Beyond Execution

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


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Happy New Year, and Sigh...

Posted by beyondexecution on January 16, 2011 at 10:14 AM Comments comments (2)

Well, I fell into the trap again - I became busy and used that as my (internal) excuse to not update this blog.  I'd like to say I won't let it happen again, but I'm not very good at keeping this promise, since the reality is that this blog has a slightly lower priority that my full time work and my family life.


Looking back over the year, it was a very interesting one with a lot of ups and downs.  As the economy was starting to improve, there was a bit more activ...

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Building in Iterations in a Waterfall Environment

Posted by beyondexecution on November 15, 2010 at 8:03 AM Comments comments (3)


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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Replacing a Team Resource

Posted by beyondexecution on November 2, 2010 at 9:21 PM Comments comments (3)

Many of us have been in the situation where we will need to remove a team member from your project. Many times, the problems persist until they can't be tolerated any further (or at least until someone's patience has run out). So it begs the question "When do you remove a team member?"



Well, the simplistic answer is: before it's too late.



So let's take a look at what we mean by "too late". Here are a number of reasons why you wou...

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Dinner: Impossible

Posted by beyondexecution on October 19, 2010 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (40)

My wife was amazed that I was watching a cooking show with a great amount of interest. You see, my wife loves cooking, and she has absolutely no interest in project management. I, on the other hand, only like the results of cooking, and am a fanatic about project management.


So I stumbled across this show, which on the Food Network in Canada and the U.S. And what I have found is a cooking show that epitomizes project management.


The concept of the show is...

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PMI Global Congress - Washington

Posted by beyondexecution on October 14, 2010 at 9:32 AM Comments comments (0)

I just got back from Washington, where I gave a presentation on the VIRT method that I've mentioned several times on this site.  I must admit, I was surprised at the number of people who were interested in the topic.  When I have presented the topic before, I have become accustomed to a half empty room.  The topic of risk perhaps does not resonate with Canadians it seems (yes, I am generalizing a lot here).  Here are the places where I have presented before, with my rough ...

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The Way We Learn

Posted by beyondexecution on September 30, 2010 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (2)

One thing I have found when I have been teaching is that adults learn in certain ways.  I'm not just talking about experiential methods.  As most people know this method talks about actually doing and practicing to work in conjunction with learning about new material or skills.  This method will of course reinforce the learning so that people can practice the new skills and knowledge immediately.

What I'm about to write here is more on three different tactics which are...

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The Underutilization of Tools: Responsibility Matrix

Posted by beyondexecution on September 26, 2010 at 7:43 AM Comments comments (57)

Sometimes going through the PMBOK can be quite illuminating.  A lot of people will look at this book as overly academic and theoretical in nature.  He really does have a lot of good information within it.  Sometimes there are some trouble in applying it to real-life projects, but many times there aren't.  One of these techniques is the responsibility matrix.  When it's used properly, it can be a very powerful tool to set expectations, to increase performance, and to e...

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The Political PM

Posted by beyondexecution on September 23, 2010 at 9:03 AM Comments comments (0)

One time, while I was working for one of companies, I was in a conversation with a colleague of mine.  I was explaining to him how I had to position my conversation with a client so that it wouldn't cause too many waves.  He looked at me and asked me "why are project managers so political?"  At the time I didn't have much of an answer for him other than to say "we just are, and were constantly dealing with politics".  I have had some more time to think about it and...

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Stepping Back

Posted by beyondexecution on September 21, 2010 at 6:13 PM Comments comments (54)

The other day I was helping my son with a computer puzzle he was working on. He was getting frustrated because he couldn't solve the puzzle. I came over to look at what the problem was - it was a math problem he had done. All of the pieces in that the math problem properly added up to each other, but it still would not let him solve the puzzle. I took a look at it myself and verified that indeed, all the math components were correct. So I asked him what he was supposed to do in this puzz...

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Numbers That Are Overestimated Yet Understimated !?!

Posted by beyondexecution on August 19, 2010 at 11:16 AM Comments comments (49)


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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