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September 15, 2010, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

When your project throws you lemons ... No, scratch that. We have the unknown knowns, and the known unknowns ... No, that doesn't work either. The plain fact is, sometimes lousy stuff happens, and we just have to cope. What alternative do we have? Clear communication will make painful choices and unpalatable tradeoffs a little easier to manage. Work with your team, let people help, and create a vision that all the stakeholders can support, even if it's not ideal.

Featured Article

Did You CYA in That Email? by Geof Lory

Geof Lory If I've read one article, book or blog about how important good communication is to the success of a project I've read a thousand. No one would ever deny the importance of effective communication, yet overall, most projects at some point suffer from lack of communications more than from insufficient technical skills. Personal baggage, assumptions, ambiguity, cultural differences, poor mediums and a general lack of disciplined practice all combine to thwart even our best efforts to communicate effectively.

It's challenging enough to communicate effectively face-to-face, but for most teams, especially those not co-located, the most common form of communication is digital. Emails, tweets, blogs, IMs, and texts all employ a medium that exacerbates our poor communication habits because the other senses that can gauge the tone and intention are absent or assumed. Smiley faces and other emoticons can help convey an attitude, affirm an intention, or at least imply some levity, but they are not the real thing.

"I would have written less, if I had more time."

Premium How-To Course

Which Project Leadership Hat Should I Wear This Week?PREMIUM

Presented by Mike Aucoin, of Leading Edge Management

Premium Course Who are these people? The whole project suddenly looks different, and nothing that was working a few weeks ago is working now. Why do the team and the timeline look so different when the only thing that has changed is your place in the project? Over your career, your projects may vary in overall risk, complexity, and uncertainty. Responsive, effective project managers need to understand how to adapt to those changing circumstances, and how to be a strong, people-aware, results-focused leader at every stage of every project. 1 PDU. Learn More »


Webinar: A Simple Approach to IT Process Management

Pass It On: Delegation Skills for Team Leads and Managers
Tuesday, Sept. 20, noon Pacific (3:00 p.m. Eastern)

Laura Erkeneff Of course you want to be the good guy, to pitch in and "help get the work done." But doing the work may not be the best way to help or to contribute to your company's bottom line. Skillful, well-managed delegation is a huge boon to teams and managers alike. Improving your delegation skills can have ripple effects throughout your entire department. Delegating well contributes by increasing productivity, building new skills, improving morale and career satisfaction, boosting motivation, and lowering stress levels across the board -- including yours. This interactive session with Laura Erkeneff of Training for Techies will help you learn and implement a critical management skill that could be standing between your team and success. $39.95, 1.5 Category A PDUs. Learn More »

October webinar: Change management for busy organizations
November webinar: The 2nd 5 Traits of Risk Management Excellence

Site Highlights

Communicate with the Customer

What Do You Want? - Use Case Specification - PREMIUM
Be clear about what the team is supposed to build. This document outline illustrates how to write a complete use case specification in order to capture the functional requirements of a system. Use the resulting communication to drive decisions about system architecture, user interface, manuals, tests, and more.

What'll You Give Us For It? - Optimizing Project Plan Tradeoffs - PREMIUM
In a perfect world, the customer could have everything they want, when they want, at a price that makes everyone happy. For the rest of us, this template provides guidelines for making trade-offs and optimizing the plan to address conflicts discovered after you develop the first pass schedule.

Try This On for Size - Recommendation Template - SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until September 29, 2011
Craft an organized, well-documented recommendation to proceed with a given business solution or alternative. This document includes all of the key components needed to make an informed decision about whether or not to endorse or approve the recommendation.

Make Sure You're Really Done - Completion Criteria - PREMIUM
Completion criteria set specific goals that define something -- a deliverable, project element, or the entire project -- complete. With completion criteria, you're finished when everything on the list is finished. Without them, you're finished when the customer says you are.

Lead Yourself First - Priorities, Goals, and Actions Alignment Worksheet - MEMBER
Got goals? Make sure you're working toward them. This worksheet helps you capture critical personal goals, prioritize them, and develop personal action plans aligned with those priorities.

Think of It As Product Placement - Career Management as Personal Marketing - MEMBER
Your boss (current or potential) is the customer, and they expect certain skills. This presentation explains how presentation skills, technical expertise, meeting management skills, networking, business understanding, and the like can provide incredible career leverage, and how you can develop and market those skills to achieve your personal project goals.

Project Practitioners

Managing Key Talent by Ed Reynolds
Every manager with more than 3 direct reports can identify somebody on their team as "key talent." These are the employees that know what is and isn't working in the group, help guide the junior employees and take a lot of critical work upon themselves to ensure it gets done right. If you haven't identified key talent, you should. And if you have, here are some tips for keeping them interested and on your side.

Ann Drinkwater explains how she keeps the team from lugging around excess project baggage.

What constitutes effective persuasion? Alfonso Bucero proposes four critical steps and why they matter to your project.

Where's ProjectConnections?

Kent McDonald is at the Central Iowa IIBA chapter explaining how to estimate in the wild, without silver bullets.

Kimberly Wiefling is (still) decorating Tokyo with rubber chickens. (Kimberly, hit the States! We miss you!)

Randy Englund and Alfonso Bucero are at SeminarsWorld in Las Vegas for one more day, demonstrating great people management skills. Look for them at Portfolio Days in Spain soon!

Alan Koch is shuttling between Minneapolis and Washington DC.

Carl Pritchard is racking up frequent flyer miles all across New England.


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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