IT Project Management: Encore Presentations ∞ Sept 16, 2011

September 16, 2011


This program featured encore presentations by three past CMIT speakers on topics related to IT project management: Steve McConnell, Mark Kozak-Holland, and Mark KeilEach speaker presented via videoconference and then participated in Q&A with attendees located on the UVA Grounds at the McIntire School of Commerce.  Participants also engaged in a face-to-face roundtable discussion on key lessons learned.


9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.                 Registration and Continental Breakfast

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.               Videoconference Presentation by Steve McConnell, CEO & Chief Software Engineer, Construx Software

“Keys to Successful IT Projects: An Executive Guide”  The causes of a successful IT project are not a mystery. Leading organizations have been delivering IT solutions on time and within budget for years, but many other companies still fail on even simple projects. In this talk, award-winning author Steve McConnell describes 10 time-tested practices you can use to control your IT projects.


11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.                 Break

11:15 a.m.– 12:15 p.m.                  Videoconference Presentation by Mark Kozak-Holland, Senior Business Architect/Consultant, HP Services & Author

“The History of Project Management” The Pyramid of Giza, the Parthenon, and the Coliseum are all great historical projects from the past 4 millennia. When we look back we tend to focus on these as great architectural or engineering works. Project management tends to be overlooked, and yet the core principles were used extensively in these projects.  This presentation takes a hard look at the history of project management, how it evolved, and presents some quite remarkable results. Namely, that project management did not just appear in the last 100 years but has been a steady evolution for at least 4,500 years that began with the Pyramid of Giza.  New insights emerge when dissecting historical projects through a project management lens, and Mark Kozak-Holland brings this to life in his analysis.

Kozak-Holland_Sept 2011

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.                   Lunch

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.                    Videoconference Presentation by Mark Keil, Professor of Computer Information Systems (CIS), J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University

“Is Your Project Turning into a Black Hole?” Any seasoned executive knows that IT projects have a high failure rate. Large IT projects can become the business equivalent of what astrophysicists know as black holes, absorbing large quantities of matter and energy. Resources get sucked in, but little or nothing ever emerges. Of course, projects do not become black holes overnight. They get there one day at a time through a process known as an escalating commitment to a failing course of action. Without executive intervention, these projects almost inevitably turn into black holes.  This presentation sheds light on the insidious process through which projects that devour resources, yet fail to produce business value, are created and gradually evolve into black holes. It presents a framework that explains the creation of black hole projects as a sequence of three phases: drifting, treating symptoms, and rationalizing continuation. The framework is illustrated through several case studies.  Dr. Keil presents recommendations to prevent escalating projects from becoming black holes and provides a means for detecting problems at an early stage.


Mark Keil – Black Hole

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.                         Break

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.                        Roundtable Discussion – Participants will reflect on key lessons learned from the three presentations while integrating personal perspectives and experiences.


Mark Keil is the Board of Advisors Professor of Computer Information Systems (CIS) in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.  He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science. His research focuses on IT project management and includes work on preventing IT project escalation, identifying and managing IT project risks, and improving IT project status reporting.  His interests also include IT implementation and use.  In 2005, he received the Georgia State University Alumni Distinguished Professor Award for outstanding achievements in scholarship, teaching, and service.  He has also received J. Mack Robinson College of Business Faculty Recognition Awards for both Outstanding Teaching and Distinguished Contributions in Research.  Dr. Keil has published more than 100 refereed publications including papers that have appeared in MIS Quarterly, Decision Sciences, Journal of Management Information Systems, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Strategic Management Journal, Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, Communications of the ACM, IEEE Software and many other journals.  He currently serves as a Senior Editor for the Information Systems Journal and is also on the editorial boards of the Journal of Management Information Systems and Information Systems Research.  He has also served as an Associate Editor for MIS Quarterly, as Co-Editor of The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems, and as a member of the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.   Dr. Keil has been profiled or quoted in publications such as Information Week, Global Communique, Computerworld, Darwin Magazine, BusinessWeek, CIO Insight, and Baseline.  Dr. Keil earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, his master’s degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and his doctorate in management information systems from the Harvard Business School.

Mark Kozak-Holland is a Senior Business Architect/Consultant with and the author behind the series  Mark brings years of experience as a consultant who helps Fortune-500 companies formulate projects that leverage emerging technologies. Since 1985 he has been straddling the business and IT worlds making these projects happen. He is a PMP, certified business consultant, the author of several books, and a noted speaker.  Mark has always been interested in tracing the evolution of technology and the 3 industrial revolutions of the last 300 years. Whilst recovering a failed Financial Services project he first used the Titanic analogy to explain to project executives why the project had failed. The project recovery was going to take 2 years and cost $8m versus the original $2m cost and 1 year duration.  As a historian, Mark seeks out the wisdom of the past to help others avoid repeating mistakes and to capture time-proven techniques. His lectures on the Titanic and Great Escape projects have been very popular at gatherings of project managers and CIOs.  Mark earned a B.Sc. with Joint Honours degree in Computer Science and Statistics from the University of Salford in the UK.

Steve McConnell is CEO and Chief Software Engineer at Construx Software where he writes books and articles, teaches classes, and oversees Construx’s software engineering practices.   Steve is the author of Code Complete (1993, 2004) and Rapid Development (1996), both winners of Software Development magazine’s Jolt award for outstanding software development books of their respective years. In 1998, he published Software Project Survival Guide, in 2004 he published Professional Software Development (2004), and in 2006 he published Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art. Steve blogs on professional topics at 10x Software Development and also has a personal blog.  Steve has worked in the desktop software industry since 1984 and has expertise in rapid development methodologies, project estimation, software construction practices, performance tuning, system integration, and third-party contract management.  Steve also served as Editor in Chief of IEEE Software from 1998-2002 and is a member of IEEE Computer Society and ACM. Steve earned a master’s degree in software engineering from Seattle University and a bachelor’s degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.