Project Management

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Topics: Organizational Culture, Organizational Project Management, Teams
Project Management Sessions to create awareness
Hi,

Myself and a colleague were approached to present multiple half day sessions to create awareness, share basic concepts and experiences about Project Management to corporate workers in a company trying to become more project oriented.

Have you ever done something similar? What do you think we should focus on? Share your experiences!
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Dear João
Interesting your question

Thanks for sharing

Creating a culture of projects is a very interesting challenge

For half a day?
Will people be different or the same during these sessions?

It's pure and hard selling in a new way of working

Create an attractive presentation (based on the benefits that people will have if you work in another way) and test the reactions.

You can start at the Toastmasters Club :-)

Improve your presentation depending on the reactions
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1 reply by Joao Sarmento
Jan 31, 2020 4:47 PM
Joao Sarmento
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Hi Luis,

Thanks for sharing your inputs.

The groups will be different, from different areas of the company, so it will be half a day per group only. If people are placed in groups according to work area, maybe we can adapt it slightly to address their expectations and concerns.

Regarding the Toastmasters club, we can always experiment parts of the presentation there... It's a very good idea!

Assuming we engage the audience and get everyone excited, what do you think could be the immediate benefits/tools/quick wins we could offer the attendees to take with them?

Other ideas on topics we can focus on?
Jan 31, 2020 4:34 PM
Replying to Luis Branco
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Dear João
Interesting your question

Thanks for sharing

Creating a culture of projects is a very interesting challenge

For half a day?
Will people be different or the same during these sessions?

It's pure and hard selling in a new way of working

Create an attractive presentation (based on the benefits that people will have if you work in another way) and test the reactions.

You can start at the Toastmasters Club :-)

Improve your presentation depending on the reactions
Hi Luis,

Thanks for sharing your inputs.

The groups will be different, from different areas of the company, so it will be half a day per group only. If people are placed in groups according to work area, maybe we can adapt it slightly to address their expectations and concerns.

Regarding the Toastmasters club, we can always experiment parts of the presentation there... It's a very good idea!

Assuming we engage the audience and get everyone excited, what do you think could be the immediate benefits/tools/quick wins we could offer the attendees to take with them?

Other ideas on topics we can focus on?
Think project stories might be interesting to others.
Could be based on lessons learned, be the perspective of a client, could reflect on how specific topics wre solved, e.g. how risk management saved my project. Also ‚fuckup‘ stories draw attention (celebrate failure). BTW google the term, it is an active format.

Nothing is as informative as real life.
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1 reply by Joao Sarmento
Feb 03, 2020 4:50 PM
Joao Sarmento
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Hi Thomas,

Thanks for sharing your ideas. They are most useful :)

Creating rapport by using real stories is a nice way to conquer the audience, either it's success or failure (I do love 'fuckup' stories).

In project as in life, one may apply this famous quote:

"Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn!" (seen the quote attributed to John C. Maxwell, Robert T. Kiyosaki, among others... wonder who the "real" author is)...
Thanks for providing the discussion.

I try to share my failed experiences in my workplace.
At first glance it looks disgraceful, but this is an important undertaking.

Sharing issues that could be prevented if you noticed small things, such as underestimating risks, lacking estimates, misdefining scopes, and lack of explanation to customers.

These efforts will add value to the next project.
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1 reply by Joao Sarmento
Feb 03, 2020 5:00 PM
Joao Sarmento
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Hi Takeshi,

Thanks for adding your inputs to this conversation. Most interesting your perspective on continuous improvement :)

Getting out of your comfort zone and sharing your experiences, might be uncomfortable or even painful sometimes, but is a nice way for everyone to grow an feeling comfortable handling future situations or even trying new things.

As Albert Einstein said: "A person who never done a mistake has never tried anything new"
Joao -

I've done something similar in the past through lunch-n-learn seasons where I'd pick a PM concept and use stories and metaphors to help convey it.

Perhaps you could use the new 12 principles from the PMBOK Guide standard as a framework for the sessions going principle-by-principle to convey the message that success in PM is not about rigidly following specific processes but rather consistently following a set of guiding principles?
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1 reply by Joao Sarmento
Feb 03, 2020 5:15 PM
Joao Sarmento
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Hi Kiron,

Loved the suggestions you provided! Thank you :)

Lunch-n-learn is a nice format, and although we might not get enough budget for so many people/groups, conveying a PM concept per session using stories and metaphors seems very, very interesting! Might be able to get some candy or snacks included, though :)

