By Dave |
…Welcome To The Home Of My Project Management and Lifestyle Masterclass Training Courses
Psssst … Dave ‘007’ Litten here – Greetings from a (not so) secret location in the sun!
After years of working undercover as an IT boffin and project manager in England … for the Americans … I dropped my guard one day and was captured!
Despite it being highly classified information – somehow the mastermind of a huge training company had discovered I was one of a very select underground group who actually had PRINCE2 lecture credentials – so I was bundled into the back of a truck and made an offer I couldn’t refuse.
And that’s how, in 1995, I mysteriously disappeared one day only to re emerge, re invented with a new identity, appearing in public … boldly teaching Project Management … LIVE!
However … unknown to my new masters … I was also working on a secret side-project of my own. I had a VISION – a much better system of Project Management training delivery than they had ever imagined. But this time, no one was going to steal my genius ideas!
Frustrated with the quality of the materials I had to present with every day, I just knew I could create a far easier and more structured learning environment for my more renegade and adventurous students.
Thanks to constant vigilance, the end of the nineties saw me secretly publish my first online book for those wishing to master the Project Management methodology … using The Litten Method™
My new method made use of the way we all naturally learn. I had always known that we humans think in pictures, so without permission, I went ahead and harnessed that power by making the learning fun and easy … now using PowerPoint slides full of colourful graphics and videos!
The Litten Method™ was an instant hit!
By ‘painting’ the key points into my students brains using simple structured colour graphics sequences, something almost magical happened – I doubled and even tripled my students ability to learn and remember – and they were passing their exams – hundreds of them!
It WORKED. I decided there and then I HAD to break out and go it alone
It was now or never. After months of careful planning, one day I slipped past the HR department, through the main gate, and made my bid for freedom … and never looked back.
I was FREE to create an elegant yet simple series of online project management related VIDEO Masterclass which have since been constantly tweaked and honed to perfection – and this, my ‘magnificent obsession’ has given me a great lifestyle, doing what I love, living large on the Costa Blanca coastline in Spain while helping HUNDREDS of previously overwhelmed PRINCE2 and project management students pass their exams with ease
Fast forward to the present
Today, on this website, I am proud to have over 1200 potential student visits every day, where my Project Management Masterclass range is sold in nearly 163 countries and regions across the world.
Back when I was a gun for hire it would cost you £650 a day to have me teach Project Management live, and that was 15 years ago – so even those large and expensive classroom training organisations that you can find in major cities couldn’t afford me to teach a room now.
Good news – you CAN hire me as your virtual mentor, to coach you through Project Management using The Litten Method™.
I’m excited to show you a much more practical, step-by-step and cost-effective approach to become accredited in the exciting aspects of project management, so you can grow your career opportunities, promotion and salary increases.
Better yet, I found out how to use my project management skills to give me a financially independent lifestyle and do what I always wanted – to run my own show and never work for a boss again…
Any questions? – Email me at: dave(at)davelitten(dot)com
Project Management Training
You know that investing in growing your knowledge, skills and experience is the single best personal objective to have, but much like me, it is sometimes difficult in our busy professional and personal lives to find the time (and money) to invest in ourselves.
The Project Management Training Solution.
I have developed a wide range of project-related streaming video training products under the MASTERCLASS brand name. In addition, I also run project management training seminars across the world, and I am a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.
The Masterclass Range
Founded way back in 1997, I also spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and have deep experience in project management
I believe in challenging the current way that project management training is delivered. My video training Masterclasses are beautifully designed, simple to absorb in easy steps, and are downloaded direct to your computer.
Project Management is a life-skill.
No matter what industry you work in, no matter what position you hold. No matter what specialist skills you have acquired. Project Management knowledge, skills and experience will help you become better at your life’s chosen profession.
Most traditional ‘0ff-the-job’ project management training courses have been done in the classroom. Books may be used to supplement this, but it has been proven that face-to-face multimedia training works best in terms of the delegate absorption and their ability to apply it after the course.
The trouble is, that classroom training is expensive and intensive. It also has a very high learning curve. Add to this the fact that the individual delegate has to compete for tutor attention, and you can see how traditional classroom training has not always been effective.
This is where online training scores hands-down.
Creating high quality, high-definition, streaming videos with clear and structured supporting documentation has been my objective since the year 1999. I call these Masterclasses – want To Own One?
Take Action Now – Click on a link to find out full details of each Masterclass.
I wish you Good Luck on advancing your project management career and salary!
Want To Own A Masterclass?
Check These out:
By Dave |
If you reside in Europe right now, I’m sure you’re aware that Immigrants have been popping up in the news lately.
Apparently, they’re all that’s wrong in the world and if only we could stop them from coming over here, everything would be all right.
Of course, this is all complete nonsense.
Apart from anything else, the whole idea of someone being an immigrant is just bizarre. Ultimately we are all immigrants from Africa, if you go back far enough.
But even without going to those ridiculous extremes it’s obvious to see we all come from somewhere other than where we are now, and often not even that long ago.
Whatever. This is all irrelevant.
Because the last time I checked, the only borders and divisions on planet Earth are man-made.
It isn’t that many centuries ago that the largest unit of human habitation was a town or a large city; fast forward a few centuries and you’re probably looking at city states, like Athens and ancient Sparta.
