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!

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 15 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!”

Here are the basic five-step approach, which I tried and tested on numerous projects since then:

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. The project manager will also have to deal with the low-morale of the team, if the team is still there. Or if it’s a new team – unknown dynamics will have to be dealt with.
If you are looking for more inspiration:

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

How to Work with Someone Who’s Always Stressed Out – re-post

At my last medical check-up the doctor asked me to rate my level of stress from 1 to 10. It was a 5 for me.

Projects dynamics create premisses for stress. Self-management, team-management, stakeholders management, deadlines, milestones, critical paths bring presure and be inheritely stressful. It is a project manager’s job to monitor his/her own level of stress and the level of stress of team members to identify signs of burn-out and look for preventive remedies.

This requires a number of emotional inteligence competences and extra care. For inspiration, i read The New Leaders: Transforming the Art of Leadership by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, Annie McKee.

When stress is unavoidable and it becomes part of daily work life, you can find here useful advice provided by Rebecca Knight, in Harvard Business Review, 7 August 2017.
https://hbr.org/2017/08/how-to-work-with-someone-whos-always-stressed-out with some Do and Don’t.

Slow down. Manage with care.

Listen to Imany:

Oren Yakobovich: Hidden cameras that film injustice in the world’s most dangerous places | TED Talk – re-post

A Highly admirable Project for change. Manage with care, prioritise the security of change agents, work with the most vulnerable people and affected voiceless communities are only a few of this video highlights.

***

To see is to believe, says Oren Yakobovich — which is why he helps everyday people use hidden cameras to film dangerous situations of violence, political fraud and abuse. His organization, Videre, uncovers, verifies and publicizes human-rights abuses that the world needs to witness.

https://www.ted.com/talks/oren_yakobovich_hidden_cameras_that_film_injustice_in_the_world_s_most_dangerous_places?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_content=talk&utm_term=global-social%20issues