Project Management Articles
New Certificate Holders
Article Submission & Publication
By Judy Balaban
Happy New Year!
At the close of one year and beginning of another, let me say thank
you for all your participation and support in 2013. I believe the greatest
gift we can give someone else is appreciation, recognition or a sincere
“thank you.” A highlight of 2013 was the involvement of many of our members
. . . participating in meetings, courses, symposia and volunteerism…in addition
to our outreach activities of food / clothing drives, student training
and bike-a-thon. Our Board continued to implement our strategy, worked
tirelessly to recruit new members, and to strengthen the organization. We
will continue to recruit new members in 2014 to make the chapter stronger
and more active than ever.
Many exciting programs and events await us in 2014 on top of our outstanding
PMINJ events. We will continue our monthly program meetings that provide
an excellent forum for training, networking and earning PDU credits. The
Career Networking Group will continue to meet monthly to discuss timely topics
and to provide members with the opportunity to partner with a fellow member
who may be seeking advice or a transition. The annual symposia events will
continue to be a sellout success. Last year, we launched day long workshops
and Agile training sessions to complement our PMP prep courses, they too will
continue. We strive to be true to our Vision Statement: To be the
organization of choice for project management professionals in New Jersey.
I hope you are as excited as I am about 2014, and that you help us continue
our tradition of success. The strength of our organization is premised on
the level of involvement by our members. With that in mind, I invite you
to volunteer or to email me to share any ideas, thoughts or feedback to
improve our Chapter. You should also feel free to contact any Board Member
directly. We all welcome your ideas and feedback. Our website, pminj.org
provides contact information for all of us so you may reach us directly.
Your participation and presence in the chapter is what propels me to
keep moving forward with a smile knowing that all we do...it all matters.
I wish you all what you seek in the coming year. May it be healthy,
happy and prosperous!
Judy Balaban, PMP
PMI New Jersey Chapter
Programs Provide Member Opportunities for Continued Growth
By Lisa Blake, VP Programs
PMINJ’s Programs provide a variety of opportunities for continued
growth and development in the profession, delivered in a variety of formats
designed to meet members’ individual needs.
Do you want to learn about the latest trends and best practices in project
management and earn PDU’s while enjoying an evening of networking and fine
dining? Come to the Programs Monthly Chapter Dinner Meeting!
Meetings are typically held the third Tuesday of the month, at one of three
different facilities around the state, and feature recognized speakers from
a variety of industries and Project Management knowledge areas. The
dinner and program are preceded by Local Communities of Interest (LCI) meetings,
and include highlights of Chapter Business and events as well as raffles
by meeting sponsors.
If you’d like to hear the monthly speaker presentations ‘live’ but can’t
get to the meeting venue in time, consider attending via satellite!
With 19 satellite locations in 11 different counties, there’s a good chance
you can find a site near either your home or work. Another way to
catch up (and earn PDUs) is to listen to a Program webinar. All Monthly
Meetings Programs are recorded, and available to Chapter members who log
in to the PMINJ website and go to the Member tab / Webinars.
The Programs Team also partners with outside trainers to offer workshops
periodically during the year. Designed for project managers interested
in more details about an area like Agile, Personal ROI, or Managing Difficult
Projects, workshop attendees can spend a full day with an industry expert
and earn up to 8 PDUs.
The Programs Team is planning to provide even more opportunities for
members’ professional enrichment in the coming months by working with the
Project Managers In Transition Team to deliver Breakfast Meetings (PM in
the AM) and Lunch and Learn sessions.
The Programs Team is committed to providing you, the PMINJ members,
with a rich variety of opportunities to enhance your professional growth.
We are always looking for great speakers, fresh PM topics, and new ideas.
If you’re interested in learning more, or want a role in creating programs
to meet PMINJ member needs, contact me, Lisa Blake, at vp-programs(:@:)pminj.org.
New Project Manager in Transition Team
Offers PMINJ Members Between Jobs Networking and Growth Opportunities
By Lisa Davis
In the November
newsletter, a new upcoming volunteer opportunity was mentioned - the “Project
Manager in Transition,” team or more commonly referred to as the “PIT Team.”
