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The Consultant vs. In-House PM

by Michael Wood

What's the difference? From time to time, organizations find themselves in a dilemma trying to decide whether they should use an in-house PM or PM consultant to manage important projects. Being aware of the tradeoffs and making conscious decisions on each is the best way to minimize unintended consequences.

Excuses, Excuses! Managing the 'Yeah, but...' PM

by Andy Jordan

There will always be a reason why some team members just don’t believe it’s possible to give you the information you need in the way that you need it. So how do we deal with the "everything’s an exception" belief without damaging the relationships within the team?

4 Ways Neuroscience Can Enhance Project Management

by Andrew Filev

As project managers, we need to pay attention to disengaged employees. We should know why it’s happening and learn how we can re-engage our teams. This is where neuroscience becomes a valuable resource. Here are four suggestions on how neuroscience can help improve your project management.

Topic Teasers Vol. 30: Changing Agile Attitudes

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

Question: My agile team does okay with the new structure of how we do things, but it seems like we’ve just replaced one set of rules with another. How can I get them to change the way they think about things, not just follow the new processes? I understand that is the underlying key to agile success?
A. Management does not care what team members believe as long as they turn around work more quickly than they did in the past. Leave people to think what they will.
B. In addition to the team rules and the agile methodology process rules, tell people each day what they are to think about the work they do and how they should view others.
C. You can’t mandate change. You can only find a fun way to demonstrate and remind people on the team about the premises of agile philosophy.
D. If your team won’t quickly adjust to knowing and following the agile philosophies, this approach to doing projects will fail. Return to traditional project management practices.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Social Media Policy: Protecting Yourself and Your Project Team

by Mike Donoghue

In our technology-rich activities, it is important for companies to enact a social media policy in order to protect sensitive data, corporate networks and other important online information. Keep these recommendations in mind when creating a policy.

Motivating the ‘Who Cares?’ Resource

by Andy Jordan

Not everyone shares your enthusiasm for the project, and that's a problem that can impact the entire team. But you still need these unmotivated managers. What can you do when someone on your team is determined to do as little work as possible?

Topic Teasers Vol. 29: Ugly Team Emotions

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

Question: I feel quite confident in my project skills and hold several certifications. However, my team seems to frequently have ugly emotions present themselves to me, pass between teammates and appear in our group meetings. How do I deal with these to keep them from destroying relationships and impeding the work of the project?
A. Send offending team members to Human Resources and ask that they be given a free psychological evaluation. Since the behavior is impacting project work, this will be company money well-spent.
B. Go to the individual and ask if he or she would prefer to work on another team. Take the responsibility for their behavior, as it must be a negative response to you as a project manager.
C. Ignore the offensive behavior. Your job it to get the deliverables of the project completed in a timely way. Any time you spend dealing with misbehavior is time stolen from productive project work.
D. Write down the emotions you surmise are behind the negative behaviors and think through appropriate responses ahead of time so that you are prepared when they occur.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Hiring for Cross-Functional Teams

by Esther Derby

Many hiring managers have practice in assessing broad technical skills. But strong, creative and capable teams result only when those T-shaped people can work interdependently, self-manage, solve group problems and learn together. That implies another set of skills to look for when hiring for a cross-functional team--interpersonal and collaboration skills.

Bear in Mind: Influence and Leadership for Stakeholder Management

by Michael Nir

It's vital to never forget the significance of stakeholder management. This chapter from Project Management: Influence and Leadership Building Rapport in Teams presents a discussion about stakeholder management and the notion that stakeholders differ in their perceptions, and also offers strategies for influence.

Back to Basics: Keeping it Simple

by Andy Jordan

For experienced PMs, sometimes the hardest job is to go right back to the very basic stuff. So how can you maximize your chances of success? And how do we manage team members who have absolutely no experience or understanding of project work?

Build a Virtual Team Work Infrastructure to Avoid Collaboration Misfires

by Joe Wynne

Virtual teams have special communication obstacles that are not necessarily solved elegantly by the communication tools available in your project. You must combine multiple applications to create an infrastructure to meet the needs of virtual teams to interact and to complete project deliverables.

Remote Control: The Virtual PM

by Andy Jordan

Can a project manager manage their team virtually, and if so what adjustments are necessary? To be successful, a virtual PM has to overcome many communication-related issues. Here we explore an effective approach.

4 Virtual PM Challenges

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

A virtual project manager is physically separated from the project team, the stakeholders and perhaps even the client. How can PMs make sure they are effective in this role?

The Fortune Cookie Wisdom Guide to Project Management (Part 2)

by Ian Whittingham, PMP

No project manager would ever be so foolish as to leave the outcome of their project to chance events and simply hope they might get lucky. So it might appear odd for our guru to be looking inside a fortune cookie to find project management wisdom. But as we saw in Part 1 of his series, those simple mottoes can sometimes offer up more wisdom than first meets the eye...

Managing Virtual Projects with Success

by Jiju (Jay) Nair, PMP

A virtual team can be effective by adopting proven virtual collaboration tools, establishing team performance metrics and promoting supplementary processes that align with the organization’s project management methodology.

Four Tactics for Attaining Vital Stakeholder Contributions

by Joe Wynne

Four proven tactics can help you engage stakeholders better--and obtain their essential contributions to make the changes required by your project. With these new ways to manage stakeholder relationships and to drive your project, you can propel your career to new heights.

Are Virtual Teams the Next Revolution of Work?

by Mike Griffiths

Virtual teams may well be the next step in the evolution of work. So it is interesting to ask if today’s management principles and processes are optimized to support them. To help answer this question, let’s take an illustrated tour of work through the ages and also review how management has progressed along the way.

Virtual Team = Project Disaster? (Part 2)

by Andy Jordan

If a project manager cannot successfully deliver projects where at least some of the resources are working virtually, then that PM won’t have a job for very long. Can projects be successful when they are run by virtual teams, and if so, how? In the concluding part of our series, we look at the remaining four steps.

Achieving Virtual Success

by Patti Gilchrist, PMP

The nature of today's workplace no longer requires workers to be bound to a physical location. The following tips will help you manage your virtual team so that your project does not instead become a dreaded nightmare due to the significant challenges of managing remote resources.

Leading the Unbalanced Team

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

The nature of the business world today often leads to unbalanced teams where the project manager or others on the team do not have the experience or expertise that is represented by their peers. How can a project manager lead effectively in this unbalanced environment?

How to Be Better at Stakeholder Management

by Michelle Stronach

People’s interests, attitudes and authorities change constantly, and your project is only part of the many things influencing these changes. As a project manager, you need to continually understand your stakeholders, assess the landscape--and use that knowledge to guide the planning and management of your project.

Communicating Well with Your Virtual Team

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Nearly everyone deals with virtual teams in the current business environment, so you are already communicating with virtual resources. But communicating well is a key part of managing a project with a virtual team.

Managing Virtually, or Virtually Managing? Personal Connection at a Distance

by Mark Mullaly, PMP

Technology, mobility and the sheer expense of office real estate has taken distance working from daring and uncertain trend to fully embraced reality. What this has mostly produced is a state of affairs where many of our most meaningful professional interactions are mediated by technology, rather than face to face--and that's where the danger lies.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."

- George Bernard Shaw