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Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:35

The Agile Mindset

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Project Managers are bombarded with a plethora of well- meaning words that come in the form of articles, blogs and books. These documents discuss the impact of changes, doing more with less, in some cases a lot less and ways to implement a project despite these constraints. These issues are important but often lack meaning as these documents speak in generalities. PM’s know that one size does not fit all. Projects come in different shapes and sizes and we are perpetually trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Projects thus are surrounded by the minutiae of all…
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 08:55

A Virtual Distance Primer Part 1

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Think about all of the people you work with. They all have different personalities and life histories. They may have dissimilar skill sets, learning styles and communication preferences. It’s likely they will have diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. They may be members of your own department or part of another functional unit. You may see them every day in an office, or only interact with them through telephone conversations or email. All of these factors can create psychological distances within teams. These distances may not be important in cases where work can be independently completed by individuals. They can, however,…
I lead delivery execution teams that create custom software. I’m accountable for the overall results and the delivery of projects. It wasn’t until I had kids that I realized how much I could learn from them about running projects. I have been a parent for around two years now, and my kids are still teaching me more and more every day. All I have to do is listen to them. My son, Kaeden, is the older of two kids. From the beginning, my wife and I have consciously tried to provide structure and consistency for our little ones. When we…
Working on a team presents a unique set of challenges — something that just happens when you put more than one person in a room and ask them to achieve a goal together. The challenges are as old as primitive man and include head bangers like: people don’t always pull their weight, roles and assignments are fuzzy and team members have different views and work styles.  This doesn’t mean we have to accept these hardships and battle our way to the end. With a little self-examination and some good behavior habits, anyone can become a better team player – and…
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 08:00

Connecting with Your Project Sponsor

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Connecting with a Project Sponsor is something that you may struggle with at some point in your career. There are sponsors who you establish a natural emotional connection with, who can always be reasoned with, and who provide support through even the most difficult times. But then there are sponsors who you can’t get on the same page with, no matter how hard you try. Without question, support from a project sponsor is critical to a project’s success. You may have completed a few successful projects and are now working your way from tactical and necessary projects to high-visibility and…
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 08:07

Evolve or Die

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During attritive economic times, luck alone does not determine which organizations survive and which become extinct. There is a process of Survival of the Fittest that takes place, to where those who are most attuned to the economic climate, business culture and consumer trends live on to fight another day. While this perspective highlights the importance of “fittness” to a given environment, the true crucial feature is adaptability itself. As an example, let's say that we lived in a business culture to where consumers only sought out the biggest and most recognizable names in a given industry. The organizations hauling…
A friend of mine was recently appointed Manager of a complex project in the closing phase. The project embarked on closing phase while it still had some activities going on. The fact that there were still activities to be accomplished during the closing phase is normal in the real world of project management. One of the big challenges he had to face was the management of untailored contracts, for which the project management was frequently requested to organize acceptance of supplied equipments while the building in which they were supposed to be stored was still under construction. The issue here…
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 09:06

Account-Ability is a Team Sport

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Why don’t people listen to you? Why don’t they do what you ask them do? Answer: You’re not holding them to be account-able. So what is a manager to do? First, yo have got to actually describe the behaviours that a person is doing.  “Frank, I noticed that you did not get that report done today?” This description is a must so that Frank knows exactly how he is falling short. Second, leave time for Frank to respond. Zip the lip. Listen to what he has to say. He may have a good reason, He may make a not-so-good excuse.…
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 07:37

What is Agile?

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The concept of “Agile” was popularised in 2001 with the publication of the Agile Manifesto. The manifesto set out a number of principles which - when successfully applied - would improve the process of software development.Over time these Agile principles - valuing individuals and interactions over processes, responding to change, collaboration etc - were applied to projects in various industries. “Agile” made the transition from IT to general management practice in a similar manner to lean/six sigma’s evolution from its manufacturing origins.With its increasing popularity - Project Managers were widely encouraged to implement Agile principles in order to successfully deliver…
Over the past couple of years, there have been several running global surveys based on determining the ideal factors that affect product team performance. The results from these surveys seem to indicate that, Only 12% of global survey respondents report consistent on time, on scope, on budget performance High-performing product teams report increased levels of support from their executive team. High-performing teams are aligned to the business strategy and vision Approximately 53% of organizations are blending Agile methods with Waterfall Lack of consistent definition of Agile – 57% of the 200 respondents had a unique definition of what Agile is!…

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