The program itself, while available to all active PMINJ members, is designed
to target project managers who are between jobs with ample time to devote
to the team activities. It will be comprised of a team of project managers
to be used as “swing staffing,” or temporary staffing, to manage a wide range
of PMINJ program offerings including, but not limited to, random events,
breakfast meetings, webinars and lunch and learn sessions.
In addition to the opportunities to earn PDU's and give back to the
chapter, team members will also be able to take advantage of some of the
unique benefits offered by this program including:
PMINJ is dedicated to
becoming more involved in the growth and development of its own member
base. The new team environment promotes participation and collaboration
among our members as well as fostering a mutually beneficial partnership
with external organizations.
- Applying the volunteered
time to fill the gap on their resume
- Sharpening and
/ or growing their skills during a time where they might normally lay stagnant
- Gain valuable
insight as they are mentored by a diverse team of leaders
- Access to a broader
range of networking and employment opportunities and even growth opportunities
within this team
Volunteer for “PIT” and use it to close the gap on your resume and shorten
the road to your next employment opportunity. You can find more information
about the program and how to register.
Celebrates IPM Day 2013
By Jerry Flach
The IPM Day 2013 celebration kicked off with greetings and introductions
by PMINJ's President Judy Balaban and Vice President Symposium, Deven Trivedi.
The morning's keynote speaker, Michael Dobson, PMP, guided attendees through
impossible project management scenarios by first considering familiar occurrences
and imposed constraints.
The first opportunity for PMs in managing impossible projects is discovering
the flexibility within ‘weak constraints.’ In the process of evaluating
constraints, there are Resource constraints, or the most you can spend, and
Performance constraints. Combining constraint management with active
risk management, PMs can admit that failure is an option. In exploring
why something cannot be done, PMs can turn to project specifications; since
they were created by the PM, the PM can change them. While performance
can be cut, quality cannot, because cutting quality has a much larger impact.
Michael called this process Negative Brainstorming, and it includes such questions
The opposite of brainstorming,
Negative Brainstorming reveals a full spectrum of constraints, real and
assumed, the latter among the constraints with flexibility. To stretch audiences’
assumptions, Michael used the “9 dot puzzle in the box” example to show that
there is no box.
- Why is this project
- Why can't we do
- What ideas are
not worth trying?
The next presenter, Guneet Singh, a BPI Leader at ADP, has six sigma
in his blood. Guneet covered the best practices of Continuous Improvement
(CI), a philosophy or mindset that starts by asking what is your purpose
and more specifically, why am I doing this data-driven approach?
CI is about improving processes, but Guneet cautioned not to jump to
a solution. The importance of taking the time required to identify
the clients and their expectations was well understood by an audience of
over 450 PM practitioners who were also pleased to hear Guneet quote Einstein,
“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about
the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”
Guneet covered the following in the application of CI to PMI processes:
elicited some great inquiries from the audience.
- Initiate and
Planning - Define, what, who, why, and where.
- Execution -
Use pilots to analyze causes and gain additional ideas to address the issue
as defined, and integrate improvements.
and Controlling – The pilot's results contribute to improvement by
keeping what works, and doing the change right then and there.
- Closing –
The result is indeed a job well done!
Following Guneet, Jim Tosone, Managing Director of Tosone Associates
and an Improvisation master, was the next presenter. Jim helps people move
outside their comfort zones through improvisational exercises. Improvisation,
or improv, can be utilized for staff development in such areas as strategy
or agility. Four improvisational exercises with audience volunteers
allowed attendees to witness collaborative relationships in action.
In the third exercise Jim called ‘A-Z,’ (akin to a favorite children’s car
game) volunteers had to focus on using a word with the next letter in the
alphabet to continue the sentence. This exercise also revealed how
constraints can distract especially when we think linearly. Improv
can be leveraged to bring out more creative ideas perhaps even using Negative
The afternoon's last speaker was Craig Price, author and podcaster.
