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From Responsibility to Independence: 3 Lessons from Project Management

From Responsibility to Independence: 3 Lessons from Project Management
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

Having more independence requires taking on more responsibility: it’s a lesson teenagers hear again and again from their parents, and yet it rarely seems to result in teenagers actually bearing the burden of more responsibility. Fast forward to these imagined teenagers’ adult lives. As their parents promised, they now have a range of new freedoms and shoulder many new responsibilities. The more they become accustomed to each of these, however, the easier it is to forget the old lesson: that independence and responsibility are related.

In this article, we will be discussing independence, responsibility, and doing good Project Management. Whether or not you hold the title of Project Manager in your current work, adopting good Project Management practices can allow you to take on more responsibility in your career and personal life, and, in turn, bring you greater independence. Read the Complete Article

What Happens When Success is Your Only Option

What Happens When Success is Your Only Option
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

When you run a small business, as small as even just yourself, does failure ever really occur? I hear often in the media about this or that business being “too big to fail” – but in reality isn’t it more like “Too Small to Fail?” I ask this question of myself, more rhetorically than anything. I’ve been running a small business in one form or another for almost 30 years now. Yes, I’ve stopped offering some services and stopped making some products, and at one point in time, I did take a job with a paycheck – but even then I still had a small business going on the side. I realized after almost a decade of being in business that failure was just a perspective, especially in a world where everything changes.

Most ideas go through thousands if not millions of iterations. Read the Complete Article

Creating Habits for Success: Five Strategies for Staying On-Track

Creating Habits for Success: Five Strategies for Staying On-Track
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

What habits do you need to develop to become a more effective Project Manager? Maybe you need to get more organized with your paperwork, or change how you spend your time each day to stay on-track with your projects, or shift how you respond to stressful situations. Regardless of the kind of habit you’re trying to form, you might find that changing your day-to-day behavior is more challenging that you expected. It may be the case that you’ve tried before to adopt this new habit, but somehow got derailed from your goal.

For this month’s Know How Network, we’ll be discussing the best recent research on habits: what it takes to form a new habit, and what to do if you find yourself straying from your planned course of action. This research doesn’t just apply to Project Management; in my own life, I recently undertook a major project to adopt a new habit: increasing my own self-acceptance. Read the Complete Article

Do You Have Good “PM Hygiene?” Four Questions That Will Help You Improve Your PM Routines

Do You Have Good “PM Hygiene?” Four Questions That Will Help You Improve Your PM Routines
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

When Project Managers establish effective routines for both their own daily work and for managing their teams, they also develop healthy Project Management “hygiene.” This “hygiene” metaphor relates to having consistent processes in place and it is what Project Management is all about. The better you can develop consistent routines as a PM, the better you will be able to consistently deliver value on your projects.

Of course, if you’re a Project Manager who follows Agile principles and practices, you might be thinking: “But what about ‘responding to change over following a plan?’ And ‘individuals and interactions over processes and tools?” 1 The good news is that neither of this principles is incompatible with having consistent daily routines. In fact, we’ve found that consistent routines like the daily stand-up meeting improve our Agile approach. Read the Complete Article

Spring Cleaning and the “Rites of Passage” Into the Five Project Phases

Spring Cleaning and the “Rites of Passage” Into the Five Project Phases
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

By Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP®, PMI-ACP, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning

As a Project Manager, you are most likely familiar with the five project phases (also known as the project life-cycle or “process groups”) outlined in the PMBOK® Guide: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing. However, do you know the 47 PM “processes” that these five phases encompass? How do you know you’ve moved from one project phases to the next? In this post, we want to sharpen up your knowledge on the distinction between the project phases through the metaphor of “rites of passage.” Just like the seasons, project phases follow a life cycle marked by certain activities (like spring cleaning) that indicate you’ve entered the next phase. By knowing the “rites of passage” into each new project phases, you’ll be better equipped to keep track of which processes belong in each project phase, and, ultimately, better manage your projects. Read the Complete Article

Beyond Knowledge: Developing Skill Mastery Through Project Management Training

Beyond Knowledge: Developing Skill Mastery Through Project Management Training
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

Regardless of the type of job you currently hold or the industry you work in, you’ve most likely gone through some sort of training program. You’ve probably noticed that some training programs and activities stick with you beyond the training itself, while others are easily forgotten. What accounts for this difference? At Cheetah Learning, we discovered for training to have lasting impact, it must engage all four levels of learning. Most corporate training works at the first two levels of awareness and knowledge; it is then left up to you to figure out how to apply the knowledge. The educational experiences Cheetah Learning develops, in contrast, incorporate skill development into their activities and provide you feedback throughout this process so that you can create value with what you know.

In order to show why skill development and mastery are so important, we first need to define the four levels of learning:

Four Levels of Learning

Figure 1: The Four Levels of Learning

  • Level 1 – Awareness.
Read the Complete Article

Increasing Focus and Productivity with “Timeboxing”

Increasing Focus and Productivity with “Timeboxing”
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

How often have you heard someone say they were good at “multitasking?” You may have even seen this listed as a desired skill in a job posting. While multitasking may seem to allow for greater productivity and efficiency, the reality is that this approach to work – quickly shifting between tasks, emails, and phone calls – doesn’t allow you to become fully engaged in any of these tasks. “Multitasking” can also be a euphemism for distracted working (for example, when you are finishing a report, texting the babysitter, and checking out recipes on Pinterest at the same time). The result, then, is slowed productivity and diminished quality of your work.

Though the path away from multitasking may seem difficult, there is a way out – with agile! Agile practices are built around a technique for time and project management that is useful for PMs and all types of projects called “timeboxing.” Timeboxing is the practice of focusing on one project task – without distractions – for a short, pre-defined period of time. Read the Complete Article

The Confidence Factor

The Confidence Factor
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

When I think back to the moments that have shaped me to be who I am today, I don’t credit the times of relaxation and peace as the biggest influencers of my character, but rather at the times when I was put to the test in terms of my skill and my ability. I just recently got to push myself to my limits in a month-long immersion program to become a certified yoga teacher – where everyone was twenty years my junior. Becoming a certified yoga teacher was always something I was going to do “someday,” and that “someday” was pushed off in favor of whatever was most important in the moment. Read the Complete Article

Seven Strategies to Advance Your Career with Project Management

Seven Strategies to Advance Your Career with Project Management
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

Every single one of us does projects – it is how we achieve any goal in our life. How well you do those projects decides your overall success in life. Project Management is not just for people who want to climb high up the corporate ladder; it is a critically important life skill for everyone who wants to make the most of their existence. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the typical person is only working at 50 percent of his or her potential. Even making a modest improvement in how you do your projects can help you quickly rise above the mediocrity. Here are seven strategies for doing projects that can help you advance in your career and with your other important life goals.

  1. “Right” Sized – Which reality would you prefer?
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Project Management: Types of Power

Project Management: Types of Power
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

Have you ever looked at someone in power and wondered—how did they get there? Is there some special power gene that makes certain people rise to the top of the power hierarchy, but not others?

In a popular study in 1959, social psychologists John French and Bertram Raven identified five types of power: Legitimate, Reward, Expert, Referent, and Coercive.

Throughout our careers as project managers, we wear many hats, and therefore, we utilize different types of power. Sometimes we come into a project as an expert in a particular field (expert power). At other times, we have the ability to give or deny resources for a project (reward and coercive power). If you’re named the Project Manager on a project, this very title brings you a form a power (legitimate power). And when we have no formal sources of power, we have to rely on our likeability factor and ability to influence others (referent power). Read the Complete Article

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App

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