The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
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Constance Stillinger, PMP, Ph.D., Author at UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley

Dr. Constance Stillinger, PMP, Ph.D., is the Program Manager for the 2013 Symposium of the PMI - Silicon Valley Chapter and has previously served in various volunteer roles, including the Board. She has led complex multi-million dollar programs encompassing multifunctional global teams with over 15 years of experience with technology projects, process transitions, contract management, outsourcing and PMO implementations. She has an A.B. in mathematics from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University. She is currently seeking new project management opportunities in the Silicon Valley.

Project Management at 30 Below — the AGO project cycle, Part 3

Project Management at 30 Below -- the AGO project cycle, Part 3

So what are the lessons learned that project managers can take for a project like this? When I asked Andy this question, he had a list of lessons right at hand, learned through hard, cold, exhausting experience. I had expected to hear a list of unique planning and management practices to accommodate the unique conditions […]

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Project Management at 30 Below — the AGO project cycle, Part 2

Project Management at 30 Below -- the AGO project cycle, Part 2

Once the planning and preparation are complete, getting to an Automatic Geophysical Observatory (AGO) site can seem like a project in itself. Every year Andy, Bob and the rest of the team are required to pass a complete physical, update their dental records (in case body identification is required), and complete emergency and survival training. […]

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Project Management at 30 Below — the AGO project cycle, Part 1

Project Management at 30 Below -- the AGO project cycle, Part 1

Early December. Andy woke to bright sunshine and a light snowfall… inside his tent. The sun had been up already for about 1,680 hours (that’s 70 days) and it was so dry and cold out (-30 F) that moisture would condense on the inside of the tent and freeze, whereupon a breeze or a touch […]

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Are you a goal-driver or a crank-turner?

Are you a goal-driver or a crank-turner?

There are two types of project managers in the profession — those who expect tools and methodology to automate their work for them, and those who leverage tools and methodology to help them do their work. Those in the first category are crank-turners, and those in the second category are goal-drivers. If you are simply […]

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Manage deliverables, not tasks

Manage deliverables, not tasks

One of our most basic tools for regaining control of a project that is at risk is the deliverables list or deliverables-based work breakdown structure.   Not a task list, but the most basic list of what the project is chartered to produce.   It starts with the product and then flows from there. With your deliverables […]

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Focus on the path to the goal, not on the hazards

Focus on the path to the goal, not on the hazards

I was mountain biking recently along a lovely canyon path when I rounded a curve and suddenly found myself on a tricky bit of trail.   I realized (or so my brain told me) that if I didn’t keep moving I would probably die.   But if I put a foot down and stopped moving, I would […]

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Stakeholder Management Tools

Stakeholder Management Tools

Nope. There’s just no way around it.  You are going to have to work with people. Even if you are a “technical project manager” buried in the bowels of a data center or focused on software projects or on enterprise application integration projects, the key to your success is how you work with people. Your […]

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Contingency Plan – Focusing on Business Value

Contingency Plan – Focusing on Business Value

Last time, I talked about status reporting, which is commonly required but whose power as a multitool is often overlooked. Today I am going to talk about a tool that is frequently overlooked altogether – the contingency management plan. Projects are initiated for a reason – in a business setting, to create something of business […]

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The Project Manager’s Multitool: The Status Report

The Project Manager's Multitool: The Status Report

Status reports (or whatever your particular methodological school calls them) are frequently maligned – c.f. “TPS Reports” in the movie Office Space – and misused. They are the weekly report that you just have to grind out for your project or program that shows you have been doing something, that you suspect no one reads […]

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Simple Tools, Advanced Users

Simple Tools, Advanced Users

When you first start out as a professional project manager, you typically have had some informal project management experience as part of your other professional responsibilities. Then you take a serious PM course or two, maybe get a PMP and suddenly you find yourself equipped with a giant tool chest full of powerful and complex […]

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