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Project Management for Non-Project Managers

Project Management for Non-Project Managers

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Project Management for Non-Project Managers

336 página
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Lançado em:
Apr 18, 2012


As a seasoned project management consultant and instructor for the American Management Association, author Jack Ferraro has gained years of experience bridging the gap between project managers and functional managers to help countless teams improve their performance. Now, in this practical guide he shares engaging stories and lessons from his experiences and reveals the project management methodology and processes that will give you the advantage to ensure your projects’ success--and advance organizational goals. Project Management for Non-Project Managers demystifies the jargon and processes of project management, encouraging functional managers to jump into the PM arena and arming them with step-by-step guidelines for mastering the most critical PM skills, including business analysis techniques, work breakdown structures, program sequencing techniques, and risk management methods. Great managers are experts at getting bottom-line results, but often do not understand their role in the success or failure of their organization's projects. As projects become more strategic and collaborative in nature, managers with even basic project-management knowledge are most capable of keeping projects business-focused. By switching gears from passive bystander to active owner of project strategies, you’ll keep your team’s projects on track and, as a result, increase their business value.
Lançado em:
Apr 18, 2012

Sobre o autor

JACK FERRARO, PMP, is president of MyProjectAdvisor(R), a company that provides project management consulting, coaching, and training. He has 22 years of experience working with project teams and managing complex projects.

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  • By reading this book, you are already taking an important step toward working more closely with your project team and becoming integrated into the project organization.

  • The challenge is getting members of the project team to see the big picture and how their work is affecting the organization’s overall longterm goals.

Amostra do Livro

Project Management for Non-Project Managers - Jack Ferraro

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ISBN: 978-0-8144-1736-2 (eBook)

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Ferraro, Jack

Project management for non-project managers / Jack Ferraro.—1st ed.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN-13: 978-0-8144-1736-2

ISBN-10: 0-8144-1736-1

1. Project management. 2. Strategic planning. 3. Organizational effectiveness. I. Title. HD69.P75F467 2012



© 2012 Jack Ferraro.

All rights reserved.

This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

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Printing number

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Information about External Hyperlinks in this ebook

Please note that footnotes in this ebook may contain hyperlinks to external websites as part of bibliographic citations. These hyperlinks have not been activated by the publisher, who cannot verify the accuracy of these links beyond the date of publication.





The Critical Role of the Functional Manager in Project Success

Chapter 1 What the Functional Manager Should Know About the Project Organization

Who Is the Functional Manager?

The Challenge of Integrating the Project Team into the Organization

The Functional Manager’s Role in Creating an Integrated Project Organization

The Three Types of Organizational Structure

The Functional Manager’s Impact on Project Success or Failure

Chapter 2 The Importance of Project Planning

Creating Foresight

Why Do You Need a Plan?

What Is a Good Plan?

Basic Steps to Planning Projects

Summary of Project Planning

Project Plans and Vendors

Project Planning Tools: What They Do and What They Don’t Do

Challenges to Getting a Good Plan

Multi-Project Systems

Chapter 3 Understanding the Business Side of the Project 69

The Connection Between Business Knowledge and Requirements

Writing Good Requirements

Scope Creep

Stabilizing Requirements Through the Business Process

Chapter 4 The Ideal Functional Manager in the Project Organization

Get It . . . or Risk Getting Moved Out


Four Critical Project Management Skills for Functional Managers

Chapter 5 The Project Management Mystique Unveiled

A Shared Language

Project Management Demystified

Demystifying Methodologies

Chapter 6 Articulating the Real Customer Need and Business Case for the Project

Producing a Mission Statement That Conveys Urgency and Vision

Creating a Meaningful Current and Future State Comparison

Base Your Requirements on the Business Process

Prepare a Realistic Business Case

Chapter 7 Staying Focused on Project Deliverables

The Deliverable Structure: A Portrait of the Work

Creating Deliverable Structures

Case Study 183

Chapter 8 Understanding Key Project Dependencies

Telling Your Story of the Work

Case Study

Chapter 9 Being Proactive About Project Risk

Basics of Risk

Pushing the Risk Discussion

Case Study

Chapter 10 The Power of the Principles



Writing a book is project. And just as in any project, you need to rely on people to do great work with dedication, attention to detail, and a passion for what you are attempting to achieve. I have been blessed to have the assistance of such people.

First, I would like to thank my professional editor, Katy O’Grady. Her shared vision and commitment to this book was unending. For this, my second book, I was very fortunate to have Katy edit the manuscript and add clarity and impact to the messages I am communicating.

I also would like to thank my good friend and golfing pal Dave Prokop and his wife, Martha, who kindly opened their beautiful beach house in North Carolina to me for a few weeks, where the bulk of the manuscript was written. Being in a comfortable, beautiful environment that provides ample solitude is the best way to write effectively. Remember, Dave, everything breaks to the ocean when putting in the living room.

I would like to thank all my customers and project team members from whom I have learned so much over the years, on good projects and bad projects.

