Collaboration with Accountability

by Andy Jordan

Collaboration has become a vital tool in modern project execution, but not all organizations know how to ensure it happens in the right way. How do we foster effective collaboration while still ensuring our teams and individual team members are accountable for delivering on time, scope and budget?

Topic Teasers Vol. 84: Drafting Career Blueprints

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

Question: Luckily, a key department manager went to bat for us and we now have a standing team. I think this will help us produce deliverables more quickly, as we don’t have to get reacquainted and learn to work with a whole new group on each project. However, the “negative Nellie” on the team is already concerned that this will stall his career. How do I show my colleagues that this is a positive step and that it will help their career progress, not hinder it?
A. Plan for the organization to pay for as many certifications and college or junior college classes as possible. Insist that any coursework your teammates want to take is crucial to their success at their current work. All knowledge is powerful knowledge in the workplace.
B. No one can plan a future career, as promotions and opportunities are only given to those who have special connections or subservient relationships with those at the CEO, CIO and CFO level. You are puffing smoke to craft pipe dreams if you suggest otherwise to your friends.
C. Work with each team member to draft a blueprint of where they would like their career to go within the next five years. Help them choose, plan and implement important steps to allow them to be ready for opportunities along their desired path. It may not work, but it’s better than not having a plan.
D. As the old Doris Day song goes, “Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future is not ours to see. Que sera, sera.” With the lightning speed changes in business occurring each day, it is impossible to envision what skills one will need in the future. Cross your fingers and hope.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Job Title Obsolescence?

by Andy Jordan

Virtually everyone in the workplace has a job title, but does that concept have any relevance in 2016? Or should we be looking at a different approach? For most people reading this, you should be making resource and accountability determinations based on skills, not titles.

6 Tips for Managing Projects with Complex Functionality

by Vesa Koskela

After experiencing several successful projects (and some less so), this practitioner wanted to share his tips on the management of technically complex ones--projects that contain enough complex functionality to make it difficult for the executing organization to deliver.

Challenges of Managing Human Resources for Large Infrastructure Projects

by Pradeep Sangal

Successful projects are built on strong relationships and solid processes; however, it is the people involved that make every project happen. Managing people is also the most challenging part of the project. Some of the issues related to human resources are peculiar to projects—but can be dealt with using an innovative approach that is unique and project specific.

Internet or Internot: What is Your Policy?

by Mike Donoghue

An internet policy is not just about saying “no” to everything—it’s about finding a balance of what is needed and how to improve productivity, all while building a working environment that clearly describes the responsibility each employee has in their unique capacity.

When is Helpful Not Helpful?

by Andy Jordan

Each member of our team has a unique role. How rigidly should they stick to those roles? Members of “super teams” can't always identify when they are working inappropriately. That’s where PMs really need to shine.

Managing Resource Priorities

by Andy Jordan

When resources are asked to focus on multiple different work areas, everyone can suffer. How do we maximize productivity while minimizing disruption?

Managing Workshare in Indian Matrix Organizations

by Tushar Chaudhari

Every project manager wants to have full command over a team of high performers. But in a weak matrix organization, it can be difficult to fulfill such demands. This article discusses the routine demands experienced by a project manager in India or workshare coordinator, and also provides a constructive way forward to handle these concerns effectively.

Meeting Management: A Sniff Test for Project Success

by Toni Fuller

Team meetings may provide insight into how the project will be managed. In many cases, the same strengths or weaknesses exhibited in conducting meetings will be pervasive throughout the project. Mastering meeting management can establish your reputation and produce results.

Re-Defining Urgent: An Exposé

by Beth Spriggs

We often want people to feel that certain tasks are urgent. In order to do that, we have to create consequences to get people to act with urgency in otherwise non-urgent situations. This means that we deliberately want people to feel that something bad could happen if they don’t work quickly. And that's a problem. A culture of urgency makes it difficult for long-term thinking, and reinforces finding the quick fix.

Managing Contractors

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Contractors and consultants may be a necessary part of your project team, but you cannot manage their work in the same manner you manage employees--or even matrixed resources.

Topic Teasers Vol. 79: 21st Century Training

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

Question: My project team needs a substantial amount of training to tackle its latest project challenge. However, my organization just doesn’t have the time and money to fund the traditional classroom approach we have used in the past. Sitting through endless hours of online instructor droning won’t really engage and inspire me and my colleagues. Are there any other options available to us?
A. Ask human resources to reassign you to a different project where the team members are appropriate for the upcoming challenges. It is beyond the scope of your position to manage the project and also be asked to assume responsibility for their qualifications to complete the assigned work.
B. On the weekends, work to create your own training lectures. Ask your colleagues to donate one evening a week to work offsite with you in the interest of building a team better prepared to deliver the project objectives within the estimated metrics.
C. Suggest to your manager that the current team isn’t trained on the skill sets they need for your upcoming project. Propose retaining 50% of them, but replace the other 50% with others who already have mastered the needed expertise. The people you have kept can now be paired with the newcomers to learn the needed information.
D. Consider some of the blended learning options—which could be internal, external or a combination—for a more customized option that is likely to be more easily understood and adopted in daily use by your team. Focus on opportunities that use more hands-on exercises and methodologies to keep participants engaged.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

What Do You Do With All That Free Time?

by Andy Jordan

Project managers have never had it so good. Much of their administrative work is now handled by automated tools, freeing up a significant number of hours. How is that time best utilized?

A Measure of Success

by Donald Charles Wynes

Are you seeing the bigger picture when it comes to talent? Beyond providing a valuable tool for helping an individual during their first few months, a growing pool of metrics helped one manager and his company gain a broader perspective on the effectiveness of its training program.

Sustaining the Talent Asset

by Emre Salmanoglu

In many organizations today, it’s sadly up to corporate dinosaurs to identify talent in an organization that lacks strategic resource management. What’s at stake when organizations unknowingly rely on those solely driven by status quo to spot talent? The answer is sustainability.

The Successor Problem...and Solution

by Karim Fathy

Human resources are the most valuable asset for any organization. But for small- and medium-sized companies, a lack of competent successors can be an easy trap. Business owners should set a number of key performance indicators for their organization--and for key personnel.

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?

Back to School: How Employees and Employers Benefit

by Mike Donoghue

With more competition for jobs has come an increased interest in how companies want to invest in their workforce. This means that companies are improving their school reimbursement programs and promoting them as a way in which to both attract and nurture talent and enhance skills. Are you?


"Managing senior programmers is like herding cats."

- D. Platt