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Communication: The Leader's Language

by Suresh MK

Communication is the medium through which one articulates vision, strategy, change and feedback. It is most critical for leaders to have effective communication skills as they are the ones delivering important strategy and vision. If they fail to articulate that effectively, it could lead to unintended consequences.

Topic Teasers Vol. 80: Compliance Without Power

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP

Question: We recently developed new accounting software for internal use to create invoices. Due to interest in tracking benefits realization and also capturing customer reactions to evaluate our success, my project team has been asked to stay on and address any issues for six months. One of the sales representatives gives special discounts and terms but fails to enter them into the new system for billing, and the angry customers call my team. I’ve told his manager, but the behavior continues. It makes the process improvement statistics for our software look bad and is costing us money. What can I do?
A. If talking with the sales representative’s manager didn’t work, talk to the manager’s manager. This sales person should be fired.
B. Take the salesperson to lunch. See if there is anything bothering him. Try to help him solve any work-related or personal issues, so that he can focus more on entering the correct data for billing.
C. Alert the representative by e-mail when the invoices will be sent out for two months. Give him a deadline to enter any unique terms not covered by the default pricing tables in the software. Copy his manager.
D. Prepare a second training class on how to operate the new software and schedule all of the employees in the organization who use the software to attend. If one person isn’t using it correctly, perhaps there are more.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Accepting Unrealistic Deadlines: A Recipe for Disaster

by Muhammad Umais Mulki

Sometimes the temptation to work on an exciting project—and other times the pressure from the business executives to get the business—leads to agreement on unrealistic expectations. This article discusses the mistake of agreeing to unrealistic timelines and suggests a few ways on how this can be avoided—and the project kept under reasonable control.

Embracing Mistakes: Learning from Experience

by Jon Quigley, Shawn P. Quigley

Failure to learn from mistakes--and from each other--can cost organizations dearly. Learning and adapting are hallmarks of good project management and of functioning organizations. Making mistakes is not a problem--it's how we learn.

The Top 10 Reasons Projects Fail (Part 2)

by Marc Lacroix

While we all generally know what a pitfall is in the business world and understand that they should be avoided, the most obvious traps are still sometimes the ones we fall into—especially when managing projects with dozens of competing priorities that distract us and take our eyes off the trail ahead. This two-part article series identifies the top 10 reasons projects fail and focuses on how to avoid these common project management pitfalls.

Team Members: The PM's Critical Communications Channel

by Suvrutt Gurjar

We always give a great deal of attention to project communications with senior management, customers and sponsors. But in order to make the project and all of these stakeholders successful, the project manager needs to diligently nurture one more channel: project communications to and from project team members.

Self-Service for Your Project Website: Do's and Don'ts

by Joe Wynne

The wise project manager knows how to use the right tools in the right way to communicate to different groups. When using a web share to present and document information, there are some important do's and don’ts to be aware of to ensure success.

The Top 10 Reasons Projects Fail (Part 1)

by Marc Lacroix

While we all generally know what a pitfall is in the business world and understand that they should be avoided, the most obvious traps are still sometimes the ones we fall into—especially when managing projects with dozens of competing priorities that distract us and take our eyes off the trail ahead. This two-part article series identifies the top 10 reasons projects fail and focuses on how to avoid these common project management pitfalls.

Digital PM Controls: Low-Tech/High-Touch vs. High-Tech/Low-Touch

by Mike Griffiths

Project management tools are getting more and more sophisticated as they compete with rivals on features and spread to support more platforms. Yet sophistication has a cost. Let's explore how a combination of deliberately low-tech inputs and outputs can be used with modern tools to deliver the best of both worlds.

7 Tips for Choosing Collaboration Tools

by Elizabeth Harrin

Are you looking for a project management collaboration tool? There are plenty out there to choose from. Here are seven tips to narrow down your selection.

Motivational Action Plan

PREMIUM deliverable
by Dave Garrett

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.

Project HEADWAY Project Issues Log

deliverable
by Interthink

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.

Project HEADWAY Project Team Status Report

PREMIUM deliverable
by Interthink

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.

Employee Feedback Planner

PREMIUM deliverable

Use this form to prepare and organize more useful feedback for team members and other people involved in your team.

Project HEADWAY Communications Plan

PREMIUM deliverable
by Interthink

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.

Best Practices When Dealing With Critical Situations

by Hari Doraisamy, PMP, Nick Del Grande

In a crisis, stakeholders look to the project manager to remedy the situation. The authors manage a team of critical situation managers in a large software and services company and share a list of best practices based on their team’s collective experience in dealing with similar situations over several years.

Are Project Managers Reluctant to Collaborate?

by Jason Westland

Collaboration is a buzzword that has multiple meanings depending on who you ask. However you define it, it’s pretty well established that improved collaboration means improved project outcomes. So how are project managers collaborating to improve project outcomes?

Combatting Saboteurs

by Suresh MK

Saboteurs are everywhere, but they aren’t enemy infiltrators—they may even be well-intentioned staffers who unwittingly convert everyday activities into acts of sabotage. This article is a review of the book Simple Sabotage: A Modern Field Manual for Detecting and Rooting Out Everyday Behaviors That Undermine Your Workplace, which is based on strategy that the U.S. Office of Strategic Services outlined in 1944’s “Simple Sabotage Field Manual.”

Political Punch of Staff

by Mike Donoghue

Sometimes, a little confrontation goes a long way. For HR departments, having information on these conflicts can thereby make an organization more adept at understanding its political system--and provide additional knowledge so that not all political actions become actionable conflicts.

PM Mind Games

by Andy Jordan

The best results come from the most integrated and tightly knit project teams, and it only takes one or two people to see themselves outside of that group to damage the entire team. There is inevitably a psychological element to project leadership, but how far should that go? To what extent can “mind games” be part of a project manager’s tool set when managing a team?

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"In youth we learn; in age we understand."

- Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach