Wisdom, Perspective, and Advice from the Field
Teams and Thermodynamics
by Geof Lory
It's the reality of business and projects in today's economic environment. Teams form, storm, norm, perform and adjourn only to reform and start all over and deliver again. But what may not get the air time or credit that it deserves is how much energy it takes to create good teams quickly and sustain their performance at a high level.
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Interview Feature! Expert Leverage – Insights and Advice from the Field
Hi from Cinda! I've started a new feature aimed at mining the wisdom and know-how of a variety of experienced managers. I'm talking to individuals I've met who are making project management and team processes truly WORK out in our often-imperfect, time-crunched, resource-constrained project environments. I want to hear them discuss what they focus on, what they see making the difference. My end goal is practical and actionable advice for us as individuals who can have an impact, and what our organizations will have to do as well. I want them to talk about what works out there, and what matters most. So take a look at our first interview!
Advice for achieving truly high-performing cross-functional Core Teams – GUEST
(including some linchpins you may not expect!)
My first interview is with Jeanne Bradford of TCGen in Silicon Valley. Jeanne has a long-time background in practical new product development approaches, starting with Apple when she first moved here. She has lots to say about what individual PMs must be ready to take responsibility for, and what executives must do as well, to create cross-functional project teams that actually live up to the promise.
Read the interview »
Being a Business-Driven Business-Savvy PM (the kind Execs adore)
Do we all KNOW what we are doing, and in what order, and why? – PREMIUM
This Agile Technique Brief on Project Value Models describes an approach a team can use to make value based, rational, objective decisions about what projects and features to do and in what priority to deliver them. The model organizes that information so it can be used to make decisions throughout the project as conditions change.
Achieving "Just Enough" PM (Your team will thank you for it)
Scrum is not Difficult; Abandoning the Familiar Is
Brian Irwin talks about how to use the WHYs of different SCRUM practices to keep Scrum from becoming just another set of mechanistic practices that don't yield the breakthroughs you were after! (Certainly none of us need more "mechanistic practices!")
Don't be afraid to say "Signature NOT required"
All those signoffs – deliverables, phases, releases
Are you really using them as rich, meaningful, non-bureaucratic project checkpoints? Or have they been reduced to grand and frustrating exercises in chasing hurried signatures? Check out these tools for achieving meaningful reviews and necessary approvals without wasting time or grinding to a halt.
Phase Signoff Process - how one company actually streamlined or eliminated signature requirements and clarified purpose and roles for the ones that were left. – PREMIUM
Simple Signoff Process – how an IT department clarified program and project-level sign-offs and kept it efficient. – MEMBER
Project Progress Checklists for Sponsors and Managers – checklists that put the emphasis on the REASON for periodic reviews and "approval", with practical questions the PM and Sponsor should be asking and considering together during the project. – PREMIUM
Personal Power Tools! (Grow critical strengths and keep your sanity, too!)
Wait! Are you about to spend your time where it will really matter?
A thought for every Monday – or even every day. What is it MOST important to spend your precious time on? Hint – all things considered, right now it may not be the meeting minutes. Read Cinda's thoughts on how to sanity check your week and your priorities.
Say NO to Silos – Making the Functional-Project Matrix WORK!
Part II – The work you will miss if you leave Operations out of the project!
HAZOPS and Manuals and Training, OH NO! And the permits and hand-offs, and pipe-ins to go
A great look at the kinds of cross-functional "side work" (ha!) that has be done before you are truly done. This article focuses on construction project specifics, but the groups and thought processes covered are universal. Don't be leaving someone out because it's "not the main work"!
Project Templates, Tools, and Techniques Spotlight
User Impact Assessment (IT) – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until April 3, 2014
Even apparently simple IT projects can open a Pandora's Box of user concerns, questions, and frustrations caused by overlooked impacts. This template guides the team through an assessment of the user impacts of technology changes, to enable better planning and communication and a smoother deployment experience for everyone.
Frankensheets – an alternate scheduling approach for spreadsheet junkies
DeAnna Burghart with detailed instructions for using Excel to see a simple project's tasks laid out on a calendar, without having to use scheduling software. Excellent for recurring projects and when you want to be able to plug in a desired completion date and see when all previous tasks need to be done.
Premium How-To Course
Consistent Risk Management Across the Organization
Presented by Carl Pritchard
Carl Pritchard, lead author of the PMBOK® Guide Risk Management chapter and principal of Pritchard Management Associates, explains the whats, whys, and hows of risk management planning in this mini course. Learn how to get consistent about risk across the organization, without burying your project teams in unnecessary paperwork. 1 PDU.
Learn more »
Carl Pritchard is teaching a PMP Prep course in Maryland on March 24-25. For more details and to catch up with Carl, see his website at carlpritchard.com.
Kimberly Wiefling will be teaching a two-day workshop March 25-26 on Discovering Your Organization's DNA in exotic Omaha, Nebraska. For more information or to register, visit Kimberly's online schedule.
Kent McDonald is reprising his BA World presentation on Analysis in Agile at Central Indiana IIBA Professional Development Day on April 22, and at theSeattle IIBA Chapter Meeting on April 29.
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 »
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