Calculating Project Value,
Education and Training,
Reflections on the PM Life,
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Right after the Global Conference, I will be flying out to Vancouver to give presentations at ProjectWorld. One of my presentations is on Influence and Advising as a Project Manager. This is my closing slide.
As a project manager, we are frequently in a position of advisor or influencer. We need to understand our interactions have long term impact. Not only for our self, but also our organization. It's the feeling of value required in the trust relationship.
The last bullet is most important, there may sometime be the "drop the mic" moment where you win a heated discussion - but the odds are good you will still need to work with that person - so give them an opportunity to save face. That 15 seconds of satisfaction might be the prelude to months of resistance.
Tips for Managing a Cross-Functional Team
LOOK FORWARD, NOT BACKWARD
My goal is to communicate the challenges, fun and “things that have worked” in managing projects team that has widely different backgrounds, experiences, education, and understandings. Informational diversity is based on different functional, educational and industry backgrounds that constitute information and knowledge resources upon which the team draws.
THE TIME V. INFORMATION DILEMMA
The project team members should be cognizant of other parts of the project – this is especially true for cross functional teams, or teams with high informational diversity. Not only that, but the project manager should know exactly how the project is doing. The Project Manager must understand the course the project is going in and attempt corrections if things are drifting too far off.
The problem with this simple concept is that there is simply too much information to absorb for multiple disciplines and multiple projects. It’s in different technical languages, it changes daily, it requires an in-depth understanding of each discipline. The team doesn’t have time to learn how or what the other disciplines are doing and complete their own efforts. Even if that were all possible, not enough time exists to absorb the information and manage the projects
So, the question becomes, when managing a cross-functional team, what information, or indicators should be used to judge the health and direction of the project. It must be a subset of all the information the project team possesses. The key is to focus on “measures that matter.” And, to do that, it’s important to understand the differences between leading and lagging project information.
LEADING AND LAGGING INFORMATION
Lagging information is something that gives us a window into the past. It’s something that HAS happened. It’s nearly impossible to drive a car down a road while looking only in the rear view mirror, but that’s exactly what most projects do. They concentrate on LAGGING information.
Some of the most popular Project Information to be collected and digested fall into the LAGGING category. In other words, “How we did in the past, will tell us how we’re going to do in the future.” Ask yourself, is that true?
Here are a list of popular project LAGGING indicators.
Wouldn’t it be better to find, discover and measure LEADING indicators? Things that tell is where, to the best of our knowledge, the project is heading? Certainly! But like most good ideas in project management, it’s very difficult to identify and track leading indicators. But we must make an attempt.
It’s quite possible that a project’s best leading indicators are not a clear-cut single measurement. It’s more likely that the course and direction of the project is best determined by a function arrived at by examining several indicators at one time. Performance measurement “To-Complete-Performance-Index does this. But that method may not be a good fit for your project. You’ll need to explore and discover your own.
If you have predictive or forward looking indicators for the health of your project, you’ll be able to look in the same direction you’re driving your car in. That’s useful! It’s also very difficult to arrive at meaningful leading indicators. It will require a team effort, failures and patience.
Pay attention to the rail road crossing sign (leading information). Don’t wait until disaster strikes to understand your status.
TRY TO FIND AND USE LEADING INDICATORS FOR YOUR PROJECT
MEET ME IN SAN DIEGO NEAR THE PROJECTMANAGEMENT.COM BOOTH.
The first five blogs: