Search This Blog

Monday, January 31, 2011

Project Managers Must Forgive Others and be Forgiven

Great words from Abraham Lincoln. I have a lot of work to do in this area.

"I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. For too long, every ounce of forgiveness I owned was locked away, hidden from view, waiting for me to bestow its precious presence upon some worthy person. Alas, I found most people to be singularly unworthy of my valuable forgiveness, and since they never asked for any, I kept it all for myself. Now, the forgiveness that I hoarded has sprouted inside my heart like a crippled seed yielding bitter fruit. No more. At this moment, my life has taken on new hope and assurance. Of all the world’s population, I am one of the few possessors of the secret to dissipating anger and resentment. I now understand that forgiveness has value only when it is given away. By the simple act of granting forgiveness, I release the demons of the past about which I can do nothing, and I create in myself a new heart, a new beginning. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.

"I will forgive even those who do not ask for forgiveness. Many are the times when I have seethed in anger at a word or deed thrown into my life by an unthinking or uncaring person. I have wasted valuable hours imagining revenge or confusion. Now I see the truth revealed about this psychological rock inside my shoe. The rage I nurture is often one-sided, for my offender seldom gives thought to his offense. I will now and forevermore silently offer my forgiveness even to those who do not see that they need it. By the act of forgiving, I am no longer consumed by unproductive thoughts. I give up my bitterness. I am content in my soul and effective again with my fellow man.

"I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive those who criticize me unjustly. Knowing that slavery in any form is wrong, I also know that the person who lives a life according to the opinion of others is a slave. I am not a slave. I have chosen my counsel.

"I know the difference between right and wrong. I know what is best for the future of my family, and neither misguided opinion nor unjust criticism will alter my course. Those who are critical of my goals and dreams simply do not understand the higher purpose to which I have been called. Therefore, their scorn does not affect my attitude or action. I forgive their lack of vision, and I forge ahead. I now know that criticism is part of the price paid for leaping past mediocrity.

"I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself. For many years, my greatest enemy has been myself. Every mistake, every miscalculation, every stumble I made has been replayed again and again in my mind. Every broken promise, every day wasted, every goal not reached has compounded the disgust I feel for the lack of achievement in my life.

"My dismay has developed a paralyzing grip. When I disappoint myself, I respond with inaction and become more disappointed. I realize today that it is impossible to fight an enemy living in my head. By forgiving myself, I erase the doubts, fears, and frustration that have kept my past in the present. From this day forward, my history will cease to control my destiny.

"I have forgiven myself.

"My life has just begun.

"I will forgive even those who do not ask for forgiveness.

"I will forgive those who criticize me unjustly.

"I will forgive myself.

"I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit."

-- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tom Peters: Seven-step Path to Sustaining Success

From Tom Peters post - Seven-step Path to Sustaining Success

You take care of the people.
The people take care of the service.
The service takes care of the customer.
The customer takes care of the profit.
The profit takes care of the re-investment.
The re-investment takes care of the re-invention.
The re-invention takes care of the future.
(And at every step the only measure is EXCELLENCE.)


Tom Peters makes it simple for the rest of us!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Project Customers

All projects must end.  Hopefully, they end with the customer and sponsor being happy with the project's deliverables.  A key thing to plan for on every project is how the customer will be managed after project implementation.

Many organizations rely on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to help them manage their customers. CRM systems have evolved to be must have tools for many organizations, and all project managers should be familiar with their capabilities and limitations.   Also, since many CRM systems are hosted in the cloud, the startup costs can be very reasonable.

Wikipedia defines Customer Relationship Management as "a widely-implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketingcustomer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service.[1] Customer relationship management describes a company-wide business strategy including customer-interface departments as well as other departments".

