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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

2005 Resolutions

2004 is almost over and it is time to make some Project Management resolutions/goals for the New Year. In looking back over the past year I can see where I have made some mistakes, and I see these mistakes as learning opportunities. Now is the time to resolve to make changes in how I manage my projects.

My 2005 resolutions are:

Be a better listener

Apply the principles of Earned Value to more of my projects

Begin each project with the end (deliverables) in mind

Rely less on e-mail and more on face-to-face conversations

Be a better Project Leader

Accept the fact that criticism from others is part of the project life cycle

Be willing to accept failures and use them as learning experiences

Believe that most people on your project team are doing the best they can do

Be positive, enthusiastic, and supportive of others

Sunday, December 19, 2004


ProjectSteps has been updated with a bright white font so the site is more readable. I have vacation this week so I will be busy working around the house and enjoying the Christmas holiday.

Have a very Merry Christmas

Monday, December 13, 2004

Can you hear me?

Do you manage your projects mostly from your desk? Are you falling into the trap of managing projects via e-mail, voice mail, fax, letter, and failing to communicate with your customers and stakeholders face-to-face?

People value one-on-one conversations. A project manager that doesn't spend significant time on his or her project speaking directly to their customers will not be as effective as the one the takes the time to conduct meetings in person.

As project managers we are selling "experiences" and "solutions". Can you effectively sell your ideas as a faceless e-mail machine? Can you "WOW" your customers with tired voice mails and bland status reports?

Good customers want to see you as much as possible. They want to feel your enthusiasm, experience your excitement, and have you tell them eye-to-eye that "it’s all good".

Don’t cower (and sour) behind your keyboard sending status reports and e-mails and think your are doing your job. You can't gain your customer's trust unless you speak with them one on one.

As Tom Peter says, "If there is nothing special about your won't get noticed, and that means you won't get paid much either".

It is hard to get noticed when people can't see you. BE VISIBLE!

Monday, December 06, 2004

What I Believe - Part II

When it comes to Project Management, "what I believe" is that we all must follow Stephen Covey's advice and continually "Sharpen the Saw". After reviewing the new version of PMI's "Guide to the PMBOK", I must say it is much more readable and logical. I spent some time recently sharpening the saw by reviewing the new PMBOK, and while it isn't a book you would want to curl up with on a cold winter's night, it is the foundational reference for Project Manager's everywhere and we all need to be familiar with its content and terminology.

The last few weeks have been challenging for me as a Project Manager. Uncooperative team members, hidden agendas, and scope change requests have been running amuck on my projects. Through it all I have relied on proven Project Management processes, techniques, and tools to help me through the rough spots and get my projects back on track.

As I develop an internal training course – Introduction to Project Management - I'm reminded that we all need to remember the basics of Project Management.

Do you have a signed-off Project Charter?
Do you have a Project Sponsor that is actively involved with your project?
Do you have a cohesive, high performing Project Team? How do you know?
Do you have a written Project Plan (word document)?
Do you have written, agreed upon Requirements?
Do you have a Cost and Schedule Baseline?
Do you have a Communication Plan?
Do you have an Implementation Plan?

Don't forget the "basics". Project Failure is often linked to neglecting one of the above items.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

What I Believe

Tom Peters is an inspiration to me. He brings so much passion to his beliefs and states them in a way like no one else. After reading his "This I Believe! - Tom's 60 TIBs" I became inspired to start a series entitled "What I Believe". I certainly don't have Tom's passion, nor do I have his brain power or writing abilities, but I do know "What I Believe" and I will attempt to pass some of those beliefs here (as I have in the past).

In the Project Management world What I Believe is the average project team member has a very low level of what I call "project success maturity". My experience has shown that many of the people I have worked with - or that have been assigned to my project - are only interested in themselves or their "silo" of responsibility. I have to say this is one of my greatest frustrations as a project manager. After saying that I also realize that this is my problem to solve.

When managing projects, I understand that I have to be the focal point of the energy, emotion, and passion that drives the project forward (and hopefully inspires those around me to see the bigger picture). If there are people on the team that don't want to play, and I and the other team members have made a concerted effort to get them on board to support the project, then they need to find somewhere else to play. I have no problem telling them that and helping to facilitate the process of having them removed from the team.

As Tom Peters says "... all quests worth undertaking - a Girl Scout merit badge or a Nobel Prize require audacity and willpower." To paraphrase Tom, we need to continually challenge conventional wisdom, accept the lumps, and persist until vicotry.

What I Believe? Be a great leader, be passionate about what you are doing, and always challenge assumptions.

Don't allow unmotivated, emotionally unintelligent people to change your course or dictate new rules.

Can I get an AMEN?