The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
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Jose Solera, Author at UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley

JOSE SOLERA, B.S, MBA, PMP(R), CSM has been a project and program manager for more than twenty years in high technology with focus on IT efforts. At Intel Corporation for over 20 years, Jose led multiple projects and efforts, from the first client-server software development in the early 1990s using what now is called "Agile Project Management" to the extremely large Y2K effort. The Y2K effort was not only focused on internal IT systems but also involved the company's products, suppliers, and customers. After Intel, Jose joined Symantec as an IT Program Director driving a large, complex program in support of a new business capability and defining a program management methodology for the IT organization. As the 2006 President of the Project Management Institute's (PMI) Silicon Valley Chapter, Jose led the activities of the over 1,400 member chapter. Currently, Jose is teaching and consulting on project acceleration and leadership through Solera Associates LLC (http://www.pmlead.com). Email Jose at jose.solera@gmail.com

“We don’t need no stinking Gantt chart!”

Last year I wrote about Map Days (search for Solera and you’ll find my entries). You may recall that Map Days are the face-to-face sessions used to develop plans under NSPM (No Surprises Project Management by Timm Esque). During these sessions, all team members get together to develop a plan that builds on the group’s […]

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Managing Projects in Large vs. Small Organizations

Managing Projects in Large vs. Small Organizations

I’ve managed projects in F100 companies and in small companies. There are positives and negatives in both but sometimes I pine for the other one, the one I’m not currently at. πŸ˜₯ In a large company there’s usually an entire infrastructure organization to support the project manager. From financial analysts (accountants) who know their job […]

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The Agony of the Budget – Part 2

The Agony of the Budget - Part 2

“Have you included the depreciation in your budget plan?” Those words or similar ones is what I’ve heard from some accountants when I’m running projects. Honestly, what does depreciation have to do with running a project? What’s really important from a project stand point is how much money you have and how much are you […]

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The Agony of the Budget

The Agony of the Budget

The triple constraint, in many cases, is a given to project managers. Regardless of approach, methodology, or industry, most PMs are not involved, or involved enough, in the early stages of the budget to properly set it. And although we all know that a business case estimate is a ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude) which […]

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Energizing Agile

Energizing Agile

We’ve all heard about Agile, the good and the bad. While to some Agile is relatively new, I started being Agile when I led the Intel Inside(R) Program System in the 1990s, before the Agile Manifesto, XP, Scrum, and the various other approaches were developed. The project taught me the value of minimizing non-value-added deliverables; […]

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Two Keys to Project Management

Two Keys to Project Management

After many years as a project manager as well as teaching about project management, I’ve come to the realization that there are two keys to project management: getting the product out and the people. While there are many, many other things that compete for a PM’s attention, these are two that, well done, will get […]

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Recognizing PM’s Skill Development Actions

Recognizing PM’s Skill Development Actions

Recognition is always key. What’s the role of recognition in developing project managers?

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Developing PMs – The Mid Game

Developing PMs – The Mid Game

Are you rewarding the good PM or the fire fighter? Who do you want to recognize?

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Coaching and Mentoring PMs

Coaching and Mentoring PMs

What else do we need to do besides providing training and a supporting culture to project managers? We need coaching and mentoring! How do we go about it setting such an environment?

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Developing New Project Managers, Take II

What’s the role of the culture in developing project managers? Is it important? What do we need to do to make sure that the development of PMs is supported?

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Developing New Project Managers

Developing New Project Managers

How do you develop a team of inexperienced PMs? A brief set of ideas here.

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Project Decelerators – Lack of Quality

Project Decelerators – Lack of Quality

One of the issues that comes up when teams split the work is that, sometimes (grin), what is delivered to another team member or to the end customer is not what was intended. We are familiar with the processes to ensure that the customer gets what they want (or at least what they signed off […]

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Project Decelerators – Lack of Planning Clarity

Project Decelerators – Lack of Planning Clarity

So, you’ve met your stakeholders and gotten their support. Everyone agrees on the size of the breadbox. Details are needed, but those will be identified during requirements gathering. How do you plan to pursue the project? Should you draft a plan on your own since your team is brand new and they don’t know any […]

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Project Decelerators – Lack of Stakeholder Support

Project Decelerators – Lack of Stakeholder Support

As we discussed yesterday, there are many project decelerators, among them lack of stakeholder support. Whether the stakeholders support your project or not, if they are important to your project, you must secure their support. How do you do that? First, you must identify who your stakeholders are. Just because they are important in the […]

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Project Decelerators – what are they?

Project Decelerators – what are they?

You are excited. A newly minted project manager, you have just received your first assignment: develop the new version of your company’s external web site. You have great ideas, a great team, and you are ready to go. “Oh,” says your manager, “before you get started you need to check with VP Jane Doe on […]

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Some Leadership Tidbits

Some Leadership Tidbits

My last role at Intel was leading a leadership development effort for a large group in the IT organization. I learned a lot about leadership, its development, and what it takes for such a development effort to succeed in an organization (not easy). As I surfed our blog site, I looked for leadership articles and […]

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Dictated dates: not!

Dictated dates: not!

We’ve all been there. “Here’s a project. It needs to be done in three months!” You get that sinking feeling that you are already late and you don’t even know what it is that the project is trying to achieve. How do you handle these situations? In my experience, the worse thing you can do […]

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Measure Twice and Cut Once or Measure Once and Cut Twice?

Measure Twice and Cut Once or Measure Once and Cut Twice?

What is it about software development projects that is different from many other types of projects? There are many things, but Scott Adams nailed on the head one of them with his March 16th Dilbert cartoon which gave me the idea for this column’s title. In the strip, Pointy Haired Boss says “My management philosophy […]

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There has to be a better way, II

There has to be a better way, II

As I was mulling the blogs to write this week, along came my regular email from Projects @ Work including a link to David Schmaltz “Unlearning Project Management” published on March 17, 2008 (you may need to register to get access). The article is a recap of a PMI-published study by Lauri Koskela and Greg […]

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There has to be a better way

There has to be a better way

Early in my PM career, back in the 1980s, I was assigned the technical leadership of a software migration effort. I dutifully identified tasks, resources, and loaded those into the MS-DOS version of Microsoft Project (remember the days?) I then proceeded to assign the tasks and track their progress. Before that, though, I noticed that […]

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How do we track progress after a Map Day?

How do we track progress after a Map Day?

Deliverables-based project management, or as Timm Esque, author of “No Surprises Project Management”, calls it “Commitment-based” project management, makes tracking of deliverable completion relatively easy. Rather than worrying about the task details, the PM worries about the status of the deliverable. And here are a few rules I apply: 1. It is either “done” or […]

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