Craig began his presentation with a reality check instilled with a good
dose of humor. His Realist Guide starts with addressing negativity first
by looking at thinking patterns. Positive thinkers see the silver
lining and are willing to hear the failures, whereas negative thinkers see
the dark side, but know there are successes. In contrast, the optimist avoids
failures and the pessimist avoids success. Fortunately, personality
does not predict performance since we cannot change personalities.
Craig also explored project considerations in light of the variety of
generations in the new workforce. The baby boomers have a great deal
of wisdom that Craig sums up as knowledge plus experience and which makes
them great mentors. Gen Xers with baby boomer parents are typically
more family-focused and appreciate learning opportunities. All ages
can contribute to project success.
The day closed with thanks for volunteers, PMINJ and all participants
in celebration of project management.
Webinars were created for all the presentations and can be viewed by
members logging into the website.
Login and View the Webinars
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PMINJ School Outreach Team Teaches Project Management Skills
to BSA Eagle Scout Candidates
By Michael Vitale
On Saturday, November 23, PMINJ School Outreach team members Dennis
McCarthy and Mike Vitale delivered several training sessions on Project
Management fundamentals to 35 Eagle Scout candidates from across northern
New Jersey at the Patriot's Path Merit Badge Workshop in Parsippany. The
course, An Introduction to Project Management, educated the Boy
Scouts on the five core PM processes of Initiating, Planning, Executing,
Monitoring / Controlling and Closing projects. The training tied PM skills
to the Eagle Scout Service Project that all candidates must successfully
complete before attaining the Eagle Scout rank. Patriot's Path District
Advancement Chair, Roger Gallo, participated in each one-hour session and
provided real world lessons learned by Scouts on past projects. The course
was well-received by both students and Boy Scouts of America administrators.
This was the first pilot session for An Introduction to Project Management,
the training course developed over the past year by the School Outreach
team. Based on the success of the pilot, the team is scheduling additional
training sessions with several organizations, including high school robotics
competition teams and other youth programs. Special thanks goes to Barbara
Fuller, Dennis McCarthy, Josephine Giaimo, Larry Stern and David Vincenti
for assisting in the creation of the program.
School Outreach Program Visits Piscataway High School Robotics Team
By Michael Vitale
On Wednesday, December 18th, PMINJ School Outreach team members, Josephine
Giaimo and Mike Vitale, introduced Project Management skills and techniques
to Piscataway High School's Robotics Team 224. The team, also known as "The
Tribe,” is participating in this year's FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC©),
a tournament where teams of 25 students are challenged to raise funds and
develop a team “brand” to build and market a robot which can perform specialized
skills under limited time and resources. Every year introduces a new challenge
to the participants who have only weeks to brainstorm, design, build and
test their robot before competing in a live arena against other schools.
The PMINJ instructors explained the five core project management processes
and discussed how the techniques can help complete tasks faster and more
accurately than in the past. The Robotics team identified with many of the
problems that PM skills solve and plan to implement several of the concepts
into their 2014 workflow. Several members of the School Outreach program
are in regular contact with the team and are serving as mentors during the
winter competition season.
For more information on Team 224 please visit their website.
If you are interested in joining the PMINJ School Outreach team as an
instructor contact volunteers(:@:)pminj.org, or if you know of an organization
that can benefit from an introductory training course, contact Mike Vitale
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Symposium Webinars Offer Opportunities to Earn Additional
PMINJ held two symposiums last year that are now available for viewing.
Both symposiums are filled with exciting new ideas and approaches for handling
the new challenges arising in the field of project management every day.
Attending these symposiums in person provides a valuable resource for earning
PDU’s, however, that is not where the earning power ends. Viewing the webinars
after these events can also be used to earn PDU’s and at no additional cost.
May’s symposium covers “Networking Skills for the Successful Project
Management Professional” and “Sell Your Skills: Advance Your Career.”
The November IPM Day covers the topics of negative brainstorming, continuous
improvement, use of Improvisation, and use of a realist guide originally
discussed at International Project Management Day 2013.
There is a wealth of information available from just these two symposiums,
and they are not to be missed. The webinars are available for members when
they log into the website, then access Members / Webinars.
