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Bedside Manner and the Project Manager

Bedside Manner and the Project Manager
By Lonnie Pacelli

So we’ve all been to the doctor. We know the feeling of getting marched into a sterile examination room, given a gown that only covers the front half of your body, asked to step on a scale, prodded with a thermometer, asked to pee in a cup. Then there’s what seems like an eternity of sitting on an examination table with your hind quarters hanging out waiting for the doctor to come in the room. Then after what seems like an eternity the door bursts open and the doctor pronounces, “Hello, I’m Dr. Goofleblat… ”

For me the experience from that point forward goes either one of two ways. Dr. Goofleblat either wigs me out with an impatient, impersonal and indifferent attitude or Dr. Goofleblat treats me with an empathetic, caring attitude. Doctors who possess the empathic and caring attitudes are typically known to possess good bedside manner. Read the Complete Article

It’s Not All About The Ivory Tower

It’s Not All About The Ivory Tower
By Lonnie Pacelli

One of my jobs at Microsoft was running Microsoft’s Corporate Procurement Group. This group was responsible for managing and influencing several billion dollars in purchases ranging from personal computers to marketing materials to outsourced services. My organization had about 30 procurement managers who resided at headquarters and worked with various organizations around Microsoft to help get better value for our purchases. To better expand our global influence, we started working with procurement organizations in Microsoft subsidiaries around the world to understand their purchases and to find areas where we could partner. What we learned was more than what we had anticipated; not necessarily about their purchases, but about how they worked and the importance of urgency versus importance in their jobs. For example, in some of the smaller subsidiaries the person responsible for procurement was also responsible for facilities management; meaning if the toilets didn’t flush it was his responsibility to get them fixed. Read the Complete Article

The 12 Attributes of an Effective Project Manager

The 12 Attributes of an Effective Project Manager
By Lonnie Pacelli

Recently I did an interview talking about the most important attributes of an effective project manager. It was fun putting together the list and I thought I would share my raw bullets with you, as follows:

  1. Skill in negotiating win-win solutions between stakeholders and the project team
  2. Ability to understand the needs of the stakeholder organization and take those into account when making day to day project decisions
  3. Ability to objectively present decision alternatives and consequences and drive to a rational decision based on the alternatives
  4. Staying calm particularly during turbulent times
  5. Avoiding showing biases toward any team member or stakeholder organization
  6. Skill in clearly articulating a project workplan, its dependencies, and the resulting deliverables
  7. Desire to hold the team accountable for deliverables
  8. Ability to clearly articulate and communicate the mission of the project and continually remind the project team of the business purpose behind the project
  9. Ability to earn the respect of the team regardless of reporting relationships
  10. Willingness to be held accountable for results and not deflect blame when things don’t go well
  11. Ability to effectively leverage a project sponsor to get him/her to help the project manager through difficult issues
  12. Skill in managing virtual teams

Lonnie Pacelli is an internationally recognized project management and leadership author and consultant with over 20 years experience at Microsoft, Accenture and his own company, Leading on the Edge International. Read the Complete Article

Six Techniques to Ensure Solid Project Management Execution

Six Techniques to Ensure Solid Project Management Execution
By Lonnie Pacelli

Some time back I was responsible for a portfolio of projects being done within the finance organization of my company. One of the projects was outsourced to a large consulting firm who supplied the project management, analysis, and development resources to the project. I would hold weekly meetings with the project manager who consistently gave me a “thumbs up” on the project up to the first key milestone being hit. When the week of the first milestone approached, he announced that the milestone was going to have to slip by a week to ensure successful delivery. The next week came along and again the project slipped a week. This went on for two more weeks with the promise of “we’ll for sure nail it next week.” I decided to do some crawling around the project to assess where the project was really at. Read the Complete Article

Project Scheduling Tips – Part II

Project Scheduling Tips – Part II (#4 in the series Project Management Mistake – We Didn’t Have The Right Schedule)
By Lonnie Pacelli

  • Make sure all your lowest level activities have a sole owner and are no longer than 40 hours in duration
  • Break your project into phases that don’t exceed three schedule months
  • Know the critical path of tasks through the project and keep clean finish-to-start dependencies between activities
  • Make sure that your activities have associated deliverables that are relevant
  • Ensure the team buys into the plan along the way; don’t do a grand reveal when the plan is complete.
  • Remind and highlight team members of tasks needing to be completed within 1-2 weeks

