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 Project Presentation

The Problem Solver

My Project Management Zen Moment

The Project Manager with dirty hands

I need to make this Meeting happen

Waterfall or Agile, that is the Question

The dilemma of Waterfall or Agile.

Organizations should never declare that they are leaving Waterfall to be a full Agile organization. In defense of Agile you can't remain only on Waterfall. The problem is the lack of education and false perception. Education will help to get everyone on the same page. It's all about having clarity in the perception of Waterfall and Agile.

I can't make up my mind so let's flip a coin.

Waterfall is here to stay and it needs to play nicely with Agile. Opposites attract. Agile and Waterfall make a nice hybrid. The rule of thumb is to use what will work best to deliver project results. Did a stakeholder or sponsor ever ask you what approach did you use on the project? I don't think so. The stakeholder or sponsor could care less. It's all about guiding the team efficiently through the project to make happy stakeholders and sponsors with a project delivered on-time.

The Waterfall-Agile hybrid marriage.

The ship needs to raise the anchor and leave the harbor to make it to it's port of call on time. Many projects still follow a linear path to the finish line, but they have requirements not fully designed or approved. With tight deadlines you can't wait till the requirements dust settles to start the project. Use the approved requirements that you have to create a project plan timeline. Mark the the areas in the project plan timeline that are still waiting for the requirements dust to settle with a "Under Construction - Come Back Later" notation, hint hint, that is an example of Agile in the plan. The Project Manager is the Captain of the ship that will use his/her discretion to direct the team aka the crew on what needs to be done. The project plan timeline is the map to the destination.

They love colors, stats, and no budget variance.

The Project Sponsor is not interested in a dog and pony show. Using Waterfall in the plan will help give the sponsors that warm and fuzzy simple report card. What is the color of the project via Stoplight reporting along with the current project completion percentage. Hey look Mom no budget variance to report.

Posted on: May 24, 2018 09:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (27)

The Flaming Email

I had an experience of a flaming email years ago from a contractor Mr. PMP type. He was an arrogant you know what. That contractor sent out an email to a distribution after hours to slam me on something. I was out of the office already having dinner. I had a smartphone and was composing a response and before I could send my response out I received an email from a team member responding to that flaming email defending my position on the issue. She slammed Mr. PMP with facts that put the arrogant Mr. PMP in his place. She made it easy for me, all I had to do was thank her and concur with her email and case is closed. By the way Mr. PMP did not respond back. Silence is golden. When you gain respect from your team and have a reputation people will defend you and stand by you. It's a priceless good feeling that you are making an impact on your team.

Mr. PMP never spoke to me again and avoided me. What a cry baby he can only dish it out, but when he is proven wrong he won't admit it. We don't need Project Managers that behave this way to discredit the profession by acting arrogant and unprofessional. Mr. PMP was an older gentleman that should have known better on how to exercise people skills. 

 

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

* This incident happened a long time ago. Please use email responsibly.

Posted on: February 06, 2018 04:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

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)
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