Random Acts of IT Project Management

Project Management for Information Technology

Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

Project and Program Management Key to IT Efficiency

Posted by iammarchhare on 11 June 2009

I attended a seminar last week in Columbus put on by CA called “Challenging Times Require Efficient IT”.  In it, they showcased the CA Clarity TM PPM On Demand solution.   If you have worked with Clarity before, it is basically just the version that they push for their Software as a Service (SaaS) solution.  If you haven’t worked with Clarity before, you might want to give it a once over if you are looking for an enterprise solution to PPM.  I don’t get paid for any endorsements, I just prefer their solution over at least one other.

Overall, it may seem like a strange time to invest in a tool.  However, curbing waste and ensuring your project portfolio is strategically aligned with your business goals can save you money in the first year, or so believes CA (note that isn’t a guarantee; they are just saying it can do so).

At any rate, the real attraction was the first part, “Why Project and Portfolio Management Matters More in an Economic Downturn”.  There wasn’t anything really earth shattering in the presentation, but I did want to hear what they had to say.  Without taking notes, here are my take-aways:

Gaining insights into what is going on with your resources answers the question: Are you working on what’s strategically important?  Strategies may need to change.  Ongoing projects need to be regularly evaluated to see if they are still meeting strategic needs.

The CIO really needs to be part of the change governance board.  Prior to the economic mess, there actually was an upswing in CIO participation on these boards.  The CIO is the one that can reach across the organization to get the right kind of input from other departments.  Without CIO participation, the other departments discount the board’s importance and so key decision makers are not present at the meetings.  After the economic mess, CIO participation is down from what it was, which is a disturbing trend.

A strong governance board and appropriate executive views into work allow projects to be killed earlier.  If they are not meeting the strategic needs or it turns out they are too costly, then the proper decision makers can kill it before it gets worse.  In a down economy, lessening such waste is a huge benefit to the company.

New projects are less likely to be started if they do not meet strategic needs.  Again, this reduces wasteful spending.

The last part was a demo on the On Demand solution.  Like I said, if you’ve used Clarity, the interface is pretty familiar.  I don’t know the costs involved, but having someone else worry about the infrastructure costs may be attractive to certain companies.  Obviously, a lot will depend upon company size and IT objectives.

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Posted in Economy, Tools | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The 5 Economic Storms

Posted by iammarchhare on 5 June 2009

It seems like the recent economic news is a continual rollercoaster ride!  Rosy predictions bring up hopes, which are dashed by some report or other.  What is the truth?

Well, if you believe as I do that a lot of the media grabs on to small things and hypes it, you will be on the lookout for someone who seems to have a clearer picture of what is really going on.  Maybe you will agree with them or not, but at least it is something more concrete than looking at a percentage of a percentage point difference and saying the recession is over.

Enter Martin D. Weiss, PhD, who wrote an article posted 11 May 2009 on the Money and Markets web site.  He lists “Five Economic Storms Raging NOW!”.  You know most of them, such as the one about big banks’ risk of failure, but do you know how bad it really is?  Let’s take the #1 and my favorite: Plunging Jobs:

Storm #1.
Plunging Jobs

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that job losses were running at a slightly slower pace than in the first quarter. So Wall Street cheered.

But it’s a joke, and the 539,000 additional Americans out of work aren’t laughing.

Nor are the 23 million people — 15.8 percent of the work force — who are officially unemployed … are struggling with lower paying part-time jobs … or have given up looking for work entirely.

Look. In December 2007, there were 138.1 million jobs in America. Now, there are only 132.4 million.

So even if you accept the government’s tally of the narrowest unemployment measure, 5.7 million jobs have been lost.

Plot those figures on a chart and the picture is absolutely unambiguous: Jobs in America are collapsing. Right here and now!

Where’s that “slightly slower pace of collapse” they’re raving about? You’d need a microscope to see it.

