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?
Continue reading How to Motivate Your Team Members
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)
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
Many of you have been in the situation where C-level executives initiate a project with vague requirements, no resources and… a project end date. Executives are often the underlying cause of many failed projects. They have a vision, or an obligation to move the organization forward. After all, isn’t that their job? They aren’t getting paid to figure out how to execute their strategy. That’s your job. What inevitably happens? Well… look at Boeing’s Dreamliner as an example, a project that is constantly behind schedule and over budget. How can you avoid getting into this situation?
Continue reading The Impossible Deadline – Managing Expectations