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Monday, January 30, 2012

Simple Problem Management Tips

Stand up for your team members. If other team members, individuals, or groups outside your team are leveling unfair criticism on your team, get out in front of the issue and defend your team.

Admit your mistakes. Do not allow pride or ego to prevent you from admitting your mistakes.

Take charge when needed. Some situations will solve themselves; others may require you to step in. Know when to get involved and when to stay on the sideline.

Fix problems quickly. Do not worry about assigning blame. Fix the problem first before trying to find the root cause.

Separate yourself from the problem – Learn to see problems from different perspectives. Learn to look for causes.

Take time to know the facts. Do not prescribe before you diagnose. Take the time to gather all the facts before you rush to judgment.

Retain control of your emotions. Do not let anger cloud your judgment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top Ten Project Management Trends for 2012 by ESI

ESI Announces Top 10 Project Management Trends for 2012
Collaboration Gains Importance as Project Complexity Grows

ARLINGTON, VA, USA – Jan. 5, 2012 – As the project environment grows in complexity, project management will require team, stakeholder and executive collaboration in 2012 like never before. On-the-job application of training, custom-made project approaches, innovative project tools and smarter resource management will be essential for driving the greatest business impact. Not only project management, but also the definition of “project success” has changed to encompass more than the triple constraint. Collaboration is a common theme throughout many of the 2012 Top 10 Trends for project management, which were determined by a global panel of ESI International senior executives and subject matter experts.
1.     Program management will gain momentum, but resources remain in short supply
Increasingly, large initiatives undertaken by corporations and government agencies are being recognized for what they are and aren’t: namely programs, not projects, which require a highly advanced set of skills supported by appropriate tools and methods to successfully execute. Yet many organizations struggle to find the right people and lack the management practices necessary to ensure success. In 2012 we will see more investments made in competency models, training, methodology development, tool use, and career pathing to ensure that professionals who carry the title Program Manager are fit for the role.

2.     Collaboration software solutions will become  an essential business tool for project teams
The proliferation of collaborative software in the project environment such as SharePoint® is going to intensify in 2012. Fueled by increasingly complex and virtual projects as well as tightened budgets, today’s environment demands a more efficient way to manage communication and workflow. Collaboration is central to project management and having a site which allows project artifacts to be created, shared, and distributed within a repository that provides Web-based access and critical functions such as automatic distribution and notification, version control, and user authentication, greatly enhances productivity.
3.     Learning transfer will become the new mantra, but with little structured application
Learning transfer–the ability to apply training back on the job--will continue to be on the minds of PMO heads and learning and development (L&D) professionals who want their project managers to return from training ready to apply what they learned immediately and accurately to their projects. While L&D and business heads agree that sustained learning is a sound idea, very few organizations will invest in a formal process to make it happen. In 2012 we will see many organizations discussing the importance of learning transfer without really putting in place a structured approach to ensure it happens.

4.     Agile blends with waterfall for a new “hybrid” approach
Having moved from “manifesto to mainstream,” Agile has confronted project teams with the difficulty of implementing the experimental and hyper-collaborative approach. To transition an organization into fully adopting certain aspects of Agile, project teams are combining traditional and Agile elements to create their own hybrid approach. In areas such as planning, requirements, and team communication, organizations are designing custom-made methodologies to do what works for them.

5.     Smarter project investments will require a stronger marriage between project management and business process management (BPM)     
In the financial services industry, and specifically in the insurance sector, there will be a continued laser-like focus on performing business processes as efficiently as possible to drive down operating costs. The philosophy of BPM is fast becoming a key factor in project selection. When new projects are proposed, their value will be judged to a large extent on the impact they will have on the organization’s business processes. The more impact the project has on reducing internal costs, the higher it will be ranked. The “smart” money will be spent on driving costs out of the business. Given the high premium being placed on efficient processes delivered through projects, BPM is a key concept with which project managers will need to be intimately familiar.
6.     Internal certifications in corporations and federal agencies will eclipse the PMP®
With roughly 470,000 Project Management Professional (PMP®) credentials having  been awarded worldwide thus far, the PMP® remains the most popular and ubiquitous credential on the planet. However, it is not the prominent credential everywhere. In the U.S. government as well as Fortune 500 corporations, a hierarchy of “internal” credentials has overshadowed the PMP® in terms of prominence. To be sure, the PMP® remains important, but it is now just one rung on the career ladder to get to the top.
7.     More PMO heads will measure effectiveness on business results
While introducing tools, using methodologies, mapping project management practices, sending project managers to training, and increasing the number of PMP®s in the organization are important metrics for a PMO head to collect and report on, they do not speak to the effectiveness of the PMO from a business perspective. To judge business effectiveness, PMO heads need to determine if their work has had a positive, quantifiable effect on the business in terms of troubled project reduction, lower project manager attrition, and faster time to market. In 2012 the practice of measuring the outputs, not the inputs, of project management will gain traction.

