Tag Archives: Project Management

Continuing Certification Requirements for Project Management Professional (PMP)

The years seem to have flown by, and it’s that time again to complete my Continuing Certification Requirements for my PMP cert.

I randomly searched the web for PMP courses, then found myself back at PMI.org “Searching Activities”.  Seems like the easiest way to lookup activities because they define the activities, and the correlated list of Professional Development Units, categorized by:

  • Technical
  • Leadership
  • Strategic & Business

Based on the activities I’ve already completed, my majority of work has been accomplished in the Technical category.  I need to focus on attaining Leadership and Strategic & Business categories.

PMP 2019 Continuing Certification Requirements
PMP 2019 Continuing Certification Requirements

Here are a few activities I thought were interesting.  Appreciate your feedback on these courses, or others relating to Leadership or Strategic & Business.

Agile Team Challenges

This online course is designed to help Agile practitioners decipher and solve the problems that arise regularly in their work. The course consists of 20 short case studies that test the student’s understanding of Agile practices and provide guidance for resolving common problems

Technical: 2.00 Leadership: 2.00

Integrating Agile and Waterfall Practices

This online course is designed to help Agile proponents recognize and resolve many of the common integration issues that emerge when these two methodologies are combined. The course consists of 20 short case studies that simulate the communication and interchanges that can occur as Agile and Waterfall practitioners work to resolve differences in the ways that they see and execute tasks.

Technical: 1.00 Leadership: 1.00  Strategic & Business: 1.00

Agile for Business Analysts – How a Business Analyst Survives in an Agile Business World

The agile philosophy in software development and in management is one of flexibility and responsiveness, increased communication and just in time decision making, and the removal of barriers of bureaucracy between the business problem and the solution. The agile approach appears to be in direct opposition to intermediaries and interpreters. Extended analytical processes are replaced by short delivery cycles. Business analysts, acting as intermediaries between those with the problem and those with the solution, providing analysis of the business processes and defining requirements that delineate the solution, may find their role evaporating in the agile sunlight. Is the role of business analyst being marginalized by agile development? What does the business analyst do in the new agile environment?

Technical: 5.50 Leadership: 4.50  Strategic & Business: 2.00

Assessing, Managing, and Mitigating Project Risk

Risk management is a key function in project management. Project managers should be able to apply a variety of risk-management tools in their work, including performing risk identification, quantification, response, monitoring, and control.

Technical: 3.00 Leadership: 3.00  Strategic & Business: 4.00

Managing Conflict on Project Teams

As a project leader you need to be able to distinguish between when conflict is healthy and when it’s damaging to relationships and productivity. In this course, authored by Cornell Instructor Robert Newman, you’ll learn to identify various causes and sources of conflict and learn to foster healthy disagreement within a project team.

Leadership: 5.00  Strategic & Business: 1.00

Agile Risk Management

Software componentization has made software more unpredictable because unforeseen conditions can cause components to interact in ways we hadn’t imagined. Greater complexity, increased user expectations, and our desire to use agile with ever increasing velocity require that we actively manage uncertainties and risks. Classic risk management identifies risks and prioritizes them to determine impact to the project, but how does that differ in an agile project? Agile is designed to handle uncertainty in requirements as new features are requested and priorities shift. What about the uncertainties outside of requirements changes? Understanding those risks even before the project gets started—and those that can possibly derail the project after delivery—is critical. Phil Lew and Moss Drake provide insight into the uncertainties and risks involved in agile software projects and supplements classic risk management approaches with how and when to apply within an agile process.

Technical: 3.25

Project Change Management, Microsoft Solutions

Project Facilitators, Managers, and Stakeholders, please read on…

If you’ve been charged with managing project changes, there are many Microsoft solutions that may be used by a wide array of users with varying degrees of technical experience.

  1.  Word

When the project team members are not comfortable with “technology”, MS Word may be as adventurous as you can get.

Your stakeholders believe each of your change requests have their own story to tell,  and the story should be told in MS Word.  Each of the Change Requests (CR) contain the ‘story’ of the item as well as an appended comments for each of your meetings’ notes.

The solution is a beast to manage if the product/process is used for more than a month, i.e. in an ongoing basis.  Details of the CRs can easily fall by the wayside, as well as prone to human error for the evolving descriptions and historical audit trail in the comments section.

