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Forming Good Dialogue Habits

Forming Good Dialogue Habits
By Michelle Symonds

Forming good dialogue habits is crucial to project management and the skills you learn forming these habits will enable you to achieve success in forming and managing relationships within your team, as well as winning the project in the first place.

Here are several good dialogue habits to have:

  • Self Development

    This is the way you are able to maintain a skill, and learn new ones. Learning to educate yourself, grow and renew your abilities. Practice your dialogue skills in all areas of your life so that you have a sharpened tool ready to use when the stakes are high. Think about training, shadowing and self learning using either books or online resources. Being able to push your limits and learn how to handle yourself in challenging scenarios means that a habit will be formed that will come to your mind naturally when you need it the most.

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How To Celebrate Project Team’s Diversity

How To Celebrate Project Team’s Diversity
By Jona Miranda Jone

A good introduction to Project Management is a quote by a wise man:

“Operations keep the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organization forward.” – Joy Gumz

But, just what is Project Management? And, how important is it?

Project management process entails planning, organizing, motivating people, controlling resources, creating procedures to achieve specific goals of the company.

The success or failure of a project is attributable to the quality of project management. It is a key to the growth and survival of any business entity for success of a project ensures efficiency in the management of resources – be it time, cost, materials and deployment of people to effectively reaching the goals.

Diversity in Project Management

Project teams are diverse teams. Thus, managing project teams may be said to be challenging. Read the Complete Article

Five Soft Skills to Aid Your Project Management Career

Five Soft Skills to Aid Your Project Management Career
By Rhona Aylward

In a recent discussion in a LinkedIn project management group, someone asked: “What 5 soft skills should a project manager have?” This kicked-off quite a discussion, which generated a lot more than five skills in the end.

If I had to answer this question, this would be my list of 5 soft skills a project manager should have:

  1. Empathy

    This is an essential soft skill because being able to put yourself in others people’s shoes and empathizing with their perspective or their needs is vital to head off any issues before they lead to conflict. You’d be able to know what each person’s hot buttons are and use that intel to diffuse any tensions. Empathy helps you understand what drives other parties involved in the project – be it the project owners, sponsor, BAs, or even programmers (Yes, they’re people too!).

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Reflections on the Soft Side of Project Management

Reflections on the Soft Side of Project Management
By Harry Hall

There is much debate about the importance of soft skills and hard skills for project managers. I believe PMs need both!

Many PMs find learning hard skills easier than soft skills. Think about it. Is it easier to learn how to develop project budget (a hard skill) or to learn to lead and influence others (soft skills)?

As we start 2014, I am reflecting how to improve critical soft skills. I have written out questions and comments from different facets of our integrated lives including fitness, family and friends, and projects. If we take care of the facets outside of work, we will put ourselves in a better position to lead projects at work and reduce our stress levels.

  1. What are your most significant time-wasters (e.g., TV, social media)? What will you do about them?
  2. Are you exercising a minimum of three times per week for twenty minutes, preferably longer?

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The Successful Project Manager: A Balance of Hard and Soft Skills

The Successful Project Manager: A Balance of Hard and Soft Skills
By Brandeis University

Everyone wishes they could be better at their work, even if they are Fortune 500 CEOs. No matter how far up the management ladder you have climbed, there are always means of improvement. What separates the good from the bad in terms of leadership?

Why It Fails

Projects fail for a vast number of reasons. The most common reasons, however, are largely management-based. These include:

  • Poor (or no) planning
  • Inflexibility
  • Lack of communication
  • Zero accountability for success and failure

Soft Skills

While there are many formula you can put into a database and crank out numbers, ultimately the calculations of efficiency are not what make good managers. Rather, a number of soft skills determine much of what is good and bad in the management world. These skills are communication driven, since a manager spends nearly nine out of ten working hours communicating with members of their team. Read the Complete Article

Business Analysis and Project Management – Part IV – Building Relationships to Increase Project Influence

Business Analysis and Project Management – Part IV – Building Relationships to Increase Project Influence (#4 in the series Business Analysis and Project Management)
By Ben Snyder, CEO of Systemation

Last time we looked at how to use soft skills to our advantage. We continue this theme in this fourth and final installment in this blog’s series on soft skills and project management. We’ll now consider how project managers can increase project influence by building strong, long-lasting and positive relationships.

In today’s world, organizations can only perform with employee cooperation. As project managers, we need to be proactive and establish relationships across all areas of the organization so we can make progress faster on cross functional projects. By understanding what people want and why they want it, we can find ways to move forward together. The best ways to understand others are to ask questions, listen, and observe, as touched on in the previous blog entry. Read the Complete Article

Business Analysis and Project Management – Part III – Using Soft Skills To Your Advantage

Business Analysis and Project Management – Part III – Using Soft Skills To Your Advantage (#3 in the series Business Analysis and Project Management)
By Ben Snyder, CEO of Systemation

As discussed in our previous entries on this subject, both intuition as well as hard data point to a direct correlation between honing soft skills and successful project management. But how, exactly, do soft skills make a difference, and, more specifically, how do project managers use superior people skills to their advantage? Project managers that excel in applying soft skills:

  • ‘Hear’ what the customer does not say. Their projects are more likely to deliver what the customer needs but cannot articulate. Project managers who do not listen for emotional content as well as business requirements do not recognize hidden yet important customer needs.
  • ‘Ask’ better questions of stakeholders. Projects are more successful when they are designed around well understood objectives and expectations.
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Business Analysis and Project Management – Part II – Hard Data on Soft Skills

Business Analysis and Project Management – Part II – Hard Data on Soft Skills (#2 in the series Business Analysis and Project Management)
By Ben Snyder, CEO of Systemation

In our introductory entry in this continuing series on soft skills in project management, we considered the importance of soft skills and why they tend to get short shrift – less tangible, harder to measure, less scientific, etc. than “hard” skills. But while rigorous analyses on the impact of soft skills may be lacking across most organizations, a number of studies have been conducted to determine whether there’s a link between soft skills/emotional intelligence and on-the-job performance:

  1. Goleman Competency AnalysisThis analysis looked at the competencies of 181 positions within 121 companies. It assessed executive management’s profile for excellence in a given job as comprised of either ‘cognitive’ (technical) or ‘emotional’ (soft) skills. The study found that in the 121 companies profiled, 67% of all competencies were based on soft skills, regardless of position.
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Business Analysis and Project Management – Part I – Time to Bring Back the Soft Skills

Business Analysis and Project Management – Part I – Time to Bring Back the Soft Skills (#1 in the series Business Analysis and Project Management)
By Ben Snyder, CEO of Systemation

Understanding best-practice processes is critical when working with a team to achieve project success, but acquiring and practicing good people skills is also imperative if project and organizational goals are to be realized. The common thread running through all the essential skills needed to be a great Project Manager or Business Analyst is working with people, just as the biggest impact on determining project success or failure centers on relationships.

Whether it’s defining the scope of a project, exercising change control or closing a project out, the more comfortable Project Managers and Business Analysts are when interacting with people the more successful they will be in their roles. Through understanding “how we are with others” and “how we are with ourselves”, we can all manage projects to successful outcomes. Read the Complete Article

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