A project can get in a great deal of trouble when the tail starts wagging the dog instead of vice versa. Here are some issues to look for so that the project manager can keep a tight hold on the project leash.
Project work is only as good as its weakest link--and oftentimes, documentation is the culprit. Here are a few pointers for making sure that effective minutes are captured in meetings that happen during the project.
Are we too obsessed with status updates? Meetings that were monthly often become weekly, and when the delivery date nears the frequency increases. In one PM's opinion, this behavior reduces the chance to deliver on time--time that can be better spent if you simply rely on the trust you've built with your team.
Times change, and so has our means to communicate. Despite the desire of some people to put everything in writing, email is not for every issue. Accountability is important, but the difficulty is when too many people feel they have a lot to say--and the information gets diluted. Keep these tips in mind.
When they’re good and they know it, it gets interesting. So how do you manage the high achievers who know how high achieving they are? One expert provides five tips he learned in the trenches.
Sooner or later, someone is going to ask you to report on the project. Will you be ready to make a good presentation? Here are some basic principles to get you started on being able to report on the project to a stakeholder, executive or whoever needs to know what is going on.
You can put as many management and oversight layers in place as you like, but ultimately the frontline of project execution is made up of project managers and their teams. The first Thursday of November is almost here again--International Project Management Day--so let’s celebrate PMs (but let’s plan that celebration properly first...).
While scientific evidence may be lacking, there are indications that vampires do in fact exist. Be on the lookout for four traits that may prove some project managers' leadership style is more in line with those crafty bloodsuckers.
One of the most important things to have is self-awareness--we have to recognize when it is us as project managers that are causing the problems, and when our team members are telling their colleagues about horror stories where we are the bad guys. Here are three swivel-eyed demons to watch out for...
Everyone gets a difficult customer every now and then. The project manager must learn to deal with them while getting the job done at the same time. Having a planned approach ready can help create a positive outcome.
When managing your workforce and developing a successful strategy, sometimes you have to take a risky leap of faith and develop new ways of thinking--just like the men in the Major Leagues. As our series continues, we look at how some of the coaching described in Moneyball might be applied to cross-functional project teams.
If you're having trouble with your team, this might be a good time to check in on their motivation and take some positive action. Here's a plan to get everyone back on the right track.
On projects where you have more than a handful of issues, it is helpful to have a log that you can use to easily track and understand the status of an each one. The log keeps issues at a very high-level while the details are left to the project issue identification form. Project Issue logs are often used on medium to larger projects.
On many projects, each team is required to submit a status report indicating their progress on their portion of the project. The report ensures the key information required by the project manager is captured from each team in a consistent and complete fashion.
An integral part of a success project is communication. What do you say and to whom? When do you say it? How? Through what media?
Use this form to prepare and organize more useful feedback for team members and other people involved in your team.
This template allows the project manager to fully understand the communication needs of stakeholders on the project. Stakeholders expectations and requirements can be documented ensuring there is a clear understanding of the why, when, how and what of the project’s communications.
While internal clients can be difficult at times, there is a tendency for external clients to be a bit more high maintenance. Have you noticed how many horror story projects come down to a combination of sponsor and client? Why is that, and how can we change things?
You've read a PM book. You've taken an introductory course. Your PMP is firmly in hand. What's next? The challenge for project managers at this point is that there isn't a really good answer. In fact, there isn't really any one answer. The most honest and truthful answer is probably, "It depends." But what, exactly, does it depend on?
As a community, we can create open-space sessions that enhance the quality of project management within our own areas of influence. So why is it so rare? Learn why you should take advantage--and take action.
Question: Projects come to my team with time, scope and cost set. We are expected to add high quality on our own. No matter how skilled we are, we always fail to meet these arbitrary metrics. I’m getting burned out always coming up short, and the team has very low morale. Short of finding a new company, is there action I can take to change this scenario?
|A.||Management teams see and know more than project managers. You are paid to work with the parameters you are given, so do the best you can.|
|B.||Work with your team to do a slowdown. This will force management to listen to your concerns and change things to give the projects a better outcome.|
|C.||Figure out a set of things that would help get projects started more realistically and list them in order of desirability. If you try the first one and it doesn’t work, try the next one.|
|D.||Organizations that work in this manner are led by people who don’t understand projects. You are better off to find a job in another corporate setting where they assign projects in a way that you can always be successful.|
The PMP certification requires a certain amount of education and training. What can an attendee do to make sure he gets the most out of a training class?
Question: We have a person on our team who is annoyingly and consistently negative. It is having an impact on our team morale and also our productivity, but since we are agile and self-directed we have no manager to deal with him. What should we do?
|A.||Inappropriate team members are always a possibility with agile teams. Suggest to management that your team revert back to a more formal project management approach.|
|B.||Meet with your teammates, minus this negative person, and arrange for a team intervention. Explain to him that he is damaging the throughput and morale of the team and ask him to be a more positive person.|
|C.||Go to the Product Owner or customer and alert him/her that the negative person is impacting the delivery schedule. Perhaps he or she will intervene with your teammate.|
|D.||Grin and bear it through this iteration, then ask for a change in the team rules at the next retrospective.|
With skyrocketing project complexity and task owners supporting multiple projects at the same time, project managers can use every bit of help to ease project controlling efforts. Leveraging calendar tools can help ease the stress.
Last year, PMI CEO Mark Langley recommended that the PM triangle should be updated with points being Business Acumen, Leadership and Project Management (a small triangle that included scope, budget and schedule). Part 1 of our series explored Business Acumen; here, we look at Leadership.