Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

OnTarget Consulting Services, LLC

"We help our customers plan-out problems appropriately and execute solutions consistently". SM.

PM Corner (Blog)

PM Corner (Blog)

This blog is the work of various authors sharing theory, insights and personal stories about project management.

view:  full / summary

Twenty Take-aways from 50 Audible Encounters in 2019

Posted by James Truesdale on March 22, 2020 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I have been an avid reader most of my life and thoroughly enjoy reading a good book. I define a good book as one that holds my attention for at least the first 20 pages. However, given the demands of my personal and buisness affairs, I have found it very diffiult to find blocks of time to read. So, I decided at the conclusion of 2018 that I would not let another year go by without reaching my book reading goal. So, in 2019, I reached my 50 book goal via the use of Audible. Hence, I am proud to present the "Twenty Take-aways from 50 Audible Encounters in 2019".

  1. What you don’t know can hurt you. History does repeat itself.
  2. The human species is incredible, unpredictable and feeble.
  3. You can have the life you want, if you are willing to give up the life you have.
  4. What you believe in and what is true are equally important.
  5. Humans are very creative and equally destructive.
  6. Most people live lives of quiet desperation.
  7. Wealth of any kind begins with creativity. You can learn creativity.
  8. There is no such thing as natural born talent. Those with the proclivity to do a thing well have worked harder than others at that thing.
  9. Many of your so-called competitors just look the part.
  10. Everyone is unique but not as unique as he or she might think.
  11. Most people are afraid of who they are because they will have to be accountable for who they have become.
  12. Many of the superstars had no real competition and many of their memorable accomplishments were achieved after massive failures.
  13. There has never been a level playing field. The field is controlled by the one with the lever.
  14. Life is really, really, really short. Hence, many of life's so-called events are petty annoyances.
  15. The concept of race is a work of fiction. There is only one race, the human race.
  16. Most truths were once figments of someone’s imagination. And, the origin of many of today's beliefs were not founded in truth.
  17. Fundamentally we are all aspiring to the same things. And, surprisingly to some, those things are not life, liberty nor the pursuit of happiness.
  18. You have only about 3-5 true friends, the ride or die type.
  19. We are constantly seeking sexual expression.
  20. Everyone has an opinion. No one is on the fence. Those on the fence are usually cowards.  

Copyright. OnTarget Consulting Services, LLC. 1999 - 2023. All Rights Reserved.


Sticking to the Core

Posted by James Truesdale on August 30, 2018 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Sticking to the core Project Management disciplines when managing a project is always prudent. The benefit of that approach is that you will provide sound project management processes. By core, I mean those essential tasks associated with the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) processes: Communication, Time, Scope, and Cost. And, within those basics are the tasks and activities that focus on schedule with regards to Time, for example. Likewise, concerning Scope and Cost, we hone in on controlling the scope and maintaining cost per the outlined budget.

Sticking to the core demonstrates to your peers and bosses that you have a solid handle on our project efforts and therefore can provide project tatus with both accuracy and confidence. Also, the practice of sticking to the core continues to solidify the discipline of project management by highlighting core practices across disciplines which contributes to the development and refinement of best practices.

By sticking to the core positions you as a "trusted" project management professional in the eyes of team mates, management, and customers all who play a vital role in your advancement in the field. Further, this approach will aid you in presenting the facts of your project management venture without getting too caught up in the uniqueness of your project effort.

Copyright. OnTarget Consulting Services, LLC. 1999 - 2023. All Rights Reserved.

A Quick Strategy for Project Recovery

Posted by James Truesdale on November 11, 2017 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Projects will ebb and flow between good health and not so good health. Don't fret. The change in project status is healthy. However, as Project Managers, we are not always aware of when our projects are moving into a "permanent" unhealthy state. Sometimes, not knowing can be a result of our unwillingness, to be frank about the status of our project's health. Occasionally, we are reluctant to give bad news about the project in hopes that we can turn things around. So, below are a few quick suggestions to get your project out of the ditch and back on to the road.

