Practical Project Management for Agile Nonprofits: Approaches and Templates to Help You Manage with Limited Resources

Practical Project Management for Agile Nonprofits: Approaches and Templates to Help You Manage with Limited Resources

by Karen R.J. White, Pamela Puleo

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Practical Project Management for Agile Nonprofits introduces nonprofit managers to the basic concepts of project management and provides dozens of templates to help you quickly implement practices to effectively manage your limited resources, financial and volunteer. The book emphasizes using appropriate project management practices, those that are not burdensome but rather agile in their approach. In keeping with this theme, the book explores how you can use social media to assist in the management of time-sensitive projects.

You will learn how to apply just enough project management to: Be an active leader and a superior project manager; Respond with agility to change and the unexpected; Focus efforts on what truly matters; Recruit and engage a new generation of volunteers; Build a framework that ensures project success; Keep all stakeholders involved with the project satisfied.

The book also addresses nonprofit governance and shows you how project portfolio management can be used to assist in communicating with boards of directors and other governing entities when crucial resource decisions need to be made.

Finally, real-world case studies on project planning, portfolio management, and volunteer-managed projects will show you how others have achieved project

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938548017
Publisher: Maven House Press
Publication date: 06/24/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 162
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Karen R.J. White, PMP, PMI Fellow, is the founder of Applied Agility, an organization focused on helping nonprofits achieve success with their strategic objectives. She has managed numerous projects for small and large nonprofits, ranging in diversity from the Girl Scouts to healthcare centers to international museums to universities.

Karen was formerly a senior consultant and director with PM Solutions, where she assisted many Fortune 500 firms in implementing project management best practices. She has served as a board director for the Project Management Institute as well as Chair of the PMI Educational Foundation. In 2009 she was named a PMI Fellow.

Karen is recognized internationally for her leadership in the profession and as a thought leader in the practice of agile project management. She is the author of Agile Project Management: A Mandate for the 21st Century (PM Solutions, 2009) and contributed to The AMA Handbook of Project Management (AMACOM, 2010) and Project Management Maturity Model (Auerbach Publications, 2006). Karen holds an M.S. in Information Systems from Northeastern University. Karen lives in Weare, NH.

Pamela Puleo, FAHP, CFRE, is vice president for community affairs at Concord Hospital in New Hampshire and oversees a division that includes Volunteer Services, Hospitality Services, Public Affairs, Marketing, the gift shop, and the cancer boutique. She also serves as a member of the hospital's senior management team. Since 2007 she has also served as the executive director for the Concord Hospital Trust, which serves as the hospital's philanthropic arm.

Read an Excerpt


What Does It Mean to Be Agile?

There is much being written these days about the need for agility in today's businesses, especially in projects related to the development of strategic differentiators, such as a new medical facility or dormitory. Yet, it's not clear that there's a true understanding or appreciation for what's meant by the term agility. To the dismay of some managers, agility does not mean unmanaged or undocumented. Rather, agility means the ability to quickly adjust and respond to changing business needs. It means achieving goals before the loss of a donor's attention or commitment. It means being responsive at the local and global level to immediate needs. It means that "do more with less" now translates into "achieve it faster," whatever "it" is.

Agile project management reflects the ability to apply just enough of the project management practices to ensure that the business objectives for the project are achieved. This usually translates into just enough planning to know that the budget is sufficient, to identify the risks likely to occur and what the team will do when they occur, to determine who has what decision-making authorities, and to know how information about the project, especially project status, will be communicated.

Agile project management is not for the inexperienced project manager, but if you work at it you'll find that you become more agile with every project you manage. It relies as much on the ability of the project manager to read individuals, to make quick decisions when needed, and to know when to let the team take the lead and when the team requires specific direction. Agile project management is more about active leadership than about bureaucratic management.

Acknowledge Dynamics and Change

Project sponsors frequently do not dig deeply enough into resolving an important issue - that is, they don't sort out the difference between "wants" and "needs." Only after the project starts does the sponsor begin to realize that what the organization really needs may not be exactly what they requested. That's why you need an approach to project management that allows you to deal with the reality of change. You need to be able to break down the final, long-term objective (which is subject to change) into a series of near-term objectives (which are less likely to change), incorporating discovery and learning throughout the project life cycle.

By applying agile project management you actively work with your sponsor throughout the project life cycle. You jointly make adjustments and even redirect the project by using an iterative approach to managing the project, an approach that deals with the level of uncertainty that you encounter. You use agile techniques to supplement the traditional project management practices that you already use (see Figure 7.1).



- Active leadership

- Close interaction between the project sponsor and the project team

- Less time dedicated to planning at the beginning of the project

- Smaller teams and more highly skilled team members

- Delayed decision making

- Elimination of waste

- Integrated quality activities

Agile project management is based on the concepts above. Agile nonprofits demonstrate the ability to quickly adjust and respond to changing business needs while managing their projects.



Strategic differentiators are those projects that result in outcomes that differentiate the non-profit in the marketplace, such as the capital campaign that funds the development of a cancer center within a healthcare system.

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Introduction by Pamela Puleo, Executive Director, Concord Hospital Trust

Part 1: Why Now?
1. Global Economic Impacts on Your Nonprofit
2. The Changing Nature of Volunteerism
3. Your Nonprofit in a Shrinking World

Part 2: Practical Project Management for Agile Nonprofits
4. Nonprofit Projects
5. Project Management Practices
6. Planning, Executing, Planning Some More
7. Becoming an Agile Nonprofit
8. The Superior Project Manager
9. Using Technology in Your Nonprofit Projects

Part 3: Volunteer Engagement in Project-based Nonprofits
10. Managing Volunteers
11. Recruiting and Retaining Reliable Volunteers
12. Five Rules of Effective Volunteer Engagement

Part 4: Governance in Project-based Nonprofits
13. Project Management Office Functions
14. Leveraging Your Project Portfolio
15. The Role of Your Board and Other Project Sponsors

Going Forward
About the Author

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