Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:00

Avoiding Top Project Pitfalls

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Project results drive business performance! In my experience in working with countless companies ranging from small to multi-billion dollar ones, I’ve yet to run across one that wasn’t dependent on project results to meet critical company objectives. Actually, quite the opposite is typically the case – too many projects with too few resources are vital to performance. Thus, those executives who find ways to ensure project success will outpace the competition.

For example, one of my significant manufacturing aerospace clients is experiencing delivery challenges. Thus, there are several projects which are geared towards improving the order fulfilment processes to improve delivery performance. If they do not deliver results, customers will leave. What could be more important than that?

The bottom line is that project failure is not an option! Yet 0% of my clients have enough resources, and they are especially short on the right resources with the right skills to deliver these projects. Given this state of affairs, it is important to understand the top project pitfalls – and, of course, how to avoid them.

Everyone needs someone who is good at analyzing requirements, communicating with stakeholders and who is good at managing projects.

This article is for Project Managers (PMs) and Business Analysts (BAs) to reflect on the importance of their roles and on the foundation skills that span from relationship skills to analytical skills. It is important to step back and look in on ourselves every so often so we don’t forget how important we are and the skill sets we need to succeed.

PMs and BAs are related. They may be professionals in their disciplines or they may be part time, incidental PMs or BAs. They share a tendency toward left brain (analytical and linear) thinking. Their roles overlap. The work they do is often unappreciated because it is future focused, gets in the way of operations, costs a lot, holds people accountable, and causes change.

But where would our organizations be without these roles being competently played?

Why Project Management

Without project management, there is a strong likelihood that things will most likely stay the same or get worse. Things will change, of course, since everything does. But, they might change too slowly or in the wrong direction, or chaotically, at great cost.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014 00:00

Applying "A Sense of Urgency" to Project Management

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In his most well-known book, Leading Change, Dr. John Kotter presents an eight step model for transforming organizations with the first step requiring the establishment of a sense of urgency. Dr. Kotter expands his guidance for completing that first step in his follow-up book, A Sense of Urgency.

While Dr. Kotter’s premise is that companies and individuals need to develop and sustain a true sense of urgency to successfully survive today’s fast pace of change, his lessons also apply to project management.

This might seem like an odd topic to write about – project managers frequently feel over-pressured to deliver and that same pressure often translates to their team members. However, even on critical, high visibility projects, it can be difficult to sustain focused, productive true urgency.

Dr. Kotter states that the enemies of true urgency are complacency and a false sense of urgency.

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