Lastly, I would like to thank my wife, Sonia, and son, Jonathan, for bearing with me as I worked on this project.


The most common vehicle for implementing change within an organization is the project, or a combination of projects known as a program. Projects are becoming more strategic in nature and scope, and an increasing number of traditional white-collar workers are involved with projects in some fashion. These projects often require unprecedented collaboration within an organization’s lines of business, and across the business enterprise. This dynamic is creating a need for functional managers to work in collaboration, communicate effectively, and appreciate the best practice methods of project teams.

Project executives, sponsors, middle managers, and functional managers are expected to be involved in an organization’s projects—over and above their duties of managing budgets, operations, and personnel. Functional managers’ job responsibilities, if not formally written, often implicitly include the implementation of positive change, delivered through projects. However, little attention is focused on the importance of functional managers’ understanding of how projects should work. Despite this, functional managers are the bridge to successful organizational change.

Unfortunately, project managers and their teams have embraced their own project management idiom. They communicate successfully among themselves using their own dialect and project management jargon. These project teams are often trained in organizational project management methodology and industry standards (e.g., they have read A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, the PMBOK® Guide), and their jargon can isolate a functional manager from his or her project team. This can lead to a lack of understanding of fundamental project processes on the part of functional manager and can result in poor communication, unhealthy conflict, project rework, schedule delays, cost overruns, and lost business opportunities.

While project management has grown rapidly as a career and core competency, with organizations embracing industry certifications such as the Project Management Professional (PMP®), project management methodology and processes have done little to improve the working relationships between project teams (providers) and business units (customers).

As a seasoned project management consultant and instructor for American Management Association, I have worked with countless functional managers attending project management classes, looking for a way to demystify project management so that they can improve the way that projects are performed in their organizations. These functional managers tell stories of being thrust into project teams and even project leadership positions with no training. Although they express no desire to achieve a project management certification, they recognize the importance of consistently delivering business value through the projects they work on. What they are missing is basic project management knowledge; they need core skills explained and taught with a commonsense approach to managing business change.

This book provides a practical guide for functional managers to learn what project managers and teams are doing—or should be doing—and to acquire the four critical project management skills to be an active, value-adding participant to the project organization:

1. Articulating the real customer need and business case for the project.

2. Staying focused on project deliverables.

3. Understanding key project dependencies.

4. Being proactive about project risk.

This book will motivate readers to take ownership of their project role and engage productively with project managers and teams to increase the business value being created from the project. Furthermore, it will enable functional managers to unveil the what and why of project management methodologies, processes, and deliverables and become active participants in increasing the value of these components, while eliminating the unnecessary project work that often slows them down.

The first four chapters discuss why you as a functional manager must take a more aggressive role in managing your projects. Drawing on my years of experience, I describe the value you need to bring to the project and why you are often the only one who can bring this value.

In the remaining chapters, I explore the core project management skills (listed above) that functional managers must use to succeed when they find themselves in strategic organization change projects. Each skill is taught by walking through a typical organizational project involving business process change, technology, and impacts to business partners and customers. At the end of each chapter, I use my own experience and case studies to reinforce the concepts.

My hope is that this book will help you to be much more project savvy, to embrace your role in your project organization, to partner closely with project teams, and, ultimately, to be a spearhead of change in your organization.


The Critical Role of the Functional Manager in Project Success


What the Functional Manager Should Know About the Project Organization

If this book has caught your eye, you are most likely a functional manager working on a project that is not going well. Or, you face an upcoming project that must go well to prevent a serious negative impact on your professional life. If so, you have the right book.

Little attention is given to improving functional managers’ project management skill sets. Why? For one, many functional managers do not even recognize that a project management discipline exists. But best practices in project management, backed by research, have evolved over the past 40 years. These best practices encompass large and small projects in technology, construction, business process improvement initiatives, and more.

Another obstacle is that many functional managers reject project management methodologies, processes, and terminology because project teams either consistently miss their deliverable dates or overrun their budgets. This leads functional managers to underestimate the value of project management in general and feeds attitudes of project management is a waste of time, or project management slows down the process, or project management is just a bunch of bureaucratic silliness. Such attitudes create a formidable barrier between project teams and their business units.

In many organizations, project management’s focus is on controlling and reducing the money wasted on projects. Management implements project management offices (PMO), methodologies, and processes that require excessive documentation, reviews, and bureaucracy. Career paths are built for project managers who learn the science of project management but often lack skill in the art of project management. Little attention is given to how business area and project resources should be aligned to optimize team performance.

Despite these obstacles, functional managers must play an instrumental role in transforming an organization’s approach to be more customer centric, thus helping stakeholders achieve their desired results. This begins with creating an integrated project organization, the heart of which is a partnership between the functional manager and the project manager.

Who Is the Functional Manager?

You run a department or division, deal with personnel situations, and resolve day-to-day operational issues. At the same time, you participate in one or more projects. Your participation is necessary—you are an integral part of the project organization. Although your involvement in some projects may be minor, chances are that you are a key player in at least one of them. Balancing the many demands of your functional responsibilities and then adding project responsibilities can be overwhelming and, at times, seem impossible.

