Help for the Newly Minted Project Manager

Congratulations! Due to the recent [acquisition / divestiture, market expansion / contraction, organizational realignments, other] you have been identified as a Critical Resource for this particular bit of business process change. And, to help us implement these changes, you have been named the Project Manager for this effort. So now you are a Project Manager (PM, for short); what does that mean? You may be vaguely aware that people get certifications for this sort of thing, or that Microsoft sells…

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Chargebacks vs. Allocations – Defining IT’s Relationship with the Business

Some IT departments prefer chargebacks, while others do not. My own preference is to allocate IT costs to the business units, based on some reasonable balance of simplicity and accuracy. General services could be allocated by headcount, COGs, or revenues, with each business unit taking their proportional share. Some easily identifiable items might be allocated more directly - maintenance costs for specialized engineering, warehouse management, or financial systems, for example, could be allocated more directly to those departments. I've written…

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Defining Business Benefits: Hard and Soft

All projects should have a clear objective, a practical plan, and an understanding of the costs and benefits to get the thing done. Easy to say, but a lot of project teams struggle to crisply and clearly define specific business benefits. One way to move the process forward would be to have a clear understanding of the types of business benefits you might claim. Hard benefits come from firm commitments to make measurable differences in the amount of revenue generated…

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Quantifying Business Benefit of Collaboration Tools (or, What Is This Meeting Costing Me?)

This post started off as an excuse to experiment with Google Docs, and this really neat feature I discovered - embedding a spreadsheet in a web page as a sharing method. However, it struck me as a potential way to cost justify the time, effort, and expense of implementing collaboration systems with the Most Cynical Among Us. We've all been in large meetings, with tens of people from the project team, along with the expensive consultants, sitting around a table…

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IT Budget Hacking (w$$t)

Some block-and-tackle IT management stuff for today - taking a long, hard look at the IT budget, a task that is less-than-pleasant for many. Most of my peers have already cut any and all low hanging fruit - it's time to start thinking aggressively. Software Maintenance for the Small Stuff Most have concentrated on their ERP and other large, strategic vendors - but what about all of those little invoices that come every year? I'm talking about development tools, management…

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If I Told You a Fractal Solution, Could You Change the CEO’s Mind?

As the new year approaches, debates over the "value" of IT and business projects intensify; it's not holiday stress, but the excitement of the approaching New [fiscal] Year. Lately, I'm hearing more about the struggle to quantify business value, especially when selecting those few projects that will "make the cut". We will definitely iterate on our scoring framework, adding a cost / benefit template to facilitate more apples-to-apples comparisons between projects (yes, don't scoff¬† - it is possible - more…

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Business Benefits of Social Networks Exist, but …

When I see / read articles like this, or hear the breathless claims of vendors, pundits, and True Believers, I'll privately chuckle to myself. All of this stuff - social networking, collaboration, and innovation - are 21st century takes on good old Knowledge Management (KM), circa 1998. Do these sound like presentations from your recent Enterprise 2.0 conference? Managing Cultural Change to Create a Knowledge Sharing Environment Effectively Managing Information Overload in the Information Age Information Content and Security in…

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