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August 4, 2010, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

When was the last time you worked out a win-win deal? Compromise is often described (especially by cynics) as generating an agreement that no one really likes. We'd like to think it's a little more positive than that. What if we all started with the assumption that it's important for the person on the other side of the table -- the customer, the end user, the manager competing for scarce project resources -- to be as happy with the outcome as we are?

We're dedicating this issue to the fine art of compromise. Even if you don't use these exact tools, pick up just one of these techniques and practice it this week. Let's see if we can start a little outbreak of sanity in our projects, our companies, our little corner of the world.

Featured Article

Talk About Getting Started by Alan S. Koch

Before you can get started on anything of consequence to improve your IT services and people's perception of them, you must connect with those people. Naturally, this will look quite different depending on your history with those people. So let's look at the two extremes: You have a long and contentious history to overcome, or you have no history, having been hired to fix all of those IT problems.

Even if you don't work in IT, Alan's advice in this column is invaluable for managing a period of project transition and idea generation. You start by letting them talk, no matter how much it hurts »

Premium How-To Course

Getting the Right Project TeamPREMIUM
Presented by Cinda Voegtli, founder and CEO of ProjectConnections.com

Premium Course Now that you have a project, how do you get the right team? Don't fall into the trap of thinking about names. What you should be focused on is the roles, skills, and availability required to get the project done. You don't just want committed team members -- you want committed team members whose managers support their commitment. This course will help you identify a strong, cross-functional core team for your project, along with any other resources you'll need, and to make sure the team has the skills and experience needed to get the job done. Don't wait to see who gets assigned. Take the lead on your project staffing, and avoid costly staffing conflicts and oversights. 1 PDU. Learn More »


Webinar

Plan to Re-Plan: Project Planning from an Agile Perspective
Wed, August 24, 11:00 a.m. Pacific (2:00 p.m. Eastern)

Kent McDonald You may have heard agile teams don't plan, but they actually teams plan a lot, and quite frequently too. Your own teams are missing an important tool if they don't understand why, and how, this is true. In this webinar, Kent McDonald discusses the various levels of planning that occur in organizations using agile approaches and explains how these levels, when used together, help projects deliver value, reflect and adapt, and exploit change for competitive advantage. $39.95, 1.5 Category A PDUs, 1.5 PMI-ACP℠ contact hours. Learn More »


Site Highlights – First, Listen

Seek first to hear, then to be heard, as the saying goes. These tools and articles will help you hear what others have to say, so you can establish a basis for communication.

Where Do You Listen From, by Geof Lory
Geof Lory approaches listening as a discipline, and encourages us to treat listening less as a competitive sport and more as a learning activity.

Brainstorming Meeting TechniquesPREMIUM
We tend to think of brainstorming as a way to solve problems or generate new product ideas. But it can also be a great way to identify concerns, lessons learned, continuous improvement suggestions… anything that might benefit from group input. These guidelines describe several different brainstorming techniques, along with common pitfalls to avoid and ways to keep things productive.

Sweet Team Building SuggestionPREMIUM
Sometimes, you won't hear everything you need to sitting around a conference table. If you want insight into what people are thinking and saying when they're in the middle of things, is Management By Walking Around. This case study justifies the practice -- and the candy expense -- using hard numbers and real results. What better way to identify problems than to actually be there when they get in the way of progress?

A User's Guide to Working With MeMEMBER
Do you know the best ways to communicate with your team? Could they say the same about you? This innovative chart helps team members communicate their most effective modes of work, including hot buttons, trust-builders, the best ways to raise and resolve conflicts, and more. Understand their framework, and you're one step closer to ensuring that the message you send is the message they hear.

Stakeholder/Influencer Assessment and Communication PlanSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until August 18, 2011
Resource competition or missing information can subvert even the best compromise. This template helps you identify the individuals and groups that have a stake in the game or could influence the outcome -- for better or worse -- and plan your communication with them.

Operating Across Organizations, by Randy Englund
Success in a project involving several organizations requires extra effort to develop relationships. This article provides a wealth of advice for establishing and maintaining strong working relationships on cross-organizational projects.

Project Practitioners

Do You Always Under Estimate Your Projects?, by Morley Selver
I got a request the other day looking for someone to do a workshop on estimating. Some engineers were interested in what projects really cost and how are these costs developed. It sounded like they were doing the estimating and were always wrong. If you do not understand what goes into an estimate and the process involved you will always end up with a poor estimate. In this article I want to give them, and you, the detail that goes into an total installed cost (TIC) estimate for a complex project (multi-disciplined project). This is an estimate that covers the on site field work as well as the engineering and owners costs.


Corporate Subscriptions and Licensing

Want your team members to have their own access to templates and how-to resources for their project work? Need to share documents and deliverables beyond your project team? We make it easier with affordable corporate subscriptions and licensing. Detailed information regarding corporate options is available online. Give your whole team, or even the entire organization, cost-effective access to our comprehensive online library of resources. You already know how helpful it's been for you. Now it's time to share with everyone else. Find out more »

Not sure if corporate terms apply to you? Check out our licensing terms at the top of our Terms of Service page, in refreshingly ordinary, everyday English.


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