This week it's all about adjustments: what kinds of changes our projects cause, or need along the way; and how the ability to quickly and clearly see the situation and then masterfully lead necessary problem-solving, decision-making and change, is what sets great project leaders apart.
Kimberly Wiefling's column makes me salivate for the prescient mobile app she envisions - a project GPS that would automatically put advance warning of project issues, and suggested alternatives, right at our fingertips, the things great project leaders now suss out themselves. (Join the fun - see what she's got in mind!)
Until that app exists, we get to be great by knowing how to proactively surface warning signs and stronger strategies and lead the team through the required choices and changes. Chris Hill provides an in-depth article on what's required to lead change when the solution to a business problem requires a significant rethink of the current process or product (and that solution is so clear to you but not necessarily to others!) I share some personal tips on changing within, to maintain our own productivity in the face of stressful conflicts. And there's a free Premium template, related blogs and other resources, and a virtual mini-course on leading project-induced change.
To paraphrase a quote by Denis Waitley, "We must welcome change as the rule, but it does not have to be our ruler." May change be your friend and your change-handling-greatness shine through.
iWant a GPS for My Project Team!
My recent GPS-guided experiences have got me thinking about how incredibly helpful it would be to have some kind of all-knowing, all-seeing GPS for my projects. Imagine if we could immediately be alerted when our critical path could be dramatically shortened just by making a few adjustments to our project journey!
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Virtual Mini-Course on Proactively Managing Change
Project Leadership and Change Management: What Really Counts – PREMIUM
Have you thought about what your project is changing? Are you prepared to help others through it? Many project leaders aren't. Focused on time, scope, cost, and the specifics of the project itself, we can forget to put the project in the context of the organization. But if the people in your organization don't embrace the changes driven by your project, at the end of the day, the project will fail. This on-demand mini-course shows how to plan for change and transition, to avoid disruption and rejection down the road. A better ending for all! Includes worksheets; 1.5 Category A PDUs available.
See the course description »
The Softer Side of Change — GE CAP Model
by Chris Hill
Have you ever been in a situation where the solution to a business problem requires a significant rethink of the current process or product? In a nutshell, Organizational Change Management, where the solution being advocated is so clear to you, but others may not see it that way? The GE CAP model explores the psychological lifecycle we all go through when change is thrust upon us in our lives, welcomed or not.
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Spotlight – Other Project Templates, Tools, and Techniques
Blog: Why "Peeved" is a Favorite Stress-Management Word
Managing projects can be hard work; of course it all won't go perfectly. When I find myself reacting strongly to a situation that is, shall we say, not ideal, I can expend energy reacting or I can change how I react and get on with the show. "Peeved" is a word that helps me do the latter.
Find out why! »
Burning Question: Wouldn't it Be Easier to Forbid Requirements Changes on a Project?
I once taught a project class where once participant's biggest epiphany was "you mean we CAN actually change the scope during a project?" I was really surprised - but glad he got that message. (I spend way more time in my classes on business goals understanding and scope-time-cost trade-offs than I do the ins and outs of, say, detailed scheduling . Seriously, what's worse than a project that finishes on time but turns out to not be what was needed after all?) Well-managed scope/requirements change might be just what a particular project really needs. This burning question provides a concise explanation of why requirements change, especially for newer PMs, and links off to related templates to help.
Go to the BQ »
Template: Agile Technique Brief - Requirements Cards – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until October 1, 2015
Anybody can write down a desired feature; we often have way more of that than we can handle. The true masters are good at expressing value, and using that info to guide decisions. If we need to know "value" to make the right choices for the project, we might as well build value statements right into the individual requirements. That's exactly what this Agile technique does. See how each feature gets expressed in a way that helps with priority decisions (as well as thorough testing, and ensuring we're really "done".
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Template: Agile Technique Brief – Project Value Models – PREMIUM
Say the words "analysis paralysis" in a group of project leaders and watch the vigorous nods accompanied by looks of pain, fatigue, and/or fear. âº Ah the early days of a project when all the stuff we COULD do, or all the WAYS we could do it, are the subject of endless discussion. Here's 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. It helps teams identify the information necessary to make value-based decisions, and organizes that information so it can be used to make decisions throughout the project as conditions change.
Article - off site: Need a person to change? Niceness and nagging are not the answer.
This article from the Harvard Business Review highlights 7 Things Leaders Do to Help People Change based on the authors' research. #2 is "noticing problems" and taking the lead to do something. Leaders see the larger landscape and act. Another favorite is #6, having courage - daily courage to do the little things that will add up to a larger change.
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Quote: Leading the Charge on Problem-Solving
From a VP of a Technology Development group: "The people who get promoted here and given big opportunities are those who take initiative to solve tough problems; whether problems happening within their existing projects, or problems that would require us to start a new project to address. The best ones do this before the executives have realized there is one. Then they bring us solutions. We are more than happy to trust them with the next set. They've proved they take a wide view and are looking out for the interests of the overall organization."
To help participants develop purpose, vision, negotiating, influence, and sales skills, Alfonso Bucero and Randy Englund present "Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills: The Complete Project Manager," October 7-10, 2015, in Orlando, Florida, prior to the PMI Global Congress. They also conduct this session December 7-10 in San Diego, California for PMI SeminarsWorld.
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