Posted by: kerrywills | January 20, 2017

Act what you expect

Recently I got a mandate from another organization to fill out a template in a rapid turnaround (BTW I get about 3-5 of these per week) and I asked for clarifications and a meeting. The team who asked for this did not respond to the three messages that I sent back to them. I find this incredibly ironic when a team says something is urgent and tells you to do something immediately but then does not respond with the same sense of urgency. Another classic example of this that I have was when I was asked to review the standard deliverables for a company framework. This organization was accountable for improving the quality of delivery and yet their documents did not have great quality – the formatting was inconsistent, the footers were outdated, the grammar was wrong, etc.


I believe that organizations who have expectations of others should perform in this same manner…

  • If you are an organization accountable for quality, then have quality deliverables
  • If you are an organization with urgent asks, then reply with the same sense of urgency
  • If you are an organization accountable for planning, then be prepared
  • If you are an organization who manages communications, then communicate properly

This seems like a simple request yet there continue to be examples to the contrary. How can a team expect something of others that it does not do itself? I think this loses credibility of the team and will result in sub-optimal results. So my ask is to consider the objectives of your teams and to “act as you expect” others to do.

Posted by: kerrywills | January 13, 2017

What kind of manager are you?

Recently I was speaking to a colleague about a pending organizational change. Their biggest concern was who they were going to work for and they had two possible choices, neither of which they wanted and were considering leaving the department. For me, this was a reminder of the classic workplace wisdom that “people join companies but leave managers.”


This means that, as managers and leaders, we need to operate in a way that people want to work for us and want to continue working for us. We need to remember that it is not about us; it is about our employees and teams. They do the work. They make us successful. And they are people who have interests, feelings and needs. I always think about my projects as marathons with my only job to make sure that the team keeps running. So this means I give them what they need to keep running (e.g. water) and remove any obstacles that stop them from moving forward.

We need to constantly step back and think of what kind of manager we are. If we don’t we may lose key talent which is hard to replace and no one will want to work for us (and that will certainly define what kind of manager we are)df.

Posted by: kerrywills | January 6, 2017

Annual cleaning out

Over the holidays my family does its annual cleaning out of the house. This means going through all closets, cabinets and bins to find toys that are not played with and things we do not need any more. We then either give items away, throw them away, or package them up if they are items we want to keep for later. The end result is that we make room for new presents from the holidays and keep the house clear of clutter.


The same approach should be taken with regard to our projects and work. We should look to clear out as much clutter as possible so we can keep our houses (projects) clean and focused. This could be requirements that aren’t essential to our business partners or technology solutions which do not add value back to our business. This can also be extra process steps or forms/templates that the team has to take action on.

If we reduce the clutter, not only will our houses be cleaned but we will also then keep the things that we really want and that will make our projects successful.

Posted by: kerrywills | December 30, 2016

Happy New Year

Well another year has passed in our careers. This time of the year is about reflection on the prior year and planning for the upcoming year. As we reflect on 2016 we should consider what went well and where we want to improve and then make a conscious plan to make some changes (see posting on being deliberate). We also need to take a fresh look at the year and work ahead. Hopefully people got time off for the holidays to recharge and get motivated about the work ahead of them and are ready to go.  At the same time make sure to find balance with work and family/exercise/hobbies as it is very important.

I have a busy year of Project Management ahead. On top of managing a strategic program with a budget of over $200 in 2017, I am continuing with my Project Management activities…

  • Meeting with other PM thought leaders in New York in January to discuss relevant topics
  • PMI Development Day in Boston (Link) in March
  • Webinar (Link) in June


Plus I plan to continue with this blog, which would enter its ninth year! So to all have a Happy New Year.


Posted by: kerrywills | December 23, 2016

Is Change Control really Controlling Changes?

The industry term of “change control” related to projects is around the management and control of changes to scope to ensure that no unnecessary changes are made and that all changes are documented. But in many cases, it feels like there is not much “control” going on since changes continuously come in and are being assessed (which, by itself, is adding scope and work to the team who has to review and assess the changes). So the process becomes more reactive to changes as opposed to controlling them coming in.


I realize that changes will always occur and there needs to be a mechanism to manage them…and this becomes increasingly more important in an “agile” world where scope is viewed as being more fluid. ¬†However, adding new scope or changing it does have real implications which need to be understood and the only way to do that is to understand it, document it, solution it, review it and to discuss it. So we are living in a world where we need to allow for the flexibility of scope but also have the diligence and transparency to understand, assess and communicate the implications of that flexibility.

While I don’t have the solution for how to manage work in this new environment, I do propose that we submit a change control to modify the term to be called “identify and assess change implications of scope flexibility” since clearly nothing is being controlled.


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