The idea of countries, and the necessity of passports and other paperwork is relatively new.
More to the point I think it’s something of an abomination.
I see no reason for human beings not be allowed free passage and to work, and settle anywhere they please so long as they are supporting themselves and their families, and any others who depend upon them.
See, the real problem is not immigrants.
The real problem is freeloaders. And I will be the first person to say no one should get a free meal ticket to go and live anywhere at others’ expense. Anyone who can work but chooses not to, can starve for all I care.
But even this does not plumb the depths of rank bigotry and stupidity.
Because there is such a thing as Schrödinger’s Immigrant.
Schrödinger’s Immigrant is a strange creature who can…
… live in a country and sponge off the state…
… and at the same time steal jobs from the indigenous population.
Good Grief, but that’s clever.
And maybe I’m seeing this wrong, but it seems to me IF you are so ineffective, unskilled, and unemployable your job can be snatched away by someone who has no friends, no contacts, no money, no history, and quite likely a poor command of the native language…
… then you are pretty useless and you probably don’t deserve a job in the first place.
Here’s my take: I agree no one should get handouts and special treatment… but other than that, anyone should be allowed to live anywhere so long as they’re paying their own way.
In other words, I’m cool with as many immigrants of whatever race, colour, or religion who want to come and live alongside me, so long as I’m not expected to kow-tow to their religion and social mores, or pay for their upkeep (or anyone else’s, for that matter, whether they’re an immigrant or a native.
I’m not above giving people a hand up, but I’m rabidly opposed to handouts to anyone).
How difficult is that?
Some people get offended by my straight talking nature. And that’s fine. Just remember when you tell me you’re offended, what you’re saying, in effect, is, “I have had an emotional reaction to something you have said, and I want you to deal with it for me”.
Sorry, but it’s not that kind of party.
I really do live my life treating others as I would wish to be treated, I give generously to charities, particularly those for sick folks and distressed animals.
We should all help others when for no fault of their own, need a hand-up in life.
Wherever my gene-pool originated from, I have a natural bent to teach my brothers and sisters across the world with my project management training products (I sell to 120 different countries or regions).
As I type, I am reminded that of course, I am an immigrant myself. It’s true. I am a Brit living here in wonderful Spain. My wife Jude is from the Philippines.
But I am sure dear reader, that you are an individual who is a net producer in both your business and personal life. So if you’re thinking about investing in my Project Management Masterclass Series yourself, you’d best be quick and grab your copy NOW!
This is one qualification you really need in order to stay ahead of the pack – so don’t put it off any longer!
– Eartha Kitt
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma
By Dave |
My River Mind-set
As far back as I can remember, I never really felt that I fitted in with my peers, but being a fairly sociable guy I had always mixed well with others. Up to the age of 12 I was very much a follower, fairly shy, and quite happy to spend my spare time with my hobbies.
Making aeroplane RC models, river fishing, collecting and documenting wild flowers, the night sky, and fiddling with anything electronic – these were my early passions.
I left school at 16 years old with very little in terms of qualifications. In fact I disliked school and most of the people in it apart from one or two close friends. But during those last two developing years I noticed a change in myself. I certainly liked drawing attention to myself, stopping just short of showing off!
I started work as an electronic apprentice in a government research and development establishment, but got side-tracked by girls and guitars – by now I had thrown myself into becoming good at playing guitar and it pretty much dominated my life at that time.
I just avoided being thrown out of my apprenticeship due to my total disinterest in work and learning, and my passion for playing music up and down the south of England until the wee hours of the morning!
My next passion had to do with girls – in fact I got married at the tender age of 22 and I must have been the most immature husband any girl would never wish for…
I still immersed myself in my passion for playing guitar and played as a semi-professional in numerous bands and groups up until the age of 45.
By now I wanted to grow my career and immersed myself in mastering electronic engineering resulting in being awarded an honours degree at the age of 32 and being promoted three times in that period. The government even awarded me a worldwide patent for development work I had volunteered for during my lunch times.
I could go on, but I’ll save those stories for another time.
Can you see a pattern emerging here?
I never set personal or professional goals – I just immersed myself in my passions.
I Was A River Person.
I guess I’ve got Earl Nightingale to thank for making the way I was living and managing my life make some form of sense to me. It was he who coined the term ‘river people’ as a type of individual who is not in the least ‘goal oriented’.
Earl describes it as those who wish to be a success as a human being, find, often early in life, a rich river of interest into which they throw themselves with exuberance and abandon. Spending their lives working and playing in that river gives them immense satisfaction.
River people are explorers, continually seeking out learning opportunities and new experiences.
For river people, joy comes from the journey, not from reaching the destination — exactly the opposite of goal people.
From the standpoint of creativity, river people are more likely to benefit from serendipity, because they tend to be more open to new ideas, points of view and insights than single-minded, focused goal people.
River people do not need to set goals as success is almost inevitable due to their passions.
Work is a magnet for river people and they really can’t imagine doing anything else. Doing what they do is their pleasure and is more important to them than the worldly trappings of success which will ultimately come to them.
These are folks who have found, often early in their life, a great river of interest into which they throw themselves with energy and passion. They will happily play in that river for the rest of their lives.
