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Project Management Knowledge Index

Mosaic is a recognised leader in the areas of Program and Project Management training and consulting.

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Governance and Management

Aspects of project management that are primarily the responsibility of Directors supported by senior executives within the organisation.

Organisational policies, practices and systems responsible for ensuring organisational resources are utilised effectively and the work of the organisation is aligned with its strategy and objectives.

The concepts outlined in these papers are consistent with ISO 21505 Project, programme and portfolio management - Guidance on governance and ISO/IEC 38500:2010 Corporate governance of information technology.

Included in this topic:

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  • Portfolio Management: Selecting the right projects and programs for the organisation to undertake and the monitoring and review of the on-going work to maximise the value to the organisation:
    Included in this topic:
    -  Portfolio Management Practice. Managing a portfolio including developing the portfolio strategy to balance risk, opportunities and rewards.  
    -  Portfolio management tools and software. Various PPP software tools. 
    -  Project/Program selection processes. Techniques for selecting and ranking project and programs.
    -  Project Initiation & Project Charter. Formal processes undertaken within the portfolio, by the business or client to initiate a project or program.          
  • Program management: Elements of program management that are different to project management:
    • PMI's Standard for Program Management This Standard defines a set of processes that represent generally recognised good practices in program management.  
    • WP: Program Management. Program management focuses on the coordination of a number of related projects over time to deliver benefits that would not be available if the projects were managed separately.  
    • DP: PWC 4th Global Portfolio and Programme Management Survey: Download the 2014 Report. When will you think differently about programme delivery?  

  • Differentiating projects from programs:  
  • Program typology: the different types and sizes of programs:  
    • WP: Defining Program Types. This White Paper defines the different types of programs based on the GAPPS Program Types.  
    • Blg: Differentiating normal, complex and megaprojects. A look at the additional layers of competency needed to manage complex projects and megaprojects and a suggested framework for classifying these different types of project.      
  • Project definition and typology: defining the nature of 'a project' and the different types and sizes of project:  
    • Blg: Seeking a definition of a project. Constructing an unambiguous definition of a project! a 2016 update based on our 2002 paper 'Project fact or fiction'.    
    • PP: Project Fact or Fiction. Refining the definition of the terms 'project' and 'project management'.
    • WP: Project Size and Categorisation. There are four basic dimensions to every project that affect its management: size, difficulty, uncertainty and complexity.   
    • Blg: Differentiating normal, complex and megaprojects. A look at the additional layers of competency needed to manage complex projects and megaprojects and a suggested framework for classifying these different types of project.         

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Aspects of project management and controls that are focused on delivering the objectives of the project or program efficiently.

  • Developing the Integrated project / program management plan:  
    • WP: Project Definition.  The purpose of project definition is to make sure the project builds the right things by defining the project's objectives. The purpose of planning is to make sure the project team builds them efficiently.    
    • WP: Project Strategy.  One the key early decisions that determine project success is selecting the right project delivery strategy. One-size does not 'fit all'.  
    • Blg: Defining Project Success using Project Success Criteria. Project success can be ephemeral – successful organisations work to define success so they know when it has been achieved!
    • Art: Achieving Real Project Success. There are at least three different criteria for success that can operate independently: Project Management Success, Technical Success & Business Success.          
    • WP: Statement of Work (SoW). A Statement of Work (SOW) is a formal document that captures and defines the work activities, deliverables and timeline the project (or a vendor) will execute against in performance of specified work for a client. The SOW typically forms part of a purchase order or contract but may be attached to a business case.   
  • Managing the work of the project / program:    
    • WPIssues Management. An issue is a current problem that has a quantifiable negative impact on the work of the project, and requires managing.     
  • Managing project / program knowledge:    
  • Integrated Change Control:  
  • Close out and lessons learned:  
    • WP: Lessons Learned. The process of gathering and using lessons in a corporate knowledge management context.           
  • General scope management:  
    • WP: Statement of Work (SoW).  Statement of Work (SOW) is a formal document that captures and defines the work activities, deliverables and timeline the project (or a vendor) will execute against in performance of specified work for a client. The SOW typically forms part of a purchase order or contract but may be attached to a business case.   
    • Art: Scope for Improvement Too. If a project’s client cannot ask for what it wants, the project team is highly unlikely to deliver what’s needed! Most projects have scope missed until its too late. This article is a discussion on the first report in a series, for the full set of reports see Causes of project failure.   
    • Art: Ethics is not enough. Recent cladding fires demonstrate that achieving reliable quality standards needs more than simply relying on the ethical standards of everyone in the supply chain - the supply system needs to actively support ethical standards.   
    • WPV&V = the Verification and Validation of Deliverables.  V&V should be a planned, on-going function that leads to the final acceptance of the project's deliverables by the client.     
  • Requirements Management and Business Analysis     
  • Work Breakdown Structures (WBS):  
  • Other breakdown structures:  
  • Schedule Management & General Resources  
  • Planning -v- Scheduling: The different aspects of project management, planning and scheduling.
  • Planners and Schedulers: Personal attributes and certifications / qualifications
  • CPM - Critical Path Method - General
    • DPDynamic Scheduling. Describes the benefits derived from developing a logically linked schedule.  
    • WP: Project Planning -v- Scheduling. Planning is focused on optimising the sequencing of the work and the methods to be used as a precursor to scheduling which focuses on how the method will be implemented.  
    • Prs: Establish the Project Schedule. The steps needed to develop and validate an effective project schedule.   
          
