Project Management

Voices on Project Management

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Lynda Bourne
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
Mario Trentim
Jen Skrabak
David Wakeman
Christian Bisson
Yasmina Khelifi
Sree Rao
Lenka Pincot
Soma Bhattacharya
Emily Luijbregts
cyndee miller
Jorge Martin Valdes Garciatorres
Marat Oyvetsky
Ramiro Rodrigues
Wanda Curlee

Past Contributors:

Rex Holmlin
Vivek Prakash
Dan Goldfischer
Linda Agyapong
Jim De Piante
Siti Hajar Abdul Hamid
Bernadine Douglas
Michael Hatfield
Deanna Landers
Kelley Hunsberger
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina
Alfonso Bucero Torres
Marian Haus
Shobhna Raghupathy
Peter Taylor
Joanna Newman
Saira Karim
Jess Tayel
Lung-Hung Chou
Rebecca Braglio
Roberto Toledo
Geoff Mattie

Recent Posts

The Differences Between Feasibility Studies and Business Cases

Will the Future Project Manager Be More G.E.N.I.A.L.?

7 Steps to a Successful Project

Are You Too Humble as a Project Manager?

The Problem with Waterfall, Agile & ‘Other’

Viewing Posts by Alfonso Bucero Torres

Why People Don't Delegate

Categories: Teams

Why is delegation so hard for some people? Continuing from my earlier post, I want to expand on some of the excuses I've heard over the years:
    -"My team members lack the experience."
    -"It takes more time to explain than to do the job myself."
    -"A mistake by a team member could be costly for my project."
    -"My position enables me to get quicker action."
    -"There are some things that I shouldn't delegate to anyone."
    -"My team members are specialists and they lack the overall knowledge that many of my decisions require."
    But I think another big reason comes down to a deep insecurity that can influence how you deal with those who work under you. Do you think a team member is after your job? Or maybe you're afraid someone else will do the work better than you?
    Sound like you? Well, you may be protecting your immediate status, but you're hurting your opportunity to move up.
    I don't think of delegation as if I am doing the other person a favor. Instead, I think that I'm doing myself a favor.
    Delegation means I get added resources, leaving more time to manage my project. I focus on doing a few tasks very well, rather than doing a lot rather poorly. I increase my management potential. And, I'm training people to succeed me, so I won't end up shackled to one particular area.
    That does the organization a favor as well. As I delegate, output goes up, project work may be completed more efficiently, and team members feel free to offer new ideas. And to top it off, decision-making is improved, so the organization becomes more responsive--and more competitive.
Posted by Alfonso Bucero Torres on: October 29, 2008 01:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Managing Through Delegation

Categories: Teams

Project managers should never feel like they have to do anything that someone else can do as well or better.
    Delegation begins by determining tasks necessary to reach project goals--and then finding the best people to do it. But you still have to check results regularly.
    I suggest the following four steps for effective delegation:
1. Define the purpose, importance, deadline and scope of the project, along with the responsibilities of everyone involved. But be clear. You can't just expect team members to ask enough questions.
2. Provide the authority, resources and support team members need to get the job done. Otherwise, their requests to others for help and information may be ignored.
3. Set standards and then make sure staffers know they are responsible for meeting those standards. The key here is accountability. And when a problem arises, don't second-guess your staffer. Use the opportunity to show him or her how to handle it.
4. Set deadlines and enforce them. This establishes a commitment, ensuring decisions and tasks are handled promptly.
Posted by Alfonso Bucero Torres on: October 23, 2008 04:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Listen Up!

Categories: Teams

All good project leaders should have a good relationship with their people and project stakeholders, but sometimes cultural differences make it a little harder.
    In Spain, for example, people look in the face of the other person when speaking, while in some Asian countries they consider it offensive to look into the face or eyes of the person you are talking to all the time.
    Listening is such a routine project activity that few people think of developing the skill. Yet when you know how to really listen, you increase your ability to acquire and retain knowledge and understand and influence your team members and project stakeholders.
    Listening is hard work. Unlike hearing, it demands total concentration. It is an active search for meaning, while hearing is passive. Try to listen with these questions in mind:
  • What's the speaker saying?
  • What does it mean?
  • How does it relate to what was said before?
  • What point is the speaker trying to make?
  • How can I use the information the speaker is giving me?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Am I getting the whole story?
  • Are the points being supported?
  • What does this relate to what I already I know?
I strongly believe project managers must listen at three levels in cross-cultural exchanges:
  1. Pay attention to the person and the message.
  2. Create rapport.
  3. Share meaning.
    Listen better to your project stakeholders and you will learn more about your project.
Posted by Alfonso Bucero Torres on: October 18, 2008 08:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish."

- Euripides