Lonnie Pacelli is an internationally recognized project management and leadership author and consultant with over 20 years experience at Microsoft, Accenture and his own company, Leading on the Edge International. Read more about Lonnie, subscribe to his newsletter, see his books and articles, and get lots of free self-study seminars, webcasts and resources. Read the Complete Article

Project Scheduling Tips

Project Scheduling Tips (#3 in the series Project Management Mistake – We Didn’t Have The Right Schedule)
By Lonnie Pacelli

Get real with the schedule, and fast – Don’t delay; get the schedule in shape quickly making sure that you’ve defined all the right tasks, durations, dependencies, and resources to get it done. More importantly, don’t go into a cave for days on end to do; make sure you are getting input on the schedule frequently to avoid an unrealistic schedule.

Do focused reviews with team members – On some projects, I have developed supplemental documentation which explains key tasks that might be confusing and even gone so far as to produce a template of what the deliverable out of the task needed to look like. I prefer to do mini reviews as the plan is being developed to ensure that the team is putting their thumbprint on the plan and that any confusion points can be addressed early. Read the Complete Article

Project Scheduling Mistakes

Project Scheduling Mistakes (#2 in the series Project Management Mistake – We Didn’t Have The Right Schedule)
By Lonnie Pacelli

The project schedule didn’t correctly address dependencies between tasks – When designing your project schedule, you need to keep in mind how those activities relate to other activities and define them accordingly. Establishing clear dependencies between tasks and having a true understanding of the critical path (the string of tasks that are the longest point between the start and finish of the project) is in my view one of the most important components of your project schedule. As you’re designing your schedule activities it’s helpful to keep dependencies clean by defining clear finish-to-start relationships. There are ways to accommodate this using most common project management software packages, but I recommend keeping your dependencies simple to understand and manage.

The project duration was too long – When designing your schedule, keep specific focus on the length of time that you go between celebrating successes. Read the Complete Article

Reasons for not Having the Right Project Sponsorship

Reasons for not Having the Right Project Sponsorship (#3 in the series Project Management Mistake – We Didn’t Have The Right Sponsorship)
By Lonnie Pacelli

The project sponsor was either too high or too low in the organization – Just because you have someone that is willing to sponsor your project doesn’t mean that they are the right sponsor for the project. Optimally, your project sponsor should have decision making authority over the in-scope project areas while at the same time being close enough to the work that they understand the implications of the issues that are raised. If your sponsor is too low of a level, they’re unlikely to be able to make decisions that will stick and will have to be getting authorization from their management before committing to decisions. If your sponsor is too high of a level, you’re likely to get decisions made but you’re probably not making best use of management since others at lower levels could be making the decisions you need made. Read the Complete Article

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1 – A1 Enterprise 286 – Karl Fischer
2 – Aaron Sanders 287 – Kathlika Thomas
3 – Abdulla Alkuwaiti 288 – Katy Whitton
4 – Abhijat Saraswat 289 – Kay Wais
5 – Abhilash Gopi 290 – Kaz Young
6 – Adam Leggett 291 – Keith Custer
7 – Ade Miller 292 – Keith L.
Read the Complete Article

The Seven Deadly Sins of Management

The Seven Deadly Sins of Management
By Lonnie Pacelli

Pride. Envy. Gluttony. Lust. Anger. Greed. Sloth. You either recognize these as the seven deadly sins or as themes for prime-time television. Nonetheless, you were probably taught as a child that these are bad and you shouldn’t do them. For purposes of this article, do as you were taught and think bad when you commit these similar sins in the workplace.

As leaders, we are continually being introduced to new techniques and theories. Hammer & Champy’s Business Process Re-engineering Model, McKinsey’s 7-S Framework, and Kenichi Ohmae’s 3C’s Strategic Triangle are all examples of strategic models designed to help leaders think about their business in different and innovative ways. What sits on top of all of the models and frameworks, though, are a series of foundational attributes that every leader should possess if he or she is going to have demonstrated, sustained success as a leader. Read the Complete Article

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