This time of year, it can be hard to keep your project teams on task. North of the equator, summer beckons with vacations, warm weather, and sunshine. South of the equator, teams are dealing with the mid-winter doldrums. How do you keep your teams on task when they -- and you -- would rather be at the beach? Our experts this week have practical, easy-to-implement suggestions to help you keep your teams on task, and improve everyone's work lives.
Make Peace with Uncertainty
I recently read an article that suggested, "The ability to focus on a subject or a task and the ability to give something or someone your full attention are the new currencies of effectiveness." Focus requires the ability to work on a single idea, a single task or a single project to completion. Focus requires your full attention. However, in order to give something your focus and your attention, you necessarily have to take your focus and your attention away from everything else. The ability to unplug from the noise and focus on the important is a defining attribute of successful teams, especially in project work.
One of the deterrents to focus is too much work in process (WIP), because it creates distractions to the important work that should be getting done. One way to manage the WIP and also gain focus is through the use of multiple planning horizons. I was first introduced to this concept in lean manufacturing (like a number of other agile principles). If you are a list maker, you probably use planning horizons today without realizing it.
Your plan makes your project look predictable, but looks can be deceiving.
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Manage Team Stress
Manage Team Stress
As a Project Manager, you are often a holding tank for team stress. We typically manage multiple teams, functions and our stakeholder group could easily exceed 100. Each team member reacts to stress differently, at different points in a project and even in their career. A Project Manager can be a team psychologist of sorts, needing to analyze behavior and trends in order to predict reactions and risk. Through it all, the Project Manager must take personal steps to maintain their own health, in order to maintain overall project health.
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Build Better Meetings — New Mini-Course (A benefit for Premium subscribers)
Designing and Planning Effective Meetings
This mini-course will teach you how to define a meeting's purpose and design the best and fastest way to cover what really matters. And you can plan your next meeting while you listen! Learn how to define a good meeting purpose, how to decide what you need to have an effective meeting — what people, resources, and time are required to meet the meeting objectives — and leave the course with an action plan for improving your next meeting. 1 PDU.
Spotlight – Other Project Templates, Tools, and Techniques
Here are a few more ideas to keep your teams on track:
- New Project Proposal – MEMBER
Is your team full of bright ideas this time of year, bouncing from one awesome new project idea to another? Great! Bring some focus with these templates, which provide a consistent format for the capture and evaluation of new product and project ideas.
- Milestone Table with Driver Tasks – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until August 6, 2015
If your team struggles to see the big picture and move toward project conclusion, try these formats for a milestone table including the completion dates and the status of major driving tasks for each milestone.
- Project Flexibility Matrix – MEMBER
Are you vibrating between options during your tradeoff discussions without reaching consensus? This simple but effective tool helps focus your discussions about Scope, Resources and Schedule.
Randy Englund and Alfonso Bucero will present "Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills: the Complete Project Manager" in London May 14-15, 2015, after the PMI EMEA Global Congress. They will also cover this topic in Orlando July 20-23 at PMI Mega SeminarsWorld, and October 7-10 prior to the PMI North America Global Congress.
Carl Pritchard will lead his highly rated and memorable PMP® Certification Exam Prep class in Rockville, Maryland on August 18-19. For more information email Carl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corporate Subscriptions and Licensing
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