Project and Portfolio Management Experts

Jamal Moustafaev

Jamal is an author of two books dedicated to
project, portfolio and scope management:

Before you go any further, let us conduct a quick survey. Below you will find ten symptoms of a company that is in dire need of project management and/or project portfolio management. Go ahead, read through the list and count how many of these characteristics can be attributed to your organization:

  1. Unexpected issues and problems arise in the middle of projects
  2. Communications seem to be ad-hoc; too often important stakeholders are not informed about key decisions
  3. Project's requirements are never clearly defined
  4. Project managers and functional managers (department directors and managers) constantly fight over resources.
  5. Priorities of the projects initiated by the executives constantly change, resulting in quick resource reassignments.
  6. There is a chronic shortage of resources at the organization. Employees are constantly complaining about being overworked, while the managers insist that they must roll up their sleeves and work harder
  7. Projects are frequently late and/or over budget and/or do not deliver the full scope promised and the quality of the project product is low
  8. Even if the strategic idea is implemented, the company sometimes fails to achieve the expected improvement or fails to receive any value from the said project at all
  9. The strategic plan – even if the company has one - is presented as a list of projects, but the cause-effect logic tying those initiatives to the company’s mission, goals and the strategy is absent
  10. The list of company projects is not prioritized. Therefore it is assumed that all of these initiatives must be started and implemented more or less simultaneously

Did you count more than five symptoms present at your company? We can help! We offer project management, project portfolio management consulting and training services to help get your business back on track.

Please contact me directly via email at jamal@thinktankconsulting.ca or by phone +1-778-995-4396.

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP

President & CEO

Thinktank Consulting, Inc.

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Infographic - Project Portfolio Management Model - Medical Devices Manufacturer

 

Infographic - PPM Model - Medical Devices.png

 

About the Author

Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP – president and founder of Thinktank Consulting is an internationally acclaimed expert and speaker in the areas of project/portfolio management, scope definition, process improvement and corporate training. Jamal Moustafaev has done work for private-sector companies and government organizations in Canada, US, Asia, Europe and Middle East.  Read Jamal’s Blog @ www.thinktankconsulting.ca

Jamal is an author of two very popular books: Delivering Exceptional Project Results: A Practical Guide to Project Selection, Scoping, Estimation and Management and Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects.

Please share, your support is appreciated.

Infographic - Project Portfolio Management Model - Electronics Product Company

 

 

Infographic - Project Portfolio Management Model - Electronics Product Company

 

About the Author

Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP – president and founder of Thinktank Consulting is an internationally acclaimed expert and speaker in the areas of project/portfolio management, scope definition, process improvement and corporate training. Jamal Moustafaev has done work for private-sector companies and government organizations in Canada, US, Asia, Europe and Middle East.  Read Jamal’s Blog @ www.thinktankconsulting.ca

Jamal is an author of two very popular books: Delivering Exceptional Project Results: A Practical Guide to Project Selection, Scoping, Estimation and Management and Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects.

Please share, your support is appreciated.

Case Study - Shah Deniz 2 - Megaprojects Can Be Successful After All!

 

Very proud to have participated on this project as a project management consultant!

Background

Shah Deniz (The King of the Sea) gas field is the largest natural gas field in Azerbaijan. It is situated in the South Caspian Sea, off the coast of Azerbaijan, approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) southeast of Baku, at a depth of 600 metres (2,000 ft). The field covers approximately 860 square kilometres (330 sq mi). The Shah Deniz gas and condensate field was discovered in 1999. Stretching out over 140 square kilometres, the reservoir is similar in size and shape to Manhattan Island.

Shah Deniz 1

Stage One development of the Shah Deniz gas field started production in 2006, with a capacity of 9bcma of gas and roughly 55,000 daily barrels of condensate. The capital expenditure on Shah Deniz 1 to date is estimated to be $6bn. As of 2013, the field has produced 47.3 billion standard cubic metres (1,671 billion standard cubic feet) of gas and 99.5 million barrels of condensate.

