6 Project Management Lessons from Baseball

Some of our most popular sayings (“You can’t win ‘em all,” “He really hit a home run that time,” “He was out before he reached First Base,” and “There’s no crying in baseball”) come from, well, baseball. Whether you’ve spent hours in the stands or you don’t know an RBI from HBO, baseball can offer us lessons on life and on project management:Project Management Lessons from Baseball

Lesson 1: Preparation Counts

When you watch a major league baseball game, it can seem like magic (depending on who your home team is). The music is playing, the crowds are madly cheering, the field is groomed, and the players are all in the zone. It seems impossible that they would miss a ball or not make it to the base on time to beat the throw from short.

What you don’t see is all the preparation that goes on behind the scenes. Continue reading

What Can Golf Teach Us About Project Management?

Project Management Lessons from GolfGolf has been described in many ways, from “a good walk spoiled” (Mark Twain), to “the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off” (Chi Chi Rodriguez, one of golf’s great legends). Regardless of how you feel about golf, or how much knowledge you have of the game, the basic principles of the game are clear: You take a club and try to hit a small, white ball into a hole some distance away in as few strokes as possible. Along the way, you’ll probably need to avoid hazards like sand traps, trees, and ponds, but eventually you’ll sink the ball and move on to the next hole.

The basic principles of project management can seem similarly straightforward: You take some people (preferably smart) and complete the project. There’s a general assumption that you will need some time to complete the tasks, some meetings with your project team, and a budget to purchase what you need, but ultimately you will “get it done.”

While both may look fairly simple from the outside, any golfer or project manager will likely agree that the devil is in the details – and those details can make or break the success of your game or project. Continue reading

Measuring the Success of New Technology Implementations. And Power Drills.

DrillThe home page of our website includes a heading that reads “There is more to a successful project than finishing on-time and on-budget.” This resonates with many IT leaders, project managers, and project team members, but what does that really mean?

I’ve managed a lot of new technology implementations, and noticed that there is a tendency to measure project success soon after the implementation is over. While this might be an appropriate time to evaluate the implementation and/or planning efforts, typically it’s too soon to be able to gauge the success of the project as a whole.

Since their focused involvement often ends with the implementation, it’s easy to see how project managers (PMs) and vendors can be the worst culprits of this premature determination of success. Continue reading

Project Management Lessons from ‘Argo’: 5 Tips When The Only Options Are Bad Ones

Project Management Decision Making TipsDid you see the movie ‘Argo’?  Remember the scene where Ben Affleck’s character, Tony Mendez, is attempting to convince the administration to approve the idea to try to rescue six US diplomats hiding in the Canadian Embassy by having them pose as a movie crew?  Although the movie takes some fictional license with the historical events, the dialog below applies perfectly to many project management situations.

Tony Mendez: There are only bad options, it’s about finding the best one. Government Official: You don’t have a better bad idea than this? Jack O’Donnell: This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far.

Just like in the movie Argo, sometimes there are no good options for a key decision in a project. You, along with your project team and subject matter experts, have to make the best bad decision you can. Continue reading

What the IRS Can Teach Us About End User Acceptance … and Adoption

End User AdoptionWe all accept that we have to pay taxes, and that with every paycheck, there is a gap between what we earned and what we actually take home. But do we really adopt paying taxes? Do we welcome April 15th with open arms? Nope. And therein lies the difference between end user acceptance and end user adoption.

One of the most difficult problems Information Services departments face is obtaining end user adoption of new technologies. And end user adoption of a new technology, and the new processes that go along with it, is what determines whether an investment in technology really pays off. There are 5 key steps to end user adoption.

To help ensure End User Adoption:

1) Create ownership by involving users in the project. Form a user advisory group that includes members from all affected teams and departments, and consult with them early and often. Document the decisions, comments and suggestions that come out of user advisory group meetings.

