directly to non-software projects.  This conference session will show you how to reinterpret what Agile has done so you can manage chaotic non-software projects successfully.   (August 2015)
  3. How to Leverage the Fuzzy Front End
    The early stages of a project can be hugely innovative or very painful.  In Harvard Management Update, Loren Gary says, “Studies of exceptional project managers in fast time-to-market industries show that the initial phase of a complex project, often referred to as the fuzzy front end, has a disproportionately large impact on the end results.”1    In this session, Jeff Oltmann will summarize a formal framework for encouraging innovation during the fuzzy front end. (May 2015)
  4. How to Rescue Troubled Projects
    Projects are hard.  Many critical projects struggle or even fail, so at some point you will have to rescue a project that got into trouble. This is usually a high-visibility, nail-biting experience.  This presentation will show you techniques to stabilize, diagnose, and repair a damaged project.  It will show you what to watch out for, how to get quick victories, and mistakes to avoid. (January 2014)


  1. What Should a PMO Be? – The Sequel
    Several years ago, I wrote an article on the various forms that a Project Management Office (PMO) can take. Since then I have continued to work with new clients to implement PMO’s. The time seems ripe for an update. (November 2017)
  2. How to Connect Projects to Strategic Objectives
    Connecting the dots is surprisingly hard, especially the strategy and execution dots. Writing a causal hierarchy while chartering a new project forces you to think through specific and measurable cause and effect relationships that explicitly show how your project will deliver results with strategic impact. (October 2017)
  3. Critical Chain Project Management in Healthcare
    (Guest article by Paul Wilkens) Wilkens analyzes the application of Goldratt's Theory of Constraints for project management (TOC-PM) to healthcare projects.  He concludes  that TOC-PM is not directly applicable because of two unique characteristics of healthcare.  However, TOC and critical chain concepts are still useful because they provide focusing questions that force participants to carefully consider resource availability, process interdependence, project precedence, and the relationship of throughput to other measures of success. (September 2017)
  4. Seeking Good Sponsors!
    “Uninformed sponsors – sponsors in name only – are of little help to project managers when obstacles arise.” – So says Eric Verzuh, one of my favorite authors on projects. (August 2015)
  5. Build an Environment of Accountability
    Often leaders ask me how to improve accountability within their project-based organization. However, that same leader may be contributing to the accountability problem without realizing it. (June 2015)
  6. My Management Beliefs
    Five core beliefs guide my thinking about the best ways to manage projects. (March 2014)
  7. Stop Email Abuse!
    In many organizations, email abuse is even worse than meeting abuse. Here are my seven favorite ground rules for project-related email. (July 2013)
  8. Agile vs. Traditional: an Unnecessary War
    There’s a war raging. On one side are ardent agilists, who advocate managing projects using methods such as Scrum and XP. On the other side are traditionalists, who prefer waterfall methods. (February 2013)
  9. Communication Techniques for Managing Expectations
    Complement informal relationship building by using formal project communication techniques that keep the right people informed about important project information. (May 2012)
  10. Avoid Lightning Bolts by Building Informal Relationships
    To survive tough projects, project leaders must excel at managing expectations. They must deliberately forge informal relationships, establish trust-worthiness, and be a truth teller. (December 2011)
  11. A Program is Not a Project on Steroids
    Large, complicated projects frequently fail to deliver an integrated solution that satisfy their customers. Here's how a program can overcome this challenge. (August 2011)
  12. Carry Projects Through to the Finish Line
    Project team members are often dog-tired by the time their projects near completion. Here are seven tips to help your projects transition smoothly to ongoing operations or follow-on projects, despite exhaustion. (June 2011)
  13. Building a Flexibility Toolbox (Part 4/4 of Flexible Projects with Preston Smith)
    Managing a project in a flexible way violates many assumptions and behaviors that project managers usually bring to a project. Here's how to build a flexibility toolbox. (March 2011)
  14. Creating a Flexible Environment (Part 3/4 of Flexible Projects with Preston Smith)
    Flexibility is not a universal blessing. It is a set of tools and techniques that can be applied to projects selectively to deal with uncertainty or the anticipated changes in a certain part of the project. (February 2011)
  15. Enabling a Flexible Team (Part 2/4 of Flexible Projects with Preston Smith)
    You have heard before that people are the most important factor in a project, but this is so essential that we would like to provide some compelling evidence for the criticality of people. (January 2011)
  16. What Should a Project Management Office (PMO) Be?
    Project Management Offices have been all the rage for several years, because they can coordinate project activity across an organization, thus increasing efficiency, project success rates, and bottom line results. But the "PMO in a box" approach doesn't work. (December 2010)
  17. Flexible Project Management: Extending Agile Techniques beyond Software Projects (Proceedings of the 2010 PMI Global Congress)
    We describe the environment that supports flexible development, including people and team factors, keeping options open, making decisions at the last responsible moment, and creating flexible processes. Then we show how flexible project management contrasts with mainstream project management, specifically how you manage changing requirements, plan a project that is certain to change, and how you manage risk in such a project. (October 2010)
  18. Agile Isn't Just for Software (Part 1/4 of Flexible Projects)
    Agile isn’t just for software developers, but applying it to other types of projects requires extra creativity. (September 2010)
  19. Learn from Projects or Perish
    Retrospectives are a structured way to gather “lessons learned” from those who know best. Unfortunately, they are unnatural. (March 2010)
  20. Portfolio Monitoring and Governance (Part 5/5 of Project Portfolio Management: The Art of Saying "No")
    Monitor the portfolio, manage changes and tradeoffs across projects, and ensure that a governance framework clearly establishes responsibilities. (January 2010)
  21. Backpacker's Guide to Lightweight Project Management
    Newcomers to project management often feel overwhelmed because the field has accumulated extensive technical knowledge. They need a lightweight, simple way to start their project management journey – a backpacker’s guide. Here are six lessons I’ve learned about introducing project management where there is none. (January 2010)
  22. How to Get Things Done
    Some projects get off to a fast start, but soon lose momentum and become mired. You can do two things to avoid this fate on the projects you lead. (November 2009)
  23. Adapting Project Management to a Low Maturity Organization (Proceedings of the 2009 PMI Global Congress)
    SiTech was in a brutally competitive business, but many of its projects were not successful. This paper describes how SiTech designed a simple project and portfolio management system that is appropriate for an organization with low project management maturity and a culture focused on operations, not projects. (October 2009)
  24. Four Steps to Conquer Lousy Project Meetings
    Far from sapping productivity, a well-run meeting is often the most effective way to get work done. (September 2009)
  25. Keeping Your Portfolio Balanced (Part 4/5 of Project Portfolio Management: The Art of Saying "No")
    Check balance and feasibility before initiating the portfolio. (August 2009)
  26. Maximizing the Portfolio (Part 3/5 of Project Portfolio Management: The Art of Saying "No")
    Select the highest impact projects and maximize the value of the portfolio. (August 2009)
  27. Strategic Alignment (Part 2/5 of Project Portfolio Management: The Art of Saying "No")
    Agree on a critical few criteria that your organization will use to evaluate projects for inclusion in its portfolio. (June 2009)
  28. Decisions When Starting Development of a New Product
    Developing a new product or deploying a new system is tough to do well. There are hundreds of things to consider at the outset of the development, and just one poor decision can doom the entire effort. (June 2009)
  29. Six Steps to Better Delegation
    Bad delegation is rampant in project organizations. Even if you are not the chief executive, delegation is a crucial project leadership skill for your career. (May 2009)
  30. Overview of Project Portfolio Management (Part 1/5 of The Art of Saying "No")
    When an organization tries to do too much, all projects suffer from delays, cost overruns, or poor quality. (April 2009)
  31. Quality as Delighter
    Quality failures are expensive. They cause rework and re-do, leading to lost customers, poor productivity, and unhappy employees. (March 2009)
  32. Pre-Mortems:  Hype or Innovation?
    In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Gary Klein suggests an interesting approach to identifying risks at the beginning of a project. He calls it a premortem, riffing on the postmortem that engineering teams usually run at the end of a project. (January 2009)
  33. Get Your Team on the Bus
    Project leaders can't go it alone - they need an effective team. Here are four way to build a team. (January 2009)