NOTE: Free form text, excluding organizing data into Word tables.

2. Excel

MS Excel is a step up from Word, but is still susceptible to similar issues.  On the positive side, tables have the ability to be sorted, and filtered.  The content/tables may be exported into an email, MS Word doc, etc.  Both MS Word and MS Excel alone do share an additional issue, Change Requests (CR) are not version controlled at the record level.  Both Excel and Word files can be imported into a document management system, e.g. SharePoint, and the docs will have a check in/out audit.  Adding/Changing text on new/existing CRs becomes problematic, and prone to errors, and inconsistent audit of comments.

3. Project

Send them a PDF of the Project Plan.  Companies have few licenses of MS Project, and sharing a project plan with the team is most likely done by exporting the Project Plan to PDF.   When reviewing / updating the project plan in real time with the team (e.g. SMEs, Stakeholders), they collectively see the effect of adding tasks, updating duration, and dependencies.   Itemizing tasks of the team, and grouped by parent activities will help the team stay ‘on task’. The non-PMs do not need access to the Project Plan for edits; this is performed 1:1 or in a team setting with the PM facilitating.

4.  SharePoint

SharePoint is a document and workflow management system among other things.   ‘Out of the box’ capabilities enable users to track a project, Gantt charts to task management, most everything needed to manage a project, including N number of personalized views of the project data,.  The SharePoint platform, out of the box, seems to cater to the laymen as well as the technical savvy.

5. Team Foundation Server (TFS)

TFS covers the entire application lifecycle, part of which enables the team to track their backlog items.  Backlog items may be correlated to other ‘objects’, such as test cases.  All aspects of the project such as development,  builds, unit test case execution, task tracking, and backlog items reside in TFS.  For the tech laymen, i.e. business sponsor, little knowledge transfer is required for using the solution for backlog management.

6. Office Access

Yes, I’ve seen a UI on top of an Access database to manage change.  Actually, I’ve built one way over a decade ago.  It’s a lot of maintenance, just like any solution built from scratch.  With so many options out there, this would not be my first choice.

Click here for an extensive list of project management solutions.

Mobile User Interface: Heat Map will Focus Users’ Attention to their Priorities

The Windows Mobile User Interface (UI) reminds me of a project or program manager heat map report which will draw the attention of the viewer, at a high level, immediately to the most important or high priority areas of the project.  I don’t think a Heat Map is part of the Windows Mobile User Interface, but it’s an interesting concept to immediately draw attention of the smartphone user what they want to focus on, according to their preferences.

A project Heat Map is a common tool to look at complex data, and enable the user of the map to quickly, at a glance, guide their focus toward the important aspects of the data.  A mobile user interface [dashboard], at a glance, that has squares, or spaces, that expand, retract and changes colors, based on specific application user preferences can be a leap in evolution of the smartphone user interface paradigm.

At this point Android has widgets on their dashboard, and both Android and iOS have screens of icons representing applications that I must sift through to get to the specific application I would like to launch.  Widgets were an evolutionary leap allowing the user to display some of the pertinent information, as well as launch specific features of the application right from the mobile OS pages screen.

Allowing the user to designate importance to specific application properties, and then the application squares or spaces that represent the application, grow or shrink, and change colors based on user defined attributes assigned within the application for the user’s level of importance.  For example, I can provide a ‘space’ for Facebook, and if there are certain birthdays of people I am fond of, I can assign a color to the application space to change, and growth indicates amount.  It could be a hue of colors within the space. If there are Facebook user messages, that could indicate another color, and a portion of the space turns that color, and the space grows or shrinks based on the amount of messages.  The application spaces also shrink and grow relative to the total Mobile OS user interface (UI) [dashboard] page (i.e. available screen space). The space overall of the Mobile OS UI screen would have a relative importance between each of the OS applications on the Mobile OS [dashboard] page / screen prioritized by the user, e.g. The user prefers to see their Facebook messages over their importance of their twitter functionality

In addition, automatically, mobile applications should appear and disappear from the heat map dashboard where applications can be launched.  The two ways to execute a mobile application, drill down to the application through the normal hunt and peck for your app, or execute the application from the heat map in the dashboard.  The applications that you use the most will automatically appear in the dashboard, thus you don’t have to manage the applications that appear on your dashboard.

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