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Procept Launches New eLearning Course: Managing Large Project Teams - Modern Lessons from the Giza Pyramid Project (20 PDUs)

  • By: pcadmin on 02 Apr 2015

Procept Associates and its partner GenXus Corporation are pleased to announce the release of a new self-directed online e-learning course called "Managing Large Project Teams: Modern Lessons from the Giza Pyramid Project." Developed by Dr. Mark Kozak-Holland, a world-renowned author, speaker, and researcher who investigates historical projects to extract lessons learned that can be applied in today's business scenarios.

During this course, participants will take on the role of the project manager for the construction of the Giza Pyramid. People commonly believe this project was delivered with a workforce made up primarily of slaves controlled through threats and violence; however, the latest archaeological research proves this to be not true. While some slaves were undoubtedly used, the bulk of the workforce was made up of craftsmen, farmers, and other skilled workers who were managed using rewards and other motivation techniques. Using the latest available archaeological evidence, the course puts learners into project simulations where they must make a complex series of decisions that could mean the difference between life and death for the workers and that illustrate key techniques in managing large workforces on complex projects that can be applied in modern projects..

Click on the button below to view a more detailed course description including a short illustrative video.



FREE EVENT: Managing Strategic Programs: Discovering the Structural and Governance Differences Between Projects and Strategic Programs

  • By: Alana Hughes on 27 Mar 2015

Join us on April 27th from 10:00am - noon in Toronto for a free session on managing strategic programs led by Rajiv Khanna.

In the world of management, people use the terms project and program freely, many without a solid understanding of the differences between the two. Project management and program management are distinct frameworks, each with its own practices. Using the wrong framework to manage a new initiative could mean the difference between success and failure.

Join UK-based expert Rajiv Khanna in this 2-hour seminar as he brings his deep expertise on project and program management to Canada. During this session, participants will:

  • Identify the key differences between portfolios, programs, and projects
  • Identify the differences between outputs, outcomes, and benefits
  • Discuss the different types of programs
  • Discuss the key roles and responsibilities of program and project management teams
  • Discuss the key elements an organization must have in place in order to increase its chances of project and program success and minimize the level of risk



WEBINAR: Governance of Projects, or is it Project Governance?

  • By: Alana Hughes on 18 Mar 2015

Join us on April 15th from 8:00-9:00pm for a webinar on project governance led by Darya Duma.

Most organizations have strong corporate governance, but often those governance policies and procedures do not apply to projects or at the very least prove to be a poor fit in matrix organizations. Project governance provides the link between the project manager and the executive management of the organization. All the project management processes in the world cannot help if your project does not have the right framework for executive involvement, decision-making and risk management. In this short talk, we will discuss the essential principles of governance for projects, programs and portfolios.

As a member of ISO/TC258 on projects, programs and portfolios, Darya has shared thoughts on this topic with some of the leading minds in project management on the international stage. She will discuss the most recent views as proposed in international standards and how those principles translated to application in a recent case study.

At this session, participants will:

  • Develop a definition for governance of projects, programs and portfolios for their environment
  • Discuss recent developments in international standards with respect to governance of projects
  • See how the principles of governance translate to a live environment



Free PM Training - International PM Day (Nov 5, 2015)

  • By: pcadmin on 16 Mar 2015

To celebrate International Project Management Day (Nov. 5, 2015), Procept Associates Ltd. is going to host a free day-long event in Toronto, Ontario where people can attend a series of 90-minute presentations on project management-related topics and earn free PDUs. Similar to the Professional Development Days held by many PMI chapters, this event will allow participants to learn from some of the best project management trainers in North America, while earning 8 PDUs at no cost to the participant.  A small $20 booking fee will be charged at the time of registration that will be refunded in cash at the door the day of the event. This booking fee has been put in place to reduce the number of people booking but not showing up for the event.

