December 20, 2012, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
This year has been a very mixed bag, filled with profound gratitude, amusing nuttiness, and for some, overwhelming grief. Our hearts go out to everyone who finds their holidays irrevocably altered, for any reason. In an effort to lift our spirits as well as yours, we went for levity and optimism this week. And so we welcome the long-anticipated end of 2012 with some silly project poetry, some broad hints about what you can expect from us next year, and a heartfelt wish that 2013 brings joy, peace, prosperity, and contentment. All the best to you, your loved ones, and your colleagues, and best wishes for the New Year.
Happy Holidays from Cinda, DeAnna, Erik, Rob, Kirby, Tom, and everyone else at ProjectConnections.
The Project Grinch
Every good PMP likes their process a lot.
by Carl Pritchard
But the Grinch (who lived just above process) did not.
He hated the process, he hated the forms, he hated the Gantt charts, the risk plans, the norms.
It's tough to know why the Grinch wouldn't conform.
It could be he hated to pin down a plan. It could be he didn't want blood on his hands.
But I think the most likely reason of all is if this project failed, he might take the fall.
Can you tame your process Grinch this season? »
What's Next On ProjectConnections?
We're so grateful for all our members and subscribers, and we want to let you know what's in store in the coming year. Here is a sampling of what we'll be adding to the site during 2013:
- A new checklist series – quick reference sheets you can use on computer, phone, tablet, or project notebook to quickly prepare for meetings or critical interactions; sanity-check current work or check for completeness; refresh on key areas and make sure you're doing everything that matters.
- A new set of personal worksheets – worksheets for assessing projects at each stage and determining high-leverage "most important" actions to take, and for aiding your own career, including worksheets for personal influence assessment and action planning, career path planning and more.
- New guidelines – in-depth how-to write-ups on subjects such as key steps for starting a new PMO; successfully outsourcing development work; how to build and refine a full-blown influence plan for a project.
- New templates – a range of new items, including more work breakdown examples, safety planning, and domain-specific documents and forms for IT, product development, biotech/pharma, and construction.
Premium How-To Course
Monitoring and Communicating Risks
Presented by Carl Pritchard, Pritchard Management Associates
Your project risk list should be a living document, not a one-time effort. In this mini-course, Carl Pritchard coaches you through identifying information used to analyze and understand a project's risk profile and presenting that risk information in multiple ways, to enable clear, concise communication. Learn how to have an intelligent, informed, and unemotional (or at least less emotional) conversation about project risks. 1 PDU
Learn more »
The Night Before the Deadline
By Brian Irwin
'Twas the night before the deadline, when all through the plant
Not a milestone was met, not one on my Gantt;
The status reports were all sent to the sponsor with care,
In hopes he would see pending trouble to beware;
The team were all nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of despair ran wild through my head;
The tech lead in her cubicle, and I wearing my worry cap,
Had just settled down for a much needed nap;
When out in the hall arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Brian Irwin takes a little creative liberty with a popular holiday classic. Read the rest »
By Sinikka Waugh
As the year draws to a close, and we begin to look ahead at all that next year will hold, I'd like to suggest a quick assessment of our inventory. Businesses everywhere close their doors for a couple of hours or days to take stock of what they have, before going in to the New Year. As project professionals, I propose we do the same, where we count some things that may be a little less tangible, but no less critical to our success. I've listed these in an order that goes something like easiest to hardest to evaluate, and by doing so, I discovered they also seem to fall roughly in order of increasing importance in my book.
Lessons Learned Meeting Agenda – MEMBER
If you'd like a little guidance planning a look-back on your project team's work this year, try this sample agenda. Gather the team and capture what did or didn't go well, how to replicate success, and what to do differently in the future. Remember the egg nog!
Guidelines - Completion Criteria – PREMIUM
It's tempting to stamp it "DONE" and bail for the office party, but you'll rest easier in your nightcap if you are sure you won't get any last-second calls about missing features or show-stopping bugs. Use completion criteria to ensure the work is truly complete before you send it out the door, so you can say good-bye to this project once and for all.
Priorities, Goals, and Actions Alignment Worksheet – MEMBER
What's next for your career? Kimberly Wiefling's practical worksheet will help you capture critical personal goals, prioritize them, and develop personal action plans aligned with those priorities. Don't take maybe for an answer!
Opportunity Screening Worksheet – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until January 3, 2013
Think you've got some great ideas for 2013? Be sure. This worksheet can help you decide if an idea is worth enough to move forward. It's written for analyzing a specific product idea with respect to the market, company capability, risks, return, etc., but with some minor modifications it can be used for a benefits analysis for other projects too.
Planning and Managing Multiple Small Projects – PREMIUM
If you're just trying to knock out a few small projects before the end of the year, this approach will be useful. It's a compendium of techniques for managing a group of small related projects, especially if there are lots of interlocking pieces.
Being our Best
Some [habits] manifest at work; some at home; some in both settings. Our personal habits determine whether we are effective at what we do and achieve the results we want – or not. I want to recommend a great book that has given me some new tools for being my most effective self in both venues -- and also prompted some unexpected insights about dealing with certain habits (ours, and those of team members) that can cause aggravation and other issues on our projects.
The book is The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. The book covers a lot of ground to "explain why habits exist and how they can be changed." It provides numerous examples -- from personal stories and from company situations -- to show how the key to changing habits is to understand how habits work. We need a construct that we can consciously adjust to change behavior.
What kinds of habits do I mean? Here are 4 personal examples.
ProjectConnections founder Cinda Voegtli shares her bad habits, and her action plans for addressing them, in her review of a thought-provoking book.
The Art of Giving by Taking
Alfonso Bucero has a slightly different take on generosity in his blog entry this week. Alfonso's message, of course, isn't about giving selfishly, but rather about giving consciously, in ways that underscore the value of the recipient as well as the value of the gift. Likewise, his rules (they're more like guidelines, really) are a valuable guard against allowing ourselves to be exploited to no real gain -- by us or by anyone else. Read with an open mind, and share your thoughts.
We take a break to recharge and reconnect between Christmas and New Year's, but you'll still be able to reach us by email or voicemail for urgent issues. We'll be back the first week of January, with new mini-courses, new templates, and the most trusted project resources on the web. Until then, Happy Holidays!
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