Corporate Culture and it Role In Project Failure

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Projects build capabilities to met corporate goals. If you are a CEO, you need to make sure your employees and vendors know what those goals are and how they fit in to the plan. If you are a project manager, you need to know the bounds of you project. If you are anywhere in between, you need to understand how all the pieces fit together and keep it all aligned.

Most organizations consist of multiple business and support units, each populated by highly trained, experienced executives. But often the efforts of individual units are not coordinated, resulting in conflicts, lost opportunities, and diminished performance.

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Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't

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Author: Jim Collins
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Released: October 2001
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 300
ISBN:978-0201835953

The Challenge:

You are running a project that is supposed to improve the organization to leap out in front of the competition, yet you have had little formal training on what that means. Project managers need lessons in how world class business runs to drive projects to make that happen.

Built to Last, Collins' first book and defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study:

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Projects build in technical debt and maintenance groups remove it—if your organization has a maintenance group. Technical debt accrues in any product, whether or not it has a technical component. It is the result of taking shortcuts when building the product. Sometimes it is the result of not having enough time, on other occasions it is due to not having the right tools. Anything from the implementation of the software component to light fixture can have technical debt. Promises are made to correct it later, but later never comes.

Published in Project Rescue
Sunday, 29 May 2011 00:00

Passionately Dispassionate

People routinely ask me the question, "What do you do when you find yourself on a project that is a hopeless failure?" It was raised again a few weeks ago in a Focus.com roundtable and then last week in an interview with Andy Kaufman. It only matters if the executives above the project are ignorant to how dire the situation is. It is tricky, trying to convince someone that they have a problem when they refuse to acknowledge the obvious—a tough and politically dangerous sell. The general consensus is "dust of the résumé." However, there is a logical approach to the problem—be logical.

Published in Project Rescue
Sunday, 16 January 2011 00:00

The Consultant's Lore

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"Why is it that when you get hired you are no longer the expert?" A chuckle rippled through the audience; however, the woman asking the question was serious. I turned the question back to the audience of director level managers, "Why is this the case?" There was silence. Finally, I proffered that it was management's lack of understanding the skills of the people working for them. "Who in your organization can you implicitly trust?" More silence. It is sad that organizations know so little about the people that they hired—the people on which they stake their company's future.

Published in Project Rescue

In many years of recovering failing projects, I have found a few management actions whose rationale seem completely absurd. Regardless of my efforts, I am unable to understand or dissuade them from their decisions. These decisions either precipitate the failure or greatly exacerbate the project's dilemma. Regardless, due to management's level of shear desperation, they can only be classified as stupid decisions. If there were the Darwin awards for management, these would qualify.

Published in Project Rescue

From years of experience in recovering red projects, I estimate that only a third of all problems that affect red projects are actually on the project; the other two-thirds are in the surrounding organizations. Poor policies and procedures or lack of commitment by the customer, vendor, integrator, or organization overshadows problems on the project. Unfortunately, project managers do not have the authority, or even the influence, to address these issues. Their only course of action to complete the project successfully is to band-aid the problem. This must change if companies are going to quickly and accurately implement business initiatives.

Published in Project Rescue
Monday, 14 September 2009 00:00

Emphasis on Process

Reading an article the other day, the author was lamenting on how Project Managers were under educated and needed to know more about earned values analysis, risk probability determination, finite schedule development and other tools that make a Project Manager great. She was arguing that certifications, like PMI's PMP® certification, needed to have more testing on those subjects.

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Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers

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Author: Geoffrey A. Moore
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Released: August 2006
Type: Softcover
Pages: 227
ISBN:978-0201835953

To be a great project manager, you need to understand business. Your job is applying change to improve an organization, you had better understand why some changes and some leaders can create a metric differ to a company.

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Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

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Author:Noah J. Goldstein Ph.D., Steve J. Martin, Robert B. Cialdini Ph.D.
Publisher: Free Press
Released: December 2009
Type: Softcover
Pages: 272
ISBN:978-0201835953

Project managers spend 90% of their time trying to persuade people to do something be it stakeholders, executives, end users, or the project team. They spend very little time learning how to do it better. Yes! gives you fifty ways to change your message and help you persuade anyone to do anything (well, almost). You can also get our excel spreadsheet that helps you focus on the right tools for what ever you are trying to do.

New York Times bestselling introduction of fifty scientifically proven techniques for increasing your persuasive powers in business and life.

Small changes can make a big difference in your powers of persuasion.

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