At the end, look at the beginning

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20 Under 40: JenniferDessoye

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Dr. Jennifer Dessoye is assistant professor of occupational therapy at Misericordia University and owner of Bright Beginnings Early Learning Academy (BBELA). Discontent with the early education curriculum and understanding of human development and neurolo (read more)

20 Under 40: Amy Hlavaty Belcher

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Amy Hlavaty Belcher, 39, owner and artistic director of Abrabesque Academy of Dancing, believes that for those who have been given much, much is expected. “I just try hard to do my best,” she said. I have been blessed with many opportunities and many gift (read more)

20 Under 40: Christopher Hetro

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Chris Hetro, 33, works hard and plays hard. “A strong work ethic is important, but finding balance outside of work is important because life is too short and you need to enjoy it,” he explained. As an electrical engineer and project manager at Borton-Laws (read more)

20 Under 40: C. David Pedri

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For attorney C. David Pedri, 37, it’s all about a combination of qualities that contribute to success. “My philosophy is simple: be open and honest, treat people the way you would want to be treated, with respect, and work hard to attain your dreams. The (read more)

20 Under 40: Ed Frable

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Ed Frable, 28, believes “if I work hard and stick to my word, good things will happen. My crew will not be deterred. We will re-evaluate our game plan and not give up until the job is complete,” explained Frable, the owner/operator of Ed Frable Constructi (read more)

20 Under 40: William H. Bender II

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William H. Bender II, CFP, CIMA, CRPC, loves what he does. “I’m lucky. I come to work every day excited to help the people and institutions we work with,” explained Bender, 34, first vice president at Bender Wealth Management Group, Merrill Lynch. The fam (read more)

20 Under 40: Angelo Venditti

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Angelo Venditti, 38, heard a call to the helping professions early on. Geisinger Northeast’s chief nursing officer answer was to volunteer for his local fire company. After high school, he became a paramedic, then enrolled in nursing school. Three years a (read more)

20 Under 40: Donald Mammano

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At 20, Donald Mammano began his own company, while attending the University of Scranton. Mammano, now 33, and president of DFM Properties, recalls, as a youngster, holding a flashlight while his father fixed the kitchen sink. “From that point on I was fas (read more)

20 Under 40: William J. Fennie III

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William J. Fennie III, 27, is always knocking on the proverbial door, because he knows one day, one will open. As an investment specialist with Integrated Capital Management (iCM) he cannot take “no” for an answer. “I make cold calls every day to invite f (read more)

20 Under 40: Marcus Magyar

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As an advisor at CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, Marcus N. Magyar, CFP, 30, provides comprehensive wealth management and investment portfolio services to business owners, executives, families and high-net worth individuals. His multi-disciplinary team of pro (read more)

20 Under 40: Heather Davis

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Heather M. Davis, 33, director of marketing and communication, is responsible for creating, overseeing and implementing a strategic marketing and comprehensive communications plan for The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC). She is also responsible for pr (read more)

20 Under 40: Alexandria Duffney

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Alexandria Duffney, 30, is competitive by nature and loves a good challenge. These qualities have led her to her position as associate director of graduate admission at Wilkes University. Here she works with prospective students interested in enrolling in (read more)

20 Under 40: John Culkin

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John Culkin’s tenets inform: “Less haste equal more speed; the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg, it is all about what you are made of, not the circumstances surrounding you; and don’t ask someone to walk a mile in your shoes, bef (read more)

20 Under 40: Conor O'Brien

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“What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn’t lived it,” mused Conor O’Brien.” As co-founder and executive director of the Scranton Fringe Festival, O’Brien, 25, is responsible for leading the development of the overal (read more)

20 Under 40: Jessica Siegfried

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Jessica Siegfried, 38, is senior designer with BlackOut Design Inc., where she is responsible for all creative design at the full-service agency, from traditional branding and print to collateral and front end web design. “I’ve always had an interest in t (read more)

20 Under 40: David Johns

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David Johns’ career path has been shaped by his diverse experiences. As director of structural engineering at Greenman-Pedersen Inc., Moosic, Johns, 39, ensures that his engineering and consultant teams provide clients with their best effort. “We complete (read more)

20 Under 40: Robyn Jones

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Robyn Jones, 38, president of ReferLocal LLC, has learned just as many lessons from her business successes as she’s had from her failures — and she believes it’s important to share that knowledge with her employees. After graduating from American Universi (read more)

