10 Essential Project Management Skills

1. Leadership

We have to start with the big daddy of them all – leadership. It’s a bit of a slippery skill in that some believe you’re born with leadership skills and that they can’t be taught. But we think everyone has the potential to learn how to apply proven leadership skills and techniques. After all, what’s the alternative? As a project manager you’re responsible not only for seeing the project through to a successful completion, but you’re leading a team to achieve that goal. This requires you to motivate and mediate when necessary. Remember that project leadership comes in different styles, one of which will suit your personality. It’s more than managing tasks; it’s managing people.

2. Communication

Communications really go hand-in-glove with leadership. You can’t be an effective leader if you’re not able to articulate what it is you need your team to do. But you’re not only going to be communicating with your team, you’ll need to have clear communications with everyone associated with the project, from vendors and contractors to stakeholders and customers. Whether that’s through reporting tools or fostering collaboration with chat, file sharing, and other means to tag discussions at the task level, you’re going to need both systems in place to facilitate communications. These tools also help connect people one-to-one and in group settings, such as meetings and presentations.

Read More

(RADIO INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT) IMPORTANCE OF CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS TO YOUR CAREER

Microphone.jpg

Radio Presenter: Good morning. Today we are going to be discussing Importance of Certification in Career Development.

With us are Mary Adebusoye, she’s the General Manager of Ciel Consulting. Also with us is Obalim Esedebe - Senior Consultant of Ciel Consulting. Ciel Consulting is a Globally recognised training and certifications firm, with portfolios covering training, certifications, and consulting in Project Management, Business Analysis, Safety Courses, HR courses and IT Courses like ITIL, CEH and CISSP..

(Turns to the Ciel Team and asks)

So Mr. Obalim, I hear a lot about professional training and certifications. The trend and enthusiasm about these training have been on the increase in the last 5 years. Why the mad rush? What exactly is the value of these training and certifications? Why should I invest my time, effort and perhaps effort to get these certifications?

Obalim: Firstly, you would agree with me that having an ordinary university degree is never enough in today’s competitive world. In your career, you’ll be in stiff competition with people with advanced degrees, certifications and even foreign degrees of all sorts. The question is “what “extra” do you have to give you the advantage in your career?

When you consider the opportunities the world offers the certified professional, you’ll understand why a lot of people go for these certification programs. Firstly, there’s the income advantage. Certified professionals earn 20 - 25% on average more than their peers in the same industry. Then there’s more employment and promotion opportunities, not to talk about job security. You get to execute your work more effectively and efficiently, and become more noticeable to management. Then there’s international/global recognition for your certification, anywhere in the world. This would come in handy if you decide to relocate or migrate to any country of the world.

Radio Presenter: You raised a very important point. Speaking about global recognition and migration - I know a number of people who traveled to the US or Canada and had difficulty getting good jobs. Would you say not having a certification caused this prolonged period of difficulty?

Mary: Honestly, you cannot totally remove that factor. It’s unfortunate that our university degrees in Nigeria are not globally recognized. According to the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, there’s no local Nigerian university in the list of the top 600 universities in the world. This means that holding our degrees translate into more difficulty securing good jobs overseas. So basically, it would be to your advantage to have a certificate, academic or professional, that is globally recognized. Anywhere in the world, if you hold a PMP, or a CBAP, or a PHRI, professionals in that field instantly recognize you. The international labour market instantly recognizes you. These professional bodies have networking communities that can form the foundation for your networking activities. What’s there to lose? And we’ve not even started talking about the “Hot Cake” factor.

construction-management.jpg

Radio Presenter: The “Hot Cake” factor? What’s that?

Obalim: There are numbers of awesome certification programs that pay wonderfully well in Canada and other Western countries. Business Analysts for instance earn between 80, 281 to 136, 400 Canadian dollars a year. Certified HR Managers earn as high as 130 000 Canadian dollars. They earn this much because these certifications - like business analysis, project management, human resources management and a number of these IT courses are very much in demand, owing to the nature of the business environment there. In fact, in the last 3 years, when we looked at data from our training programs, about 73% of training and certification participants were doing it, because they had plans or arrangements to relocate overseas. So a certification becomes a plus factor, and added attractiveness factor on their profiles.

Radio Presenter: Oh I see. So tell me; if I want to take a certification program, why should I come for Ciel Consulting. What is it I’d get from you that I can’t get from the numerous consulting outfits scattered around Lagos?

Mary: Firstly, our training and certification package is full and considers the end-to-end needs of our clients/participants. Yes, we provide training, but that’s just a small part of the package. And then you receive first-rate examination preparation materials (totaling about N60000 in value), you get to learn introductory Primavera, Project and Visio on the last day, depending on the program you applied for, you get a study program to maximize your study for the exam, and then exam preparation tests or boot-camp where we introduce you to as much past questions from the PMP/BA so that you are familiar with exam scenarios, and we also help with examination registration, career advice and CV rewrite.

