Video Blog #12 – Should I Only Use Certified Project Managers?

Clients often struggle with finding the right balance of when to use a certified Project Manager or an uncertified Project Manager.  While each situation and individual may be unique, Golden Source Consultants helps clients make this decision by providing some general rules of thumb.

Small Project

This is the most appropriate use of an uncertified PM, as the project may be lower risk.  Small projects are often fertile ground from training new Project Managers for this reason.

Many Small Projects

When there are many small projects the benefits of a certified Project Manager are more evident, but uncertified Project Managers may still have the right skills to accomplish project goals.  The key is to ensure the person chosen has good time management skills and is comfortable managing the competing priorities of many projects.  Having a PMP should be counted as a plus because the person has more tools at their disposal to deal with such challenges, but it should not be the only consideration.

Large Project

For a large project Golden Source Consultants recommends the rule of thumb to use a certified PMP.  Due to the complexity of the project and number of stakeholders at many different levels, the project is best served by someone who knows how to manage the different areas.  In the certification process 3 years of experience must be demonstrated, thus giving the project sponsor peace of mind that this will not be the first time someone has used project management tools.

Program

In this situation, Golden Source always recommends using a certified PMP, even in some cases requiring a Program Management certification.  The reason being is that this individual is responsible for ensuring the best practices of other project managers and therefore must be certified to understand the guidelines needed for all projects under the program umbrella to be successful.

Video Blog #11 – Should I Move From Waterfall to Agile Project Management?

The pace of change in the market is forcing companies to ask questions about how they can stay relevant and competitive.  In particular when many look at their project management methodology they ask if the Agile methodology may allow them to make key gains in a shorter period of time.  However, the shift from Waterfall to Agile is a large one, causing many of our clients to ask if they should undergo such a transformation.  Since there is no one size fits all answer, here are three questions that will guide an organization considering this choice.

1. What are the goals the organization is hoping to achieve by making the change to Agile?

Once the goals are clearly stated from the organization’s perspective then a conversation with the Project Management Office should be undertaken.  Waterfall may be a more appropriate fit for achieving goals.  Only through open dialogue and clearly considering the risks and rewards can the right decision be discerned.

2. What training and tools do you have available to help your team make the transition?

“The speed at which you roll things out needs to be the speed at which you have information available for your team to become familiar with Agile.” advises Lofton.

3. How can you start small and scale into Agile across the organization?

Organizations considering a shift should seek ways to start with low hanging fruit, allowing the organization to gain more experience safely with the new methodology.  The right approach of what is too big and too small should take place before the transition.

Video Blog #10 – Why Do I Need A Project Manager?

Often times on projects the team asks the question to leadership, “Why do I need a Project Manager?”  The team may ask this because they do not see many of the tasks that a Project Manager is required to do because they themselves are deep in completing a task.

Jordan reminds us that the role of the Project Manager is to be the one person accountable for the time, cost, quality, resources, and scope of the project from start to finish.  “Typically it is very hard for individuals who are actually doing the work to manage all of these different components and ensure that all of the goals are met for them.  What the project manager is there to do is to be a conduit for ALL of the different people working on the project to make sure that their pieces are done well, on time, on task, on budget.  Then they help you with any risks you may encounter along the way that would prevent those things from happening.”

Video Blog #9 – What Is Project Management?

The title of Project Manager has grown in the last ten years to be a common one found in many projects and companies.  Often times we find that there is not a single definition of what a Project Manager is and does as the title me conferred in different contexts even within the same organization.  So when management consulting firms like Golden Source Consultants state that they Project Management as a core offering some clarification is often needed to describe what the service is.

Using the Project Management Institute’s definition, project management is “the application of processes, methods, knowledge, skills, and experience to achieve project objectives.”  This is still very vague, so we dive further into asking what a project is defined as.  The characteristics of a project are:

  • unique
  • transient in nature
  • undertaken to achieve planned objectives

In these very specific situation, when a project exists, a single person is tasked with the goal of managing the time, cost, resources, scope, and risk of that project.  This person is the Project Manager.  So while the goals may be different and the methods and processes vary, these five things will always be the responsibility of a Project Manager.

Video Blog #8 – Why use a management consultant?

With all of the different options available for consulting services, what is the real value proposition of a management consulting firm versus the other options available to a client?  Three key questions are asked to help clients decide if management consultants are the best fit for their projects.

Do you need a team of resources?  Because management consultants have a distinct culture and have selected individuals with skill sets that work well together, they are often able to assemble more effective teams than a client can by choosing individuals through other options.

Does your project require a specific set of skills in combination with each other in order to be successful?  “The reason I ask this is because you want to make sure there is a methodology and someone looking at the project as a whole rather than a set of tasks an individual has to complete.  Consulting firms do bring that to the table.  That is something you would need to bring to the table yourself if you are looking at using a staff aug agency or independent contractor.”