  • Project Controls - Issues and Limitations with CPM - Options for improvement
    • Blg: The future of project controls. Using modern technology to focus on what really matters, resources accomplishing work in the optimum sequence for each location.  
    • PrsProjects controls using integrated data. The future of project time management as an integrated part of an overall project information system.    
    • PP: Improving Schedule Management. This paper defines a new role for the project schedule and the project scheduler within the complex, dynamic, collaborative environment that defines many modern projects.  
    • PP: The Project Start-Up Conundrum. At the time when the project team can exert the greatest influence on a project's overall success, the team itself is forming and at its least effective!!! Solutions are proposed.    
    • Art: The Scheduling Conundrum. Effective scheduling makes a significant difference to project success but in most projects, the schedule is ignored, bad scheduling practice is the norm and most projects finish late.  
    • Blg : Critical confusion – when activities on the critical path don’t compute…… The use of Finish-to-Finish and Start-to-Start links (particularly in combination) can cause significant issues in calculating the overall project duration. 
    • PP: Float - Is It Real?  Float only exists because of the limitations built into CPM calculations, while it is useful, it is not 'real' - full paper.    
    • Art: Float is it real?.  Float only exists because of the limitations built into CPM calculations, while it is useful, it is not 'real' - short summary.
    • PP: Why Critical Path Scheduling (CPM) is Wildly Optimistic. The biases built into the CPM methodology that underestimate project durations.       
    • Art: Problems with scheduling practice. A brief look at the three major problem areas affecting scheduling practice.          
    • Art: The problem with CPM. The problem with scheduling and CPM is not the technology, it’s a lack of skills on the part of the people employed as schedulers. 
          
  • Links, Leads,  Lags and Ladders (PDM)
  • Duration and Resource Estimating
  • CPM Calculations
    • DP: Schedule Calculations. A detailed guide the Time Analysis and Float calculations used in PDM schedules.  
    • Blg: Schedule Calculations – Old and New. The difference between old manual calculations starting from Zero, and the correct calculations used by modern computers.    
             
  • Critical Path & Float
    • WP: Defining the Critical Path.  There are many different descriptions in regular use, this WP provides a concise and accurate definition.      
    • DP: Schedule Float. discusses the various calculations and definitions for Free float and Total float. 
    • PP: Float - Is It Real? This paper analyses the factors creating the ‘critical path’ and ‘float’ within a schedule and then looks at the misuse and  value of 'float'.  For a summary, see also Art: Float is it real?.  
    • Art: Calculating and Using Float (PM World Today). Based on the above, this review looks at the different types of float and slack that used to be calculated in ADM and PDM schedules, compared to the limited options used today.            
           
  • Schedule updating and control
  • Communicating schedule information
    • Prs: Seeing the Road Ahead - the challenge of communicating schedule data.  This paper briefly reviews the history of visualizing time from 1765 through to the challenges of presenting computer generated schedule data in a meaningful way.       
    • PP Understanding the Schedule - The challenge of informed consent. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” [George Bernard Shaw] presenting a schedule does not mean the recipient has understood the information! 
    • Prs: Communication in organisations: making the schedule effective. The challenges associated with communicating controls information in a way that is understood and appreciated by stakeholders (particularly senior managers) so they can use the information to make informed decisions.   
    • Prs: Communications Control?  Schedules cannot control anything - they are inert sources of information! These papers look at the challenge communicating  the information to influence decisions and behaviour.  
    • Blg: Mind your language - A picture may tell a 1000 words, but it need to be a well designed picture if the message is to be meaningful. 
    • Art: What’s the message??  The way schedule reports are designed can change the understanding of key stakeholders.     
       
  • Resource scheduling and optimisation
    • PP: Resource optimisation - a new paradigm for project scheduling. This paper looks at ways to reverse the paradigm that makes the activity duration central to scheduling. The work is the constant, the resources used, the variable and the duration the outcome.     
    • Art: Resource Optimisation. The best schedule outcome is achieved by maximising the use of the available resources, but most scheduling tools fail to achieve this.     
       
  • Schedule Analytics & Quality
  • Scheduling methodologies (other)
    • WP: Relationship Driven CPM. The RDCPM® variation of the Critical Path Method of schedule analysis focuses on the reason for the relationship between activities and the reason for their overlap.    
    • WP: Momentology. Momentology uses the schedule to measure the momentum of work on the project. The loss of momentum is a reliable predictor of a delayed completion.   
    • WP: Critical Chain. CCPM is a method of planning and managing projects that puts the main emphasis on the utilisation of the resources required to execute project tasks.    
    • WP: Line of Balance. LOB is a method of showing the repetitive work that may exist in a project as a single line on a graph and shows the rate at which the work has to be undertaken to stay on schedule.    
    • WP: Multiple Activity Charts. Multiple Activity Charts show the flow of work within a cyclical process and as a consequence show which resource is controlling the overall progress of the work.  
    • WP: Timeboxing. Timeboxing is a simple process used to measure the complete of a defined amount of work in a fixed period, plus or minus an allowed variation (the 'time box').           
         
