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4 Big Benefits of Coaching Your Teams

4 Big Benefits of Coaching Your Teams
By Art Petty

“I have no question that when you have a team, the possibility exists that it will generate magic, producing something extraordinary… But don’t count on it.” -J. Richard Hackman

The operative phrase in the late Dr. Hackman’s quote is, “But don’t count on it.”

Too often and with the best of intentions, we assemble a team of our best and brightest to tackle an important issue and then assuming our job is done and the task is in the hands of these capable people, we step away and wait for the results. And all too often, instead of something magical from our teams, what we get back looks and feels a lot like flailing heading towards failing.

Effective leaders understand the importance of coaching to team success, and they either remain involved in this capacity or, better yet, they ensure that a responsible and objective third party is placed in this role. Read the Complete Article

Work Smarter: 5 Steps to Proactive Resource Management

Work Smarter: 5 Steps to Proactive Resource Management
By Kevin Kern

With dozens of IT projects in play at any given time, it can be a challenge to know who’s working on what, when they’ll be finished and what resources are available—not to mention which staffers can dedicate time to new projects and innovation.

If this sounds like your organization, you’re not alone—according to a recent Gartner survey, only slightly more than one-third of organizations have general workplace visibility policies in place. Furthermore, resource allocation is one of the biggest problems with project management teams. Without having the visibility into your resources, allocation will always be challenging, if not impossible.

The old adage “work smarter, not harder” certainly applies to IT resource management. Follow these five tips to gain more clarity into how your resources are currently being used and learn how to more proactively allocate them—while maximizing collaboration, agility and responsiveness at the same time. Read the Complete Article

5 Creative Ideas for Team Building

5 Creative Ideas for Team Building
By Michelle Symonds

Forming good connections with your project team and getting to know them as individuals is all part and parcel of good project management. By understanding the people you are working with and helping them to bond with each other, you can build a stronger, more effective project team.

Many project managers will have some call to include team building in their schedules from time to time. Some lucky ones might even have budget allocated to these types of activities. Whether you’ve got pennies to spend or nothing at all, effective teambuilding can be achieved in simple, fun ways. Here are some ideas to help.

  1. Training activities: Training might not seem like a teambuilding exercise, but it really can be. The shared experience of being on training for the day can help people get to know each other better and build connections that are hard to foster in the office environment.
Read the Complete Article

The Project Scavenger Hunt

The Project Scavenger Hunt
By Joe DeMeyer

Near the middle of my last project, I met with my project manager and iteration manager to discuss the addition of new team members. We were adding both developers and testers and, as you might expect, it was important they learn about the project, the application, and meet everyone in a short amount of time.

We reviewed the documentation we had for training and thought about a training schedule. Then, I recalled something I did on another team. I suggested a project scavenger hunt might reduce the training time and help new team members engage the project and team members faster.

The Project Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is a popular party game where participants are separated into teams and given a list of items to find or “scavenge”. The items might be a paper sack, a paper clip, an empty soda can, and the like. Read the Complete Article

Project Management Roles in different Organizational Structures

Project Management Roles in different Organizational Structures
By Edward Bell

Note: This list and very helpful post is courtesy of Edward Bell. Edward is not the actual author (who remains unknown).

Last weekend, I ran across this handy Project Coordinator/PM chart – that defines roles in various types of Projectized Organizational Structures. I put it here as a reference, and possibly a study tool for anyone studying for their PMP.


Functional Weak Matrix Balanced Matrix Strong Matrix Projectized
Description Traditional organization with a direct supervisor. The PM and FM share responsibility, with the FM having more authority. The PM and FM share responsibility, with each having equal authority. The PM and FM share responsibility, with the PM having more authority. Projects do not exist under functional departments. The PM has sole management authority.
Authority of project manager Very low. Low. Low to medium. Medium to high. High.
Resource availability Very low.
Read the Complete Article

Workplace Humor: Keeping It Light and Lawsuit-free

Workplace Humor: Keeping It Light and Lawsuit-free
By Dave Clemens

No smart supervisor wants to squelch harmless jokes that burn off tension and build camaraderie.

