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97 Things
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97 Things
Every Project Manager Should Know

Collective Wisdom from the Experts

Edited by Barbee Davis

Beijing · Cambridge · Farnham · Köln · Sebastopol · Taipei · Tokyo

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97 Things Every Project Manager Should Know
Edited by Barbee Davis

Copyright © 2009 Barbee Davis. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
Published by O’Reilly Media, Inc. 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol CA 95472
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editions are also available for most titles (http://my.safaribooksonline.com). For more information, contact our corporate/institutional sales department: (800) 998-9938 or corporate@oreilly.
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Print History:
August 2009:

First Edition.

The O’Reilly logo is a registered trademark of O’Reilly Media, Inc. 97 Things Every Project


Manager Should Know and related trade dress are trademarks of O’Reilly Media, Inc.
PMP is a registered certification mark, PgMP is a registered service mark, and PMBOK is a
registered trademark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are
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was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have been printed in caps or initial caps.
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This book uses Repkover,™ a durable and flexible lay-flat binding.

ISBN: 978-0-596-80416-9
[M]

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Contents

Tips by Topic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Preface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

xv
xxiii

Get Users Involved As Early As Possible . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP
Avoid Whack-a-Mole Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Venkat Subramaniam
A Word Can Make You Miss Your Deadline . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Pavel Simsa, PMP
Make Project Sponsors Write Their Own Requirements . . . 8
Miyoko Takeya, PMP
Favor the Simple Over the Complex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

10

Scott Davis
Pay Your Debts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Brian Sletten
Add Talents, Not Skills, to Your Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Richard Sheridan

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Keep It Simple, Simon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Krishna Kadali, M. Tech
You Aren’t Special . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Jared Richardson
Scrolling Through Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Kim MacCormack
Save Money on Your Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

22

Randy Loomis, PMP
How to Spot a Good IT Developer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

24

James Graham, PMP
Developer Productivity: Skilled Versus Average . . . . . . .

26

Neal Ford
Size Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

28

Anupam Kundu
Document Your Process, Then Make Sure It Is Followed . . 30
Monte Davis, MCSE
Go Ahead, Throw That Practice Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

32

Naresh Jain
Requirement Specifications: An Oxymoron . . . . . . . . . .

34

Alan Greenblatt
Success Is Always Measured in Business Value . . . . . . . .

36

Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP
Don’t Skip Vacations for the Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

38

Joe Zenevitch

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Provide Regular Time to Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
James Leigh
Project Management Is Problem Management . . . . . . . .

42

Lorin Unger
Empowering Developers: A Man Named Tim . . . . . . . . . 44
Ken Sipe
Clever Code Is Hard to Maintain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
David Wood
Managing Human Factors in IT Project Management . . . .

48

James Graham, PMP
Use a Wiki. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Adrian Wible
The Missing Link. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

52

Paul Waggoner, MBA, PMP, MCSE, CHP, CHSS
Estimate, Estimate, Estimate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

54

Richard Sheridan
Developers Unite—PMOs Are Advancing . . . . . . . . . . . .

56

Angelo Valle
Value Results, Not Just Effort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

58

Venkat Subramaniam
Software Failure Is Organizational Failure . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Brian Sletten
A Voice from the Other Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

62

Marty Skomal, MPA

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Keep Your Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
James Graham, PMP
How Do You Define “Finished”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

66

Brian Sam-Bodden
The 60/60 Rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

68

David Wood
We Have Met the Enemy…and He Is Us . . . . . . . . . . . . .

70

Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP
Work in Cycles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

72

James Leigh
To Thine Own Self Be True . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

74

Harry Tucker
Meetings Don’t Write Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

76

William J. Mills
Chart a Course for Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

78

Kathy MacDougall
IT Program Management: Shared Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
David Diaz Castillo, MBA, PMP
Planning for Reality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

82

Craig Letavec, PMP, PgMP, MSP
The Fallacy of Perfect Execution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

84

David Wood
Introduce a More Agile Communication System . . . . . . .

86

Brian Sam-Bodden

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Don’t Worship a Methodology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

88

Fabio Teixeira de Melo, PMP
Don’t Throw Spreadsheets at People Issues . . . . . . . . . . 90
Anupam Kundu
One Deliverable, One Person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

92

Alan Greenblatt
The Fallacy of Perfect Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
David Wood
Build Teams to Run Marathons, Not Sprints . . . . . . . . . .