The river may be a branch of science or the arts. Even after a 16 hour day, they can’t wait to get back to it.
These people are happiest and most alive when they’re in their river in whatever business or career or profession it happens to be.
Success in their river is inevitable, and it was a sure outcome from the first moment they determined thei
And success comes to such people as inevitable as a sunrise. In fact, they are successes the moment they find their great field of interest; the worldly trappings of success will always come in time. Such people don’t have to ask, “What will I do with my life?” Their work is a magnet for them, and they can’t imagine doing anything else.
Goals – Not Needed On Voyage…
A goal person is one who writes down their objectives and develops a schedule for achieving them, and then focus on attaining them, one by one.
In this way, goal people give their creative minds a clear set of stimuli to work on. Their subconscious minds can then get to work incubating ideas and insights that will help them to reach their goals.
River people hardly ever had a detailed plan along with measurable goals, but because they are so passionate about their interest, they are able to recognize and grasp the tipping points of breakthrough opportunities.
Much like a river, river people are at their most fulfilled during the journey and not from reaching the destination. This is in stark contrast and also counter-intuitive to those who set goals with the climax not being reached until the goal has been achieved.
While I understand the benefit of setting goals, I have never achieved anything in life due to goal setting when used in isolation.
River people also recognize goals but see these as islands of opportunity on their life’s journey down their chosen river.
If the last few paragraphs have resonated with you, then it may be that you too are River Person, and is so you may have the key to moving forward and achieving great success, while more importantly enjoying your life’s journey with greater pleasure and fulfillment accompanied by far less stress.
Whatever your chosen approach to setting and meeting your goals, one of the best ways to meet them is using the knowledge, skills and experience of project management, so hop on over HERE and find out more!
By Dave |
When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the stars, and would use my cheap telescope to try to see if they were planets or stars, why did they twinkle, why did they shine, and how come they only come out at night….
Fast forward to 2015, and the world knows far more than I could ever have imagined about the night sky and our place in the universe.
The truth turned out to be even stranger than fiction.
Now I’m a ‘river person’, and my life has indeed been a journey down my river of passions, and I find out new discoveries every day.
I’m not lazy, have a natural inquisitiveness about the world around me, and have worked hard in my life’s endeavors to either a greater or lesser amount of success. See…
…I’m always looking for a better way to get things done.
The truth turned out to be even stranger than fiction.
Hiding In Plain Sight
Yeah, that’s the phase I’m looking for.
Bet you heard of many of these too:
“Hard work never killed anybody”
“I’m a multi-tasker”
“Garbage in equals garbage out”
“You’re only as good as your data”
“Nail down what the customer wants – then deliver it”
“You reap what you sow”
“Don’t take chances – manage risks instead”
“Work hard – Play hard”
These are all phrases that get bandied about and all have the ring of truth about them, but hiding beneath them is the 80/20 Rule discovered by an Italian guy back in the 18th century – his name was Pareto.
But I have called it a Process not a Rule, and I have good reason to do so….
See, it turns out that Pareto had discovered that 80% of the wealth in Italy at the time was owned by just 20% of the population…
As more and more folks looked into it, the 80/20 rule seemed to be bloody everywhere!
Did you know that:
- 20% of your carpet gets 80% of the wear
- You wear the same 20% of your entire wardrobe … 80% of the time
Even the universe is Skewed by it. 80/20 almost seems to be a natural law of nature.
But here is where it got interesting for me – and that was to happen much later in my life.
Back in the day, the 80/20 rule was taught as an almost academic topic – good for classrooms, great to quote, but heck, I gotta get on with my life – so back to work…
I can recommend the book by Greg Koch if you wanna dig further, but for now, check out my diagram:
I’ll bet that turned your head didn’t it?!
Check out the first example above, just 20% of the inputs provides 80% of the outputs. What if I called that:
20% of the Actions you take or information you act on provides 80% of the Outcomes instead – and how might that fit into your personal and business life?
That’s a biggie right there isn’t it?
So instead of thinking you just got lucky, what if you ‘Success Engineered’ your attention towards those 20% of data and steered that towards whatever outcome you were wanting to achieve?
How about the middle one? 20% of the causes brings you 80% of the consequences. What if I called that:
20% of the situations deliver 80% of the Outcomes instead – how might you ‘engineer’ yourself into those situations to get what you really want out of life.
And the last one.
20% of the effort brings 80% of the results. That’s it right there.
Sometimes we spend far too much time and effort spinning our wheels yet seem to get a small proportion of what we want out of it. What if I called it:
Focus and work on that 20% to deliver a massive 80% of the type of results that really matter to you.
Yeah, I like that.
Can you see why I call it a Process?
Yeah, that’s right,
‘cuz You’ve Gotta Apply It
Check out Projex Acadamy for their range of online project management training videos because just 20% of YOUR effort will bring 80% of the results – to your career!
GO HERE to find out more….
