Project Portfolio vs. Product Portfolio

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My name is Klas Skogmar and I’m going to talk a little bit about how project portfolio management relates to product portfolio management.

First I am going to talk about what a single project is. A single project takes the strategy and it converts it to a product, service or another result. If you have multiple projects, you have a product portfolio. And project portfolio management is taking ideas and concepts and qualifying those ideas into your project portfolio and ensuring you maximize the return of the organization’s project portfolio.

So how does a project portfolio relate to a product portfolio?

A product has a life cycle where you may have many projects. You might have a project to initiate or launch a product; you might have a project to update the product; you might have a project to discontinue the product. So during the lifetime of a product, you may have many projects. In a few cases where a single project may result in multiple products as well, so there are relationships between the two.

So if you control your organization based on the products
– if the products are the central thing in the organization or service
– then they dictate how your project portfolio will look like.

On the other hand, if your projects are reactive and you may deliver products for a client for example, then your project portfolio is the central thing and you focus more on your project portfolio.

Even in a situation where you focus on your product portfolio, you still need to maximize your project portfolio through good project portfolio management, to ensure you do the right changes to the right products. You should also remember that there are other portfolios such as a customer portfolio or customer agreement portfolios. And in some cases and organizations, you might need to manage all of these and then the customer portfolio might influence or dictate how you work with your customer agreement portfolio. That in its turn my dictate how you work with your product portfolio and that might dictate how you work with the project portfolio.

So you need to be aware of these different portfolios
– how they relate to each other and also which one of these portfolios is most central to your own organization
– to be able to succeed in project and product portfolio management.

Thank you very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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Make scheduling teleconferences easier

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Many projects work across time zones so misunderstandings about time causes delays, especially in teleconferences.

Informal methods to set the meeting times take more effort than they are worth. It’s better to use meeting time tools, which depend on everybody keeping their calendar up-to-date. These tools read your calendar and convert the times to your time zone.

Here are a couple of tools which compare calendars, depending on what operating system you are using:

For Apple: Pick.co
For Gmail: Assistant.to

Here are some more where instead of comparing calendars they look at your calendar and then offer your availability and the other person selected by hand:

Infususionsoft
TimeTrade

Our favorite here is doodle. This is a free application, you can use it immediately, you don’t have to sign up and it converts for time zones, is suitable for team use and it’s accessible through a browser.

It’s also intuitive. But as with most tools: you have to do a little bit of work yourself:

When you have set up the meetings, it makes sense to then send out invitations to go into everybody’s calendars to make quite sure they got them. But it certainly does all the “donkey work”, all the hard work of converting time zones automatically for you.

So if you have any comments or queries about project issues, please do connect with me.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

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Who says face to face meetings are essential?

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Who says face-to-face meetings are essential? Let’s do a balance sheet.

In favour is that it’s much easier to reach decisions: we can talk to people in different ways – formally, informally, at the flipchart, over lunch and so forth. And of course, it is great for team building.

But let’s look at the negative side. We may have an end of phase meeting in a project that needs to go ahead and the business cost of delaying it can be significant. So if we have to bring people from different places, there will be a delay setting up the meeting.

And then of course there are the costs of travel and maybe hotels flights and so on.

And then we also lose business efficiency because you can’t work as well while you’re traveling. Some people try to, but really you can’t work as efficiently while you’re moving around as you could in your office.

So the negative business effects of not holding the meeting on time are considerable.

If we took the old way of doing things and just came online, then we wouldn’t have very good meetings but these days there are so many tools to help us get those meetings right, that it doesn’t always make sense to hold a face to face meeting.

We can do the team building another time, whenever we get the opportunity. But we don’t need to tie the team building to the decision-making.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

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Be the Leader of your Projects

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My name is Hadi and I am the author of the book “Be the Leader of your Projects”. I wrote this book because my philosophy is “whatever we do in this world, we should be the leaders of our job”.

For my starting point, I asked myself the question myself: “what do the great leaders have in common and how can we use these for project leadership?”

Then I searched for a variety of leaders, such as Ataturk, Ghandi, Jack Welch and so on.

Then I determined five common features or leadership behaviours:

Shared Vision
Influence
Motivation
Learning
Creating an Effective Team.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

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Are you using this strategy for your workflows?

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This video suggests a strategy for developing your workflows.

Well, why use a workflow? Let’s look at the project contents: a project is something we do once.

Processes are repetitive and projects are implemented by using processes and processes can be supported by workflows.

For example, we have project phase reviews, we have several reviews in every project we have a lot of projects we have a lot of phase reviews.

So it’s really a process: it’s a thing we do every time and if we have a good method of organizing it, then all of our projects will benefit. So in this case, we can use the process of a phase review and it will help us implement our projects.

Now, we can use cloud workflows for project processes, for example we might have a phase review process for virtual projects where the activities are in different places and the challenge is: it’s not always easy to communicate the detailed process steps to the remote location.

It’s hard to show people so what we are going to suggest is that we learn by example.

The first thing we do during the first process, we do the work, organized to phase meeting and we do it ourselves.

After the first use of the process, we have a look at the workflow that we’ve been documenting and we improve it.

Then during the second process we actually use it again, but this time we invite people to watch closely what we’re doing: maybe you will use screenshare with Skype or something like that, so that they can see what we’re doing.

This gives you a chance to test the workflow. It’s much easier to do this than it is to give somebody the workflow and ask them to test it.

And then the next time we have a phase review meeting, we use to process but we give it to the other people: we tell them to implement it and we support them.

Hopefully the next time round they do it on their own without any help.

So the basic idea is we develop the workflow, then we improve it, then we demonstrate it and then we hand it over. If we do that, we’ve got a good chance that the workflow will work properly.

So if you’re interested in any of these ideas or other project issues, please contact us.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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How to use Processes to deliver Project Results

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This is Deasún Ó Conchúir from Scatterwork, welcoming you from the Berner Oberland at Grindelwald to talk about a very simple topic:

We implement projects which are once off activities by using processes which are repetitive. The better the repetitive
processes, the easier it is to do the project.

Let’s take a private example: we go on holiday with the family, we go somewhere we haven’t been before, the dates are different, exactly how we get there is different, the weather is different and so on.

But the way that we do it is by using established processes, for example: we book flights – that’s something that a lot of people do so it’s fairly predictable.

If that process works properly, it makes it easier to organize our project.

In the business environment, the processes are the way our company works. Very often they’re not actually written down but people know from culture how things are supposed to happen so we use existing processes, things that go on within the company, but we select them and use them to carry out the project.

So that’s the basic idea that I wanted to share with you.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

 

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When to be agile, and when not to be

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Hello! My name is Klas Skogmar and I work at Arkatay Consulting in Sweden and I’m a specialist in project, program and portfolio management. And now I’m just going to talk a little bit about when you should be Agile and when you should not be Agile.

This is a problem that many organizations are having. They really don’t know when they are going to use Agile Methodologies and when they are not supposed to do it.

If you take a look at the graph here on this slide – it is a very commonly used graph and it exists for example in the PMBOK Guide – it says that as a project progresses, the influence of stakeholders decreases and as the project progresses the cost of changes increases.

What this means is that in the beginning of a project it is very cheap to change your mind. If you just have an idea in your head then it’s just a matter of rethinking what you have in your head. When you have written things on paper or started to agree things with stakeholders, then it starts to become a little bit trickier to change things because then you have started to get them acceptance for certain ideas.

When you started to (for example in construction) to build something, you have dug the ground, then it becomes much more expensive and when you are halfway through your project and when you have built something, then it’s much, much more expensive to change things.

The thing is that different types of projects have different types of cost curves so some projects become increasingly much more expensive quicker than others. So in the domain of software for example doing computer programs, it’s very inexpensive even late in the project to change your mind.

But in some construction projects, it’s very expensive. If you want to move the bridge one meter in the final phases of a bridge project, then it is not a good idea. So what does cost of change – how does that impact agility?

If it is very costly to change your mind, then you want to plan to avoid any costly changes. If it is very cheap to change your mind, then you can decide later in the project. Therefore you increase your Agility if it is very cheap to change your mind later in the project.

This is one of the most important aspects of when you should be agile and when you should not so this is a very important graph to understand.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

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Your Biggest Project Challenges

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Deasún Ó Conchúir in the Berner Oberland, to ask a very simple question: “What are your biggest project challenges?”

It is by understanding the issues well that we come to the best solutions and by pooling ideas we have an even better chance of good solutions.

For this reason we are running a mailing in parallel with this video to find out among our readers what their biggest issues are and I would appreciate your feedback.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

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Why is project governance important?

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Hello, I am Klas Skogmar from Sweden. I work as a methodology specialist and help organizations to improve the way they work with project, program and portfolio management.

I also hold seminars and teach courses in these areas and I’m here to talk a little bit about governance.

Project governance is something that restricts management; it limits how managers can manage things. Governance can be things like:
-policies
-processes
-roles are responsibilities,

but it can also be softer things like culture, as that also restricts how a manager can manage in an organization.

It’s very, very important to understand how projects are being governed in an organization and how we can use governance to govern the organization, because that is one of the most important ways you can influence management in the organization.

If you’re not going to influence the management in the organization with governance, you need to manage everything yourself. So if you want to write a policy, you can ensure that people behave in a certain way without directly managing everything in detail.

So that’s why governance is so important and that’s the basic description of what governance is.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

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Everyone has to do everything in virtual teams

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“Everyone has to do everything in virtual teams” – a short video from Scatterwork.com.

Here is a project scenario: the team do all the technical work they have been assigned,they ask for the constraints and requirements and then they focus on the work. In the same scenario, the project manager specifies the technical work and delegates it to the team and manages the external communications, for example with stakeholders, and watches for issues and interacts if something seems to be going wrong. But this can be a particular problem for a Virtual Team.

If for example the work was not specified or understood correctly and the other person is not nearby, this may not be noticed. Or the project manager is not aware of some issue at another location; they ask for work which, for some reason, genuinely can’t be done.Or maybe the project manager cannot act due to overload or illness, and nobody notices because they’re not in the same place.

So what is a good solution?

Simply stated, “everyone has to do everything in virtual teams” but maybe we could fine-tune that and say “everyone needs to take joint responsibility in virtual teams” for watching the deliverable of the entire team or maybe we could fine-tune that again and say that “The individuals within the team need to take joint responsibility, much more than they would in a co-located team”.

If this does not happen and something goes wrong, nobody from another site notices and then the project suffers. So if you have any project issues you would like to discuss, please connect with me through LinkedIn or any of the other methods.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

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