Tutorial: Introducing the Oracle Primavera P6

Most of project managers are used to use a version of Microsoft Project to manage their project. However, other powerful tools can also be used for the same purpose. Today I want to introduce one. Oracle Primavera P6

I consider Primavera P6 less intuitive and friendly when compared to Microsoft Project, but it is a good tool for more complex projects, where the control of the workforce requires a more fine-tuning. Do you often use this software in your projects? If yes, what is your opinion about it?

Do You Know the 4D Project Management Model?

The 4D model is an exciting new approach to the discipline for the management of complex projects. You can find a brief introduction in the presentation below:

Soon I will write an article on this subject, but I leave here one question: Do you believe that the PMI methodology is with  its days numbered?

The Power of Perspective for Leaders and Project Managers

perspectiveAccording to the Oxford English Dictionary, Perspective is “a particular attitude towards something; a way to think about something”. I think in perspective as a matter of location between the observer and the observed object. When we change the position of the observer or the object, the perspective about it also changes automatically.

Applied to the business world this definition also brings great advantages to the project manager and leaders in general. It helps us to gain a new vision about the projects and problems we face daily and is also a good tool to stimulate our creativity and critical thinking.

Cinda Voegtli wrote a great article about this subject. An excerpt:

By looking at things through multiple lenses, I reduce the chance that I’ll miss something and am able to head lots of problems off at the pass.  And you’ll see below that the answers I get from the  different lenses often involve overlap – different lenses will identify some of the same risks, or planning items, or communication needs.  But that’s a good thing, because it raises my confidence that I really am looking thoroughly at the whole picture, even though I’m moving fast.

One of the best ways to practice the change of perspective is to engage  in the “what-if” game. For example, “If we do this, how will our customers respond? What will our superiors think? What impact will this have on our projects? What if there is something we have not considered?” This exercise will help to demonstrate the viability of your strategic decisions and should always be performed before you move then forward. Try to do it sometimes!

Mastering the Basics of Project Management: The Complete Series (until now)

In my series mastering the basics of project management  that I started in 2010I used to focus on technical aspects of the work (e.g., tool, templates, or technique to help manage scope, schedules, and people), according to the PMBOK 4th and 5th editions. Below you will find the complete list of the articles posted until now.

  1. Mastering the Basics of Project Management: The Project Cost and Budget Management
  2. Mastering the Basics of Project Management: Managing Distributed Project Teams
  3. Mastering the basics of project management: Establishing Team Rules of Engagemen
  4. Mastering the basics of project management: the Project Leadership
  5. Mastering the Basics of Project Management: Writing Better e-mails
  6. Mastering the basics of project management: the Project Plan – Part 1
  7. Mastering the basics of project management: Goal and Objectives Settings
  8. Mastering the basics of project management: Scheduling techniques and time management
  9. Mastering the basics of project management: what a project really is?

Bonus 1Mastering the Project Manager Mindset: Foundational Skills

Bonus 2Three Essential Leadership Behaviors for Project Managers

Bonus 3Some Reasons Why Our IT Projects Continue To Fail

Bonus 4: Are You Prepared to Face These 12 Traits of a Modern Leader?

Should Project Managers Share Their Stress?

HBR published a interesting article about how Project Managers should share their information and brig all news – and stress, maybe – to their project teams. An excerpt:

Project managers tend to hold their cards pretty close to the vest. Sure, they may post or circulate some sort of general progress chart. But the telling, nitty-gritty details — percent complete, cost overruns, and so on — usually stay on a private little spreadsheet, safely tucked away in the PM’s files.

Sometimes this I’m-in-control-here approach is well intentioned. PMs feel they should shield their team members from potential bad news. Other times it’s a power trip. PMs make it plain that they’re the only ones who know the full story, so naturally they get to call the shots.

I agree with the authors: an open-book and transparent system are always a better way to deal with complex projects and great problems. Project management is never a wonderland and those who work in this area should be prepared to deal with the consequences. You can read the full article here!

The Reasons Why Gene Kranz Must Be Your Personal Hero [Specially If You are a Project Manager]

Each has his own ideal of super hero, invincible or that mythical figure who comes out of nowhere and magically solve all problems. It is typical of the heroes bring normalcy where absolute chaos prevails.

My personal hero is Gene Kranz, the former NASA’s Flight Director from Mercury Program until the Hubble Telescope launch. Let’s see why:

It’s starts with a tragedy. On January 27th, 1967 Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee died in fire during a practice exercise. In the next meeting, Kranz addressed his crew, delivering what became known as the Kranz Dictum. Despite the fact that it is conducted at the members of Mission Control only, Kranz’s words transcend that narrow audience. His will to honesty, purpose, and perfection are the heart of this man’s lesson to us all.

I plead you to read his words in full. Pay close attention to his unequivocal sense of personal accountability and the clarity of his commands that he and those who will work under him will hold themselves to only the most rigorous standards. The speech is brief but plentiful. Its two paragraphs contain great lessons of management and responsibility.

”Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up. It could have been in design, build, or test. Whatever it was, we should have caught it. We were too gung ho about the schedule and we locked out all of the problems we saw each day in our work. Every element of the program was in trouble and so were we. The simulators were not working, Mission Control was behind in virtually every area, and the flight and test procedures changed daily. Nothing we did had any shelf life. Not one of us stood up and said, ‘Dammit, stop!’ I don’t know what Thompson’s committee will find as the cause, but I know what I find. We are the cause! We were not ready! We did not do our job. We were rolling the dice, hoping that things would come together by launch day, when in our hearts we knew it would take a miracle. We were pushing the schedule and betting that the Cape would slip before we did.


From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: ‘Tough’ and ‘Competent.’Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for. Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write ‘Tough and Competent’ on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control.”

Words for life!


You Lost Your Job. Now What?

It´s a life fact! Even the best Project Managers in the world may eventually lose their jobs.If your are in this situation, maintain a passive attitude in front of the facts wont help you so much. Jacquelyn Smith, in her article for Forbes Magazine, tell us 10 most important things to do in these situations. An excerpt:

If you’re unemployed and worried that employers will turn you down for taking on unimpressive work during the recession or for the large employment gaps on your résumé—you needn’t panic.  A survey released by the careers website CareerBuilder.com last year revealed that the vast majority of employers are actually sympathetic to such circumstances.

You can read all 10 tips right here!