Project Management in Real Life

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Sharing my Project Management adventures and some tips. I try to keep my articles brief and to the point. Project Management is an Art, Science, and Discipline.

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My Project Management Zen Moment

The Project Manager with dirty hands

I need to make this Meeting happen

Bring in the Business Analyst

The Microsoft Project Plan with subprojects

Your Database is toast get out the butter and jelly

It's Aloha Friday morning on my way to work and I get get a call from the Data Center that the mission critical system for the organization is acting strange. Users are unable to access the system. Moments latter I get a text page from the system that a process that needs to run is gone. I had scripts monitoring the system so I knew something bad happened. 

I logon on to the system and it's not normal and the process that needs to be running was missing. I spoke with the Data Center staff and determined that an operator error caused the problem. The database that was in production was an interim database version to migrate to a new permanent database later in the month. It had known bugs that we just stepped on by accident.

I call an emergency meeting with management to brief them that the database has been corrupted. I contacted the application vendor to take a look at the database integrity. I advised management to implement downtime procedures. Hours elapsed working to fix the database with no luck. The database cannot be repaired. My only option now is the last system backup. I asked the Data Center Manager to bring the backup tapes to me. I’m holding in my hands the tapes of the mission critical system of the organization. I need a successful restore to minimize the window of data loss.

I call another meeting to break the bad news to management and staff. It’s going to be a long night we need to inform our users that the system will be down for an extended time and we will be giving periodic updates on the recovery progress. Key personal needs to be on standby and available when called.

The restore process is initiated. Restoring a large system takes hours and patience waiting for it to complete. Once the restore completes we need to run the integrity checker utilities to make sure no corruption exists on the restore. The system was validated to release back to the users with some minimal data loss between the backup and the time of the database corruption. Made some minor tweaks on the system. It's back on-line for everyone to use.

I got in the office at 8am Friday and it’s now Saturday 8am. I just experienced a System Administrators nightmare. When you are coordinating a major Disaster Recovery effort it's all about teamwork. You need to remain calm as you become the point person that knows everything that's going on. All eyes are on you. My Project Management experience definitely came into play on this recovery effort that had to be put together on the fly. You really know what you are made of when you go through an experience like a major system outage. It's a real good feeling seeing everyone work together as a team.

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in February 2015)

 

* This incident happened a long time ago and I will never forget it. Technology has come a long way since that disaster. Today's technology can provide a faster recovery from a major disaster. 

Posted on: January 31, 2018 06:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Managing with style

The character Winston Wolfe aka "The Wolf" from the movie "Pulp Fiction" is what every Project Manager should be like. Exude confidence, not arrogant, in control, charismatic, accountable, and able to respond fast.

Project Managers are called upon to deliver results on-time within a budget. They are under pressure to get the job done. You could come across at times as a bossy Project Manager when dealing with sensitive people. Some people just get offended when you deliver your orders to them. Deal with these people by making some adjustments to your style to reach them better so they don't feel offended. You have no time to make enemies when you are on a tight deadline. Don't play hardball with these people. Get them onboard with you. If they are a lost cause dump them, because you have no time for pretty please with sugar on top of it. 

Always keep your composure. You are the center of focus with everyone relying on you to direct them.

 

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in July 2015)

 

Posted on: January 28, 2018 03:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Project Managers and Educators under The Big Top

The two profession have something in common. They both are responsible to motivate individuals to complete tasks to achieve a deliverable. They both have limited authority over the individuals they are responsible for.

When you are in charge of a project you are borrowing staff from other managers to be part of your team. When you are an educator you are tasked with a mission to teach.

How do you achieve respect and control over individuals that you have no direct control over. It's up to you to set the ground rules in the beginning to show who is the master. It's like a Lion Tamer. You cannot show fear and you can't be over aggressive either. It's a delicate balance to gain true respect. It's a social game you have to play. If you come off as a jerk or too soft you will be eaten alive metaphorically.

Project Managers and Educators who feel they are qualified in their profession need to take a closer look at themselves. The two professions have a lot in common. They both need to have the ability to motivate people to achieve an accomplishment by dealing with resistance at times and getting back on track.

I have been using the blend in approach by not flaunting my limited position of authority. Grab everyone's attention early to get them onboard with you that we are all here to achieve an accomplishment. They all know I'm in charge. It's how you handle the people to make them comfortable with the goals you are guiding them to achieve. 

All the certifications and education does not make you a good project manager or educator. You need heart and soul. Ask yourself why you are in your chosen field. Do you have a passion to lead people to make an achievement because that's what it is all about. 

Life can be a circus at times. Who said it's a cakewalk to manage projects and teach? It's not for everyone. If your going to do it then put on a show and #MakeItCount

 

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in August 2015)

Posted on: January 24, 2018 06:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Kindergarten and Project Management

Your child is going to Kindergarten, you are going to leave your child’s education and care in the hands of a professional that has a goal to reach at the end of the school year. Prepare the children for 1st Grade. The teacher will be in charge of twenty children ages 5 to 6. With that many kids some ground rules need to be set so that everyone in the class knows the expectations.

The teacher gives the parents and children a tour of the classroom and playground to familiarise them and presents the class rules.

The Project Kickoff meeting is when you assemble all your team members with stakeholders in attendance watching you layout how you are going to run the project. Think of the stakeholders as parents that want the project team members to succeed.

The project manager presents the project to the team showing the project timeline and tasks assigned to the team. The expectations of the project manager is conveyed to the team that a weekly status meeting will be held on Fridays. Be prepared to report your status and if you cannot attend make an effort to email your status report by 5pm. I’m keeping it simple to illustrate the point I’m making on what team members are responsible for.

Whether you are teaching Kindergarten or running a project you need to set the ground rules and expectations from the beginning and develop and refine it along the way. Setting up expectations and ground rules will avoid any assumptions and make everyone’s job easier by knowing what is expected of you.

 

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in May 2015)

Posted on: January 23, 2018 03:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

The Project Management Trilogy

 I have identified three critical areas in a project to focus on. They all intertwine. It's up to the Project Manager to keep a close watch over them or suffer the consequences.  

(1) Statement of Work  

Review with a fine tooth comb what you are delivering.

(2) Scope Creep 

Changes are inevitable, but keep it to a minimum.

(3) Key Performance Indicators 

Make sure you are delivering results.

 

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in October 2015)

Posted on: January 22, 2018 02:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)
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