If you are interested in learning more about CRM systems, one company I have looked at is Hosted CRM from Sherweb.  If you have done business with them in the past, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Also, make sure you check out these great customer service jobs from Jobboom, a supporter of this blog.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You Have Issues

Issues are going to happen on your projects. What is an issue you may ask? I define a project issue as “any event or circumstance that could alter the project schedule, budget, scope, quality or otherwise impact a project in a negative way”.

To manage issues properly you must log them, and ensure they are resolved quickly so they don’t negatively affect your project. Managing project issues is a very simple process; however we need to follow a few guidelines. Steps to take include:

Identify the Issue

This should always be done in writing. Any project team member can submit an issue to the project manager, however the project manager may choose to ignore the issue or even alter the project scope depending on circumstances.

Review the Issue

Review the issue with all concerned. Prioritize the issue and access any risks.

Log the Issue and assign ownership

When creating an issues log include at a minimum:

Write a clear and concise issue description 

Prioritize the issue based upon potential impact(s) to the project or deliverables 

Capture the date the issue was opened, date issue is expected to be resolved, and actual resolved date

Note the person responsible for resolving the issue (don’t make this a group or team. Always specify a person here.)

Have a notes column to log updates about the issue

Issue Monitoring

Request that issue owners update the issues log (or send you updates) at least weekly. Review the issues list with all core team members on a regular basis.

Issue Closure

When an issue is resolved, update the issues log with any pertinent information and close the issue.

A good issue management process will let the project sponsor know when and where issues are occurring. Additionally, an issues list is a great way to communicate to the project stakeholders about problems or concerns that are being addressed by the team. Many times an issue can cause a Scope Change Request to be generated if the issue isn’t properly managed.

In closing, conduct regular reviews of all open issues with the team and review progress towards resolving the issues. Manage issues daily, and work to resolve them quickly so they don’t become major problems on your project.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Great Article by Harold Kerzner, Ph.Dl, PMP

Click here to view the article entitled: Twenty Common Mistakes Made by New or Inexperienced Project Managers By Harold Kerzner, Ph.D., PMP

Links to the above post by Dr. Harold Kerzner have been published in several places, but I wanted to share it here too for those that haven't seen it.  This is an awesome document that will help both new and experience project managers.

I have a couple of Dr. Kerzner's books and they are all excellent.  One of his best books is listed below:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Do You Use Business Cases to Justify Your Projects?

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.

Rule # 1 -  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 story one of the first things to define is the benefits (the value) the product(s) of the business case will bring. These value statements should be specific, brief, 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 a change needed now to address the problem? 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?  Are there alternative solutions that would cost less?

There are many more questions to be answered when developing a business case, however answering the questions above will get you off to a good start.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Project Communications Planning

Project Communications Planning is a process that is continuous throughout a project. When building your initial Project Communications plan focus on the following:

Define Your Audiences - Who needs to know What, and When and How do they need to know it. Communication needs and audiences will change as the project moves forward. Plan for it.

Start from the Top and Work Your Way Down the Chain - Start your Communications with the highest levels of the organization first, then work your way down to the team members. Repeat this cycle.

Target Your Message to the Different Groups - Different groups (and sometimes individuals) may require different types of communications media (e-mail, status reports, web site, face-to-face, memo, etc.). Plan for these different types of communications vehicles up front.

Define Roles and Responsibilities - Ensure that your Project Communications Plan includes Roles and Responsibilities for key stakeholders.

Status Reports - Status Reports are a great form of Project Communication if kept short and to the point.

Repetitive Messages will be Required - The same message delivered using different mechanisms and sources will help to reinforce your message.

Anticipate Conflict - Tailor your communications to overcome Conflict before it occurs. Keep in mind that Conflict will always occur on a project. Conflict needs to be anticipated and managed continuously throughout the project.

Allow for Anonymous Feedback - Create a way for people to relay their positive and negative feedback anonymously.

Project Managers need to recognize that good communication is important because it helps to reduce conflict, increases information distribution, and helps to silence critics while reinforcing the positive aspects of your project.