The most important parts of project management are the forms we fill out or the papers we produce. Like all "knowledge work" professions, project management is about adding value to the work we produce through our unique insights, experience, and viewpoints. Who we are influences how we work, and how we work with others. But sometimes it can get in the way, too. If we allow ourselves to get stuck in the same familiar habits and static patterns of thinking, we can miss an important piece of the picture. This newsletter is all about making sure our project focus uses the right lenses, and ideas for changing our viewpoint to get a better overall picture.
Wisdom, Perspective, and Advice from the Field
What is Design Thinking?
by Kimberly Wiefling
In spite of design thinking getting a lot of visibility in the past decade, many technical professionals around the world haven't heard the term or don't know what it means. I've come to understand how valuable design thinking is, and have applied this approach to project management, business leadership, and beyond. But, while it's natural to assume that design thinking would mean "thinking about design" -- and that does describe some of what goes on in this process -- that's somewhat misleading. Kimberly provides an overview of a useful but cryptic new innovation technique.
Read the rest »
Being a Business-Driven Business-Savvy PM (the kind Execs adore)
When No Doesn't Mean No, and Now Doesn't Mean Now
When your sponsor demands action now is the message supposed to convey urgency of timeline, or high priorities? Savvy PMs know how to listen between the lines and find out what stakeholders are really trying to say. Here are a few suggestions to help you flex your negotiation muscles.
Personal Power Tools! (Grow critical strengths and keep your sanity, too!)
Think you don't have any influence? Oh, but you do...
It doesn't matter who you are -- title, function, experience, role. You are an influencer. We all are. The question is, what kind? Our behavior and actions influence others in ways we are often not aware of -- and not all influence we inadvertently exert is for the good. As project managers we need to think like influencers and always realize where our influence is coming from (or not!) with a variety of people. Alfonso Bucero shares his thoughts.
Say NO to Silos – Making the Functional-Project Matrix WORK!
The power of different perspectives -- What lenses are you using today?
When we miss things (work, risks, dependencies, mistakes, requirements) that all too often cause project blow-ups later, it's often because we were just GOING TOO FAST. One hedge against speed-induced omissions is to find ways to be thorough and systematic, and always efficiently so. Cinda Voegtli writes about her fondness for the concept of using different "lenses," as a way to quickly make sure we're seeing the whole picture, and the ways she uses them on different aspects of projects.
Spotlight – Other Project Templates, Tools, and Techniques
That wasn't just a bad meeting -- it's saying bad things about the state of the TEAM
Jeff Richardson writes this week on why you can tell the difference between an effective and ineffective team just by observing ONE meeting -- and what to do about what you find out. The good news is that there are some simple techniques for tuning the team's interactions and overall culture -- and some things you can do way up front BEFORE anything gets touchy, inefficient, eye-roll-worthy, or otherwise not the high-performing team you were hoping for. Read Jeff's advice and tips.
Other Tools to Change Your Outlook on Meetings
Premium How-To Course
Agile Approaches to Planning
Presented by Kent McDonald
Going Agile is not a license to fly totally by the seat of your pants. A plan means the team has some idea of how they are going to do the project, but that doesn't necessarily imply reams of paper and acres of diagrams. This mini-course by Kent McDonald explains what Agile planning practices look like, and how the team works together to decide the project approach and timeline. 1 PDU
Learn more »
Taking the PMP® Certification Exam soon? Carl Pritchard is conducting a prep class June 3-4 in Rockville, Maryland. His 2-day session walks you through everything you need to know to prepare for and pass your exam. Click here for more information and registration (PDF).
Randy Englund speaks at the PMI Madison (Wisconsin) chapter May 15 on "Everything I Wish I Knew About Project Management When Starting My Career...." Randy and co-author Alfonso Bucero present a four-day seminar on "Integrating People, Organizational and Technical Skills: the Complete Project Manager" in Orlando, Florida June 23-26 for PMI's MEGA SeminarsWorld. Register now with 20% discount code AB20, before registration closes.
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.