16 Chapters
Medium 9781567262759

Chapter 10 - Project Manager Professional Development: Building the Project Management Corps

Weinstein, Jonathan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Successful advancement of project management requires the sponsorship and commitment of management. Specifically it is the duty of project managers to establish advancement processes and to manage the initiative. Accomplishing this objective requires the effective allocation of time for project owners, project managers, and project participants to acquire the required competencies.

— DAVID CLELAND AND LEWIS IRELAND
PROJECT MANAGER’S HANDBOOK: APPLYING BEST PRACTICES

ACROSS GLOBAL INDUSTRIES

The increased demand for project managers, particularly in light of the growing number of retirements from the federal government, presents a challenge for the next generation of project managers. Many are stepping into a void in organizations where the project management environment is immature and the discipline and practices are informal at best. As part of the maturation process, organizations need to design and implement programs to support the emergence of the project manager “class” and individuals need to develop the relevant skills through formal training, certification, and mentoring.

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Chapter 6 - The Crucial Role of Communication: Telling the Story

Weinstein, Jonathan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.

—EDWARD R. MORROW

On April 7, 1865, two days before the American Civil War ended, Abraham Lincoln sent a telegram to his commanding general, Ulysses S. Grant. The telegram read, “Gen. Sheridan says ‘If the thing is pressed I think that Lee will surrender.’ Let the thing be pressed.”1 This is a masterful example of concise communication. Lincoln—upper management—conveyed to his project manager, Grant, exactly what he wanted done. He also conveyed his reason, even though Grant likely knew that Lee and his formerly fearsome army had been forced to flee their Petersburg and Richmond defenses and should be caught. Two days after Grant received Lincoln’s message, Lee surrendered.

Project managers are not likely to have their communications studied a century and a half after they are made. Project managers will also not likely be working for the same high stakes that Lincoln and Grant were. However, even seemingly small projects aimed at solving more mundane problems may well serve to prevent major future problems. As Lincoln showed in the entire body of his Civil War communication, “telling the story,” or setting the project in context, is an important contributor—perhaps the most important contributor—to project success. This remains true today.

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Chapter 11 - Governance and Project Portfolio Development: Steering the Ship

Weinstein, Jonathan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

You’ve got to think about the big things, so that all the small things go in the right directions.

—ALVIN TOFFLER, FUTURIST, AUTHOR

With a billion dollar budget, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is a relatively small federal agency, but one with a highly critical mission. As the regulating agency for civilian nuclear activity in the United States, NRC oversees more than 350 nuclear power plants, as well as thousands of medical and commercial facilities that use nuclear materials. NRC protects people and the environment by ensuring a safe and viable commercial nuclear sector. To deliver on its mission, NRC relies on a sturdy backbone of information technology. A limited budget and IT department resources demand that NRC leadership make smart decisions at all phases of the project lifecycle. They have neither the budget for expensive mistakes nor a tolerance for lapses in service. What helps keep NRC’s regulatory infrastructure on target is a robust set of project management processes.

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Chapter 16 - The Promise of Project Management in the Federal Government: Looking Ahead

Weinstein, Jonathan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

There is no quick road to project management maturity, but with perseverance and a thick skin, much can be done.

—ALLAN ROIT, ASSISTANT PMO DIRECTOR, FINANCIAL CRIMES ENFORCEMENT NETWORK, U.S. DEPARTMENT of the TREASURY

Among the things Americans expect, today more than ever, is effective government. Regardless of methods or tools, fundamental project management structures and individual skills are the key drivers to project success in the federal government. On a more macro level, the discipline of project management is a primary means of creating more effective government. What lies ahead for project management in the federal government?

The state of project management in the federal government varies from agency to agency. Yet, several trends are evident in the federal project management arena. While these trends do not represent the sum total of the future of project management in the federal government, they do indicate the direction project management is taking. Those on the front lines offer some insights and ideas for improving the discipline of project management across the federal government.

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Chapter 9 - Project Management Competencies and Skills: Success through Experience

Weinstein, Jonathan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Our job as a federal agency is management and oversight, to be responsible stewards of the public’s trust and resources. Therefore, we must have a highly qualified and technically proficient management team and staff. My aim is to have a high performing organization, sustained by a career oriented workforce, driven to produce results that are important now and into the future.

—JAMES A. RISPOLI, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT of ENERGY1

Numerous surveys and assessments conducted by OMB, GAO, and individual agencies in cooperation with industry have shown that project management, and in particular the skills associated with being a successful project manager, are critical to agencies achieving their missions.2 The practice and discipline of project management has been institutionalized on the defense side of the federal government for years. The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) and the Defense Acquisition Workforces Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification in a variety of project-and program management-related areas are clear examples of this commitment to the development of project management skills and competencies. In the past few years, the practice and discipline of project management have been expanding by leaps and bounds across the civilian side of the federal government as well.

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