Regarding the 12 principles coming from the new version of the guide, seems like a very good starting point. Dully included on my notebook :)
One approach that works for me, play a game to get involvement.
"The 15-minute Project Game"
Divide the participants into groups of five (preferably at random or at least insist that every group must have representatives of the demographics of the participants – avoid groups of one sex, peers, or other obvious common denominators)
The “Project”
* Each team has fifteen minutes to prepare a presentation (on flip-chart paper or white boards or shared laptop white boards)
* Presentation must discuss: “How Our Group Defines Quality for Our Organization”
Have five envelopes for each group – let the participants select an envelope describing a role in the project
The Roles:
- SME – subject matter expert – this person must contribute and NOT lead the discussion!
- Time keeper – suggest an agenda: brain storming – consensus building – presentation preparation
- Scribe – take notes and prepare the presentation
- Presenter – advises the Scribe during the presentation preparation
- Team member – help in any way needed / requested
Tell groups when to open their envelopes and ‘begin’. Do not announce a ‘two-minute’ warning.
When time is up, call the groups back together and inform them, “We don’t have time for each group to present. We will share your presentations with management after this session.”
Then debrief the project / process with questions: (samples only – adjust to your participants)
1. How did it feel to work in a group?
2. How did it feel to stay in your role? Or did you find yourself changing roles?
3. Did everyone contribute equally? (let them know that equal participation was not expected!)
Next describe Tuckman’s Stages of Group Effectiveness: (with each stage ask for discussion of how this stage felt and could the group look back and see when those transitions occurred?)
Forming – the first couple of minutes as folks shared ‘my role is …’
Storming – the group trying to get organized and select its means and methods / tools and techniques
Norming – agreeing on how to work together, settling into roles
Performing – the brainstorming and presentation preparation
Adjourning – losing interest as only the Scribe and Presenter completed the presentation
Close this section with general discussion of “What did you learn: About yourself? About teamwork? About a project?
Take a break
Discuss the differences between the ‘processes (have participants name and list them) that sustain your organization’ and the ‘projects (have participants name and list them) that change or improve it’
Compare and contrast the two lists with – strengths and weaknesses – which people prefer – why both are needed – life cycle differences – etc.
Take a break
Describe the roles of project participants (see the Public Exposure Draft of the 7th Edition of the Guide to the PMBOK®) – differentiate how those roles work with internal projects versus external projects
Take a break
Discuss the Ten (10) Knowledge areas (KAs) (see the 6th Edition of the Guide to the PMBOK®) and discuss how each KA has risks and relates to the other nine KAs
Is the session over yet? ;-)
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1 reply by Joao Sarmento
Feb 04, 2020 3:27 AM
Joao Sarmento
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Hi Jim,

Seems like attendees will have their hands full with such activities. Great idea! I'll align it with my colleague and try it with a test group.

Also liked the way you structured the session into parts.

Thanks for sharing your inputs!
Dear Joao
Thanx for you contribution and asking these questions.
in my opinion these sessions should be most practical with the obvious challenges of your organization.
sharing the lesson learned and tangible examples of using the project management principles helps to make it clear for the audiences .
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1 reply by Joao Sarmento
Feb 04, 2020 3:34 AM
Joao Sarmento
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Hi Bahman,

Thanks for your inputs. Very important!
There will be an emphasis on being practical and providing something people can "take" with them, for tackling known issues (without anyone feeling "attacked").
Lessons learned and tangible examples were also added to the list.
Hi João,

This kind of sessions are very important, independent of the type of session approache. However you should have a top champion (with authority) that supports that sessions, if not you are running the risk of sometimes the priorities of work overcome the importance of workers presence in that sessions and with time the practice is lost.

The other part I think is important is to include that sessions in the career plan of each worker, therefore increases motivation, and besides improving the quality of work of the project teams, the worker can see a goal to achieve and progress in the future.

Responding to the part where you ask if we do similar actions in my corporation, coincidentally in the last month were proposed 3 training modules sessions of fundamentals of project management, advanced project management and soft skills. Surprisingly the sessions will be presented by an external ententy as expected and this will be expensive.

With so many persons in the corporation with the skills to provide this knowledge and with the will to share there knowledge, seems to me a waste of resources or a business.

Alexandre
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1 reply by Joao Sarmento
Feb 04, 2020 12:25 PM
Joao Sarmento
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Hi Alexandre,

Thanks for your inputs and suggestions!

It is very important to get this sort of sponsorship, and we've got top champions behind us. Never the less, we are reaching for full support of the board executives to make it transversal to the whole organization.

These sessions will be part of each person's training log, and after these a fundamentals course (several editions of it, actually) will start (it's in the last stages of preparation).

Regarding the training modules in your organization, the in-house expertise should've been assessed and perhaps consulted first. There are good justifications for hiring outside professionals (training expertise, trainer cost vs. internal resource cost, impacts to ongoing projects, etc.), but lots of times people just buy packages without looking inside...

Challenge: Why won't you and your in-house experts organize your own sessions and invite people to attend?
I am in charge to do that in my actual work place. We have a 30 minutes meeting each week directed to specific people that belongs to one layer of the organizational architecture and one additional for each person that can attend. Additional to that I have a special discussion group inside organizational Yammer portal to ask everything people like to put as a question. The driver is: "everybody are performing project management". The content of each meeting depends on the audience in the first type of meetings. To decide the content we are monitoring different concerns inside all our digital platforms plus what the porfolio/program/project managers send to us.
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1 reply by Joao Sarmento
Feb 04, 2020 4:02 PM
Joao Sarmento
...
Hi Sergio,

Seems like a great initiative. Congratulations :)

I have the following questions:
* What's the duration of the seconds meeting?
* For how long have you been running this initiative?

Thanks for sharing your experience.
Whatever the final format (good ideas above), engage and excite the audience. Make it interactive, fun, and practical. Good luck and have fun! Don't forget the snacks and breaks :)
...
1 reply by Joao Sarmento
Feb 04, 2020 4:55 PM
Joao Sarmento
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Hi Andrew,

Engaging and exciting the audience is a must have. Your tips are most useful.

As stated before, lunch is out of the question... but will have snacks and breaks :)

Thanks for sharing your inputs!
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