A project in yellow or red status should move into recovery mode as quickly as possible. Hence, a recovery plan must be written to capture the tasks necessary to address the issues to get the project back on track with regards to scope, schedule, and cost. A recovery plan should identify all of the work that has been completed. With the team's assistance, uncover all work that is in scope that has not started and the work is necessary to complete the project. At this point, it may be essential to adjust the costs and schedule completion date of the project.

If the original project does not meet the scope, it will be necessary to develop a different plan to complete the project. Here, you should communicate any changes related to funding, schedule, or scope. The recovery plan should be discussed at least every other week until the actions outlined move the project into a healthier state.

Copyright. OnTarget Consulting Services, LLC. 1999 - 2023. All Rights Reserved.

Project Manager's Role in Procurements

Posted by James Truesdale on October 13, 2017 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Often as a Project Manager, I will take on a project after the related contractual activities are complete. For example, the client has purchased a software solution. My job as PM is to implement the solution and ensure that it is operational. Hence, the Project Manager is accountable for all aspects of the project, which means that he or she must understand all contractual-related activities. To that end, as a Project Manager, it is in your best interest to do the following with regards to the contract:

1. Understand the procurement process that the projects functions

2. Ensure contract has clearly defined all project management expectations

3. Identify risks and incorporate mitigation of threats into a contract

4. Account for products/services to be delivered per the Statement of Work (SOW), contract, etc

5. Work with the contract manager to manage changes to the contract via a formal change management process

6. Review and update contractual documents should the scope of the effort changes

7. Review and sign-off on delivered products or services to demonstrate contract compliance

8. Monitor and report on contract performance on consistent basis

Again, as the PM, it is your responsibility to understand the procurement process from end to end. This understanding will give you an edge when related contractual issues arrive because they will.

Copyright. OnTarget Consulting Services, LLC. 1999 - 2023. All Rights Reserved.

How to Advance Your Project from the Failure Zone to the End Zone

Posted by James Truesdale on March 11, 2017 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I have never been on a project that had not been in the ditch at least once during its lifetime. So, I have seen my share of projects that look like they would never turn around. Those projects had the common symptoms of cost overruns, undisciplined team members, or scope creep to mention a few.

Most project plans have similar data points. Likewise, we know what we should be doing, but we lack the discipline to carry out those necessary steps. So, just in life, we procrastinate on projects. We fail to have that awkward conversation with the team member who is not performing as expected. We are reluctant to look at our bank account to see where all the money is going. Projects are made up of people, tools, and processes, just like the workings of daily life. And, just as we are central to our own lives, the Project Manager is central to the project.

So, let's review a few steps to get our failing project back on track. I always start with the Project Manager by asking a few straightforward questions. For example, a tough but essential question regarding the PM is: Does the PM have the experience and depth of knowledge required to lead the effort from this point of failure going forward? It is virtually impossible to solve a problem with the same ingredients that were part of the current issue. I am not suggesting that you blame the PM for the current state of the project. The real question to ask is can is person lead the project to its successful conclusion once it has been set back on course? This project evaluation should be conducted for all members of the existing team. At this point, you may have to make some personnel changes.

Then, I would look at the project processes to review the approach that is being taken to conduct requirements analysis or story formulation, for example, or maybe how project actions are being tracked. Perhaps the steps that were planned previously are inadequate and have caused a point of failure. How you go about completing the project is just as important as the outcomes you have expected to deliver. This is an opportunity for you to make any necessary adjustments to your project management processes.

Next, I would examine at all external influencers be they people, technology, or process based. Perhaps, some key stakeholders were overlooked, and they are now doing everything they can to sabotage the project. Or, the technical solution was not vetted adequately, and soon, the best professional solution is coming up short resulting in robust discussions with the customer. About technology, it might be imperative to review the initial requirements to ensure they can be met by the technical solution that has been presented. It may be necessary to adjust the designs and hence, the software solution that is being developed. Concerning the stakeholders, a revisit of the stakeholder analysis document to review the stakeholder list, and all activities performed may prove beneficial. It might be necessary to re-engage the stakeholderteam to ensure that all voices have been heard and addressed where appropriate. These initial actions will begin the dialogue leading to a tactical plan to get your failing project back on track.

