Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Project Management is about the Journey and the Destination

I like to use the ProjectSteps blog to vent, and hopefully, every once in a while, I pass on some small piece of useful information to another person. It is hard to know sometimes if anybody is benefiting from my ramblings, but like all free advice it is worth what you paid for it. There was an article published recently that said keeping a blog is therapeutic. I believe there may be some truth to that statement, and that is why I will probably keep the blog going. I need a place to vent my opinion, and occasionally rail against the “demons of stupidity”.

We are in a tough economy right now and It is having a big impact on the area where I live and on the organization I work for. We are struggling to make meaningful cuts (tens of millions of dollars) to achieve savings that will balance our budget. At my workplace people are losing their jobs, and as we all know this is a very upsetting and troubling process to watch. I have faith that I can work my way through this situation and still find time to give back to others in need. These are tough times that may get tougher and we have to all pull together and do what we can for each other.

I feel blessed to have a job and I’m thankful to have a roof over my head and two great kids. I have hope for my career, my country and believe that both will get back on track to better times soon. Sometimes hope and faith are the only things that we have under our control. I believe that while faith can be fleeting, hope lasts forever.

In the end, we all are in charge of our own destiny and our own success. In tough times it takes effort to keep your head in the game and stay focused. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that the career of a project manager can have great rewards, but it can also be filled with great frustrations and experiences that are less than rewarding. My point? Tough times and times of uncertainty require mental toughness and a strong resolve to do the right things at the right times for the right reasons.

In closing I would like to say we lost a good man when Tim Russert passed away. I will miss seeing him and hearing his wisdom on Sunday mornings. Also, I can’t forget George Carlin who also passed away last week. While controversial, Mr. Carlin told it like it was and also loved to rail against the “demons of stupidity”. I will miss them both.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Reward Excellent Failures!

Another great video from Tom Peters! I agree with everything he says in this video to my core.

Do you have a comment? Leave it here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Case for a Business Case

Before a project is started, there should always be a business case. Without a business case that defines the problem(s) you are trying to solve and what success looks like your project will start on very shaky ground. Remember, the business case is always written by the organization receiving the benefits.

A business case is nothing more than a story. As you begin to write your business case one of the first things you must define is the benefits (the value) the product(s) of the business case will bring. This value statement should be specific and brief, and additionally the business benefits must be clear and measurable.

Here are some basic questions that must always be answered when developing a business case. They are:

What is the problem you are trying to solve? What are the gaps between where you are and where you want to go? What are the assumptions? What will it cost?

What is the ROI (Return on Investment) and how long will it take to recoup the investment?

When did the problem first appear? How long has it been happening? What is it costing you?

Where is the problem occurring?

Who is impacted?

Why is there a problem? What is causing the problem and what is the effect? Why is it needed now? How big is the problem?

How will solving or minimizing the problem save money or add value? How will you measure the value?

Are the business case’s benefits worth it? Are they realistic?

There are many more questions to be answered when developing a business case, however answering the questions above will get you off to a great start. Also, there are templates available in the Project Management community that can help your organization put together a business case that makes sense for your needs and requirements.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Refreshing Break?

Ok, I’m trying to make the blog a little more fun from time to time. Check out the video below.

How To Build A Mentos And Diet Coke Booby Trap

Does your boss drink Coke?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Listening and Respect

I used to work for a guy that spent most of his time checking his e-mail during meetings with his staff, and during one-on-one conversations. He never really cared what others were saying because his responses to questions and his off-hand comments would always deflect to what he wanted to discuss and rarely would he address the other person's ideas or inquiries. I still think of him as one of the most disrespectful and arrogant people I have known.

Looking back, I think he is insecure and uncomfortable communicating face-to-face, which would explain why 98% of his communications to his staff and peers is via e-mail. His poor listening and communication skills hurt his credibility with others, and cause many of of his ideas to be rejected or considered to have little merit. You see when you tend not to respect and listen to others, they tend not to respect or listen to you. It is a shame people like him hold powerful "leadership" positions. Great leaders must be incredible communicators, and must be respectful of others at all times.

Watch this very short video of Tom Peters explain how we can ensure we are showing proper respect to others.

Remember, give people the time they deserve and really listen to them. To be honest, I am guilty of not listening well all the time, but I'm aware of it and I'm trying continuously to improve these skills.