In traditional project management literature, a functional manager is anyone with management authority over an organizational unit—such as a department—within a business, company, or other organization. Functional managers are not necessarily affiliated with a project team, nor are they directly involved in the day-to-day management of the project. However, they are supposed to ensure that the team’s goals and objectives are aligned with the organization’s overall strategy and vision. And the functional manager is responsible for providing the project team with the resources needed to complete the project.

Traditional role definitions break down in real-life projects. Project sponsors are often removed from realities of implementation and become distracted by other priorities. Functional managers become more than just resource providers—they become a source of truth for requirements, of validation of a project team’s business process analysis, and of authority in measuring benefits. In reality, functional managers are not only stakeholders but customers of the project team and critical linchpins to project success.

Project teams often have problems integrating into matrix organizations. Overburdened teams become disconnected from the real project need when they lack an understanding of the customer’s business and work remotely from users. They use vernacular in meetings and documents that customers and users do not understand. Furthermore, maturing project management offices (PMOs) stake out organizational authority on how projects should be done. In today’s PMO-centric environment, project teams have little incentive to step out of their comfort zone and truly partner with their customer. Their management structure preaches adherence to budget, resource management, timelines, and following the PMO process.

In my first book, The Strategic Project Leader (Auerbach Publications, 2007), I promote the concept of a project manager becoming a project leader, partnering with functional managers and helping them drive strategic change. I continue to believe this is critical to project success. However, project managers today are still being commoditized and rarely have incentives to step out of their comfort zones. They are unlikely to take the personal risks necessary to see that a project performs effectively. It may get done, but the project will likely underperform, be late, miss critical functionality, and/or run over budget. This is due mainly to the failure of project managers to deal properly with project obstacles that were within their influence. Project teams and project managers often neglect to take a service-oriented view of their role. They fail to understand that they are the spearhead of change in their organization—change through projects initiated to meet the pressing demands of the organization.

Enter the functional organization, your department or division. As the manager, you are responsible for taking delivery of the project team’s output and using it to produce the benefits your executives envisioned. Burdened with the daily meetings and conference calls regarding your regular job, you now have an entirely new organization to deal with: the PMO, the project team, the cross-functional team. Whatever its name, this organization is likely not to be ingrained in your day-to-day work or your span of control. Whether sourced with internal or external resources, this organization is one of outsiders. They report to another command structure, often with different objectives: to get the project completed on time and on budget and then to move on.

Adding to this, you most likely have already seen a project nightmare (or several) unfold before your eyes in your current organization or in a past workplace. And now project charters, schedules, and countless other project templates from this organization are rapidly filling your inbox. You may have a chance to glance at them with limited attention while you’re multitasking on conference call after conference call.

As a consequence, you are not wired into this project organization. You might as well be on Mars, receiving distant radio signals from Project Earth. The result is a gap in provider/customer knowledge, relationship, and unity. I wish all project managers would overcome these obstacles and make it easier for you to connect with the team, but don’t hold your breath. You are the one who must take a step to solve this disunity. And you can. By reading this book, you are already taking an important step toward working more closely with your project team and becoming integrated into the project organization.

The Challenge of Integrating the Project Team into the Organization

One common reason for project failure is the inability of project teams to work closely with the organization or business to successfully deliver project results. The functional manager plays a key role in an organization’s ability to structure customer-focused project teams, and this customer focus in turn plays a crucial role in ensuring that the project team understands the business problem or need. The challenge is getting members of the project team to see the big picture and how their work is affecting the organization’s overall long-term goals.

Throughout this book, I use the terms project organization and project team very carefully. These terms are not interchangeable. Although traditional project management literature uses project team to include an array of stakeholders, in this book the two terms are distinct.

A project organization is defined as a temporary organizational structure that is unique to a specific project. This organization includes members of the project team, various key stakeholders, customers, users, advisors, and sponsors.

The project team is a group of individuals who are ultimately responsible for delivering the project deliverables. Those may consist of a new software system; system enhancements; a new product; or a new business process with systems, organizational changes, training, etc. Leading the project team is the project manager.

Standing in the wings is an advisory team composed of individuals who must be consulted to ensure that the change being introduced by the project is acceptable. Members of this team may include regulatory advisors, legal experts, and other functional managers whose processes will be impacted by the project.

Then there is the customer team. This group consists of those individuals responsible for using the project deliverables in a manner consistent with the organization’s business practices to achieve the defined benefits that led to the project being initiated in the first place. This is where many projects fall down. The sponsor is the financial backer and has the organizational authority to get significant resources committed to implementing the change. Too often, we think the sponsor is going to oversee the details associated with achieving the benefits of the project, but he or she is not likely to be involved in the tactical project decisions that will, over the course of months, greatly affect how beneficial the project will be. The critical component of the customer team is the functional manager: someone who will ensure that users

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