A new blog post will appear on June 3
Using SharePoint Announcements web part is a good way to convey small amounts of important information on your site’s pages. I like to use Announcements mainly on the home page and the project status dashboard page.
You can set an expiration date for each announcement which is useful if the information will no longer be of value after a certain date. You can leave the expiration date blank if you wish the announcement to be “sticky” (i.e. will never disappear from the page).
Here are some example uses for announcements:
- The “Welcome!” announcement. This is placed on the home page with no expiration date and orients the user as to where they are, how the site is used, and who to contact for questions.
- The “Latest News” announcement on the home page. This contains a brief status update and I usually set the expiration to one week.
- The “Project Summary” announcement on the project status dashboard page. This contains the project name, number, sponsor name and project manager name. It also gives a brief description on the project.
- The “Project Status Update” announcement on the project status dashboard page. This is usually filled out by the project manager with input from the main point of contacts from the business and IT sides.
Ask your project team members for ideas in which to leverage announcements for your specific needs.
Change reinforcement is, in my experience, the most neglected aspect of Change Management. Usually after a project is successfully implemented, the project team “high fives”, celebrates success and then moves on to the next project. A year later, when it is discovered people are not following processes and policies or not using a system as it was intended, management will scratch their heads and wonder “where did we go wrong?”.
The answer to that is that no one was monitoring the change and reinforcing it as a part of a continuing activity both during and after the project. It is the Project Manager’s responsibility to ensure that a Change Reinforcement Plan is in place with defined roles, responsibilities and processes.
Reinforcing change includes assessing the results of change management activities, conducting compliance audits and implementing corrective action. Plan to actively seek out and celebrate early successes. Transfer ownership from the change management team to the Sponsoring Organization. The Organization assumes the role of reinforcing change and rewarding ongoing performance.
Understanding how the people are embracing the change and the effect on the results of the project will be addressed during project close and audit phases of the project. During the project you may want to build in activities to assess the effectiveness of your change management, communication and training plans. This can include:
- Surveys or employee feedback on their understanding of the change, desire to change, knowledge acquisition, skills assessment, and the employees perception
- Testing to ensure employees understand the new systems and processes
- Use of metrics. Several metrics can be put in place post implementation to measure if the people change efforts were successful. These may include: System usage, performance reports, how often is the “old way of doing things” still used.
Based on these forms of evaluation of the effectiveness of the change strategies, modifications can be made to the plans. This may include: re-training, additional communication, one on one coaching, etc.
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If your organization is embarking on creating a PMO, congratulations! You will typically find one in the best run companies. If you are not sure how to go about it, I will offer some guidance and suggestions in the upcoming series of posts.
Creating a PMO is a goal. Presumably, you want to have it done by a target date. The combination of a goal and a target date means you have a project! You should treat the establishment of a PMO as a project and use formal project management techniques to do so.
Here are the topics I will address in this series:
- Part 2 – The Business Objectives
- Part 3 – The Project Objectives
- Part 4 – The Stakeholders
- Part 5 – The Scope
- Part 6 – The Timeline and the Budget
- Part 7 – Risks, Constraints, Dependencies
- Part 8 – Summary
In part 1 of this 2 part series, I gave you some good reasons why you should get your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). In this part, I will share the methods I used to prepare for the exam.
There are many excellent exam prep courses available but they are usually very expensive (over $1,000) and in my opinion are not necessary. If you are comfortable with self-study, you can prepare for this exam for a lot less money.
Here is what I did:
- Purchased a self-study book that had excellent reviews
- Took as many free practice exams as possible
The book I used and the one I recommend is “The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try” by Andy Crowe. The author does an excellent job leading you through everything you need to know, with practice exams at the end of each chapter. The most important thing this book does, though, is change the way you think about project management to be in alignment with how the PMI wants you to think about project management. If you go into the exam trying to pass just based on your project management experience, in the words of Andy Crowe, “The exam will chew you up and spit you out.”
Here is a link to the book on Amazon:
I personally went through the book three times to make sure I thoroughly understood the material. You will have to decide for yourself how many times you will need.
The other thing you need to do is practice! There are many free PMP practice exams available on the internet. Just use Google to find them. A general principle in learning anything is to “try, fail, correct, try again”. This is the best way to master any skill or subject. The practice exams will reveal your areas of weakness, where you need to focus your study time. Take as many of these as your schedule allows. I even found one that had a full 200 question, four hour timed exam. That was a very valuable exercise. The practice tests in the Crowe book tend to be a bit easier than the real exam so you need to seek out difficult practice questions.
Be prepared to put in many hours preparing for the exam. It is not a slam dunk and you need to be well prepared. I studied over the course of six weeks, about 1-2 hours per day. If you fail the exam there are no refunds and you will have to pay to take it again so it is in your best interests to pass on the first attempt.
Good luck to all of you preparing to take the exam!