Author: Ray Coker

I was a Senior Trainer and Consultant for Symantec in their project management group before starting Quinn Coker & Associates, a project management consulting firm in 1992. I formed Project Direct, Inc. in 1996 to promote and sell a growing portfolio of project management services and products, and then Project Server Support, Inc. in 2002 with the launch of Microsoft Project Server. I have been working for over 25 years helping organizations and companies implement and adopt project management solutions using popular project management software. I have in-depth experience in training and consulting with several leading project management software products and working with leading PM firms. I have served as a technical editor for project management product manuals and he has designed and developed over 20 different project management workshops and courses. I have also taught project management tools, techniques, and project management software to thousands of people throughout North America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia. Before working as a project management consultant, I taught at several colleges and universities including Portland State University, University of Arizona, Wharton, Santa RosaCommunity College, Hillsborough Community College, and Temple University. I designed and developed courses at the university level and was awarded for course development and instruction by the International Communication Association and the University of Arizona. I have presented numerous papers at professional conferences such as Project World and the Project Management Institute. The International Communication Association awarded his research at annual meetings in Boston, Montreal, and Dublin. I spend my time between Tampa Bay, the Front Range in Colorado and Costa Rica. I love sailing and had two sailboats in St. Petersburg right off the pier, which was just a great place to hang out. I have sailed a lot, but I am not by any stretch an expert sailor. Backpacking, I try to take at least one trip a year in one of the western mountain ranges. Traveling, I have traveled all over the world for business and pleasure the last 25 years and that has just been a lot of fun and an adventure. Hiking, gardening, historic home renovation, nature - I currently own three homes 100 years old, one was built in 1898, which keeps me really busy in my spare time constantly repairing things. With some friends, we own a nature preserve and human/animal sanctuary overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, that has two rivers with seven sets of falls running through the property. Several primary social and environmental problems in Costa Rica are poaching, river pollution, child exploitation on a local level and international sex tourism. We are trying to address these problems in our tiny corner of the country.

When things go bad…

Projects don’t always always go well – at least for most of us. Often the reasons why are outside out control, sometimes we are directly responsible. #PMI does’t provide a good compass for us, give the organization’s weak treatment of human and organizational psychology in the PMBOK Guide. “Weak” being an understatement. But resilience is one of these things we…

Project Online Reporting Improvement?

Author Kenneth Steiness makes the claim that the new Project Server Online “content pack update will help you take your organization’s Project and Portfolio Management reporting to powerful new levels.” The article by Steiness certainly does make the update look promising, but I am not jumping up and down just yet. Over the years, most reporting features and improvements turn…

“If you don’t have these 4 things you don’t have a plan: 1) Estimating Parameters, 2) WBS, 3) Activity Duration, Work and Cost, and 4) Network Diagram.” – Ray Coker

These four techniques also make up the main feature set for Microsoft Project. In fact, they are the process, or way to build a plan in Microsoft Project. If you want a real plan, you don’t get to skip over a particular technique. Skip over one piece of the model and what you have is nothing more than an incomplete estimate. Most people, I know…

“Unless estimates are partially derived with proven technique they are nothing less than a WAG” – Ray Coker

If you are an expert and you know, you know. But on a lot of our project activities or work packages, we don’t “know” the cost, effort or duration so we estimate. If we estimate based on our experience and or memory, regardless of how expert we might actually be, it typically is nothing more than WAG – a Wild-Ass…

“In short, they’re (project managers) a bit like a referee at a sporting event: Do a good job and nobody notices; make a mistake and the finger pointing begins.” ― Andrew Longman

I first met Andrew in 1993 and I worked with him on several projects, notably for the Port of Seattle and Sears. When I look back at my career and the people I have worked with in the project management field, there are few people I enjoyed working with more. I also team taught a couple of four day workshops with Andrew and when…