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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good Habits

‘Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.’ ~Benjamin Franklin

Monday, July 18, 2011

Organizations and Project Failure

Studies have shown there are lots of out of control projects in organizations.  One of the contributing factors to this fact is the lack of qualified project management professionals.  Many organizations tag people and assign them to run projects even though they have little to no project management experience.  We know that training alone does not make a project manager. It takes years of experience to build project management competence.  (KNOWLEDGE + EXPERIENCE = WISDOM)

Project management is a discipline, and as such requires people with self-discipline, and project management knowledge and experience to be successful.  Too many times organizations look at a person’s technical and/or functional skills and make the assumption they can train them in the project management basics.  They also wrongly assume these individuals will make a quick, smooth transition and be effective, capable project managers. You aren’t effective at anything if you aren’t measured against your performance.  Most “accidental” project managers fail miserably because they don’t have the experience, or aren’t interested in doing the job.

Immature organizations tend to add project management to people’s job function rather than recognizing that project management is a profession.  Organizations won’t be successful entrusting large complex projects to accidental project managers.  Organizations can help themselves by realizing that project management competence is measurable, and project management results are what really matter. 

Inconsistent project results are many times the result of having the wrong people planning the wrong things in the wrong order, and using the wrong resources at the wrong following the wrong process looking for the wrong results.

Competency at anything requires training, knowledge, and experience. Providing project management training without the benefit of ongoing mentoring is just asking for poor project results and dissatisfied customers.

In closing, project management is a profession.  Training alone doesn’t build professionalism.  It takes lots of time and varied experiences, and even then some people never become professional project managers.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Negotiating with Minimal Conflict

In the book "Field Guide to Project Management" by David I Cleland, there is a discussion on page 282 about "Conflict in Negotiations". As the book mentions, PMI (the Project Management Institute) outlines eight project management functions that can be a source of conflict.

To paraphrase from the book, the areas are:

Scope: what is to be done (results, products, services)

Quality: what measures, what steps to be taken

Cost: financial outcomes, savings, ROI

Time: deadlines, resources, when complete

Risk: what risks are accepted, avoided, deflected

Human Resources: what resources, what skills, availability, competency

Contract/Procurement: cost, requirements/specifications, when, how, what, where

Communications: when, how, to whom, contains what

There are several ways to approach handling conflict (see the Guide to the PMBOK), however the important point to keep in mind is we must confront the issue(s) and work with the individuals or groups to come to a win/win outcome.

Unresolved conflict can often lead to bitterness and resentment, which can linger and rise up later to sabotage your project.