For a complete list of available webinars look for the symbol
on the page of past meeting / symposium
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PMINJ November 2013 Chapter Meeting
The November 2013 PMINJ Chapter Meeting was held at the Pines Manor
in Edison, New Jersey and was the final chapter meeting before the winter
break. Along with the main event, this evening also included a Career
Networking Session, conducted by the Career Networking LCI, titled "Life
Strategies for Managing Personal and Professional Transitions.” This session
featured Mary Anne Walk, Executive Director of Gestalt International Study
Center. Lisa Blake, VP of Programs, introduced the evening's featured speaker
and topic: Frank Kovacs, Cloud Advisory Practice at Ernst & Young
presenting, "An Introduction to Cloud Computing.”
Frank began his presentation with some insight into his professional
background. He is an IT Technology Executive who has led large-scale
global mission critical projects. He is also the founder of one of the top
networking groups - The Breakfast Club NJ, a group which is now 3,800 members
Frank discussed how the C-Suite managers (CEO, COO and CIO) are eager
to adopt cloud computing since many of them have been sold on the benefits;
business implications of not being able to keep up with application demands,
inability to meet service levels, limited business agility, high facilities
(space) costs, and inability to cost-effectively meet application recovery
time / point objective (RTO / RPO) requirements.
However, many IT groups have a two year backlog of projects, have gone
through substantial reductions, and many do not have qualified staff for
cloud computing analysis.
Frank explains that “cloud” is a very challenging topic in general,
since many people / organizations are at different levels in their overall
understanding of what it is and how to utilize it effectively. In
addition to this, “cloud” comes in many wrappers; Infrastructure as a Service
(IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
One possible solution could be to utilize the strength of a quality
Cloud Service Provider (CSP) that has a proven history of providing solutions
that deliver on cost-benefit efficiencies, effective handling of service
levels and speed in time to market for strategic objectives. Quality CSPs
make it possible to adopt innovative new technologies while increasing transparency
of IT spend and delivery to business while addressing the fundamental requirements
for stable, secure and audit-ready environments. If IT can effectively
engage, manage and audit CSP relationships, then they will be able to implement
comprehensive solutions to address challenges faced through the journey
to the cloud bringing business value along the way in a flexible fashion.
He recommends that people get familiar with cloud solution offerings, how
to implement them and effective ways to audit the services of the CSP.
Frank made a very important point; there is no magic here and you cannot
just leave it to the CSP. To be successful, an organization must be
able to define its “current state,” articulate what the “to be” state should
look like, share the accountability of delivery and provide ongoing auditing
of the SLAs/support relationship.
This presentation was a great foundation for those who are currently
or will be engaging in a cloud project. For those who were not in attendance
at the Pines or one of the satellite locations, it is highly recommended
you download a copy of the slides and / or view the webinar of the presentation.
View additional pictures from
Project Management Articles
Areas, Process Groups, and Processes - Oh, My!
By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM - Making
the PMBOK® Guide fun
One of the most discussed tables in the Project Management Institute’s
(PMI), A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK®
Guide) Fifth Edition is the “Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge
Areas Mapping” matrix, found in Table 3-1 on page 61. This table maps the
47 project management processes to their corresponding Knowledge Area, as
well as to their corresponding Process Group.
At first glance, the table seems quite complicated, so let’s break it
down and uncover why a solid understanding of the relationships between
processes, Process Groups, and Knowledge Areas is important to anyone preparing
to take the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam. It’s so important,
in fact, that we suggest you memorize this matrix and the relationships
it calls out. Memorizing the table will prove to be a valuable asset to you
during your PMP Exam.
Let’s start with the building blocks of the matrix - what is a process?
At its most basic level, a process is simply a way of transforming an input
into an output using proven tools and techniques. The PMBOK® Guide defines
a process as “a set of interrelated actions and activities performed to
achieve a specified set of products, results, or services.” Good processes
based on sound principles and proven practices are extremely important for
a project’s success. Processes, like a roadmap, keep the project going in
the right direction; they can also help minimize confusion and uncertainty
among the project manager and the project stakeholders and can help drive
progress from start to finish. The PMBOK® Guide identifies 47 processes
that are instrumental to project success.
