Quoted By PM Network Magazine

I was quoted in a the June 2010 issue of PMI Network magazine. I'm on pages 49 and 51. Check out the full article, but for posterity I'm recording my bit here!

Scheduling Slip-Ups

Whether they're carved in stone or scribbled on a Post-it note, schedules have a way of veering off track. Here are five clues that something's going awry, offered by Eddie Kilkelly, COO of ILX Group, a training and consulting organization in London, England:

  1. Late or vague progress reports
  2. Overdue deliverables
  3. Static progress indicators
  4. Longer work hours for the team
  5. Increased minor issues

“There may be rational explanations, but you have to find out what they are,” Mr. Kilkelly warns. Sometimes the only answer is engaging additional resources. Look to isolate a particular component of a project that's relatively independent and outsource that work, says Marios Alexandrou, a web project manager consultant in West Harrison, New York, USA.

“Being in a position to provide technical specs, deal with the inevitable technical questions from the outsourcer and review the final deliverable keeps the
effort from impacting the work of others on the team,” he notes.

The move isn't likely to win any points for the project manager, however. “There is a budget hit, and no one likes those kinds of surprises,” Mr. Alexandrou says. “But one way to help justify the expenditure is to connect the new expense to the estimated expense that would be incurred near the end of the project if the schedule were extended, requiring, say, onsite consultants to stay on the project an extra month.”

Now and then it's even necessary to concede that the original plan is simply unworkable. If that's the case, don't waste any tears over it, advises Raul A. Römer, PMI-SP, PMP, senior consultant planner of decommissioning services at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, Visaginas, Lithuania.

“Once you've recognized it as flawed, accept that it's flawed,” he advises. “Schedule the remaining scope and go forward with that as the new baseline.”

When schedules are in jeopardy, step in—even if it means stepping on toes, advises Marios Alexandrou, an independent IT consultant in West Harrison, New York, USA. Having transitioned to a project management role from a background in software development, he can and does step directly into the fray—specifying, writing and testing code. Although pragmatic, the move might upset your programmers. “It can cause tension, and I've learned that the hard way,” he explains. “People misinterpret offers of help as a statement that you don't have faith in their abilities.”

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