If you’ve ever had to staff a project with a Project Manager, you’ve probably run into the same problem that seems to plague the industry. How do you know what you’re really getting when you hire someone? Almost all Project Managers these days are either certified by PMP, Prince or are a Certified Scrum Master. Some may have certificates from a college or university, and some some have Master’s Degrees in Project Management. Yet, there is a huge performance gap in project managers. How can we close this gap?
Continue reading What to Do About Project Manager Competency?
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?
Continue reading Do You Know What a Project Manager Does?
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?
Continue reading Rethinking Project Management and Chaos (The Butterfly Effect)
While mentoring Project Managers over the years, I’ve noticed both the good and the bad. What are the top 5 mistakes Project Managers make? Well, we’re all different, but here are five sure ways to get shown the door both as a consultant and as an employee.
Continue reading Top 5 Mistakes Project Managers Make… and how to avoid them
I was teaching class last night and we had a very lively discussion about Resource Management. Here was the scenario..
- A Project Manager and a Line Manager meet to discuss getting a team resource for the project.
- The Project Manager doesn’t like the team member that the Line Manager is going to give him.
- The PM and LM get into a disagreement as this engineer has spouted off in front of the customer on past projects, causing a LOT of trouble.
- The upcoming project demands a lot of customer interaction.
- The Line Manager basically says too bad. He agrees to attend the PM’s meetings to ensure the engineer stays in line, but during the first few meetings, the LM is a no show.
- The engineer ends up calling the customer inept in a meeting, and the customer threatens to reevaluate the contract.
What could you have done as the PM to prevent this from happening?
Continue reading Out of Control Team Member – What would you do?
Are you struggling to break out as a Project Manager at your organization? Well, you’re not alone. If we think about the 80/20 rule, only 20% of the Project Managers out there are going to rise above the others. After teaching project managers, consulting at many organizations and just reflecting on my career, I’ve come up with five things you need to do to get that next promotion.
Continue reading Five Ways to Set Yourself Apart as a Project Manager
As a project management expert, I often get to see first hand how an organization measures their effectiveness in project management. I find it intriguing that so many of them, don’t really understand what they are trying to measure. They just look at their list of projects and if they all get done, then they are successful. If they don’t they are not successful. Many don’t measure it at all. Measuring project management effectiveness (PME) is important, but overlooked by many. What about your organization?
Continue reading Evaluating Your Organization’s Project Management Effectiveness (PME)
Statistically speaking, the 80/20 rule seems to apply to almost every situation. When it comes to your staff, it means that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. What would happen if we could somehow raise the level of performance of the 80%, just a bit? Or better yet, how can we move the bell curve to the right so that 40% of the people do 80% of the work? By moving the bell curve to the right, if the original 20% stay productive, and you increase the productivity of 25% of the rest of your staff, the amount of work that got done would have to go up. So, how do we go about accomplishing this?
Continue reading How To Get More Out of Your Project Managers and Your Team
5 Leadership Skills for Project Managers
Guest Blogger Claudia Vandermilt
As a project manager, your teams rely on your leadership skills to guide and encourage productivity and project success. When provided with quality leadership, team members often respond positively; they build stronger relationships and rise to project challenges brought forth by their leader. Arm yourself with these five critical leadership skills to help propel a winning team:
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I’m the middle of teaching a project management class and we just finished up a section on Stakeholder Management. The discussion was lively, the group insightful, and as is often the case when I teach, I learned a few things myself. What I found interesting was the passion this particular group of students had about managing stakeholders. Most of the students are experienced project managers and they had a lot of insight into this vital but often overlooked area of project management. The two questions that got the discussion going were:
- Would you consider yourself (as a project manager) successful if you met the requirements, the timeline and the budget… but your customers were not satisfied with the product?
- Would you consider yourself successful if your project was delivered later than originally planned, over the original budget, but your stakeholders were happy?
Of course there are many situations that would influence your answer. But in general, and the class agreed, managing stakeholder and customer expectations were the keys to measuring project success.
Continue reading Stakeholder Management – Key To Your Success