96

Naresh Jain
The Holy Trinity of Project Management . . . . . . . . . . . .

98

Paul Waggoner, MBA, PMP, MCSE, CHP, CHSS
Roadmaps: What Have We Done for You Lately? . . . . . . 100
Kathy MacDougall
The Importance of the Project Scope Statement . . . . . . . 102
Kim Heldman, PMP
Align Vision and Expected Outcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
David Diaz Castillo, MBA, PMP
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP
Avoiding Contract Disputes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Jorge Gelabert, PMP
You Get What You Measure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Naresh Jain

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Don’t Fall into the “Not Invented Here” Syndrome . . . . . . 112
Dr. Paul Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM
Favor the Now Over the Soon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Scott Davis
Speed Is Life; More Is Better . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Matt “Boom” Daniel
Building the Morale on Your Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
David Bock
A Project Depends on Teamwork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Lelio Varella, PMP
Serve Your Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
Karen Gillison
The Fallacy of the Big Round Ball . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
David Wood
Responding to a Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
James Graham, PMP
Know Your Integration Points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Monte Davis, MCSE
Aggressively Promote Communication in
Distributed Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Anupam Kundu
Start with the End in Mind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Luis E. Torres, PMP
Clear Terms, Long Friendship! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Matteo Becchi, PMP

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The Best Estimators: Those Who Do the Work . . . . . . . . 136
Joe Zenevitch
Communicating Is Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Gennady Mironov, CPM
A Project Is the Pursuit of a
Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
Cynthia A. Berg, PhD (ABD), PMP
It’s the People, Stupid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Adrian Wible
Documents Are a Means, Not an End . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Patrick Kua
Can Earned Value and Velocity Coexist on Reports? . . . . 146
Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP
Scope Change Happens; Get Used to It. . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
Pavel Simsa, PMP
Buying Ready-Made Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Ernani Marques da Silva, MBA, PMP, PgMP
Project Sponsors—Good, Bad, and Ugly . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Jorge Gelabert, PMP
Should You Under-Promise, or Over-Deliver? . . . . . . . . . 154
Joe Zenevitch
Every Project Manager Is a Contract Administrator . . . . . 156
Fabio Teixeira de Melo, PMP
Important, but Not Urgent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Alex Miller

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Teach the Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Richard Sheridan
The Fallacy of Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
Udi Dahan
What Do They Want to Hear, Anyway? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
Martha Legare, MBA, PMP
Recognize the Value of Team Morale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
David Bock
Engage Stakeholders All Through Project Life . . . . . . . . . . 168
Lukeman Lawal, M.ENG, MNSE, R.ENGR.
The Value of Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Derry Simmel, PMP, MBA, FLMI
Don’t Always Be “The Messenger” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Matt Secoske
Effectively Manage the Deliverables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Ernani Marques da Silva, MBA, PMP, PgMP
We Are Project Managers, Not Superheroes. . . . . . . . . . 176
Angyne J. Schock-Smith, PMP
Increase Communication:
Hold Frequent, Instant Meetings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
Richard Sheridan
Flexibility Simplifies Project Management . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Krishna Kadali, M. Tech
The Web Points the Way, for Now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
David Wood

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Developers Hate Status Reports, Managers Love Them. . . . . . 184
Pavel Simsa, PMP
You Are Not in Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Patrick Kua
Share the Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Jared Richardson
True Success Comes with a Supporting Organization. . . . 190
Cynthia A. Berg, PhD (ABD), PMP
Establish Project Management Governance . . . . . . . . . . 192
Ernani Marques da Silva, MBA, PMP, PgMP
9.7 Reasons I Hate Your Website . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP
Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218

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Tips by Topic

Agile Methods
Get Users Involved As Early As Possible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2

Keep It Simple, Simon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Scrolling Through Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
How to Spot a Good IT Developer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Don’t Skip Vacations for the Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Empowering Developers: A Man Named Tim . . . . . . . . . . . . .

