Northeast Training Group, Inc. is a Global Registered Education Provider for the Project Management Institute.
Business Case for Action
IT organizations continue to face difficulties delivering software projects on time, on budget, and with functionality that is acceptable to the customer. This has been a recurring theme over the past 10 years by The Standish Group as well as the Gartner Group where the increasing pressures to produce a system has expanded to include new skill sets, the rollout of the project may depend on the successful coordination of several partners who may located across the globe, the software tools are immature and unproven, and the deliverables of the project may be visible to external business partners.
IT managers are continuously faced with serious issues that take up their time, have the potential to erode confidence in their abilities, and may create problems that ripple throughout the organization, from budget overruns and late delivery, to lost competitive edge or complete project failure.
Why do IT organizations face the same old problems over and over? Why are some projects successful while others with similar resources fail? There are, of course, no simple answers, but it is certain that successful projects have a few things in common. They almost invariably have organizational commitment and resources, effective processes, and great project management. Appointing a strong, effective project manager is the best risk mitigation available to an organization undertaking a software development project.
Without effective project management, many projects are doomed right from the start. Some early signs of trouble include:
Lack of clear project goals and business drivers
Poor project estimation, scheduling, and controls
Unclear requirements or no documented requirements
Lack of appropriate skills to get the job done
Even when projects get off to a strong start, signs of project trouble are likely to appear if the project is not effectively managed:
Scope begins to creep; first a little, then a lot
New stakeholders appear with new requirements, and old requirements are changed repeatedly
Interim target dates are missed so the project team starts to work long hours to make up lost time
Unexpected things go wrong, adding to delays
The project manager replans and replans until it seems that all the PM does is battle the project management tool to maintain the project plan
Finally, when the project scheduled completion date nears, and there is hope that the project will finally end, there are more surprises for the team without an effective project manager:
The QA team finds hundreds of bugs that need to be repaired; bugs are found faster than they can be corrected
- There are no guidelines for customer acceptance and the customer has made lots of assumptions about the capabilities of final product that are not valid (I just assumed it would do that!)
- Lots of loose ends appear, all the "almost done" tasks need completing, and suddenly completion is weeks or months away instead of days
- As testing begins it becomes clear that the performance of the system is unacceptable
- The team is working crazy hours and weekends; they are becoming discouraged and morale begins to fall
- The project is way over budget, months late, and in danger of being cancelled.
Unfortunately this doomsday scenario is all too familiar to most IT managers. Without strong project management right from the start, software development projects frequently spiral into schedule and budget overruns, customer dissatisfaction, and team stress.
The good news is that effective project management is based on a set of very learnable skills. The Project Management Curriculum, fully consistent with the Project Management Institute's Project Management Body of KnowledgeTM offers hands-on, instructor-led training in the strategy and mechanics of project management and active practice in the skills necessary for any project manager to be effective and successful.
The Project Management Curriculum
The Project Management Curriculum is designed to enrich the practical skill set of the project manager and to dramatically increase their capabilities, confidence, and rate of success. Students come away from each module with practical, immediately usable skills, reusable resources, and new ways of tackling and overcoming old problems.
We approach the Project Management challenge as a pyramid of skills and behaviors necessary for project success.
Project Management Success Pyramid
Skills are built on a firm conceptual foundation, with lots of practice labs, individual and group problem solving, reusable templates, practical guidelines, and reference materials. The courses provide a low-risk environment for students to practice and adopt new skills. All learning exercises are geared toward immediately and substantially increasing the project manager's on-the-job effectiveness.