Posts Tagged ‘PMP’

Jean Binder, PMP – Winner of the PMI Literature Award for Global Project Management

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
Jean Binder, PMP - Author of Global Project Management

Jean Binder, PMP - Author of Global Project Management

I met Jean Binder, PMP at the PMI Global Congress 2008 Awards Ceremony. Jean was the recipient of the PMI Literature Award for his book Global Project Management.

Jean agreed to answer a several questions I had about his book:

1. What inspired you to write Global Project Management?

Back in 2003 I accepted a project management assignment in a small English town, without knowing about the project teams I would be leading. I was expecting to meet them during my first day of work, when I discovered that 90% of my team was based in Switzerland, and the key customers were in London, a 3-hours drive (at best) from my office. My first reaction was to panic, thinking about all the hours I would spend on the road and away from my family. My second reaction was even worse, after I discovered that my mission was to reduce travel to a minimum and make use of the audio and videoconferencing services. I will never forget the sentence from one of the company directors: “You have a modern video-conferencing room, good audio-conferencing bridges, face-to-face meetings are not really important”.

After I calmed down, I tried to look for research and books in the area, and I discovered several disconnected pieces of information, with recommendations that were more applicable to virtual teams (when the manager has the hierarchical power). I then realized a big gap in the project management knowledge and decided to create a holistic framework, at first by academic research, and then by writing a textbook.

2. How have your approaches to doing project management changed because of what you learned writing the book?

I am much more optimistic. Besides knowing the challenges of global projects, now I also understand how to make use of global teams to increase the levels of creativity and collaboration. I also use many techniques that avoid misunderstanding and reduce the time I spend on the communication and administrative tasks. I learned to focus more on the project objectives and use only the tools and templates that really add value to the project management activities.

3. What is the biggest contribution your book has made to the field of project management according to the people who have read it?

The book provides a comprehensive framework that covers most of the challenges people face in real projects, and the key recommendations from academic studies, textbooks and practitioners. Using the book you don’t need to spend time surfing the web and online bookstores to find different pieces of information. The framework provides the main recommendations, and also references to other sources of information, for the readers that want to have a deep understanding of selected topics.

4. What are the top three things people need to do to improve the way they manage projects globally?

Based on my personal experience, I believe that the first step is to not despair and realize that global projects require a different skill set and a very strong understanding of communication and collaboration techniques. The second step is to understand which modules from the framework are relevant to your own situation, as each project is different. The third step is to use the knowledge in each selected module to build solid skills on cross-cultural project management across time zones, using collaborative tools and techniques, and to organize frequent lessons learned sessions to collect feedback from your project team, continuously improving your skills and the tools, processes, techniques and templates available.

5. What are your plans on updating techniques that are technology driven (which changes very rapidly)?

In the book I only discuss the overall concepts and general techniques, talking very briefly about software and hardware tools. I created a website ( to capture a more detailed list of tools and services, which can be easily kept up-to-date. This site also collects standpoints from other authors that are of interest to global project managers, allowing a continuous improvement of the framework and the knowledge within.

6. How do you think that world is improving because of this fantastic body of knowledge you have assembled?

The modest side of me thinks that this book is like a wave to the ocean of the project management body of knowledge, having a very limited influence on the “world”… the other side believes that global project managers can learn to see the positive side of the challenges from cross-cultural and virtual teams, and use innovative techniques to improve their work-life balance and reduce the level of conflict and stress in their projects. If a handful of people provide me such a feedback, I believe that my mission to improve the world is well accomplished!

Jean Binder, PMP is also an alumni of Cheetah Learning’s Accelerated PMP Program.

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.

Congratulations to Craig McElfresh, PMP

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Craig  was one of our online PMP students.   He  just passed the PMP exam today.

“Good news … I passed the exam. Thanks for the support of you and the Cheetah team. The learning process was excellent with the various methods for helping me retain and recall what I learned. It really helped me relax during the exam. I appreciate your rapid and informative responses to my homework, exams, and questions along the way. It feels good to have achieved the PMP certification. Now I can celebrate with my wife and all who supported with the time and moral support I needed to be successful.”


Craig McElfresh, PMP