All You Can Read On Program and Project Management

Books for PMP Exam Recommended by PMPs

The other week in a LinkedIn group,  PMPs were recommending best books to pass the PMP examination after the PMBOK. This post contains the list of books that PMPs recommended or mentioned in that discussion.  Read more…

What are PRINCE2 qualifications?

In this guest post, Simon Buehring, an experienced project manager, consultant, trainer and managing director for Knowledge Train, provides a summary of PRINCE (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) framework and qualifications. Read more…

Decision Making Process For Making Decisions Quick

Program and project managers have to master the skill of decision making. Typically PMs are expected to not only make, but to justify, their decisions. In this post I share the process I use when making a decision, formulated some time ago by studying theory, best practices and observing the processes of others.

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Learning Project Management Skills From John Cleese

Weather you call it soccer or football, like it or don’t like it, consider yourself an American football fan or a soccer fan, as a project manager you can learn several tricks from John Cleese’s rant video – tricks to improve upon the effectiveness of key communication skills, and to become a better team builder and motivator. Read more…

Program and Project Management in Program Manager Position

The other day my friend asked me about how project management is a part of program management in a software company such as Microsoft. After our conversation I thought about sending her links to articles that discuss the topic in detail. To my surprise, all the articles I was able to find were just discussing theoretical definitions as provided by the PMI in their PMBOK Guide. Perhaps in some companies program managers perform activities as described by PMI, but I have yet to learn about any such company in the software industry. The role of the program manager and PM responsibilities in software development can be more simply defined and differentiated. So, I have decided to summarize the differences between program and project management, based on what I have learned from experience. Read more…

Program Manager Skills that Bad PMs Lack

Several interesting observations are in Perry Wilson’s post in which she compares good PMs to bad PMs who achieve success by way of luck. It prompt me to share my thoughts on this topic in this post. Read more…

Short list of factors contributing to project success

Continuing the conversation on lessons learned from failures and experience gained from successes, Ronda Levine has prepared a post on factors that contribute to the failure or success of a project. Ronda’s post is additional proof of how easy it is to list reasons for failure and how difficult to define factors contributing to success. Read more…

Invest in learning from successes, focus less on mistakes

Have you ever asked yourself how much, exactly, you have learned from a failure? And did you ever compare the amount of knowledge gained from a failure with the amount of expertise gained from a success? I believe lessons learned from mistakes are not as helpful to us as the knowledge developed from success. Read more…

Project Management Books You Need To Pass PMP Exam

If you are preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, you need three books to pass on the first try. I used these three books to prepare for the exam and passed on my first attempt. Read more…

Start Effective Email With Catchy Subject Line

If you are interested in your email being noticed by recipients, you must use a catchy email subject line. Especially when using email to attract the attention of people whom you have never met.  Forming a good subject line that catches readers’ attention is simple if you follow the three rules listed in this post. Read more…

Feature In Software Product – Definition

In software, there are many meanings assigned to the term “feature”. Mix in the varied definitions of “features” in other products such as telephones, digital devices, home electronics, etc., and a “feature” of any product becomes entirely unclear.

Some time ago, I decided to find the formal definition of a software product “feature”. Surprisingly, powerful search engines did not help me to find documentation that defined the term. My second step was to ask my community of program and project managers. Using their replies and guidance to existing documents, I felt the most appropriate definition for a “feature” is as follows:

Feature is a product’s discrete unit of unique and attractive functionality that delivers measurable benefit to customers.

Note that the definition implies that a feature must be a component of the work required to achieve product goals. I never have quite figured out how to tie this implied meaning into the definition, but I will leave it as is for now.

Four questions to help you demonstrate effective communication in your emails

Every day at work we communicate with many people. Have you ever asked yourself whether your email is an effective form of communication? How would you measure the effectiveness of your email? I believe there are four questions you can ask yourself when crafting an email to evaluate its effectiveness. Read more…

Simple Issue Tracking in Small Teams

A colleague of mine asked me the other day about a simple way to track open issues in a feature crew. If you are not familiar with the term “feature crew”, it is basically 10-15 team members working on a feature in a software product. I have tried several techniques and tools over the years, and I have learned that sometimes the simplest solutions work best. Description below. Read more…

Why Performance Reviews Are Hated By Everyone?

WSJ has published a great article on how performance reviews are hated by everyone in corporations. It raises a good topic, but in my opinion it fails to answer why performance reviews are hated. It focuses only on how manager communicates with her or his reports. Perhaps it may make performance reviews better, but it does not the fix the real problem. I believe communication is not the key reason for many corporate employers hate performance reviews. In my opinion, the true reason is that many managers when they go over a performance review with an employee, they loose connection between performance and review’s result. Primarily because managers forget about employee’s performance because reviews are done once or twice a year.

Employees need evaluations they can believe and based on achievements they still remember. This is why evaluations have to happen often like every month or every quarter. The goal is to evaluate something that everyone still remembers. And good work, smart work has to be reward right away. Everyone has to clearly understand the connection between working harder, doing it smarter, producing more and the next paycheck or amount of the bonus.

Only if performance reviews build a strong connection between how smart an employee worked and the reward she receives when both parties remember that work clearly, only then performance reviews are useful.

Project Manager Checklist to Achieve Success

Some time ago I came across an interesting article listing Eight Secrets of Top Project Managers. Reading it prompted me to think about a checklist that project managers can use to ensure the success of a project. Development of this idea has taken some time, but I have finally started building a list; as follows:

  1. Clearly document the scope, goals, and objectives of the project and get sponsor sign off.
  2. Take time to carefully plan the project with the team.
  3. Keep sponsor and stakeholders involved with the project.
  4. Spend time identifying and anticipating problems, and do your best to prevent their realization.
  5. Understand project tasks and work items well enough to identify risks that may occur when the work is performed.
  6. Always use detailed tracking methods and track team progress against the project schedule.
  7. Ensure team members are given clear assignments.
  8. Know your team and listen effectively to them. Work with them on preventing problems and finding solutions.

I will continue to update this page and eventually complete the list.

Other posts on this topic:

Factors contributing to project success

Simple issue tracking for small teams

If you or your Project Manager has a checklist used to achieve success in your projects, please leave a comment with a link – I would be happy to work on integrating checklists.

Negotiating With Difficult People Without Giving In

Negotiation is a task that Program Managers and Project Managers have to perform often with a project team member, a stakeholder or a sponsor. Listed in this post are several general principles of effective communication that can help you to quickly find a compromise and preserve, if not improve, your relationship with that person. Read more…

Welcome to My Blog on Program Management and Project Management

This site is about Program and Project Management in software engineering. I am your host, Mykola Dudar. I have been building software as a developer since 1998. I became a program manager in 2004 with a focus on process and the business side of software engineering. I have been working on various software products ever since. To learn more about me, please see my professional profile at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mykoladudar.

I am interested in, and open to, any suggestions, questions, comments or advice you would like to share with me – please use this blog contact form.

Thank you for visiting and come back soon.

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