The last consideration deals with what most clients identify as the reason for using other types of help.  That is the price.  In our experience at Golden Source Consultants for large, high risk projects the cost savings do not justify the additional risk.  The costs savings of the project being done correctly from the start far outweighs the cost of starting over or delaying a critical project.

Video Blog #7 – What Is Management Consulting?

What is management consulting?  Friends, family, and even clients often ask what management consulting really is.  Rather than focusing on the day to day tasks that consultants may undertake, which vary based on the type of project and business supported, the blog today focuses on clarifying the difference between different groups which may act in a consultative manner: management consultants, staff augmentation, and independent contractors.

First it should be noted what each have in common.  Whether a management consultant, staff augmentation, or independent contractor, they provide help for project based services but are not employees of the company they are helping.  “They are substitutes for one another, but not necessarily perfect substitutes.”, Jordan explains.  She then goes on to highlight the differences between each group.

Management Consulting
  • W2 Employees of the Consulting Firm
  • Specialized in Specific Skills
  • May Be a Large “Big 4” or a Boutique Firm
  • Tend to Have Team Based Projects
  • Project Delivered Over Fixed Period of Time
Staff Augmentation
  • 1099 Employees of the Agency
  • Maintain Resumes of Qualified Individuals of Specific Skillsets
  • Tend to Be Individual Assignments
Independent Contractor
  • An Individual Working for a Client Directly
  • Very Focused Subject Matter Experts
  • Different Rate Structure

Video Blog #2 – What are GSC’s core offerings?

When someone tells you they are a consultant, the very next question is “What type of consulting do you do?”  Golden Source Consultants hears this question all the time.  For GSC it’s simple.  There are four core offerings.  Easy enough to be remembered on one hand but essential enough to be needed for every business.

GSC offers Project Management, Business Process, Strategy, and Training Development.  In today’s video blog our CEO explains why these core offerings were chosen and Golden Source integrates these together to provide additional value to our clients.

Celia Ellisby Celia Ellis, PMP, ITILv3

Is your organization playing the finger pointing, blame game? Does there seem to be a constant gap between what IT can deliver and what the business wants? Is the business forced to change behavior based on IT constraints?

If you answered yes to any of these questions and you’re a Technology or Business leader looking to solve any of these problems going forward into 2014 then the Technology Garden by Jon Collins, Neil Macehiter, Dale Vile, and Neil Ward-Dutton is a must read for you.

Jon and his team of IT expert authors interviewed dozens of IT directors, CIOs, and senior business and technical decision makers to find out what works and what does not. The team gathered the results into this short readable handbook with application methods that can be applied right away.

The Technology GardenThis handbook groups the best practices that an IT manager should harvest and hone in on to ensure that IT is aligned with the business’ needs and provides value in a service oriented approach.

In addition, the book also provides a framework for the application of these principles and provides template tools such as organizational self-assessment checklists and surveys to understand where companies are on the IT-business alignment road map and how to progress.

Six Actions

It starts with asking what are the six things you can do to become a successful IT manager, then sums them up into the following:
Six Actions
Four Stages

It then maps these six actions against four key stages:

  1. Gain Trust form the business (Become the trusted IT service delivery organization)
  2. Understand and reflect the business (Differentiate business support from IT)
  3. Engage the business (IT Service Management In the Business)
  4. Drive the business (Appropriate Change and Transformation)

Four Stages
In the past IT has taken on a passive role and not been aware of the key drivers for the business or had an understanding of their operational goals. This book stresses the importance of maintaining proactive business engagement, understanding corporate strategy and goals, and the significance of being a transparent service oriented organization.

The stages outlined above reflect how mature the IT and business relationship is within the company with this in mind.

Prioritize

In the example below, the six key activities are mapped against the four stages and prioritized based on the results of one of the surveys provided in the handbook.
Prioritize
Additional tools are provided that help to establish a road map and a course of action to map how the IT-
Business relationship can be improved based on the results of this exercise.

Let’s Innovate

InnovationIn addition to the importance of maintaining Business-IT Alignment, Collins’ work stresses the importance that the IT organization has with Innovation. The business looks to IT to bring solutions that can aid the business in developing or maintaining their competitive advantage.

The authors discuss IT’s unique view across the enterprise at all of the various capabilities. From this vantage point, the business is BLIND. IT can be a true enabler and take advantage of this position to bring solid recommendations for building out service road maps, enabling new capabilities, and retiring old or duplicate capabilities and functions. This in itself can lend to the companies competitive advantage.

In Closing

In closing, forget those verbose, academic and long-winded books that claim to provide answers to these
issues and read this straightforward handbook as part of your 2014 action plan.

If you need help with implementing your Business-IT Alignment initiative for 2014, Golden Source Consultants’ Strategic consultation services can you expedite your plan.

We have experience with helping enterprises deliver innovative solutions delivering true ROI through creative, well researched, and industry-appropriate implementation methods.

Our expertise combined with Collin’s illuminating handbook will provide invaluable tools on for your Business and IT relationships can align and shine!

The GSC Elevator Pitch