Blog/News: The Management Advisor

This blog is updated often, please send suggestions to Info@DataAnalysis.com if you find great Job Search resources!

Career Enhancement

There are many things you can do to maintain and grow your career trajectory... Important topics include learning and more important, applying what you learn to do more for your employer or nonprofit organization you volunteer for.

As you research and add best practices, tools, and experience to your professional expertise, take a minute and document as you go. Update your LinkedIn profile, resume, and other social media areas appropriate for your industry, or yearly performance documentation to ensure you have ready answers and can present a brief summary of the area including benefits of adoption to others.

As you see i...

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Who should read this: Everyone at every level, especially executives!

We see it often in early, mid-career, and even in very experienced people - the tendency to push hard problems to their manager. This inefficient tactic is often used in projects and operations, by well-meaning Business Analysts, Project Managers acting as Business Analysts, and supervisors, managers, and others doing staff work…

I was reminded recently of our human, work, and leadership responsibility by an employee action at a vendor I was visiting as a client. While washing my hands in the restroom I recognized an employee as they washed their hands. He tossed a paper towel toward the waste bin and missed. I looked at...

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To Certify or Not to Certify, that is the question…

If you are a job seeker in a specialty that rewards certification, the answer is clear. Read below for how to get Project Management and Business Analysis certifications.

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If you are an employer the choice is not so clear for two reasons… They may not be what you think! Employers read on for a fresh perspective on two considerations for you to work through… Reward and Risk. and how to frame your decision.

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Data Analysis & Results, Inc. started when two huge California firms
both asked us to do for them what they heard we did for another large firm.
Back then, we tuned massive databases.
(6 of the largest 20 databases in the world... other than military.)

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Now we thank God that the first five, yes five, names for our firm that we chose were taken! We will not disclose them as they seem incredibly silly now...
So DA&R sprouted in 1985 to do full weekend database extracts, data cleansing, reloads, and many smaller performance tuning processes. At least twice we were able to help our clients avoid big hardware purchases by complex tweaking of their data, processes, storage and access methods, and some proprietary caching, etc.

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Company Intro/ Seeking Independent Sales Rep Partner


Hello, My name is Darrel Raynor. I am President and CEO and Founder of Data Analysis & Results, Inc. DA&R is a 30-year old boutique virtual consulting firm providing innovative, state-of-the-art, cost-effective Consulting, Training, Speaking, and Staffing services. We are based in Austin Texas, and actively deliver services across North America and occasionally worldwide. We’re experienced!

We seek accomplished and self-motivated Independent Sales Reps to partner with us to expand our client base, for our mutual success.

Why would you choose us to partner with? Our staff is exclusively very senior Consultants and Professional Trainers - with over 2 decades of multi-industry experience in senior technical, operations, project and p...

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Contracting for Virtual Assistant / Executive Assistant

Seeking friendly, competent assistants. Varied work! Data Analysis & Results, Inc. seeks capable, eager, virtual (most work off-site) contract professional personal assistants. Start part-time at $11/hour, with room to grow.

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DA&R has several related businesses: Consulting, Training, Staffing, and Accounting/Bookkeeping. Your job is to save us time and help the firm with administrative, one-off tasks, and marketing, which means a lot of varied work, personal and professional. See our web www.DataAnalysis.com. A partial list of duties includes:

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This is a draft. If you wish to review drafts like this one and more detailed information, please email ExecAsst@DataAnalysis.com. This message will be removed for final version.
Why Think About PMO Business Models?

There are two main reasons:

Most current PMO Business Models simply do not work and are not sustainable...
To raise performance of your people or their processes.

If you are considering forming, own, are part of, or interact with a PMO or related project management or governance organization, and you feel that your PMO could be a lot more productive, smoother, and add more value, read on...

The rest of this article will show where you should put your improvement effort. Let's go over some of the main points for professional an...

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Why: Normal training is just not effective!

We’ve all seen it. Professional Development Training Courses are requested, justified, vendors evaluated, and one selected. Conference calls are held, training is ‘customized’ (really just tweaked) from the same old playbook. The number of days or sessions is constantly reduced in the name of budget and time savings. Training is delivered; there is a buzz for the next two weeks that diminishes back to almost no real change as everyone returns to “The Matrix.”

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This is our life, a seemingly infinite work queue with little or no time for improvement.

Is this what you want?

No? Think we can all do better? Read on…

A few of our training-only clients have serially resisted taking the extra steps needed to create real change in their organization. They say things like:

“We don’t have budget for that.”

“It crosses department boundaries that we do not have power over.”

“Can you do the four days of training in two or even one day?"

"Can you perform the training remotely?"

"Our people are too busy to attend in-person training.”

“We handle change management internally.”

“Do you know how much time and energy that would take?”

“You are just trying to expand the engagement.”

(This next one is true, but not for the reasons they suspect…)

“We don’t know how to really make training best practices stick…”


Do the Math

10 of your people for 3 days @ $100/hour (fully loaded or opportunity cost - $100 is low…) = $24,000 plus the training firm including travel, and you have a real expense. Are you really getting $50k+ worth of value from this exercise in frustration? How do you know? What has really changed? If the answer is nothing, stop wasting your money and staff time.
Frustration

Why frustration? Your staff is exposed, assuming your training really teaches great fundamentals and world-class best practices (wow is that a bad assumption…) to a variety of tools, processes, and techniques that they are very likely not going to put to use. Some of the off-the-shelf material probably conflicts with your previously declared internal best practices. Have you made it clear to your staff that they are responsible for implementing real change by putting in place these fundamentals and world-class best practices?

