Education is the First Step in Reducing Project Failure
Few will disagree that sponsorship is critical to project success, yet how many times to you hear, “Our project sponsor is not engaged!” Our research shows that 80% of all PMs will tell you that engagement is the primary issue they face with the executive sponsor. Even more serious, when discussing the topic with executives, a very large majority will say that consistent, high-quality sponsorship is the number-one problem they see in executing initiatives successfully.
The dearth of corporate leadership is stifling. Daily executives struggle with this reality. The challenge is creating the best learning environment for employees to debate situational leadership challenges. Too many times they are learning on-the-job and making costly mistakes leaving collateral damage in the workplace. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an environment where people could test their reactions to situations that have actually arisen and debate the appropriate resolution in a safe environment?
|Author:||Todd C. Williams|
|Released:||March 20, 2011|
Amazon #1 Bestseller in Business and Technical Project Management!
Back from the brink... the first fail-safe recovery plan for turning around troubled projects and keeping the problems from reoccurring.
When budgets are dwindling, deadlines passing, and tempers flaring, the usual response is to browbeat the project team and point fingers of blame. Not helpful. For these situations, what is needed is an objective process for accurately assessing what is wrong and a clear plan of action for fixing the problem.
In Rescue the Problem Project, Todd Williams, President of eCameron, describes how projects go wrong and what to do to fix them. It focuses first on people, then process, and finally technology. By doing this it helps you find the root cause of the failure and helps you prevent it from happening again.
A project's destiny is set very early, often before the project even starts. A properly run project launch is the first opportunity when all of the key project stakeholders are gathered and can identify and correct issues. Critical to the kickoff's and project's success is having the right stakeholders reviewing and agreeing to the project approach, risks, and mitigations. Without this short alignment workshop the incident of project failure is much higher.
Project Launch Benefits Include:
- Set up the project for the best chance of success.
- Define the proper project approach through prototyping solutions.
- Identify and vet major project risks.
- Assess mitigation strategies.
- Determine contingency requirements.
- Attain consensus on roles and responsibilities.
Estimates are a pain in the... er... butt. Everyone hates doing them. The reason? They are always wrong. They are either too optimistic, when we think we know more than we do, or they are overly padded, trying to account for the unexpected. Other times it is much more subconscious. Some little voice in the back of our heads is working on our conscience to change the perception of the work required. We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to creating estimates and do even more harm when we go to work the task. For now, let us look at a couple factors that influence how we determine the length of time it takes to do simple tasks and save the effects of that estimate for another article. With a little audience cooperation, we will produce a fun answer from a simple mental exercise.
Tired of doing the same thing and expecting the different results? The goal of a properly run retrospective is to do more of the good things and fewer of the bad. Even well run projects have lessons that we can learn. Preforming a retrospective on a project allows you to capture the highs and lows of a project and integrate that information into a library for others to use.
The lessons could be about handling risk, a new process for you company, allocation of resources, or a multitude of other data. Without discussing and capturing that item, you are left to reinvent this wheel or stumble in the same hole in the future. Objectivity, experience, and an unbiased perspective are key for conducting a value-laden retrospective that solves problems instead of looking for blame, and that complements team work over the individual hero. It takes an experienced outsider who is removed from the history and politics to see the issues and make the recommendations that will maximize the lessons learned.
|Author:||Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling|
|Released:||April 24, 2012|
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.
|Author:||Roger Fisher, William L. Ury|
One of the primary tasks of a project manager is to negotiate—negotiate scope, negotiate for resources, negotiate for money, negotiate end dates, etc.—there is almost nothing that a project manager has as a give. Even in your personal life, negotiation skills are essential for dealing with everything from your kids' bedtime, to the price of your next car. Understanding the art and science of negotiation is critical. This book, especially in conjunction with one of our classes, is a great way to get you down the road to improving you negotiation skills. Don't be fooled though, negotiation takes practice.
|Publisher:||Union Square Press|
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.
If you are trying to implement a lean philosophy in a service industry (or just your projects), this book is a great resource. It describes what is needs and how to implement it. As a "desk resource" it at times repeats itself; however, that is great for reading sections at a time. There are a lot of tools that can be used by project managers to lean out their methodology.
Bring the advantages of Lean Six Sigma improvement out of manufacturing and into your services organization.