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July 18, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

If you're stuck in the office when the heat index soars, it's a great time to tackle introspective tasks. For one thing, you're less likely to feel like moving around in that kind of heat. For another, if you're the one holding down the fort while everyone else is on vacation, it's a great time to handle some quiet-time reassessments of goals, status, and plans for September. This week, we've got a few ideas on how you can spend downtime during heat waves productively. (If you're Down Under, think of this as planning ahead for your summer months.)

Featured Article

Summertime, and the Living Is Easy
By Carl Pritchard

Carl Pritchard Sometimes, I envy those of you who live across the pond. For those of you who have never dealt with teams on the European continent in July and August, you don't. Really. You don't. Why? Because they're on holiday! That's right, virtually an entire continent takes two months off to enjoy the sun, sand and surf. From the Swedes heading for Malmš to the Brits heading for the Mediterranean, it's a cultural phenomenon.

What do many of us in the States do for much of the summer? Work. We are the workaholic zealots of the planet. When others are gallivanting, we are hunched over our laptops or behind the wheel, taking on the same levels of work we were tackling back in February and March. As a self-confessed workaholic, I tend to see us as "in the right." My wife, however, has a radically different perspective. She says there's a lot to be said for taking it easy. In the never-ending quest for a reasonable middle, I'd like to offer these suggestions for folks living my dilemma -- the workaholics surrounded by a European ethos. Read Carl's summer survival tips for workaholics »

Premium How-To Course

New! Diagnose Your Meetings
Cinda Voegtli Presented by DeAnna Burghart

This mini-course is an interview with the author of our Meeting Evaluation Guidelines, discussing the practical aspects of holding and using a meaningful discussion about meeting quality. The participants discuss how to implement evaluations that get real feedback without putting anyone on the spot, how to assess the results, and how to know when you're making progress. Generate a sense of action and ownership regarding meeting quality, and take some effective actions to improve them. 1 PDU Learn more »

Review Where Your Project Is Headed

Is It Following The Rules? Business Rules Management GuidelinePREMIUM
If your organization has an assigned business analyst, you may already know the answer. But many don't, and there's a lot of value in this analysis -- value that can be overlooked in the frenzy to get an important project off the ground. This guideline is designed to help you develop your own approach to a project (or even organizational) rules repository, by providing some basic guidance on business rules and tips for rules organization, management, and change control. How's that for a summer project?

Are They Getting What They Paid For? – Benefits Realization PlanPREMIUM
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until August 1, 2013
Don't settle for a vague sense that the project was a good thing. A Benefits Realization Plan documents the expected benefits of the project, details how they will be measured, and captures those measurements for later assessment and use in lessons learned. If you haven't already got a plan for this (and most projects probably don't), now is a great time to start.

Review Where Your Job Is Headed

Schedule Some Informal Skill Development – Paths to Practical Know-HowMEMBER
A lot of informal project management learning occurs in places that aren't bounded by classrooms, or even cubicle walls. This presentation outlines ways to support that applied learning with a variety of formats, from online resources to project support groups to facilitation and consulting help. Use your summer "down time" to get the ball rolling for you and your colleagues.

Brush Up on Your Job Skills – Ways to Gain Career-Enhancing PM Skills and ExperiencePREMIUM
A great complement to the presentation above, this guideline provides pointers and suggestions for accelerating the development of skills and experience you need to expand your project management career options. Pick your three favorites and try a pilot test over the summer.

Hire a Coach – Project Manager Coaching GuidelinesPREMIUM
You don't have to pay them in cash money -- lattes and lunches can work equally well -- but there's really no substitute for having a formal coaching arrangement in place when you're practicing new skills. A more experienced project manager can help you learn the ropes of project leadership, especially in areas that are giving you trouble or are uniquely challenging in your organization. This guideline has ideas for setting up and carrying out an arrangement like that. And what better time to initiate the "contract" than when their schedule is light too?

Review Where Your Career Is Headed

Do You Know Where You're Going To? Priorities, Goals, and Actions Alignment WorksheetMEMBER
If you don't know what your personal and career goals are, you'll never know whether or not you met them. Maybe that's just fine with you, and you're happy to go wherever life takes you. But if you have specific career or life goals, make sure your actions are in line with them. This worksheet helps you capture your personal goals, prioritize them, and develop action plans to make them a reality.

Make Time for Your Future – Personal Time Management Assessment LogMEMBER
If all this seems like way too much work for the little time you have, make sure you're not losing valuable time to less valuable activities. Use this incredibly simple form to record where your time is going each day, and look for ways to be more effective. A bonus of doing this during the quiet season is that you can't blame the time robbers on your project. When the office is empty, you can hold yourself accountable!

Make Yourself Dispensable – Fast, Effective Ramp Up of New Team MembersMEMBER
One of the worst career mistakes ever is to make yourself irreplaceable. Not only will you never get vacation time, you'll never get promoted! Ensure someone else can fill your shoes by taking the time to document your job. This detailed guideline by Steve Trautman, excerpted from his book Teach What You Know: A Practical Guide to Knowledge Transfer Using Peer Mentoring, explains how.

Project Practitioners

Continuing his series on negotiation, Mike Aucoin has some great advice this week for Getting to "Win-Win". He includes some extremely practical advice for changing your view of the negotiation, and also points out that the win-win scenario may not always be necessary.

Brian Irwin effectively illustrates the tension between traditionalist and purist viewpoints of the Agile project management role, and describes a recent situation that has led him to reexamine his views on the role. What do you think? Is there room for a project manager role in agile projects?

Where's ProjectConnections?

Kent McDonald is chairing the Agile 2013 conference this year in Nashville, August 5-9. Of special interest to ProjectConnections readers is the Project, Program, and Portfolio Management track, which includes 24 sessions. Find out more about the conference and session schedule here.

There's still time to get on board with Carl Pritchard Seminars at Sea cruise in August, which will cover the PMBOK¨ Guide 5th Edition and ISO 21500. Get more information at Carl's website.

Morley Selver is running his 3-day "Fundamentals of Project Management" workshop this fall in the following locations: Calgary AB August 27-29; Denver CO September 25-27; Houston TX October 23-25; Calgary AB November 20-22. For information & enrollment please visit

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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