I'm currently focusing on the Create Work Breakdown Structure process in the PMBOK Guide Scope Management Knowledge Area.
Louis Alderman (in the audio recordings for Velociteach's PMP examination preparation textbook, Sixth edition) notes the importance of the WBS: employing a WBS is the number one way for a PM to improve his/her project management practices.
How to build the WBS? In my job, I currently do a lot of task management work using the Smartsheet tool. Smartsheet has the advantage of being employed as a tool across multiple units in my organization. But I'm skeptical of Smartsheet's support for building graphical presentations, including the WBS chart. There are likewise limits to Microsoft Excel. As a result, I'm using the Cacoo online diagram and flowchart software.
Cacoo has templates for WBS charts (like the section of a WBS shown below. Note that I added numbering manually - it isn't included on the template.
Beyond WBS charts, Cacoo has templates for other project management needs, including fishbone diagrams, and Gantt charts.
In 2011, consultant Marshall Breeding described Library Services Platform products as follows:
The products are library-specific, they enable the library to perform its services, internally and externally though their built-in functionality, as well as exposing a platform of Web services and other APIs for interoperability and custom development. [source]
With years of implementation and usage experience behind us, I suggest an alternative definition, one that contains important commonality with Breeding's:
It's important to note that the LSP model is entirely different than integrated library system (ILS) model for library systems that preceded it. Releases were much less frequent (typically annually) and API usage was not a core component of the service. Thus, the migration to an LSP model with local extension supported isn't a trivial matter for an academic library.
The question is, how can PMI help?
One presentation that stood out to me at this year's ELUNA annual meeting was given by Jan Waterhouse from SUNY Albany, "Project and Change Management for a Successful LSP Migration." Jan's approach, as a Project Management Professional, was to approach the topic with a focus on change management and on Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide principles. I can't recall seeing a PMBOK Guide-focused presentation in library technology prior to this one. Jan and I later worked together on a session for the 2019 American Library Association annual conference that describes the PMI resources and opportunities listed above. I'm hoping that it gets accepted!
But, in summary, the move from the legacy ILS to the LSP is a significant one from a project management perspective. In my view, the potential for academic libraries to employ PMI's tools and approaches remains largely unexplored.
My experience in project management has been in the domain of academic and research libraries and institutions. On September 27, I had the privilege of attending an Association of Research Libraries/Coalition for Networked Information forum, "Innovation in Research Libraries." It was a chance to meet with colleagues whom I've worked with in my years in academic libraries, including graduate school at LSU; my NLM stint in the late 90s; and with colleagues from the Pacific Northwest.
The kickoff speaker, Bernard Banks, referenced this Ronald Jantz article in his remarks. From Jantz's article on the need for management-led innovation: "The library focus on service quality and adherence to rules and processes is part of the culture that can limit the ability to innovate." And continuing, the author describes attributes of many academic libraries: "Resistance to a new way of doing things and perpetuating established practices. This cultural inertia typically results in incremental innovations and only minor improvements to existing services."
In the project management context, the use of agile or adaptive approaches offers promise in terms of making service development more externally-focused. The Agile Practice Guide is a good starting point for thinking through the opportunities offered by agile approaches.
I have a couple of takeaways from this meeting.
An intro speaker suggested reading this foundational article: "The project manager," written by Paul O. Gaddis, in the Harvard Business Review in 1959.
Morning keynote, Gina Schreck, on being exceptional:
Leaders need to be out front. They can't be average, mediocre (me: Lyndon Johnson on a colleague: "he's a good, mediocre senator..."). (Also, me: I hope that this isn't me.) She shared four keys:
Avoiding common pitfalls in risk management
Jan Mahar Sturdevant, PMP
Okay, this (risk management) is one of my areas of interest. We all have optimism bias (me: one takeaway).... Importance of keeping a strong knowledge base of risks to counter.
Good risk management goes unnoticed (the register and follow-up mitigation steps).
Sturdevant focused on the limits of the triple constraint, with the need for additional focus on risk, resources, and quality - with the latter being key. She also noted the need for focus on positive risk; a real-time activity that participants did in the session resulted in only negative risks being surfaced.
PMs job is to create the comfort level, which encourages team member participation, which then draws out their expertise.
ISO 31000 addresses risk effects.
Focusing on these planning processes during this session:
RBS with categories: Sturdevant recommends use of Knowledge Areas for categories, as opposed to broad areas (technical, management...).
Risk Register: Again, suggested attributes: Rank, Category from RBS, Owner (from team), Mitigation Plan, Contingency Plan.
Top 10: Attributes include Risk item; current rank; position last month; number of months; and, risk resolution progress.
I then joined a fantastic leadership session led by Kevin Ciccotti.
Scrumban for client success
Hayli Hay, PMP
Hay summarized two use cases of Scrumban, following the implementation of Scrum and the subsequent need to improve the feedback loop, as team members focused on achieving sprint goals.
Agile terms used by Hay, in context:
Agile: A methodology
Scrum: A framework
Kanban: A process
Scrumban: A methodology
"Getting to finish" was one of the work problems (leading to the shift to Agile approaches) in the use cases reported by Hay. The value of a Kanban board was demonstrated here - instead of a large number of efforts close to, but waiting for, finish, finished stories/projects are highlighted to customers and team members.
One point that Hay made at the end of the session, she termed Scrumban as "industry agnostic," though its use would need to be shaped and formed for the business setting.
Move "IT" forward with 360 degree thinking
Jimmy Godard, PMP
I started this session with eight high-fives around the room. (Assignment by speaker of all attendees.)
Godard is a specialist in technological change (in Bank of America organization for more than 20 years). It boils down to:
For 360 degree thinking:
Spencer Horn led the closing keynote, "Ownership factor: Achieve your goals, enjoy your results!"
PM & Tech Blog
"Nothing so sharpens the thought process as writing down one's arguments. Weaknesses overlooked in oral discussion become painfully obvious on the written page.”