Do You Know What a Project Manager Does?

PM-what-I-really-do

Greetings Leaders!

A lot of people ask me what does a Project Manager do? If you think most of those asking the question are unfamiliar with project management, you’d be wrong! I’ve had C-Suite execs, middle managers and those thinking about entering the profession ask me that question. While most of you PMI trained PMs think the answer is pretty straight-foward, the truth is a lot more complicated. Do you think you know the answer?

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The Path of the Honorable Leader – Shepherding

helping others

Greetings Leaders!

This is the 16th article in the Path of Honorable Leader Series.

The Path of the Honorable Leader requires caring for others in a way that others won’t understand. As you travel along your lonely path, you will notice others milling about as you pass them by. They are looking for something, but can’t tell you what it is. They long for peace and acceptance but aren’t sure how to find it. They are souls wandering the universe searching for their significance.

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How to Motivate Your Team Members

thank-you

Greetings Leaders!

I taught an introductory class in Project Management last month and we got into discussion about motivating team members. I mentioned that I take every opportunity I have to recognize people for their work. I was surprised at the reaction of the class. They were evenly split into two camps. Half agreed with me. The other half thought people should be rewarded only when they do something extraordinary and should not be recognized for just doing their job. There are obviously merits to both approaches. What are your thoughts?

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Doing the Right Thing – A Practical Guide

do the right thing

Greetings Leaders!

While working with a group of high school students, I asked them if lying was acceptable. Without exception, they all said no – lying is wrong. Most of you probably agree and judging by their websites, all businesses agree that lying is not an ethical thing to do. On a recent survey of business websites, including those of Fortune 500 companies, I commonly found core values like honesty and integrity. Not a single website suggested that the company told the truth only part of the time. Continue reading Doing the Right Thing – A Practical Guide

Letting go the past… Planning for what you can…

influence

Greetings Leaders!

Have you ever had a time when you did something you regretted and wish you could live that one moment, that one second, over again? Or looking down the road in the other direction, have you ever worried about what was coming down the track, trying to plan for the future? Things like who you’re going to marry, what your career will look like 10 years from now, what your kids are going to become, how you’re going to retire or what your health will be? Reflecting on the past, or planning for the future is healthy, but worrying about it is not.  If you’re a worrier… read on…

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Rethinking Project Management and Chaos (The Butterfly Effect)

chaos

Greetings Leaders!

The Standish Institute has been publishing the Chaos Report for years which basically says that project outcomes fall short despite our best efforts to manage it. Proponents of PMI and Prince2 will debate their conclusions, and there are others out there who say that Agile is the answer to better project outcomes. While I’m a advocate of project management methodologies, perhaps we’re looking in the wrong place and the answer lies somewhere else.

When you think about life, one of the life’s truisms is that “stuff” happens. That whatever you plan for will likely not come out exactly the way you want it to. For those of you not familiar with the Butterfly Effect, it was developed by Edward Lorenz who is a big proponent of the Chaos Theory. The term comes from the suggestion that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in South America could affect the weather somewhere else in the world. Basically it is a term used to describe how small changes to a seemingly insignificant thing can affect large, complex systems. When we think about projects, there are so many things that could impact the success of a project that fall outside the general framework of project management. Perhaps successful project outcomes don’t depend upon your methodology, but on how you react to what happens?

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Dreams and Goals without Execution = Hallucination

Edison Hallucination

 

Greetings Leaders!

I’d like to take credit for the title, but as you can see Thomas Edison beat me to it. As you go about making your resolutions for the New Year, have you thought about how to actually succeed at them? If you use the 80/20 rule – only 20% of people will set themselves apart by taking a chance and setting some goals this year. Of those 20%, only 20% will achieve them. For you math geniuses, that amounts to just 4% of the total (I had to use a calculator). That’s a pretty small percentage isn’t it? When you think about it, most of the worlds wealth resides in the top few percentage points of the population. I would guess that the world’s wealthiest people are in the 4% that are setting goals this year AND achieving them. So, how do you set yourself up with the best chance at achieving your goals?

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Top 5 Secrets To Living Life

Greetings Leaders!

I was sitting here sipping my coffee and wanted to watch something inspirational. I wondered what the top inspirational songs were so I googled it, and found that like life, the answer depends on who you listen to. I ended up listening to Susan Boyle’s 2009 audition on Britain’s Got Talent. As I looked at the various lists I found most of them dealt with just a few topics. Hopes. Dreams. Inner Strength. Forgiveness. It made me pause to think about life and ask, what are people are looking for? If the list of songs I found are any indication, people are looking for ways to get through life. We are looking for ways to get to the finish line and know that it all matters. We all want to live a life worth living. We want to be happy. We want to be successful. The question is, how do we get there?

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Project Management – Why it still doesn’t meet expectations

Greetings Leaders!

After managing projects for over 20 years, I’m still waiting for project management to meet the expectation that it will help businesses be more productive, efficient and cost effective. While it helps in many cases, it still falls short in many areas. The Standish Group’s Chaos Report has repeatedly shown that far too many projects are failing, despite the best efforts of project management. To be fair, not everyone agrees with the Standish Group. While not an easy read, you will find Samad Aidane’s article, The Chaos Report Mythbusters a pretty thought provoking critique of the Chaos Report. Based on my experiences though, it is easy to conclude that project management practices could be improved. I don’t think you will find anyone that would deny that there are many pitfalls associated with project management and that in many cases, it still hasn’t lived up to its expectations.

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Are You A Project Manager or A Project Driver

Greetings leaders!

In mentoring other project managers, I noticed there is a distinct trait that distinguishes those that are successful, and those that struggle in managing their projects. That trait is what I’ll call the ability to drive versus the ability to manage. Are you a project manager or a project driver?

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