80% Of You Won’t Click – because it’s not for everybody
There’s that darned rule working On Your Life Right Now, because,
…only 20% of you will click that link – why? because….20% of the causes brings you 80% of your life’s outcomes,
and to quote Tom…”you can’t handle the truth”
20% of the Actions you take or information you act on provides 80% of the Outcomes
It took me many years on my ‘river life’ to hone down what that 20% meant to me, and in a positive way, it allowed me to look back at what I could and should have fixed such as
- Life work balance
- Wage Slave and Stress
- Bad bosses
- Poor career advice
- Dead end jobs
- Putting my family first
- Dilbert Cube Entrapment
- Perceptions not reality
- Low self esteem
- Pay rises that inflation swallows up
- Bad choice of partners
- Errors of judgement
the list goes on….
It turned out that having a job (Just Over Broke) was the lead weight on my life.
I knew my bosses wanted me to work as hard as possible, as long as possible, and pay me the least they could get away with.
They were using the 80/20 Process against me!
But I fixed it, and now use the 80/20 Process to engineer my lifestyle.
Here’s what I did – simple stuff really, I just needed to take stock of what I was good at and what I disliked….including some uncomfortable stuff….
- I love my wife and life partner Jude
- I have a low threshold for stress, but a high threshold for risk taking
- I have degree-level math skills, but dislike number crunching
- I have a dislike of those with authority and power
- I suffer from lower back pain and swollen feet, so sometimes I can be an old grouch
- I am disinterested in governments, politics, religions, sport, TV, or any form of ‘news’
- I am a social person but love being alone
- Am I a millionaire? Well, lets just say ‘I know where the money is’ and I certainly live the lifestyle of a millionaire
- I never do housekeeping, shopping, ironing and washing
- I have a natural and easy sense of humour but dislike jokes
- My dog Rango sleeps on my bed each night and I walk him at 2 am around my garden
- I tend to put off starting less pleasant tasks and my nit-picking habits can slow progress
- I’m dyslexic yet love reading
- I dislike gambling – I’m a bad loser, but I love taking risks
- I have an almond and olive orchard at the bottom of my garden for quiet moments
- I am a natural creator of products can work 10 hours a day for several months when needed
- I take my wife to church each Sunday, while I ‘wait’ in the bar across the street
- I am a natural teacher and love infecting others with valuable information
- I can take complex subjects and ideas and break them down into easy steps
- I get my best business ideas when slurping vino in shady street bars
- I have a morbid fear of heights, yet have flown all over the world
- My daughter Carina had epilepsy from an infant fever fit but is nearly cured, she now works as a PA to five directors at Deutsche Bank in London
- I love having an audience and have no fear of formal presentations
- I’ve blown out most of my high frequency hearing due to playing in rock bands
- I have a seven year-old grand daughter who I have only met once
- I love structure in what I do but like a disordered casual life
- My ego thrives on being noticed and valued
- I hate conventional life and having norms thrust upon me
- I get great satisfaction being surrounded by nature – I hate cities and crowds
- I love pulling information together and making it into a cohesive whole
- I’ve been married three times
- I won’t own a mobile phone, I threw mine away 6 years ago
- I’m a front-end ideas guy
- My Son Rob is a talented drummer who also makes his living online
- I start work at 5 am each morning and stop by breakfast or earlier
- I’m generous to a fault
- I hate admin, shopping, tidying up and I’m useless at money management
- I’m a lover not a fighter
- I can be stubborn and self-opinionated
- I love giving far more than taking
- I used my Project Management skills to start a new business that makes more than I need and get autopilot money delivered in my inbox
- I’m a Bohemian Libertarian, but other than that, a Nice Guy
- I have my own views about creation and it has nothing to do with religion
- I love working on my own and dislike joint ventures, partnerships and collaborations
Okay, Okay, that’s enough from me….
I sucked out the 20% that mattered and forged a path to my 80% dreams.
It worked – took me two years though….
I Got My 80 Percent
I have true financial independence thanks to using the same Project Management skills that I teach YOU, I have more regular income than I need and several healthy bank accounts.
I live in a warm sunny climate, and only work a handful of hours a week except when I’m developing new products to sell.
I wake up each day and decide what I want to do…mostly relaxing in my pool, playing with my dog and on my collection of guitars, best of all, taking Jude for a quiet meal in Denia or on the beach.
I live in woodland on an old 1930 farmhouse just 700 yards from the beach and I own a bungalow in Laguna, Philippines.
I say this, not to brag, but to illustrate how the 80/20 PROCESS has worked for me.
The truth could turn out to be even stranger than fiction for YOU too.
But seriously though, could it work for you?
Only 20% of those who read this will go on to take action.
Sad But True.
Whatever your chosen approach to setting and meeting your goals, one of the best ways to meet them is using the knowledge, skills and experience of project management, so hop on over HERE and find out more!
By Dave |
Where Are The ‘bleeding edge’ Thinkers?
I’m just chewing here. I’m in the mood for a rant, and it’s a balmy 25 degrees-plus on my patio in Spain, so I have returned to the cool of my office PC…
By a sheer accident I was a teenager in Aldershot (UK) in 1958. This just so happened to coincide with the explosion of rock and roll that became the beat/pop boom of the early sixties…I was a young spotty nerd that fell in love with the guitar.
My dad had an excellent collection of 78 rpm records, mostly piano and band music, but several records by Felix Mendelssohn and his Hawaiian Serenaders. He also had the Theme From The Third Man by Anton Karas on a guitar-sounding zither. At the tender age of ten, these were the first tunes I had ever heard where the GUITAR was the main instrument.
