Decision Making Challenges in Projects

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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.

Published in Suggested Books
Sunday, 25 March 2012 00:00

Consultants Cheat

Cartoon of dead consultant

"We can fix this project ourselves." I hear that line all the time. And, of course, you can. It will just be a lot slower and more expensive because consultants cheat. Consultants simply have much more flexibility than employees do. At least consultants that put the client first. For instance, they can... Wait, I am getting a little ahead of myself. We need a little context before making that case. Obviously, consultants cannot do everything. It takes a delicate balance of consultants, employees, and contractors to get the optimal performance out of an organization.

Published in Project Rescue
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

A few weeks ago, I posted an article on five of the ten stupidest decisions management had done on troubled projects, as promised, here are the other five. Although these may all bring a little light hearted laughter, the goal is to educate in order to avoid repeat performances. We all have seen, and made, dumb decisions; finger pointing and blame will not improve the result. So, read on, enjoy and then share your experiences so we all learn more.

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
The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

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Author:Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling
Publisher: Free Press
Released: April 24, 2012
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 352
ISBN:978-0201835953

This is a non-project management book that discusses how to achieve results in the execution of a plan. The four disciplines are great change management tools that get results and keep people focused. Where it is valuable to a project manager is in its education on how to keep people focused on a goal. It can you used to help your team on short term progress or on driving your project's customer to focus on what they need to achieve success. If you plan to make the move from project management to any other operational mode--even to the PMO--this book gives a number of good tools.

Published in Suggested Books
The Seven Arts of Change: Leading Business Transformation That Lasts

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Author:David Shaner
Publisher: Union Square Press
Released: November 2010
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 184
ISBN:978-0201835953

This book is currently under review, more details will be added when available

In my opinion, as a project manager, you cannot read too many books on handling change. Each gives you a different perspective on how to effectively deliver a project whose product is valuable. This is a lesser known book, but has a great perspective.

Many businesses try to change, but few succeed. At best, a few buzzwords and new reports become part of the company's structure. At worst, programs crash and burn, and the members of the organization become irreparably disillusioned with the revolving door of new-mission statements. According to David Shaner-a business consultant with a 100% success rate of change at companies including Duracell, Frito-Lay, Caesars Palace and Gillette-the problem is that those changes don't address either individuals or the corporate culture. They're only on the surface.

Published in Suggested Books
In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies

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Author: Thomas J. Peters
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Released: February 2006
Type: Softcover
Pages: 400
ISBN:978-0201835953

This book is currently under review, more details will be added when available

If you want to explore and improve your leadership style, this is a "Must Read." Why leadership? Because projects struggle under managers and they excel under leaders. Not only that, but this also gets you thinking and talking like your business leaders. How can you communicate with them if you do not think like them?

Touted as the "Greatest Business Book of All Time" (Bloomsbury UK), In Search of Excellence has long been a must-have for the boardroom, business school, and bedside table.

Published in Suggested Books
Sunday, 14 February 2010 00:00

Quality Decisions are a Thing of the Past

Sign of a quality decision, so thought the decider

Recently I have seen an abundance of references to decision making in everything from presentations to job titles. Yes, I said job title. Director of Quality Decisions. The second thing that struck me (the first being that it was actually a title) was that it was too low in the company. Are other leadership roles like C-Levels, Presidents, and VPs exempt? Unfortunately, I know little about that job and cannot find the person that got the position. I would love to interview him or her.

The quickest way to get lost, in business or in your personal life, is failing to make decisions. Not knowing where you are headed increases stress and frustration. It would seem natural, then, that teams on projects beleaguered with indecisive management would be excited to have the logjam broken by a dynamic, decisive leader. Simply put, they are not. Every decision has its opponents and they are bound to be irritated, feeling they have lost prestige or stature. However, turning the decision into action requires a unified team. One of the best tools to accomplish this is to understand what impeded decision making and tactfully educating the team members on the source of the problem. This will garner their backing and improve their willingness to support the decision.

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