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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Final thoughts for 2005

As the year comes to a close, I thought it would be a good time to review my professinal goals for 2005, which I posted here at the beginning of the year. They were:
  1. Be a better listener
  2. Apply the principles of Earned Value to more of my projects
  3. Begin each project with the end (deliverables) in mind
  4. Rely less on e-mail and more on face-to-face conversations
  5. Be a better Project Leader
  6. Accept the fact that criticism from others is part of the project life cycle
  7. Be willing to accept failures and use them as learning experiences
  8. Believe that most people on your project team are doing the best they can do
  9. Be positive, enthusiastic, and supportive of others

I made good progress towards achieving some of the goals, but I need to work harder on some of the others. The only true measurement of my performance comes from my peers, management, and project stakeholders.

Looking back over 2005 I would sum up the year by saying it was at times frustrating, rewarding, confusing, challenging, but overall worth the time and effort. We probably all can agree that being a good project manager is difficult, however good is not enough. We must be great project managers is we are to be successful. The culture we work in will greatly impact just how good or great we will be, however we are ultimately the ones that determine our own success.

Have a Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dr. Kerzner's 16 Points to PM Maturity

Have you heard of Dr. Kerzner? If not, you must be new to project management. One of my Project Management books is written by Dr. Kerzner - Project Management - A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling. If you don't have this book in your library, get it. If you are new to project management you will find his book to be an invaluable reference. You can purchase a copy of his book from by clicking the link above.

One of the things I find valuable that Dr. Kerzner created is his "16 Points to Project Management Maturity". They are listed below and discussed in the book mentioned above.

1. Adopt a project management methodology and use it consistently

2. Implement a philosophy that drives the company toward project management maturity and communicate to everyone

3. Commit to developing effective plans at the beginning of each project

4. Minimize scope changes by committing to realistic objectives

5. Recognize that cost and schedule management are inseparable

6. Select the right person as project manager

7. Provide executives with project sponsor information, not project management information

8. Strenghten involvement and support of line management

9. Focus on deliverable rather than resources

10. Cultivate effective communication, cooperation, and trust to achieve rapid project management maturity

11. Share recognition for project success with the entire project team and line management

12. Eliminate non-productive meetings

13. Focus on identifying and solving problems early, quickly, and cost effectively

14. Measure progress periodically

15. Use project management software as a tool - not as a subsitute for effective planning or interpersonal skills

16. Institute an all-employee training program with periodic updates based upon documented lessons learned

Until next time...

Stephen F. Seay, PMP

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Paradoxes of Project Management

In Tom Peter's book "Liberation Management", (Peters, Tom. Liberation Management. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1992) he talks about the paradoxes of project management. In the book Tom outlines a few things we need to keep in mind when managing our projects.

Total Ego versus No Ego - On the one hand, project managers must be consumed by the project before them. On the other hand, they must have almost no ego. They deal with many outsiders and insiders whom they can hardly command. This means the project manager must take a smaller share of the credit for accomplishments and give a larger share of the credit to other participants.

Autocrat versus Delegator - When the chips are down, the project manager must issue orders fast. At the same time, the project managers must turn ownership over to the contributors.

Leader versus Manager - Effective project managers must match their passion for inspiring others with a passion for the grubby nuts and bolts of doing the job.

Oral versus Written Communication - Communicating orally and on the run comes easily to effective project managers. But, the must also be masters of the detailed plan and the daily checklist.

Complexity versus Simplicity - Nothing is more complex than dealing with a sophisticated, multi-organization project. The effective project manager must juggle, sometimes for years, hundreds of balls of differing and ever-changing shapes, sizes, and colors. On the other hand, the project manager must be adept at keeping it simple.

Big versus Small - Project managers must appreciate forests and trees equally. They must be able to see the relationship of the small to the big and the big to the small, and do so at every moment simultaneously.

Patience versus impatience - Smart, independent leaders spend lots of time on relationship building and networking. This is a s important as pushing project participants for action.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I value the insight of Tom Peters. I believe he hit the nail right on the head in regard to a Project Manager's behavior when managing projects.

Until next time...