Project and Portfolio Management Experts

Jamal Moustafaev

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

project-portfolio-management-book.jpg

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 in the Professional Services Industry

 

I have got some exciting news recently! My third book “Project Portfolio Management in Theory and Practice: Thirty Case Studies from around the World” has just been released by Auerbach Publications.

So, to commemorate this event, I will be publishing a series of infographics dedicated to project portfolio management models in various sectors. Todays industry is Professional Services.

Infographic-Professional-Services-PPM_0.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 three very popular books: 

Please share, your support is appreciated.

Joke of the Day – When Requirements Elicitation Fails

 

This is the best example of a failed requirements elicitation I have seen so far!

 

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 three very popular books: 

  1. Delivering Exceptional Project Results: A Practical Guide to Project Selection, Scoping, Estimation and Management 
  2. Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects
  3. Project Portfolio Management in Theory and Practice: Thirty Case Studies from around the World
Please share, your support is appreciated.

Article - The Project Management Perspective: Why Do Technology Startups Really Fail?

Introduction

If one googles this question, he will find the following reasons at the top of the list:

  1. Market Problems
  2. Business Model Failure
  3. Poor Management Team
  4. Running out of Cash
  5. Product Problems

I have to agree that these root causes could be attributed to the early-stage startups, but in this article I want to talk about the scenarios where venture capital companies have already examined the company and its product(s), checked for points (1), (2), (3) and (4) and still chose to finance these enterprises. Since VCs are the most experienced organizations out there in the startup assessment business, we have to assume the best vetting process possible.

My Experiences

I have worked with a lot of tech startups around the world over the course of last twenty years. All of these companies have been in the “post VC financing” stages and here are the somber facts:

  • The vast majority of them failed (roughly 9 out of 10 which aligns with scientific data)
  • In almost all of the cases the product, business model and cash situations were in a reasonably good shape

So, what happened?

Company grew getting more and more customers. Customers were getting bigger in size. Contracts they signed were getting larger and larger. Companies were becoming more and more profitable. And at one point of time (usually when the said organizations reached approximately US$10 million in revenues threshold) the company just couldn’t handle one of the two (and frequently both) things:

  • Product development that was sophisticated enough to handle the demands of the markets
  • Professional services: ability to deploy their software/hardware at the client’s site

Reason? Complete disregard to all aspects of project management and requirements engineering

And no matter how many times you would tell the C-level people  

“Guys, roll up your sleeves and work harder approach does not work any more! You need to invest in project managers, business analysts and proper project management methodologies”

no one was willing to listen.

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Article - Top 10 Signs You Are a Horrible Project Stakeholder

 

Sign#1: You Never Plan and Discourage Others To Do So

Planning never helped anyone. Milestones and deadlines are unnecessary responsibilities and may cause severe headaches at times. Oh, and Gantt charts are for pussies!

Sign#2: Whenever Asked “When Do You Need This By?”, You Always Answer “Yesterday!”

First of all, this answer is hilariously funny! All team members and project managers especially simply love it! In addition it will raise your profile at the company as a no-nonsense, roll-up-your-hands-and-work-harder type of guy.

Sign#3: You Simply Love Having A Lot OF “All-Hands-On-Deck” Meetings

When inviting people always follow “the more, the merrier” approach. Are you planning to discuss high-level scope of the project? Get all of the technical team members in that damn conference room as well! Discussing detailed database design? Invite sales and marketing people; they will be thrilled to learn a lot of technical terms. Oh, and never, NEVER prepare an agenda for the meeting. Things will just sort themselves out.

Sign#4: You Never Trust Anyone

This especially goes to the estimates supplied by your technical team members. Whenever you hear something along the lines of “Well, I think this task should take me 5 or 6 days”, roll your eyes incredulously and decrease the estimate by 50 or even 70%. Believe me, your team members will come to love and respect you for your tough love.

Sign#5: Remember, There Are Always Evenings and Weekends

Always delay sending that all-important email containing a complicated change request until 4:55 pm, or, even better, 4:45 pm on Friday.

Sign#6: You Provide Specific Technical Advice At Any Opportunity

Tell your designed which colour combination is the most appropriate for the dining room. Find coding errors in your programmer’s script. Explain the basics of scheduling to your project manager. Educate your engineers about how to build ships. After all, division of labour is the thing of the past!

