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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can You See Me Now?

Do you manage your projects mostly from your desk? Are you falling into the trap of managing projects via e-mail, voice mail, fax, letter, and failing to communicate with your customers and stakeholders face-to-face?

People value one-on-one conversations. A project manager that doesn't spend significant time on his or her project speaking directly to their customers will not be as effective as the one the takes the time to conduct meetings in person.

As project managers we are selling "experiences" and "solutions". Can you effectively sell your ideas as a faceless e-mail machine? Can you "WOW" your customers with tired voice mails and bland status reports?

Good customers want to see you as much as possible. They want to feel your enthusiasm, experience your excitement, and have you tell them eye-to-eye that "it’s all good".

Don’t cower (and sour) behind your keyboard sending status reports and e-mails and think your are doing your job. You can't gain your customer's trust unless you speak with them one on one.

As Tom Peter says, "If there is nothing special about your won't get noticed, and that means you won't get paid much either".

It is hard to get noticed when people can't see you. BE VISIBLE!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Keep Hope Alive

Practice hope. As hopefulness becomes a habit, you can achieve a permanently happy spirit - Norman Vincent Peale

Monday, February 13, 2012

Office Gossip

This Soviet war poster conveys the message: "Don't chatter! Gossiping borders on treason" (1941).

According to Marilyn Haight, at Office Politics “is the use of one's individual or assigned power within an employing organization for the purpose of obtaining advantages beyond one's legitimate authority.” Those advantages may include access to tangible assets, or intangible benefits such as status or pseudo-authority that influences the behavior of others. Both individuals and groups may engage in Office Politics."

I think most people would agree that those participating in office politics seek to gain an advantage. Being a skillful office politician may get you recognized or promoted, but it may also come at the expense of your or another’s integrity.

Remember, gossip is usually destructive (at a minimum unfair) to somebody, and should be discouraged whenever possible. If we are honest, we would all admit that we participate in office gossip. We need to limit office gossip to be the exception, not the norm in our daily conversations with others.

Be accountable for your words in the workplace. Work should be fun and our work relationships should be positive and healthy. Healthy work relationships are dependent on gossip being kept to a minimum.

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Perfect (IT) Project Manager

I have a book entitled “What Makes a Good Project Manager” by James S. Pennypacker and Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin. In the book, there is a reference to a ComputerWorld article that discusses “The Perfect Project Manager”. The consensus of the article was in the world of Information Technology (IT) there are three general areas of Project Management competency: Technology, Business, and Behavior (in no certain order).

One of the CIOs interviewed in the ComputerWorld article stated “in order to motivate IT workers, you need … an understanding of human behavior and how to motivate teams.” Do not miss this important point. Project Managers are primarily team leaders, motivators, and communicators. Project Managers will not be successful managing IT projects if they do not have an understanding of basic human behavior.

It has also been determined there are three Project Management skills that are required for success in IT:

General Management Skills

Project Management Skills

IT Management Skills

Under General Management, the key areas of expertise are (not in order):

Thinking Skills

Organizational Awareness


Interpersonal Relations

Communication Skills

Many companies are now interviewing Project Managers placing a heavy emphasis on character traits versus professional competencies. These companies realize if a Project Manager cannot get along well with others and have poor communication skills they will not be successful.

The key to project success is having a competent project manager and the number one competency of a project manager is honesty. Research has shown that projects are more likely to fail because the human elements are not managed. In order to mitigate this type of risk project managers need to develop skills that support sound decision-making, good communications, motivational techniques, and conflict management.