Month: August 2017

Meetings: The ultimate time-suck and what to do about them | TED Blog – re-post

At the beginning of my career, i worked in a team where the team leader will have morning meetings every day.  He missed none and expected all team members to be there on time, even if they had to leave the hospital with a drip in their veins. It’s a bit of an exaggeration but we all met in our professional lives bosses-fans-of-meetings. I now understand the reason he was so adamant about it: it was matching his command-and-control type of leadership and he believed it was good for the team discipline. It worked. The project did bring results. Back then electronic means of communication were largely science-fiction so personal interaction was pretty much the only control tool he had in his arsenal.

I love to attend meetings when the objective is clear and all are committed to respecting others’ time. I also organised numerous team meetings with a variety of objectives: for instance, progress review, check-in, decision-making meetings. I will not pretend all meetings I organised achieved their objective and that was fine as it gave me a number of lessons-learned I carry in my tools box.

As September approaches and the work will get speedier after Summer breaks, their majesties – The Meetings – will make their entrance. If you are looking for inspiration on how to have meaningful, productive and beneficial meetings, here is a number of great tips and a great variety for inspiration:

The big idea: Meetings, the ultimate time-suck, and how to fix them

Enjoy reading and watching!

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New Managers Should Focus on Helping Their Teams, Not Pleasing Their Bosses -re-post

I loved the article. It is in line with my intrinsic philosophy and values. Team members deserve to feel and know that they come first. I also find it important to communicate this to bosses for a mutually supportive environment for both the new manager and the teams.

Thank you for the inspiration: New Managers Should Focus on Helping Their Teams, Not Pleasing Their Bosses by Karen Dillon, JULY 07, 2017, Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2017/07/new-managers-should-focus-on-helping-their-teams-not-pleasing-their-bosses

Recovering troubled projects

When i recovered the first project about ten years ago i did not know this kind of projects are called ‘troubled’. Couple of years latter i enrolled in a training called “Recovering troubled projects’ by PMI where the ‘Aha!” moment descended upon me: this is what i did! i recovered a troubled project! And the professional pride went up 10 points :).

The recovery of a troubled project is very much an emergency room type of execution:

1. assess the status of the project to identify reasons of failure and bottlenecks in both the internal and external environment;

2. based on the diagnosis, prepare and agree a recovery plan,

3. execute,

4. monitor,

5. follow-through to the objective set. With a cake and a bottle of champagne, if that’s in order.

Recovering a troubled project requires twice the effort and the commitment on all sides:  the team, the sponsor, the client. It requires trouble-shooters abilities. A project manager will also have to deal with a likely low-morale of the team, if the team is still there. Or a new team, with its own – unknown – dynamics.

If you are looking for inspiration:

Project Management on remote control: relationship building


– Hi! Where are you?

– at work.

– what are you doing?

– seating behind my desk.

If a project manager is at the answering end in this dialogue, i would become worried.

Projects lives are outside project manager’s office. A site to inspect. A group of people to meet. A team’s office to go to. We live in an era where more and more project work is done long distance – by e-mail or by phone, or “on remote control”, as i call them. A project manager cannot really barge into the team’s room, when located miles away. Unless he/she has super powers to get there in a blink of an eye or can teleport the team.

In today’s globalisation, “relationship building, paradoxically, becomes more crucial than ever”, the authors of the “The New Leaders” book believe. Since working on remote control projects, my awareness of it became even more acute. I am on email at least 75% of time. When signs of potential misunderstandings arise, i pick up the phone or call for a skype call.

I also have created a tradition of “Friday Delight”. It is an exchange by email with members of the team on a variety of issues of common interest, for example, highlights of a training they went on. Or i just ask them to send to all their favourte tune of the week, inspired by Taylor “The Project manager who smiles”. It’s a good indicator of their mood, usually. Through Friday Delight, we also learn about team members’ important life events, such as marriage for instance. I found that it builds a sense of rapport. If for some weeks i do not initiate an email with ” Friday Delight ” in the subject line, i get messages from members of the team reading ” i miss Friday Delight”.

Stay close. Build relations. Enjoy it together.

 

 

The 4 Types of Project Manager – re-post

I came across this intriguing article “The 4 Types of Project Manager” by Carsten Lund Pedersen and Thomas Ritterv in Harvard Business Review.

According to this article, the four types of project managers are:

  1. Gambler
  2. Prophet
  3. Executor
  4. Expert

The audience of the article is top executives.The article claims any organisation would need a few of each to identity and pursue growth opportunities and that it is the executives duties to identify the right type of project managers for the types of projects to be implemented.

I do not like categories and i am biased when it comes to project managers categories (clearly! exclaims my professional pride). Thanks to Daniel Kahneman (“Thinking, fast and slow” book) i understand that it is a psychological fact – to judge and categorise. It has to do with human brain biases. Putting aside my initial reaction to categories, after having read the description of the four types i realised that i a might be mutating as a project manager. I can be any and all at the same time. Almost a self-proclaimed Wonder Project Manager (you get the self-ironic tone here).

Reading it from the project manager’s perspective, the article gives ammunition to project managers when in a position to ask for a particular project to be assigned to them. Enjoy reading and enjoy managing your projects with the best of your skills!

The 4 Types of Project Manager

JULY 27, 2017

Assessment: Are You Taking the Time Off That You Need? Re-post

To all auditors friends on vacation:

In an auditors firm: on Monday evening at 6pm one of auditors would turn of his computer and leave. Everyone else was too busy to notice. He did the same on Tuesday at 6pm. Colleagues exchanged looks. On Wednesday, when he was about to turn off his computer, one of colleagues asked pretentiously:

– what are you doing? We are watching you since Monday.  How can you leave at 6 pm?

– i am on leave since Monday!

To all project managers friends on leave:

– mom, aren’t you late for work?
– i’ll be on time. It’s fine whenever i get there. I am on leave.
My vacation this year 🙂 Moral of this post: do what i preach, not what i do.

Thanks for the inspiration:

Harvard Business Review

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

Assessment: Are You Taking the Time Off That You Need?

Amy Gallo

14 August 2017

https://hbr.org/2017/08/assessment-are-you-taking-the-time-off-that-you-need?utm_campaign=hbr&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social