But sometimes – often before people realize it – jokes can turn mean, or jokesters overdo it, or somebody thinks it’s funny to pile on a co-worker. When that happens, supervisors need to intervene.

So why is humor so potentially explosive and damaging?

Risky business

One reason: People allow themselves to do things in the name of fun that they wouldn’t dream of doing seriously. In other words, they’re willing to take risks they’d never take in other circumstances.

An example: Employees know they can be fired for fighting. But some people think it’s fighting only if you’re serious. It’s a different matter entirely to engage in “mock” fights or aggressive horseplay, they reason. That’s a risky assumption.

And then there’s the slippery slope. You’ve seen it happen: One employee tells a questionable joke, and a co-worker tries to top it with one a little more outrageous. Read the Complete Article

Working in a Matrix Organization – Keys to Success

Working in a Matrix Organization – Keys to Success
By Michelle Moore, , Global Knowledge Course Instructor

As organizations look to do more with fewer resources and leverage scarce knowledge better across their entire organization, we see lots of companies moving to matrix structures. A matrix structure can be defined as “a mixed organizational form in which normal hierarchy is overlaid by some form of lateral authority or influence resulting in two chains of command – one along functional lines and the other along project lines.”

There is no question that a matrix structure can offer a significant number of benefits including a more efficient usage of resources and standardisation of processes/working practices across different implementations. The challenge is that working in a matrix organization requires new skills and competencies to ensure that the planned benefits of the matrix are realized as intended.

To work effectively as a functional resource manager or as a project manager in a matrix structure, leaders need:

  • Organizational Thinking – this can be defined as having a deep understanding of the formal organization (e.g., goals, roles, processes, etc..) and the informal organization (e.g., politics, informal processes, power, etc…) and applying that knowledge to make all decisions.
Read the Complete Article

Perils of Matrix Organization Structure

Perils of Matrix Organization Structure
By Atul Gaur

Given the complex nature of engineering projects, it is pertinent to mention that there should be a well defined project organization structure at all times. Project teams should know exactly who to report for all matters of the project, diluting this structure affects the overall team dynamics and greatly impairs project progress. An engineering project requires a well defined organization structure and an established chain of command, with project manager at helm of affairs. However, with a matrix organization structure the authority, role, and responsibility of a project manager gets diluted to a great extent.

Theoretically, we have three main types of project organizations viz; functional, projectized, and matrix. Matrix organization has been further sub divided into weak and strong matrix. Irrespective of the nomenclature, the problems faced while working in matrix organization remains the same. The most serious problems faced are lack of centralized leadership, absence of a cohesive team, and improper implementation of project plan. Read the Complete Article

Organizational Influences in Project Management

Organizational Influences in Project Management
By Ryan Donahue, Northwest University

When managing a project, it’s important to look for, pay attention to and, ultimately, comprehend the influences of the organization you’re working for. There are several areas in which the structure of an organization can influence a project.

  • How is your organization structured? Some organizations are mainly focused on ongoing operations. These organizations, such as manufacturing businesses and retail businesses, depend on the day to day operation of their businesses to create a steady stream of revenue. Do these businesses not use projects to create and improve processes? Of course they do, but that most likely won’t be at the forefront of anyone’s mind. Other types of businesses, like software developers, rely solely on the project to generate revenue. What impact can these different structures have on a project and project manager? Authority. A project manager is more likely to be given a lot of authority to manage and complete a project if the business they’re working for is project driven.
Read the Complete Article

Project Management – Organizational Influences

Project Management – Organizational Influences
By Timber Chinn, Northwest University

Organizational influences directly affect a project’s success—either positively or negatively. These influences include the organization’s culture, its structure and its general style. Although organizational influences fall under the umbrella of enterprise environmental factors, it is important to grasp their unique importance to a project. One of the first things a project manager must consider is the organization’s culture; those beliefs, values and traditions that define the organization’s members and how they work. Culture is an important consideration because it alone can determine the success of a project. For example, if a stakeholder of a conservative organization wants to implement a radical new program, the project manager must take this into consideration before starting the project. In this case it is highly likely that the project will meet with resistance, so one of the project manager’s most important tasks is to tightly nail down the scope of work and expected deliverables. Read the Complete Article

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App

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