Archive for October, 2008

Real Results from Real Cheetahs

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Quoting Alexander Hall (Cheetah Action Project)- “ In my opinion the most valuable part of the course is applying a complete, concise and easy to use project management methodology (via the templates) to a personal project. Many times in professional endeavors a reduced set of documentation is used, and thus only a partial project management methodology is implemented. This course was a nice reminder of using a complete methodology and how to document as such.

Jean is a very smart, personable, and supportive instructor. Considering how much I have going in my life and that my original schedule for this class was compromised due to a few unforseen “curveballs”, I really appreciated Jeans positive attitude, understanding, and support in keeping me moving until I completed the course. Jean is awesome!

Alex used his Cheetah Action Project Class to complete a project that hit him very close to home- organizing his childrens’ closets. Well done Alex! (see what other have done at http://www.cheetahlearning.com/events/online/CHAP/examples.asp)

Alex used his Cheetah Action course to complete a project that hit home- organizing his childrens' closets.

Before

After

After

From the Mouths’ of Cheetahs

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Quoting C Ackerman (Cheetah Action Project)–  ” …. I love this class, Loved the setup, love the concept….. This has been the most useful class I’ve had in a while, and for sure for the Project Management Courses.   Very Practical and easy to follow.  I’m glad I tried taking one on line at least this once.  Thanks   c.      “       

 

Quoting Sarah E Franklin (Cheetah PM of Weight Loss)- ” Using a real life situation for the project was great and helped me toward achieving a personal goal.

My instructor, Jean, was very helpful – I hope to have her as an instructor again!  I will definitely sign up for more Cheetah courses.

Some others similar to this would be great. “

 

 

Johanna Rothman on her Managing Product Development Blog

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Johanna Rothman, President of Rothman Consulting Group, Inc., and creator of the blog – http://jrothman.com/blog/mpd/, is the author of Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management, and Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds Corrective Action for the Software Industry.  We recently interviewed Johanna about her views on blogs and PM. Here is that interview. Thank you Johanna. 

Hi Kristen,

Thank you!

What have you learned doing your blog?

  • I’ve learned that while each project is unique, there are some common problems across all projects:
  1. how to get started because the front end is often fuzzy
  2. how to keep people on just one project, because of the perceived need for everyone to multitask
  3. and how to know what done means so you can finish the project.
How has your blog helped the field of pm?
  • I don’t know for sure :-) I hope it’s helped people think about their work as project managers and how they organize their projects. If there was a recipe for projects, I would happily publish it. But there isn’t. The best we can do is use our brains and apply what we know to the situation, and if that’s not good enough to search for more help. I hope people think about and then use some of the pragmatic approaches I discuss on Managing Product Development.
What do you like most about blogging?

  • The comments! I never know what will trigger comments, and when there’s a whole discussion in the comments, I know I’ve done something right.

Besides yourself, who do you like in pm?

  • Raven Young
  • Glen Alleman, Herding Cats
  • Hal Macomber, Reforming Project Management
  • Esther Derby, Insights you can use
  • Jurgen, the noop guy


Johanna

Software PM Blogger Pawel Brodzinski Shares Lessons Learned

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Pawel Brodzinski, creator of the blog – http://blog.brodzinski.com, has worked in quality assurance, software development, design, support, and implementation teams throughout is PM career. He lives in Krakow, Poland. We recently interviewed Pawel about his view on blogs and PM. Here is that interview. Thank you Pawel. 

Hello Kristen,

 it’s nice to hear you consider me as an influential blogger. 



What have you learned doing your blog?

 

  • 

Consistency is the king. If you are consistent with whatever you do you at least keep momentum and gain fluency. I see a similar pattern in managing project and blogging (and with many others too). There’s time when you struggle just to get another thing done, no matter of that’s publishing another post or completing the next task from a schedule. It doesn’t always look like that – sometimes you aren’t overloaded and you’re able to work on general improvements, let it be implementing some new project management technique or tweaking blog layout. However, that works only when you are consistent all the time thus you got to the point where you’re able to push what you do to the next level.

 

How has your blog helped the field of pm?