International PM Day is an international movement started in 2004 by Frank Saladis, a U.S.-based project management trainer, consultant, and author. The goal of the movement is to recognize the efforts of project managers who are striving daily to improve people's lives.

New Video: Defined vs. Empirical Management Explained

  • By: pcadmin on 09 Mar 2015

Procept has just released a short video of Kevin Aguanno, one of Procept's Senior Consultants, explaining the difference between defined and empirical management methods.  This is the latest in a series of short instructional videos that Procept will be releasing for free on YouTube to highlight the teaching skills of its instructors and to drive interest in Procept's offerings. Subscribe to the Procept YouTube channel to get notified of new videos as they are released.

Procept Launches New Online Risk Management Course

  • By: pcadmin on 04 Mar 2015

Procept Associates Ltd. is pleased to announce the launch of a new online self-directed e-learning course titled "Introduction to Risk Management." This new course includes nearly three hours of video, a 50-page workbook, and an online test at the completion of the e-course.

Darya DumaThe e-course is based on a video recording of a classroom session hosted by Senior Consultant Darya Duma, Procept's Project Management Practice Lead and a member of Procept's Management Advisory Board. The course is hosted by Procept's strategic partner, GenXus Corporation on its e-learning portal (http://learn.genxus.com) and is available for licensing to our corporate and university clients.

For more information, contact sales@procept.com.


Stakeholder Mapping Explained

  • By: pcadmin on 07 Feb 2015

Procept associate Kevin Aguanno is delivering a webinar titled "Stakeholder Mapping Explained" which will teach participants how to build and use a stakeholder map to help understand a project's stakeholders, their interrelationships, and the "office politics" that affect their priorities and decisions. This advanced technique is suited to project and program managers as well as business analysts. The webinar will be held on April 17, 2015 at Noon Eastern (Toronto) time. PMPs will earn 1 PDU and CBAPs will earn 1 CEU for attending this event. There is a nominal fee to participate in this 60-minute webinar and just for visiting the Procept web site, you can get get 50% off (and pay only $5) by using discount code 17APRWEBINAR when registering — just another reason why Procept clients keep returning time and time again.

Process Change Management - Step 1

  • By: Sarah Eisan on 19 Nov 2014

This week’s blog is the beginning of a 3 part series on Process Change Management. The first part of this series will discuss the first step of current process evaluation and preparation for the next step.

Step 1 – Evaluation and Preparation

The first step is to understand the current process.  When I say understand the process I don’t mean simply understanding the process to the point of being able to draw a diagram of it (I say that because I’ve seen this mistake many times) I mean truly understanding it on 5 levels

Level 1 – What

What is the process? What are the inputs and outputs of each step? This level should provide enough information to build a high level diagram of the process to work from.

Level 2 – Who

Who is directly and indirectly involved in the input, action and output of each process step. It’s important to talk to these people about what works well and not so well from their perspective. This is important for 2 reasons; the people involved in the process often have a unique perspective about what works well and what can be improved upon and secondly, this is an excellent opportunity to start putting the idea of change in their minds and to start dropping seeds of “what’s in it for them” – the benefit of this will become more apparent in later steps.

Level 3 – When

When does each step take place? What steps are time sensitive? How long should each step take?

Level 4 – Where

Where does each step take place? Does the step occur in a physical or virtual location?

Level 5 – Why

Why, this question should be asked of all of the above levels. For example, why is the process done this way? Why are the sales staff involved? Why does invoicing occur before shipping? Why does order picking take so long? Why do orders need to drop by noon? And then when you get answers, ask why again.

After completing these steps, document the results. It’s a good idea to prepare various forms of documentation such as written descriptions and diagrams. These documents will be used to confirm understanding between the project team and the customers.

In preparation for the next step, the documents will be used to confirm if your understanding of the current process is correct and to identify what revisions may be required. Once this is confirmed and accurate, expectations need to be identified, discussed and agreed upon. This process make take a few facilitated sessions to complete, it is well worth the time it will take and will be very helpful to have documented and agreed upon before moving to the next step.

