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Jim Crear

Jim is the chief information officer and architect for The Standish Group International. He is an experienced executive with over 40 years of experience in the field of Information Technology. He has had a diverse career leading IT organizations in academia, biomedical, manufacturing, and software companies.

Advice Articles

Accuracy

Jim Crear suggests feedback needs to be monitored to prevent or mitigate mistakes or misdirection.

Accurate Estimates

You might consider accurate estimates as on oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or military intelligence, because the two definitions collide.

Ambiguity

Jim Crear suggests you embrace uncertainty.

Analogy

Jim Crear suggests using analogies. 

Attentive Listening

Jim Crear suggest attentive listening is the purest form of respect.

Bad News Solutions

Jim Crear suggests bad news should include solutions and suggestions of how to overcome the offending issues.

Balance

Jim Crear suggests having a balance in building and maintaining an equilibrium among the team members that fosters progress.

Basic

Not everyone can be a good or effective project manager.

Be Elastic

When thinking about elasticity we consider stretching to the maximum and then snapping.

Be Iterative

All agile, such as Scrum, and Extreme methods of development have a lot in common.

Become a Bad News Bearer

No project goes perfectly and there is always some bad news that must be communicated.

Behavioral Change

Jim Crear suggests your organization change from a project-based management structure to a pipeline-based.

Blink

Guiding a team toward effective and rapid decision making is a difficult task.

Building Trust

Project teams may exist for short or long periods of time, from weeks to months, if not years.

Business Understanding

A project manager cannot be successful with only good technical skills.

Celebrate

Nothing makes a person or a group of people feel better than a sincere thank you.

Collaborating

When determining clear and understood project objectives and priorities, it is imperative that everyone be in agreement.

Collect a Toolkit

Implementing a PMO or employing a good project manager without the necessary tools will still produce a failed project.

Combat Fraudulence

Fraudulence is an action intended to deceive; it is deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage, or more commonly to avoid confrontation.

Commitment

Before you take any action you must understand the business interests of the organization and the goals for which they are aspiring to achieve.

Communicating

Jim Crear suggests that communicating with the executive sponsor is essential.

 

Community

Everyone works in some sort of organization or company.

Connections

Being a good project manager does not just know how to put schedules together, establish procedures, and assign the right resources at the right time.

Conquer Ignorance

Ignorance is the condition of being unaware, uninformed, uneducated, and/or unsuspecting about the project and stakeholder goals, directions, details, issues, and opportunities.

Consensus

Jim Crear suggests that consensus helps create an agreement about the goals of the project.

Control Yield

The old way of requirements thinking was to separate them by must have, nice to have, and wish list (pie in the sky).

Create a Common Language

There is nothing worse than having a conversation where people, although using the same words, are talking about totally different things.

Create a Pipeline

IT is constantly estimating the cost of a project or group of projects in its portfolio.

Create a Standard Infrastructure

Through years of IT advancements, mergers, decentralization and centralization, the organization accumulates hundreds to thousands of different products.

Create an Elevator Pitch

Jim Crear suggests having a clear, concise statement of the objective that is easy to understand will reduce the challenge of explaining over and over again.

Create Rules of Engagement

Rules are established standards, guidelines, or regulations set up by authority.

Culture

Jim Crear suggests culture of the organization is key factor in team chemistry.

Deal with Arrogance

From our definition, arrogance is the unwarranted, overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward superiors, peers, and subordinates.

Demonstrations

Jim Crear suggests steppingstones are easy because you can see them.

Details

A good or effective project manager knows how to organize and manage the details.

Difficult Conversations

It is the project manager's responsibility to maintain a good rapport with the users throughout the project life cycle.

Edification

The executive sponsor is one of the keys to a successful project.

Educational Forums.

Jim Crear suggests executing educational forums.

Engagement Process

All kinds of people find themselves in project leader positions.

Ensure Competency

Always remember the most prized asset of any organization is its staff.

Evangelist

No project can be successful without a champion or champions.

Feedback Fast

Feedback is even more beneficial to prevent long-term waiting and wasted time.

Find Trustworthy Vendors

Vendors are always a big part of any project.

FIRE is Hot in DC

The Standish Group suggests you read Café CHAOS blog post FIRE is HOT in DC.