44

How Do You Define “Finished”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Work in Cycles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Introduce a More Agile Communication System . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
The Fallacy of Perfect Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Favor the Now Over the Soon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

114

Serve Your Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

122

The Best Estimators: Those Who Do the Work . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Can Earned Value and Velocity Coexist on Reports? . . . . . . . . 146
Increase Communication: Hold Frequent, Instant Meetings . . . . 178

Software Development
Get Users Involved As Early As Possible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2

Avoid Whack-a-Mole Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4

A Word Can Make You Miss Your Deadline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

6

Favor the Simple Over the Complex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

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Pay Your Debts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Go Ahead, Throw That Practice Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Provide Regular Time to Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

40

Clever Code Is Hard to Maintain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Developers Unite—PMOs Are Advancing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Software Failure Is Organizational Failure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

60

A Voice from the Other Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
How Do You Define “Finished”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
The 60/60 Rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Work in Cycles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
The Fallacy of Perfect Execution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
The Fallacy of Perfect Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Align Vision and Expected Outcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Favor the Now Over the Soon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

114

The Fallacy of the Big Round Ball . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Know Your Integration Points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Scope Change Happens; Get Used to It. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
Buying Ready-Made Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Flexibility Simplifies Project Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
The Web Points the Way, for Now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
Developers Hate Status Reports, Managers Love Them . . . . . . 184

Managing People and Teams
Avoid Whack-a-Mole Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4

Add Talents, Not Skills, to Your Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
You Aren’t Special . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
How to Spot a Good IT Developer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Developer Productivity: Skilled Versus Average . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Success Is Always Measured in Business Value . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Empowering Developers: A Man Named Tim . . . . . . . . . . . . .

44

Clever Code Is Hard to Maintain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Managing Human Factors in IT Project Management . . . . . . . . . 48

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The Missing Link. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Estimate, Estimate, Estimate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Value Results, Not Just Effort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Software Failure Is Organizational Failure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

60

We Have Met the Enemy…and He Is Us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Work in Cycles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Meetings Don’t Write Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Chart a Course for Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
One Deliverable, One Person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Build Teams to Run Marathons, Not Sprints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
The Holy Trinity of Project Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Align Vision and Expected Outcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
You Get What You Measure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

110

Building the Morale on Your Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

118

A Project Depends on Teamwork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
The Best Estimators: Those Who Do the Work . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
It’s the People, Stupid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Teach the Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
The Fallacy of Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
Recognize the Value of Team Morale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166

International Issues or Distributed Teams
A Word Can Make You Miss Your Deadline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

6

Make Project Sponsors Write Their Own Requirements . . . . . . .

8

Requirement Specifications: An Oxymoron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
IT Program Management: Shared Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

80

Don’t Worship a Methodology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Aggressively Promote Communication in Distributed Projects . . 130
Communicating Is Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Developers Hate Status Reports, Managers Love Them . . . . . . 184
You Are Not in Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Share the Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188

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Managing Projects
Size Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Document Your Process, Then Make Sure It Is Followed . . . . . . . 30
Project Management Is Problem Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Use a Wiki. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
How Do You Define “Finished”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
The 60/60 Rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
IT Program Management: Shared Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

80

Planning for Reality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Responding to a Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Start with the End in Mind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

132

Documents Are a Means, Not an End . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Should You Under-Promise, or Over-Deliver? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Important, but Not Urgent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Effectively Manage the Deliverables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

174

Communications
Developer Productivity: Skilled Versus Average . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Use a Wiki. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Developers Unite—PMOs Are Advancing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Meetings Don’t Write Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Introduce a More Agile Communication System . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Roadmaps: What Have We Done for You Lately? . . . . . . . . . . 100
Aggressively Promote Communication in Distributed Projects . . 130
Communicating Is Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
It’s the People, Stupid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Project Sponsors—Good, Bad, and Ugly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

152

Every Project Manager Is a Contract Administrator . . . . . . . . . 156
What Do They Want to Hear, Anyway? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
Engage Stakeholders All Through Project Life . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
Don’t Always Be “The Messenger” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

172

Increase Communication: Hold Frequent, Instant Meetings . . . . 178

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Managing Stakeholders
Make Project Sponsors Write Their Own Requirements . . . . . . .