In summary, it is essential to have this in-depth understanding of the existing process before attempting to undertake any changes.  Many times I’ve seen BA’s who say they understand the process and can show a very pretty Visio diagram of the process but later on in the project it quickly becomes apparent, that there understanding is only superficial.

To be continued…

The Question of Project Schedules and Liquidated Damages…

  • By: Sarah Eisan on 12 Nov 2014

This question was recently asked by a client after the baseline project schedule was submitted and approved…

“Can we show the actual start date of two activities before the contract award date?  The reason we would like to do this is that some of the work (manufacturing of cranes), was started before the contract was awarded and we have very high liquidated damages for each major milestone.  Please let us know if it is correct to show the actual start date of the two activities before the contract award date”.

Before I share my thoughts on this, stop and think for a moment on how you would answer this question…

Now, let’s look at a few key points:

  • First off, it is important to remind ourselves that liquidated damages are intended to compensate the client for costs incurred as the result of a delay.
  • The bid schedule showed a particular date of delivery and the client had accepted that date.
  • Presumably, the damages are only incurred after that accepted date.
  • Liquidated damages are NOT another word for “penalty” and apply to the contractual schedule (or notice to proceed, but that depends on what the contract and the notice to proceed said).


Given the above points, I would only show the dates if the client agreed that liquidated damage’s apply to the original contractual schedule rather than the accelerated date, and I would get that in writing.

Presumably if an accelerated completion date is so important, the client should be mature enough to appreciate efforts to mitigate schedule risk, rather than play games with the schedule and liquidated damages. I would hope that there is even a possibility to beat that original contractual deadline.

I have told clients in the past, that their managers would be more pleased if they deliver early, than if they set an aggressive date then have to make excuses (and find someone to place blame the blame on, usually the contractor) about being late.

They can throw around blame all day, and apply all the liquidated damages in the world, but at the end of the day they still have to stand up in front of their management or client and explain why they are late and have all the associated uncomfortable and time wasting arguments, discussions, and claims as to whose fault the delay was.

What would you have said to the client and why?

Modeling Techniques and State Diagrams…

  • By: Sarah Eisan on 05 Nov 2014

If you have been attending the IIBA’s Building Business Capabilities Conference this week or just following the excitement on Twitter like I have (search #BBCcon), you have probably noticed that there has been a lot of discussion about modeling.  For instance Elizabeth Larson gave a presentation on the Top Models for Complete Requirements Analysis and Francine Wolfe gave a presentation on What’s a State Model.

In my daily work as a business analyst, I’ve employed many modeling techniques however State Models (or Diagrams), is one that I’m less familiar with; this has motivated me to learn more about this technique.

As always, when familiarizing myself with a new Business Analysis technique, my first stop is the IIBA’s BABOK V2. The BABOK describes State Modeling as “a diagram that specifies a sequence of states that an object goes through during its lifetime and defines which events cause a transition between those states. The allowable behavior of the object is dependent on its current state.”

See below for an example of a State Model from the BABOK V2:



Advantages to using State Models are:

  • They can help to uncover missing data and requirements
  • They may help clarify confusing or conflicting requirements
  • They provide a visual diagram or picture of what could otherwise be a complicated written description or list
  • They can help identify missing processes

When using State Models, be aware that it is sometimes easy to include states that are not relevant, thus unintentionally expanding the project scope. Another point to be aware of is that the various states might have their own unique data associated with them, which you need to be aware of and document.

State Models can be particularly helpful to determine the life cycles such as the life cycle of a customer interaction, determining the impact of an event such as the reach of a marketing campaign or to determine impact how a programing change can affect an application.

Now that I’ve became more familiar with State Models, I will definitely be incorporating this tool into my go to ‘BA Tool Box’.

How have you incorporated State Models into your business analysis activities?  Please share your examples and their outcomes!


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