Focus Groups

Jim Crear suggests the second step of your project research should be focus groups.

Focus on the Goal

One of the most important factors in an organization's success is its senior leadership's ability to link projects to corporate strategy.

Follow the Black Tie

When you are establishing a project there is a formal etiquette that is followed.

Gain Rating

Jim Crear suggests you take each requirement and rate them 

Garden Leave

The Standish Group suggests you read Café CHAOS blog post Garden Leave

Get Meeting Participation

Jim Crear suggests Ineffective meetings can seem like a death march of his or her own: an excruciating waste of time, a mission bound for nowhere.

Get to Breakeven

Every project has a breakeven point! However, no project has a "point of no return.

Giving Good Feedback

Project team leaders must give feedback to team members on a regular basis, whether through formal performance reviews or "on the fly," as a project is under way.

Help Filter

Jim Crear suggests that in order to overcome the information overload barrier, communication should be managed by content, and proper levels.

Honor

Honor is something that each of us believes we have within ourselves.

Hot Groups Specialize

Jim Crear suggests hot groups offer specialized talent. 

How to Create an Executive Bond

Project managers want their projects to be successful, but they cannot accomplish this without an engaged and skillful executive sponsor or project owner.

Identify the Correct User

How to: Identify the Correct User There is a many-to-one relationship when attempting to identify the correct user(s) to be part of a project team.

Implement Change Management Tools

If there is one thing we've learned in IT, it is that change is constant.

Incentives

Jim Crear suggests you provide the reasons for motivation. 

Interact

As humans, we thrive on interactions with other humans.

Isolate Abstinence

"Abstinence," in the context of project management, is the act or practice of refraining from participation and contribution to the project.

Issue Clarity

Jim Crear suggests clarity of the issue is the most important objective in coming to a decision.

Judgment

A project manager is like a platoon leader of several squads.

Kill Switch

In any project there are concerns about failure.

Make Geeks Happy

You can keep your team happy by giving them all the technical toys they ask for.

Manage a Toxic Team Member

Jim Crear suggests project team leaders sometimes encounter team members who are exceptionally difficult to deal with, and they are often forced to work with them under stressful conditions.

Manage Change

The inevitable part of any project is that users change their minds about their needs.

Manage Expectations

No one likes surprises.

Manage Turnover

The Standish Law of the Empty Chair states that your best person will leave at the worst possible time.

Managing Risk

Jim Crear suggests risk management attempts to identify project and feature risks and develop strategies that will either significantly reduce or avoid these risks altogether.

Measurement

Establishing a firm set of requirements and functional specifications that everyone agrees upon before the project begins will solidify what needs to be done.

Meeting Leadership

The thought of having yet another meeting is enough to discourage even the most optimistic project manager.

Mentoring

Jim Crear suggests the word "mentor" conjures up the image of a seasoned corporate sage conversing with a fortunate but "wet-behind-the-ears" recruit.

Milestones: Love Them or Hate Them

The Standish Group suggests you read Milestones: Love Them or Hate Them.

Motivate

It is impossible to have a successful project if there is no motivation to make it happen.

Motivation

Jim Crear suggests you use of individual and team incentives has become a popular tool in motivating achievement of project goals or significant steppingstones. 

Negative-Value Portfolio

Jim Crear suggests you read Negative-Value Portfolio.

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation skills are key to a project manager's success.

No More Releases

As controversial as it sounds, all companies should adopt a no-new-release policy.

Nothing Beats a Demonstration

Jim Crear suggests while information is important, nothing beats a demonstration.

Objective

It is sometimes very difficult to stay objective once you begin a project.

Outcomes

When implementing a project, the end users get frustrated and disgruntled when they do not see any tangible progress on the requirements that were specified.

Overcome Overambition

From our definition, overambition is a strong desire to execute a significant project to gain fame, fortune, or power through the impact of overreaching goals.

Owner understanding

Jim Crear suggests the owner or executive sponsor be flexible and adaptable.

Ownership

Nothing feels better than knowing that the work you have just completed was done well and is appreciated and wanted by the end users it was done for.

Peer Review

Internal and external peers can often provide valuable input.

Plan

No building large or small can be erected properly without blueprints.