I was In Love.
I got my first guitar at 15 years old and practiced ’till my fingers bled…Nothing special so far.
Within 3 years of playing, I had my dream guitar, and it has never been bettered – A USA designed and built Fender Stratocaster – launched around the mid 1950’s…Leo Fender was an inventor and creator from Santa Ana California, no one in the rest of the world could come close to designing and building such an innovative product (2014 update….still can’t!)
You can see me at 18 years old playing my 1963 salmon pink Stratocaster in the picture opposite – made just 7 years after Leo first started production. Although only costing me £60 UKP (a fortune to me back then), it would probably fetch around £5000 today…Ah! nostalgia ain’t what it used to be….
Also back then, the USA had ALL the creative talent and a thriving music industry, while us post-war Brits could do nothing more than copy their creative originality…
“Before Elvis, there was nothing.” – John Lennon
I was not only a participant (which put me in the rare 1 percent), but an observer of this post-war evolution. Here’s my point.
Those individuals that become icons and millionaires were those that contributed to the CREATION of either tunes, beats, or styles/methods.
It is no accident that folks like John Lennon etc, wrote tunes and lyrics on the back of table napkins…their brains were wired that way. The list goes on, Knopfler, Dylan, etc. Seems to me, that there are practitioners of music (me), and then there is the upper echelon – the creators of music.
Such creators couldn’t help themselves, they were compelled to create…
Sometimes the creators don’t do the best version, yet others refine it, sometimes the reverse.
This seems to be true for any industry or profession, including my own, electronic engineering.
Many times average guys and gals reflect back on what ‘could have been’, but most times it is because they were not compelled to write stuff on a napkin, work through the night, or do 50 takes of a song until they heard the sound in their heads.
Translate that point also to any industry or profession.
I’m currently reading David Ogilvy, one of the finest copywriters and marketers that you will never have heard of. The words, visions and application of his craft explode with passion from within his book.
He was an American Citizen and by his name was probably either born in Scotland or had Scottish ancestry. Like many other entrepreneurs, he, along with Claude Hopkins virtually invented direct marketing.
Here was a great creator…
There are many chefs but only one Keith Floyd.
You can watch Keith’s old TV programs and imagine that you could note the ingredients and the instructions…and maybe even cook a passing resemblance to his dish.
But you could never find the energy and passion that took him to create and produce such dishes and programs that were shown and loved world-wide. He was a driven man.
Therein lies the difference. And taking a positive note, this is the extra mile that true entrepreneurs naturally energize themselves to do….
On this laid back Saturday afternoon, I understand perfectly why I was not a rich and successful ‘rock star’ but instead just have a fabulous set of my local musician and friends reminisces of great times…(I didn’t look that sexy either!)
Thank Goodness for the difference that ‘great’ has forged, verses the more commonly found ‘good’.
Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh, and Hank Marvin, just to mention three, have enriched my life in ways that traditional musical education and experience could never do…Anyone, just like me could play their tunes, but we mortals could have never had the talent and vision to create them in the first place.
In my twilight years, I relish replacing time restrictions with my life passions, and return to what I am naturally good at, even if it flies in the face of what traditional ‘granddads’ should be doing…
About one year ago, I had several ideas for a revolutionary music synthesizer. I had all the schematics down apart from a small but key piece of discrete component logic circuitry. Long story cut short, I put that part up on eLance as a project since it had been some 40 years since I last designed digital logic circuits.
The responses I got spoke volumes about how modern engineers are educated these days. Almost without exception the design approaches utilized a standard microprocessor chip programmed with machine code.
This, despite the fact that I emphasized that the design should use simple cheap, discrete logic components.
Oh, yes, and most projects (obviously from USA citizens), wanted around $600 plus 30 days or more to come up with the design.
So one Saturday morning, I bit the bullet and dug out my old logic text-books, did a bit of searching on Google, and within three hours had the design down cold. I estimate it used about $20 of components, some analog, some digital.
Back in the day, it was said that ‘a degree qualification teaches you HOW to think’.
Hmm, it seems that my project request highlights the way electronic engineering is taught these days – particularly in the USA. It’s all about stuffing knowledge and passing exams. And the UK does that too….
So where were the budding John Lennon’s of electronic engineering when I needed them? Where were the sparks of original thinking and application. As rare as hen’s teeth.
Here’s my final thought.
Knowledge does NOT equal Power.
Knowledge Plus Application Equals Power.
It’s no accident that you can’t patent an idea – only the application of that idea…
If the USA (in particular) wants to regain the excellence high ground, it needs all training and educational services to include how to apply that knowledge – whatever industry such artisans ultimately choose.
Oh yeah, and keep religious creationists out of science. Such buffoons bamboozle their brains with unproven circular thinking. Innovators need application – not faith.
I look at some of the magnificent exceptions to my observations, such as the NASA space program, Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs, and what the USA has brought to The Free World.
If the USA education system doesn’t stop learning by rote, then my favorite country bar none, will not generate sufficient wealth to fund it’s imagination and future growth, and will ultimately whither into just a backwater set of States.
