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Project Management Articles
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2013: A Time
by Judy Balaban,
PMP President – PMINJ
Happy New Year!
With a new year we move forward… we are renewed by what is possible… we
set goals and see opportunities before us. We also have time to reflect
upon what has been accomplished, as we learn from the past to improve the
future. At each year’s beginning, the PMINJ Board meets to discuss
its strategy. We take the observations and feedback gleaned from the
past year to determine how to better meet the needs of our membership and
the requirements of our charter.
As I look back upon our past, one indicator becomes clear to me… that
out of an organization of over 4,700 members, we engage with barely over
six hundred actively. Only six hundred or so members attend our meetings,
socialize at our events, learn at our classes, and share their thoughts on
our surveys. A painfully smaller percentage of our membership volunteer
for the chapter or at other non-profit events where our chapter participates.
It makes me wonder… what are these other four thousand members looking
for? How can we reach them? How can we engage them? What
professional needs do they have that PMINJ can help fulfill? Have we
totally missed the mark? What can we do differently?
Different motivations drive an individual to join a professional organization…
one may join to achieve excellence, to contribute to success... in the hope
that personal success shall be forthcoming. Others may join just to
socialize with their peers and “talk shop”. Still, others may join
to make contacts and maximize their networking opportunities.
And others, four thousand of them… sit on the sidelines…
We must be doing something wrong… this is not what I envision our organization
to be about. Each member should know they have something to offer...
simply by their participation. Attend an event, answer a survey, volunteer!
Write me or any Board member an email, or talk to us at an event. Share
your thoughts. You joined this organization for a reason; the PMINJ
Board wants to know that reason. We want to provide all members the
best PMINJ chapter possible.
I wish health, happiness and success to you all.
Beth is a veteran
volunteer for the Symposium Registration Team. The PMINJ Community
relies on the Registration team to handle on-line registration; send confirmation
emails; distribute all the communications related to the event; and provide
registration coverage on the day of the event. The symposium team
registers more than 1100 attendees for the two major events each year. They
resolve technical issues related to the on-line system, questions and quarries
from the members and any cancellation / refund issues. Beth joined the PMINJ
Registration team as a volunteer soon after earning her PMP in 2007. She
chose to volunteer for the Symposium Registration team because of her prior
experience and interest in event registration processes and being a team
Many PMINJ members are familiar with Beth’s symposium notices or perhaps
she has helped you address a registration issue. Beth is very prompt
responding to any inquiry related to registration and if she cannot answer,
she will get the request to the appropriate team lead and assure a response.
Beth enjoys working with the other Registration team members and cites
its leaders, as essential to keeping the Registration system humming!
These team leaders cite Beth’s commitment to the team and how she always
goes the extra mile. Beth sends ‘Thank You’s to attendees and
more recently stepped up to email the survey for IPM day event.
All these activities take up Beth’s time including weekends.
When she’s not volunteering with the PMINJ Symposium Registration Team,
Beth is an IT Project Manager at Mars Information Services where
she partners with Business PM’s to advance global multi-segment projects
and she is responsible for their PMO.
Beth loves project management!
She especially enjoys working with engaged volunteers and coworkers, learning
and addressing project challenges to deliver successful results.
The PMINJ chapter cannot run successfully without the help of dedicated
volunteers like Beth. We appreciate Beth’s hard work and dedication for
the chapter and desire to give back to the PM community.
Project Manager of
the Year Award (PMOY)
for nominations is 18 February 2013
To recognize a member
of the New Jersey Chapter for a significant Project Management achievement
while using their project management skills and commitment to the project
Project of the Year
for nominations is 15 February 2013
Nominate a worthy 2012 project executed
by your organization for this prestigious award.
Deadline for nominations
is 01 March 2013
scholarship for current high school seniors who are sons / daughters / legal
dependents of PMINJ members.
- Renewal scholarship
for previous PMINJ scholarship winners.
- PMINJ members
seeking a Master's degree in Project Management.
PMINJ truly cares about our community. A warm clothing drive
was held at IPM Day on 29 November to support the United Way Gifts of the
Season Program. Led by the Community Outreach team, donations
of warm clothing, gift cards and cash were collected. Generous chapter
member donations created outstanding results.
The United Way gratefully accepted our donation of gloves, mittens, hats,
scarves, socks, coats, blankets, PMINJ towels and $300 in Gift Cards that
were used to help fulfill holiday wishes for the needy. Special thanks
to Sandy Seidorf – project lead, Jim Campbell and Eliana Netra for supporting
this successful project.
