Leadership for Project and Executive

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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:

Published in Suggested Books

"The government is incapable of running projects. Simply put, their miserably high failure rate proves that government should be out of the project management business." There are plenty of examples of this. We have heard this line, or ones similar to it, time and again and rarely hear how the projects failure reasons support the hypothesis. The reason? The prognosticators purporting this are part of the problem. Coming to that conclusion does not take any superior intellect—just listen to the nightly news. However, to try to get closer to the truth, I candidly and confidentially interviewed a number of government project managers and executives to gather their views. Following is a summary of those conversations.

Published in Project Rescue
Alignment: Using the Balanced Scorecard to Create Corporate Synergies

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Author:Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Released: April 2006
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 320
ISBN:978-0201835953

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.

Published in Suggested Books
Sunday, 12 June 2011 00:00

Decision Makers, Shakers, and Fakers

Got 'Tude?

Decisions, deshmisions, what is the big deal? Anyone can make a decision! Hardly. After years of working with ineffective initiatives and consternated companies, I have a healthy respect for the D-word. It is all about the seven 'tudes—ineptitude, attitude, fortitude, altitude, aptitude, incertitude, and vicissitude. Some organizations obtrude the 'tude in which they are imbued, while others are denude of a common 'tude.

Published in Project Rescue

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, 27 March 2011 00:00

Leading Without Authority

Leadership is more than leading the people reporting to you. Too often, you need to lead people over which you lack any authority. The absence of hierarchical advantage adds a challenge, but is ideal training on how to deal with managers, customers, and difficult people. The key is making them feel the direction chosen is theirs. One of the best methods of doing this is storytelling.

Published in Project Rescue
Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation

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Author:James P Womack
Daniel T. Jones
Publisher: Productivity Press
Released: June 2003
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 396
ISBN:978-0743249270

Womack is often considered the father of writing on lean manufacturing. Nearly all books on this subject use his books as reference material.

The publisher says:
"Expanded, updated, and more relevant than ever, this best selling business classic by two internationally renowned management analysts describes a business system for the twenty-first century that supersedes the mass production system of Ford, the financial control system of Sloan, and the strategic system of Welch and GE. It is based on the Toyota (lean) model, which combines operational excellence with value-based strategies to produce steady growth through a wide range of economic conditions.

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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
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