Friday, February 20, 2009

Joseph A. Lukas PMP Bio and Speaker Topics

Project Management Speaker Topics

Joseph A. Lukas, PMP, PE, CCE

Note: All of these topics have been presented to either a national or local audience. Each presentation is 45 minutes plus time for questions.

Joe Lukas Bio:

Joe Lukas has been involved in project management for over 30 years. His jobs span engineering, manufacturing, construction, project controls, estimating, contracting and both Program and Project Management. His projects experience includes information systems, product development, capital construction and manufacturing. Joe joined PMI in 1986 and has held many Chapter Board positions in Rochester, NY including two terms as President. He is a registered Professional Engineer, Project Management Professional and Certified Cost Engineer.

Joe is Vice-President for PM Centers USA, a PMI Global Registered Education Provider and the 2006 PMI Professional Development Provider of the Year. PM Centers USA delivers complete solutions in project management and business analysis through online, public and private training and consulting. Joe also teaches and consults for PM Centers USA clients and has written over 30 articles on project management topics.

Project Management Topics:

  1. Is Your Schedule Correct? Common Scheduling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

    Project Managers typically know how to use a scheduling tool such as Microsoft Project, either from a training course, mentoring from colleagues or self-learning. Unfortunately, many people do not understand basic scheduling concepts and therefore utilize incorrect techniques in preparing and maintaining their schedules. The presenter has served as a project management consultant to many companies over the years, and in this role has reviewed and critiqued many project schedules. Most of the schedules reviewed contained problems and errors that greatly reduced the schedule accuracy and value.

    Based on these reviews, this talk will present the ‘Dave Letterman’ top ten list of mistakes people make when preparing and maintaining project schedules. The presenter will show how these mistakes can make a schedule very misleading and incorrect. This presentation will also discuss the correct techniques that should be utilized to avoid these scheduling mistakes. This talk will also present a recommended procedure to follow for preparing and updating any project schedule to help ensure your project schedule is both accurate and complete. This talk should be of interest to people just learning how to schedule, and for people who currently prepare schedules and want pointers on how to create more effective schedules. If you think you’re a skilled scheduler, come to this session to see if you are making any of these common errors. You may be surprised!

  1. Project Negotiations: Deal Yourself a Winning Hand

    Do you have clients that constantly ask for minor extras at no additional cost? Do you have problems getting the right resources for your projects? Do your team members consistently miss schedule dates or exceed budgets? Maybe the problem is that you are not an effective negotiator! Most experienced Project Managers typically have good ‘hard skills’ in project management, such as defining scope, budgeting or scheduling, but come up short in some soft skills areas such as negotiating.

    In the song “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers, he sings “if you’re gonna play the game…ya gotta learn to play it right. You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” His song unfortunately has the wrong title. It should be “The Project Manager” because the lyrics exactly describe project situations that Project Managers constantly encounter in negotiations. This talk will present the ‘David Letterman’ list of the top ten mistakes made in conducting project negotiations, along with techniques that can be utilized to avoid these mistakes. The talk will then describe a recommended procedure to follow when preparing for a negotiation. Finally, effective tactics that can be applied to project negotiations will be described, including concession strategy, and the use of time, power, authority and questions.

    This talk will help you understand when to hold your position, when to fold (compromise), when to walk away and when to run. This talk should be of interest for experienced Project Managers looking for pointers on how to be more effective in negotiation situations. If you think you’re a skilled negotiator, come to this session to see if you are making any of the 10 most common negotiation errors. You may be surprised!

  1. Earned Value Analysis – Why it Doesn’t Work

    For many companies looking to improve project performance, Earned Value Analysis (EVA) seems a logical technique to use on projects to better understand and manage performance. Procedures are written and some training provided. The Project Managers are then told to start using earned value, with the management expectation that project results will soon improve. Usually about a year later reality sets in. No improvement is achieved, project management costs are up and people are complaining about all of the ‘extra paperwork’. The company then either decides to drop use of earned value, or brings in a consultant to help figure out what corrective actions should be taken to get earned value ‘back on track’. The author has been this consultant for companies, and this talk will cover the ‘Dave Letterman’ list of the top ten pitfalls that can make the use of EVA unsuccessful, along with suggested corrective actions that can be applied to projects to counter these hazards. This talk will first provide a review of earned value terminology, formulas and key metrics to monitor when using earned value analysis. After this review, the common errors encountered in implementing EVA and corrective actions will be covered in detail. By the end of this talk you’ll hopefully realize this really isn’t just about using Earned Value Analysis, but really covers the more important topic of having a complete and integrated Project Plan in place, which is a cornerstone of Earned Value Management.

  1. It Works! Successful Use of Project Management Techniques on a Large IS Project.

    This presentation will describe the successful use of project management tools and techniques on an information systems (IS) project for a Fortune 500 company. The IS project was done to create a new, customized intranet-based software package used for managing the capital budget and expenditures for the company. The presenter was both a core client team member and the project management coach for the Project Team. The company goal was to demonstrate how to successfully manage a large IS project using accepted project management practices.

    Project Management techniques were used for pre-project activities including identification of business drivers and a quantitative business case analysis and justification for the project. These activities led to the publication of a signed Project Charter for the project.

    The waterfall methodology was used on this project, and the early focus on complete definition of requirements including sign-off by the clients will be described. An integrated Project Plan was prepared and published. A key component of the Project Plan was the risk management plan given the number of company locations in different countries, and this talk will describe some of the major risks along with the response and contingency plans. The use of change management and a Change Control Board will also be described. The contracting strategy, which included an incentive plan with the software developer, will be discussed. This project also successfully used earned value analysis to measure progress. The end result was a project finished on schedule, under budget and most important – it worked!