 

  • 

I hope so. My idea is to bring more of real life examples than to write about different methodologies or theories on project management. Sometimes it means going against the stream but still I believe this approach is valuable. Even when you don’t agree with something you can confront your opinions with a situation which actually happened. I neither pretend to have the best answers nor to have all of them and I’m always open for a discussion.



What do you like most about blogging?



 

  • Two things. First, I’m able to talk with different people all over the world who share at least professional interests. Second, writing about any subject forces you to learn it constantly. Being part of a community and being able to learn from others experiences is a great thing.   



Besides yourself, who do you like in pm?

 

  • 

I think the best answer would be redirecting you to a links section on my blog (http://blog.brodzinski.com). I try to keep their quality links only if you’re a software project manager all of them are must-reads. If you work in different area a couple of them will be probably less interesting.

 Regards, 
Pawel

Volunteering Boosts Your Bottom Line

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

As a PMP® and project manager, I see volunteerism as the perfect win-win. You get to stretch your wings and grow in a low-risk environment, gain experience that is relevant in the private sector, network and meet new people, and give back to a cause that you care about.

The non-profit organization you’re helping gets your time, expertise and passion for contributing. You get to show the time-tested Project Management techniques that can have a lasting impact on the organization. From establishing project agreements at the beginning of a project to capturing lessons learned at the end, basic Project Management approaches can make a big difference to any organization.

For you, it’s an accessible and inexpensive way to grow personally and professionally. For the non-profit, it’s a way to make the organization more efficient and effective without paying a consultant.
So, let’s get started. Here are ten steps to follow as you volunteer, grow your career and help an organization benefit from Project Management.

1. Choose an organization that connects to your personal passions or interests. Are you a political junkie who gets energized by the campaigns or a home improvement nut who loves to do one project after another? If politics is your passion, campaigns at the local and national level are always looking for volunteers. Home improvement zealots and those handy with a hammer can get involved with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Whatever organization you choose, make sure it’s something that energizes you and fulfills you in a way that money doesn’t. Think of this as a virtual paycheck that your soul cashes.

2. Match your skills to their needs. Do your homework before you volunteer. Call the organization you’re interested in and find out what kinds of needs it has. If a web master recently left, and you’re an Internet hobbyist or professional, you could use your skills to have a real impact on the web presence.

3. Present yourself professionally. Don’t go into a non-profit and act like they should be lucky to have you. Instead, treat it like a job interview and prepare yourself beforehand. Know what your goals are that you want to achieve working with them, and position yourself to fulfill those goals for them.

4. Use your volunteerism as a resume builder. Is there a hole in your resume that has held you back? Maybe your boss thinks your leadership skills need some work, or maybe you have a weakness when it comes to managing budgets? Whatever your soft spot is, use your volunteerism to strengthen it and gain more experience. Also, use your volunteerism as a talking point in an interview. What you choose to do in your personal time says a lot about you to a prospective employer.

5. Create new relationships that expand your network. Don’t you just love it when people tell you to get out there and network? They make it sound like there’s a special park you can go to and just walk out there and network. Simple, right? In my experience as a business owner, networking comes from building relationships. It doesn’t happen by just walking into a room and making a dive for the coffee bar. It happens when people know you, trust you and get a sense of who you are — which is exactly what can happen in a non-profit where you are volunteering with other people who share a similar interest.

6. Spread your wings in a safe environment. Do you have a secret penchant for marketing but are afraid to explore it at work because you’ve never done it before? In our jobs, it’s easy to get cast in a department for life, but as a volunteer, you can become the star marketer and write the monthly newsletter or a feature article on the newest member of the Board of Directors. If you have a secret dream to cross departments or shift your skill set, a volunteer position is the perfect place to spread your wings and test your dream.

7. Assess the opportunity for a high-visibility project. Is there a project that is critical to the organization and that will offer exposure to the Board members of the non-profit? If there is, first assess the risk. You don’t want to choose a project that is so high risk that your volunteerism could back fire on you. Instead, look for an opportunity where you can showcase your skills and talent, and let leaders of the organization see you strut your stuff.