Sign#7: You Ignore Risks

Bad surprises do not happen on good projects! Scope creep is a myth created by those evil business analysts. Users always know exactly what they want and they never say, “Oh, and I just thought about this very important feature” in the middle of product acceptance procedure.

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Joke of the Day – What is Project Management?

 

Found this somewhere on the Internets and just had to share it!

Son: Dad, what do you do at work?

Father: I work as a project manager on outsourced projects, son.

Son: So, what is that like?

Father: (thoughtfully) Well, kid … imagine that a customer calls and tells you that one of her employees has been wounded by a spear, and now has this lance sticking out of his belly …

Son: And then what?

Father: So, I conduct a preliminary assessment of the project scope, timeline and budget and then tell the customer that the spear needs to be carefully removed and that the total cost would be $1,000.

Son: And then what?

Father: Well, the client usually replies that my proposal exceeds her budget by a very large margin …

Son: So, what do you do in this situation?

Father: For a mere $500 we end up bending the spear around his body and coating it with a flesh-coloured paint so it doesn’t stand out so much!

And what is your favouirte project management joke?

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 three very popular books: 

Please share, your support is appreciated.

Article - Mystery Explained - Why Do We Resist Killing Bad Projects?

 

Introduction

Have you ever been involved in a project that was in a bad shape? By “bad shape” I mean the following two scenarios:

Have you ever asked yourself a question:

“Why the heck is the management continuing to support this ignominy?”

These projects have been called “runaway trains” and “black swans”. They destroy reputations and companies. So, why is it so difficult to kill them? And yes, I do understand such concepts as sense of attachment, pride and egotism. But if you are a rational, intelligent individual, don’t you have to realize what exactly is at stake (i.e. your company, your shareholders and their money)?

The Kahneman Phenomenon

Enter Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist who won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics. In his article titled “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk” he and his co-author Amos Tversky described the following exercise, that I encourage you to do as well as I describe it.

Imagine that I offer you the following two gambles:

Gamble A: A 100% chance of losing $3,000 (i.e. you have $4,000 in your pocket, I threaten you with a gun and walk away with three thousand of your hard-earned money)

Gamble B: An 80% chance of losing $4,000, and a 20% chance of losing nothing (i.e. we throw some kind of dice and there is a 20% that I would leave you alone with your money).

Don’t try to use any statistical or other techniques to answer this question; just go with your gut feel. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer to this question. Which one of these choices would you pick?

Now, let us try a very similar exercise, but instead of robbing you, I am giving you money this time.

Gamble C: A 100% chance of receiving $3000 (i.e. I just give you three thousand dollars)

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Infographic - Project Portfolio Management in the Telecommunications Industry

 

I have got some exciting news recently! My third book “Project Portfolio Management in Theory and Practice: Thirty Case Studies from around the World” has just been released by Auerbach Publications.

So, to commemorate this event, I will be publishing a series of infographics dedicated to project portfolio management models in various sectors. Todays industry is Telecommunications.

Infographic-Telecom-PPM.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 three very popular books: 

Please share, your support is appreciated.

Infographic - Project Portfolio Management in the Product Development Industry

 

I have got some exciting news today! My third book “Project Portfolio Management in Theory and Practice: Thirty Case Studies from around the World” has just been released by Auerbach Publications.

So, to commemorate this event, I will be publishing a series of infographics dedicated to project portfolio management models in various sectors. Todays industry is Product Development.

Infographic-Product-Development-PPM.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 three very popular books: 

Please share, your support is appreciated.

Article - The Ultimate Matrix for Troubled Projects Recovery

 

Introduction

In recent years I have been spending a good portion of my consulting time on rescuing troubled projects around the world. Very often I would receive an e-mail stating something to the effect of:

Hi Jamal,

Our company is currently experiencing certain issues with our (typically flagship) Project X and we would like to hear your opinion on how to remedy the situation. Would you be able to fly here for a project audit?

As a result of this, after having been exposed to a multitude of various troubled initiatives, I decided to attempt to systemize different types of problematic projects and potential approaches to their rescue (see Table 1). Please also note that I am trying to combine both the project portfolio management (i.e. value) and project management (i.e. on-time, on-budget, etc.) aspects of project success.

Table 1

troubled-projects-table.PNG

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