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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Free Project Management Planning Tips

Most projects that fail, were failures before they started

Your project stakeholders are your best allies or your worst enemies – you decide

If your project plan hasn’t changed – be afraid

Ask for help, advice, assistance...from everyone! – early and often

Focus first on delivering the benefits then focus on costs

Don’t own the project, own the process

Document all valid assumptions

Don't allow jerks to work on your project....ever

Make friends not war

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

E-mail Rules for Project Managers

High volumes of e-mail can be overwhelming. In the course of managing a long project a project manager can receive thousands of e-mails. To manage this level of e-mails we need some rules.

If you have time, there is a great video on this subject by Merlin Mann entitled "Inbox Zero". I have created a link to Merlin's video at the end of this posting.

E-mail rules for Project Managers

1) Ensure your inbox messages are viewable in one screen. This means you should not have to scroll your Inbox window to see all your messages. To clean up your current inbox you may need a few hours (or a few days if you have thousands of e-mails in your inbox), but the effort is worth it in the long run.

2) Scrub your e-mail inbox using some of the same rules that exist for cleaning up the paper on your desk. These rules are simple: Act on It, File It, or Throw it Away.

a.) Act on it - Act on the individual e-mail now or if there is not time then schedule the time on your calendar to review it later. Also, you can create a “Pending” folder for e-mails you can’t act on because you are waiting on more information. Schedule time regularly to review your "Pending" e-mail folder. Lastly, delegate the message and ensure you set a date to follow-up

b.) File It - Decide if you need to keep it. If so, ensure you have setup a logical e-mail folder structure so you can find your e-mails quickly in the future

c.) Throw It Away If the e-mail is not needed then hit “Delete”. The "delete" key can be very liberating

3.) Decide on a schedule to check your e-mail and stick to it (twice a day, every three hours, etc.). Be willing to adjust the schedule as you find what works for you. Don’t be one of those dorks that checks their e-mail device every time it vibrates. You probably aren't that important and neither is the e-mail you might be receiving

4.) For all important communications call the person(s), don’t send an e-mail.

5.) Don’t reply to the same e-mail more than twice. Pick up the phone or go talk to person face-to-face

6.) Setup time on your calendar each week to manage your e-mail

Finally, check out Merlin Mann's great video about managing your e-mail entitled "Inbox Zero" by clicking here

End of Project Survey Template - Repaired Link

Click here for a direct link to the document that was discussed in last week's post. Some people had problems viewing the document because of permissions.


Friday, May 15, 2009

End of Project Surveys are Important

Measuring customer satisfaction at the end of the project is critical. I recently started using a new Post Implementation Project Survey document. I send the document to all key stakeholders just after the project's completion.

Is the document useful to you? Is it too long? Is there questions you would ask that aren't listed?

Click here to review the document, and please take the time to leave me some feedback.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Corporate Purpose and Core Values

I came across this last year on the Internet. I thought it was worth sharing. I changed the company name to XYZ.


Purpose and Core Values

Building a Better World: We better the lives of those we touch and improve communities around the world through our personal and professional contributions.

Our employees are our greatest assets and we will grow, inspire and protect them.

XYZ is committed to actively encouraging diversity through our people and our activities, as we truly believe in the value of a diverse workforce to both inspire our people and grow our business.

We will be uncompromising in our determination to achieve product excellence and, in turn, improve the world's quality of life. Our everyday work is focused on reducing impacts to the environment and improving focus on reducing impacts to the environment and improving society, while meeting client needs with superior project design and delivery.

We are committed to being involved citizens, both as a business and as individuals, in improving the communities where we reside and work. We want to leave a positive legacy in the communities we work in.

Our reputation as a trustworthy business partner is critical to our business success. Honesty, professionalism, ethical behavior, and integrity with our staff and clients. Our reputation with them is paramount to our success as is our technical leadership reputation.

Our business goals are only met when mutually we make our clients successful and we are fairly rewarded. By getting all these right, delivered through our project management, quality, safety, health and environmental management systems, we serve our clients' needs successfully.


WOW, this sounds like an organization that is focused on the right things.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Competency and the Project Manager

Competency can also be called - Ability, Capableness, Ableness, Capacity, etc...

Knowledge + Skills + Attitude = Competency

Knowledge - Awareness or comprehension acquired by study or experience

Skills - Ability to apply knowledge

Attitude - State of mind or feeling

One of my favorite formulas is: Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom

What is your Competency Rating?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Don't Follow a Bad Leader

Leadership = Purpose + Direction + Motivation + Coaching + Passion + Character + Trustworthiness + Discipline + Communication

I witness poor leadership behaviors all the time. It amazes me that these scoundrels have followers. People that follow bad leaders are a lot like sheep following a shepard. Don't follow a bad leader. Break out from the flock and look for a leader that wants you to succeed.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Characteristics of a Successful Organizational Culture - Part 2

Signs your organization's culture is healthy

Change is not seen as a goal but a journey

An individual’s status in the organization is gained because of their results ...and methods ...and communications, not their role or title

People have fun at work

People become more willing to speak their minds

All levels of the organization come together to solve problems

Risk taking is encouraged

Project management is taken seriously

Senior staff and executives are visible, available, and relevant

There are blurred lines between organizational groups and departments

External employee concerns (home, family, school) are part of the organization’s agenda

Teams evaluate themselves and other teams

Teams determine who is on or off “the team”

Executives and senior managers that show anti-social behavior or who are not team players are told to seek work elsewhere

People manage themselves

People doing the work are looked upon as experts on how the work should be done

Organizational decisions, rewards, and results are shared openly

There are formal and explicit links and work rules between internal groups

Managers are visible, informed, and accountable

Team assessments are used to measure a Team’s success

There is a new paradigm about what the organization owes the employee and what the employee owes the organization

The gap between potential and performance is reduced (must be measured by outsiders)

Teams replace supervisors

Information is shared about the organization’s failures, problems, successes, and opportunities

People smile more and like coming to work

People discuss then decide

Trust, Respect, Integrity, and Truthfulness are not an option

People are eager and willing to learn new things

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Characteristics of a Successful Organizational Culture

Culture can be described as a set of behaviors that are refined and are used or sought after by people in their group. Cultural behaviors are a set of shared ideas and beliefs that are associated with a way of life.

In highly effective enterprises, cultures tend to have the following characteristics. There are many more, but these are some that come to mind:

Leaders lead and teach others to be leaders

A positive attitude is displayed by key managers and leaders

The organization's plans, policies, procedures, rules, and strategic direction are well documented and discussed at all levels of the organization

The opinions of employees are valued and they believe they are key members of the larger enterprise team

Work teams are encouraged to develop solutions to organizational problems

Continuous improvement is a part of the way business is done

The organization believes in and practices a philosophy of creativity and innovation

Professional politicians are looked at as a liability

Interdependent relationships are numerous and exist at all levels of the organization

Employees are recognized for their achievements

Feedback is continuous and two-way

Senior managers are visible and available

Resourse planning is practiced continuously

There is "Systems Thinking"

There is a shrinking gap between organizatinal potential and performance (and it is measured)

Team members evaluate the performance of their team as a whole and eliminate unproductive members that are unwilling to perform at acceptable levels

Senior management understands that the people doing the work are the ones that know how the work should be done

Managers are facilitators and coaches

Moral is high and people are satisfied with their jobs

People are committed to the organization's goals and to their work groups success

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Kayaking in Florida

Had a great time kayaking this weekend here in Florida.

Click picture to enlarge