8. See where you can have the most impact. After you’ve worked at an organization for a while, you can begin to see their Achilles heel and where you might be able to help the most. For example, maybe you’ll see that they don’t have a consistent way of approaching projects or capturing lessons learned. If you can offer ways for them to incorporate some basic Project Management methodologies, the impact could be felt long after you’ve moved on to your next adventure.

9. Go to the annual event or fundraiser. If the organization has an annual gala or fundraiser, make sure you make it there. It shows you’re committed to the organization and gives you an opportunity to meet people at all levels of the non-profit. Doing the funky chicken with the Executive Director is something that will be remembered!

10. Service with a smile. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” This is an opportunity for you to serve and have fun at the same time. Savor the lessons and bring them along with you wherever your journey takes you.

PM4Girls Blogger Elizabeth Harrin Shares Lessons Learned

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Elizabeth Harrin was at the recent PMI Global Congress – she is the creator of the blog – www.pm4girls.co.uk, the author of Project Management in the Real World from BCS, a senior project manager in the financial services sector. She is a member of the British Computer Society, Elizabeth lives and works in London, England.

A member of my new media team recently interviewed Elizabeth on what she has learned running her Project Management Blog.   Here is that interview.  Thank you Elizabeth.

Hello Kristen

I’m not surprised you couldn’t get away from the Cheetah stand – every
time I walked past it was packed.  I was hoping to get some time to
talk to Michelle as I saw her collect her award on Saturday.  I often
review project management books so I was hoping to win one from your
stand, but I didn’t get a chance to spin the wheel!

I’m flattered and pleased that you’d like to include me in your top 100
PM bloggers.  I’m surprised that there are that many out there, so I’m
looking forward to reading the list!  I have answered your questions
below.

What have you learned doing your blog?
That I actually do know something about my subject.  When I started out
blogging it was to promote my book, which is written around case
studies.  I adopted that model because I wasn’t sure that people would
care what I had to say – why would I be considered an expert?  So I
crafted it around other people’s experiences.  What I realised through
the comments and emails I received from blogging, and also meeting
people at events, was that actually my experiences are valuable and
over the years I have developed an expertise at work.

How has your blog helped the field of pm?
Seriously?  It would be arrogance to say that my blog has helped the
field of PM – I have a relatively small, niche audience and I’m hardly
revolutionary.  What I do hope to do is demystify PM.  Project managers
have pretended that PM is complicated and shrouded in a language and
techniques only they understand.  That’s all rubbish.  If you can
organise a party, you’re a project manager.

What do you like most about blogging?
I love that I get to meet and talk to so many interesting people.  I
can make pretty much anything relevant to project management, so I get
to write about shoes and handbags!

Besides yourself, who do you like in pm?
Online?  The PMI New Media Council sites are all brilliant.  I like
PM Majik too, although it’s relatively new so the content is limited.  PM
PM Hut has been a labour of love for Fadi and the site has a great deal of
depth now.  In ‘real life’, Patrick Mayfield.  He’s a great speaker, he
contributes to standards and he blogs too, he’s one of the unsung
heroes of the British PM scene.

Congratulations Perry Simpson, CAPM

Monday, October 27th, 2008

A big congratulations to Perry Simpson who recently passed the Project Management Institute’s Certified Associate of Project Management exam after participating in Cheetah Learning’s 3 day CAPM accelerated prep course.

Perry is the Director of Government Business Development for The
Corporate Research Group in Ottawa, Ontario,   Below he shares his reasons for pursuing the certification and what he learned in that pursuit.

Why did you want to get the CAPM certification?

As a member of the management team for a company that’s revenue
is entirely generated from consulting on government contracts, I noticed
that an ever-growing number of RFP documentation was requiring all team
members to possess not only a university degree, but a professional
designation as well.  One of the government Standing Offers our company
had won was specific to project management, and as luck would have it,
the Associate Vice President in charge of our Project Management
division was Mr. Frank Townson, PMP and Cheetah Instructor.  Frank was
aware of the need for professional designations and recommended the CAPM
certification to the President of our company.  As part of a select
group, I was asked to participate in Frank’s CAPM course.  Were I to
attain the CAPM certification, my billable per-diem would more than
double.  Obviously a strong reason to pursue the designation!

What did you learn by preparing for the CAPM exam “cheetah style?”