  • Schedule levels & integration (major projects)
    • Schedule Levels provides a guide the 5 levels of schedule typically used on major projects.     
           
  • Rolling Wave and Schedule Density
    • WP: Schedule Density. The concept of schedule density  is similar to rolling wave planning but applies a time based three stage approach to developing an overall summary, 12 month intermediate, and 3 month detailed schedule.    
    • WP: Rolling Wave Planning. Rolling wave is a form of progressive elaboration, increasing the detail in a schedule as more information becomes available.    
       
  • Schedule Risk & Uncertainty: Monte Carlo, PERT and managing schedule risk.
    • PP: Why Critical Path Scheduling (CPM) is Wildly Optimistic. The factors that drive CPM towards an optimistic initial assessment including psychological biases, single point estimates and limitations of the CPM modelling process are defined and quantified.   
    • WP: Understanding PERT PERT is the oldest and arguable the least effective / least accurate way to model uncertainty. This paper traces the origins of PERT and the reasons for its limitations.      
    • Art: Predicting project completion.  The use of Earned Schedule and the 'P-Factor in determining a realistic completion date are defined.   
    • Blg: Predicting Completion. The requirement to finish a 'project' on time with associated penalties for late completion hs been around for 3000 years. The question asked in this post is when did predictive tools start to emerge to give the contractor some insight into the consequences of current performance rates?  
    • Art: Standard Deviation for Project Managers.  The concepts behind Standard Deviation and how it is used.      
    • Art: Predicting Future Project Outcomes - The power of uncertainty Monte Carlo, Latin Hypercube and Sampling.       
            
  • Scheduling Complexity and Agile Projects: Scheduling projects where change is expected, unavoidable or intended.   
    • PP: Scheduling in the Age of Complexity. This paper suggests that a radically different approach is needed to make scheduling relevant and useful in the 21st Century based on an understanding of the effects of complexity. .    
    • PP: Scheduling Complexity. Managing complex project schedules using a layered approach to time management that focuses on adapting behaviours to overcome problems.      
    • Art: Controlling Complex Projects.  Applying the principle of auftragstaktik (or ‘bounded initiative’) to effectively manage complex projects.    
         
  • Scheduling Software
    • xx


  • Quality planning and standards: Six Sigma, ISO 9000, other standards and methodologies:  
    • WP: Methodologies. Methodologies define a step-by-step series of processes for delivering projects or any other business outcome. Using an effective methodology reduces variability and increases quality.   
    • WP: The value of Standard Operating Procedures. Developing and implementing effective SOPs to empower workers and enhance quality.    
    • WP: Valuing Stakeholder Management (the Cost of Quality). The cost of quality has two main components; the cost of conformance (to achieve ‘good’ quality) and the cost of poor quality (or the cost of non-conformance), this paper looks at the decisions needed to obtain value from investing in 'good quality'.  
    • Art: Ethics is not enough. Recent cladding fires demonstrate that achieving reliable quality standards needs more than simply relying on the ethical standards of everyone in the supply chain - the supply system needs to actively support ethical standards.     
  • Quality assurance and control:    
    • WP: Reliability and FMEA. A brief overview of the processes used to enhance reliability by analysing and removing sources of potential failure.  
    • WPV&V = the Verification and Validation of Deliverables.  V&V should be a planned, on-going function that leads to the final acceptance of the project's deliverables by the client.
    • WP: Venn Diagrams. The use of Venn diagrams to display data and analise complex data sets.   
    • WP: Root cause analysis.  Techniques to assist in understanding the root cause of a problem including Ishikawa (fishbone) diagrams that look at cause and effect; and Toyota’s ‘Five Whys’ technique.   
    • Art: Standard Deviation for Project Managers.  The concepts behind Standard Deviation and how it is used.  
    • WP14 point DCMA assessment (schedules). The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) has developed a set of standards that (when met) ensure a well-built schedule. Each of the checks included in the DCMA 14 Point Assessment are discussed together with some additional useful checks from other sources. 
  • The Project Manager:  Competency,  characteristics, and skills:
    • Characteristics -
    • PP: The Accidental Project Manager – The Getting of Wisdom. The phenomenon of accidental project managers is explored, and ways to help them and their novice colleagues to increase their chances of project success by describing the project management skills needed for success.    
    • PP: The future of the PM Hero. In the first decade of the 21st century, the accidental PM change to the PM ‘hero’. A highly skilled practitioner who could almost singlehandedly create project success, but in the second decade of the 21st century this will no longer be enough.  Good project management will become business as usual, and effective PMs will need to display ‘5th Level Leadership’.  
    • PP: What Does a Project Manager Need to Deliver Successful Projects (In large and complex organisations)? This paper focuses on those aspects of a Project Manager’s skills and knowledge that must be invoked for project success in large, complex organisations by defining Project Management as a mixture of art and craft and how this connects to concepts of management and leadership.     
    • PP: Tapping the Power Lines (how to connect to this organisational influence grid). Successful completion of project deliverables depends on project management of both ‘hard’ skills (time, cost, scope—1st Dimension) and ‘soft’ skills (relationship management—2nd Dimension) throughout the project lifecycle to achieve project objectives that fully address stakeholder expectations.
    • PP: Advising upwards: managing the perceptions and expectations of senior management stakeholders. Part of the PM’s role is to understand senior management support is vital for project success and  to do whatever is necessary to ensure that senior stakeholders understand and fulfil the requirements of this role. This is about creativity in relationship management: there is no template or checklist to follow; this is not the realm of the faint-hearted.  
    • Blg: What is your personal brand? If you want a stakeholder to ‘buy into’ your ideas, believe your communication or take action on your recommendations they need to recognise you as a credible messenger. Whilst you can build credibility over time, you only ever get one chance to make a good first impression and your personal brand will be a major contributor to the impression created in the mind of the person you are interacting with.  
    • WP: Social and Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a basic tool that is the key to professional success; EQ and SQ are defined.  
    • Blg: Practical Project Politics. PMI expects project managers to be politically smart and recognises that the appropriate and skillful use of politics and power help the project manger be successful - organisational politics are explained.   
    • WP: The innate effect of Bias. Deeply embedded biases affect every decision we make the challenge is to accept people as they are and then work rationally within our innate biases; this needs a rational approach to an irrational problem!         
    • Competency -
    • WP: Competency.  Effective (ie, competent) managers need to know what should be done, have the skills to do the work and be willing to actually do the work - this paper describes the many aspects of competency.
    • WP: The Functions of Management. Project management is a subset of general management, the five functions of management are discussed in the modern context.
    • WPUnderstanding Power and Authority. The effective use of authority is a key part of project management and an element of leadership. Within organisations, management authority is defined as the power or right to give directions, make decisions, and enforce obedience; but this is rarely an absolute power, influence and soft skills are also needed.      
    • DP: GAPPS (2007) A Framework for Performance Based Competency Standards for Global Level 1 and 2 Project Managers. Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS) is a volunteer organisation working to create consistency in global standards.    
    • DP: APM Competence Framework. Developed by the Association for Project Management (UK). Project manager competencies.     
    • Mosaic's list of web links to Competency Frameworks
         