8.     Good project managers will buck unemployment trends
Even though unemployment is at record levels in many countries, good project managers are hard to find. Recruiting continues even in tough economies and organizations need individuals who can perform the basics flawlessly. The hunger for project management basics, in particular risk management, will continue to surge in 2012, especially in such countries as India and China where project manager attrition rates are disturbingly high and continuous training of new staff is critical.
9.     Client-centric project management will outpace the “triple constraint”
For years, time, cost and scope were the metrics upon which the success of all projects and their managers were judged. While the triple constraints remain important, they are no longer the be-all-and-end-all for project success. While risk and quality have also been cited as additional “constraints,” the clear trend in 2012 is the value the project delivers to the organization. The new definition of project success is that a project can exceed its time and cost estimates so long as the client determines that it is successful by whatever criteria they use. In today’s environment, project value is determined by the “recipient”—or client—not the “provider.”

10.  HR professionals will seek assessments to identify high-potential project managers
Because project management is such an important function, human resources professionals will be tasked more intensely with identifying high-potential project managers in 2012. The challenge HR professionals will face is that there is no ‘silver bullet’ assessment for identifying great project managers. Existing knowledge and skills assessments are of little use since they are not designed for entry-level project manager positions. Nonetheless, candidates must be measured not only on their technical abilities, but also on the all-important business and interpersonal skills. To the best of our knowledge, no one has yet developed such an assessment, but HR professionals will continue, and intensify, their assessment search this year.

“From the ascendancy of social media to the structured implementation of collaboration tools by the PMO and the steady rise of communities of practice, we are fast approaching a tipping point,” said J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, Executive Vice President, Product Strategy & Management, ESI International “Those project organizations that don’t exploit such collaborative channels and technology will risk missing the most promising combination of force multipliers of the decade.”

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About ESI International
ESI, a subsidiary of Informa plc (LSE:INF), helps people around the world improve the way they manage projects, contracts, requirements and vendors through innovative project management trainingbusiness analysis training and contract management training. In addition to ESI’s more than 100 courses delivered in more than a dozen languages at hundreds of locations worldwide, ESI offers several certificate programs through our educational partner, The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1981, ESI’s worldwide headquarters are in Arlington, Va., USA. To date, ESI’s programs have benefited more than 1.35 million professionals worldwide. For more information visit

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ten Keys to Civility

A local foundation here in Florida, USA has developed a set of "Ten Keys to Civility".  These are a perfect set of guiding principles for the project manager. Click here to view their website and find out more.

Respect Others - Honor other people and their opinions, especially in the midst of a disagreement. 

Think Positively - Keep an open mind and assume others have good intentions.

Pay Attention - Be aware and attend to the world and the people around you.

Make a Difference - Get involved.

Speak Kindly - Choose not to spread or listen to gossip.

Say Thank You - Let others know they are appreciated.

Accepts Others - Our differences are what make us interesting.

Rediscover Silence - Keep noise to a minimum.

Listen - Focus on others in order to better understand their points of view.

Keep Your Cool - Accept life's challenges with grace.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Quick Tips for the New Week

Get up earlier

Go to bed later

Work harder

Finish what you start

Learn one new thing

Renew one contact

Ask, "How can I help you?" at least once

Make yourself visible

Be of good cheer

Say "Thank You" at least once a day

Repeat tomorrow

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Reminders for the Project Manager

Show appreciation - thanking people for their assistance is not only the right thing to do it is expected.

Listen effectively - think before speaking. Listen attentively. Make the person feel like they are the only thing you are focusing on.

Give credit to others - always give credit where credit is due.

Don't be negative - negative people can kill team creativity. Eliminate them from your team if possible.

Have a work/life balance - don't forget that all work and no play makes for a dull life.

Don't have hidden agendas - they are only hidden for a while, and most people realize what you are doing.

Be willing to publicly admit your failures - there is nothing more pathetic than the person that never admits a mistake.

Talk about the problem not the person - don't personalize problems and make them about a person or group. Be willing to focus on only on the problem.

If you lie down with dogs you will get fleas - be careful of your relationships in the workplace. Trust, but verify.

Don't gossip - gossip can hurt careers and projects. Don't participate in gossip and don't allow it on your team.

Use Empathy not Sympathy when dealing with delicate issues - Empathic listening is listening with intent to understand. Sympathetic listening is a form of agreement and judgement.

Diagnose before your prescribe - if people don't have confidence in your diagnosis, they won't have confidence in your prescription

Keep your commitments and promises - enough said.

Remember while you are free to choose your actions, you aren't free to choose the consequence of those actions.