Project Management Day Event: A Success for All Participants!
by Stacy Kornhauser
Congratulations to PMINJ:
If you attended PMINJ’s
International Project Management Day on 29 November, you know what I am talking
about and hopefully you are laughing out loud. If not, I hope you can
join us for our next event in May. Please enjoy this recap of the highlights
of the day.
- 30 years as a chapter
- The 3rd largest chapter
with ~4,700 members
- ~450 attendees at
the annual International Project Management Day event, at The Palace at Somerset,
even after having to change the date due to Hurricane Sandy
- For learning how
to start the day right by pointing to the mirror and shouting, “Hey Good
Looking! You are lucky! Don’t you ever die!”
Deven Trivedi, VP Symposium welcomed everyone. He thanked the speakers,
volunteers, Palace staff, and the attendees. Then Judy Balaban, PMINJ
President, reminded us that IPM Day is about celebrating volunteerism with
a special thanks to PMINJ's past presidents. Cofounders of the PMINJ chapter,
Claudio Pincus, the chapter’s first president from 1982-1984 and Claus Kinder,
past president 1987-1989 were present.
Gene Bounds, former chair and current member of PMI’s Board of Directors,
was the first presenter, speaking on “Project Management for Distributed
Teams.” Many of us already work with cross-cultural teams. Gene
declared, “Distributed teams are not new. It is the speed and velocity
of their teamwork that is new.” Speed and velocity only enhance our
competitiveness by increasing cost savings, “following the sun” with 24x7
productivity, enabling our ability to adapt to multiple and emerging markets,
and thereby increasing our speed to market. Distributed teams are here
to stay and there are multiple communication tools to increase our speed
and velocity: blogs, wikis, shared online workspaces, live discussions,
PM software, web-based time tracking.
Gene also shared some “wow” statistics of people communicating across borders:
Facebook has 955 million users, LinkedIn has 150 million, and Twitter has
140 million. In a recent PMI survey, 76% of PMs utilize some form
of collaboration and / or networking tools and 77% of PMs belong to an online
PM community (including PMINJ’s LinkedIn presence). Therefore, our communication
skills as PM’s need to be strong since non-verbal cues are virtually non-existent
without face-to-face collaboration. A few suggestions to enhance these skills:
Competition is not the
only advantage as we also see increases in mobility, flexibility, and specialist
knowledge. Over time, we build knowledge communities and as Gene also
aptly stated, “there is a push of competition cost and a pull of new talent.”
Overall, it is our job as PM’s to be sure communication is successful, not
only for our own communication skills but to be sure that our teams are
successful as well.
- use a webcam to “see”
all remote team members at meetings
- implement round-robins
to gather information from every team member so everyone is heard
- publish decisions
- follow-up with action
The next speaker, Michael Weber, had a timely, “after Hurricane Sandy”
presentation titled, “Putting the Bounce in Bounce-Back and Rewriting the
Rules of Attitude.” Michael had us learning and laughing for two hours!
We learned how the power in context sets the stage for our thoughts. For
instance, the context of Hurricane Sandy and how it physically and then
emotionally affected many of us set the context for many attitudes.
He then further explained how many of us have “unwritten rules.” For
instance, if the speed limit is 65, many of us often expect we can go 5-10
miles over the speed limit and it will be acceptable. In fact, if we drive
65 exactly, we may be annoyed if others are driving slowly at 55. To keep
us on our toes, and prove his message, Michael had us pair up and play a
game that led to “thumb wars.” Michael used this exercise to demonstrate
how competition in this case becomes an unwritten rule; these rules can
be harmless, but sometimes they can be counter-productive and break down
how we succeed as a team.
Michael then shared 5 strategies for Attitude Management beginning with
reminding us that attitude is a choice.
Priya Sethuraman kicked
off an afternoon of Agile with an update on PMI’s Agile Certification with
approximately 1,000 PMI-ACP credential holders.
- The first strategy
is “Start Right.” By starting your day right, you develop a
pattern for the rest of the day. The reference to my opening sentences
on starting the day right was a wakeup exercise Michael had us perform –
yes, 450 of us, standing up, shouting loudly, with our hands in the air!
- The next strategy
was “Act” and how action affects your attitude – develop the smile
habit; when you smile they are reflective from another person and you will
then smile more yourself.
- Next is “Connect”
with people with similar goals and those that are willing to bounce back
- Next is “Eat Right,”
which is what you choose to feed your mind. For instance it is natural
to compare ourselves to our peers but watch out when we compare our weaknesses
to other’s strengths. Michael recommends we find out what we are good
at and focus on that.