8

Keep It Simple, Simon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Scrolling Through Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Save Money on Your Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Success Is Always Measured in Business Value . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Chart a Course for Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Roadmaps: What Have We Done for You Lately? . . . . . . . . . . 100
The Importance of the Project Scope Statement . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Avoiding Contract Disputes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
A Project Is the Pursuit of a Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
Project Sponsors—Good, Bad, and Ugly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

152

Should You Under-Promise, or Over-Deliver? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Teach the Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Engage Stakeholders All Through Project Life . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
True Success Comes with a Supporting Organization. . . . . . . . 190
Establish Project Management Governance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192

Project Processes
Go Ahead, Throw That Practice Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Planning for Reality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Don’t Worship a Methodology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
One Deliverable, One Person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
The Holy Trinity of Project Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
The Importance of the Project Scope Statement . . . . . . . . . . . 102
You Get What You Measure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

110

Don’t Fall into the “Not Invented Here” Syndrome . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Responding to a Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Know Your Integration Points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Start with the End in Mind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

132

Clear Terms, Long Friendship! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
A Project Is the Pursuit of a Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140

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Documents Are a Means, Not an End . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Can Earned Value and Velocity Coexist on Reports? . . . . . . . . 146
Scope Change Happens; Get Used to It. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
The Fallacy of Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
The Value of Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Effectively Manage the Deliverables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

174

Flexibility Simplifies Project Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Establish Project Management Governance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192

Project Requirements
Make Project Sponsors Write Their Own Requirements . . . . . . .

8

Favor the Simple Over the Complex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Keep It Simple, Simon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Requirement Specifications: An Oxymoron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Buying Ready-Made Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150

End-Users
Get Users Involved As Early As Possible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2

Favor the Simple Over the Complex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Document Your Process, Then Make Sure It Is Followed . . . . . . . 30
A Voice from the Other Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Keep Your Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
9.7 Reasons I Hate Your Website . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194

Purchasing Issues
Save Money on Your Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Avoiding Contract Disputes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Buying Ready-Made Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Every Project Manager Is a Contract Administrator . . . . . . . . . 156

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Self-Management
You Aren’t Special . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Don’t Skip Vacations for the Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Provide Regular Time to Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

40

Project Management Is Problem Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Value Results, Not Just Effort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Keep Your Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
We Have Met the Enemy…and He Is Us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
To Thine Own Self Be True . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Build Teams to Run Marathons, Not Sprints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Don’t Fall into the “Not Invented Here” Syndrome . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Speed Is Life; More Is Better . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

116

Building the Morale on Your Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

118

Serve Your Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

122

Important, but Not Urgent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Recognize the Value of Team Morale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Don’t Always Be “The Messenger” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

172

We Are Project Managers, Not Superheroes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
You Are Not in Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Share the Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
True Success Comes with a Supporting Organization. . . . . . . . 190

Web Development
Scrolling Through Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Size Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
A Voice from the Other Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Favor the Now Over the Soon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

114

The Web Points the Way, for Now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
9.7 Reasons I Hate Your Website . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194

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Preface

or introducing a new process is
simple. In reality, those of us who actually do it for a living know that it is
becoming increasingly chaotic.

IN THEORY, CREATING A NEW PRODUCT

97 Things Every Project Manager Should Know is a collection of wisdom from
project managers, software developers, and a wide range of other occupation
holders from all around the world who are successful in managing their teams
to success. They have shared what they think are important tips for you to
know, whether you are involved in trying to create the product or manage the
processes of your organization’s projects.
Traditional books teach theory. In this one, people who are actively working in
the field day to day share the best secrets that they have learned or developed
after years on the job. You can find practical suggestions to improve both the
final product and your personal experiences by taming the chaos and guiding
the project to a successful completion.
As I talk to active practitioners, I find that there is a growing trend to involve
software developers, research chemists, construction foremen, and all manner
of other industry-specific technical experts in projects in a more vocal and
active way. Users, and other stakeholders, must also be included in this evermore-democratic vocation. While this cooperation is great, it multiplies the
complexity of trying to get the work finished.
Interestingly, when editing this book I have found that regardless of industry,
project role, or worldwide location, those of us who have project responsibilities face the same challenges. And the joy has been that these tip authors from
around the world have been willing to share their ideas to help us master those
challenges. Since they represent not only project managers, but the voices of
those new technical stakeholders in the project, this is your chance to hear
their ideas and concerns before facing similar participants in your workplace.
xxiii
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