Personal Productivity Solutions
Influencing is convincing the other party that swordfish is a better choice than fried chicken, even if fried chicken is what they want. It's also the ability to get things done through others. Influencing requires an understanding of the formal and informal structure of all the organizations involved in the project.
I mart If you're like most project managers I know, you can expect to anagUlg encounter many people who do not fully understand the finer points of project management, such as the use of ranged estimates and the need to use influence rather than authority to get things done.This will be particularly true in organizations that are just beginning to use formalized project management or have traditionally relied on a functional management approach.Take the time to educate others about projects and project management whenever you sense a knowledge gap. This practice will eventually benefit you, as others begin to better understand you and the nature of your life as a project manager.
Toolbars aren't the only way to get things done in Project, and toolbars aren't the only elements in Project that you can customize. You also can create new menus and modify existing menus to your heart's content. For example, you can add a command to the File menu that changes the current view to the Network Diagram view and prints a report. You can add these functions because menu commands are actually macros, that is, recorded series of keystrokes or programming commands.
One of the aspects of project leadership for which many project managers develop a natural appreciation is their position of power relative to each individual stakeholder. Project managers get things done and make things happen through others. When working with someone to produce a particular outcome, you will find yourself in one of two basic power positions. Let's examine these two positions and how they relate to your life as a project manager.
Good leaders have committed team members who believe in the vision of the leader. Leaders set direction and time frames and have the ability to attract good talent to work for them. Leaders inspire a vision and get things done through others by earning loyalty, respect, and cooperation from team members. They set the course and lead the way. Good leaders are directive in their approach but allow for plenty of feedback and input. Good leaders commonly have strong interpersonal skills and are well respected.
Project sponsor can be your direct supervisor or the president of your company.The role of the security project sponsor is to approve the security project plans, budget, and schedule, and help provide resources for the project. If he or she is not motivated to help ensure the project's success, your project will probably run into problems down the line. If you suspect this is the case, find someone else to be your security project sponsor who will partner with you for success (and who has the political pull in your company to get things done).
Eventually, I tried discussing this behavior with him. I also documented decisions we'd made as soon as we made them (email is good for this), and I used them later on as reference. I even went so far as to prep him right before meetings. But all this only made for minor improvements (instead of supporting plan B, he'd just stay out of the discussion, but not help with plan A). I soon found myself working around him. I'd go out of my way to have things decided in meetings without him present. By comparison, it was less work and more effective. This created other problems on our team (and with my relationship with Jake), but I was able to manage my areas and get things done.
For better or worse, our team members are human beings with feelings, egos, nonwork interests, and career goals beyond the project. Their personal performance will vary according to their motivation, confidence in project leadership, and the respect with which they are treated. Recognize their efforts and accomplishments. Beware of working them to the point of burnout. Treat them with a little more respect than you would want for yourself. When the project demands an above-and-beyond effort, your demonstrated concern for them as human beings will be a deciding factor in whether that effort materializes.
You can demonstrate leadership in the overall quality improvement effort through your commitment to personal improvement. This means that you establish and adhere to a structured, disciplined approach to improvement that clearly defines your goals and requires steady, consistent improvement in your personal performance. You should also facilitate communication between yourself and others. Remove the barriers you place in your own way, seek the assistance of others to remove the barriers you do not control, and work to eliminate your own fears of change and improvement. This is best done through education as well as communication with others. Depend on your vision as your guide for improvement, and use that vision to maintain your momentum. Start by looking at yourself
Individuals responsible for conducting project management activities should be a primary source for identifying needed tools. Project managers at the forefront of project activities are likely aware of tools and their functionality through ongoing efforts to improve project and personal performance. The PMO should consult these professionals to identify needs in the workplace and to establish a process for receiving and evaluating requests and recommendations for tool acquisition and use.
What I suggest is to intersperse various kinds of work throughout your day. Do creative work when you are most fresh and productive and then switch to your email or an administrative task. Then perhaps do a design or code review possibly followed by a process-improvement task or data analysis. By varying the task types, your creative work will be of higher quality and you will actually get more done.
Others are opting for early retirement at age fifty-five rather than continue to face the pressures of a demanding job. They may have successfully moved in their career to a point of having responsibility for large projects involving millions of dollars and interfacing with all kinds of people. However, by then they might prefer not to take on another vast project. They often reach a plateau or develop a neurotic suspicion that every subordinate is competing for their job. In project management, peers may become subordinates. Responsibility increases threefold. Project managers may be caught in a vise of conflicting demands demands from above to get more done with fewer people, and demands to work harder and longer to meet time constraints.
