November 8, 2012, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
If your team has been circling the same gridlocked discussions for weeks now, you'll love Geof Lory's column this week. Speeding up your decision making will allow the team to get more done faster, and you can do it without marginalizing anyone.
Decide and Conquer
Projects are not conducted in a vacuum. Every project is executed in an environment that includes the social structure of the organization, the cultural norms of the people, and the processes and procedures that will govern and constrain the project. It is always convenient to identify and blame the limitations of the organization, the implication being that factors outside our control are at fault, absolving us of any culpability. While organizational limitations may play a considerable part in project success, more often than not it is the internal environment of the team itselfÑwhich is within our controlÑthat holds back optimal performance. To quote Pogo, "We have met the enemy and it is us."
by Geof Lory
Teams are made up of people who are unique in so many ways. Organizing those diverse people to work together efficiently is daunting. But if our team is going to do its best work, we need to turn our attention inward and look at what we can do to leverage that diversity and channel it properly. We need to focus our attention on what we can deliberately do to improve the way we work and behave together. The stakes are too high to just leave this to time and luck, both of which are in limited supply on every project.
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Defining the Project Work
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For Team Members
Team Meetings Descriptions Sample – MEMBER
Meetings, meetings, meetings ... you've got to have at least some to keep the team communicating, but which ones, why, and who should attend? Check out one team's approach to describing their critical "types" meetings in a way that portrays their practicality and value.
End of Initiation Phase Checklist – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until November 22, 2012
Are you operating on a "need to know" basis? This checklist of activities and deliverables covers things you should know by the end of the Initiation Phase -- even if you're not leading the project.
Training Plan - High Level – GUEST
If your project requires training new users, you'll appreciate this high-level guideline for planning a training course. This is one of those cross-functional activities that frequently gets sidelined. Having a real plan to accomplish it will ensure you leave enough time and get enough resources to do it right.
For Project Leads
Project Closeout – MEMBER
Sure, you'd like to get it done and get it over with, but there are still important tasks at the end of a project. This two-item set provides a paper and presentation on how and why to implement project closeout activities -- even when no one really feels like doing it.
Rescuing and Revitalizing the Problem Project – MEMBER
Get your panicked project team to stop, take a deep breath, analyze what has gone wrong, and figure out how to get it right again. Then, use the techniques in this paper to re-launch your disaster project with new, actually attainable goals.
Web Conference Planning Activities – PREMIUM
If you've given up getting everyone together for the holidays, use these techniques to get the most out of your virtual meetings. This guideline walks you step-by-step through creating a realistic work breakdown for your online event, including often-overlooked tasks like presenter training and follow-up communications.
Serve Vanilla and Be Like Switzerland – MEMBER
Lisa DiTullio, past director of the Enterprise Project Management Organization (EPMO) at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, was a key member of the team that orchestrated Harvard Pilgrim's dramatic turnaround from receivership to one of the highest-rated health plans in the country. Her philosophy on what makes a PMO really successful surprised us.
WBS and Schedule Models
WBS Example: Event Planning – PREMIUM
Whatever the scale and purpose of your special event (wedding, award ceremony, fundraiser), this high-level WBS and schedule can help you get a head start on your planning activities, so you can be confident you aren't leaving anyone out or leaving anything important to chance.
WBS Example: Planning a Holiday Dinner – MEMBER
This tongue-in-cheek example shows how to apply project management to product development with a small team -- by scheduling a holiday dinner with everything ready at the same time.
Morley Selver rounds out his series on the roles and responsibilities of a Lead Project Engineer.
Cinda Voegtli weighs in on the value of just-in-time coaching. Amid the macho politics that have us all talking about bootstraps and how to "cowboy up," this is a great reminder that real strength lies in asking for and gracefully receiving help when it's necessary.
Patti Gilchrist combats the Peter Principle with her suggestions to hiring managers and the people they are interviewing: Know your limitations. "Individuals have the responsibility to act with integrity and not mislead or misrepresent their skills. They also have the responsibility to ask questions and clarify to ensure understanding of the role and expectations."
Kent McDonald is at Better Software East in early November.
Sinikka Waugh is running a November 7 class for professionals on Problem Solving and Action Planning. For more information call DMACC Registration at 515-964-6800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Randy Englund presents highlights from his new book The Complete Project Manager the Project Summit / Business Analyst World in Chicago, Illinois (November 12-15, 2012). Participants in the symposia and workshop will explore the missing ingredients to move from good to great.
Morley Selver is giving a free webinar on Operators as Part of the Project Team in November. (See the link for registration information.) His workshop on Fundamentals of Project Management will be offered November 22-24 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Sinikka Waugh is running a November 30 class for professionals called Leading for Influence. For more information call DMACC Registration at 515-964-6800 or email email@example.com.
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