PM Leadership

A good Project Manager shows leadership by keeping the main goal in focus, and is able to think analytically.

Position People/Tasks

Positioning is a key aspect of every project.

Primary Research

Primary research can be many things to many people.

Prune Code

IT has a practice of constantly modifying code to add more functions or features.

Put on Lipstick

You must know and understand your company's investment policy.

Recognize the Butterfly Effect

Although "The Butterfly Effect" originally described changes that affect weather conditions around the world, it can accurately portray how changes in the corporate wind affect IT.

Recurring Communications

Jim Crear suggest you have recurring communications.

Relevant Training

Jim Crear suggests training be relevant.

Resolve Conflicts

Jim Crear suggests without good chemistry, a project team can experience conflict, which can lead to errors, missed deadlines, or even project failure.

Retrospective Timely

Jim Crear suggests the ideas and recommendations that come out of a retrospective must be able to be implemented by the team within the next steppingstone or microproject.

Schooling

Schooling An educated user is a terrible thing to waste.

Seasoned

Nothing tastes better than a well-seasoned and marinated aged sirloin tip.

See the Big Picture

Jim Crear suggests it is important to identify and break down the silos within a project to ensure everyone understands how what they do will affect other areas.

Set-up a Decision Pipeline

A well-run decision pipeline can reduce cost and risk while improving customer satisfaction and project delivery.

Showing Gratitude

Jim Crear suggests you use the simple and most effective incentive. 

Simple Vision

A person who can state in a clear and simple manner his or her vision, the benefits and the goals, and how it matches corporate strategy, can usually win over the skeptical for support.

Speed-up

Jim Crear says time is the enemy of all projects.

Stay on the Same Page

Jim Crear finds It is interesting - and very common - that a group of people all working on the same project will have different descriptions of what they are building or what the ultimate goal is.

Steppingstones

Jim Crear suggests you provide a method to dole out incentives as the project progresses.

Steppingstones, No Milestones

Jim Crear suggests you use steppingstones and not milestones.

Superior

Superior when considering people we refer to those that have a great attitude with a strong desire to succeed, a profound sense of accomplishment, and the ability to produce a high quality product for the organization.

Take Advantage of Open Source

The fastest way for you to accomplish a task is for someone else to have already done it.

Take Care of Panda Bears

Everybody loves the panda bears.

Team

No project manager can be successful without an organized, skilled, cooperative, and congenial team.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Jim Crear gives “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership 5 out of 5 butterflies.

The Public Execution of Miss Scarlet

Jim Crear reviews The Public Execution of Miss Scarlet.

Time Box

Agile, Scrum, and Extreme are all methods of development during a project, none of which can be successful without using some time boxing.

Too Many Cooks

No kitchen is safe when several cooks are trying to prepare a soup.

Top Down

Jim Crear suggests top-down design.

Toxic Conversation

Jim Crear suggests you have a conversation with a toxic member.

Train

No other industry has been deluged with changes that affect millions of skilled professionals like IT has.

Transparency

Jim Crear suggests one of the easiest ways to combat project fraudulence is through transparency. 

Transparency

Jim Crear suggests transparency provides the self-respect as to the progress, direction, and position of a project.

Tuned-In

An experienced project team will focus on the needs, not the wants, when reviewing requirements.

Turn Teams into Hot Groups

Jim Area suggests a hot group is characterized by a task-obsessed state of mind.

Uniform Time Intervals

Jim Crear suggests uniform time intervals.

Use a Yardstick

Jim Crear suggests measurements are indicators that help you understand the status of your projects.

Use Collaboration Tools

"No man stands alone!" In every project there is a need to communicate and interact with others.

Use Impact Tools

Poor requirements management is often the beginning of the end of projects.

Use Net Value Analysis (NVA)

All projects are done with the expectation to gain some kind value; otherwise why would you do them at all.

Use QA Tools

The primary enemy of developers is software bugs.

Use Standish's OptiMix Services

OptiMix is an online tool developed and operated by The Standish Group.

Use Steppingstones

The use of steppingstones is similar to that of milestones.

Velocity

Time is the enemy of all projects.

Work Together

Championships are built on the contribution, skill, and execution of each individual playing his or her position well.

Working Environment

Jim Crear suggests a good working environment will reduce turnover.

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