August 2018 Monthly Chapter Meeting

Our project management world today seems to be divided into two camps: those advocating a pure Agile approach, and those advocating formal processes using predictive planning and Earned Value. But I believe that many times, our projects are large enough and complex enough that some parts of the project are best suited to using a predictive planning approach, and other parts are more suited to using Agile. As PMs, we need to be flexible, and wear multiple hats: no one process or methodology fits all situations; we need to mature beyond being a purist for one and only one approach. Don't be an "Agile Fanatic," and don't be any kind of "Process purist" who believes following a set of processes guarantees success, and is something that must be enforced religiously. 
Also, from project to project, there can be a wide amount of variance, and we as project managers, must be versed in the different approaches, and their strengths and weaknesses. Yes, there are both strengths and weaknesses in these different approaches! The more we are aware of these, the better off we'll be. 
Our purpose in this presentation is to explore four key risks we always face on projects, and how Agile can help us solve these problems, and how and when a traditional project management approach using "Predictive planning" is more appropriate. 
The four key risks we will explore are: 

  1. Impossible constraints starting out, and the customer/sponsor wants assurances these constraints can be met.  (This applies mostly to the Initiating Process group.) 
  2. Risks with the requirements gathering process: missed requirements, misunderstood requirements; at the outset, the customer not knowing what they really need at the start of the project. (This applies mostly to the Planning Process group.)  
  3. Risks with estimates: needing more confidence with estimates. (This applies mostly to the Planning Process group.)
  4. Risks with forecasts; needing more confidence with forecasts. (This applies mostly to the Monitoring & Controlling Process group.)
Talent Triangle Category

About the Speaker

Mark Tolbert, PMP, PMI-ACP

Best Practices Training, LLC
Senior Instructor

Mark Tolbert is a certified PMP, and also a PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner). Mark brings more than 25 years of practical project and program management expertise to the classroom and is methodical about transferring his knowledge and best practices for studying for the PMP Certification Exam each and every time he teaches a class. Mark is very passionate about project management and believes adopting the best project management practices and skills is crucial to the success of enterprises today.

Since November 2003, Mark has taught courses in PMP Certification Prep, project management, and Agile project management to clients around the globe including the Project Management Institute Washington, DC Chapter (PMIWDC), the U.S Bureau of the Census, BRMI, Henkel Corporation, Vista Technologies, Human Solutions Corporation, Providge Consulting and open enrollment programs across the United States. The majority of his PMP Prep students have a first-time success rate for PMP students in his classes has consistently exceeded 95%.

Prior to teaching, Mark spent 27 years at Hewlett-Packard where he successfully managed support programs and project teams including a large E-Selling program, a multi-vendor support program for a large telecommunications company, data center relocation projects, and Mobile Device Management programs.

Mark has been an active PMIWDC Chapter member and volunteer for the past 21 years serving on a number of board positions including most recently (from 2009 through 2012) serving on the board as the Trustee for the chapter. He has also taught PMP Prep classes for the chapter membership for the past fifteen years.

Mark is a long-time resident of Northern Virginia and currently lives in Annandale with his wife Linda. They have three boys who are all working in information technology careers today.

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