    • Skills -
    • WP: Problem Solving. The process of solving problems effectively by generating alternatives and finding better means is at the heart of effective project management. This paper outlines the different techniques that can be applied to solve problems.
    • Art: Problems, Conflicts and Decisions.  Conflict management, problem solving and decision making are interrelated and all are focused on achieving the best possible outcome. This paper describes this interrelationship.   
    • Art: Learning from your Mistakes. You cannot attempt something new without occasionally making mistakes and if lessons are learned, years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.  
    • WP: Systems Thinking. Systems thinking is a problem-independent way of applying principles and methods related to the successful engineering of systems, to meet stakeholder requirements ina rigorous way to integrate people, purpose, process and performance .  
    • WP: Decision Making. Decision making is a central part of any management role, this paper looks at the different types of decision and the options for making a 'good decision'. 
    • Download the PMI Ethical Decision-Making Framework   
    • Art: Are you a decisive or a divisive decision maker??  All effective leaders must make decisions – good ones are decisive, not divisive.    
    • Art: Wiser Group Decision Making. If ‘two heads are better than one’ why do so many committees make bad decisions? this article suggests some practical solutions.  
    • Art: Data to Wisdom – Creating and Managing Knowledge. The processes and documents used to transform raw data into the knowledge needed for wise decisions from a project controls perspective.            
    • Blg: Fine Tune your detectors. Good information is essential for good decisions.  
    • Art: Eliminating the fear factor. W. Edwards Deming's 14 key principles for management #8 is: Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company. 
    • Blg: Phronesis – A key attribute for project managers. Working out the right way to do the right thing in a post-truth world is a key skill for every project manager.        
    • WP: Personal Time Management. This White Paper takes a pragmatic look at some of the options that can help achieve the maximum output from your valuable working time.   
    • Art: Dealing with difficult people. Effective ways to manage a dysfunctional relationship with a difficult person.  
    • Art: Know when to lose. Pick your battles! The art of effective dispute management is to make sure any ‘wins’ are worth the cost and more importantly making sure any losses are manageable.  
    • WP: The Art of Delegation. You cannot do it all yourself! Effective delegation is the key to success.   
    • Art: Valuing Soft Skills. Research demonstrating the importance of soft skills and their contribution to productivity.  
  • Ethics
  • Leadership:  
    • Art: Becoming great. From managing stakeholders to building a top-class team, looks at how you can become a great project manager.  
    • WP: Leadership. Aspects of leadership in the 21st century.    
    • WP: Ethics and Leadership. A strong ethical framework is vital for personal success and underpins your ability to lead. Ideally this framework will be supported by the organisation’s governance structures.
    • Art: Level 5 Leadership. The pinnacle of leadership as defined by Jim Collins in From Good to Great.
    • Blg: The Art of Mentoring. The nine factors crucial to achieving a positive mentoring outcome.  
    • Blg: The art of giving feedback. The ability to give  actionable feedback on performance to team members so they know what you expect from them.  
    • Blg: Using negative feedback. How we can make use of negative feedback directed to us to improve.    
    • Art: What you measure is what you get! The KPIs you choose are communicating information to stakeholders on what you think is ‘most important, and what you choose to measure will change behaviours. .  
    • Blg: Designing effective KPIs. The practical challenges of creating effective KPIs.  
    • Art: Lessons for PMO managers from the CBA scandal.  If your measurement systems focus on the wrong things, you will get exactly what you asked for!    
  • Motivation:  
    • WP: Motivation. A key skill required by all managers is the ability to motivate team members and the wider stakeholder community. Great leaders are great motivators.  
    • ArtThe Evolution of Motivation. A brief outline of the different motivation theories from Maslow to ERG.  
    • Blg: Happiness and Motivation. Leadership and motivation are interconnected and in combination can create a happy, healthy and productive workplace.    
    • Blg: The power of Happiness. The role of happiness and fun in developing a motivated team, but which comes first?   
    • Art: Is a happy team a motivated team?   What is happiness, and the importance of happiness to team performance - unhappiness demotivates, but the role of happiness is far from clear.  
    • Art: Rewarding your team. The 'SCARF' model for understanding team reactions to motivational actions.         
  • Teams,  Team development and Trust
    • Blg: Developing your team. You are responsible for building the team you lead! One of the key stakeholder management roles fulfilled by effective team leaders and project managers is helping their team members grow and improve.   
    • WP: Complexity Theory & Teams. Complexity theory helps understand the social behaviours of teams and the networks of people involved in and around a project.  
    • WP: The Art of Delegation. Delegation is when you assign responsibility to another person to carry out a specific task, and is one of the most important management skills to master.    
    • Blg: HPWP Lessons from Manufacturing (High Performance Work Practices). Applying HPWP in a project team environment to create success.   
    • Art: Practical Stakeholder Engagement.  SCARF the basic elements of effective stakeholder engagement - achieving an effective engagement with your team, leading to a constructive dialogue that helps create project success does need planning, processes and time.  
    • Art: Fairs Fair - Process & Procedural Fairness. Process fairness is quite distinct from outcome fairness. When you have to deliver bad news to a person, the processes you use are at least as important as the decision you have made.   
    • WP: Conflict Management.  The ability to deal with conflict effectively is directly related to overall management success and is a key aspect of relationship management.
    • ArtWhy are they (you) fighting?.  Emotions kick in quicker and are far more powerful than rational thought. Fight or flight is one of the most basic of survival strategies andhas to be managed to reduce conflict .  
    • Art: Eliminating the fear factor.   Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company. If people are people are fearful of being ‘blamed’, the last thing they will do is pass on accurate information about an issue or a problem.          
    • Art: Perspectives on time!.  People see time differently. For some, time flows from the future into the present and on to the past at a steady rate; our plans for tomorrow become the actions of today and then the memories of times past. Others see time as a river carrying them forward to an uncertain future. Understanding these perspectives heps deal with different attitudes to punctuality.   
    • WP: The Value of Trust. Trust is a key element in the effective management of project teams and contracts. High levels of trust speeds up decisions and lowers costs.    
    • PP: Trust: a tale of two constructions.  Building and maintaining trust through understanding stakeholder relationships. This paper contrasts two projects and the effect of different contractual arrangements on their respective supply chains, to show how an attitude of sharing risk and a focus on building and maintaining robust relationships can lead to more efficient project delivery.  
    • Blg: Credit, Trust and Emotions. There is no credit without trust because there is always asymmetrical information in every transaction. But how much trust someone is willing to invest is driven by emotions as much s by logic.    
  • Qualifications: Including project management training and training courses:
    • WP: The Art of Learning (for exams). When presented with a large volume of new information (eg, a PMP course) most of us need to learn how to learn! Some of the easier ways to absorb, make sense of, and retain information are outlined in this paper.    
    • Blg: The Psychology of Effective Learning. Which of the learning techniques work best?  
    • PMI Credential training - PMI-SP  Mosaic's PMI-SP training website.    
    • Prs: Should you certify your schedulers?  A discussion on the pros and cons of scheduling certification and the currently available qualifications.  
    • ArtThe problem with CPM. The problem with scheduling is not the technology, it’s the people - being able to push some buttons to make some use of the tool and understanding the basic fundamentals of scheduling are two very different things.        

