7 Essential Project Performance Measures
By Stacey Barr
When we think about measuring the performance of a project, it’s not really the same as measuring the performance of a team or a process. So we need to think a little differently about the kinds of measures that will tell us what we really need to know.
When we measure the performance of the business process or team, we’re interested in how a particular business result produced by that process or team is changing as time goes by. When we’re measuring the performance of a project we are interested in the impact the project has at a point in time, or over a fixed timeframe.
This is because projects by their very definition have a start point and an end point. The reason we do projects is to make a difference and usually the difference we’re trying to make is to make some kind of result, especially in business, better. Read the Complete Article
The Art of Giving Feedback
By Lynda Bourne
One of the key supervisory skills needed by every leader is the ability to give feedback to their team on individual performance. The reason is simple, if the team don’t know what you expect from them, you are unlikely to get the performance you need. If someone is doing the ‘right thing’ they need to know it’s ‘right’ and be encouraged to continue. If someone’s not doing what’s required they need to have their efforts redirected.
Feedback is different to motivation – a highly motivated worker producing the ‘wrong thing’ quickly and efficiently has the potential to do more damage than an unmotivated worker producing very little. The ideal is a highly motivated team, all doing the right thing and all knowing they are doing exactly what’s required. Effective feedback is one of the keys to achieving this nirvana.
The starting points are effective delegation, making sure each team member knows what they are expected to achieve and why; and a constructive team environment where people understand the ‘rules’ and are willing to help each other. Read the Complete Article
Essential Communication Processes for Effective Project Management
By Ben Snyder, CEO of Systemation
Effective communication is one of the most important components of project management. Project managers need to communicate regularly with stakeholders and the project team to ensure the all the project goals are achieved on time and on budget.
View our infographic to see the importance of communication in project management, as well as what processes PMs must take to ensure smooth project completion.
Figure 1: Infographic: Communication Processes for Effective Project Management
Ben Snyder is the CEO of Systemation, (www.systemation.com), a project management, business analysis, and agile development training and consulting company that has been training professionals since 1959. Systemation is a results-driven training and consulting company that maximizes the project-related performance of individuals and organizations. Known for instilling highly practical, immediately usable processes and techniques, Systemation has proven to be an innovative agent of business transformation for many government entities and Fortune 2000 companies, including Verizon Wireless, Barclays Bank, Mattel, The Travelers Companies, Bridgestone, Amgen, Wellpoint and Whirlpool. Read the Complete Article
The Basics of Meetings
By Robert Kelly
It’s no secret that meetings are one of the downsides of a career in project management. At one point or another, we have heard someone say “I would love to get that work done and could, if I didn’t have to sit in so many meetings.” Requirements gathering, design sessions, planning sessions, status meetings, and even meetings to prep for meetings…really, I have had to host a few of those! With such an emphasis on collaboration, meetings aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. This isn’t going to be a post on how to run a meeting, I am actually going to get even more basic than that. Similar to my post on email basics, I am reminded daily that too many people are getting the basics wrong.
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- Logistics: Take a few moments to make sure you have included the correct dial-in number and access codes for remote attendees.
How to Help People Measure Results, Not Activity
By Stacey Barr
A reader, Kenneth, works in a hospital and has this measurement challenge: “Different people want to follow up on different things. The nurses, for example, think it is crucial to follow up on how many phone calls they answer. I reckon it is because they want evidence to show management how they spend their time at work. But I do not think this is a critical KPI or success factor for our hospital. How do I draw the line? Do I need to draw the line? How can you get all people to accept this? The bigger question here might be: Who should have access to KPIs?”
Let’s start with an answer to Kenneth’s last question: Everyone should have access to KPIs. Everyone needs feedback on how well their efforts and collaborations are getting the intended results, and contributing to the hospital’s strategic direction. Read the Complete Article
Effective Team Communication Is Crucial for the Success of Businesses
By Sharon Thomson
Every business organization wants its employees to work hard for achievement of its organizational goals. A business may undertake various measures to extract the best out of its employees. But at times the results experienced are below its expectations. This is not because its workers are not working hard enough, but because of their inability to work together as a team. Due to lack of coordination among employees, tasks may get repeated, busy work can happen instead of real work and conflicts can arise among team members. This can take a heavy toll on the productivity of the concerned businesses.
If workers that are part of a team are not motivated enough, not aware of each others’ roles and responsibilities, not sharing ideas and practices with each other, they would not be able to effectively achieve their shared goals. Read the Complete Article
4 Reasons Your Meetings Suck
By John Steinmetz
Most people think a meeting is a bunch of people sitting around a conference room table talking. And that is a meeting – just not a good one.
People constantly express frustration with meetings, yet most people don’t do anything about it. It’s like they just think that’s the way it has to be. That it is what it is. But you can do something about it.
You can do it by not having meetings that suck. Meetings that suck usually have all four of these things in common:
- People aren’t clear what the meeting is for, or what it is intended to accomplish
During the meeting, conversation is unguided, goes on too long, and wanders all over the place
After the meeting, no one is really sure what exactly happened
Action isn’t taken as a result of the meeting
More About the Four Reasons
Let’s look at each of these in more detail. Read the Complete Article
10 Questions for Effective Retrospectives/Post Implementation Reviews
If you run retrospectives and don’t find them valuable, then read on…
Any organization that has existed for more than a few years will have run a number of projects and (hopefully) retrospectives/post implementation reviews. The effectiveness of these activities tend to flatline after a while. How can you measure their usefulness? How can you get more value from them?
Ask yourself the following:
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- Are retrospectives normally conducted? Or are they reserved for projects that fail badly?
Is the purpose of each retrospective known? Or are they perceived very differently between stakeholders?
What result do they bring about? Is this in line with the established purpose(s)?
Do the same issues get raised again and again?
Are most of the suggestions from one person? Do the suggestions come from everyone or just management?
Are the issues and hence positive and negative issues addressed in actions?
Communication: The Essential Ingredient for Good Project Management
By Bruce McGraw
You might expect that, as a Technology guy, I would say that tools are the essential ingredient (and I have certainly written plenty about tools!). Or as a certified PMP, you might have guessed that I would say that processes and procedures are the essentials for managing projects and people. And those of you that know I am all about people and skills would suggest that training in project management is the essential ingredient. All of these are important, of course, but let’s talk basics here. Without good communication:
But, you say, I communicate regularly with my team and the stakeholder community. That may be so, but in the words of George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” I have written about Communication and how it requires practice in prior posts. Read the Complete Article
PM and BA Roles in Requirements and Project Communication
By Dan Stober, PMP, Global Knowledge
Communication is vital within projects and contributes significantly to project success.
Project managers (PMs) know that they have to construct a robust communication management plan for the overall project. The communication management plan should be designed in such a manner that it defines how project information will be handled: how the project team collects, generates, stores, distributes, and disposes of project information. Considerations will include who gets what information, when, why, in what format, and how and where project information will be archived.
For the business analyst (BA), communication management revolves around communicating requirements, which A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® Guide) v2.0 states, “is essential for bringing stakeholders to a common understanding of requirements.” Of the primary underlying competencies of the trained BA, a thorough understanding of verbal communications, teaching skills, and written communications is among the most essential. Read the Complete Article