Whatever your chosen approach to gaining new skills and knowledge, one of the best ways to meet them is acquiring the knowledge, skills and experience of project management, so hop on over HERE and find out more!
By Dave |
At Last, after 300 days in the making!
I have launched my Agile Project Management Practitioner Primer!
This is the new ‘must-have’ qualification developed in
collaboration between the APMG and the DSDM Consortium.
This new Qualification also brings Agile to the PRINCE2 Community
and is delivered via traditional classroom training.
The Official Handbook is a 174-page text-dense, size 8 font reference manual –
printed on shiny paper. Sheesh!, that’s no way to learn, and can you
afford to pay up to £2000 for premium training, YET STILL FAIL?
But now YOU can prepare well before you attend any
course – at your own pace and place!
And frankly, do you really need to take the exams?
Maybe yes, maybe no.
But just think for moment what the knowledge of setting up, managing,
and controlling an Agile project will do to your credence, credibility, and
ABILITY to make a quantum leap of such knowledge and skills ahead
of others with just TRADITIONAL project management experience?
THEY are your promotion prospects and career competition.
My Agile PM Primer consists of a comprehensive video library,
two Workbooks and a comprehensive set of Sample Foundation and
Practitioner exam questions complete with answers and
justifications. Not to mention my fast-track EXAM CRAM…
So hop on over , and check out my new AGILE Project Management Masterclass HERE
Got That? Now go the extra mile and check THIS out!
If you stumbled across this article thinking that this was going to be a technical synopsis of the art of critical chain application, then you would be dead wrong.
I would rather like to think that it is a large chunk of common sense applied to an innovative technique.
You see, up until now, project managers would determine the activities, their sequences and dependencies, in the form a project schedule with the focus on the time-critical aspects.
So far so good.
But here is the thing. This schedule was the plan, and a good project manager would track what has actually happened, compare this to the plan, and based on any variance, take corrective action and forecast the future. This still works.
The main problem with this approach was assuming that all resources were just robotic sheep.
Whereas critical path analysis focused on task duration and their scheduled start and finish dates, critical chain method for more emphasis on the resources – those are required to execute the plan, and also their availability.
The ‘peaking’ of resource levelling is seen as a problem, and the focus is on levelling down while being flexible in their start times while being able to quickly switch between tasks to keep the whole plan on schedule.
So far still so good. The secret all along was something that I had already learned many years ago from smart project managers.
And that was to keep some ‘time and effort fat’ up your sleeve as a contingency in times of need.
It turns out that at the heart of critical chain is the use of ‘buffers’ in the form of extra time that is kept secret from the specialist team.
This buffer time is either added as a time-chunk at the end of the project, at the end of the stage, or at the end of a package of work. The key is in their flexibility on start times, and their ability to quickly switch between tasks when needed to do so.
All the time, the project manager has planned in some form of buffer at key points within the plan, so that the team are working to an agreed end date, while the project manager has this buffer in terms of time and effort, to apply as and when needed.
I have simplified the description of critical chain here, but its principle remains intact.
Our brains are hard wired to find food, to reduce risk, find partners, and to survive. As part of being human we also have a tendency to use available time to fill the tasks and activities that we need to do. A self fulfilling prophecy if you will.
Why should projects be any different? And the answer is that they are not.
Give a team a critical week to carry out an activity, and they will creatively find the effort to fill it. If they finish early, they will ‘gold plate’ the task to use the time available.
Seth Godin tells of the lizard brain that we all have – surrounded by the evolutionary layers that separate human kind from animals – such as lizards and chickens…
Human-kind is creative and believes that this is the secret to success. Maybe it is.
But once we get near to task completion, Lizard Brain kicks in. We thrash around and do extra stuff that stops us completing. We are wired this way, and it gets in the way of success.
I guess we would not need critical chain if we could stifle Lizard Brain from mouthing off…
So, I celebrate critical chain, not from the perspective of the brilliant mind that thought it up, but rather to celebrate the pragmatic thinking that lay behind it…
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I was surfing Google the other day, and ended up looking at discussions on the ‘next big thing’ in project management. Turns out that the world of quality has its fair share of gurus with the likes of Demming and Juran, but the world of projects does less well – Henry Gantt is about the only one that comes to mind…
But what piqued my interest was a statement not pointed directly about projects at all.
It talked about the need for a generally transferrable organizational model for projectizing work. It was something I had dabbled with years ago, but had not fully nailed down…
My subconscious must have picked up on this, because I awoke very early for several mornings thinking about how that could come about. I did some research, and found out that although a typical organization might have a handful of high visibility projects, it also had a whopping 90% of its enterprise success coming from simple personal assignments given to individuals just like you.
This type of thing, “Dave come into my office for a moment, I’ve got something I want you to take a shot at”. Maybe you’ve been asked to write a report, give a presentation, resolve some operational problem or prepare for a special event. Whatever.
These are certainly not projects, but you know full well that the equation:
Your Career = Assignment Success is at play here….
Goof it up and your reputation and career are lower than the stomach contents of a whale.
It doesn’t matter what your job or position is within an organization – you’ll get assignments at many points in your professional life – do them right and you’ll become the Assignment Hero!