  • Communication management  books by Dr. Lynda Bourne
  • Communication theory and practice: Including skills. 
    • WP: Communication Theory.  To make communication effective, careful thought has to be given to the choice of media and message, how the message will be delivered (and who will deliver it) and the best writing, or presentation style to use based on the personality of the person you wish to communicate with. This paper provides the framework for effective communication.   
    • Art: PMI The High Cost of Low Performance - The Essential Role of Communication. (PMI Pulse of the Profession Publication) The essential role of communications.  
    • Art: The three types of stakeholder communication.  There are three general classes of communication that are needed in an effective stakeholder management: Traditional reporting; Project relations (PR - marketing); and Directed communication focused on achieving an effect. This paper explains how they work together for effective stakeholder communication.  
    • WP: Active Listening and Effective Questions. Listening is a conscious activity which requires attention. The right types of question support effective listening and can influence conversations and decisions. These two skills in combination are very powerful.  
    • PP: Getting the 'soft stuff' right - Effective communication is the key to successful project outcomes! Effective communication with senior management is an on-going collegiate effort by all project practitioners within the organisation; designed to inform, educate and influence senior managers so that ‘sensible’ project decisions become the norm.   
    • PP: Achieving a Successful Engagement. (managing key stakeholder's expectations) Projects will only be considered successful when their key stakeholders acknowledge they are a success.  This requires the project team to effectively engage with each of its key stakeholders to understand and manage their expectations and then deliver to project to meet or exceed the ‘managed expectations’.    
    • PP: Advising upwards: managing the perceptions and expectations of senior management stakeholders. The experiences of the authors, in large organisations, in managing the expectations and the support of key senior stakeholders provides a foundation for exploration of the tasks needed to turn a Commander into a Sponsor, how to use the resources available in the form of influence networks, targeted communication and plain persistence. Results are not miraculous, small improvements must be celebrated, the possibility of failure contemplated.   
    • PP: Understanding Design - The challenge of informed consent. The need to communicate effectively is a vital component of leadership. You cannot lead people if they don’t understand you; ‘blind trust’ only works if the solution is straightforward. When problems arise, uninformed trust evaporates; whereas informed consent from committed followers is more enduring, and people are likely to support any efforts to work through to a solution to the problem.    
    • Art: Have we communicated?  “The major problem in communication is the illusion that it has occurred”. This paper looks at some of the problems in communication.   
    • Art: Data to Wisdom – Creating and Managing Knowledge. The processes and documents used to transform raw data into the knowledge needed for wise decisions from a project controls perspective.      
    • Art: Stop the world I want to get off  Far too many good ideas are hidden in a fog of academic prose, technical jargon and/or dense, complex writing as this light hearted paper demonstrates.    
    • Art: Stakeholder’s Don’t Understand Numbers!.  Project controls processes and project reports are full of numbers and calculations and one would think that most project stakeholders, particularly senior managers, would see and understand the numbers in the same way. Unfortunately resent research suggests this is not the case.  
  • Reporting and communicating for effect:  
    • PP: Beyond Reporting - The Communication Strategy. Reporting and communicating are not the same! At the very least, for a communication to be complete, the sender needs to know the message has been received and understood.  
    • PP: Controls Communicate? Data in a control tool is useless until it is communicated in the right way to the right people to help manage the project.    
    • Prs: Communication ≠ Engagement  Social media and web technologies have made broadcast communication in the 21st century easier then ever, but communication does not equal engagement! This paper demonstrates the importance of senior stakeholder engagement for project success and then suggest practical options to achieve this.           
    • WP: Writing Documentation. Effective writing is a key communication medium for all aspects of project management. This paper outlines several universal rules for effective business writing.   
    • WP: Page Layout & Design. The concept of layout design is separate from content design. Good document design will not overcome badly written content; but a poorly designed document will significantly reduce your reader’s comprehension of the message you are trying to convey.  
    • WP: Presentation Skills. Public speaking is one of the hardest things to master. This paper covers the preparation and presentation of information in a public forum including creating and using effective PowerPoint slides.  
    • WP: Effective Explanations. Explanation is a key communication skill for making ideas, products, and services easier to understand.  
    • Blg: What is your personal brand? If you want a stakeholder to ‘buy into’ your ideas, believe your communication or take action on your recommendations they need to recognise you as a credible messenger, how they perceive you is framed by your 'personal brand'.  
    • Prs: Communication in organisations: making the schedule effective. The schedule is a communication medium that can have a powerful influence on the successful delivery of a project, provided the information it contains is understood and used.  With effective communication, the schedule can encourage the engagement of stakeholders, assist in minimising risks and highlight issues.  
    • Art: What’s the message??  The way schedule reports are designed can change the understanding of key stakeholders.  
    • Prs: Communications Control? This paper explores how communication in the form of information exchange controls and assists the work of organisations to create value and drive performance,.   