The overarching piece of our matrix are the Knowledge Areas.
Each Knowledge Area is made-up of a set of processes, each with inputs,
tools and techniques, and outputs. These processes, together, accomplish
proven project management functions and drive project success. Thus, the
Knowledge Areas are formed by grouping the 47 project management processes
into specialized and focused areas. Knowledge Areas also assume specific
skills and experience in order to accomplish project goals.
The PMBOK Guide currently recognizes 10 Knowledge Areas, each of which
includes a detailed description of the processes associated with that area.
These Knowledge Areas are Project Integration Management, Project
Scope Management, Project Time Management, Project
Cost Management, Project Quality Management, Project
Human Resource Management, Project Communications
Management, Project Risk Management, Project Procurement
Management, and Project Stakeholders Management (added in
the Fifth Edition).
So, where do Process Groups fit in? The 47 processes are also grouped
into five categories: 1) Initiating, 2) Planning,
3) Executing, 4) Monitoring and Controlling, and 5)
Closing. These groupings reflect the logical integration and
interactions between the individual processes, as well as the common purposes
they serve. That is, the Process Groups band together the project management
activities that are relevant to each project phase and provide a means
for looking at best practices within one Knowledge Area at a time. For
example, in the Initiation Process Group, you’ll complete the individual
Initiation processes like defining scope, goals, deliverables, assumptions,
limitations, etc., that make up the project charter. Within the Initiation
Process Group, you would also complete all activities and processes for identifying
project stakeholders. Similarly, processes required to track, review,
and regulate the progress and performance of the project are all included
in the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group. So, processes with a common
goal or theme are grouped together into a Process Group.
It’s important to remember that Process Groups are not the same as project
phases - most projects are comprised of multiple subprojects or phases,
and you’ll likely repeat each of the Process Group activities within each
project phase or subproject.
Why do we group processes like this? One way to think about
this is that the Knowledge Areas encompass what the Project Manager needs
to know, while the Process Groups describe the actions the Project Manager
(and team) needs to do. Or, put another way, Knowledge Areas are about knowledge
on project management topics, while Process Groups seek to apply that knowledge.
They provide a logical sequence of steps within the Knowledge Area.
Every one of the 47 processes can be mapped to one Knowledge Area and
one Process Group, identifying the proven project management principle(s)
behind the process, and at the same time providing the means to accomplish
it. As you study the processes within each Knowledge Area, it’s helpful
to remember that the processes have a logical connection across the knowledge
areas, so try to focus on that, rather than solely trying to memorize which
process goes where.
So, why do I need to know this for the Project Management Professional
(PMP)® Exam? Recognizing the interdependent nature of the development
lifecycle is critical to effective project management. As a project manager,
you’ll need to be able to identify ways in which the process groups interact
with each other through the life of your project. Execution within some
of the Knowledge Areas and processes will accomplish some project objectives
directly; delivering on other Knowledge Areas provides a method to achieve
Because the project management processes, Process Groups, and Knowledge
Areas span the entire project lifecycle, questions discussing their relationships
appear frequently in the PMP® Exam. Remember that the Knowledge Areas
focus on what the Project Manager needs to know, while the Process Groups
describe the actions the Project Manager (and team) needs to do. Understanding
and memorizing the hierarchical and yet interdependent relationships between
the Knowledge Areas (strategy), the Process Groups (steps), and the building
blocks (processes) will help you during the PMP exam. Most exam takers use
the first 5 minutes of their exam time to draw this table onto an empty
sheet of paper (from memory!), so that they can use it as a reference in
answering their 200 exam questions.
New Certificate Holders
The following have received their
certifications since the last newsletter (through
31 December 2013):
|MANOJ KUMAR AERROJU
Basem Khella Yowakim
Naresh Kumar Sira
& Publication Information
Editor Kristine Clark
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will be published via email and on the PMINJ website by the 25th of the
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