Check out the other 4 economic storms at the Money and Market site.

Frankly, the US is spending a lot of money for very little result.  Worse, we are leaving a debt to our grandchildren’s children.

Contrast this with what the Bible says a “good man” or righteous person does, which is leave an inheritance that will last to his children’s children (Pr 13:22)!

Posted in Economy, Employment | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on The 5 Economic Storms

US Debt Clock

Posted by iammarchhare on 1 June 2009

Here is something that should wake you up this morning:  The US National Debt Clock.

Posted in Economy, Mostly off-topic rambling rabbit holes | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on US Debt Clock

Consulting Maxims

Posted by iammarchhare on 21 May 2009

If you are reading this, then it is likely I’m either still on the road or recovering from the road trip.  However, this gives me an opportunity to point you to some backlogged bookmarks I’ve built up.

Many PMs are consultants, so TechRepublic’s article on “18 maxims of successful IT consulting” might be of interest to you.

And, if you are not a consultant … well, rethink that, will you?  As I’ve quoted before, we are all consultants in this economy.  Companies can let you go at any time with no reason.

Posted in Consulting, Economy, Employment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Consulting Maxims

IT Jobs – Some Things to Think About

Posted by iammarchhare on 20 May 2009

I’m still on the road, but if you are laid off, thinking you might be laid off or just generally uneasy, you might want to read this article.  Technology Ladder posted an article by Kevin Fogarty that “Tech Employment [is] Down, Not Out”.

Fogarty points out that medical IT jobs. VOIP and IT security jobs are growing sectors.

Posted in Economy, Employment | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on IT Jobs – Some Things to Think About

PMBOK 4, Anyone?

Posted by iammarchhare on 7 April 2009

Well, I have had to live frugally lately, and, looking at some of the economic statistics, I’m certainly not alone.  So, I have to think hard about purchases a lot more than I used to.  This includes even membership in the Project Management Institute (PMI).  Frankly, I hesitated, but then I went ahead and did it.

So, has anyone who is already PMP certified purchased the new PMBOK?  I have heard PMI expanded the ethics section and changed the triple constraint so its no longer a triangle.  Any other worthwhile changes?

Normally, I wouldn’t even ask; I would just run over to pmi.org and buy it and see for myself.  However, I’m interested in what you have to say about it.  So, project managers, let’s discuss:

  1. Have you bought the new PMBOK?
  2. Why or why not?
  3. If you did, was it worth it?  Why or why not?

If you are PMP certified, then let us know your reasoning.  If you are not a PMP, would you have bought it if it didn’t mean a change in the test?

Mind you, I’m not interested in criticizing anyone’s decision, but let others hear your thoughts.

Posted in PMBOK, PMI, PMP | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Creative Job Seeking

Posted by iammarchhare on 6 April 2009

Sometimes it isn’t the technology that gives you the edge

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I read an article this weekend on Yahoo! Finance about how some “Jobless make TV ads pitching themselves for work“.  The articles starts out focusing on Jayna Dinsmore who had sent resumes, networked and blogged, but still finds herself unemployed after 5 months.  No one has been hired as of yet with this experimental TV show, but it is still new.

“Exposure” is what Dinsmore was looking for.  Executive producer Ken Masson calls it “cutting edge”, but it isn’t the technology that is cutting edge.  No, it is the use of the technology that is cutting edge.

Targeted marketing, whether it be a product you are trying to sell or a job you are trying to land, won’t be replaced any time soon.  Technology has made it much more possible to target specific groups of people with specific interests.  Sometimes, individuals can be targeted because of past browser history, past purchases, etc.  In the end, it is a much more effective means of marketing.

However, there may be times you need the shotgun approach rather a more narrow aim at a target.

Sometimes, good ideas are fresh not because of the technology but because of a new twist on what’s already there.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.  Just find a new tire for the wheel you have.

Posted in Economy, Employment | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Creative Job Seeking