Over a period of two weeks sweat, blood and toil, I knew I had found and developed it – a universal model for projectizing work assignments. I harnessed a tailored and simplified version of the framework and controls that projects used, but one which will bring success to any personal assignment, and I named it TaskPack. It takes just moments to apply and is an easy to follow step-by-step system.
It will put you ahead of the pack and turn you into the ‘go-to guy or gal’ – the person who gets things done and delivers every time.
You can find the result and see how it works HERE
I’ll be brief.
Amongst the first activities a project manager will normally be focussed on with a new project, is determining what its scope and objectives are. And this is usually the first point at which confusion arises – mainly because different folks have different opinions, but also because your customers/users will not have thought this through.
Typically in the world of IT, the project will have been based on a pile of requirements or functionalities. This is fine and good as these will lead to determining the design, but they are downright dangerous if used alone.
A good mental approach here is to use the “So What?” test. For each specification or requirement, ask ‘so what?’ This is lead to articulating what the end game is for each. Take for example a system needing a certain speed of response. Asking ‘so what?’ repeatedly, will lead to an understanding of why such speed is critical.
But what I really want to talk about is the nest step. Writing S-M-A-R-T project goals and objectives (these also work brilliantly to develop you as an individual too!).
So for each project goal or objective, you write down clearly:
- Specific. describe exactly what this goal is…
- Measurable. capture the measurable units, how you will measure and who will measure
- Attainable. discus with customer/team and ensure that this objective is realistic
- Relevant. this ties back to the scope, make sure it is within the boundaries of the project
- Time Bound. state the time frame of the objective itself as well as any timings within the objective
These are often best obtained in a workshop where discussion/trade-offs, Since you are S.M.A.R.T already, why not hop on over HERE to get ahead of the pack and invest in Projec Academy range of project management-focused training HERE!
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So it’s Sunday morning, I’m waiting for the coffee to perculate, and I’m fooling around with Google…
It just so happens that I’m starting to assemble the bare bones of what will become my latest Masterclass product – Microsoft Project 2010…I’m grabing graphic shots of MS Project in action, I’m writing a case study, designing PowerPoint Slides, authoring the detailed Workbook, building in a project management 101, I’m…well, Getting Excited!
See, I have been using MS Project since around version 2.0 way back in the late ’80’s. I thought it was a good app even then, because even though the competition was often more powerful, they were complex and difficult to use. Back then PM’s often needed a support office to run such software, but times have changed in my opinion.
MS Project 2010 is the ‘must-have’ app for ALL project managers, from ‘just-starting novice’ to an ‘in the trenches’ pro. Check out the powerful features of the latest 2010 incarnation. I know you’ll agree with me that it is a powerful and intuitive PM app, with a brand-new sleek user interface that fits right in with the rest of the MS Office suite. Working with it will be like shaking hands with an old friend.
I’m willing to bet that if you don’t like MS Project 2010, it’s because you don’t understand how it thinks and works. How can I be so sure?
Well, I ran hundreds of MS Project training courses from the ’90’s and on into the 2000’s, and I reckon I know as much as anyone about how to teach it, how to help you learn it, but most important of all, I can teach you how to apply it.
I’ve given thousands of dollars worth of consultation to large multinationals advising and demonstrating how to embed the MS Project tool in their organizations. I can talk the talk and walk the walk.
I’m seeing a huge market of project managers who need to implement more detailed, realistic, and achievable plans in order to get better control of their projects. For small projects some folks are still using Excel as a sort of graphic spreadsheet in place of a proper planning tool. Trouble is, they are all hand-cranked, with the upshot that forecasting and resourcing is a hit and miss affair because the thing is not inter-active…
Frankly, if you shop around, you can get the latest MS Project Professional for around a hundred bucks (I paid $75 for mine and had it shipped from Hong Kong!). So even if your organization is not prepared to stump up the cash – it’s a no-brainer that you should grab yourself a copy…
But back to why I’m excited.
See, I found out that around 25 Million of you are ‘googling’ for ‘MS Project 2010’, and a further 3.6 Million of you are searching for ‘MS Project 2010 tutorial‘ – and that’s an awful lot of hungry minds that need feeding. In the last month alone nearly 10,000 of you searched for that term!
Grab your copy HERE!
I’ve been burning the midnight oil and got my Microsoft Project 2010 Masterclass advanced training on the interweb streets – pronto!
Onwards and Upwards.
Many folks fail to achieve their own full potential because they don’t set themselves goals. Others drop the baton because they don’t draw up an implementation plan.
But the biggie for me, is failing to take the FIRST STEP. The old saying “how do you eat an elephant?” is answered by “one mouthful at a time”. Now, I don’t recommend you actually eat these magnificent animals, but the analogy is a good one…
Take improving your project management career as an example. No, not asking the boss for a raise, but getting the best education you can – and that means becoming a Project Management Professional (PMP). Just think how those letters after your name would make you feel?
But you’ve got to take the plunge and put aside time to study in the first place. And I’m talking about real commitment here, not just ‘best efforts’
So what’s the first step you ask? Well, it’s investing in a training program.
Stay with me here…
You’re thinking, how do I know if it’s a good PMP training program – what if I don’t like the materials? What if the instructor can’t teach? and a million other reasons why you are still procrastinating (I’m assuming here that you have the usual human foibles like the rest of us do!)
