PMI Presentation: Harder Choices

I will be presenting at the monthly PMIWDC dinner in Falls Church on October 20. Details are here. The presentation will discuss the difficult choices facing project managers in three different parts of the project lifecycle: 1) project selection, 2) execution and 3) project termination. It will provide methodologies, tools and advice to ensure your organization makes the right choices to increase success in projects as well as maximizing the business value delivered by projects.

Speaking Schedule Fall 2015

After sold out shows at the IRS in New Carrollton and PMI Baltimore, I’ll be at he USDA (downtown D.C.) on September 21 (details here) to give a presentation and I’ll be the PM Tools speaker at PMIWDC on October 20 (details here).

PMI Webinar Presentation: Managing Risk

Below is a link to the PMI Webinar presentation: Managing Risk on Public Sector IT Projects, presented on November 18, 2014.

If you are interested in more details about the health benefit exchanges, check my Blog Archives – I’ve posted lots of information about them. Also, I talked about the GAO scheduling guide here:

Follow me on Twitter @DominicLepore for strong PM advice and cute selfies.

PMI Community of Practice Webinar – Managing Risk on Public Sector IT Projects by Dominic Lepore – TC

PMI Webinar on IT Project Risk

PMI logoI am doing a webinar for PMI on Managing Risk on Public Sector IT Projects. It is on Tuesday, November 18 at 11am ET. In the webinar, I’ll review risks that are unique to public sector projects. I’ll go over common risks faced on IT projects and steps you can take to reduce project risk. Included are a couple of examples from my recent PMI Global Congress presentation but most of the examples are new and different.

The webinar is hosted by the IT and Telecom Community of Practice of PMI. The website is You must login (with your standard credentials) to see and register for the webinar. It’s free. If you have any topics you want me to address just send them to me now or bring them up during the webinar. It will be fully interactive.

Harder Choices Presentation at the Department of State

I’ll be presenting to the Department of State Project Management Community of Practice on Thursday, November 13. My presentation is called Harder Choices (get it? I’m at the State Department. I crack myself up.) After coming up with the hilarious inside joke, I actually built a presentation around the hard choices PMs need to make in order to be successful. Hard choices around project selection, project execution and, if necessary, around project termination.

Sound bites for the presentation are:

  • Ironically, the hardest choice about project management is made before any project management begins. It’s during the project selection phase.
  • In order to start doing things right, you have to stop doing them wrong.
  • The best time to do a task is three weeks ago. The second best time is today.
  • Successful project teams may have difficulty transitioning to operations.
  • Marginal projects may live indefinitely. You must kill these zombies.

Terrapin Logo in PNG

Highlights from 2014 PMI Global Congress

Magic JohnsonAnother successful PMI Global Congress! The first keynote speaker was Magic Johnson. He knows nothing about project management or PMI but he is very charismatic. He stressed the importance of self-evaluation and said a leader’s responsibility is to make his teammates play better. Both are relevant to PMs.

The second keynote was Daniel Levitin, a PhD and best-selling author. He was fantastic. He talked about the fallacy of multi-tasking and why humans frequently make wrong decisions. I bought his book, The Organized Mind, and look forward to reading it.

I didn’t care for the third keynote speaker, who talked about (ugh) innovation. The fourth keynote speaker, Vince Poscente, was highly entertaining and motivational. A great way to end the conference.

The best presentations were:

  1. Immediately Improve Your Projects by Implementing Visual Requirements Models by Joy Beatty. This was great – an actual review of tools that you can start using on your projects immediately (the title is truth-in-advertising). Get this presentation when it’s made available. Or buy her book.
  2. Kill the PMO! Resurrect the Department of Simplicity by Jack Duggal. Jack’s passion carried this presentation. He was on fire! Great topic, great speaker.

On the disappointing side was the Access Health Connecticut presentation. Two (of the four) speakers needed a few more practice rounds. And the second speaker presented on cost containment while the fourth speaker said cost wasn’t an issue. The presentation was not strung together with consistent themes. And a lot of it was on the marketing of Obamacare – we’re there to learn about the project not the policy. (One speaker skipped over the risk management process – “you’re not interested in the details” – um, yes we are – risk management is exactly the details that PMs are interested in. Know your audience.)

My presentation went very well. Several people asked me to come to their organization to present it so I guess it’s time to get on the road.

Dominic Lepore at 2014 PMI Global Congress

Dominic Lepore at 2014 PMI Global Congress

2014 PMI Global Congress Presentation

SM_Badge_block_PresentingI presented Lessons Learned from the U.S. Health Benefit Exchange Projects this week at the 2014 Global Congress in Phoenix. I had a fantastic time presenting to a wonderful audience. Excellent questions and feedback. Thanks to all those that attended.

The presentation is here.

I’ve posted several times on the health benefit exchanges, as well as other failed projects. Check it out in the archives. Among other things, you can read the actual audits of the failed exchange projects. They are amazing.

Please contact me if you’d like me to present to your organization or your local PMI chapter.


Dominic Lepore at 2014 PMI Global Congress

Dominic Lepore at 2014 PMI Global Congress



Inside the Box Thinking

I have a friend with a company called Outside the Box Consulting. I joke that my company should be called Inside the Box Consulting. I am completely inside the box when it comes to project management. In fact, I strive to be equidistant from every side of the box. The problems with my clients nearly always stem from outside the box thinking. They think there is some magic wand they can wave for project success. Or they believe they are agile even if they don’t know what that means. They seek to avoid the hard work by seeking outside the box solutions. They usually fail.

My advice is straight from research, knowledge and experience. Project management is hard but it is easier if you follow proven methodologies of scope, schedule and budget management. There are no short cuts to success. Leave innovation for the marketing and design people. Stick with science for project management.

The Highlander Rule

Project saying #22 – the Highlander Rule:

There can be only one.

The name of this saying is from the cult classic, The Highlander.

I use it when assigning action items on a project. Some people like to avoid action items, or responsibility, or work of any kind. One way they do it is by getting multiple people assigned to a task. If it’s Bob and Suzy on a task, that gives Bob an excuse not to do it. Similarly I don’t assign action items to groups such as IT or Accounting. I want to know exactly who is responsible for the work being done. It does not have to be the person doing the work. It is simply the person I am going to ask for status.

So when someone wants more people added to an action item, sorry ” there can be only one!”