    • Art: ‘Not knowing’ is no longer an option.  Effective governance and management requires timely access to ACCURATE information.
    • Blg: Advising Upwards for Effect. The project team need to be able to effectively ‘advise upwards’ so their executive managers understand the potential value that can be generated from the project and work to ensure the organisation makes effective use of the project’s deliverables.   
    • Art: Communicating Upwards for Effect.  The key to effective communication is clarity created through simplicity. But frequently people use the same words in similar context but apply completely different meanings. We say something; they attribute their different meaning and know they have understood exactly what we’ve said – but their understanding is not what we meant!   
    • Art: Influence without authority. How to build credibility and acquire the ‘currency’ you need to trade for the support and help you require.  
    • Art: How to influence others. Ways to use the meeting environment, questions and body language to positively influence others.     
    • Blg: The role of Oration in Communication – a lost art? You need to apply a completely different set of skills and re-structure the information in a well written document if you want to communicate the same message verbally, this is the art of ‘oration’..  
    • Art: Is what you heard what I meant? Effective communication between project stakeholders is always difficult and misunderstanding and confusion are easily created if information is not structured sensibly.  
    • Art: Communicating with Purpose There is absolutely no point in communicating with someone if you do not want an effect! The effect you are seeking can vary dramatically, but you need to know what it is!     
    • Art: Targeted communication - The key to effective stakeholder engagement. Designing a 'directed communication' strategy for your project.  
    • Blg: Integrity is the key to delivering bad news successfully. Integrity is the result of a combination of virtues. You have to earn a reputation for integrity based on what you are, and more importantly what you are known for by the people you have to deliver the bad news to..   
    • Blg: Effective Communication = Effective Project Stakeholder Management.The project’s stakeholder engagement and communication planning needs to develop an overall strategy for these two closely linked processes and then identify appropriate tactics to maximise the probability of achieving a successful project outcome.   
    • Blg: Mind your language - A picture may tell a 1000 words, but it need to be a well designed picture if the message is to be meaningful. 
    • Blg: Rhetoric can backfire. The art of effective persuasion and explanation is to enliven a well constructed argument by the appropriate use of rhetoric to engage with your audience and help them understand and agree with the position you are putting. However, if you base your whole position on the clever use of rhetorical constructs expect the backfire as soon as someone finds the weak point in your position and ‘pulls the pin’.   
    • Art: There are no free steak knives! Sales is a communication process, but the way offers are framed can be designed to distort buying decisions - beware of 'free offers'.
    • Art: Project Reports and the PMBOK.  The PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition included a significant refinement in the way project data is transformed into useful project reports.  The flow from raw data to useful reports (processed information) is fairly well defined; these concepts are expanded in the 6th Edition.   
    • Art: NEWSPEAK - is not all that new!. A 'left field' at communication and the use of language to influence thinking based on George Orewell's novel 1984.      
  • Communication tools and systems:  Processes to gather and communicate information.
    • ArtCommunication planning. Communication planning is an essential element in crafting a communication strategy that will work to support the success of the project.   
    • WP: Managing Meetings. To make meetings effective, careful thought has to be given to the choice agenda, attendees and the specific purpose of each meeting.  
    • Art: Wiser Group Decision Making. If ‘two heads are better than one’ why do so many committees make bad decisions? this article suggests some practical solutions.     
    • Blg: Meeting Management - strategy and tactics. If your job involves arranging meetings then you need to get both your strategy and your tactics right to create a short, effective, useful and enjoyable experience for everyone!   
    • WP: Facilitation. Facilitation is the effective deployment of the processes and tasks needed to run a productive and impartial meeting.  
    • Blg: Are you a workshop leader or facilitator?.  Four different approaches to facilitating or leading a workshop depending on its purpose.      
    • WP: Data Gathering & Brainstorming. The process needed to prepare for and then collect the data needed to facilitate project decision making, including brain storming.  
    • Art: Ask for information you can use   If you are not careful, the easy to measure drives out the harder to quantify, even when the latter is more important.  
  • Risk management:  
    • Mosaic's Risk Management home page
    • PMI's Practice Standard for Risk Management
    • Mosaic's list of annotated Risk web links
    • PP: The Meaning of Risk in an Uncertain World. This paper describes the key aspects of risk management needed from the client, the contracting organisation and the project to optimise overall risk management in a complex environment.  
    • Prs: Risk Management and Complexity Theory - The Human Dimension of Risk. The key aspects of risk management from the perspective of complexity theory and human interactions, with a view to optimising the overall risk management for a project and its host organisation.   
    • Prs: Portfolio governance and risk – it’s all about the stakeholder. There is no such thing as a ‘risk free’ project and the art of portfolio management is to balance the risks and rewards of investing in projects, whilst keeping the overall risk exposure at a level that is acceptable to the organisation, and still generate the expected rewards.   
    • PP: Construction - A Risky Business. This paper identifies some of the factors creating risk in the Australian construction industry and suggests ways to better align risk and reward.    
