Posted by: kerrywills | April 28, 2017

Meteor Showers

In the early days of the Universe, the Earth was constantly bombarded with meteors. This caused lots of craters on the Earth and The Moon, many of which are still visible on the surface of The Moon. Like the early Universe, projects get constantly bombarded with meteors of all different sizes. Some examples include…

  • Requests from outside organizations for templates, forms, reports or meetings
  • Management “fire drills”
  • Unexpected issues in delivery that require immediate attention

Like The Earth, we can not really control the number or the size of the meteors that are coming our way but we can prepare for them to minimize the impact. This could include diligent tracking of work or having full transparency of progress. This way, when a request for information comes in, the team is prepared to share it without making it a several day fire drill of collecting information. Being prepared also results in the identification of risks earlier (e.g. telescopes to see them coming) so that there is ample time to course correct or mitigate the risk before it impacts (collides) with our projects.

Posted by: kerrywills | April 21, 2017

You Got Some ‘Splainin To Do

On the classic television show “I Love Lucy”, Ricky is known for a famous line where he told Lucy that she had some “‘splainin to do.” In the world of projects, project managers always have some ‘splainin to do. This means that they are accountable for the entire project and therefore must be able to articulate (“splain”) the many aspects of their project….

  • The status of work
  • Key risks and mitigations
  • Financial progress and risks
  • Any schedule slippage

So in order to “splain” properly, project managers need to understand all of the moving parts and manage with diligence and transparency in a way that allows them to be able to articulate where things are and what the risks are. The last thing we want to do is to be in a meeting with senior people where we can not “splain” what is going on…or we will likely be cancelled like the I Love Lucy show.

Posted by: kerrywills | April 14, 2017

Chore Charts

One of my friends had posted a picture on Facebook of the “chore chart” that they had made for their little kids. And of course this made me think of it a project management technique. Chore charts are used to assign specific chores to children, such as taking out the garbage or cleaning the table after a meal. When chores get completed, the children are rewarded with stickers, money or points they can use towards things.

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In the case of project management, this could be an effective technique. Think about it….

  • It identifies the activities
  • It delegates the activities to resources
  • It manages expectations of resources
  • It rewards successful completion of activities

 

So maybe I should consider a chore chart for my project, but it may be hard to add all 5,000 line items from my plan and all 1,000 people…and I would run out of stickers very quickly.

Posted by: kerrywills | April 7, 2017

Avoid the Dementors

In the Harry Potter series, the Dementors are evil creatures. The definition is below (credit):

Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself… soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.

These are pretty scary in the movies…and even scarier when you realize there are people at work who are also highly negative and attempt to suck the life and happiness out of everyone in the room as well. Generally these people are ‘toxic’ to those around them and it is very hard to work with them. In the movies, the Patronus charm stops them but in real life it is not that easy to just cast a spell and we can not choose to avoid them since we probably have to work with them. We can try to counteract their negativity through optimism, focusing on facts, steering away from blame and not responding to their outbursts in a similar manner. Do others have any magic that works on them?

Posted by: kerrywills | March 31, 2017

Evolving Competencies: Upcoming Webinar

For those who subscribe to my blog on a regular basis, you know that I am a strong believe in competencies of resources and view building them as the single most effective technique that a company can take to improve talent (and performance/outcomes). My most recent book focuses on these principles and I will be presenting the content in a Webinar on May 10th. The information is below…

In today’s environment, success in delivering projects is not based on a company having the best delivery framework or a project having the best plan or risk log, but rather on the skills of the people who are planning, managing and delivering on the work of that project. It is no longer sufficient to just have fundamental project management skills; resources also need to possess an augmented set of “soft” or consultative skills.

This webinar focuses on the evolving competencies needed for project managers in the current environment. It proposes a framework called the “Consultative Project Management Competency Model” which outlines 25 essential competencies. Each competency is described with examples and proficiency differentiation for levels of experience. This book also defines a holistic approach for improving project management competencies of individuals or an entire organization.

 

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