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Gate Review Ramblings May 29, 2015

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Project Management.
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So, one of the projects you are involved with  is under way and soon you need to provide an update to the gatekeepers. You know, those people who approved the project and now want to know what’s going on. Depending on the tools and process used, getting a formal project update together can be a formidable task. Projects can change daily so getting the most up to date on status, issues and path forward can be time consuming.

I have found that using a consistent format to provide project updates works best. The gatekeepers know that format and also when to expect updates. I have heard that many project managers don’t like gate reviews. I enjoy them and look forward to meeting with the decision makers who have a vested interest in the project. Getting them in the same room and having one conversation about the project is great. Summarizing  the good, the bad and path forward is key.

Stage Gate ModelRegular updates on projects as it progress through each phase is a good thing. Planing for the milestone reviews helps keep the team and the sponsors in sync on where the project is. As part of the gate preparation, I review the updates with my team prior to a gate review. That way, they are aware of what is being said and can revise/improve as needed. Also, getting them in sync with recommendation(s) is also key. Last, the team knows what is the path forward and where are we in the journey to deliver the project.

Some of the lessons learned I found from gate reviews include:

  1. Be honest – provide the facts, do not gloss over things. Provide the good, the bad and the ugly. Most managers know what is going on in the area of expertise anyway so confirming what they know is a good thing.
  2. Be clear – summarize progress, current status and recommend path forward. Use a stoplight chart or milestone summary to indicate what is done, what is left and what is next.
  3. Be candid – ask for help where you need it. By being proactive and committed to success, you are indicating what is needed to keep a project on schedule. Assistance can take many forms and  can include resources, applications, training and funding.

GateReview StopLightEach organization executes the phase and gate process differently. Using a stop light chart is great to visually show the project health. It also provides a way to review the top issues and how to resolve them. Getting everyone on board with what, how and who is one of the best outcomes of a gate review. The best is a pass of course and moving on to the next phase.

At each gate review, there are basically three recommendations:

1) Pass – all deliverables are done for the current phase and the project is ready to move forward.

2) Fail – major issues are unresolved and need to addressed to move forward. Regroup when the issues are completed and ready to pass the gate.

3) Shut down the project. Not used as often as the first two recommendations. However, a viable and valuable recommendation when using the process correctly. This recommendation provides a way to show when a project will not succeed, does not have positive ROI and/or does not satisfy the requirements assigned to the project.

When there are multiple projects in a portfolio, using the stop light chart condenses the project health clearly and provides a great visual of how each project is progressing. Typically, the project management office collects and manages this information on all projects.

Use gate reviews to your advantage. Ask for help where you need it, stay on track and report progress at the next gate milestone.

Blog Milestone – 5 years and counting April 16, 2014

Posted by Edwin Ritter in career, Miscellaneous, Social Media.
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So the other day, I saw a note from the fine folks at WordPress concerning my blog. The note reminded me that I have been blogging now for five (5) years. Woot! A good run and I have no plans to stop.

5 years bloggingWell, to be accurate, it said I registered 5 years ago. No mention of how active I have been on the blog. A quick check of my blog archive shows I have had at least one post every month since I started with one exception. That distinction belongs to December 2010. That is the only month I did not post. So that makes 59 out of 60 months with a post. My style has evolved and is different now than when I started. Hopefully, it is improved and continues to get better. Writers always say the best thing to do is keep writing.  I refer to this as Hemingway did as fighting the white bull. The archive shows there is a wide variety of blog topics – personal interests, professional concepts, business practices and social media changes. 

There a few posts I am most proud of. In no particular order, they include :

  1. Diversity and Potatoes
  2. Puzzle and Mystery
  3. Positive Change
  4. 2nd Day of Infamy
  5. Re-entry

The all-time traffic leader by far is my ramblings on diversity (#1 above). More about that in a future post. I am in a much different place personally and professionally from when I started. I plan to continue on this journey and post further ruminations going forward. I hope you enjoy my observations and invite your comments. Which post is your favorite?

Here’s to another five years!

Rambling on reaching 4 year blog milestone March 16, 2013

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag, Social Media, Trends.
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Coming up this month is a personal milestone for my blog. The milestone is my blog birthday. It has been four years since my initial rambling. Or, what that a rumination? Either way, like most new bloggers, I posted frequently in the beginning. Now I have settled into a consistent rhythm and learned a lot about myself, blogging and visitor feedback.

Happy Birthday

As is typical with this type of milestone, I am a little reflective. I am grateful and very appreciative that WordPress provides this platform. Also, I must give a shout out to my regular followers. Thank You all for subscribing. Reading a few of the early posts, it all seems so simple now. I have enjoyed blogging about a lot of different topics. I will ruminate on those topics again and keep an eye for new topics to ramble about.

In terms of traffic, 2012 has been my best year. In fact, for a while last year, I was getting a boatload of traffic. Much more than ever before. That soon ended about mid-summer and my traffic metrics have returned to the mean, so to speak. From all the posts, I hope to have communicated some insights and learnings that resonate. You can browse the archive as it is listed in the lower right.

Topics of interest that I expect to ruminate further on  include big data and cloud computing. New topics will be found to ramble on about naturellement. I look forward to learning and posting about them in due course. Until then, I will celebrate the milestone.

Thanks for visiting and leave a comment or two.

 

Addendum – Quick update that after I wrote this post, WordPress sent ….

wordpress_4years

 

that makes it official. 😉

Ruminations on LinkedIn Milestone February 13, 2013

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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In the past week or so, I have seen people share updates about a milestone  that LinkedIn reached in terms of membership. The achievement was in recognition of reaching 200 million members. Definitely a significant achievement and kudos to them.
LinkedIn Member Milestone

Now that I think about it, I have had a LinkedIn (LI) account for quite some time. So today I see an email from LI that indicates I am in the top 5% of accounts viewed.  Out of 200 million. Top 5%, eh? Nice.  That’s a lot of views, no doubt about it. I was flattered a bit by the note and maybe even a bit smug for a half-second.

Other LI members shared the same status with varying amounts (top 1%, top 10%, etc.). Maybe you saw the same status update from people in your network. I have shared this as a LI status as well. Even tweeted about this milestone. The optimist in me says enjoy it. My network is proud of me. I’m sure of it.

The cynic in me would say what else beside an email? Free Premium membership for 90 days? Coupons? Bring it on – I’ll be watching for that email. Talk about personalization!

So, that happened. And, yes, I know – this message does more to promote LI than my membership. I get it. And you know what? It’s OK. I don’t mind. I am active on LI – always have been since like, 2006. I plan to keep my network updated and look forward to them sharing with me.

200 Million is a big number, no doubt about it. But, like health club memberships, there is a difference between the total number and those that are active. I bet that the number of active LI accounts is a lot less. Maybe that’s why mine is in the top 5.

Makes me wonder what the cut-off is for the email notice. Top 10%? 15%?

Did you get the same email? What was your 1st reaction? C’mon – a bit flattered, right? Then? Did you share that as a LI status update? What other types of promotion will LI use this year? I’ll be watching and probably sharing that also.