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Project Management 101: Getting Things Done in Government


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There is a science to project management called the PMP exam. However, there is a true art to actually getting big projects done in government. Hear from young successful government leaders on how to get projects done in government – navigating the bureaucracy to building teams and alliances.

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Project Management 101: Getting Things Done in Government

  1. 1. How to Win Friends and Influence People? Relieve Their Pain Douglas Brown Vigilant Watch Integration 202-314-5199
  2. 2. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder All too often, PM (and other governance functions) express value in terms of “increased maturity” or “supposed to” Even “alignment to business objective” is too ethereal for all but top-level or executives Inquiring minds want to know: 1
  3. 3. Choose your target Don’t aim at the wrong target  Moving targets  Enterprise Architecture,  EA-PMO tend to be viewed portfolio management and as overhead and are under- program management are resourced. One person must intended to support strategic play several roles (generally executive-level)  Who is YOUR customer – at decision-making this very moment ?  Project Management and IT  Change your pitch if your technical designs (even “EA” customer changes patterns) support project- level management of the here and now  Tactical arguments won’t convince real executives; far- future visions are of little use to the PM in the trenches 2
  4. 4. Communications symptoms EA/PMO value communications. Do they say:  EA/PMO is just adding layers of bureaucracy  The only reason the PMO talks to us is to fill out their report  How is [EA-PMO] helping me [sell products, kill bad guys, etc.]? EA-PMO is an overhead function. It must demonstrate value-add What is that value? Relief, soon, for pain that is being felt now. 3
  5. 5. Listen, then deliver. Don’t lecture. Customers do not care about Henry Gantt. They just want to:  Get their projects started and finished  Get help from people who will help, not point out what they already know  Reduce their burdens, not increase them Don’t show how well you are following the book  Explain what specifically you can do to help  Don’t explain the doctrine or theory  Show that what you are doing works – for them  Then they’ll let you do whatever else you want  Then they still won’t care why it works, as long as it does 4
  6. 6. If you hear … then … Non-professionals cannot diagnose. They describe symptoms (“pain points”) Listen for the symptoms Work out (for yourself) what helpful solution your profession would offer Work out (for yourself) what the solution would look like Describe what the solution looks like and how it would work  “Back of the napkin” is usually sufficient 5
  7. 7. About pain points Pain point – something that is troubling me.  It is a symptom, not the disease itself.  Mostly, I don’t care about the disease, I care about the pain. Use this deck as “food for thought”, to sharpen your ears to real business needs that you can solve  Feel free to offer up more examples that gave you an entrée to offer your solutions to the rest of the business ! Help your peers ! The following examples are not framed as “attacks on” the PMO (although they can be).  Listen for any context in which these types of comments are heard.  Your value is in delivering a solution to the pain, not in “instituting” PM as a discipline 6
  8. 8. Mapping pain points to PM practicesPM service Typical Artifacts Sample Pain Point addressedCost control Budgets Poor estimates, overrunsScheduling Schedule chart Where/when questionsScope Capability or requirements Everybody hates the system documentResource mgmt Resource loading charts Project approved, but nobody working on itQuality mgmt Test plans “Undocumented features”Vendor mgmt RFPs, contractor reports Unhelpful vendorsCommunications Status reports What is going on??Risk mgmt Risk-loaded estimates Constant delays, overrunsIntegration mgmt Cross-project dependencies Working at cross-purposes 7
  9. 9. What do I do now? Look at your EA/PMO briefings and turn your perspective into customer perspective: WIIFM? Listen to your sponsors and customers and hear what their overall pain points are  Re-interview all stakeholders, if that’s what you need to do, now that you are listening to them  Listen and note; don’t reinterpret to PM doctrine  You won’t be able to solve all problems ever, nor most problems now. Just agree on 1 or 2 or 3 things you could help solve now Share with your professional peers ! You are not alone … 8