The NGO Challenge

We are pleased to be able to provide direct access to the article “The NGO Challenge” by the Association of Project Management. This article takes an in-depth look at the activities of Mercy Corps, PM4NGOs and Pyramid Learning in the development and humanitarian sectors.

Many of the professionals mentioned in the article are active in the development of the DPro suite range of products. It’s rewarding to see their efforts recognized by the APM.

To find out about how Project DPro is helping to address the NGO Challenge, take a look at the article below.

We would like to express our gratitude to the APM for giving us permission to publish this article on DPro+.

Project Management Challenges

A recent article on kissflow.com entitled 9 Project Management Challenges and how to overcome them identifies the challenges most common to project managers.

This article focuses on Project Management from a generic perspective, but which of these challenges are particularly relevant to the development and humanitarian sectors?

The diversity and variety of development projects means some of these challenges will be more pertinent to your projects, while others will be more important in other settings.

In our experience, budgeting issues are often a huge challenge in development projects. Access to funding is a common obstacle in many of the projects which have seen.

Stakeholder engagement holds far-ranging connotations in international development. Whereas in other sectors, a lack of stakeholder engagement often refers to end users, people’s participation in development can be viewed as an end product in itself rather than simply a means to ensuring the right product or service is delivered.

Does scope creep affect ID and humanitarian projects as much as traditional engineering and product design projects? This is certainly possible, although, once again, the array of initiatives under the ID umbrella make it impossible to generalize.

How about your own projects? What are the important challenges you face during planning and implementation?

La importancia de la Gerencia de Proyectos para el desarrollo estratégico de Puerto Rico

Soy Jesús E. Delgado, y me considero un profesional, practicante, conferenciante y educador en Gestión de proyectos, PMO, Resiliencia Organizacional y Continuidad de Negocio. Estoy comprometido conmigo mismo con ser un líder servicial y transformacional, un constructor de relaciones, un solucionador de problemas, un pensador crítico, un promotor de la innovación y un formador del futuro.

Tras el paso de los huracanes Irma y María en el 2017, los terremotos del 2019 y 2020 y la pandemia del Covid19, Puerto Rico ha sufrió una gran devastación y los sistemas de infraestructura principales se vieron severamente afectados. Debido solamente a los daños causados por el Huracán María, se han identificado miles de proyectos de reconstrucción y recuperación en todos los municipios de la Isla.

Nesty Delgado

Es importante mencionar que PR es un territorio no incorporado de los EEUU y por ende todos los puertorriqueños somos ciudadanos americanos y somos participes de las ventajas y desventajas que eso pueda traer.

En este caso en particular, PR será el recipiente de miles de millones de dólares de fondos del Gobierno de los EEUU para la recuperación, reconstrucción y resiliencia del País La gran mayoría de estos fondos deben ser invertidos e implementados a través de proyectos que se desarrollarán en toda la Isla. Actualmente, están definiéndose, diseñándose, planificándose e implementándose cientos de proyectos educativos, de construcción, de infraestructura, tecnológicos, y para aumentar la resiliencia eléctrica y comunitaria.

Todos los 72 municipios, los cientos de agencias del gobierno central y cientos de NGOs tendrán la ardua tarea de gestionar proyectos de baja, mediana y alta complejidad por los próximos diez a quince años.
Esto es una oportunidad histórica única para Puerto Rico ya que con la cantidad de dinero asignada para estos proyectos podríamos transformar nuestra Isla hacia niveles de excelencia nunca antes vistos. Pero para lograr el éxito, hacen falta cientos de gerentes de proyectos con las competencias, la experiencia, la madurez emocional, la visión y el liderazgo necesarios.

En la actualidad PR no cuenta con suficientes profesionales de la gerencia de proyectos que puedan atender la gran cantidad de proyectos, programas y portafolios existentes. Por esa razón es urgente capacitar en Project Management, PMO e Implementación de la Estrategia a todos los individuos que tengan la capacidad de aprender.

Consciente de la gran cantidad de proyectos que deberán ser implementados en los próximos años como parte de los esfuerzos y fondos destinados a la recuperación y reconstrucción de Puerto Rico, hace unos meses propuse un junte estratégico entre la Asociación de Industriales de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association) y mi empresa, OKA Project Management & Strategic Leadership para lanzar la Academia de Gerencia de Proyectos PM4PRR3 (Project Management for Puerto Rico’s Recovery, Reconstruction & Resiliency).

El programa educativo está enfocado en proveer, a todo tipo de profesional, las competencias necesarias para la gestión eficiente de proyectos y el conocimiento y herramientas para el diseño, implementación y mejora continua de las Oficinas de Gerencia de Proyectos. La Academia no será solo para los miembros de la Asociación sino que estará abierta al público en general, municipios y las organizaciones sin fines de lucro (NGOs) y para todo personal responsable de la implementación de proyectos.