    • PP: Risk Attitudes in the Construction Industry - Avoidance Does Not Work. Most client organisations are excessively risk averse, and in their attempts to avoid ‘all risk’ expose themselves to more adverse outcomes than if they actively embraced and managed risk.  
    • WP: Risk Management. Managing risks is important because it focuses attention on the uncertainties that matter. This paper looks at the core elements of risk management.  
    • WP: Types of Risk. Risks fall into four broad categories and are created by a variety of factors outlined in this paper.     
    • WP: Risk Assessment. Risks always involve uncertainty, and matter because they have the potential to affect objectives. This means that each risk must be linked to at least one objective and its potential impact assessed objectively.  
    • WP: Probability. Modern risk management practices have developed analytical methodologies to determine the probability of events occurring (or not occurring) that allows contingencies to be calculated based on mathematical certainties.  
    • WPIssues Management. An issue is a current problem that will negatively impact the successful delivery of the project if it is not managed effectively, but issues are not all equally important.   
    • WP: Root cause analysis. Some valuable techniques for understanding the root cause of a problem or an issue in complex situations.  
    • Art: Predicting Future Project Outcomes - The power of uncertainty. Understanding the way Monte Carlo, Latin hypercube and Sampling work to inform risk management decisions. 
    • Art: Distributed -v- Consolidated Contingencies - The power of Portfolios. The effect of combining uncertainties into a ‘portfolio’ of risks is to reduce the overall level of uncertainty in the portfolio. 
    • Art: Risks don't add up.  Understanding that there difference between an individual project risks, the overall risk of a project and the risks associated with a portfolio of projects is complicated but essential for effective risk management.  
    • Art: Standard Deviation for Project Managers.  The concepts behind Standard Deviation and how it is used.  
    • Blg: Stakeholders and Risk. One of the interesting similarities between stakeholder management and risk management is the challenge of knowing what we know and more importantly understanding what we don’t or can’t know.    
    • Blg: Stakeholder Risk Tolerance. The skills that a mature organisation brings to the art of ‘risk management’ is to focus effort on managing risks that can be managed, providing adequate contingencies for those risks that cannot be controlled and deciding how much residual risk is sensible.    
    • Blg: Black Swan Risks. The key definition of a ‘black swan’ proposed by N.N. Taleb is that the ‘black swan’ was unpredicted and unpredictable, but in hindsight it appears that it should have been foreseeable.   
    • Blg: Real Risk Management.  Is any real difference between a bet on which raindrop will reach the bottom of the window first and responding to a bank’s suggestion to fix (or un-fix) the interest rate on your home mortgage?    
    • Blg: Resilience v Risks. Resilience is the ability of a system to return to its original state after being disturbed. Build resilience into you business unit or project team and you have the capacity to deal with the consequences of unforeseen risks.    
    • Blg: The Schedule Compliance Risk Assessment Methodology (SCRAM). SCRAM focuses on schedule feasibility and root causes for slippage. It makes no judgment about whether or not a project is technically feasible.   
    • Blg: Stakeholders and Reputational Risk. Your reputation is created in the minds of other people - creating it, managing it, and protecting it is hard work.  
    • Blg: The language used to define risks can contribute to failure. A corporate culture that prevents the honest description of a risk or allows imprecise definitions is a significant threat to pragmatic risk management.    
  • PERT and Monte Carlo:   
  • Contingencies and Reserves:   
    • Blg: The flaw of averages. The flaw of averages defined in a book of the same name states that any plan based on average assumptions is wrong on average!     
    • Blg: Averaging the Power of Portfolios. The interaction between dependent risk and independent risk is interesting and will significantly change the overall probability of success or failure of an endeavour or organisation.    
    • Art: Distributed -v- Consolidated Contingencies - The power of Portfolios. The effect of combining uncertainties into a ‘portfolio’ of risks is to reduce the overall level of uncertainty in the portfolio.  
  • Procurement & Contract Administration: The management of project documentation from a procurement and contract perspective:   
  • Procurement management:  
    • WP: Statement of Work (SoW). A SOW is a formal document that captures and defines the work activities, deliverables and timeline a vendor will execute against in performance of specified work for a client.     
    • WP: The Point of Total Assumption. Calculating the point above which the seller effectively bears all the costs of a cost overrun on a fixed price ‘incentive fee’ (FPIF or FPI) contract.  
    • Prs: Stakeholder Relationship Management in the Supply Chain. This paper outlines the critical role stakeholders play in the operation of an effective supply chain and suggests a range of techniques to enhance stakeholder relationship management capabilities.    
    • Art: There are no free steak knives! The way offers are framed can be designed to distort buying decisions - beware of 'free offers'.        
  • Document management and Administration :  
    • Prs: Time management -v- Contract administration. This paper defines the standards by which project schedules should be prepared, quality controlled, updated, reviewed and revised in practice to effectively manage time. And contrast this with the static approach to scheduling defined in most contracts.  
  • Contract Types, Management and Law:  Including managing contract claims and issues. For technical aspects of valuing and assessing disputed values see 'Forensic Analysis'.
  • Stakeholder engagement and management: engaging, influencing and managing stakeholders to the mutual benefit of both the project and the overall stakeholder community:  
    For a general discussion on Stakeholder Management visit our Blog: http://mosaicprojects.wordpress.com/?cat=601944