Fear not, for we at Projex Academy are giving you a sample Lesson from our world-beating PMP Masterclass video training… That’s right, you don’t have to buy anything or pay anything. I’m so confident that you’ll love it and want to invest in our PMP Masterclass that I’m willing to give you a free lunch…
CLICK HERE to get your FREE PMP Video Lesson….Enjoy.
Funny thing computers, they start out as pristine towers of high-tech…and end up as a pile-of-files glory hole. It’s normally about this time that they start to slow down due to all the junk you’ve collected, and you start thinking about getting a new one…
So there I was a few days ago, trying to stop the rot by having a bit of a tidy up (aren’t those ‘duplicate file finder’ applications cool!). When I came across an old JPG that a delegate had taken of my PRINCE2 Roadmap while I was delivering one of my training seminars. Okay, so it was hand-drawn live and would not win any prizes for neatness, but delegates usually tell me later that it was one of the most useful and important sessions in the course.
So I’ve spent the last few hours making a proper PDF out of it, and added my talkthrough text – the result is quite a useful PRINCE2 preparation product. And you can have it for FREE!
By Dave |
As you might imagine, I get a lot of emails on various aspects of project management training, and in particular, stuff for preparing for the PMP exam.
I remember back in the 1980’s or so, local newsagents had many regular monthly magazines on some specialist topic or another. For example, gardening, sewing, model making, collectors stuff, and so on. Each month customers would shell out hard cash….fast forward many months later, and they found out that they have paid several hundred pounds on a topic that could have been purchased in a bookstore for a tenth of the price!
Now price is not everything I know, and I’m sure they got lots of enjoyment and anticipation waiting for the next installment…but… take preparing for your PMP exam as an example. I got this in my inbox this morning:
The “Project Scope Management (PMBOK® Guide – Fourth Edition-aligned)” training bundle consists of the following three courses:
- Project Requirements and Defining Scope
- Create Work Breakdown Structure
- Monitoring and Controlling Project Scope
Online Access (Single User) : EUR 175
This covers just one of my 28 PMP Video Modules (over 100 streaming 20-minute videos), and doesn’t even include practice exam questions and answers (like mine does) plus our famed online PMP Exam Simulator with 2,000 questions and answers.
Now 175 Euros is around £158 or $250 USD – which puts the total cost of this training up around the $5000 USD mark… It seems a tad expensive to me, so what if you could get the whole $5000 course for a very customer-frinedly price?
What’s more, YOU get immediate access – to find out more, just jump on over to HERE
Us humans find it hard to remember pages of text information, yet seeing it laid out sequencially in graphic moving pictures seems easy…proably why we love movies….
So we at Projex Academy did the same for you when preparing for your PMP Exam – check out the video below:
Just so you know – I created all those video modules at this very desk:
Okay, so I’m in a reflective mood – in particular thinking about the soft skills of management. No, not team building or leadership – something more fundamental.
What triggered this blog, was having a business meeting with a business project partner tonight. You see, he has a photographic memory – yeah, I know, how many times have you heard that phrase – but it’s true in Darren’s case. He really is amazing. His skills are built-in. The rest of us have to struggle.
But I remember some 10 years ago, I was watching a programme on TV that featured memory skills – but went a step further than the usual techniques you may have already heard of…
Now I tried some of these, and although would not call myself a ‘memory man’ by any measure, I did find that they worked – spooky Eh?!
So try this if you dare:-
Think of a part of your house that you are VERY familiar with – it might be your hallway or your kitchen for example. Maybe even your office space. Whatever.
Now concentrate. I want you to initially close your eyes and remember particular features/objects of that area. If it’s your hallway, enter by the front door, and LOOK to your left to your left and right – what do you see?
Pick out particular items – the hall mirror, the picture by the stairs, the cupboard, the ornament…etc….find about 10 or 12 objects that you are VERY familiar with. Got Them?
The human brain is a powerful database isn’t it? See how vividly you have remembered these familiar objects?
Okay, so here’s the transition you have been waiting for…
Suppose, you are meeting several new clients and you are introduced to them one at a time. Suppose the first name is Bob. Think of the first object as you walk in your front door – lets say it is a mirror. In an instant, relate Bob in some way with that mirror – perhaps see yourself ‘bobbing down’ to avoid your reflection.
Job Done. Because you have ‘tied’ Bob with that familiar object – when you see him again you see yourself ‘bobbing down’ and remember his name – instantly.
The more humorous or stupid (or even rude) you can make the analogy, the easier you will remember him. Does this take practice? Of course!
But try it – and prepare to be amazed at yourself…meeting clients, seminars and parties will be so much more fun after this.
Oh yes. And in case you’re thinking that rembering a person from an ‘analogous thought’ is common knowledge – because you have made the tie between a familiar relationship – such as your kitchen, bedroom, etc – the results are FAR more powerful…
But what about building your project management skills?
You really don’t want to prepare for your next exam with the large amount of material to understand and remember?
Don’t worry, we at Projex Academy got you covered – just breeze over HERE and check out our easy, step-by-step video graphic-rich training…see, we’ve done all the imagining for you!