Para recalcar nuestro compromiso social, estaremos becando a un miembro de NGO’s por cada 20 participantes matriculados en la academia.
Estoy convencido de que el mayor riesgo en un proyecto es ponerlo en manos de un Gerente de Proyectos sin las habilidades y experiencia necesarias por lo que llevo desde hace más de un año exponiendo esta situación en diferentes foros públicos del País. Y por eso propuse tomar acciones afirmativas a través de la Academia PM4PRR3.

Para esta academia hemos creado un “Roadmap” de aprendizaje en donde estaremos llevando a los participantes desde la fundación en Gerencia de Proyectos, luego a convertirlos en Practicantes de la profesión y hasta llevarlos a tener las competencias y conocimiento necesarios para diseñar, poner en marcha y mejorar continuamente sus PMOs.

Con este objetivo hemos logrado traer Certificaciones profesionales en Project Management & PMO reconocidas internacionalmente a precios sumamente razonables. Para la creación de la Academia hemos contado con la asesoría y apoyo de John Cropper, fundador de Pyramid Learning y pasado presidente de PM4NGOs desde Inglaterra, de Leonardo Reyes, presidente de PMO Academy y PMOfficers desde Barcelona, y de Antonio Nieto Rodríguez, pasado presidente del PMI a nivel mundial, autor para el Harvard Business Review y cofundador del Strategy Implementation Institute desde Bruselas. Todos gurús y expertos internacionalmente reconocidos en la Gerencia de Proyectos”

Para este proyecto educativo, estamos combinando las metodologías para la gestión de proyectos de desarrollo publicadas por la organización PM4NGOs y Pyramid Learning en combinación con las Metodologías para el desarrollo de PMOs de la PMO Academy by PMOfficers y el modelo de implementación estratégico publicado por el Strategy Implementation Institue. Organizaciones internacionales que son líderes en educación y estándares sobre la Gerencia de Proyectos.

Strategies for managing a project team

Team management is one of the most important aspects of the project management profession.

Effective team management is crucial for a balanced and functional project. There are many strategies for team management, and some of these are discussed in the article “10 dynamic strategies for managing a project team” published at kissflow.com:

  • Ensure balance within the team
  • Ensure visibility and transparency
  • Ensure effective communication within the team
  • Foster a culture of collaboration
  • Value each suggestion and discuss progress with your team
  • Establish success metrics and reward excelling members
  • Delegate tasks to groom future leaders
  • Manage internal conflicts
  • Use all available resources at your disposal to facilitate teamwork
  • Take part in regular team building activities and celebrations

Take a look at the list. If there are some strategies you do not currently use, how could you develop activities in these areas to enhance your team management skills?

How has your approach to team management changes during the current pandemic? If you have less face-to-face contact with your team, has this had a negative effect on team building/morale?

Project Governance Resources

Project Governance is a very popular theme with project managers seeking to deepen their general knowledge.

PM4NGOs’ partner organization, the Association for Project Management, has a library of resources on the subject of project governance.

You can access these resources using the following link:

APM Project Governance

The wealth of information provided in this webpage includes definitions, case studies, blogs and publications.

For instance, we especially enjoyed the article entitled “Goldilocks goverance – the story of the three bears

This fable uses the children’s narrative to explain how the key to successful governance lies in getting the right formula – not too hot or too cold, but just right!

Read this blog and access other resources at the APM website.

Useful tools for Project Managers

There is a wide range of tools for project managers on the market…some of which are more useful than others!

One excellent online article we have found describes a number of these tools as well as outlining their usefulness.

This article is written by stakeholdermap.com and be found here.

The ten tools discussed are as follows:

  1. Microsoft Project
  2. Skype for Business
  3. Trello
  4. Evernote
  5. Microsoft Visio
  6. VSDX Annotator
  7. SmartDraw
  8. JIRA
  9. Slack
  10. GanttPro

With so many project management tools on the market, we’d like to know your experiences of using project management applications and software.

Which of these tools do you have experience of using? Do you feel that some of these tools are more appropriate to the development and humanitarian secotrs than others?

Please let us know your experiences in the comments.

Project Management Skills for 2021: Hard skills, soft skills and traits

In this dynamic, ever-changing world, effective project managers keep up-to-date with their changing environment.

A new list of project management skills for 2021 produced by dpm, highlights changing requirements, some of which seem especially pertinent in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Particularly striking from this list are the traits of “Tenacious”, “Adaptable” and “Decisive”. These qualities are especially apt considering how the world has changed over the last two years.

While hard skills seem to remain constant over time, the soft skills required to be a PM would appear to be constantly evolving. In particular, we note the inclusion of “Coaching” and “Diplomacy” on the softs skills list.

How do you think the project management skill set has changed over the past few years?