Using productivity tools can be a strategic decision to improve productivity across projects. The proper tools can bring great leaps in productivity increases this may enable firms to pursue many more projects with the same number of people. For example, process improvement techniques are a form of productivity tool these techniques allow all projects to learn from their predecessors. (Chapter 13 explores the opportunities for improving project management processes.)
In many ways, this bureacratization of project management has led to complaints of increased overhead costs of project management at exactly the time practitioners are striving to streamline practice in order to increase the value added. Tradeoffs between following guidelines and getting things done in a timely fashion are already replete in project management discussions. Further professionalization without clear identification of when and where these guidelines need to be applied and when they can be shortcutted will exacerbate these conflicts. Interesting paradoxes are sure to arise.
It's not surprising then that of the project managers I interviewed, very few had any formal training in decision making, and of those who did, few thought they used it often. This anecdotal observation fits with what Gary Klein wrote in his book, Sources of Power How People Make Decisions (MIT Press, 1999) be skeptical of courses in formal methods of decision making. They are teaching methods people seldom use. Klein goes on to explain the many different ways that skilled airline pilots, firefighters, and trauma nurses make decisions, and how rare it is that formalized methods found in textbooks are used to get things done. This doesn't mean these methods are bad, just that the textbooks rarely provide any evidence about who uses the methods or how successful they are, compared to other techniques.
Teamwork means people cooperating to meet common goals. That includes all types of people doing work that calls for joint effort and exchange of information, ideas, and opinions. In teamwork, productivity is increased through synergy the magic that appears when team members generate new ways for getting things done and that special spirit for making them happen. Lessons can be drawn from nature regarding collective effort for get things done bees and ants perform amazing tasks as they work in chaotic unison to achieve their community goals lions and other predators often hunt jointly to increase the sometimes poor odds against their speedy and nimble prey and whales parade around in circles to corral schools of fish, who in turn try to elude their marine predators by flashing back and forth in darting schools. In the case of these creatures, working together is about survival. They have learned to do it over the ages and these practices are imbedded in their DNA.
Tip Teams are an important mechanism for getting things done promptly and for breaking down barriers between disciplines. Organizations that resist the use of the team model to address emergency situations are working at a disadvantage and will often fail at resolving such crises. Teams should not be
Projects are made up of people getting things done. Getting the right things done in the right way requires communication among all the stakeholders. As project managers, we spend a great deal of our time communicating. This includes setting and getting agreement on goals, coordinating people, discovering and solving problems, and managing expectations. (We've addressed these topics throughout this book.) What this means is that from the statement of work through risk management and detailed planning, every project management technique is a method of communicating.
Eventually, people listened to me because of their confidence in my ability to have good reasons for my opinions. They'd ask fewer questions and take on trust that I had thought through my request of them before I'd made it. They had fewer fears about my taking advantage of them because they had so many experiences where the interests of the project and the team motivated my behavior. The more people trust you, the easier it becomes to persuade them. Like with Bill, over time, I spent less and less energy convincing people of thingseven though that's where I started my relationships with themand more and more time getting things done.
We also agreed that what we needed for our project was something suited to the kind of work we were doing and the kind of people we were. Some sort of written documentation would be useful if it solved real problems for our team, accelerated the process of getting things done, and improved the probability of a quality outcome (and it needed to be updatable over time without upsetting anyone). If we could make something that achieved those things, he said he would gladly use it, regardless of what we called it or what form it came in. And with that, we revised the spec process down into something we agreed would work for our small team. I went back to my boss, rehashed our conversation, and worked out a compromise. The big, tax law-size spec template went away.
Personal task management tools, which may be integrated into e-mail, help individuals manage and prioritize all of their work, even where it is not part of a larger project. In addition, systems such as David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD), which is a theory of managing an individual's tasks, rather than a software product, provide a richer system
Once the gate has been passed, the implementation phase can begin. At this point the role of the project manager changes into one of monitoring and control. The team starts focused, heads-down work on the project activities, and the PM ensure that all product related, and all project related work proceeds as planned, meeting all specifications and quality objectives. During this phase the skills that the PM uses most are different from those used in the initial project stages. Initially, strategic vision and open thinking were the key skills. In implementation the PM needs to clearly focus on getting things done, and doing them properly.