Shah Deniz 2

Shah Deniz-2 discussions started in 2008 with the main discussion topic being the selection of transportation routes for additional gas volumes. Five-year-long intense negotiations finalized with signing of Final Investment Decision (FID) on 17 December 2013 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Shah Deniz platform - Photo Shahin Abasaliyev - Statoil_0.jpg

Nine companies agreed to sign a gas sales agreement (GSA) with the consortium:

  • Axpo Trading AG
  • Bulgargaz EAD (Bulgaria)
  • DEPA Public Gas Corporation of Greece S.A. (Greece)
  • Enel Trade SpA (Italy)
  • E.ON Global Commodities SE (Germany)
  • Gas Natural Aprovisionamientos SDG SA (Spain)
  • GDF SUEZ S.A. (France)
  • Hera Trading srl (Italy)
  • Shell Energy Europe Limited (UK)

Out of total 10 bcm intended for Europe, 1 bcm will go to Bulgaria and Greece and the rest will go to buyers in other countries, mainly Italy.

 

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Found on the Web - Infographic: Project Management's Impact on Business

 

Some interesting facts:

On Target        

  • 89% of projects at high-performing organizations meet original goals and business intent
  • 34% of projects at low-performing organizations meet original goals and business intent

Building Blocks

  • 71% of projects meet original goals and business intent at organizations that recognize the importance of project management
  • Unfortunately only 38% of organizations place a high priority on creating a project management culture

Down the Drain

  • US$122 million lost for every US$1 billion invested in projects due to poor performance
  • That is a 12% increase from 2015

Project management and Business1.jpeg

PMO

  • Only 49% of organizations have EPMO
  • Of those only 44% are highly aligned with their company strategies (22% of all organizations)
    • They complete 27% more projects successfully
    • 42% fewer projects have scope creep

Project management and Business2.jpeg

About the Author

Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP – president and founder of Thinktank Consulting is an internationally acclaimed expert and speaker in the areas of project/portfolio management, scope definition, process improvement and corporate training. Jamal Moustafaev has done work for private-sector companies and government organizations in Canada, US, Asia, Europe and Middle East.  Read Jamal’s Blog @ www.thinktankconsulting.ca

Please share, your support is appreciated.

Article - How to Determine Resource Pool Available for Your Project Portfolio?

 

Very frequently when teaching my Project Portfolio Management Masterclass I get asked the following question:

One of our major challenges is assessing the size of our resource pool.  No matter how meticulous our calculations are, we constantly end up with way more projects than we can handle! Sometimes we are talking orders-of-magnitude errors in estimation!

So, here is an example of a "back of the envelope" calculation of total project resources bucket at a company that has proven to be extremely robust.

Imagine that there are 250 employees working at the head office. It has been estimated via survey or questionnaires that approximately 30% of their time is spent on project work and 70% on business as usual, i.e. normal daily non-project tasks. Based on that information we can assess the size of the total project resource bucket at the company:

Total number of people at the head office = 250 people

Total number of working months in a year = 10  minus two months for vacation, holidays and sick days)

Percentage of time spent on projects = 30% (estimated based on surveys)

Thus:

Total Project Resource Pool = 250 people X 10 months X 0.30 = 750 person-months

Therefore the total project human resources available for the entire portfolio are 750 person-months. Using this figure and knowing that there are 12 months in a year we can calculate the approximate resource pipeline throughput at the company as follows:

Project Pipeline Capacity = Total Project Resources/Number of Months in a Year = 750 person-months/12 months = 62.5 person-months/month

 

In other words the total project resource requirements at the organization should not exceed 62.5 person-months in any given month.

So, here is my traditional multiple-choice question for you:

How do you measure your portfolio resource pool?

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News - London, UK Trip - Project Portfolio Management Masterclass

 

Travelling to London, UK for my traditional Spring Project Portfolio Management Masterclass via Marcus Evans.

About the Author

Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP – president and founder of Thinktank Consulting is an internationally acclaimed expert and speaker in the areas of project/portfolio management, scope definition, process improvement and corporate training. Jamal Moustafaev has done work for private-sector companies and government organizations in Canada, US, Asia, Europe and Middle East.  Read Jamal’s Blog @ www.thinktankconsulting.ca

Jamal is an author of two very popular books: Delivering Exceptional Project Results: A Practical Guide to Project Selection, Scoping, Estimation and Management and Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects.

Please share, your support is appreciated.

Article - Top 10 Project Management Lessons from My Four-Year Old

 

This is my 100th post on LinkedIn, so to celebrate this event I decided to do something funny and light-hearted, but yet still relevant to the domain of project  management. The problem is that by the time I became a father, I have already been a fairly established PM professional, so I couldn't help but to look at this fatherhood thing through the proverbial “project management glasses”.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 things I learned in the past four years:

Lesson #1 – Scope Creep (#projectscopemanagement)

No matter how much time you spend eliciting, analyzing and baselining your road-trip requirements, you scope of work can be instantaneously shattered by your rascal meditatively grabbing his behind followed by a simple, “Dad, I have to go. Number two. NOW!”

