December 19, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
Once you reviewed 2013, you probably had a list of things you'd like to do differently. (We won't call them "resolutions" because that's just setting yourself up for failure.) Lists are great, but plans are better. So to wrap up the year (get it?) we're highlighting tools you can use to look ahead to next year and take your first steps toward your goals, whatever they may be.
And don't miss the Early Bird pricing for our next PM LightTM Fast Ramp, starting February 7.
ProjectConnections will be closed for the holidays from December 23 through January 5. But we'll still be watching for your messages by phone and email, so if you need something, don't hesitate to call. Happy Holidays from all of us!
All my professional life I've struggled with what are broadly referred to as "human skills." Emotional by nature and rebellious by choice, it's sometimes been extremely challenging for me to follow the sage advice "be hard on the issues, but soft on the people." Now, in perhaps one of the greatest ironies of my life, I have become the lead facilitator for a series of workshops on "human skills" for Tokyo Medical and Dental University professors. I've distilled the essential human skills into a "mindset toolkit" that makes these sometimes-fluffy ideas succinct and accessible.
By Kimberly Wiefling
12 tools you can use to transform Feelings, Actions, Communication, Thinking in yourself and others, and a handy chart to help you remember them »
PM LightTM Fast Ramp – Early Bird pricing in December only!
Our next PM LightTM Fast Ramp starts February 7. Early Bird registration is open during December, so to get the lowest possible price, register before January 1!
PM LightTM Fast Ramp focuses on "lightweight, just-enough" PM practices for project success. We stress fast fundamentals, practical tools, and situational application, and show you what core concepts and tools look like in action, using examples from real projects. You'll leave each virtual session able to apply new tools and techniques immediately to your current projects, and you'll leave the series with a better understanding of your critical management and leadership role. Oh, and don't forget the 12 Category A PDUs!
"The combination of video recording, tools, and the workbook is great!"
"Tons of information, and excellent personal, real-life insights."
"I can't wait for next week's session."
Next Year I Will
Focus on What Really Matters - Priorities, Goals, and Actions Alignment Worksheet – MEMBER
This is a great promise, but keeping it requires that you understand which of your priorities are most important to you, and that you're taking action to make them real. Instead of vague promises, nail yourself down by using this simple worksheet to capture critical goals, prioritize them, and develop action plans aligned with those priorities.
(Same Thing, on an Executive Level) - Setting Strategic Project Selection Criteria – PREMIUM
While we're on the subject, make sure your organization's resources are dedicated to the projects most likely to meet your organizational goals. This guideline explains how to set and use selection criteria for your portfolio. (And if you're so inclined, there's no reason "organization" can't read as volunteer organization, community organization, or even family, though you probably don't want to use this as a conversation starter over holiday dinner.)
Get Agile! - Checklist for Trying Out Agile on a Project – PREMIUM
It can be tempting to just chuck it all and use a whole different system. And hey, sometimes that can work -- but rarely painlessly. Sometimes it's better to ease your way into things. This checklist summarizes one proven approach (of many) for applying and learning agile methodologies on a single project, as an experiment, to see whether or not it will work in your environment.
Get Out of This Mess! - Project Cancellation Guidelines – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until January 2, 2014
As with so many things, it's one thing to say it, another to do it. If you're really convinced that project ought to be cancelled, make your case. This guideline will help you decide, and plan for a graceful closeout if appropriate. Take it upstairs. They may be as relieved as you are to start the new year without That Project hanging around everyone's neck.
Not Overcommit - Project or Software Release One-Page Summary – PREMIUM
It's easier to fight off the urge to say yes (or obey the impulse to say no) when you can clearly see what's on your plate already. We love this one-page format for communicating key information about a project. The example is written for a software release, but it's easily adaptable to any kind of project.
Be More Disciplined about Planning - Micro-Project Plan Template and Example – MEMBER
While we're being organized, why not take it a step further and truly plan all those low-level efforts you're considering for 2014? It doesn't have to be crazy-making. This simple, fast template is designed to help you plan what we call micro-projects -- short, usually low-cost, low-effort, and will take just a few days, or at most a few weeks. Think vacation planning, bathroom remodel, garage cleaning, new networking habits, finding a career coach or mentor
anything on your list that deserves your time and energy deserves a few moments of organized planning effort too.
Are you an imperfect project manager? You're in good company. Alfonso Bucero reminds us to be kind to ourselves while evaluating our failings, mistakes, and missteps. After all, nobody's perfect.
Premium How-To Course
Creating Executive-Level Project Status
Presented by DeAnna Burghart
Would it surprise you to know that executives dread status meetings as much as you do? Take aim at misaligned expectations, and learn how to write and present status reports your executives can trust and respond to. Learn a career-differentiating skill, and get on the right track with your reports before your next executive status meeting. 1 PDU
Learn more »
Cinda Voegtli will speak at the PMI Silicon Valley chapter's Tools and Techniques forum in Sunnyvale, California on Wednesday, January 8. Her topic is Strong Project Starts Ð Tools for Avoiding Tentative, Scattered, Confused, and/or Accidental Starts. Registration and PDU information is available on the Silicon Valley chapter website.
Alfonso Bucero will be in Dubai January 26-28 for a 3-day workshop on developing the organizational skills, people skills, "hard skills" and "soft skills" necessary for project success. For more information and to register, visit https://www.regonline.co.uk/buceropm.
Carl Pritchard is planning ahead for his April 2014 PDU cruise (PDF). Remember, to sell the boss, start in Omaha.
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