PMI Global Insights

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The Project Management Institute's annual events attract some of the most renowned and esteemed experts in the industry. In this blog, Global Conference, EMEA Congress and experienced event presenters past, present and future from the entire PMI event family share their knowledge on a wide range of issues important to project managers.

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Cameron McGaughy
Kristy Tan Neckowicz
Jack Duggal
Saurayan Chaki
Dan Furlong
Marcos Arias
Danielle Ritter
Marjorie Anderson
David Maynard
Sandra MacGillivray
Deepa Bhide
Karen Chovan
Nadia Vincent
Lawrence Cooper
Michelle Stronach
Kristin Jones
Yves Cavarec
Laura Samsó
Fabio Rigamonti
Sarah Mersereau
Gina Abudi
David Davis
Nic Jain
Emily Luijbregts
Cheryl Lee
Priya Patra
Karthik Ramamurthy

Past Contributers:

Catalin Dogaru
Carlos Javier Pampliega García

Recent Posts

Interview to Thomas Walenta, PMI Board of Directors

What from PMI Global Conference will you put to work this week?

What I've learnt at #PMIcon17

The Agility of PMI

#PMIcon17 - A round up.

I've Learned

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.  

Dave

Posted by David Davis on: October 05, 2017 12:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Focus on Project Measures That Matter

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. 

leading vs. 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.

Lagging Indicators

  • Backward Looking
  • Tracking Progress
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Defect Rate
  • Scope change requests
  • Overdue tasks
  • Earned Value

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.

Leading Indicators

  • Forward looking
  • Predictive
  • Performance Goals
  • None are intrinsically a leading indicator
  • Leading Indicator = f (measure, time, interpretation)

WHY BOTHER?

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

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MEET ME IN SAN DIEGO NEAR THE PROJECTMANAGEMENT.COM BOOTH.

MAKE AN ONLINE / EARLY RESERVATION TO TALK TO ONE OF OUR EXPERTS HERE! 


The first five blogs:

  1. Herding a group of cats, cows, sheep, goats, dogs and llamas….http://bit.ly/2cr0ddH
  2. How hard is it to herd a group of cats, cows, sheep, goats, dogs and llamas?  http://bit.ly/2c6n3Gv
  3. Cats, cows, sheep, goats, dogs and llamas *CAN* be herded.   -  http://bit.ly/2cLpS2w
  4. Things that have worked leading Informationally Diverse Teams - http://bit.ly/2cfkKka
  5. Things That Have Worked Leading Project Teams @ NASA http://bit.ly/2cDFaGl
Posted by David Maynard on: September 13, 2016 02:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
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