Persistence by CEO required

These real stories illustrate how a CEO successfully builds a project-based organization.  The first story is about persistence. Executive Shuffle Projects at a high tech manufacturing company were missing schedules, blowing budgets, and not delivering expected benefits. Worse, management wasn’t finding out about project surprises until just before the projects were supposed to deliver. They […]

Engage leaders in projects: the CEO’s role

My previous post described the first two aspects of a CEO’s role in a project based organization.   The remaining aspects are to engage leaders at the right points in projects and to use systems thinking for consistency and repeatability. Engage leaders Ensure that key projects have effective sponsors.  I think of a sponsor as […]

Project culture: the CEO’s role

“What is the CEO’s role in a project-based organization?” Recently a group of CEO’s who run SMB businesses (from $5M to $400M USD in annual revenues) asked me to address that question. I thought through the list of organizations that I’ve helped enhance project capabilities.   Five common threads emerged despite the wide variety of industries […]

Transformation projects need early victories

Creating early victories is essential in transformation projects. Recently the Transformation Center asked me to run a workshop and some coaching for the current cohort of Oregon’s Clinical Innovation Fellows.  Sponsored by the Oregon Health Authority, these clinicians spend a year learning about transformational leadership and working on projects that have the potential to transform […]

Agile outside of software

Agile can apply outside of the software development environment, too.  My final example to the group illustrates how the City of Portland uses it to manage a sewer system! Several years ago, my colleague Jean Richardson trained the civil engineering staff at the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services in Scrum. “Portland’s city sewer […]

Responding to a crisis

Agile techniques can also help government teams in short term crisis situations.  Here’s the second example I gave. Tim Nolan is a senior applications manager for Collin County in Texas. “[His] job was in jeopardy. A project had fallen off of his radar, and one day, the elected official who had asked for it called, […]

Agile in government

I work with several government agencies. Recently I was discussing Agile techniques with a group of government project managers. One person said that he’d heard that Agile does not work well in a government environment. Could I describe situations where it was successful? Here is an example of how a formal Agile framework helped a […]

How good is good enough?

Occasionally I speak to a master’s class working towards a Master of Science in Global Leadership degree. Recently I was asked to comment on a student’s analysis of his organization’s project management maturity. That got me curious about the global distribution of maturity levels, so I went to my reference shelf to check one of […]

Make your sausage behind closed doors

You may enjoy eating sausage, but probably less so after you watch the messy process of making it. Similarly, the week to week progress of even successful projects is filled with messy ups, downs, and course corrections. Most high-level stakeholders don’t need to see this normal noise. The project team should take care to not […]

Uninformed 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. Verzuh continues by citing a study performed within a Fortune 500 corporation. “This study determined that having a known and active sponsor was the number one […]