The Human Factor in Project Management…

The Human Factor Project Management…

Actually is a WONDERFUL class by Kevin Ciccotti, CPCC, ACC that I recently attended through the University of Nevada, Reno Extended Studies Program at their very nice Redfield Campus. I highly recommend this course for any project manager, no matter how seasoned you may be.

It has been a week now since I have finished the course and I am still finding value in my notes and the class materials as I review them. I have been doing project management for 20+ years, and have taken just about every personality, team building,  HR touchy feely class given for managers and non-managers. NONE have been as effective as this one.

You will have a much better approach for how to respond to people’s needs and still meet objectives, and truly understand that they are indeed not mutually exclusive. You will learn if you are truly fit to lead, and if not what you need to work on to get there and stay there.

You will not stay there without understanding what you really know about your emotions, where they come from and how to utilize them on a consistent basis. You will learn to recognize when you are being tempted to go for the short-term easily obtainable instead of the long-term sustainable, and change course effectively without sending your team into change panic.

It will make you a better project manger, and we all have room to imporve. To be the best we can be.

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Project management—not just for work

Some people do not understand project management is not just an at-work activity. I use project management techniques for my quitting all the time. Why? Because quilting, from design to the actual quilting, takes time. Things have to be done in order; there is a budget, and usually a time constraint.  Sometimes there are material constraints and size constraints.

For those unfamiliar with quilting; the projects I am working on now are a class sampler, 3 challenge quilting projects, a birthday project for my granddaughter, and a new flannel quilt for my family.

The class sampler quilt has a time constraint, in that it has to be done before the class listing is published by the store I am teaching the class at publishes. Most people don’t sign up for classes if they can’t see what the finished result will be. It also has a budget constraint, the more it costs me to make the less income I have from teaching the class. It has a quality constraint, store owners and class takers look for quality. There are usually material constraints, store owners want their patterns and fabrics in the sampler…it is a symbiotic relationship. Challenge quilts, have time constraints, size constraints (normally), material constraints most of the time—they provide fabrics that you must use, quality constraints, rework, etc. You get the idea.

Then there is work (you know—that thing that pays the bills), family time, unexpected issues (risks) like bad weather that knocks out the power, illness, family drama, work drama. Oh, there is cooking and cleaning…but managed properly, it can all get done, on time, in budget, with good quality and within the proper constraints.

I begin making Christmas presents the 1st of June….

I blog about quilting at: Fiddlesticks and Humility

Risk-those pesky potential problems

As defined by PMBOK”…an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on a project’s objective.”

As PM’s we manage risk by spending  time identifying, analyzing, planning response/mitigation plans, tracking,  controlling and communicating about project risks.  We even look at Secondary and Residual risks.

Post mortems or lesson learned activities after a project often lament risks that occur, the negative impacts they’ve had….but many seem to forget that  POSITIVE  risks need to be reviewed as well—and sometimes they need to be celebrated, not just treated as “expected” results because they were positive.

How do you recognize positive risks?

Project Risk

You know–Murphy’s Law and the chance of certain occurrences’ adversely affecting the project [phrase memorized by numerous PM training certification classes]. Everyone identifies these in the planning of their project, right? Well, they should.

However, all too often some never revisit their risks and end up with horribly derailed projects. Risks are not look once, log and move on things. They live and change with your project and need to be re-evaluated to ensure that the contingency plans that were made are still relevant and provide the necessary contingency.

One of the most critical times is during change activities. In the blur of the hurry to integrate the change, don’t forget to re-access the risk and the contingency plan(s).

 

 

 

Are you Remote Team/worker adaptable?

Are you comfortable with remote workers and teams? If not you had better get there quick, because if you aren’t you are already way behind the curve. Some managers are continuing to sit in the industrial paradigm. They are breeding quiet contempt, which will not stay quiet long.

Remote workers and Result Only Work Environments are gaining momentum, as they should be. There are no set schedules. People work when they want, how they want and from where they want. The only goal is to get the work done in the most productive manner. These types of team have shown time over time to produce better results faster. Johnny and Sue don’t care who’s in the office when. Remote meetings make meetings not have to be face to face; and for widely-like opposite sides of the world-impossible. For most people, M-F, 8-5 behind a desk is NOT the most productive environment.

It has also been shown in MANY studies that people who are working toward a goal they don’t believe in, with no control over the manner, are highly likely to become mediocre. This is a management = Epic Fail scenario; failure to lead by embracing a paradigm shift. Mediocrity is expensive. It quashed morale, creativity and trust. All major success needs for good projects and businesses.

Butts in seats, 9-5, M-F are not necessary for most jobs. In fact there are VERY few that require this. Get over it. Adapt. Or get left behind.

3 Questions…

Have you asked each of your project team members these 3 questions?

  1. What is your understanding of the project objectives?
  2. What role do you play in delivering project results?
  3. Is there anything in your way of accomplishing the results and what can I do to help?

If not, why?

Even if you think there is no room for misinterpretation of your project plans, instructions, timelines, risk evaluation, etc; are you willing to bet your project on it? Or is it worth just a bit more time, not just at the beginning of the project, but regular intervals to ensure it?

Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised with everyone on the same page. Sometimes the opposite is true. But it is much easier to reset the bar before 100 hour is down the tube and re-work is needed. I prefer to spend the bit of extra time…and you?

I really detest RED status items in my project report outs, period.