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
Wanda Curlee
Christian Bisson
Ramiro Rodrigues
Soma Bhattacharya
Emily Luijbregts
Sree Rao
Yasmina Khelifi
Marat Oyvetsky
Lenka Pincot
Jorge Martin Valdes Garciatorres
cyndee miller

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

3 Agile Disconnects We Need to Address

What to Expect: Anticipating and Adapting to Dynamic Economic Trends

Governance Models: The Secret to Successful Agile Projects

3 Valuable PM Lessons I Learned in 2023

The 4 P’s of Successful Modern PMs


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Sales and Leadership Emerge as the Skills to Master

"Like it or not, we're all in sales now," said best-selling author Daniel Pink, a keynote speaker at PMI® Global Congress 2013 -- North America in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. And that includes project practitioners looking to demonstrate the value of project management.

But sales isn't what it used to be. In today's world of information parity, buyers can easily confirm or reject sellers' claims. It's no longer "buyer beware," but "seller beware."

For project practitioners, that parity translates to opportunities to showcase what they bring to the table. If customers know they have a problem, they can find a solution, Mr. Pink said. But if they don't even know they have a problem, a project practitioner becomes more valuable, shifting from problem solver to problem finder.

Sales skills also help gain buy-in from sponsors, stakeholders and team members. Part of that power of persuasion comes from knowing the audience and then tailoring language to the target audience instead of using specialized lingo. Limiting options -- to a project sponsor, for instance -- can also help secure buy-in by making the options less overwhelming. And project practitioners should focus their pitch on what motivates the team. Have fewer conversations about how and more about why.

Project managers should even reconsider the way they talk to themselves, Mr. Pink said. Interrogative ("Can I do this?") trumps the affirmative ("I can do this") because it elicits an active response. If the answer is self-doubt, then it calls for more preparation, which is ultimately a good thing.

Today's project practitioners also need to be leaders who can influence others even when they don't have formal authority, said author Mark Sanborn, another congress keynote speaker.
"Titles should confirm leadership, but they can never bestow leadership," he explained.

No matter the title, Mr. Sanborn said leaders win followers instead of just being given employees. They create change instead of reacting to it. They implement ideas instead of simply having them. They build teams versus directing groups. They make heroes instead of trying to be ones themselves. They create shared focus versus just being focused. And they persuade, versus communicate.

Mr. Sanborn said leadership comes down to six elements:
1. Self-mastery: Take responsibility and be trustworthy.
2. Shared focus: Focused attention beats brains and brute strength.
3. Power with people: Managers have power over people. Leaders have power with people.
4. Persuasive communication: Use a combination of rapport, logic and emotion.
5. Strategic execution: Do something with the information you have or let it go.
6. Service: Give back.

True leaders know what really matters, Mr. Sanborn said. And they make that matter to others.

Read more posts from congress. And if you attended congress, we'd love to hear what you thought of these speakers in the Comments section below.
Posted by cyndee miller on: October 30, 2013 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Insider Tips from the Project of the Year Award Winner and Finalists

It's a simple reality: All projects should serve a need. And SA Water Corp. had convinced stakeholders the solution for Australia's lingering drought was an AU$1.4 billion desalination plant. As the drought deepened, the government even increased the project budget by AU$450 million, pledging to double capacity and begin production 12 months early. But then it rained. And as the water flowed, support for the project ebbed. The team quickly responded -- a case study in how outstanding project management and stakeholder communication can turn the tide. 

The team completed the project 19 days early and within 1 percent of the original budget, earning the 2013 PMI Project of the Year Award. 

"This means a lot to everyone in this project who made such a huge difference in my state and to the nation," said Milind Kumar, SA Water's project and operations director, at the awards ceremony held at the PMI® Global Congress 2013 -- North America in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. "We made our state much better off for now and forever."

SA Water was honored along with two finalists: 

Nemours Children's Hospital Project, Nemours, Orlando, Florida, USA: To design and build a US$397 million pediatric hospital, Nemours specifically sought out the feedback of children and their families. The project team also relied on rigorous change management processes to handle the many viewpoints of the 700 physicians and other employees hired in the final months of the project. The team completed the project on time and within budget in October 2012.

Savannah River Site Recovery Act Project, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Aiken, South Carolina, USA: In 2009, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions launched a US$1.4 billion project to reduce the contaminated footprint and clean up the radioactive waste at Savannah River Site. The team surpassed its cleanup goals while bolstering the local economy by retaining 800 workers and hiring 1,400 new ones.

In a panel discussion, representatives from all three organizations each offered up one piece of advice for project practitioners working on any kind of project:

Don't be afraid to air some dirty laundry, said Susan Voltz, PMP, senior director, strategy and project management, Nemours. Creating a culture in which raising red flags is good helps avoid unpleasant surprises. 

Take the time to plan before you dig into delivery, said Paul Hunt, project manager and senior vice president of environmental management operations, SRNS.  

There can't be just one leader, said Mr. Kumar. There should be a network of leaders who will tell the truth -- good, bad or ugly.

Check out videos of all the finalists on and read full case studies in upcoming issues of PM Network.
Posted by cyndee miller on: October 28, 2013 11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art."

- Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home.