Radio Presenter: Wait a minute. All of this is in one package?

Obalim: Yes. And there’s the added promise that if you come in for our classes and you’re not satisfied with what you get, we will give you a 100% refund of your money. That’s guaranteed!!!

Radio Presenter: Wonderful...so how much does this package go for?

Obalim: It goes for only N69, 999 - the classes, the materials, including and examination preparation book, the career consulting, CV rewrite, examination registration, study program, Primavera, MS Project. For the Project Management package, it’s N69, 999. There’s also a package for Business Analysis, HRM, HSE, Facility Management and so forth. All of these can be accessed on our website, www. Cielgr.com, or you could call our helplines: 08091592389, or 08072678355.

Watch out for This Weeks Edition, Thursday 28th March. Thanks for listening in.

9 Important Documents created by every Business Analyst (Part 2)

Documentation is one of the integral job functions of a business analyst and he, throughout the course of a project, prepares many documents. These documents are created to fulfill the varied project needs and cater to audiences belonging to different spheres of a project.

The type and specifications a business analyst is expected to create in an organization depends upon many parameters like organization’s processes and policies, need and expectations of the business, and the stakeholder requirements. Detailed below are the common documents a business analyst is expected to create and they are extensively used throughout the course of a project. Each of these documents has a specific template and it’s a part of the overall project documentation. The documents are:

  • Project vision Document

  • Requirement Management Plan

  • User stories

  • Use cases

  • Business Requirement Document

  • Requirement traceability matrix (RTM)

  • Functional requirement specification (FRS)/ Functional Specification Document (FSD)

  • System requirement specification (SRS)/ System Requirement Document (SRD)

  • Test case

Let’s discuss the second part of these documents in details, as we discussed 4 of these important documents last week.

Read More

9 Important Documents created by every Business Analyst (Part 1)

Documentation is one of the integral job functions of a business analyst and he, throughout the course of a project, prepares many documents. These documents are created to fulfill the varied project needs and cater to audiences belonging to different spheres of a project.

The type and specifications a business analyst is expected to create in an organization depends upon many parameters like organization’s processes and policies, need and expectations of the business, and the stakeholder requirements. Detailed below are the common documents a business analyst is expected to create and they are extensively used throughout the course of a project. Each of these documents has a specific template and it’s a part of the overall project documentation. The documents are:

Read More

How to Identify and Source Business Needs for Analysis

Business analysis work begins with the discovery of a business need. Business needs are problems or opportunities of strategic importance to the organisation.

A good example of a business need that can trigger a comprehensive BA work would be: customers from certain parts of the world experiencing slow performance on a website that they have paid to have access to premium content.

If the complaints reach a certain level, they can become business needs that may trigger an assessment for possible changes.

According to the BABOK, business needs can come from a variety of internal and/or external sources including the following below.

Read More

Is Project Management the Most Practical Profession Ever?

I make it a “point of duty” to point out to my students and clients on project assignments how much project management is practical rather than conceptual.

Practical according to the online Oxford Dictionary is defined as: “of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas”.

Quite a chunk of career and professional development is steeped in ideas and concepts – management disciplines, business analysis, and several others are known to be concerned with the building of conceptual models.

Read More

8 Essential Business Analysis Questions for a Successful Elicitation Session

“Guiding” elicitation means to think of the right questions to ask to obtain the desired outcomes from elicitation.

To achieve this clarity and focus, the business analyst needs to keep 8 important questions in mind while conducting his elicitation sessions. Think of these as the “eight essential business analysis questions.”

They are:

1.       What are my elicitation activity goals and agenda?

2.      What is the scope of the change?

3.      What type of output will each activity produce?

Read More

5 Project Management Techniques to Avoid Project Failure

What is Project Failure?

project is considered a failure when it has not delivered what was required, in line with expectations. Therefore, in order to succeed, a project must deliver to cost, to quality, and on time; and it must deliver the benefits presented in the business case.

Remedies:

1. Manage the goal.

In avoiding project trouble the phrase “a stitch in time saves nine” has never been more correct. Manage scope (do not try to control it), document the decisions (never rely on an understanding), and give users what they need (rather than what they want). Delivering to the original scope, schedule, and budget is far from a guarantee of a successful project. It is essential to work with the customer and ensure the project delivers value.

2. Educate the Customer: Nothing is free.

There are three parameters that control a project—scope, schedule, and budget. Trying to edict all three is the definition of a failure waiting to happen. Only two of these attributes may be set; the other is derived. Educate the customer (and maybe some corporate executive) on these constraints and how they work.

Read More