I wish I had me when I was you...

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This title expresses precisely how I feel each time a project manager or PMO leader tells me a story about their frustrations encountered while trying to create effective and sustainable change, build (or fix) a PMO or deliver projects successfully. I always think to myself…I wish I knew then what I know now. I’ve made it my mission to share with you everything that I have learned while creating change and building PMOs in both large and small organizations for the last 20 years. Change isn’t easy, but it CAN be done and done well without pulling your hair out! Projects can achieve their intended outcomes leading to satisfied stakeholders. PMOs can become an integral part of your organization's high-impact outcomes. The keys to my success and what I've seen in others is not necessarily what you think. You won't find the answers in the project implementation methodology. The answer is not in the templates you use. It's in how you engage with people and bring them through the process with you. Do change with them, not to them. I’m hoping these articles help you along your journey as you continue to evolve and develop skills and techniques to be the high-impact leader you are meant to be. Please let me know what you think and how I can support you along your journey. Found out more at ImpactbyLaura.com

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Are you a Project Manager or an IMPACT Driver?

Even Planners Need to do Planning

2017: Year in Review

Top 5 of 2017

Quick Tip: Explaining the value of Project Management to “non-believers”

Are you a Project Manager or an IMPACT Driver?

The Project Management profession is shifting in some very important ways…are you ready?

The world is seeing an accelerating speed of innovation as problem solver and change happening at an almost frenetic pace. Companies are going through transformations almost as a matter of course and it’s hard to keep up. But this is our golden opportunity, our chance to show just what project managers are made of.

Why do I say that?

Project Management is the MOST equipped profession for driving IMPACT during these times of chaos, accelerated change, and general impatience we have developed globally. We have a unique skill set that has been honed and designed specifically to take these new ideas and transform them into value-based solutions, all while taming the chaos.

But how do we step up to this challenge?

Not by doing things the way we’ve always done them! Many of us have gotten too comfortable and complacent. We’ve chugged along doing our projects, jumping from one to the other, staying heads down on the work in front of us and we could let this golden opportunity pass us by.

Here’s how to prepare yourself for the future of Project Management:

1. Understand that only you can decide to be an IMPACT Driver.

This means deciding to take control of your own career. Don’t wait for your company to send you to a training class or miss out on a great opportunity because your company doesn’t pay for training anymore. More and more companies are not paying for training for their staff or don’t give them access to the resources that are really going to move the needle. Develop your own career plan and seek out opportunities to develop skill sets in job rotations, new opportunities, or training that addresses where you want to go (not where you are), or where they want to put you. Do not settle. You must develop your skills, open your eyes to new ways of doing things, and understand that the status quo will leave you in the dust.

2. Know the difference between performance and value.

There is a three-letter acronym that many of us hold dear: EVM (Earned Value Management). While this is an important key to measuring performance, it doesn’t do anything to tell you about value. How can that be? Yeah, I know. It’s a beautiful irony.

Think about it. EVM tells you a great deal about how the project is performing against the planned schedule and cost constraints, but it doesn’t really tell you if the scope being delivered will generate the IMPACT that is expected. That’s VALUE. HINT: guess what the organization is paying you, expecting you, to deliver?

EVM and other similar metrics are necessary so that we can monitor and improve performance, but this is not the same as measuring, delivering, and realizing IMPACT and value.

You will start hearing more about ROI (Return on Investment) going forward. It’s the new three letter acronym every project manager should be using. It’s the term being used by the business leaders as they develop their business cases and decide which projects will get funded. It’s that promise of ROI that determines what projects are worth the time and energy, and of course, money. It’s also to keep in mind that if an organization is investing in projects, then it stands to reason that an organization is also investing in project managers to deliver those projects.

3. Understand the role of IMPACT Driver.

When you are given budget to do a project, you have assumed a fiduciary responsibility to spend that money in a way that always has the best interests of the investor in mind. Sometimes this means your project should be canceled if it won’t achieve the intended value. There’s no reason to throw good money after bad. You need to put ROI first and worry less about your “baby” being taken from you.

If being over budget and schedule means that the value the project could generate will double, it might be worth the overruns. That’s a business decision you need to prepare the project owner to make – but you need to have the ability/skillset to recognize it and most importantly, be able to communicate it to those who will make that decision. You must be looking for these opportunities and be comfortable sacrificing your perfect project performance record for real value delivery.

