Project managers can get consumed with managing schedules, but sometimes we need to put our heads up and see what’s really going on. Here are some tips for getting your head out of the Gantt chart…
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.
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...).
Question: We are being pressured to take unused vacation days before the end of the year. However, I don’t know how to be away from my project and still get it completed. Should I just allow my vacation days to lapse or just accept that my project will suffer while I am gone and take them?
|A.||Keeping your job is more important than using up vacation days. In this economy it is better to let them lapse than to be out of the office and allow the organization to see they can get along without you.|
|B.||Take your vacation days, but plan when in the project cycle you will be gone and work ahead to delegate your work to others. Check in regularly while you are away.|
|C.||Ask the company if they will send the entire team on vacation together. That way you can work on the project during the day and relax and unwind together at night. It could be billed as a team bonding exercise.|
|D.||Take the vacation days but stay at home. Arrange to be in the office on alternating days and then stay home in between. That way you use the days but complete the project as well.|
Some people enjoy project work, and some do not. Turning a project into something that no one wants to work on is truly an accomplishment--but not one to brag about. Be on the lookout for these four warning signs…
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.
Bad managers lead to poor employee engagement, and that costs companies money. Are you one of them? In this article, we'll cover the tell-tale signs of a poor manager--and what you can do if you find out that’s you.
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...
The most significant challenge for any project manager is when projects shift modes. The shift from startup to execution, and the shift from execution to closeout, requires a change in mindset. Each shift needs the PM to adjust their focus and emphasis--and a corresponding change to how they deal with people.
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.
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?
Team members and sponsors generally do not have the level of PM knowledge or focus we would like. So how do we make our lives easier? Let's look at three approaches to raising organizational knowledge though training.
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.
What value are we actually delivering to the organization with highly condensed summaries? It makes us feel better to produce them, and executives can look at progress over time and get some kind of indication of what they are getting for their investment…but are dashboards actually driving any value?
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.|
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.
Question: We are a non-IT team in a smaller organization. The company will only provide desktop computers, but it would be a productivity booster for us to be able to use mobile devices. If we are willing to bring our own devices from home, can we use them at work on our current project?
|A.||No. Introducing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy is more complex than just bringing in equipment from home. Consider the total cost and plan risk mitigation before jumping in.|
|B.||Yes. Reducing the corporate budget by removing the need to purchase mobile devices for employees is a substantial cost savings. The organization will be happy to have you do this.|
|C.||No. There is no need for project teams who are non-IT to be using mobile devices at work. Stick to the desktop units provided by the organization. In order to amortize the cost of them for tax purposes they must be in use consistently.|
|D.||Yes. The flexibility gained for your team members outweighs any other concerns. However, it is best to do this surreptitiously so that no one in the organization attempts to stop you.|
Forming cross-functional teams is one way out of this dependency trap. But if you just put a group of specialists together, have you really solved the problem? In this article, we explore the downside of over-specialization and write about the sort of people you need to have truly cross-functional teams.
For many in today’s IT workforce, we operate within the concept of open employment. It has its merits, but it still breeds a common ground of distrust between parties. But given more defined parameters over what expectations are and how each side can help the other, this doesn't have to be the case.
Whether you’re starting from square one or fine-tuning a well-oiled process, consider these four tips for taking a more proactive approach to resource management--and create a more effective, efficient and responsive organization along the way.
Just having bodies in seats is not enough for success; it needs to be the right bodies at the right time. When a project involves a consultant, it is important to evaluate the resource and not take their resume or proposal at face value.
If your project involves external resources in any capacity, then you are dealing with one or more outsourcing arrangements. This article gives some strategies for mitigating common obstacles for managing outsourced projects.
The software development industry has migrated more and more to a virtual, telecommuting industry. But recent headlines have solidified the battle lines regarding virtual teams. Are they good or bad for employee morale and productivity?
Done well, contract-based project management can deliver the kind of results that simply wouldn’t be possible using only employee resources; done poorly, it can be a disaster.