WHAT’s in the Course?

WHAT’s in the Course?


09:00               Introduction

The nature of projects.  The BIG problem in project management.  The Method – The Ten Steps: Steps 1-5 are about planning; Steps 6-10 about executing the plan.  Why planning is so important.  Project Probability of Success Indicator (PSI).  What not to say when you get given a project.


9:30 – 10:20    Step 1 – Visualise the goal

Deciding where you’re heading.  What’s a successful project anyway?  Happy stakeholders and how to achieve that.  Identifying the key success and failure factors in a project.  Picking the outcome you want.  The goal must be bounded and not vague.  Change Control.  Establishing the goal of the project.  Understanding stakeholder’s requirements and how stakeholders hope to ‘win’ in the project.  Identifying the win-conditions of the stakeholders.  How to identify all of a project’s stakeholders and influencers.  How to establish the goal of the project – the goal which will satisfy the win conditions of all of the stakeholders.  How to implement effective change control when stakeholders are pressurising you to do otherwise.

10:20 – 10:35  Attendees establish the goal of their own project.


10:35 – 10:50  Break


10:50 – 12:45 Step 2 – Make a list of jobs

The planning process begins here.  Estimating.  Good estimation is the crucial skill in project planning.  Without proper estimation it is impossible to (a) make realistic commitments to customers, management, investors, shareholders or other project stakeholders; or (b) know the true cost of a project.  Poor estimation is the reason why many projects run late, over-budget or leave stakeholders with a bitter taste in their mouths – or worse.

Building the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).  Estimating.  Since estimating is about predicting the future, how can we do this with any degree of accuracy?  Effort and Duration.  The importance of Knowledge.  When and how to use Assumptions.  7 steps to accurately estimate projects – even those phases of the project which lie very far into the future.  Why the ‘rolling wave’ approach is fundamentally wrong.  Making estimates that stakeholders can ‘take to the bank’.  Class example – taking one of the attendees’ projects, build some of its WBS.


12:45 – 13:45   Lunch


13:45 – 14:15  Attendees build a WBS for their own project.


14:15 – 14:30   Step 3 – There must be one leader

Project management is a real job with real duties.  Estimating how much project management effort the project is going to require.  The Project Manager’s priorities.  What exactly the project manager is required to do, what s(he) is responsible for i.e. the roles and responsibilities of the project manager.  Trail bosses and trail bossing.  Attendees calculate the project management effort for their own project.


14:30 – 15:30 Step 4 – Assign people to jobs

Project management is a problem in supply and demand.  Finding resources to do the work.  Allocating work.  Resource levelling.  Why multitasking is catastrophic for productivity.  Optimising the skills in the team.  How to identify the resources required for the project.   How to ensure that those resources will be available and what to do if they are not.  Time availability and time management.  How to play to the strengths of the project team.  Attendees resource their own projects.


15:30 – 15:45 Break


15:45 – 16:15  Step 5(a) – Margin for error

What if it doesn’t work out like we thought?  Contingency planning and risk analysis.  How to put a margin for error into the project plan through the use of contingency and risk analysis / risk management.  Attendees put contingency plans into their own projects and do a risk analysis of their project.  The plan as a simulator and as a supply-demand model of the project.


16:15 – 17:30  Fast Projects – How to Shorten Projects / Shorten Time to Market

Days are different.  How is it possible?  Why don’t more people do it?  The benefits are enormous.  The Fast Projects process and how it’s different.  The Critical Path.   Three simple ways to shorten your project.  How to scope and plan a project – even a big one – in a day.   The ultimate way to shorten a project – Use a Strip Board.  Mission Briefings.  Shortening during project execution – making every day count.



09:00 – 10:30 Step 5 (b) – Managing expectations

Dealing with impossible projects.  The correct response when the project given to the project manager is impossible to achieve within the given deadline, budget or resource constraint.  How to negotiate with the stakeholders, and resolve conflicts when their win-conditions are impossible to reconcile.  ‘Saying no’, ‘pushing back’ and negotiation using the facts.  Resistance and how to deal with it.  Magicians.  Why being a Magician is unsustainable.


10:30 – 10:45   Break


10:45 – 11:30 Attendees complete their plans and score their projects using the PSI

(Probability of Success Indicator).  How to assess a project in 5 minutes.


11:30 – 12:00  The PSI and its Uses:

  • Use it as a dashboard
  • Use it on status reports
  • Use it for project status meetings
  • Use it when you inherit a project
  • Use it to rescue a project.


12:00 – 12:30 Step 6 – Use an appropriate leadership style

Leadership styles.  How to lead / work with / influence other people so as to get the best out of them.  What we should do versus our natural tendency.  What to delegate, when and to whom.


12:30 – 13:30   Lunch


13:30 – 13:50  Step 7 – Know what’s going on

Using your plan as instrumentation to drive the project.  Monitoring and control.  Tracking the project.  Positive and negative signs.  No surprises.  How to correctly assess the status of the project.  The project manager’s daily routine and its multiple effects.


13:50 – 14:20 Step 8 – Tell people what’s going on

Light status reporting.  Filtering.  How to do truthful, accurate and useful status reporting.  Project meetings – when to have them and how to avoid them.  Telling it like it is.  Communicating bad news.  The last chance saloon for happy stakeholders.


14:20 – 14:45  Step 9 – Repeat Steps (1) – (8); Step 10 – The Prize

Project Audits.  How to do audits / post mortems / reviews at the conclusion of projects.  Wrapping up a project.  The 5-minute project management improvement program.


14:45 – 15:00   Break


15:00 – 16:45 The Power of Doing Less 

Working less and achieving more.  Managing time across many projects.  Why conventional time management courses / methods / systems don’t work.  A system for working shorter hours and getting more done.  Prioritising viciously.  Wildly important and not.  Consequences.  High value low value.  A little planning beats a lot of firefighting.


16:45 -17:00    Finish