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101 Project Management Problems and How to Solve Them
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101 Project Management Problems and How to Solve Them
by Tom KENDRICK
Release Date: December 2010
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Real project solutions when you need them: NOW.
Table of Contents
Part 1: General
PROBLEM 1 What personality type fits best into project management?
PROBLEM 2 What are the habits of successful project managers?
PROBLEM 3 I’m an experienced individual contributor but very new to project management. How do I get my new project up and going?
PROBLEM 4 What are the most important responsibilities of a project manager?
PROBLEM 5 What is the value of project management certification? What about academic degrees in project management?
PROBLEM 6 There are many project development methodologies. What should I consider when adopting standards such as the Project Management Institute PMBOK®?
PROBLEM 7 What are the key considerations when developing or revising a project life cycle? What should I consider when choosing between “waterfall” and “cyclic” (or “agile”) life cycles?
PROBLEM 8 How can I efficiently run mini-projects (less than six months with few dedicated resources)?
PROBLEM 9 How rigid and formal should I be when running a small project?
PROBLEM 10 How do I handle very repetitive projects, such as product introductions?
PROBLEM 11 How should I manage short, complex, dynamic projects?
PROBLEM 12 How do I balance good project management practices with high pressure to “get it done”? How do I build organizational support for effective project planning and management?
PROBLEM 13 How does project management differ between hardware and software projects?
PROBLEM 14 How many projects can a project manager realistically handle simultaneously?
PROBLEM 15 How do I handle my day-to-day tasks along with managing a project?
PROBLEM 16 How do I develop and maintain supportive sponsorship throughout a project?
PROBLEM 17 What can I do when my project loses its sponsor?
PROBLEM 18 How can I secure and retain adequate funding throughout my project?
PROBLEM 19 Can the project management function be outsourced?
PROBLEM 20 How can I ensure good project management practices during organizational process changes?
PROBLEM 21 What is the best structure for program management for ensuring satisfactory customer results?
Part 2: Initiation
PROBLEM 22 How do I effectively manage customer expectations?
PROBLEM 23 How can I reconcile competing regional/cross-functional agendas?
PROBLEM 24 How should I effectively deal with contributor hostility or reluctance during start-up?
PROBLEM 25 When is a project large enough to justify investing in a two-day project launch?
PROBLEM 26 How do I establish control initially when my project is huge?
PROBLEM 27 How should I initiate a new project with a new team, or using a new technology?
PROBLEM 28 How should I evaluate and make “make vs. buy” project decisions?
PROBLEM 29 How can I quickly engage good contract workers?
PROBLEM 30 In a large project, when should I seek commitment for overall funding?
PROBLEM 31 When working with extremely limited resources, how can I get my project completed without doing it all myself?
PROBLEM 32 How should I initiate a project that has a relatively low priority?
PROBLEM 33 How should I organize my project management information system (PMIS) to facilitate access and avoid “too much data”?
Part 3: Teamwork
PROBLEM 34 How can I organize my team for maximum creativity, flexibility, and success?
PROBLEM 35 How can I work effectively with other project teams and leaders who have very little project management experience?
PROBLEM 36 How can I help team members recognize the value of using project management processes?
PROBLEM 37 How do I keep people focused without hurting morale?
PROBLEM 38 How can I involve my team in project management activities without increasing overhead?
PROBLEM 39 How can I manage and build teamwork on a project team that includes geographically remote contributors?
PROBLEM 40 How do I secure team buy-in on global projects?
PROBLEM 41 How can I best manage project contributors who are contract staff?
PROBLEM 42 How do I cope with part-time team members with conflicting assignments?
PROBLEM 43 How do I handle undependable contributors who impede project progress?
PROBLEM 44 How should I manage informal communications and “management by wandering around” on a virtual, geographically distributed team?
PROBLEM 45 When should I delegate down? Delegate up?
PROBLEM 46 How can I best deal with project teams larger than twenty?
Part 4: Planning
PROBLEM 47 What can I do to manage my schedule when my project WBS becomes huge?
PROBLEM 48 How can I get meaningful commitment from team members that ensures follow-through?
PROBLEM 49 As a project manager, what should I delegate and what should I do myself?