- Lastly, “Invest
Right.” Many of us are in an analytical culture. We may tend to
find everything wrong and then we want to fix things. From now on,
let’s catch what we’re doing right – and invest in that. Michael has
found through research that when we focus on doings things right or giving
to someone else, we actually bounce back faster.
Sally Elatta led our afternoon workshop, “A Deeper Dive into Agile Requirements
and Portfolio Planning”.
Sally began her workshop with an excellent overview of Agile;covered by
four brief videos at http://agilevideos.com/. As she covered a myriad
of Agile concepts during this workshop, I will share two of the areas she
covered in-depth: Agile and Portfolio Planning.
In Agile, there are Scrum Teams. The scrum team consists of a Product Owner,
Scrum Master, and a Cross-functional self-organized team. A Product
owner may be defined as a step below a Project sponsor, and is the designated
manager of the requirements list which is termed, “Backlog”. The Scrum
Master is very similar to a PM. The team is cross-functional, but
they are considered a self-organizing type of team.
To illustrate how a self-organizing team works, Sally asked for volunteers
from the audience. A team of six had to randomly hold hands with two other
team members and then get into a full circle without separating their hands.
An audience member was asked to explain how the team could become untangled
to no avail. When Sally asked the team to work together to untangle hands
and create a circle, the team succeded after a few tries. Sally then
gave the team the goal of untangling to an outer facing circle and they
did so in even less time. This practice clearly showed the audience how
teams may find solutions faster than being instructed; this was a fun exercise
for the team of volunteers and the audience.
For Portfolio Planning, we played a game called “Planning Poker” to help
us with estimating task timeframes using Fibonacci numbering. To manage
the requirements list, each scrum team member rates each task based on their
perceived level of complexity to determine which item may be easier or faster
to accomplish during the day. During the workshop, we rated fruits
(tasks) based on their size (complexity). For example, a blueberry
may be rated a 1 while an orange or apple was rated a 5 with some teams and
an 8 with others. The main point is that we were not working with absolutes,
but with estimates to plan better. As long as the teammates were in the same
range, then there was agreement on the complexity.
The Self-Organizing circle and Planning Poker were excellent educational
games for us to understand these activities, but we were only scratching
the surface of how much there is to learn from Agile.
I do have to admit that this was my first PMINJ International Project Management
Day event and I will attend next year as well. As a newbie attending these
functions, I was extremely impressed with the logistics of the day, the
coordination of the event, and the many friendly people I met. I networked
throughout the day and gained plenty of new skills. I also know that I am
starting the day right since I am “good looking, lucky, and I will never
Return to top
Workshop provided by Jack Jia
Jack Jia, PMP, one of the volunteers from the PMINJ
Corporate Outreach Team, presented a workshop on “The Keys to Profitable
Project Management” organized by the American Society of Interior Designers
New Jersey Chapter (ASIDNJ) on Wednesday, 24 October 2012.
The purpose of the workshop was to enable interior designers to understand
the keys of project profitability from a Project Management perspective
and to provide better tools to their existing process to help the bottom
line. About 100 professionals attended the workshop.
The presentation consisted of three parts:
It was devised with the
objective of helping participants gain an appreciation of the interdependencies
of project management processes and also to enable them to apply project management
philosophies to tackle real work challenges. It was well received by the
audience as quoted by Stacey Sexton, the Chair of ASIDNJ Program Committee:
“The Program Meeting was a great success. I know all the attendees are excited
about the information that you shared. Thank you again for your time and
- What is project management
- Project management
- Tips and tricks to
profitable project management
Mr. Jia has successfully delivered a number of large and complex capital
projects. He lectures on various project management functions including
field management, estimating, planning, cost control, scheduling, risk management,
and material management. Mr. Jia earned a Bachelor’s degree in Construction
Management from Brigham Young University and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil
Engineering from Zhejiang University.
Project Management Articles
of Project Cost Estimating Methods
By Deven Trivedi,
PMP PMINJ VP Symposium
Dave (our PM of this story) was called by his division manager. He was
handed a project with a strict timeline and a fixed budget. Being
a good PM and a great trouble shooter, Dave did not argue with his boss
on budget or timeline. As a seasoned PM, Dave marched out of his boss’
office to his team and completely immersed himself in managing the project
to successful delivery. By the time Dave received feedback from technical
team leads and end-users on missing requirements and a low-ball estimate,
the project had missed important milestone dates and Dave’s reputation took
a dive in front of his seniors and customers for not knowing how much and
how long it would really take to complete this project. Sound familiar?
Been there and wondered if there was a way out of the situation?