Personally, I learned that I had the ability to retain the
copious amounts of information with which Cheetah’s CAPM course
inundates the student, and the tenacity to put in the after hours effort
required to achieve the CAPM designation.  I was able to take in enough
information from the PMBOK, in it’s entirety, to enable me to pass the
CAPM exam, and in only 3 full days of classroom instruction.  I also
learned the benefits of taking different learning styles and combining
them for maximum memory retention.  The MP3 players with PMBOK
terminology definitions, the memory mapping, the use of timed exams to
train you to work well under pressure, the tracking tool to enable you
to understand which questions you were confident with and which you
weren’t so you could go back and verify your responses, the test taking
tips which were instrumental, etc…  To get all that and more into the
heads of the CAPM students in only 3 days is a daunting task, and Frank
Townson did an excellent job!!

How do you anticipate the CAPM will help your career?

As mentioned above, the CAPM has enabled my name to be added to
Standing Offers and contracts that require a professional designation,
and increased my value to my company.  PMI’s designations are in demand,
whether it be PMP or CAPM.  CAPM has taken my career to the next level
in it’s evolution.

Thank You Perry and Best of Luck In Your Career.

Congratulations Paula Shippee, PMP

Monday, October 27th, 2008

A BIG Congratulations to Paula Shippee, PMP!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Kelly,

Well, it worked!  I PASSED!  I really didn’t know how it was going to turn out as I went through the test but was very relieved to see that “pass” at the end.  Really appreciate all your help – you did a great job conducting the course and it was very beneficial.  I would recommend it to anyone seeking the PMP certification.

Thanks again
Paula Shippee, PMP

Participate in Your Own Rescue – Master Project Management

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I was talking with Susie McCartney about joining a think tank Cheetah Learning sponsors called The Center for Advanced Learning Concepts and we were discussing how everyone in life is in fact their own project manager of their life projects. She brought up a concept that they use in her other job as a wilderness guide – Participate in Your Own Rescue. Most people get into problems by not realizing how much of their own rescue they do control. At our corporate retreat center in Alaska, we run a course where people build a kayak to learn project management. When they are done, they take their kayaks out in this small shallow cove.   In one course, a guy tipped his over on trying to get in. He was trashing around like he was going to drown. He was well on his way to doing just that, when we pointed out to him that he could in fact stand up because he was in less than 3 feet of water.

In areas where we are unfamiliar and/or scared, it’s easy to panic when we are in fact just standing in 3 feet of water and could easily stand up. This is precisely what happened when we were scared into supporting the government’s $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) – or more commonly known as “The Rescue Plan.” The fact that we as a collective group of citizens, through our government, didn’t know how to stand up, prompted me to create the Project Prosperity class and the Project Prosperity Smart Start Guide.

The reason I absolutely believe that Project Management will in fact save the world is that it contains all the elements so that each and every one of us can participate in our own rescue. I share more about how this is so in November’s Know How Network Column and Podcast, in the Cheetah Newsletter for November, and will be talking about it as well on the Your World Your Way Radio show.

Were Cheetah's Meant to Swim?

Were Cheetah's Meant to Swim?

Be a Cheetah

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

I just wrapped up an interview with KCFV/WJXB Radio. The purpose of the show was to share how I turned my life around by mastering a technique called Cheetah Project Management. I created the attached mind map that shows how life is just a series of projects and how to achieve success by making it fast, easy and fun to do the projects of everyday life. If you’d like to learn more, check out how 30,000 other people have learned how to “be a cheetah” – using Cheetah Project Management.

Be a Cheetah

Be a Cheetah

Essentially, this mind map shows how to achieve a fulfilling, successful life by “being a cheetah” – where it becomes fast, easy and fun to complete important life projects by aligning and balancing the five main areas crucial to success (think car here – to get the best gas mileage and best wear on your tires, you need to have all four wheels aligned and each tire properly balanced):

Vision – live in alignment with your life purpose and innate strengths

Service – live in service to helping others succeed through sharing your innate strengths with others.

Learning – strive for mastery in the areas that are important to you in life

Completion – completing important life projects so that you leave a legacy of excellence

Gratitude – be grateful for your own innate gifts, and the gifts of others in your life.