PROBLEM 50 Who should estimate activity durations and costs?
PROBLEM 51 How do I improve the quality and accuracy of my project estimates?
PROBLEM 52 What metrics will help me estimate project activity durations and costs?
PROBLEM 53 How can I realistically estimate durations during holidays and other times when productivity decreases?
PROBLEM 54 How can I develop realistic schedules?
PROBLEM 55 How can I thoroughly identify and manage external dependencies?
PROBLEM 56 How do I synchronize my project schedules with several related partners and teams?
PROBLEM 57 How do I effectively plan and manage a project that involves invention, investigation, or multiple significant decisions?
PROBLEM 58 How should I manage adoption of new technologies or processes in my projects?
PROBLEM 59 How should I plan to bring new people up to speed during my projects?
PROBLEM 60 How can I resolve staff and resource overcommitments?
PROBLEM 61 How can I minimize the impact of scarce, specialized expertise I need for my project?
PROBLEM 62 What is the best approach for balancing resources across several projects?
PROBLEM 63 How can I minimize potential late-project testing failures and deliverable evaluation issues?
PROBLEM 64 How do I anticipate and minimize project staff turnover?
Part 5: Execution
PROBLEM 65 How can I avoid having too many meetings?
PROBLEM 66 How can I ensure owner follow-through on project tasks and action items?
PROBLEM 67 How do I keep track of project details without things falling through the cracks?
PROBLEM 68 How can I avoid having contributors game their status metrics?
PROBLEM 69 What are the best ways to communicate project status?
PROBLEM 70 How can I manage my project successfully despite high-priority interruptions?
PROBLEM 71 What are the best project management communication techniques for remote contributors?
PROBLEM 72 How do I establish effective global communications? What metrics can I use to track communications?
PROBLEM 73 On fee-for-service projects, how do I balance customer and organizational priorities?
PROBLEM 74 How do I survive a late-project work bulge, ensuring both project completion and team cohesion?
PROBLEM 75 How do I coordinate improvements and changes to processes we are currently using on our project?
Part 6: Control
PROBLEM 76 How much project documentation is enough?
PROBLEM 77 How can I ensure all members on my multi-site team have all the information they need to do their work?
PROBLEM 78 How can I manage overly constrained projects effectively?
PROBLEM 79 How do I keep my project from slipping? If it does, how do I recover its schedule?
PROBLEM 80 What are the best practices for managing schedule changes?
PROBLEM 81 How can I effectively manage several small projects that don’t seem to justify formal project management procedures?
PROBLEM 82 What are good practices for managing complex, multi-site projects?
PROBLEM 83 How do I best deal with time zone issues?
PROBLEM 84 How can I manage changes to the project objective in the middle of my project?
PROBLEM 85 How should I respond to increased demands from management after the project baseline has been set?
PROBLEM 86 How can I avoid issues with new stakeholders, especially on global projects?
PROBLEM 87 What should I do when team members fail to complete tasks, citing “regular work” priorities?
PROBLEM 88 What is the best way to manage my project through reorganizations, market shifts, or other external changes?
PROBLEM 89 How should I deal with having too many decision makers?
PROBLEM 90 How should I manage multi-site decision making?
PROBLEM 91 What can I do when people claim that they are too busy to provide status updates?
PROBLEM 92 How can I effectively manage projects where the staff is managed by others?
PROBLEM 93 How can I minimize unsatisfactory deliverable and timing issues when outsourcing?
PROBLEM 94 How should I manage reviews for lengthy projects?
PROBLEM 95 What should I do to establish control when taking over a project where I was not involved in the scoping or planning?
Part 7: Tools
PROBLEM 96 What should I consider when adopting technology-based communication tools?
PROBLEM 97 How should I select and implement software tools for project documentation, scheduling, and planning?
PROBLEM 98 What should I consider when setting up software tools I will be using to coordinate many interrelated projects?
Part 8: Closing
PROBLEM 99 How should I realistically assess the success and value of my project management processes?
PROBLEM 100 What are good practices for ending a canceled project?
PROBLEM 101 How can I motivate contributors to participate in project retrospective analysis?