PMI Workshop: The Most Effective Tools & Techniques for Project Managers

Chris recently had the pleasure of facilitating a lunchtime workshop as part of PMI Silicon Valley and SDForum's Tools & Techniques series. A group of 23 Project Managers turned out to discuss "The Most Effective Tools & Techniques For Project Managers" using the Group Wisdom Without Groupthink (GWG) structured brainstorming method.

GWG begins with a round-robin survey of the entire group to elicit ideas, which are posted on the wall. Next, participants vote for the items they think most important and the results are arranged in tiers. Here are the results:

Tier 1:
11-15 votes
Web conference tools
Well-defined metrics
Scope management
Project meeting w/agenda
Proactive risk management
Brainstorming session
Project stage gate reviews w/all key
Face-to-face kick-off
Tier 2: 6-10 votes
Management by walking around
Status reports
Repeatable release process
MS Excel
Resource management
Stakeholder management
Tier 3: 1-5 votes
Tools for change management
Resource allocation matrix (RAM)
Portfolio management
Acknowledge success
Post-meeting buffer
Work breakdown
Social collaboration
Effective open-ended questions
Process workflow w/visio
Requirements trackability
Setting team ground rules
Weekly status for subject matter experts
Short-term goals
MS Project
Adaptive project management
Project dream list
Case complete
Version control tools
Managing up
Determine costs of being late
Global collaboration – video
Tier 4: 0 votes
User contextual inquiries
Preview of materials
Going down a rat hole
Scrum meetings

Group Wisdom Without Groupthink works well with all kinds of groups, both technical and non, but clearly the project managers had a special affinity for the exercise, as participants rated it an average of 4.75 out of five, leaving comments like, "a very useful technique that I can implement
right away."

Here is a similar workshop Chris ran on the topic of What Makes Agile Projects Succeed (or fail)? at Agile Open California 2008.

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