  34. This Project Needs a Leader - Now!
    Technical competency is not the most important skill for a project manager. Neither is building a good schedule, nor monitoring issues and tracking down open action items. First and foremost, project managers must be effective leaders. (November 2008)
  35. Project Portfolio Management: How to Do the Right Projects at the Right Time (Proceedings of the 2008 PMI Global Congress)
    Project and program management are about execution and delivery - doing projects right. Project portfolio management is fundamentally different. It focuses on doing the right projects at the right time by selecting and managing projects as a portfolio of investments. (October 2008)
  36. Ten Tips to Make Change Work for You
    Customers change their minds. Competitors zig instead of zagging. Technology advances. Change is constant, and prohibiting it on projects does not work. (September 2008)
  37. Well Run Projects Are Not Enough
    Even a project “done right” can be damaging if it was not the right project to do in the first place. How can an organization decide which projects are the right ones to do? (May 2008)
  38. Driving Projects to Successful Completion
    Even with a solid foundation of good planning, the execution and control phase of a project can be very dangerous. To survive, manage it with closed loop corrective action. (March 2008)
  39. Advanced Risk Management
    Traditional risk management is not enough to deal with the turbulence and rapid rate of change surrounding modern projects. (November 2007)
  40. Stuff Happens:  Dealing With Risks
    Murphy gleefully surprises all projects, causing significant peril to schedules, budgets, and other business objectives. Disciplined risk management is crucial to preventing these perils, but few companies are capable of it. (September 2007)
  41. Are Plans Useless?
    Does your organization tend to create useless plans? These seven questions of planning will help you create an effective, flexible plan without getting mired in planning paralysis. (May 2007)
  42. What Makes Projects Succeed?
    Seven factors distinguish the few projects that are fully successful from the majority that are either impaired or cancelled. (March 2007)
  43. How to Sabotage a Project Schedule
    Persistently late projects are a consistent theme at many companies. No matter how much buffer is in a project schedule, it never seems to be enough. Why doesn’t adding more buffer improve the odds of completing a project early or on time? (January 2007)
  44. Think Like an Investor:  Building a Business Case
    Each person who proposes, leads, or approves projects should understand the basic elements of a business case. Creating a good business case just takes common sense and a willingness to dig and ask thoughtful questions. (January 2007)
  45. Recovering Troubled Projects
    Since troubled projects are widespread and expensive, you may be asked to rescue several of them during your career. How can you succeed at this intimidating challenge? Let me share some tips I’ve learned. (November 2006)
  46. Stakeholder Commitment
    Even though the Access+ IT project used previously proven technology, it was an “accident waiting to happen.” Stakeholder commitment was abysmal and political games abounded. Unfortunately, project managers often do not manage stakeholders well in situations like this. The stakes are high, so here is a five-step process to help you. (September 2006)
  47. The Impossible Dream
    Call it “The Impossible Dream.” You have been handed a project with impossible, immoveable constraints. How do you handle this situation? (May 2006)
  48. Project Portfolio Management - The Art of Saying "No"
    Nearly all organizations have more project work to do than they have people and money to do the work. Frequently they try to fix this problem by cramming more work onto the calendars of already overworked project teams or by cutting corners during the project. These short-term fixes mask the underlying problem and don’t work for long. (March 2006)
  49. Estimating
    Projects miss their original time and cost estimates for many reasons. Although external changes or unpredictable surprises cause some of these misses, often the original estimates were just plain wrong. (January 2006)
  50. Glance Management
    Many projects are too fluid, with too many nuances, for tried-and-true written and formal monitoring methods like status reports, milestone analysis, and earned value to show a complete picture. (November 2005)
  51. Project Retrospectives
    Retrospectives are a recognized best practice for learning and continuous improvement in project-based organizations. (September 2005)
  52. Project Governance Considerations
    Effective project governance systems are not created ad-hoc. Here are some things to consider when building a project governance system and handbook. (September 2004)
  53. Navigating the Fuzzy Front End of Product Development
    The root cause of new product failures can often be traced back to the earliest stages of the project, sometimes called the “fuzzy front end”. (March 2004)
  54. Design Review Best Practices Research
    The best design reviews have a focused purpose, are structured, involve the right people, continually improve the process, are integrated with the design process, and are congruent with the organization. (November 2003)
  55. Valuing IT Projects
    IT projects are often another level removed from traditional sales and profit metrics. What important criteria do you consider for proposed IT projects? (October 2003)