Cheetah Learning – funny video ad for CAPM

Kristen over at Cheetah Learning, one of the best Project Management Training groups out there sent me a link to this YouTube video…..I love it!

Why do ads have to be boring?  They don’t…and Cheetah has figured out a way to get their point across in a funny manner.    Enjoy the video…and if you’re looking for some excellent PM training / learning aids, check out Cheetah Learning.

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Certifications in IT – Worth it or not?

My good friend, and partner at,  Gene Delibero asks a few interesting questions in a post titled “Certification: No Guarantee of Competency – But it Can’t Hurt” on CIOE.

In this post Gene highlights the pros/cons of IT Certifications and asks these questions:

Do you rely on IT certification when hiring? What has your experience been, good or bad, when hiring IT resources with or without certifications? Do you have an IT certification or more than one? Have they been helpful to you in your career as far as being a gate item or helping you get more money?

Some interesting questions here that might be worth looking at.

When I’ve hired folks in the past, I’ve looked at certifications as part of my overall view of the candidate.  If I’m hiring for a Database Administrator, a DBA certification helps me understand that this person has knowledge in the area…but it doesn’t help me determine their experience or skills in the area.

On the other hand, if I’m hiring for a Project Manager for a large enterprise implementation, a Project Management Certification like the PMP really doesn’t do much for me.  The PMP certification tells me that the user has experience in the project management world and has passed a test…but it doesn’t tell me anything about that person’s real abilities.

At the end of the day, the certification helps quantify a candidate’s skill-set but not their abilities and experiences.

The certification is a piece of the puzzle but, in my mind, a small piece.

What’s your thoughts?  Leave a comment here or jump over to Certification: No Guarantee of Competency – But it Can’t Hurt and leave a comment there.

Total CIO – PMO becomes cornerstone of IT executive leadership

Linda Tucci wrote an interesting article on Total CIO titled “PMO becomes cornerstone of IT executive leadership” that got my attention. The title is a great one…and after reading the article, I’m intrigued.

The article discusses how Ogilvy & Mather‘s Worldwide CTO Yuri Aguiar is using the Project Management Office (PMO) to drive business and IT alignment.  Linda writes:

The power is not in the PMO, per se, Aguiar said, but in a fundamental change in how projects are funded and managed at Ogilvy. All projects are reviewed by three architects and subjected to a risk mitigation and management (dubbed RM2) metric before approval. Top priority is given to revenue-generating projects. Urgent projects trump “important” projects, and timelines run about 12 to 14 months max. Also, all project managers report directly to Aguiar. “If somebody is running one day late, he or she is knocking on my door,” he said. ”

Interesting concepts here.  In many of the PMO’s I’ve seen / worked with, they’ve had a senior leadership team that made decisions on which projects to fund. Aguiar’s approach seems to be based around a lower level decision making process (which is good) which determines the viability of the project from a usefulness, risk and priority of projects.

Looks like Aguiar might be on to something here with this approach to a Project Management Office.  I do have some questions that might be answered by a more detailed article by Tucci (as she states she’s planning on writing one), but until I see more, I’ll voice my questions here for discussion.

Question – PMO and PM’s reporting directly to the CTO/CIO?

I don’t really have an issue with this if the PMO handles only IT issues. That said,, I have to wonder if this is a viable, long-term approach.  The article says that the Projects Managers report directly to the CIO.  Managing a PMO and PM’s is a full-time gig…does today’s CIO have time for this? Maybe they have to make time? Is this the best method for a CIO to align IT projects with the business?  It might be.

Question – How are project priorities determined?

This isn’t really answered in the article but if the project priority is assigned by the CIO, is there a large voice of users and stakeholder’s being missed?  Does the organization have a Project Committee that reviews projects to assign priorities?  How should priorities for projects be assigned to ensure proper IT / Business Alignment.

Question – Who “approves” the Projects?

The article states that each project is reviewed by architects and a risk mitigation and management metric is assigned prior to approval but no real description of the approval process.  I’m just curious as to what the process is here.

