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Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams

Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams

Terry Schmidt

ISBN: 978-0-470-41158-2 February 2009 272 Pages

 Hardcover

In Stock

$29.95

Description

When Fortune Magazine estimated that 70% of all strategies fail, it also noted that most of these strategies were basically sound, but could not be executed. The central premise of Strategic Project Management Made Simple is that most projects and strategies never get off the ground because of adhoc, haphazard, and obsolete methods used to turn their ideas into coherent and actionable plans. Strategic Project Management Made Simple is the first book to couple a step-by-step process with an interactive thinking tool that takes a strategic approach to designing projects and action initiatives. Strategic Project Management Made Simple builds a solid platform upon four critical questions that are vital for teams to intelligently answer in order to create their own strong, strategic foundation. These questions are:

1. What are we trying to accomplish and why?

2. How will we measure success?

3. What other conditions must exist?

4. How do we get there?

This fresh approach begins with clearly understanding the what and why of a project - comprehending the bigger picture goals that are often given only lip service or cursory reviews. The second and third questions clarify success measures and identify the risky assumptions that can later cause pain if not spotted early. The how questions - what are the activities, budgets, and schedules - comes last in our four-question system. By contrast, most project approaches prematurely concentrate on the how without first adequately addressing the three other questions. These four questions guide readers into fleshing out a simple, yet sophisticated, mental workbench called "the Logical Framework" - a Systems Thinking paradigm that lays out one's own project strategy in an easily accessible, interactive 4x4 matrix. The inclusion of memorable features and concepts (four critical questions, LogFrame matrix, If-then thinking, and Implementation Equation) make this book unique.

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Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

Why I Wrote This Book xvi

Getting the Most from This Book xvii

Three Logical Parts xviii

PART ONE: Are You Strategic?

Chapter 1: Thinking Outside the Bar Chart 3

Tackling the Big Hairy Issues 5

Mastering Strategic Project Management 7

Start Smart 8

Lessons Learned Along the Way 10

Why Read This Book? 12

Beware These Six Dangerous Planning Mistakes 13

Key Points Review 17

Chapter 2: Building Strong Project Backbones 19

Asking the Four Critical Strategic Questions 20

Concepts from the Cornfield 22

Making Strategy Simple 25

Test Your Strategic If-Then IQ 28

Sorting Out Your Objectives 30

Organizing Multiple Objectives Into Trees 34

Key Points Review 37

Chapter 3: Introducing the Logical Framework 40

The Best Solutions Tool You’ll Ever Find 40

Systems Thinking: Conceptual Foundation of the Logical Framework 42

Tackling the Four Critical Strategic Questions 44

Grab a Front-Row Workshop Seat 46

Ingredients of the Grid 56

Key Points Review 61

Chapter 4: Aligning Projects With Strategic Intent 63

Strategy in a Nutshell 64

Juggling Portfolios and Programs 67

Managing Multiple Bottom Lines 69

Quick and Clean Strategic Planning at Any Level 71

Eight Logical Planning Steps 72

Key Points Review 82

PART TWO: Mastering The Four Critical Strategic Questions

Chapter 5: Question #1—What Are We Trying to Accomplish and Why? 87

Shoot for the Moon 88

Linking Objectives Into Logical Levels 89

Turning a Problem Into a Set of Objectives 92

Terry’s Tips for Clear Objectives 95

Exploring Distinctions Among LogFrame Levels 99

Sculpting Your Project Masterpiece 105

Key Points Review 107

Application Step #1 108

Chapter 6: Question #2—How Do We Measure Success? 110

Winning the Peace After Winning the War 111

Four Tips for Meaningful Measures 112

Measures Sharpen Vague Objectives 118

Managing Complex Enterprise-Wide Change 123

Special Situations Demand Special Measures 124

Key Points Review 128

Application Step #2 129

Chapter 7: Question #3—What Other Conditions Must Exist? 131

The Whoops Hall of Shame 132

Spotting Trouble Before It Comes 134

How the LogFrame Accommodates Assumptions 134

Three Steps for Managing Assumptions 135

Making Fine Point Distinctions 139

Key Points Review 141

Application Step #3 142

Chapter 8: Question #4—How Do We Get There? 143

The Ancient Project that Saved the World 144

Chunking 101 144

Organizing Inputs: Nitty Gritty Project Planning 147

Clarify Resource Requirements 150

Make Responsibility Clear to All 151

Applying Schmidt’s Law of Planning Density 155

Defining the Next Action Step 159

Key Points Review 160

Application Step #4 161

PART THREE: Putting The Concepts Into Action

Chapter 9: Managing the Strategic Action Cycle 165

Taking a “Cycle-Logical” Approach 165

Three Types of Assessment 167

Type One Assessment: Project Monitoring 169

Type Two Assessment: Project Status Review 171

Type Three Assessment: Project Evaluation 172

Celebrating Success 176

LogFrame Limitations and Best Practices 176

Key Points Review 178

Chapter 10: Managing the People Dynamics 179

The Heart and Soul of Projects 179

Engaging Your Key Stakeholders 180

Building Your Own Dream Team 183

Creating Shared Norms for High Performance 187

Sharpening Your Emotional Intelligence 189

Techniques for Increasing Your Emotional Intelligence 190

Key Points Review 193

Chapter 11: Applying These Ideas In Your World 195

Exploring a Dozen Dynamic Directions 195

Terry’s Tips for Doing the Project RAP (Rapid Action Planning) 198

Facilitating by Yourself 201 Taking Strategic Action Now 202

Appendix: Reference Tools and Resources 205

Blank Logical Framework Grid 206

Logical Framework Quality Checklist 208

Logical Framework Application Case Studies 211

Ongoing Support and Services 237

Glossary and Usage of Terms 241

About the Author 243

Index 245