20 Under 40: Nisha Arora

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Nisha Arora, 36, tries to be the best version of herself every day. As general counsel for ERA One Source Realty Inc., she realized she cannot control other’s behavior so “I try to focus on myself and how I can be better,” she explained. Arora’s responsib (read more)

20 Under 40: Justin Sandy

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Starting at a young age in Hazleton, Justin C. Sandy, 33, found a passion for running. He became a member then a coach for Misericordia University’s cross country and track and field programs. “It was at Misericordia that I also garnered the profound sati (read more)

20 Under 40: Dr. Ariane Conaboy

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As a doctor of internal medicine at Physicians Health Alliance, Dr. Ariane M. Conaboy, 34, realizes the importance of human life and how fragile it can be at times. Conaboy graduated from Scranton Prep and the University of Scranton with a double major in (read more)

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At the end, look at the beginning

 

As the project manager, you are accountable for delivering a successful project. At the end, if the project fails, all eyes look to you.

When analyzing why a project failed you need to reflect on the beginning to understand why you didn’t succeed. Typically project managers encounter challenges in the areas of planning, communicating, reporting, measuring and documenting. Some of the following may seem pretty basic, but I stumble across these crucial mistakes all the time.

 

Business case, project charter or project scope document

 

Call it any name you want, but make sure you have a document that identifies what’s in and out of scope, the major objectives and expected benefits to be realized, assumptions, constraints and risks. This is the document that all stakeholders can use as an anchor to transform them from current to future state and the reason why the project is being initiated. Make sure to get all stakeholders to sign off on the document.

 

Quantify the expected results

 

Implementing projects is not like sports where you measure success by wins or losses. You need to engage stakeholders to quantify the benefits they want to achieve so you can use those metrics to measure success. Reducing administrative costs by the end of the fourth quarter is not measurable. Reducing administrative costs by 25 percent by the end of the year is. As you proceed with your project, make sure all activities are focused on achieving the expected benefits. Don’t get sidetracked with tasks that do not deliver to the expected benefits.

 

Planning

 

You know the cliché — if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Team members need a road-map outlining in sufficient detail how they will get from point A to point B. Planning is an iterative team process, so you can plan while concurrently performing some of the work of the project. A good plan includes:

n Well documented tasks indicating who is accountable for task completion with start and end dates.

n A list of milestones and deliverables clearly communicated to all stakeholders.

n Critical dependencies that could cause project slippage if due dates are missed.

n Time required by assigned resources to focus on tasks and deliver them within established time frames

n Sufficient status meetings to report progress, slippage and risks.

 

Status reporting

 

Status reports must provide an honest perspective of project progress, slippage and risks that may jeopardize the project delivery date. Project slippage must be supported with reasons for slippage and what actions are being taken to recover lost time and prevent reoccurrence.

If you are in a corporate culture that can’t handle the truth, meet with key stakeholders and make them aware that reporting a red flag is a call for support from management and not a reflection that the project manager or team is doing a poor job. Bad news only gets worse the longer you fail to communicate it.

 

Team members are set up to fail

 

Make sure you meet with each team member assigned to your project and understand what’s on their plate in addition to the project you are managing. Find out how much time they have available to give to your project and avoid the “Are You Serious?” syndrome. Be an advocate for your team and meet with key stakeholders to resolve resource overload issues. Organizations that prioritize effectively and are serious about hitting established deadlines relieve team members of at least 40 to 50 percent of their daily job functions.

 

Celebrate success along the way

 

So many organizations rarely say thank you to their employees, so developing a rewards structure to motivate team members is a differentiator that can contribute to the success of any project. Meet with project sponsors at the outset of the project and agree to low cost and non-monetary rewards when important milestones are achieved. Project success is not solely the task of the team. Executive and senior leader involvement is required and getting them engaged is part of the role of being an effective project manager.

So there are a few blunders that you can avoid. Some of these will be out of your control and it may be someone higher up the organization chart that is derailing your project. If that’s the case share this information with them.

Lar ry Puleo a certified project manager (PMP) is president of MLP Consultants, LLC which helps companies execute their strategies. Contact him at lpuleo@mlpconsultants.c om or visit www.mlpconsultants.com

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