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Showing posts from January, 2017

Skills in Project Management or Field Knowledge: Which one is KEY?

What is the difference between senior and junior project managers in terms of decision making. More specifically, while senior managers focus on potential project difficulties, junior managers are more easily swayed by their project’s plan and its deficiencies.
Spotting problems with your plan and being able to foresee difficulties are both essential skills for a project manager, but my argument is that while the first one can be acquired by anyone willing to put in the needed effort, the second skill is much harder to develop. This is why I believe in the importance of managing a project in a field you master. Up to this point, I am certain not everyone shares this view. Some people indeed hold the opinion that project management is a “standalone” skill: once you master the mechanics, you can apply it to any context.  In the same vein, it could be argued that even a project manager with a lot of experience in a given field cannot possibly hope to master every single aspect of the proje…

To RAID or not to RAID?

A few weeks ago I was assisting a project manager with a troubled project.  We reviewed the documentation from the beginning, starting with the usual suspects: project design, work plans, schedule just to mention a few.  They all seemed fairly straightforward and understandable.  Once we got to the status reporting though, confusion started. This project’s status reports were spreadsheets about 10 pages long.  Every week the team was only able to discuss only about 3 pages’ worth of information, and they were mostly risks. “Why is this so long, what’s in it?” I asked him. He answered that it was his RAID Log, which he used to run Status Meetings. He wanted to be certain not to miss anything, so he was careful to include every item related to the project and classify it as R (risk); A (action); I (issue) or D (dependency) in this giant spreadsheet. As the first section was ‘Risks’ they were certainly addressed. So, most of the discussion in his weekly status meeting was about events tha…

What is Organization Development Consulting and who needs it?

OrganizationalDevelopment consulting ALSO known as OD Consultingis a professional service that assists seasoned or existing organizations in evaluating and possibly restructuring their current internal layout. An Organizational Development consultant may also work with new or upcoming organizations as well as community groups that wish to design and establish a working structure that is likely to support certain goals and objectives. The idea behindorganizational consultingis to make the best use of all resources available by organizing them in the most logical and advantageous structural organization.
The process oforganizationalconsultingcan address the overall operations of the organization or focus on specific aspects. For example, an Organizational Development consultant may address the policies and procedures that govern the external and internal relations and support functions of the organization. Evaluations of the senior management team and its effectiveness may take place. Th…

A Motivated Team: Are you Maslow or Machiavelli?

Managers and organizations have diverse philosophies about how to motivate employees and manage teams. Some seek to create cooperation and loyalty. Others rely more on the competitive spirit to get things done. And the truth is different approaches can work, but it’s important to understand what kind of work environment you’re creating with your approach. So the question is: Are you more Maslow or Machiavelli. These two paradigms are familiar to many, but they represent extremely different ways of managing people. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs tells us that people have certain requirements that have to be met before they can be truly fulfilled. In the workplace, this theory demands attending to the needs of each employee. Making enough money to live, job security, belonging to a team, excelling at a job, and doing meaningful work are all motivating factors. The idea is that if employees are happy at work, they’ll be more creative and produce more. The Machiavellian style is very differen…