Project Management

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Power to the People Skills

by Rachel Zupek Farrell

While delivering projects on time, scope and budget are key parts of every project, success ultimately comes down to the right people doing the work. This article discusses how organizations can gauge people skills and identify red flags in potential job candidates during the hiring process. In doing so, it reports the results of the 2012 Workplace Issues Report--conducted by Six Seconds--showing that those who use emotional intelligence as a basis for leadership outperform their peers by 32 percent in leadership effectiveness and development. It notes how technical skills are easier to determine during an interview than soft skills. Before identifying which skills to target in an interview, you must first define the high-performing project manager for your particular organization. Once you know the skills you're targeting, you can identify the right questions to ask in an interview. It then lists five questions that can be used during an interview with a potential project professional to determine if he or she possesses the people skills you seek. The article then identifies warning signs that may be observed in potential candidates. It notes that warning signs of subpar communication skills can be detected by paying attention to body language, voice and tone. Accompanying the article is a sidebar discussing the value of people skills.

When Project Management Hits Home: Using PM Principles to Help Build Homes For the Visually Impaired

by Gianmarco Panza

Engaging the right stakeholders at the right time during requirements gathering is the best way to ensure all perspectives are considered and the best solution is built. This article features a project professional discussing how project management principles were used to help build an apartment complex for the visually impaired. It details the full collaboration between the end users and other stakeholders. It then overviews how user needs were prioritized starting with addressing a basic set of requirements. The article also explores the challenges presented when the residents required the same features they were accustomed to and how these challenges were resolved.

Balancing Act: Get Your Life Back And Still Stay Connected

by Rachel Zupek Farrell

It is becoming increasingly difficult for project professionals to maintain a healthy work/life balance, given an increased focus on lean and just-in-time processes and a growing reliance on virtual workers who are expected to be on call. This article features four project professionals discussing how they solved the work/life balance conundrum without sacrificing success in either sphere. One project manager explores how personal and work schedules should complement each other, not compete with each other. Also, a PMO manager examines the role of discipline to maintain work/life balance. Prioritizing and making project goals and objectives a collaborative effort helps to effectively manage projects as well. Finally, a project management discipline expert explains how delegating may result in more spare time and suggests making a list of all weekly tasks you do on projects and picking the one that you must really do yourself. Then delegate everything else. Accompanying the article are two sidebars: the first sidebar identifies ways to handle overload; the second sidebar examines how to say "I'm unavailable" when necessary.

Take The Guesswork Out Of Peformance Assessments

by David Whitemeyer

Replacing a team member can be a difficult and time-consuming process, from sifting through endless resumes to conducting interviews to on-boarding the new person. By effectively conducting formal reviews, supplanted by informal evaluations, project managers can address team members' weaknesses, reward their good work, set future goals and implement an improvement plan, thus rendering the replacement of a team member less likely. This article explores ways to take the guesswork out of three evaluation conundrums when it comes to assessing team members' performance. In doing so, it reports the results of a 2011 study--conducted by Harris Interactive--showing that organizations risk 250 percent of an employee's salary in turnover costs because of poor performance management processes, including performance reviews. It then identifies three challenges that come up frequently during the review process and provides a solution for each challenge. Accompanying the article are two sidebars: The first sidebar lists three questions for every review; the second sidebar details the perfect type of review.

The Cultural Revolution: Mindset Changes For Innovative Organizations

by Steve Hendershot

The concept of innovation has near-universal appeal across the executive suite. After all, what company couldn't use a new winning product? This article explores how companies must nurture the new ideas they hope to develop in order to innovate. It identifies six techniques that can help any organization build a game-changing culture of innovation. These techniques include: bringing together creators and customers; making sure project teams pursue the right ideas; minimizing bureaucracy and other constraints; rewarding innovators; taking innovative thinking all the way to the top; and giving yourself the freedom to fail.

Lifelong Lessons: What Did Your Most Effective Mentor Teach You?

by PM Network Staff

Recently, organizations large and small alike have established formal systems of mentoring. These programs are designed to strengthen the work force and integrate new employees quickly. This article features four project professionals discussing what their most effective mentors taught them. It explains how one mentor used a delegation/support/appreciation/trust technique. The importance of critical thinking skills and analysis are also overviewed. The role of stakeholders and project management in mentoring are explored.

Change Agent: Bob Kerner, New York Stock Exchange Euronext

This article features the senior vice president and chief digital officer at New York Stock Exchange Euronext (New York, NY, USA) discussing how his company made agile methodologies the centerpiece of a plan to increase transparency and get the organization's IT projects on track. In doing so, it identifies the business value agile brings to the organization. It also describes the challenges when shifting to agile and how buy-in was gained. The article also discusses securing stakeholder support. It concludes by offering advice to organizations implementing agile.

The Giving Network: Use Your Skills To Help Those Doing Good

by Roberto Toledo

As project managers, we have the great opportunity to use our knowledge and skills to help those less fortunate. There are many ways to help, but two specific activities are well within our reach and are worth exploring:

winning the complexity battle

by Keith Jackson II

High stakes met high complexity for the three 2012 PMI Project of the Year Award finalists. This article profiles the three finalists. In doing so, it discusses each project's problem, solution, and implementation challenges. It also describes the project's outcome This article previews these three projects: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's (PNNL) Capability Replacement Laboratories Project (Richland, WA, USA), Procter & Gamble Ordering, Shipping and Billing Project (P&G) Cincinnati, OH, US and Kronberg, Germany), and Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility Operation Phase (Hermiston, OR, USA). In doing so, it explains each project's unique challenges and features. One project moved a laboratory without disrupting its cutting-edge work for some high-profile government agencies. Another overhauled the core operations of one of the world's largest companies while keeping the business running smoothly. The third project required destroying stocks of deadly munitions on an unwavering timetable in a strictly regulated environment.

Healing Place: Creative Problem-Solving Gives Rwandan Women A New Life

by Heidi Hjerpe

For a group of women in Rwanda, brickmaking is more than just an industrial skill. It is a way to help build a much-needed community center. This article examines how Women for Women International in Washington, DC partnered with Sharon Davis Design in New York to build the Women's Opportunity Center (WOC) in eastern Rwanda.


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