Since managing projects is all about getting things done through other people, your skills in dealing with people are of immeasurable value. Closely tied to your interpersonal skills are your behavioral skills your personal conduct, style, and approach. Together, these two skill sets are often called the soft skills. Here are some examples of soft skills
Many of the elements of organizational project management capability we have described encourage the acquisition and development of individuals with the right skills and competencies. These include the classic competencies in planning, monitoring, controlling, forming and leading teams, communicating, managing stakeholders, negotiating problem solving, and leading. These are necessary to the effective conduct of projects. But they are not sufficient. Three personal characteristics stand out as driving personal performance a thirst for experience, personal commitment to delivering projects, and the desire to enhance their reputations through association with a successful outcome. One project manager encapsulated the project manager mind-set
You may think of meetings as long, drawn-out exercises in discussion leading to few results or decisions. Or, you may view them as simply an inefficient way to get things done. However, a well-organized and controlled meeting especially a short one can improve communication on all levels.
Leadership involves focusing the efforts of a group of people toward a common goal and enabling them to work as a team. In general terms, leadership is the ability to get things done through others. Respect and trust, rather than fear and submission, are the key elements of effective leadership. Although important throughout all project phases, effective leadership is critical during the beginning phases of a project when the emphasis is on communicating the vision and motivating and inspiring project participants to achieve high performance.
The process management approach is based on a continual understanding, refining, and uncovering of the linked activities that form the process layers of an organization. This approach uses process mapping to provide straightforward assessments of how organizations get things done. A modified process-mapping technique is applied to minimize the problems associated with traditional process-mapping techniques.
All these things create the organizational dynamic, and you must learn what makes the dynamic move and get things done. If you don't understand the dynamic, you will be treading water while others are succeeding. Every good project manager keeps his or her finger on the pulse of both the organizational structure and the infrastructure.
Microsoft has placed corresponding tool symbols and keyboard shortcuts (such as Delete or Ctrl+F) next to the menu commands, as shown in Figure 2-10. This display helps you to get things done more quickly in Project. Notice also that the main menus sometimes open up submenus (also called side menus or cascading menus). A black arrow to the right of a command indicates the presence of a submenu. Finally, if you choose a menu command followed by an ellipsis (. . .), such as Find . . . or Replace . . ., Project displays a dialog box.
Functional department heads may view the project manager as a potential competitor. By limiting the number of staff on the project team, the problem is alleviated and the project manager's involvement in intrafunctional matters is reduced. Moreover, people transferred out of their own functional departments are apt to lose their inside sources of information and find it increasingly difficult to get things done rapidly and informally.
Unforeseen costs will also arise when IT costs for the alliance are not researched and accounted for in the financial transaction. The cost of software has increased in the last 10 to 15 years as vendors realized the value that software adds to business productivity. In addition, vendors continue to enhance and create product functions and features leading to upgrades. There are also more productivity tools available,
Project management systems, in conjunction with social networking-style tools within the enterprise and improvements in search, will enable identification of people suitable for a particular project role. This enables a richer form of people search than using existing job descriptions and formal corporate hierarchy to find the right people for projects. For example, two software developers may have the same role and tenure, but one is very familiar with a particular software programming language whereas the other is not. Knowing the requirements of the project, and then having a richer way of capturing expertise, will enable more efficient matching of resources to projects. A richer method of capturing expertise, based on pulling data from people's actions and history, with their approval, will enable creation of a much more informative definition of workers' skills, which will be invaluable to larger organizations as they look to staff projects efficiently and leverage the skills of...
The Tracking Gantt view is also based on the Gantt Chart view. The Tracking Gantt view provides a great visual way to evaluate the progress of individual tasks and the project as a whole. By using the Tracking Gantt view, you can see how your project has shifted from your original estimates and then decide how to adjust your plans to accommodate delays. Theoretically, if a project ever goes faster than you've anticipated, you can also see the amount of extra time that you've bought yourself as a result of your efficiency. (However, projects so seldom go faster than projected that I won't show that option here )
Before you start your process, understand the resources and skills that exist across your organization. Project management will occur within businesses without any explicit action from executives. It is core to getting things done. Therefore, assuming you have a blank slate to start with is wrong. Project management, and indeed portfolio management, will occur with the organization, albeit in perhaps an informal, ad hoc, and inconsistent fashion. Understanding how this occurs is critical to building on the organization's strengths and improving on its weaknesses. Even if there are high-profile examples of project failure within your organization, it is likely that there are some best practices within particular groups and divisions that should be retained or even expanded and showcased. Identifying these helps in the process of improving portfolio management processes because it no longer becomes necessary to implement wholesale change with no existing processes to leverage. It then...
The project manager is the person responsible for getting things done. He or she requires a proactive relationship with the project sponsor and acts at all times as the one person responsible for the project. Good project managers need to develop key skills in a number of important areas
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