No? Think we can do better? Read on…
What You Should Do

Do you want real change, automatically sustainable, with high value in your organization?

I thought so!

We want that for you too! What you should do to really

Knock the Stupid out of™ Training using Change Management

is outlined in detail below.

You must identify every single deliverable that would support your desired change.
You must take ownership of all deliverables that do not have an owner.
(Don’t worry, delegate that ownership after this change management project…)
You must influence the owners of each deliverable you need to change. You will need at least one short document, one presentation, and a short project plan with everything laid out to perform this work.
You must collaborate on the changes to each deliverable.
You must work with each deliverable owner to roll out and cement each change.

There are multiple considerations in planning your Change Project -- many more than can be addressed in a short blog. For a cost-effective analysis to help you hone in on just what matters, contact us.
Project Management for your Change Project

Here is an incomplete yet useful list of some of the types of documents you might choose to change for your project to really be adopted so your organization reaps the full possible benefit:
· Project

Charter, Scope Statement, Project Plan (Processes, not project details…)
Most of the heavy lifting is done in the probably new: Change Management Plan
Requirements of all types: Text, Models, Prototypes,
Project Documents such as Schedule, Risk Register, Communication Matrix (which contains Stakeholder Register, RACI, and more), Project Logs, Status Reports
Standing and other Meeting Agendas
Any others?

· Human Resources

Job Descriptions
Interview Scripts
Open Position Descriptions
Training Plans
Compensation Plans
Performance Plans
Any others?

· Business Unit or Line of Business or Functional

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Business Processes, Models, and Rules
Organization Charts, Roles & Responsibilities
Workflow, Reviews, and Approvals
Desktop Procedures
Policies, Governance, and Compliance
Training, “Cheat Sheets”, Repository Historical
Metrics and Processes to measure and improve
Standing and other Meeting Agendas
Any others?

· Technical

User Manuals, Technical Manuals, Support, Operations Instructions
Test Plans and details, Acceptance Criteria
Online Help, Error Messages, and “Wizards”
Metrics and Processes to measure improvement
Standing and other Meeting Agendas
Any others?

Deliverables:

a. List each document identified in your above analysis to change (or to create if not there!) in your Schedule as a deliverable.

b. Add any project documents to support your efforts. These should be, at a minimum

i. Project Plan – for small efforts, this could contain information normally present in your Charter and Scope Statement. Your plan should lay out the main process steps you will take to handle your Scope, Resources, Risk, Time, and Cost.

ii. Schedule – repository for detail about deliverables, resources, estimates, actuals, and any other data you need.

iii. Project Logs – lists of Actions, Issues, Decisions, Risks, Glossary, and anything else you need to keep track of.

Dependencies: Order (your best guess) deliverables to complete first (such as job description prior to performance goals…).
Resources with names, or at least roles, for every deliverable. These are the people who will approve and collaborate.
Work & Duration: If you want this granularity, add these Estimates and leave room for Actuals and “Estimates to Complete”.
Dates: As with any other schedule building, Don’t Type In Any Dates! This is what the scheduling software is for…

Authored by Darrel Raynor, PMP, MBA (The Management Advisor guy) Google+ DARaynor@DataAnalysis.com www.linkedin.com /in/DarrelRaynor

With: Human Resources input from Doug Whatley (The Contrarian Voice guy) www.linkedin.com/in/DougWhatley

If you Want Help Implementing?

Contact us DARaynor@DataAnalysis.com for help or just to talk over your situation. Results from prior Training coupled with Change Management has improved operations and projects. We are in-process with several clients on realizing full benefit from training once it is aligned with their business objectives and not just tossed against the wall to see what sticks...:

Aligning Training with desired best practices.
Aligning performance expectations with desired best practices.
Project Management Office (PMO) and Business Analysis COE (Center of Excellence), possible roles in the change process.
Simple Change Management planning for your own internal training efforts.
Speaking engagements to bring these tactics to your larger organization.

We would be happy to talk these topics over with you anytime!

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:26 NIV.

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This is a living document. If you find a project management, business analysis, or leadership tutorial or other information you think should be listed here, or if any links cease working, please email Info@DataAnalysis.com.

Here are what we have found to be useful tutorials or other types of aids to understanding... Thank you and enjoy! Let us know if these have been helpful to you in studying for an exam or in managing your projects and career.

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This is a draft. If you wish to review drafts like this one and more detailed information, please email ExecAsst@DataAnalysis.com. This message will be removed for final version.
Status Reports: Time Sinks that Don't Work

Do you feel like way too much of your time and your staff time is taken up compiling, endlessly updating, and delivering status reports? Do you have repetitive, long, vague, probing status conversations anyway? There are several ways to improve the entire process of status reporting. Key status topics including how to implement a reasonable status process:

A&I™ Irritating Research™ Surprising what people actually do.Symptoms. Problems, & Opportunities.What Doesn't Work & Why.What Can Work & How!Data. Status ...

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