1 of 100 PM Related Questions I Ask Myself

HmmmmmQuestion 1: In the hope to help the Project Management industry mature, should project management related templates and worksheets be freely distributed to the project management community or should there be a reasonable fee charged? I am a strong believer in the wisdom of crowds.  If there was a consortium of types with diverse backgrounds in Waterfall, Spiral, RUP, Agile, Scrum, XP... don't you think they could come up with some pretty good stuff?  In this case, all templates would be freely distributed.  I have to admit, the majority of my traffic is from people looking for free templates and worksheets.  It's tempting at times to put them behind a pay wall and ask for 99 cents.

What do you think?

Image courtesy of misallphoto on Flickr

2 of 100 Items Missing From the PMBoK

Missing VAC FormulaVariance At Completion (VAC) is the difference between what the project was originally expected (baselined) to cost, versus what it is now expected to cost. Every month, our vendor is required to report this total on the project as a whole and on key deliverables.  I'm used to seeing the numbers reported and how to calculate them.  I'm not asking for the Cost Performance Index (CPI).  I want to know how far over or under we're going to be compared to the budget.

The formula I memorized for the PMP exam and the same formula I use to calculate VAC today is: Variance At Completion = Budget At Completion - Estimate At Completion (VAC = BAC - EAC)

So, I ask myself, [1] why is there no VAC definition and [2] VAC formula in the PMBoK?

Calculating Variance of Activity the PMP way

Variance of Activity
Variance of Activity

When I was studying for the PMP exam, a few years ago, I remember memorizing a group of formulas.  One of those was the "Variance of Activity."  At this point, don't remember if it was even referenced in the exam.  There were no direct questions asking "what is the formula for..."  On my exam, I remember having numerous questions resulting from schedule variance calculations and cost variance calculations.  To my surprise, I went searching for the Variance of Activity formula in the PMBOK (4th Edition) and I can't find it!  So as not to lead people astray when giving PMP study advice, I'm now researching each formula I was once told to memorize.  I'm very surprised PMI didn't save us a lot of trouble and list known formulas in the back of the PMBOK.

Defining Organizational Structure

organizational influence Over the last 15 years, I've seen a lot of interesting ways an organizational structure will influence a project.  I've worked in projectized, functional, matrixed, and even composite environments.  These terms of management are interesting to me because I had to understand the definitions as part of the PMP exam.  At my last engagement, ironically, my boss went so far as to use Wikipedia to get the definition for Matrix Management without realizing I was one of the contributing authors to the page.  Personally, I would prefer to use the PMBOK.  I've noticed quite a few people have modified the Matrix definition on Wikipedia.

Today I was reading the PMBOK (I'm strange like that) reviewing differences between the 3rd and 4th editions.  What I noticed were definitions (in the glossary) for each organization structure with the exception of composite.  Composite, by the way, is new to the 4th edition.  Perhaps PMI will take notice and add it at a later date.  Below you'll find figures and definitions of each.





FollowFriday and Noteworthy Blogs

taken from Twitter I'm going to steal an idea that I've seen used on The Project Centric - How to Manage a Camel blog. They have "Monday Morning Links" where they list blogs to read or people to follow on Twitter.  I found Lindsay Scott and the blog via Twitter on a Follow Friday.  I've been reading the blog ever since, enjoying the excellent Project Management related posts.  I've found other great blogs just by reading their Monday Morning Link posts.

I also look forward to #FollowFriday (FF) on Twitter.  It's a great way to find and begin a conversation with other Project Managers, Agile Enthusiasts, Kanban Practitioners, or anyone else having similar ideas or interests.  I feel bad when I sometimes forget to FF others who really should be reminded they write great stuff.

So, here are a few links to posts from blogs I read on a regular basis and a few people I follow on Twitter.  Twitter is so fast paced, a recommendation can come and go and perhaps be lost in the rapid stream of tweets.  By posting a few blog links here, I think there is a higher probability my praise of them will be heard by others.  In Latin I would say nanos gigantum humeris insidentes.  In layman terms, I would say I stand on the shoulders of giants.

Who's blog I read:

  • Alec Satin This week Alec wrote 7 lessons from a heart attack. It was an excellent post that helped me put things into perspective.  I'm glad Alec will be ok and will continue to post about people, projects, and process.
  • Deep Fried Brain This week Harwinder a.k.a Brian Washer wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly of PMI component chapters.  This was great insight  PMPs (new and seasoned) will find valuable.  This blog provides a lot of excellent information about preparing for the PMP exam or maintaining your PMP credentials.
  • Mike Cottmeyer This week Mike wrote on his Leading Agile blog asking Why is Agile so hard to sell? He went on to ask why wouldn't a management team embrace a set of methodologies so focused on giving them what they need the most?   He's an Agile thinker, writer, consultant, and coffee drinker.

Who I Follow:

@pmstudent - Josh Nankivel helps new and aspiring project managers reach their career goals including gaining experience, education, PMP certification, and more.  He's listed as the "unofficial" most influential Project Manager on Twitter.  His blog is a must read if you're active in the PM community.  He's a member of PMI's New Media Council.  Lastly, he recently released his own product, WBS Coach.  Yes, if you purchase WBS Coach some of the proceeds would go back to me by way of an affiliate fee.  I'm not afraid to say that because I'm honored to be affiliated with what Josh does.  I can't say enough good things about what he does.

That's all I can offer for now.  There are numerous people I would recommend but there is just so much people want to read in a blog post before their eyes start rolling to the back of their heads.