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Forensic Analysis

Aspects of project management that are primarily focused on understanding the causes of project issues and problems and/or developing and assessing the implication of issues or problems.

Causes of project failure:  
Forensic cost analysis and reporting:  
  • PP: Defective Work Claims. This paper canvases both contractual and common law aspects of making and defending claims for defective work. 
  • PP: Balanced Baselines - A Fairer Allocation of Uncertain Risks. The use of a Geotechnical Baseline Report (GBR) in the construction contract provides the parties to the contract with a mutual understanding of the subsurface site conditions (the baseline).    
  • Delay and Disruption - Forensic time analysis and reporting:    
  • PP: Assessing Delay and Disruption - Tribunals Beware. Delay claims, linked to disruption and acceleration cost claims are common. This paper is designed to help ADR and legal professionals understand the options available to disputants in assessing ‘delay’ to help them quickly cut through the fog of expertise present in many major disputes to achieve a speedy determination.  
  • PP: Concurrent Delays in Contracts. The concept of concurrent delay is a strongly contested topic in the building and construction industry.  The aim of this paper is twofold. The first is to identify the variety of principles or methodologies that may be followed in resolving parallel delays disputes. The second is to outline the various practical aspects relating to dealing with concurrent delays disputes.
  • WP: Concurrent and Parallel Delays. A review of independent, serial and concurrent delays.  
  • Blg: Dealing with client delay. Preventing or minimising client induced delay is a common issue.  Whilst this type of delay can never be completely eliminated, they can be reduced by applying this pragmatic six stage approach.
  • The AACEi Recommended Practice No. 29R-03 FORENSIC SCHEDULE ANALYSIS can be downloaded from http://web.aacei.org/resources/publications/recommended-practices (free download for AACEi members, - non-members purchase for US$50)
  • The Society of Construction Law (SCL) Delay and Disruption Protocol provides guidance to all parties to the construction process when dealing with time/delay matters. The SCL Protocol can be downloaded from: http://www.scl.org.uk/ (free for personal use).  See also the Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects.
Claims & Expert Witness: Including claims presentation and the legal aspects of forensic analysis:

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General Interest

Aspects of project, program and portfolio management that are of a general nature and do not easily fit into any of the above categorisations.

General Papers:
External Resources:

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