4. Understand that projects are the means, not the end.

We spend so much energy and focus on the project and define our own success by how the project performs, “I brought my project in on time and on budget, therefore I was successful” or how thorough our process has become, “We have created 45 new templates this month.”

The organization thinks of projects as investments and is investing in the project and the project manager to drive the business outcome they are trying to derive - the project is therefore a MEANS not the END.

Stop worrying so much about process. I’m not saying don’t have one, but I assure you, the business doesn’t care about metrics related to how many templates you have created or how many steps are in your process (fewer is better here). What they want to know is does that process get me the high-IMPACT outcomes I’m looking for with my investment? Measure outcomes, not templates.

5. Speak their language, not yours.

Sometimes we complain because the “business” doesn’t “get it” when we try to talk to them about project management. We are the ones missing the point.

It isn’t about making sure the business understands project management speak. It’s about making sure you understand how to speak to them in their terms – how to translate “project into business-speak.”

Why is this critical? You must understand the business value and be able to articulate the way your project is going to drive that business value, deliver outcomes that move the needle in the organization, AND COMMUNICATE the outcomes and value. IMPACT Drivers can clearly articulate the value and impact that their project will have on the end consumer.

6. Be a commitment keeper, not just a commitment maker.

With leaders having less and less patience in this fast-paced environment, trust is going to be critical for your success. It’s all too easy to just say yes when your sponsor asks for changes that are going to throw your project off course. You certainly need to look at every change request through the eyes of an ROI-seeker, but you also need to be crystal clear about what you can and cannot do, so that commitments are not just made, but kept. This will build your credibility and ultimately earn you a seat at the table when tough decisions need to be made. They will know they can count on you.

IMPACT Drivers don’t just talk a good game, they deliver.

7. Train for the future, but don’t look for more of the same.

There are so many courses out there that all look the same. They teach you the same steps in a methodology, they emphasize the same old techniques and they are all emphasizing the same things: project success equals business success. Now we know this is not true.

IMPACT Drivers look for new ways to gain the crucial skills that will help them advance their careers, position them for the future, and empower themselves to be organization strategy partners.

8. You will determine the future of Project Management.

No pressure or anything, but each of us must take an active role in determining where we want this profession to go. We can either be the super heroes that drive future transformation or we can sit back and watch as the world changes around us. The choice is yours. It all starts with you. Drive the change you want to see in the world.

Just remember…Project Management is not the end game. It is simply the engine we use to drive IMPACT and now you can become the IMPACT Driver.


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See you online!

Warmly,

Posted on: January 15, 2018 07:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Even Planners Need to do Planning

As project management types, many of us are so busy helping others with their planning and project activities that we forget to take time to do our own planning. I liken us to the plumber with the leaky faucet. Whether it’s planning the next step in your career or planning the next quarter, we need to take time to plan out our roadmap. We must be prepared to take our own medicine. It’s good for us, after all.

I’m taking my own medicine and beginning my process of planning the next year. Starting in quarterly chunks of planning. This helps to figure out what I can get accomplished. I always have more ideas than I possibly have capacity to complete. There are so many new projects I want to explore, new ways to deliver value, things I want to try.

Are you like me with a to do list that never quite gets to empty?

As I prepared for some time out of the office, I kept working furiously to get things knocked off my list. I got A LOT done, but as I worked, I found more things that I wanted to add to my list! It’s crazy, I know. The list just gets longer no matter how many things I check off! I have projects coming out of my ears and I know that I won’t be able to get them all done.

It’s healthy (at least I think so) to keep that list of ideas coming in, things you want to accomplish, goals that you are setting out for yourself. The creative energy is good for us. And it’s important to jot down the ideas we have when we have them instead of discarding the idea or possible new project.

So what do I do? I prioritize!

I am always looking at the order things need to be done in. What’s urgent? What’s important?

Urgent vs. important

It’s crucial to find the balance between urgent and important. So often, we spend so much time on the urgent that we never get to the important. For example, you have urgent client needs that must be addressed, but once you’ve taken care of all the needs of your clients, you have no time left for the important things like planning for the future.

