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Monday, April 30, 2012

#010 - Gazza interviews the Practically Perfect Project Manager author - Sean Whitaker, PMP

In this podcast, Gazza interviews Sean Whitaker, PMP - author of the new book "The Practically Perfect Project Manager".

Listen to this Podcast as Sean explores the question 'What does it mean to be "Practically Perfect" as a Project Manager?'. Written in straightforward language, this is a practical how-to guide for new to intermediate Project Managers, and a useful reference for experienced Project Managers. This book has something to offer for almost everyone working in the Project Management arena. It does not prescribe a specific solution or system, rather it is designed to help you consciously choose appropriate tools and processes for your project - so that you too can be "Practically Perfect" in managing your projects.

You can also read Sean's blog at and listen to his podcast on the same site, or through iTunes (search for "Sean Whitaker"). 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

#009 - Project Planning 1.1: Project Tracking - Plan for it Now!

Project tracking is an important element of control on any project. During the project, you need to be able to measure and report on progress against project deliverables, and roll-up that information into higher and higher levels, until you often end up with a high-level dashboard for the Project Sponsor and other executives (red light, green light, yellow light). And in the long run, you need to be able to know when you have actually finished the project, and if you have succeeded in achieving the project goals.

Sounds straightforward, right? But as you probably already know, it is not quite so simple. There are many projects that do not track enough information, and others that track too much. All of this tracking requires effort, by the individual team members, their team leaders, the Project Manager, and those who receive the status reports.

Asking people to spend "overhead" time on activities like status reporting when they do not see any direct relation to what they are doing, and how it is used can be another big problem - if they do not see value in doing it, it becomes a "chore" that they would rather not do - so they may delay doing it, not do it at all, or worse, "fake it".

Sometimes all that effort results in only a cursory glance at the highest levels. So why bother with it? Or the information can become so disassociated due to poor structuring when it is rolled up that it becomes effectively meaningless. This problem can be a related to how you have structured your Project Plan, and also your approach to tracking. That, of course helps nobody.

So what do we track, how do we track it - and most importantly, how do we plan for it and what do we do with it?

In this session we will explore the essentials of Practical Project Tracking - what you will need to manage your project, satisfy the reporting needs of your stakeholders, and be able to tell, in the end, if your project was successful.
Listen or read the full article on Gazza's Corner (

Gary Nelson, PMP

Monday, April 23, 2012

#008 - Project Communications: GVSVCS (Free) Document Change Control System

Every project has documents. Dozens, hundreds, or even more. Some projects may be lucky enough to have an established document management system with version control. But many will not - and what do you do then? Or what if you do, but the client does not have access to the same system? Or you have a version control system - but people don't use it properly and you have a mess?

A very common scenario in the lifetime of any given document is that person (A)  writes a draft, sends it to B,C,D for review, receives feedback from each of them (separately or together), A updates it and the cycle continues until you have the finalized version. And quite often the files are exchanged by email.

Sounds simple, right? Well if you say yes - you have not actually dealt with the very real problem of version control (or change control). It is far too easy to lose updates when someone sends you a file that on the surface "looks like" the same one you had (same file name, mostly looks the same, you cannot see the changes because they were not marked or tracked properly etc). Or you overwrote B's updates with C's file when you saved the attachment. And even worse - if it is not being reviewed closely enough, that might not be caught until it is too late. Sound familiar?

There are many possible solutions to this of course - but I always like to think that simpler is better, because if you make it simple, people might actually use it. There are a lot of very expensive, fancy systems people just don't use - or don't use properly because they are difficult or tedious to work with.

Note that this is not a discussion on the "track changes" features of various document programs, which of course you should be using as well to track the internal updates. This is one level up from that, but just as important.

Listen or read the full article on Gazza's Corner (

Gary Nelson, PMP

Thursday, April 19, 2012

#007 - Project Planning 1.0: The Importance of the Project Kickoff

You cannot underestimate the importance of the Project Kickoff. It sets the tone for the rest of the project, and it is often the first time all of the key players on the Project will be face to face. In some cases, it may be the only time they all get together - so make it count!
It may also be the first time that you get to review the project objectives as a team, and it is where you will build the collective understanding of what you are trying to achieve - and the first stage in Project Team Development.
But what exactly is a Project Kickoff, and why do we really need it? In this session we will explore what it is - and why it is so important.

Listen or read the full article on Gazza's Corner (

Gary Nelson, PMP

#006 - Everywhere is Local: Providing seamless local access for clients, and stay connected globally - Cheaply!

Want to learn how to keep your business communication costs down, and solve the problem of staying in touch when you travel, without roaming, and without changing phone numbers?
Want to make it easier for your key clients to contact you, when those clients are long distance or overseas?
Want to travel overseas for a couple weeks, stay in touch and call family at home - for as little as $40 a trip?
These days it is possible to do this, and there are a number of options available, but I will tell you how with the methods and systems I use.

Listen or read the full article on Gazza's Corner (

Gary Nelson, PMP

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#005 - Leadership: Managing Virtual Teams

Ever managed a virtual team? Considering doing so, but not sure what to do, and how effective that team might be - and who should be in it? And what, exactly, is a "virtual team"?

I have been managing and working with virtual teams for the past 11 years. From an on-site project manager role working with on-site/off-site resources, to now managing a team in a mostly virtual context, this session addresses some of my experiences - and lessons learned - working with Virtual teams.

Listen or read the full article on Gazza's Corner (

Gary Nelson, PMP

#004 - Everywhere is Local: Live where you want, and work Everywhere

The world continues to shrink day by day. Not physically of course - but practically, in how we conduct business and communicate. Today many take this for granted - but do not truly realize the full implications of the changes over the last couple decades and how this can affect your daily lives - both personal and work.

Today, I "travel" 30,000km or more every day - with a 2 minute commute, plus a few overseas trips every year. I am living where I want to - and working with clients everywhere.

Listen or read the full article on Gazza's Corner (

Gary Nelson, PMP