Would you recommend any additions to either this list or PM4NGOs’ PM competencies?

You can read dpm’s full article here.

Practitioner Skills 4: Writing Case Studies

In the fourth and final article in this series, we take a look at the Project DPro Practitioner activity “Writing a Case Study”.  This a “Giving Back” activity.

Many Practitioner candidates may not have a written a case study previously. Here are some tips to help you write an interesting and informative summary of your case:

The word limit for this Practitioner activity is 500-1000 words. This is not a lot, so you will have to plan your case study carefully.

Most importantly, a Case Study is an opportunity to write a narrative account of your experiences. In comparison with more formal writing styles, narratives allow the writer to make use of description to create an image in the reader’s mind.

Descriptive writing appeals to the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. While some of these may be inappropriate to your narrative, others will help you to paint a vivid picture of the situation you are describing. Consider the following two examples:

The end of project celebration was very enjoyable and people had a good time. (explanation)

And:

During the celebration people expressed their satisfaction with the results and their pride at the accomplishments of the project. Friends for life exchanged contact and details and people ate, drank and gave thanks before parting for their next challenges. (description)

See how the second paragraph paints a picture of a true celebration of hard work performed and targets reached. The reader can easily imagine how it would feel to be part of the celebration.

Descriptive writing can also help you to portray the cultural, social and environmental context of your case study. Also, you may wish to describe a particular issue or problem and how this was overcome – this can also be done with descriptive writing.

In your case study, you may wish to use a more formal style to discuss results and outcomes. These can be presented quantitively in the form of statistics, graphs and tables.            

We hope these tips help you as you write your case study and that this series of Practitioner Skills articles has provided effective guidance as you complete your Practitioner activity log.

Good luck with the rest of your Practitioner certification process!

Practitioner Skills 3: Giving Presentations

In the third article in this series, we take a look at the Project DPro Practitioner activity “Giving Presentations”.  This a free election “Giving Back” activity.

One of the ways to give back to the project management profession is to provide your peers with the benefits of your experiences and learning in the form of a presentation. For the purposes of the Project DPro Practitioner certification, presentations can be either to colleagues or local or community groups.

Many project managers are already very experienced in giving presentation; nevertheless, here are some tips for making the most of your presentations:

  1. Set specific objectives for your presentation. This will help you to avoid going off-topic.
  2. Less is more. Attention spans of listeners can be very short. Try and be as succinct as possible.
  3. Variety. People respond to stimuli in different ways. In order to attract the attention of every kind of person, make sure your presentation contains spoken, visual and written stimuli.
  4. If you are using written text, for example in PowerPoint, make sure you don’t simply read what is written down. Notes in presentation should be brief and allow you to embellish by adding more details.
  5. Questions at the end. Allowing questions during a presentation often risks breaking up the rhythm and losing focus. Allow people to ask questions but at the end of your presentation.
  6. Audience participation. While questions can be reserved for the end, you can plan other ways to actively engage your audience in the presentation. Suitable ways for audience collaboration include opinion polls and rating activities. As an added bonus, these strategies can foment deeper discussion at the end of the presentation.
  7. Round off your presentation with conclusions which encourage your audience to think about the topic further. A good tip here is to say something surprising or controversial.

If you follow these simple guidelines, your presentation will be a resounding success!

The last article in this Practitioner Skills series will discuss how to write a Case Study.

Until then, good luck with your Practitioner activities!

Practitioner Skills 2: Helping your peers

In the second article in this series, we take a look at the Project DPro Practitioner activity “Helping your peers”.  This a free election “Giving Back” activity and can be completed in a number of ways.

Perhaps the most obvious way in which we can help our peers is within the context of a formal mentoring relationship. Nevertheless, mentoring can work just as well on an informal basis. Mentoring could take place either face-to-face or online.

We suggest that before beginning to mentor someone you both agree upon the following parameters:

  • Establish the objectives of the mentoring activity
  • Set the timescale of the mentoring activity

This will help to avoid situation in which the mentoring process meanders indefinitely without an appropriate conclusion.

One suggested mentoring activity for Project DPro Practitioner candidates is to help colleagues or others in their quest to pass the Project DPro Foundation exam. Having experience of success during this process, Practitioner candidates are in the perfect position to guide and help their colleagues to achieve this aim. Guidance for passing the Project DPro Practitioner exam is also a good example of a helping or mentoring activity which need not require many hours to complete.

Just as planning is important to the mentoring process, so is bringing the activity to a conclusion. This need not be a formal review, rather an informal acknowledgement that the mentoring activity has come to a close and analysis of the benefits which it has brought to both parties.

In your quest to give back to other project management professionals, why not begin by visiting the DPro+ Mentoring Group?

In the next article, we will look at the Giving Back activity “Giving presentations”.

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