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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The Orchestra Conductor of Projects

The Symphony Orchestra Conductor interprets a composer's score to set the tempo for the Orchestra. The conductor stands most of the time on a raised podium with a baton, but also uses hand gestures and body language to convey the emotions of the musical score to the orchestra.

Will an orchestra function without a conductor?  Yes, the show will go on with some inconsistent interpretations of the score. Will there be a good review of that Symphony? Highly unlikely unless they get lucky.

Being a Conductor is an art. Just because you can play beautiful music does not mean you can conduct. The Symphony Orchestra needs a Conductor to be successful on their delivery of music.

The Project Manager is that point person that guides a team to complete tasks on time. The tasks can be completed independently of each other or they need to be completed in a defined order of dependencies to accomplish a deliverable. All the tasks make up a project with a defined scope to deliver results.

Being a Project Manager requires the ability to have a vision on how you will deliver a project on schedule by guiding your team members to stay focused on their part in the project. Every team member plays an important role no matter how small they think their part is. No room for slackers or weak links that will comprise the team's rhythm.  

Will a team function without a project manager? Yes, it's done all the time. Will the project be on time within a budget? I don't recommend taking chances without a project manager because you might be lucky to have some good team members that can guide the team to a successful delivery of a project. That might not be the case all the time.

Being a Project Manager is an art too. The delivery of projects on schedule within a budget is like a Symphony Orchestra Conductor that delivers a beautiful Symphony with a standing ovation at the end. That's why the Project Manager is the Symphony Orchestra Conductor of Projects. They deliver results. No standing ovation, only pure satisfaction for the team delivering a successful project.

 

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in April 2017)

 

Posted on: February 16, 2018 05:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Project Management - Qualities of a leader

Leaders are born and made, they rise when they have the calling. A good leader will embrace the respect of the team not having to force their leadership skills on the team. The bad leaders are the ones that try to force their leadership and just do not connect with the team wasting everyone's time with a dog and pony show they put on to call attention to themselves. 

Something to remember on how you conduct your leadership. Put yourself in your teams shoes and step back and look at yourself and see if you like that person.

Qualities of a good leader:

1) Vision - Have enthusiasm by conveying to your team what we are going to undertake and deliver.

2) Good listener - Let others speak their view point to get a good understanding of them.

3) Approachable - Create an atmosphere that you can be contacted anytime.

4) Confidence - Believe in yourself without portraying an arrogant attitude.    

5) Credibility - You must have the trust of your team.

6) Keep one's word - Deliver what you promise.  

7) Accountability - The Buck Stops Here. 

8) Charisma - Inspire your team.

9) Decision maker - Must have confidence to make tough and critical decisions.

 

(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in January 2014 and was modified on this post)

Posted on: February 13, 2018 06:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

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)
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