Beyond Execution

Making a difference in project management by training, speaking and writing


The PM as a Baby-Sitter (Facilitator)

Posted by beyondexecution on March 12, 2012 at 7:30 AM Comments comments ()

In one of my recent classes, a participant was clearly very frustrated at having to "baby-sit" team members in order to have it done. She was tired of having to chase people down to remind them of deadlines and finding out issues that probably should have bee identified and actioned earlier. Her question to me what way is there (or PMI way) to avoid this situation, and let her get on with more important duties? I did not have an answer that she really liked, which was there isn't really a ...

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Thinking at a Higher Level

Posted by beyondexecution on March 6, 2012 at 12:10 AM Comments comments ()


Have you every worked with people who can't see the forest for the trees? That is, folks who tend to deal with the details and not think about the higher level principles or strategies that drive the lower level tasks? If you think in the opposite way, or if you need to determine the high level first, then this can be become frustrating if you are not able to overcome the difference.


Fortunately, I've found a way around it, which seems to work fairly effectiv...

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Begin with the End in Mind

Posted by beyondexecution on October 31, 2011 at 7:25 PM Comments comments ()

If this phrase is familiar, it's because it's one of the seven habits of highly successful people, which is a best-selling book by Stephen Covey. In the context of one of the habits, it's about self-discovery and establishing your overall values and goals. It's a very powerful technique, which is to envision the person and the success you want, then consistently moving towards that vision.


I apply this technique when I practice project management, at both a higher level a...

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Sacrifices - Theory vs Real Life

Posted by beyondexecution on February 3, 2011 at 11:27 AM Comments comments ()

As an instructor, I'm very aware that what is taught is on paper only (these days, I guess the analogy is a Word document only) and what is done in real life varies depending on the situation. This is especially true when managing project risk. There is a ton of project management activities that "should" be done, but aren't due to time constraints and overhead burdens.


Since taking a delivery position, I am again faced with these situations and challenges again. Right now...

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Posted by beyondexecution on January 17, 2011 at 8:10 AM Comments comments ()

Last month I was proven wrong. On the highway to work, I normally take a detour path, because the main highway route is normally very heavy. The detour is a little longer, but saves me probably 10 minutes. I take this detour all the time, because it's always true.


Now, riding on the GO Bus, which I have started doing more and more, the driver also takes this detour as well, pretty much every day. Today it didn't, and I was thinking "No! What are you doing?!" As we drov...

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Building in Iterations in a Waterfall Environment

Posted by beyondexecution on November 15, 2010 at 8:03 AM Comments comments ()


I'm currently working on a project within the provincial government as a program manager.  Part of my working style is to not wait for information to all be available before I start.  I like to get started, build in iterations, and refine as I go along.  I don’t mind being wrong and having people point that out to me, as it helps me get the right info much faster, as opposed to waiting for it.  It’s a bit riskier, and some of my team do not fell as...

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Numbers That Are Overestimated Yet Understimated !?!

Posted by beyondexecution on August 19, 2010 at 11:16 AM Comments comments ()


This topic came up in one of my classes.  Here is the conundrum:

Project managers pretty much know that the estimates we receive from team members have padding in them. There's a mixture of CYA and pride involved; people don't want to fail by giving a number that is too low, so they tack on a bit extra.  And while we know that, PM's generally d...

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The Underutilization of Tools: Checklists

Posted by beyondexecution on August 12, 2010 at 12:51 PM Comments comments ()

I'll start off with an example:

When I was working with Bombardier Aerospace, I started off my project management career within the Engineering Project Office.  In Engineering, designers are always trying to improve the performance and reliability of the areas they are responsible for.  So, it's not uncommon for an engineer to pick up a parts catalogue from an approved vendor, find a newer part that has better specs, and include it in a new design.  What ...

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Financial Knowledge and Application for PMs

Posted by beyondexecution on July 30, 2010 at 7:38 AM Comments comments ()

I've been teaching PMP preparation for a while now, and the cost section still tends to mystify and stymie several students. There's a lot of companies out there who don't let (or allow) PMs to track the cost portion of their projects. Now, by cost, I am taking about the units that constitute their budget. Generally, there are 2 ways: currency (like $) or effort (like person-hours or person-days). If you develop a budget in dollars, then you should be able to track it in dollars as well.

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Strategic Project Management

Posted by beyondexecution on May 14, 2010 at 9:15 AM Comments comments ()

I recently joined a group on LinkedIn called "Strategic Project Managers". It was an intriguing topic, since I've always considered myself a 'strategic project manager' (I also believe that pretty much every other project manager in the world also thinks of themselves as a strategic project manager!). It's also organized by a good virtual colleague of mine, Alex Brown (you can find his LinkedIn profile here).


The discussio...

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