Consulting engagements are undertaken in situations where organizations and individuals can benefit from highly leveraged project manager subject matter expertise. Thought leadership combined with expertise. Engagements are selectively undertaken with project managers and executive managers who want to raise the level of project management performance of their projects and organizations.
Training workshops can cover a broad range of topics spanning all aspects of project management, include a substantial number of exercises and case studies, and are tailored to satisfy the needs of each client. Current training workshops include project management offices, opportunity assessment, and executive actions for project success.
Requested keynote and speaker at national, international, and regional conferences. Contagious passion, dry wit and humor, combined with deep and broad command of subject matter leave audiences informed and entertained. High level of interaction keeps the audience engaged.
Topics can cover a broad range inclusive of all aspects of project management. Passionate topics currently include getting executives to act for project success, the importance of discipline in project management and mountain climbing, great project managers, project leadership, and when you are really a project manager.
List of some recent public presentations by Michael O’Brochta:
- Why Bad Projects Are So Hard To Kill
- Determination - Key Value for Success.
- Project Bullies / What Can You Do?
- Disruptive Behavior in Your Chapter
- Project Manager Essentials / Beyond Basics
- Leadership Tips for Project Success
- Project Leadership / Five Essentials
- Know You Are A Project Manager When...
- Great Project Managers
- Iterative Federal Projects
- Great Project Leadership / Five Essentials
- Leader's Choice / Five Steps to Ethical Decisions
- How To Get Executives To Act For Project Success
- Leadership Essentials for PMPs
- Project Manager Discipline and Mountain Climbing
Sample presentation. PMI Washington DC Chapter. 80 second movie.
“It takes two to tango” is an accurate description of the relationship between a project management office and an executive. At the end of the day, success for either of them is dependent on the other. Executives depend on the work accomplished by project management offices for their own success, just as project management offices depend on executives for their success. This paper builds the case for the co-dependent relationship between the executives and the project management office, it cites the number one reason for executive failure, it illustrates the point with a true story from the CIA, and it links the story to recent project management office research.
Even world-class project managers will not succeed unless they get their executives to act for project success. The trap of applying best practice project management only to have the project fail because of executive inaction or counteraction can be avoided. A model has been developed that can be used by project managers to measure the level of executive support for projects; this model identifies actions the project manager can take to accelerate executive support to the next level. A central theme is that project managers are empowered to extend their sphere of influence beyond the immediate project boundaries up into the organization to get their executives to act.
Even world-class project managers will not succeed unless they get their executives to act for project success. The trap of applying best practice project management only to have the project fail because of executive inaction or counteraction can be avoided. Increasing numbers of project managers are looking for ways to deal with this reality. This is a how-to paper. It describes how project managers can get their executives to act and it identifies the top ten executive actions most likely to contribute to project success. This paper draws upon research from related fields about management and leadership and offers a model to gauge levels of executive support for projects, and it identifies actions the project manager and executive can take to accelerate executive support to the next level. A central theme is that project managers are empowered to extend their sphere of influence beyond the immediate project boundaries up into the organization to get their executives to act and to help implement the actions as well.
The feeling is unmistakable; you have accomplished some great work, but it goes unappreciated. Didn’t anyone notice, or care? You may have crafted a terrific project plan only to be met with indifference, or worse, push back from your executive about why you appear to be trying to bankrupt the organization with all of the “unnecessary” planning tasks. Never mind that this stuff works; it must work, after all these techniques are reflected in standards such as the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. So, why bother striving for excellence? Why endeavor to apply project management best practices if you are likely to be the only one of a few who knows or cares?
I have come to think of project management as the language of getting things done. It strikes me as being very much results oriented; focused on the end item deliverable product or service. And for project managers who fully embrace the techniques of breaking work down into manageable tasks the focus involves not just achieving the final outcome, but accomplishing all of the intermediate activities as well. This, after all, is the foundation of the best practice of critical path management. So why then do we encounter project management situations involving procrastination? Are some project managers putting off doing things because of habitual carelessness or laziness? What is the impact of procrastination? How can we recognize procrastination; and how can we prevent it?
I have been an avid reader and believer of the long string of studies about why projects fail. Be it Gartner, or The Chaos Studies by The Standish Group, or others. The top reasons for project failure has remained fairly constant for a decade or two: requirements, user involvement, executive support, and a few others. Either the requirements were not fully understood, or documented, or agreed to by enough stakeholders, or they changed, or they didn’t change; whatever. Likewise for user involvement and executive support; not enough, too much, wrong kind… I have even taken up the call myself to spread the word about project failure due to these most often cited reasons. Well, now I am not so sure. I have been giving thought to the underlying causes for project failures. I have been investigating the reasons for these requirements-related malfunctions, user involvement foibles, executive support gaps, and I have been examining some recent project management research and studies. And I have made a discovery – or maybe it is more like a hypothesis – or maybe it is just a question. Isn’t the number one reason projects fail really due to a lack of discipline?
