Project Management

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The Psychology of Estimating

3 Skills Areas To Help Your Team With

Closing out a Programme

3 Ways To Be More Strategic As a Project Manager

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3 Skills Areas To Help Your Team With

These days, project teams are expected to do so many different things, from deep dive root cause analysis to making sure that projects align to strategy. As a team, you’re both in the weeds of the project and also trying to communicate the big picture to stakeholders.

Let’s face it, it can be difficult to have all those skills – I mean, have you seen the latest PMBOK® Guide?! Between that and the Standard for Project Management there are hardly any management and leadership skills that a project manager is not supposed to have.

However, we aren’t able to say, “I’m not very good with PowerPoint so we won’t create slide decks for status reporting.” We have to be all-rounders, even if we aren’t very good in some areas, or don’t enjoy those tasks.

Here are 3 skills for project managers that I know from my mentoring work that people in project roles have difficulty with. I’ve also included some tips for how to improve, if you choose to do so. If you lead a team and find your colleagues struggle in these areas, perhaps the ideas will help them.

1. Risk management

Large programmes may have a dedicated risk manager on the team, but if that isn’t you then you’ll have to get stuck in with risk identification, analysis and management yourself. In my experience, there are several areas that people struggle with:

  • Risk identification: making sure it is not a one off exercise
  • Risk analysis: using metrics to quantify the risk instead of just guessing what the impact might be
  • Risk management: defaulting to mitigation strategies or ‘do nothing’ because the alternatives are poorly understood or too hard.

Address this by:

  • Making sure the team has regular points where risks are discussed. You can put these on the plan.
  • Giving everyone the tools to analyse risk. Use software. Provide details of what it means to be a ‘low risk’ in terms that are financial, reputational, operational and more so they are not guessing
  • Talk about all the different options available to you and manage actively so risks are reduced, not just put on a list.

2. Task Management

This skill is all about managing your To Do list and making sure tasks have owners. It’s also time management overall on the project, so it encompasses resource levelling and capacity planning so you don’t overload people with too many tasks.

People seem to struggle managing their workload and time, and that leads to them feeling overwhelmed and overloaded.

Address this by:

  • Making sure everyone knows what is a priority task and what can wait. That will help people understand how they should be spending their time.
  • Consider using timesheets to track where time is being spent, if you don’t already use them.
  • Use milestone schedules to draw attention to the next big milestone coming up.

3. Managing multiple projects

These days, most people are managing more than one project. There are still people who lead one large, complex project, but many people are finding themselves running several initiatives at the same time, sometimes with the same resources.

This can lead to each project inching forward at a snail’s pace, lack of understanding about which project should be worked on, feeling overwhelmed as your To Do list encompasses several projects, dealing with conflict between stakeholders, all of whom feel their project is the top priority.

I wrote a book about this exact problem, which came out last month, so check out Managing Multiple Projects from wherever you buy your books if you are struggling with the juggling.

Meanwhile, here are some tips to help.

Address this by:

  • Prioritising projects. Make sure you know and are telling people what priority their projects have so they can apportion their time appropriately.
  • Using software to track actions. I’m a big fan of pen and paper but even I have moved to digital task management to keep track of multiple projects.
  • Time-boxing instead of multi-tasking. Block out time for a project, or for similar tasks across projects (like status reporting) as this is more efficient.

What other skills do you think are key to project management but are actually pretty hard to do? Let me know in the comments!

Posted on: June 14, 2022 04:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

5 Ways to Mitigate Risk [Video]

Categories: leadership, methods, risk

How do you actually go about mitigating risk? We talk about the need to mitigate all the time, but what kinds of things can you do to ensure that risks really are managed appropriately and mitigated to avoid the impact you think might be on the horizon? In this video, I talk about 5 different things you can try to mitigate risks. They are simple and practical, and you can easily turn them into solid actions for your risk log.

If you want a couple of extra suggestions, and some more detail (or you just prefer to read rather than watch), then the original article that prompted this video is available here: 7 Ways to Mitigate Risk.


Posted on: November 02, 2021 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

3 More Impacts of Risk Management [Video]

Categories: risk, video

Risk management processes affect more than simply risk. Or rather, the impact of project risk management runs far deeper than just helping you plan for what might happen. There are lots of other reasons to do risk management too – and in this video I’m exploring 3 more reasons why you might want to take a bit more time to do risk management because poor risk management has consequences.

The topics discussed in today’s video are:

  1. The impact of risk on managing budget overspends
  2. How risk management can mitigate against unhappy stakeholders
  3. And how risk management can address issues of reputation management.

Watch the video for more on these! Hopefully it’s a slightly different way of thinking about the value of doing risk management, and something you can get your stakeholders to buy into.

For more on this topic, check out last time’s video where I looked at another 3 impacts of risk management on the wider business.

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Posted on: September 08, 2021 09:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

3 Impacts of Risk Management [Video]

Categories: risk

risk management

Poor risk management can impact your project and massively affect your business more broadly as well. In this video, I discuss 3 impacts of less-than-optimal risk management which you might not have considered:

  1. Poor user adoption
  2. Not getting the full business case benefits
  3. Delays to delivery.

Interested in finding out why risk management can affect those areas of your project and what you can do about them? There’s more in the video!

You can switch subtitles on if you are in a place where you can’t have the sound up or have other reasons to want to use closed captioning: Simply click the little icon at the bottom of the video that looks like a square with dots in, and the subtitles will automagically appear for you.

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Posted on: August 03, 2021 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

3 Challenges That Risk Management Helps With [Video]

Categories: risk

Risk management: just a way to stop stuff from biting you in the backside later, right?


The risk management process has so much more to offer than that. It’s a way of thinking: a way of doing, that helps everything operate at a better level.

In this video, I’m talking about 3 challenges for business that we deal with as project leaders and that risk management can help us address:

  1. Dealing with organisational silos
  2. Managing poor communication
  3. Addressing unengaged senior stakeholders.

Yep, risk management can help with all of those (and a few more, that I’ll cover in another video). Want to know how? The video has all the info, and you can turn on subtitles if that helps you.

What do you think, can you see a way for risk management to help you at work addressing these common pain points for project teams? Let me know in the comments!

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Posted on: July 07, 2021 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)