More About the Author
I have many years of technical experience which I gained after graduating from a community college with an associate degree, (diploma), in 1985. Since then, I have worked as a programmer, system operator, business analyst, database administrator, web administrator, project manager and more.
Through my career, I have used over 30 technical programming languages, databases and operating systems. This spans machine language, assembly, "C", Fortran, Java, HTML, SQL and more.
During my time as a project manager, I came to realize that many projects are not executed well. Many people know that too. Large projects are typically over budget, late or both. Some are vastly over budget or incredibly late. As a project manager who tries to work well, I decided to improve my own project abilities. I studied and augmented my informal knowledge with actual certification. I studied for, and passed, the Project Management Professional, (PMP), exam offered by the Project Management Institute.
My contribution to improved project management has been in the area of lessons learned. In my opinion, this is the worst aspect of formal project management today. Projects are completed with little fanfare or documentation. Anything learned in the effort is likely lost. As I have been told, if it isn't written down, (and easily retrieved in the future), it is lost. This is a big problem, one that agencies often don't know they have. As an example, imagine a project which encountered a major implementation obstacle. To overcome it, they have to buy a certain software utility. It works and the project completes. Later, the agency implements a new project which runs into the same problem. The team is different so they have no knowledge of the earlier fix to the problem. They buy the exact same software utility and fix the problem. That represents a direct cost of not saving the lessons from the first project in a system that can be useful in the future.
One way that organizations can start to improve their project documentation is to use a real tracking application. ProjectLibre is a great choice, in my opinion. It accepts task lists which can easily be assigned as work for team members. The program is free to use so any agency can have it installed and used for projects of any size. When the available features such as project and task notes are used, future project managers can review important execution aspects and gain knowledge which they can bring to their projects. This can easily save money for the agency.