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Links for April 19 2009

The Case for Customer Communities by Valeria Maltoni on Conversation Agent

Tap Employee Passion by Harry Hoover on THINKing

Accountability Begins at the Top by John Baldoni on

The Era Of Volunteerism? by Mike Gotta on Collaborative Thinking

Measuring Market Concentration (Competition) by Scott Sehlhorst on Tyner Blain

Project Management and Twitter: A quiet roar by Raven Young on Raven’s Brain 2.0

Hold The Plastic Marketers, People Want Pure by C.K. on Marketing Profs Daily Fix

Forging Better Ties With IT by Susan Cramm on

When Project Funding Hits the Wall by Brad Egeland on Project Management Tips

The difference between truly standing for something and a mission statement by Matt on Signal vs. Noise

Keeping Your People Engaged in Tough Times by Marshall Goldsmith on

How to Create a Culture of Accountability and Hold People Accountable by Dan McCarthy on Great Leadership

A warning against premature adoption of cloud computing by Ryan Paul on ArsTechnica

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Links for Feb 15 2009

Help IT Run a Less-Risky Business by Susan Cramm on

Why Social Media Will Not Get You A Job In A Recession by Jason Falls on Social Media Explorer

The ROI of Community-based Support by Bill Odell on The Helpstream Blog

Welcome To 2009: Does IT Matter This Year? by Dr Jim Anderson on The Business of IT

Reinventing the Customer Relationship to Drive Growth by Valeria Maltoni on Conversation Agent

Clouds & Mobility = Sensors & User Experience by Mike Gotta on Collaborative Thinking

Go Ahead, Be Bold! by Loyal Mealer on The Art of Project Management

The increasing cost of information technology by Jeffrey Phillips on Thinking Faster

Thoughts on Living in a Company Filing for Chapter 11 Creditor Protection by Steve Shu

To Survive or Thrive by Rosie Reilman on Riveting Rosie

Rekindling A Passion For Reading by Mitch Joel on Six Pixels of Separation

Confusion over team role by Craig Brown on Better Projects

Managing Offshore Development on an IT Projects by Brad Egeland on Project Management Tips

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Connecting IT with Business – The Go Betweens

Oracle’s Profit magazine has a nice article titled “The Go Betweens: Ten Tips for Connecting Information Technology with the Business” has some excellent tips for closing the IT – Business gap.

The ten tips are:

  1. Create strategic discussions between business and IT
  2. Include specialists from all relevant areas
  3. Choose team members with great care
  4. Make sure go-between teams do not report only to IT
  5. Include senior-level IT staff on the team
  6. Do not put the go-between team in a project management role
  7. Make sure liaisons meet on a regular basis, even if they are assigned to separate business units
  8. Don’t make the team the only point of contact between business and IT
  9. When devising a go-between strategy, consider the size of your organization
  10. Assure a clear career path for the team (and beyond)

All excellent tips for bridging the chasm that exists between most IT and business groups. I especially like #4….and if you’ll jump over and read the article, you’ll see a quote from someone you may know regarding tip #4:

4. Make sure go-between teams do not report only to IT. IT consultant and author Eric D. Brown discovered an issue when a client required that projects go through a project management office-which reported to the CIO. “The only projects that got done were ones that interested the IT group or the CIO,” he says.

But even a team created and funded by the IT department will be most effective if it also reports to top business managers. “I don’t generally believe in ‘matrixed’ organizations, where employees report to more than one area at once. But in this case, it’s justified, because you need them to report to two different managers and have access to two different managers to do their jobs effectively,” Luftman says.

Indeed Brown says one of the most effective go-between groups he’s seen reported to a chief strategy officer, completely separate from the IT department. “They were involved early in any five-year plan, and that helped them set strategy not only for technology but for the organization as a whole.”

Sorry for the shameless plug 🙂  It is a great article with excellent insight into bridging the gap between IT and the Business.

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