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The SQUAD Report, Our Project Management Blog

Welcome to the SQUAD REPORT, where experts from THE PMO SQUAD discuss project management best practices, tips, lessons learned, and fun stories about our passion, project management!

WE HOPE YOU'LL SHARE YOUR experiences to benefit all our teams and readers. sign up to receive our updates and come back often to participate in our squad report discussions!

Using Playbooks to Deliver Winning Projects



I was a pretty decent baseball player back in the day.  Lots of Business Lessons were learned between the lines; Leadership, Trust, Teamwork to name a few. Another lesson was the use of a Playbook.  My freshman year of High School I was called up to the Varsity team and the coach gave me the team Playbook. I had never used a Playbook in baseball.  Hit the ball, throw the ball, run.  What was the need?  

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How to select Project Management Software


There are so many choices today when selecting Project Management Software.  There are Enterprise PPM solutions, Cloud based or desktop based choices.  We can even select apps to use on our mobile devices.  There are tools which specialize in communication, collaboration, task management, gantt charts and more. Are you needing a tool for yourself, a small team, small or mid-sized business or perhaps a large corporation.  Do you practice traditional Project Management, Agile, or hybrid methodology?  So many selection criteria to assess.  So how do you pick the right tool for your particular need?


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The accidental project manager


We've all seen it.....

Hey John, can you please take on this project?  Problem is, John isn't a Project Manager.  We know how this is going to finish!   

Over and over again organizations ask employees to take on Project Manager responsibilities for critical projects. Usually the reasoning being the employee is a subject matter expert or has seniority in the department. These top organizational employees are now put in a position in which they are not prepared. They haven't received Project Management training, are unfamiliar with tools, haven't had to negotiate resources, have never built a schedule and are being set up to fail. This all too common scenario has given birth to the Accidental Project Manager.

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Why do you need a PMO??


I am often asked, "Why do we need a PMO?"  Regardless of industry the question is the same.  If we have Project Managers then why do we need a PMO.  I guess thats a fair question and it allows me to ask a few follow up questions to get a good dialogue started.

I'll ask my clients if they have an Accounting Department - Yes.  
Do you have an Accounts Payable team/resources - Yes.  
Do you have a set process for how you pay your vendors - Yes.  See where this is going??

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Project Management Core Steps


We've all seen the fight between Agile and Waterfall evangelists on the web.  The traditionalists opt for Waterfall and the new age is favoring Agile.  Certainly there seems to be a shift to Agile these days, but who really runs a full Agile shop?  What I wonder though, does it even matter?  What is really at the core of Project Management best practice?  Does using Agile principles make you a better PM than following a Waterfall methodology?

How about Project Management software?  Does it matter if you are in the MS Project corner vs Planview or Clarity?  Perhaps you rely on JIRA or Asana?  Maybe LiquidPlanner or Wrike?  There are literally hundreds of software solutions for Project Managers to use.  Will using one over the other make you a better PM?

How about certifications?  The standard of course is the PMP certification from PMI.  Maybe you've opted for the CAPM certification instead.  Outside the US, Prince2 is quite popular and widely acknowledged as a sign of a professional Project Manager.  How long have you held your certification?  Does that matter in the grand scheme of all things project management?  Will having a project management certification make you a better Project Manager?

I suggest you can forget about Agile vs Waterfall.  You can forget about which project management software solution you use.  You can forget about your project management certification.  At the core of all successful projects are 5 Core Steps; DEFINE, DESIGN, BUILD, VALIDATE, DEPLOY.  It doesn't matter the size of your project, nor the industry you are working in.  If you perform these 5 Core Steps well, consistently project after project you will become a respected and successful Project Manager.

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