Copyright. OnTarget Consulting Services, LLC. 1999 - 2023. All Rights Reserved.

Transparency is the New Currency...The Path to Becoming a Trusted Partner

Posted by James Truesdale on March 8, 2017 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

With plenty of competent professionals in your field, your client is looking to engage with a professional who can deliver well and in a consistent fashion. Also, your client wants to see if you are willing to tell it like it is even when the news is not the best. Being transparent is an art and not merely an articulation of what is on your mind. You must be diplomatic while being transparent. By subtle, I do not mean political. Instead, I am recommending that you demonstrate empathy with a dose of courage.

Many of our competitors in our field of study are very competent. Certifications are abounding. It is hard to compete with degrees and sometimes even with experience. Yes, we all have great resumes, and if we do not, we can find a ghostwriter with the right words to enhance our resumes. You can obtain a degree without stepping on a physical campus. You can achieve just about any certification online from any location in the world. So, we cannot win the competition based on access to data. Access to great information is available to anyone as long as he or she has a reliable internet connection. And, for some web sites, a secure connection may be a requirement. But this is becoming less of the norm because internet access has become ubiquitous.

So, what is your edge? What will allow you to beat your competition when you possess all the necessary tangibles such as experiences, certifications, and essential education. The advantage that will assist you in overcoming your competition is hard work under-girded by a healthy dose of transparency. Let me explain what I mean by transparency. Most people view honesty and openness as the same. Honesty and transparency are not the same. For example, I can deliver an honest presentation in that I am offering what I promised. You asked for an objective discussion of x, and I provide that. So, you might say that is how you define transparency. Well, here is my definition of transparency. Transparency is about being transparent. You are coming from a place of integrity with yourself. You are willing to be more than honest in all your dealings. You are ready to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is displayed when you honestly say you do not know something at the risk of losing a client or even a friend. It is from this vantage point that you are a Trusted Partner

So, here are a few conditions to confirm that you are a Trusted Partner:

  • Clients ask for you by name based on your past performance.
  • You are sought out by your client for advice that goes beyond your described expertise.
  • You maintain relationships with your clients that aren’t just business based.
  • You have such a strong personal brand that outsiders seek you out for speaking engagements, writing articles, or special projects.

 All the best in your engagements. May your transparency increase your receipt of financial currency. Yes, transparency is the new currency.

Copyright. OnTarget Consulting Services, LLC. 1999 - 2023. All Rights Reserved.

The Art of Project Management versus The Science of Project Management

Posted by James Truesdale on March 7, 2017 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Everywhere you look, someone has the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation or some derivation of it. And, I like that because it shows how important the PMP has become in the world of project management. I earned my PMP in 2003 and am glad I got it. I needed it to get the next Project Management assignment after being downsized. And, at the time, I had been a practicing Project Manager for at least ten (10) years. So, the PMP got me back into the workforce with less friction. Anyway, I digress. Let's get to the subject at hand. What art and science am I talking about as it relates to Project Management?

Project Management can be a very disciplined way of getting work done. It aids the Project Manager in providing a structured approach to execute a project. There are scopes to manage, risks that need mitigating and actions to complete. And, lots of other exciting things to be mindful of such as Earned Value. And, I know how much we love EV. So, if you are an "A" type like me; then the science and discipline of Project Management is a place of comfort that we share.

But, there is the art of getting a project completed successfully. What do I mean by art? The art of project management is the approach you take to get your team to work. The art is in the delivery of the message, especially when the message is not so positive. The art is in the ability to keep your team focused when the end is nowhere in sight. The art is in disrupting the thinking of the team to look at a problem from a different and perhaps a different point of view. Essentially, the art of PM is the act of putting persuasion in front of execution.

So, without art, most projects would not succeed. Yes, project management is a very tasked-orientated and disciplined approach to getting work done. But, it is the finesse of getting the job done that creates a masterpiece. I believe that without art, the transactional nature of projects makes the work mundane, and your project assignment becomes a chore to complete. We need the art component just as much as science to keep the project enjoyable.

Copyright. OnTarget Consulting Services, LLC. 1999 - 2023. All Rights Reserved.