Project Management 2.0

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New technologies, concepts, and Web 2.0 tools are popping up everywhere. How can you use them to help your project team collaborate, communicate - or just give your project an extra boost? [Contact Dave]

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Creating Incentives For Teamwork
Categories: Advice, Management Approaches, Team Building

Situation: You need your team to come together quickly.

We often say that knowing the right questions to ask can be even more important than "knowing" what to do. For that reason, in Project Headway, each task level activity includes a section called "Questions that you ask of yourself and others". The section below lists out the questions we currently include in Creating Incentives for Teamwork.  What would you add or remove from this list?

 

Questions to Ask of Yourself and Others

To better understand how to create incentives for teamwork, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • How are you encouraging teamwork on the project?

  • Are your team members working well together?

  • Where are their areas of conflict?

  • Do you understand what needs to be in place to promote teamwork on this team? 

Consider asking your HR person, trusted colleague, or the team member the same questions.

 

Task Description

Build a team; develop teamwork. Encourage individual participants to work with others as a team, giving the team the authority to act within their level of responsibility. Facilitate communication between individuals and foster an attitude of cooperation. Ensure that team members have a clear understanding of their own tasks, the tasks assigned to other team members, and the relationships between the two. Let the team balance individual empowerment and group collaboration. Allow individuals to control their own style of work, while encouraging team members to develop methods of coordination.

Consider team assignments carefully. Weigh individual strengths and weaknesses carefully in making team assignments. Vary the roles played by each individual and the groups of individuals who work together as a team on project tasks. Reward effective teamwork.

Tips and Tricks

Obviously, you want to encourage people to work more as a team. Consider the following:

  • Understand incentives. Before you go and offer incentives, be sure that people actually see it as an incentive. Offering the team tickets to an upcoming soccer game may appeal to some people, but not everyone. Find out from the team what they appreciate and value as incentives and means of recognition.
  • Vary partners. There may be opportunities to have people work together as partners or in smaller groups. Vary the groups on a periodic basis to given people the opportunity to work closely with others on the team.
  • Caution: Don’t change things too often. Change for the sake of change is not always a good thing. If things are working really well, consider staying in a holding pattern for a while longer.
Posted on: September 19, 2013 01:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Are You Failing To Launch?
Categories: Advice, Management Approaches

Situation: You're kicking off a project and need a quick audit of what you're doing.

Project Headway tasks offer a lot of guidance in managing your projects.  One popular feature of the process is "Questions you ask of yourself and others" within each task in the process. The Project Headway step, "Direct and Manage Project Activiation" guides you through your project launch.  These are the questions we've come up with for that task.  Please let us know if you feel they are helpful and/or what's missing.

When compiling status reports, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • How will the project be executed? Do you really understand your plan and it's weaknesses?  What warning signs will you be looking for so that you notice when things take a wrong turn?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of the roles & responsibilities of each member of the project team?
  • What is the work of the project that needs to get started first? What are you delivering and how will it set the tone for the rest of the project?
  • How will you be collecting work performance information? 

Ask a trusted colleague or key project team members the same questions. 

Posted on: August 12, 2013 02:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Medical Device Benchmarks & Key Performance Factors
Categories: Management Approaches

Situation: You're developing a medial device and need to know where to focus your efforts.

Producing medical devices is a challenging business. You face huge compliance hurdles and constantly changing requirements in a field where innovation and speed are everything. With all of that going on, it’s difficult to take a breath and understand what your peers are doing. Here is a quick and easy way to identify best practices and better understand how you are performing against a standard set of benchmarks.

The 2013 Medical Device Development survey delves into the product development process, examining key metrics used to track progress and the management of tasks that can be a heavy drag on your project. Respondents are asked to identify areas they wish they could gain better visibility into, as well as the roadblocks damaging their success rates. The survey explores design, risk, and quality control topics—how these areas are managed, analyzed, and traced—before turning to the commercial tools used in the development process.

Requirements, test cases, and artifacts are also covered—how they are managed, which ones are tracked, and which are the most difficult to manage. Also, respondents are asked about proving compliance. What is the most difficult item to prove? How do you provide objective evidence with test cases, or verify that they were completed? This leads into questions about traceability matrices, including how they are created, what is traced, how they are kept updated, and more.  You can find the survey here.

Note: This survey is being conducted by Seapine Software, who is a sponsor of ProjectManagement.com .

Posted on: July 18, 2013 09:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Do You Have A Scientist On Your Team?
Categories: Advice, Management Approaches

Situation: You need people who think broadly to make existing systems work, rather than simply deploying new ones.

A few days ago, I came across an HBR posting "Why your IT Project needs a Cognitive Scientist." . In a nutshell, the author says that in addition to technology-focused and business-focused folks, we need to have people who can look at problems in new ways and understand how the available information can be used to create something new and truly useful. He wraps up by saying that we need people who know:

  • when to draw on data
  • how to frame questions
  • how to build hypotheses
  • how to conduct experiements
  • and how to determine results

These questions are useful to ask whether the business is depending on you for a breakthrough project or you're simply making the most of a more routine effort. Take a look at each member of your team. How do they measure up on each of the five points above? How could you help them improve?

Posted on: January 20, 2013 09:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Are PM Leadership Skills A Real Problem?
Categories: Advice, Management Approaches

Situation: You want to keep up with the latest industry trends.

ESI released it's annual Top 10 Trends for Project Management a few minutes ago. You can see them listed out below.  Do you agree with their assessment?

“This year’s trends bring a murky problem into specific light,” said J. LeRoy Ward, Executive Vice President, ESI International. “Leadership skills are lacking within the project community, and until project managers learn how to properly lead teams and their projects, project execution will continue to be a problem.”

ESI’s top 10 trends for project management include:

1.      Organizations will continue to call for strong project leaders but will focus on investments in hard skills

2.      Agile implementation will be viewed in some organizations as a failure, but for the wrong reasons

3.      Project management is not just for project managers anymore

4.      Large projects pose unique challenges that are increasingly tough to overcome

5.      PMOs will focus on proving their worth and driving innovation

6.      The U.S. government will upgrade its PM certification in the face of rising criticism

7.      Improving vendor management practices will top the list of skills for project managers

8.      Continued poor project performance in many organizations will result in more PMOs being terminated

9.      Portfolio management will take on a greater role as funding continues to tighten and the number of projects grows

10.  Organizations will adopt Agile to accelerate time to market but what they ultimately achieve may be a different story

“Many of this year’s trends focus on the need to improve project skills, process and the overall management of our initiatives,” said Ward. “It is clear that it is no longer possible to hire project managers and expect results. We need our PMs to be experts, and take control of our projects to get maximum results.”

ESI’s top 10 trends in project management is put together annually by ESI senior executives and subject matter experts.

You can also check it out in video form (see below)

Posted on: January 03, 2013 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)
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