Six Stages of the Project Management Process

July 27, 2009

As defined in my project management fundamentals course, the six stages of the project management process (aka the project management lifecycle) are:

  2. PLAN
  3. EXECUTE –> MONITOR –> ADJUST     (loop)

It seems that most project stages / lifecycles are very close to this definition.

One bit of wisdom from the instructor:  Plans are worthless – planning is essential.


SMART Goal Setting

July 27, 2009

Another list from my project management fundamentals course, day one, outlines the SMART approach to setting clear goals:






Looks like this meme is pretty common in the project management world.   I doubt I can add much to it that you couldn’t google yourself.    I did like the instructor’s definition of realistic:  gently challenging.

I did also run across an article which questioned whether the SMART goal theory was the best, compared to Locke’s goal setting theory, and another article extending the concept of SMART goal setting.

These lists are really starting to remind me of the infamous Alec Baldwin “Always Be Closing” speech from Glengarry Glen Ross (it’s 7 minutes and filled with F-bombs, but well worth it)…

Ten Commandments for Successful Project Management

July 27, 2009

Another list from my first day at my project management fundamentals course:  The Ten Commandments for Successful Project Management.  These are basic tenets to control and manage a project.

  1. Set a goal.
  2. Determine the project objectives.
  3. Establish checkpoints, activities, relationships, and time estimates.
  4. Draw a picture of the project schedule.
  5. Direct people individually and as a project team.
  6. Reinforce the commitment and excitement of the project team.
  7. Keep everyone connected with the project informed.
  8. Build agreements that vitalize team members.
  9. Empower yourself and others on the project team.
  10. Encourage risk taking and creativity.

TechRepublic has a handy printable poster and worksheet of this list, if you happen to be a member.

It looks like this list may originally come from a book called Checkered Flag Projects by W. Alan Randolph and Barry Z. Posner, which is preview-able partially at Google Books.  The book goes into a chapter worth of detail for each point.

A ComputerWorld article has an alternative view of the Ten Commandments for Successful Project Management.  My favorite:  II: Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Fat Team.

Six Unique Characteristics of Project Management

July 27, 2009

Today was the first day of my project management fundamentals course.  It included these six unique characteristics which set project management apart from your normal day-to-day activities.  I’m not sure who the original author of this particular list was, but I also found it as required reading for another project management course and a paper about information technology project management.

  1. Something must be done which has not been done before.
  2. The undertaking ends with a specific accomplishment.
  3. The required activity has a beginning, an end, and a schedule for completion.
  4. Resources are limited.
  5. Other people are involved on an ad hoc basis.
  6. Phases and activities are sequenced.

More details on each point are listed at the above linked sites.

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out.”
–Robert Frost

Windows Vista ISATAP Wireless Bug

June 27, 2009

windows vista logo_thumb[2]

Seems my days as desktop support are not over – I still have to troubleshoot problems on my own machines.  I discovered this week that my Windows Vista Business (SP1) laptop would no longer connect to my wireless network at home.  All other machines in my home network (XP, Vista, and 7) would connect, and I was able to connect to the wireless network at the training course I was at this week.  The standard reboot or disable/enable of the network card was not working.  The WLAN AutoConfig service is started.  The behavior is the same in safe mode with networking.

Upon further investigation, I found that when I ran ipconfig at the command prompt, there were several entries for “Tunnel adapter Local Area Connection X” – X being a number.  A google search revealed instructions for getting rid of these entries by removing the hidden ISATAP adapters from Device Manager.  Apparently these are created because of caused by IPv4 and IPv6 tunneling issues.

This did not work.  My search then led me to this post, suggesting that I disable IPv6 on the wireless network adapter.  This, too, did not work.

I tried resetting the Winsock entries and TCP/IP stacks (by the way you have to run this as administrator).

Reset WINSOCK entries to installation defaults: netsh winsock reset catalog
Reset IPv4 TCP/IP stack to installation defaults. netsh int ipv4 reset reset.log
Reset IPv6 TCP/IP stack to installation defaults. netsh int ipv6 reset reset.log

I ran Microsoft’s Internet Connectivity Evaluation tool against my router and did not encounter any problems.

I tried editing the registry so that Vista would disable the DHCP broadcast flag.  No dice – it just hangs on “Identifying” when trying to connect to a network.

I tried a bunch of things after that, but when it comes down to it, it looks like I’m going to have to start from scratch to get it working.  😦

Nine Career Mistakes for IT Pros To Avoid

June 17, 2009

I saw this article,  Nine Career Mistakes for IT Pros To Avoid, in an email newsletter from Global Knowledge, an IT training firm, but deleted it before reading it.  Later, my boss mentioned it and said I should take a look.  Perhaps I should take this as a sign.

Here’s are the Nine Career Mistakes, along with my commentary:

1. Failure to appreciate your network of contacts. Definitely something I need to work on.  As a server jockey / desktop support firefighter as my main roles for so long, it turns out I don’t have a whole lot of IT networking contacts.  When presented with these new projects and needing to get quotes for work – I had to fall back on my favorite consultant (the only one I’ve maintained contact with) as well as vendors I usually order hardware and software from.  Additionally, while I have been to several conferences and courses over the years, I’ve never picked up the knack for networking.   Perhaps I will fare better with VMWorld.

2. Follow the money only. I don’t think this is a problem for me – I very much appreciate the culture and perks of my current employer, so I’m not only following the money.  I am, however, watching it very very closely.

3. Lousy soft skills. I may joke around with the users, pretending to be harsh (ID10T errors and what not), but overall I’d say my customer service skills have been quite impressive.

4. Being too supportive. This one doesn’t apply as I haven’t had the privelege and opportunity of having true underlings yet.

5. Not understanding your capabilities. I think I know my capabilities pretty well, but may not have had the chance to show them off – the chance to shine.  I’m hoping this career transition will provide that window.

6. Resume mistakes. I haven’t had to make one for a while – but I think my resume skills are still decent.

7. Don’t burn bridges when you leave your employer. Sure, this has happened in the long distant minimum wage past, but my work ethics have matured since then and I consider this one to be pretty important.

8. Be careful what you put in writing. Not my strong point.  Here I am blogging, after all.  And I freely communicate via email or IM when needed.  It’s the digital age, after all.  On the other hand, I try not to communicate anything that I wouldn’t want discovered, might be confidential, or that might reflect poorly on my employer.

9. Letting your tech skills get outdated and not learning about important new technologies. See also:  “10 Dying IT skills”.  While I’m not relying on my (lack) of knowledge about COBOL, some of my skills may be rusty.  HTML and CSS can only get me so far… I will need to dive into real web programming at some point, among other things.