How to Manage a Demanding Workload
By Susanne Madsen
As a project management coach and facilitator I often come across project managers who find their workload overwhelming. They want to do a good job and don’t want to appear “weak” by saying no to more work. But in spite of working long hours, there is so much on their plate that only the most urgent requests get their attention. At the bottom of the pile are the more proactive and strategic activities that they never get around to. In the long run, it’s dissatisfying and overwhelming and can cause their projects to fail! If you recognize yourself in the above description, here are some tips:
Asking for help is OK
Fortunately there are several things you can do to improve the situation, but to reap the benefits you must be prepared to review your working patterns and even some of your beliefs. Read the Complete Article
Three Things You Should Do Whenever Someone Leaves Your Project
By Kiron D. Bondale
We start our projects with a small core team but as we proceed further down the rabbit hole we add team members to support planning and delivery activities. Then as work streams get completed, team size shrinks until we reach project closure where we are back to the original core team. On large, multi-phase projects, team expansion and contraction occurs frequently but even with much smaller projects, it is common to have team members exit before the project itself is completed. Some times this could be the result of their assigned activities being completed, but it can also be caused by external factors such as their being required on a higher priority project or a financially motivated decision to shift their work to a cheaper resource.
There are three things which you should do before any team member departs. Read the Complete Article
How to Improve Business Processes with Mind Mapping
By Joel Roberts
Mind mapping is not a new technique. People have been creating visual diagrams that explain the relationship between ideas for centuries. Now new developments in mind mapping software have made this method accessible, however. Many different types of thought maps can be created easily and shared across a variety of platforms. Nowhere is this more important than the business world, where success often depends on making a connection between data and ideas.
The Process of Planning
Effective planning is one of the most important processes for any business, whether it’s a large company, or a small family owned operation.
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- Business model – a business model is the basic design by which a company will generate revenue. It includes the goods or services offered, the methods clients use to obtain these goods and services, and the need or niche the product can fill.
Who Killed Project Management? A Baker’s Dozen of Project Management Do’s and Don’ts
By Rebecca Staton-Reinstein
Being a Project Manager is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t enjoy nearly impossible challenges, lots of criticism, the ground constantly shifting under your feet, and contradictory demands from powerful people, consider another way to make a living.
When downsizing/re-sizing/right-sizing became the norm, companies eliminated whole departments of folks who took care of all sorts of important work. The work still needed doing and outsourcing/off-shoring/on-shoring/in-sourcing didn’t always work.
What to do? Turn everything into a project! Assign someone to be in charge and call the person a project manager. It didn’t matter what the person’s position on the org chart was or whether he or she had any training or experience; just assign the project.
Needless to say, lots of projects took a nose dive. Even with all the information available today, sophisticated project management tools, and organizations, conferences, and books dedicated to the subject, many projects and their mangers still fail. Read the Complete Article
Enhance Strategy Execution by Making Better Decisions
By Richard Lepsinger
We’ve all made a bad decision.
Everyone is subject to biases that impact our judgment and cause us to make mistakes. A recent study recent found that Major League Baseball umpires demonstrated biases and frequently made errors when determining whether a pitch that is not swung at is a ball or a strike. It seems umpires tend to favor the home team, calling a strike when the pitch was actually a ball more frequently for the home team than for visitors. An umpire was also about 16 percent more likely to erroneously call a pitch outside the zone a strike for an All-Star than for a pitcher who never appeared in an All-Star Game. This bias toward All-Stars was even stronger when the pitcher had a reputation for precise control as measured by the career percentage of batters walked.
You may be surprised to learn that these biases and shortcuts are not all bad – they help us make sense of a complex world with more information than we can handle. Read the Complete Article
Don’t Be a Project Management Lemming!
By Kiron D. Bondale
Given the progressive decline in oil prices over the past year, economic slowdowns in Asia impacting other global markets, and poor performance to date across multiple stock exchanges, it is not a surprise that many investors are tempted to sell their investments at a loss and make like Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow, planning to re-enter the market only when the bulls start a sustained run.
This is generally not a good idea as markets will eventually recover and the upside opportunities of buying during a bear run can be a worthwhile prize for those who are able to control the reaction to their fears.
In the project management domain, you might have witnessed project teams panicking in the face of some looming crisis. Decisions made by the teams or their project managers under these sorts of conditions are usually driven more by emotions more than measured analysis. Read the Complete Article
How to Overcome Your Worst Project Problems
By Harry Hall
Allow me to ask you a question. When you face life’s most difficult problems, do you run away from your problems? Successful individuals, groups, and organizations have a habit of running TOWARD their problems, not away from them.
Rather than seeing problems as unwelcome, problem solvers see challenges as opportunities to use their God-given talents and skills to make rich contributions to their organization.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. – Winston S. Churchill
What are your most significant project problems? Are your project teams making decisions and changing their minds repeatedly? Do you find yourself spending more time reworking things than creating new things? Are your stakeholders constantly changing requirements?
Worry and anxiety are not productive ways to respond to life’s challenges. There is a better approach for solving problems. Read the Complete Article
7 Reliable Ways to Improve Project Estimates
By Harry Hall
Once upon a time, I sat in the office of a CEO as he described ten years of late and grossly over-budget Information Technology projects. He was more frustrated than a New York Mets fan losing another New York Yankees game. He asked why IT continued to promise the moon, but could not get off the launching pad.
As I interviewed stakeholders within the organization, I quickly discovered a primary cause of the underperforming project portfolio—poor estimates driven by a lax attitude. IT would provide estimates with little project definition or analysis. What would IT do when they missed the promised implementation period? Like a spoiled kid failing college, they would ask for another semester, more toys, and more money. They always had an excuse: “The users never know what they want.”
Fixing this type of dysfunctional attitude and behavior is not easy. Read the Complete Article
Top Five Project Management Pitfalls
By Petros Rigas
Project Management is one significant underestimated area that often goes unnoticed across many industries. Many companies introduce it as a process for compliance purposes only. It is also primarily introduced to make the “company” look good and attractive to investors – nothing more and nothing less. Few companies, however, adopt standard methodologies as they take on contracts.
Here are the top five pitfalls an organization should consider as they deliver projects:
Pitfall 1 – Assuming a good technical engineer is capable of managing and leading teams
Beware the “halo effect” – a famous statement made when discussing human resource management. It simply implies that sponsors sometimes assume that any good technical manager is capable of leading a team to deliver contracts. They assume their technical ability is enough for them to deliver. They simply can’t see that project management is not something that managers inherit or acquire by accident. Read the Complete Article
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