As a business owner, I like to remember something my coach always says, “You cannot only work in the business. You must work on the business if you are going to be successful in the long term.”

The same applies to you, whether you run a division, a company or a project. We must make time to work “on the business” we are managing, as well as in it. This means taking time to step back, figure out where we are going and what big things we want to accomplish, then plan out our roadmap for getting there.

This takes planning for the future. Yeah, we gotta actually do some planning.

Take a few minutes to think about your big goals for the next year. What will bring you the most happiness? What will give you the greatest sense of accomplishment? How can you drive high-IMPACT?

Then, put a plan together and manage your big goals like you would any other project. Yes, this means actually writing it down. It’s only a dream until you make it a plan. Once you make it a plan, we know how to handle and execute a plan, right?

OK, now go Get. It. Done!


Thanks for taking the time to read this article.

Click here to receive these blog posts right to your inbox.

Fill out our one-minute survey if you have topics you would like read more about.

I welcome your feedback and insights. Please leave a comment below.

See you online!

Warmly,

Posted on: January 08, 2018 07:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

2017: Year in Review

Are you spending the last day of most holiday vacations traveling, tossing, or turning? Well, boredom and monkey-mind be banished! Put your travel time to good use by catching up on what you might have missed in 2017, learn new ways to drive IMPACT in your organization and careers.

Here are the articles shared in 2017:

Project Management Day of Service® 2017 (It's not too late to sign up for 2018!)

Fight, Flight or Freeze – Resistance to Implementing PM Practices

Are you owning the project management process, or are they?

The Project Doesn't Start at Charter

Top 10 Mistakes PMO / PM Leaders are Making (and how to solve them TODAY)

Focus Driven Change: Change Management Lessons from Ordinary Life

Why You Shouldn't Outsource Your PMO

What to Look for When Hiring a PMO/PM Consultant

The Project Doesn’t End with Closure

Are you doing progressive elaboration or perpetual elaboration?

Stakeholder Engagement

The culture made me do it!

Quick Tip: Explaining the value of Project Management to “non-believers”

Addressing Process Non-Compliance

What is a PMO and do I need one?

Because I wish I had me when I was you…

Are you a Project Manager or an IMPACT Driver?

Hot Topic: Process Discipline

What happens when you rescue your project team members?

5 Steps to Avoid Rescuing Project Team Members

From Project Manager to IMPACT Driver: Accelerating Your Project Management Career

Hot Topic: PMO

Even Planners Need to do Planning

Does a PMO need a charter? Probably not.

Hot Topic: PMO Startup

Top 10 Mistakes PMO Leaders Are Making and How to Fix Them

Quick Tip: Stop Calling Yourself a Project Manager

Did You Know That Project Management Can Change the World?

The Big Credibility Differentiator

Top 5 of 2017

The year 2017 came full circle, beginning and ending not only how to drive IMPACT in your organization and career, but also how project management can make an IMPACT in the community. Cheers to a bright 2018!


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Fill out our one-minute survey if you have topics you would like read more about.

I welcome your feedback and insights. Please leave a comment below.

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Warmly,

LauraBSignature_black

Posted on: January 01, 2018 07:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Top 5 of 2017

It’s always fascinating to go back through the numbers and data and determine where the biggest IMPACT was made. This is especially true when approaching a benchmark such as the new year. My team and I took a look at all of the data sources on social media and the IMPACT site to determine which resources users just like you, used the most. 

You will notice, the word "resources" instead of articles. As we dug deeper into the numbers, we found that it isn't just the articles we put out that were heavily used, but also some of the tools and templates we have available. Here are the top 5 resources from 2017:

  1. What is a PMO and do I need one? This article is the. most. popular. across the board, and if you take a look you will see why. This article covers the benefits, areas of support, and potential deliverables to help you and your organization determine if a PMO is right for you. I even dive into what to watch for in case your PMO is in trouble.
  2. Dealing with Difficult Stakeholders As PMs and PMOs we are in the people business, we are managing change with people. And you are well aware, that people can either have a positive or a negative IMPACT on a project. In this article, I go into 8 very simple steps to manage stakeholders (both positive and negative).
  3. IMPACT Inner Circle Membership Site  Have you ever thought, wouldn't it be nice to get all the information, resources, tools, templates, training (PDUs!) I need in one place? You have found it. The IMPACT Inner Circle helps you transform your organization to drive high-value outcomes, and provides you immediate actions, plans and new solutions to your toughest challenges. I encourage you to check out our flexible membership options.
  4. Top 10 Mistakes PMO/PM Leaders Make (and how to fix them) In this popular article, I dive into the top 10 mistakes I see happening every day and exactly how to fix them, fast. I built my first PMO in the 90's and the truth is that I had no idea what I was doing! BUT, I had a Get. It. Done. attitude and a desire to learn and boy did I learn! A lot. I made a lot of mistakes and I learned a thing or two over the following two decades of putting PMOs and PM best practices in place. You will find the solution in this article. (And for a more in-depth look, I recently did a training over the Top 10 Mistakes PMO/PM Leaders make, you can get that here.)

  5. One Page Executive Dashboard (2 PDUs) In this most popular and IMPACTful course, I share practical and immediately applicable techniques to give you the tools you need to start using right away in your organization! In addition to real-world guidance, you finish the course understanding exactly what you need to tell them and how, learn how to get your B.L.U.F. (Bottom Line Up Front) right, determine what information should be presented, and leverage color and symbols to help executives focus.

As you move through the holiday weeks, and you are doing your own assessment of the IMPACT that you have driven over the last 12 months, I hope that you will check into these resources and see how they can help to transform the IMPACT your career and organization makes in 2018.


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Fill out our one-minute survey if you have topics you would like read more about.

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Happy Holidays,

LauraBSignature_black

Posted on: December 25, 2017 07:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Quick Tip: Explaining the value of Project Management to “non-believers”

How do you convince someone that Project Management is the medicine they need to take? You don’t.

Our “go to” move when we want to bring someone over to our way of thinking is to talk and talk about the benefits because surely, they will “get it” if we just explain it right…right?

 

Well, you may want to consider starting with a few other things first, then they might actually listen to what you have to say…

  • Start by listening. Why are they unimpressed with Project Management? Maybe they have seen it fail before or “got burned.” Maybe they just haven’t been exposed to it. You won’t know unless you ask and asking allows you to figure out how to best approach engaging them on the topic.
  • Make sure that you are not over-complicating the project management process in the first place. There's a difference between project management and PROJECT MANAGEMENT. It might be that the process is getting in the way of productivity and that could contribute to their concern. Focus on what minimal best practices you can put in place in order to create value without making project management “the work” for them.
  • Think simple and small. If what you have been presenting to them is overwhelming, they won’t buy into it. You don't want to overwhelm people with charts and tools and templates they have to fill out if you want them to believe in the value project management. Always keep your discussion of the topic and what you introduce to them very minimal.

Then, you can start talking in a way that speaks to their perspective…

 

 

  • Provide examples of what other industry leaders are doing. In every industry, you can find people that are exhibiting good project management discipline and it shows in the outcomes that the organizations able to create. Take the opportunity to research other companies that do similar work and showcase how they have implemented project management discipline and are seeing stellar results.
  • Focus on the pain you can fix. Give them examples of what’s not working right now. The reason you want to add PM process is probably because something isn’t working as well as they could or something is just broken.
  • Make it real for them. When I do my project management training courses, I often walk people through very simple examples of applying project management techniques to day-to-day life. For example, when you are planning a trip, you apply a lot of the best practices of project management to plan the trip effectively. Just getting from point A to point B, you plan your route, plan for issues that can come up along the way, develop a timeline, plan for stops along the way, etc. Many times, applying project management to the “real world” makes it easier to see the value.
  • And the most important way to make a non-believer a believer is to get something done. Perform. Perform relentlessly and then explain to them that project management techniques are what got you there and got the outstanding results.

There is no greater way to transform a non-believer into a believer than to get something done for them that has extremely high value and creates a big impact.


Thanks for taking the time to read this article.

Click here to receive these blog posts right to your inbox.

Fill out our one-minute survey if you have topics you would like read more about.

I welcome your feedback and insights. Please leave a comment below.

See you online!

Warmly,

Posted on: December 18, 2017 07:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (14)
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