Project Sustainability Predators at Work
By Gratien Gasaba
Have you ever watched a movie concerning bush meat hunting as performed by the wild big cats such as lions and leopards? Have you noticed that these big cats use a range of tactics to maximize their chances of catching the prey? Have you noticed that these strategies and tactics vary with the nature and kinds of the prey? Needless to say that a predator, say a lion, will never acknowledge to be a predator, instead it would portray itself as an accountable king of the forest that carefully defends its subjects, and righteously uses its upper hand to be fed to maintain health and survive.
In my last post I discussed 9 categories of sustainability stakeholders including the predators. The article postulated that sustainability predators are powerful people who don’t care about lasting solutions which they mostly perceive as threats to their personal interests. Read the Complete Article
10 Practical Ways Sponsors Can Boost Their Project Success
By Harry Hall
I often ask project managers the reasons for project failure. One of the top responses is a lack of leadership and sustained engagement by the project sponsor. The sponsor paints a fuzzy picture of what they want, throws it over the fence to the project manager, and goes on their merry way. The sponsor essentially says, “Let me know when you’re done. Failure is not an option.” Really?
Fortunately, some sponsors know how to hit home runs. These sponsors understand that their leadership is essential to a winning season. They stand out from other sponsors by owning their projects and maintaining a healthy relationship with their project managers from the beginning to end of their projects.
Sponsors are typically busy senior executives often coming from the C-suite. In addition to the projects they are sponsoring, the executives have many other responsibilities. Read the Complete Article
Project Sponsors: How Good Are You at Briefing Your Project Managers?
By Ron Rosenhead
“This is a long; much longer than a briefing note I would normally get from my manager or sponsor.”
These are words spoken by someone on a project management course and words I have heard before.
What was being referred to was a case study, 315 words long which took up less than a page of paper. The person went on to say, and it is something I have heard before, they are lucky to get a one line e mail, or a face to face briefing that lasts less than 30 seconds.
This brings me to a briefing activity we sometimes do with project sponsors. The activity involves 3 people with one person being briefed by another, and with the 3rd person acting as observer. I start the feedback by asking the person who was briefed to say what the project is all about. Read the Complete Article
7 Proven Ways to Overcome False Expectations
By Eileen McDargh
People have expectations. Individuals, teams, or organizations have a strong belief that something is going to happen in the future.
Project sponsors expect projects to be completed in a timely fashion. Developers expect clear requirements. Testers expect the test region to be stable. Users expect that all of their needs will be met. Vendors expect a statement of work.
Sometimes the expectations are valid; other times the expectations are false. The individual’s expectations are unrealistic or invalid. What causes false expectations and how can we set and maintain the proper expectations?
The Muck and Mire of Expectations
Let’s look at seven common causes of false expectations and what we can do about each. Take note that all of these problems are related to communications.
Read the Complete Article
- Things are not discussed adequately. For example: Why do the users of software expect one thing and get something different in projects?
Best Practice for Stakeholder Engagement During Program Recovery
By Peter Osborne
If a program of change is put into recovery, stakeholders will inevitably play a critical role in getting it back on track. Their commitment and engagement can make the difference between a project or program’s ultimate success or failure. In order to recover the identity and integrity of a program, project management need to ensure influential stakeholders use their authority and leadership to clear a path back to successful delivery. Peter Osborne of LOC Consulting examines best practices for effective stakeholder re-engagement when the current approach has failed.
Establish terms of reference for stakeholders
Project management must consider stakeholders as operating along two axes of interest and influence. The process of developing a RACI chart will help identify and define the different interests and influences of stakeholders, as well as their level of involvement. Clear roles, responsibilities and accountabilities are key to delivering a successful program. Read the Complete Article
The Art of Stakeholder Management
By Mark Norman
A stakeholder can be defined as someone who can impact or is impacted by either the project or the project outcomes. Stakeholders exist at many levels of a project but also extend out into the wider environment influenced by the project. The project sponsor is an obvious example of a key stakeholder as are those impacted by the desired outcomes of the project are also stakeholders. However, caution is required as almost anyone could be classed as a stakeholder. By understanding the context of the project the good project manager will be able to discern those stakeholders that require management.
Early identification and engagement of key stakeholders will be crucial. The situation to avoid is a previously unidentified stakeholder emerging at a crucial stage of the project and derailing the plan. Key stakeholders to identify are those that can influence the commitment of resources to the project and those that will accept or be recipients of the project outcomes. Read the Complete Article
Ooops, I Forgot a Key Stakeholder!
By Sharon HoSang
I was the business analyst working on a debt management project. One of the deliverables was to develop standard letters to be sent to customers who were in arrears. These letters would differ based on the age of the arrears in terms of number of days. It ranged from 15 days, 30 days, 60 days and 90 days arrears.
It was time for me to look for “stakeholder” defined to be any person or organization that is actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be affected positively or negatively by execution of the project. As you know, stakeholders can be internal or external to the organization. I made a list which excluded the communication manager who had the power to determine the message and structure of the letters.
The letters were completed and submitted to the approval committee for ratification and sign off. Read the Complete Article
Are Sponsors Over-Worked and Under-Effective?
By Lynda Bourne
The Institute of Project Management (Ireland) has published a survey is based on self-reported information from their courses based on nine major position descriptions/levels comparing the expected number of hours to be worked based on the terms of employment and the actual number of hours typically worked by the attendees. The averaged data from senior management positions is worrying:
- Director of PMO; expected: 39.0 Hrs, actual: 60.0 Hrs
Portfolio Manager; expected: 37.0 Hrs, actual: 50.0 Hrs
Project Manager (Senior); expected: 37.9 Hrs, actual: 50.3 Hrs.
Combine these findings with data from PMI on the hours worked by Sponsors (download the PMI report on’Executive Sponsor Engagement’ ) with many reporting working weeks of 50 to 60 hours on their ‘day job’ before taking on the additional responsibilities of sponsoring a project or a program; and, that effective sponsors report that typically they are working on three projects at a time, spending an average of 13 hours per week on each, the problem of over extension of key executives becomes obvious. Read the Complete Article
By Joakim Holm
Figure 1: The Pledge
In the movie The Pledge (2001), directed by Sean Penn, a weary police chief, played by Jack Nicholson, investigates the murder of a young child. In the pivotal scene, on the day of his retirement, he promises the mother of the murdered girl to find the killer.
The sheriff gradually goes to extremes to fulfill his promise. He dedicates all his time to the case. He moves to a small town in the mountains, where he suspects the murderer could be found. The pledge he made propels him to forsake everything else. His mental health starts to decay. The guilt and shame of the unfulfilled promise lie heavily on his shoulders.
This movie reveals how incredibly powerful a promise can be, even today. Human beings can become very preoccupied in their quest to fulfill a promise.
Enter the Heavy-Hitters
Promises are intimately connected to trust. Read the Complete Article
Helping the Senior Management Team Find Its Voice
By Art Petty
I’m convinced one of the key limiting factors of management team effectiveness is the discomfort these high-powered functional experts have in talking with each other.
While there are few quiet senior management team meetings, the words exchanged tend to be more about functional updates and carefully worded ideas or collegial debate over direction or investments than they are about the real issues confronting the firm.
Some suggest the CEO remind these individuals to leave their functional hats at the door, but this seemingly sound guidance is simply impossible. It’s the functional expertise and perspective that forms and frames senior managers and there’s no leaving the well-patterned thinking and experience anywhere. It’s foolish advice as well. The wisdom gained by experience is why you hired these people in the first place. Better to harness it than banish it from the scene. Read the Complete Article