What I think about strategic project management?

I have just created a video about strategic project management. You can watch the video from YouTube and discuss:

1. is this how you also think

2. did I miss some key points

3. how we can achieve project success and

4. avoid project failures.

 Directly to the video by this link.

Can you start coding from zero?

Many of us think is it possible to start coding from zero.  I have put some thoughts to my video in Youtube. I recently learned ASP.NET programming and I truly believe anybody can learn new things, even start coding from zero.

In this video I put something to think first. Maybe you will later start, maybe you decide not to start learning. You need to check it by yourself.

Check it out now: Start Coding from Zero.

Can you reengineer project management?

Michael Hammer and James Champy became famous in the 1990s for their theory of business process reengineering and rethinking the entire corporation. I’ve previously worked in the world of ERP systems and that’s usually the business case: rethinking, reengineering and changing the existing, processes or practices in the entire organization. From this past experience I can say that many times it will be difficult to change existing,; and later get the results from entire project or program which has been running for a couple of years.

For a project manager you can use theories in your daily operations, tasks and how you work with others. You can’t change the fundamentals of project management, but some tasks like scope definition can be seen different way: they should be always based on stakeholder expectations and directions. Basically you can think project objectives different: take it more strategic or just do simple changes. This is also reengineering, rethinking: you will need to change the existing.

I’m reengineering my own projects n a holistic way, even if I worked before and still now more in IT system projects. You must in this case include into scope: 1. process, 2. IT system supports it, 3. organizations that use the system and 4. organization culture. Many cases vendors are only developing and delivering IT systems, but forget other parts which should be part of the project delivery. You can see after go-live these cases that there’s no organization to support the use of new IT system, no culture or the way of doing things with new IT system. You may get your project to the final phase or even accepted, but how long it lasts, not a single person can tell.

I read Hammer’s and Champy’s book about reengineering some time ago. They originally used examples in their first book from 1990s but coming to 2000s they have got some new examples. Usually big companies like IBM or Deere are part of the examples. The history in the US was that organizations had to change their way of doing the business based on new competition, mostly from Japan. If you always think you change after something happens or is a threat, it’s very difficult and hard way to go. You don’t normally do one time changes or move the big boat with single turns – it will take time and is better to plan, take part of doing and thinking much, much earlier.

According to the theory reengineering always follows The Business System Diamond. It means top point on the diamond is the way work gets done (business processes); the second is organization’s jobs and structures; the third its management and measurement system; and the fourth its culture (employees value and believes). Simply to say: you give directions for tasks, have a way to give incentives and payments, possibility to see how efficiently things are done and lastly the real impact for anything, people involvement. If you remember to go through these dimensions in all of your doing (organization, project or program), it will also end up in wanted outcome.

Reengineering means time to time rethinking: checking again the previous changes and current needs.  For a project manager these checks are good to take into whole project cycle. First you start by setting the basics (project methodology), then you start practicing the project (planning and realization) and later you go to acceptances (project closure and support). After the initial phase, you may need to go through the scope, maybe something is changed in the organization or its culture and objectives need also project or program changes. During the planning and realization there might be changes you need to take into account, something is not feasible to do or it must be done other, maybe users will not like what was initially discussed. In the acceptance you take actions for changes that are delivered, maybe allow change requests to make delivery better (but never hinder acceptance initially, that time). Basically project and program managers without reengineering or capabilities to think like a reengineering professional may not meet their target. They will fail. Sooner or later.

To my mind for each and every project manager or person involved in projects, should have basic understanding of business process reengineering. It’s an approach you can follow, but at least you must understand projects will change something in the organization and therefore you know: what’s the big picture, not only your small part, your simple project. Also the measurement part, project or program efficiency is important. Nonetheless to say, but projects can have their culture and beliefs of people as well. As a manager you’re the one who can impact everything.

I highly suggest to any future or current project manager to read about this topic. It can open up why projects or programs are usually established; their objectives should come from the strategy, but the real need for them is actually conclusion of reengineering or rethinking the whole business, the process.

Why projects fail and what you could do for that?

I’ve been working in PMO level before and time to time members of these teams will need to take responsibility of the crisis project. I can therefore say that my experience is very robust, wide and it’s not a problem for me to make first analysis, plan actions and follow up in execution to take project back on track.


Typically crisis starts in a project when schedule is too tight, there’s undefined parts in scope or team is changing, even the project manager. If the basics before this happens are done, changes or such should not actually affect so much. I highly think that it’s not only the kick off, but project methodology, how we communicate and what kind of routines we have. Actually most cases I’ve been in any crisis project, those routines were missing and had to be defined first.


I read some articles about project failures. One of them suggests that projects fail for top ten reasons

1.  Poor preparation

I agree, without a clear vision, mission and project practice any goal will not be met

 2. Inadequate documenting and tracking

I’m not a big believer of control and monitoring, but in a project context documenting is part of communication and if it’s not done, reported and followed nobody knows the exact status

3. Bad leadership

Managers are the ones who must be trusted, understood and who will help in any issues

4. Failure to define parameters and enforce them

This could be tasking, part of daily routines

5. Inexperienced project managers

Everybody need to start somewhere and experience comes by doing , you need support in the beginning either from PMO or EPMO

6. Inaccurate cost estimations

Make it realistic; understand what budget and scope can be met

7. Little communication in any management level

Make sure your sponsors are aware of issues, mainline and will support when in a need

8. Culture or ethical misalignment

Organizations are different, they have their habits and often project or program will change the status que, it’s important to know beginning to be able to change

9.  Competing priorities

There are a lot of internal politics which need to know, but if you don’t know the main goal or target of your project, you can defend and meet it

10.  Disregarding project warning signs

Sometimes risk and issue management is not done properly, all participants like end user, customer and stakeholders must have single source of information to be able help, support and meet the target


The top list is more related to execution, project methodology and working style. Another article I read was about strategic alignment. If the project doesn’t have a real target, goal and strategic alignment it will surely be a failure. However, some cases we need only direction, but without a link to existing it will not meet what was planned. Some project are strategic themselves, they try to reach a new way, change existing and feedback the strategic objectives.


My own experience shows that both of the articles have their role in analyzing project failures. My top three reasons for any project failures are

1. Communication

Know your team, know your stakeholders, keep your sponsors awake and aligned – communication inside team is the most important part, don’t lie, be clear and make

sure all people understand you

2. Strategic objectives

It’s usually the case that project has the goal or solution it will be asked for, but also each project need to have its own strategy – how the project is going to do the

things, how its objectives are met inside and outside, who will decide about changes in project scope, schedule or team

3. Not all involved people should be part of daily operation

Project team is established after the formal decision is made – quite often in delivery project sales team is only involved in steering committee (like once a month or three

months) and that’s usually enough. If sales or marketing minded people keep involving in a running project, they can’t typically understand that project has already

started and need to be finished by certain time, scope is fixed and it can’t be changed before one part is done. Only people who are needed will be in core project team.


The learning is not only project manager can solve a problem or be responsible of the failure. However he or she is the one who decides the methodology to follow and either fails or success in establishing healthy ways to tackle any issues or problems that may arise. You don’t need to solve everything, but you must be able to setup the direction.