This article will provide information related to project cost estimating
methods. It’s intended to educate PMs on the type of questions to ask at
the start of the project to ensure a better handle on the cost estimates
and are, therefore, able to convince senior line managers to revise the estimate
Major project cost estimating methods:
Accounting for Risk in
- Directed –
Estimate determined by the values (hours or dollars) that a customer requires
be used in a project cost estimate. This might be the case for time and materials
(T&M), cost plus fixed fee (CPFF) or cost plus award fee (CPAF) types
- Analogy -
(also known as top-down estimate) is based on the same or similar effort
performed on past relevant projects. This method involves the extrapolation
of known past costs of similar performance, adjusted for differences in
product, service, process and / or project characteristics.
- Parametric –
Estimate based on a well-defined algorithm for determining the amount of
effort from a set of controlling parameters, or where a statistically valid
relationship can be shown to exist between parameters from historical cost
- Task Decomposition
- (also known as bottom-up estimate) is an estimate based on the roll-up
of the detailed decomposition of project requirements into tasks using a
formal structured approach like a detailed requirement spreadsheet or a resource
loaded network (RLN). This technique will result in a transparent and structured
estimate for the project, which can be tracked and managed.
- Expert Opinion
– High level estimate using domain expertise and judgment of one or more
estimators based on the estimator’s past experience, education and training
where there is a lack of supporting historical data and documentation.
- Commercial Item
Acquisition – Estimate developed from a commercial product and services
price lists or other market based information demonstrating commerciality
of the component used. Any hardware and commercial off-the-shelf software
package required for the project should be prepared as a Bill of Materials
(BOM) during the project cost estimation process and approved by the PM
and other technical leads.
The PM and estimator should consider the risks associated with the performance
of the work when developing project estimates. Reasonable mitigation steps
should be identified, estimated, and included in the cost estimates.
General Estimating Considerations
- What skills and level
of experience are required?
- Who will perform
- What outside capabilities
- What past efforts
can be leveraged or reused?
- What are the customer’s
needs, perception of value?
- How is the estimate
derived and / or calculated?
- What are the surrounding
assumptions and predecessor tasks?
- When is the time
period the work will be performed?
- Where will the work
be performed? (Customer site or your company site or other subcontractor
- What risks exist?
Will the team be able to mitigate them? If so, what will be done to mitigate
- What is the dependence
of timely delivery of Customer Furnished Items (CFIs)?
- How are tasks treated
with respect to their cost basis? Are they normally a direct or an indirect
- Project Estimation
should follow a structured and disciplined process, scaled as appropriate
for the type, size and complexity of the project and using established,
repeatable process for the organization.
- Give early consideration
to sources of data, information, tools, and optional subject matter experts
as sources for help
- Communicate early
to senior management and the finance controller regarding any project cash
Tip: Earning PDUs with Volunteer Service
By Cornelius Fitchner
In our current series of PDU Tips we are exploring the many ways you can
earn Professional Development Units. Today we look at how time spent volunteering
can contribute to your PDU total.
Volunteer work can be incredibly rewarding, and many of you probably volunteer,
or know volunteers who work with charities and other groups. Did you know
that you can also volunteer for your local project management association?
This sort of volunteering can count toward your PDU total.
Work done for your local PMI Chapter or a Community of Practice is recognized
as part of this, but you don’t have to limit your volunteering to PMI groups.
As long as you are volunteering for a legally recognized non-profit project
management organization, that is not your employer, those hours count too.
Just so we are clear, volunteering means you don’t get paid! But
remember, those PDUs are free, as you don’t have to pay for them, either.
Qualifying activities include serving as an elected official or on a committee,
also activities like volunteering at a global congress, working on PMI standards
and participating in research work. Even volunteering as a project manager
on community projects counts. So if your local school or sports group is
carrying out a project, get involved and claim those PDUs.
You will need to get a letter or certificate from the organization that
acknowledges your participation. Keep this in case your recertification is
Do you mentor or coach someone? You can also claim hours of mentoring or
coaching on your PDU record. You will need some evidence to show that you
are mentoring or coaching a colleague, so ask them to sign an attendance
sheet, or keep records of the times you meet.
Volunteer service PDUs fall into Category E. You earn 1 PDU for each hour
of service. The PDUs earned from volunteer service count towards the combined
maximum of 45 PDUs for categories D, E and F.
If you are interested in volunteering for PMINJ, you can find more information
New Certificate Holders
The following have
received their certification since the last newsletter
(through 31 December 2012):
Vincent Anand Amaladoss
Stephanie Quallo Downing
& Publication Information
Editor Christine Rotonda, PMP
Contact the newsletter editor, at editor(:@:)pminj.org
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inquiries. For more details.
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