2) Obtain and communicate executive support for the project early and often, too. Staff need to know that their leadership is willing to allocate the time, money and resources necessary to ensure the project is a success.

3) Set a realistic schedule for the rollout of new technologies. Make sure that schedules take into account all of the factors that may play into end user adoption, such as previous experience with technology in general or previous history with projects that have “gone wrong” in the past.

4) Provide education to ensure that staff are comfortable with the new technology, and offer training in that meets the needs of a variety of learning styles and speeds.

5) Create a support plan involving “superusers” so that employees feel comfortable asking their peers for assistance. One of the biggest fears users have is that they will lose their jobs due to not being able to use or understand the new technology.

We can’t guarantee that following the above steps will make you dance a jig when you sign your Form 1040, but they may help your IT projects be more successful.

The Hidden Cost of an EMR Implementation: 15 Things Your EMR Vendor Won’t Tell You About

Electronic Medical Record EMR implementationForgetting about planning and budgeting for the hardware components of an EMR implementation is a little like forgetting to put tires on a $20 Million Race Car. Your car may have the fastest motor, but you won’t get anywhere.

Whether your organization is small or large, before setting the budget for an EMR implementation there are “hidden costs” that need to be included to make sure your organization’s end user computing environment is ready for an EMR. Continue reading

Presenting the Ultimate in Clinician Mobility!

SegWOW: The Ultimate in Clinician MobilityAre your clinicians challenged to meet the demanding needs of patient care while having easy access to the computers they need?  Do you want more than the traditional Workstation on Wheels (WOW)?

The SegWOW might just be the solution you are looking for!   The SegWOW combines the speed and efficiency of a personal mobility solution with the latest in computing power.

Worried about patient and staff safety as your clinicians zoom through the hallways of your hospital?

No need.  The SegWOW comes with a horn to warn those in front of your staff and a built in back-up alarm for sudden changes of direction.  The optional JCAHO-certified rear-view camera can display the reverse view as a window right within your EMR, ensuring both patient and staff safety.

So look no further.  The SegWOW is here!

Microsoft Visio 2010′s Import and Export Features

Microsoft Visio Import and ExportI​f you’ve ever wondered whether Microsoft Visio could be convinced, cajoled, or forced to play nicely with another application, then this blog post is for you: bVisual’s Data Import & Export Features in Visio 2010.

David J. Parker (the blogger) is a Visio MVP, and he decided to map out all of the import and export features available in 2010. He includes the native features, those offered by Add-Ons, and also designates the versions of Visio (Standard, Professional, etc.) that apply.

Check out the article. Because diagrams are fun.


Patient Portals and Secure Messaging: Making Meaningful Use Meaningful for Patients

Meaningful Use Stage 2“My lab results were 5.2. What does that mean?”  That’s how my father started a recent phone call to me.  Let me preface this by explaining that I’m an English major, and while I’ve worked in the healthcare IT field for over 10 years, I have no medical training whatsoever.

“What was the test?” I asked.  My father told me.

“Never heard of that,” I said. “Let’s Google it.”

I looked up the test and found that 5.2 was right in the middle of the “normal” range.  Good news.

This conversation with my father, though, brought out the project manager in me. Under Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements, physicians not only must provide online access to records and be able to exchange secure messages electronically with patients, they also must ensure that at least 5% of patients actually use both of those features. Continue reading

The State of Medical Imaging and the Cardiovascular Information System (CVIS)

Cardiovascular Information Systems StrategyHealthcare diagnostic imaging has historically been one of the fastest growing areas of healthcare. According to the American College of Radiology (ACR) “in 2003, approximately 206 million imaging services were provided to a total of 34.8 million Part B Medicare beneficiaries. By 2006, that number increased 58.4 percent to 326 million services for 35.9 million beneficiaries. In contrast, evaluation and management services, major procedures, and laboratory tests grew 5.1 percent, 16.3 percent, and 14.2 percent during that same period.” But will this growth continue? Continue reading