Lesson #2 – Buffer Time (#projecttimemanagement)

Remember, buffer time added to your estimates is your friend! The rule of thumb is fairly simple: however long it took you to accomplish the task before you had your kid, multiply that number by four (e.g. 15 minutes = 1 hour)

Lesson #3 – Critical Path Will Change All the Time (#projecttimemanagement)

Let us assume that you are planning two parallel tasks:

  • Task A – Comb your child’s hair (performed by you) and
  • Task B – Prepare a sandwich for the picnic in the park (your spouse)

You estimate:

  • Task A – 15 seconds
  • Task B – 7-10 minutes

Therefore task B is on the critical path, while task A has at least 6 minutes and 45 seconds of slack, right? Wrong!!! As soon as your fearless “Captain America” sees you with a hair brush in your hands, he throws a tantrum so bad, it causes his mother to run up the stairs screaming, “WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING. TO HIM?”

As a result you have to join your efforts, thus making tasks A and B sequential rather than parallel.

Lesson #4 - Inflated Budgets (#projectcostmanagement)

Here is a rule-of-thumb estimate: if you go shopping alone and your total bill is $100, add 15% if you take your kid with you. (“Dad, I really, really need that Kinder Surprise and that dinosaur!”)

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Article - What is Your Take on This: Throw Over the Fence Project Management

 

While project management has been almost fully embraced by the private sector in most of the developed (and certain parts of the developing) world, the government sector still remains a curious wonderland where large projects get initiated and "executed" without any professional involvement of project managers. And yes, I am omitting words like "planned", "monitored" and "controlled" on purpose!

I remember one interesting conversation that took place with an employee of a large government agency, whose management continued to claim that "project management was a waste of time" and that "in any case, we outsource the entire project to a construction company, so why should we bother?"

Me: So tell me, how do you run projects here?

E: Well, at some point of time someone up there (points to the ceiling) decides to build a new port facility ...

Me: And then?

E: The Steering Committee obtains the money based on some very arbitrary estimate and announces to all our departments that the project will be starting on January 1. The Real Estate department is the first on the scene since they have to acquire the land for the future development. They take care of that and pass the files to the Legal department ...

Me: And what happens then?

E: The head of the Legal department is very surprised to see these documents, but the representative of the Real Estate team exclaims, "Remember we had a discussion about this project a couple of months ago? Well, here you go! My job here is done". The head of the Legal team suddenly remembers the now-vague conversation that took place at the Steering Committee meeting, curses and assigns the case to one of his overworked lawyers.

Me: OK, but that is not the end of the story ...

E: Oh no, you ain't heard nothing yet! Begrudgingly the Legal team prepares all of the documents required and one day surprises the next victim - the Planning department. Keep in mind that by that time the historical Steering Committee meeting is three or four months behind us. So, the Planning department has already lost any recollection about that project.

Me: And how do they react to this?

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Article - A Tough Project Predicament: Which Course of Action Would You Select?

 

Several months ago I published an article titled "Why Do Clients Prefer to Live in Denial?" that described a particular project situation yours truly found himself in certain number of years ago. Today I just wanted to revisit this case study from a slightly different perspective: rather than concentrating on what went wrong in that particular scenario, I would like to focus on the possible remedial action that could have been taken. At the end of the article I am going to provide you with several potential answers to my question and ask you to propose the best possible course of action.

So, without further ado here is the situation:

  • You are a CEO of a smaller company A that signed a major deal with larger retail company B to supply them with a new trading platform
  • The technical sales team assessed the situation at company B and came up with an approximate estimate of US1.5 million for the entire project
  • The management of company B dismissed the estimate produced by the sales team and forced company A to accept a US$750,000 target
  • Since your organization (company A) has been experiencing certain financial issues at the time, you yielded to that demand, but added an article to the contract stating that:
    • Since the budget is smaller than expected, company B will assign a team of their employees to work full time on the deployment of the system together with a team of specialists from your organization
    • Once the money (i.e. the $750K) runs out, company B will accept all the responsibilities remaining for fine-tuning the platform

Several months later once the project manager received a complete and accurate requirements document, he was able to produce a schedule and the resource requirements estimate. The final, detailed estimate turned out to be:

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