Even world-class project managers will not succeed unless they get their executives to act for project success. The trap of applying best-practice project management only to have the project fail because of executive inaction or counteraction can be avoided. This is a how-to paper. It describes how project managers can get their executives to act, and it identifies the top ten executive actions most likely to contribute to project success. This paper explores why the evolving and expanding definition of project success and why the expanding complexity of projects have led to an environment where the project manager is ever more dependent on the executive. It draws upon recent research about top performing project managers, about why executives fail, and about why new products fail to identify the basis for a strong mutual partnership between project managers and executives. A central theme is that project managers are empowered to extend their sphere of influence beyond the immediate project boundaries up into the organization not only to get their executives to act but also to help implement the actions as well. This topic has received much attention.
What does it take in project management to be the best-of-the-best, the top dog, a superstar, or world-class? What does it take to practice project management at the high end? What does it take to be a great project manager? Thanks to recent studies and research the answers to these questions are closer now then they have ever been before. This is a how-to paper. It describes how to become a great project manager, and it identifies a list of top factors associated with great project managers. This paper draws on recently published results of studies, and research by PMI and others about what top project managers know and do, about why their projects succeed or fail, and about their project manager competencies. This paper explores how great project managers are successfully dealing with the evolving and expanding definition of project success, with the expanding complexity of projects, and with their increasing dependency on executives and others for their success. A central theme is that great project managers have mastered the basics and have the discipline to adhere to them. This topic has been receiving much attention including the October 2008 issue of PMI Today and at the PMI Global Congress in Sau Paulo and Amsterdam where it drew the largest audiences.
Help has finally arrived. The hurdle of getting middle managers to act for project success has just been lowered with the release of The Standard For Program Management. The project manager who has discovered his growing dependence on middle managers now has an increased level of confidence in achieving project success. This paper places emphasis on the middle management layer and it dovetails program management information newly released by PMI with newly released research study results by PMI about the practices, roles, and responsibilities of middle managers. It offers an optimistic assessment for the results achievable through meaningful partnerships between project managers and middle managers..
Executives, who understand that to an increasing degree project success depends on their actions, are interested in overcoming organizational and political obstacles to increase their level of support of project managers. Hear about specific techniques executives can use to tune in to the needs of project managers, to deal with genuine organizational and political obstacles, and to leverage the enormous pent-up motivation in the workforce to rally around and carry out strategic and cultural changes that will result in a sustained long-term increase in project performance and organizational maturity.
Project managers, who understand that to an increasing degree project success depends on actions taken by the executive, are looking to learn how to influence these actions. Hear about the actions your executive can take to help your project succeed and see how project managers can get their executive to take these actions. Find out the impact of organizational maturity on project success, recognize the ingredients necessary for organizational change, and see how a Project Management Council can be a key for this change. This topic has been receiving much attention including the February 2006 issue of PM Network magazine as well as presentations at PMI Global Congresses in Toronto, Bangkok, and Madrid.
One factor, above all others, contributes to project success - discipline. With it, the most basic project management practices can be leveraged to yield success. Without it, even the most experienced project manager using the most sophisticated practices will likely fail. This paper uses some of the entertaining and dramatic stories and photographs from the author’s recent climb of 22,841 foot Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina to address the critical role discipline plays in project and mountain climbing success. Companion presentation includes dramatic video from the author’s recent climb of 21,125 foot Mt. Illimani in Bolivia.
The future of project management involves being more successful more of the time. But what are the criteria for determining project success, and whose opinion about success counts? This paper examines the widely differing viewpoints about project success and presents a best practice approach to improve the odds that projects will be viewed as successful.
The future of successful project management involves doing the right projects - not just doing projects right. How can we tell if we are working on the right project? See an approach being used within the CIA - and hear a few humorous spy stories. Understand the expanding role of the project manager in events leading up to the project start and learn how Opportunity Assessment can help.
• Project Management is about applying common sence with uncommon discipline. (Michael O'Brochta)
• By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. (Benjamin Franklin)
• He that will not apply new remedies must expect old evils. (Sir Francis Bacon)
PMI flag reaches new heights on Bolivia mountain climbs. Featured in the January 2006 issue of PMI Today. 70 second movie.
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