  1. Establishing a Project Management Process, Procedures and Templates

    This talk will discuss the benefits and hurdles typically encountered by companies looking to establish a project process, procedures and templates. This talk is based on work done by the presenter at several major Fortune 500 companies, and will discuss typical driving forces leading to a focus on project management excellence. This presentation will also discuss best practices for roll-out of a project management process including training of project personnel, typical challenges encountered during implementation and some of the initial benefits normally achieved.

  1. Successfully Manage Your Project Risks

    Most project teams do not consider the potential risks that may impact their project. This talk will cover the fundamentals of the risk management process that project teams should follow on every project. Topics covered will include risk identification techniques, risk analysis methods and risk response planning. Actual project examples will be used to highlight various risk management tools that can be applied to your project.

  1. Take Control of your Project with Earned Value Analysis

    So how is your project going? This is a question project managers are frequently asked by management and their customer. Most project managers report actual costs compared to plan, or may even create a trend plot of budget costs versus actual costs. This is incomplete and can be very misleading information! Earned value analysis is the most effective method for measuring project performance. It provides an objective measure of work performed in terms of the budget planned for that work. This talk will discuss how to use earned value analysis to report project performance. This tool communicates scope, schedule and cost status information to project stakeholders. Properly used, Earned Value is an easy and flexible process that provides timely information on the project’s health. Effective use of Earned Value concepts can provide a competitive edge in successfully delivering projects.

  1. Essential Business Skills for the Project Manager

    This talk will explain the qualifications needed to become certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as a Project Management Professional (PMP). The application and testing process will be covered. Sample exam questions will be presented, along with tips and suggestions for preparing and taking the exam. The talk will also cover the requirements for maintaining the PMP certification.

    Attend this presentation and learn how to improve your business case skills and expand your role to include Business Manager. A Project Manager who also has business skills and takes the initiative to work with the client in defining and managing the project business case greatly increases their value to the client. This talk will delve into some key concepts in establishing and managing the business case including value achievement, which is ensuring benefits are realized after project completion.

    This presentation will start by reviewing the common reasons organizations carry out projects. The time value of money and common compound interest formulas will then be covered along with interest rate tables. Financial analysis techniques will then be reviewed, including Net Present Value (NPV), Return on Investment (ROI), Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and Payback. Examples will be presented using a simple Excel workbook developed for people who are not familiar with the use of formulas. This workbook will be made available to members of the PMI Chapter.

  1. How to Become a Project Management Professional

    This talk will explain the qualifications needed to become certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as a Project Management Professional (PMP). The application and testing process will be covered. Sample exam questions will be presented, along with tips and suggestions for preparing and taking the exam. The talk will also cover the requirements for maintaining the PMP certification.

  1. There is No Such Thing as a Bad Estimate

    When was the last time you worked on a project with a bad estimate? The speaker will present his theory that there really is no such thing as a bad estimate. Instead, project estimate failures are directly related to either bad project teams or a bad project process & procedures! The speaker has over 30 years experience in project management and has been on both sides of estimates: the preparation side and the customer side. One of his prior job assignments was forming and managing a conceptual estimating department for a fortune 500 company. This talk will present a light-hearted look at the facts of life when it comes to estimating. This interactive talk will include a discussion on why bad estimates occur, and discuss some case histories on the impacts of estimate failures. The talk will finish will some tips on preparing quality estimates to ensure the project team has a realistic project budget.

  1. How to Succeed in Project Management

    This talk will cover what is necessary for an individual and for an organization to be successful in applying project management to projects. Far too often, a person is told "you're now a project manager", and he/she doesn't have any training or experience in that role. Many companies have decided to form a Projects Office, and then wonder why projects continue to fail. This talk discusses what is necessary to be successful in project management.

  1. How to Become a Project Management Professional

    This talk will explain the qualifications needed to become certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as a Project Management Professional (PMP). The application and testing process will be covered. Sample exam questions will be presented, along with tips and suggestions for preparing and taking the exam. The talk will also cover the requirements for maintaining the PMP certification.

  1. Can YOU Handle the Truth?

    A critical factor in successfully applying risk management to projects is identifying potential risk events throughout the project life cycle. This requires project team members and other project stakeholders to accurately convey potential problem areas that could impact the project. Having inaccurate or incomplete information during the project life cycle is a risk that the successful Project Manager must be prepared to manage. This presentation will discuss how truth is a critical element in the success of a project. It will explore what is meant by “getting the truth” about a project, including the reasons why project team members might not report information precisely, how accurate information can be obtained, and how a Project Manager should handle the truth without “shooting the messenger.”

  1. The Value in Lessons Learned

    Lessons learned is a project management best practice that collects and disseminates pertinent summary level project information to an organization so that all Project Managers can learn and implement techniques to improve their project performance. The quote by George Santayana sums up why lessons learned are so important: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. This talk will discuss what are lessons learned, and what type of information should be covered in a lessons learned session. Reasons why lessons learned sessions don’t happen will be covered, along with ideas on how to encourage team members to attend a lessons learned session. This presentation will point out the importance of management support and also explain what can be done with information from lessons learned sessions, and ideas on how to communicate summary level information on lessons learned. Specific examples of how lessons learned are used at different companies will also be presented.

  1. Effective Alliances, the Competitive Advantage
Companies are facing tough competition in the global marketplace. One result is the continuing trend to reduce internal staff groups, with the resultant need to contract for more of these services. Frequently the relationship between the company and suppliers has consisted of arms' length haggling over the price. However, many companies are now recognizing the importance of customer-supplier alliances, which can result in dramatic improvement in cost, quality, and schedule. This talk will offer ideas on how to make an alliance work based on the author’s own experiences.