Project Accelerator News http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk The latest project management news, views and project management sites from the around the world Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:04:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Autumn Project Challenge – First Sessions Announcedhttp://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/autumn-project-challenge-first-sessions-announced/4567 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/autumn-project-challenge-first-sessions-announced/4567#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:04:28 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=4567 Project Challenge returns to London on the 6th and 7th October 2015 at London Olympia. The first seminars for the show have just been announced. Registration is free and is now open, please register to attend:

Managing Agile, Waterfalll and Hybrid projects within the Portfolio

with Jon Lewis, Director, Ninth Wave

Ninth Wave has extensive expertise in supporting project portfolio management. We find that introducing agile management techniques alongside traditional waterfall based planning is becoming increasingly important for many of our customers.

In this session, we’ll describe and explain some of the issues in managing a mix of waterfall projects, fully Agile projects and projects following a hybrid agile/ waterfall approach, all within the same project portfolio. We’ll share Ninth Wave’s ideas and experience in this area and show some of the tools and techniques that we use to support project portfolio management with these different project approaches.

cmiWhat change activities should I include in my project plan?

with Melanie Franklin, Co-Chair, Change Management Institute UK

To ensure our projects realise their benefits we have to take responsibility for the development of project deliverables and their implementation and adoption by users.

In this practical session, Melanie uses her extensive experience of change management to identify the key change activities to include in project plans. She will highlight those activities that engage users and those that reduce resistance and build support for the changes brought about by projects.

Optimizing the utilization of your skilled resources. How to balance demand and capacity in volatile multi-project environments.

Barry Muir, Director, Innate Management Systems Ltd.

Poor levels of resource utilization can severely impact overall profitability, but sufficient skills must be available to ensure timely completion of assignments and avoid client disappointment.

Drawing on recent experiences with Petrofac, the Oil and Gas facilities provider and others, we will see how project and services organizations can maintain the right balance in a constantly changing environment.

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Valuing Soft Skillshttp://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/valuing-soft-skills/4562 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/valuing-soft-skills/4562#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 09:33:27 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=4562 The project management community and the wider business community are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of soft skills. However, being aware of their importance and investing in developing improved capabilities are different.  Before most organisations (and individuals) will invest in developing improved soft-skill capabilities, their value needs to be demonstrated.

A recent report prepared for McDonald’s UK[1] provides a solid foundation for understanding the importance of soft skills to the UK economy as a whole, and is likely to be indicative of the situation in the Australian economy.

Soft skills fall into six interlinked sets of competencies[2]:

  • Communication skills[3]
    • Effective listening
    • Accurate and concise communication
    • Effective oral communication
    • Communicate pleasantly and professionally
    • Effective written communication
    • Ask good questions
    • Communicate appropriately using social media
  • Decision-making/ Problem solving skills[4]
    • Identify and analyse problems
    • Take effective and appropriate action
    • Realise the effect of decisions
    • Creative and innovative solutions
    • Transfer knowledge between situations
    • Engage in life-long learning
    • Think abstractly about problems
  • Self-management skills[5]
    • Efficient work habits
    • Self-starting
    • Well-developed ethics and sense of loyalty
    • Sense of urgency to address and complete tasks
    • Work well under pressure
    • Adapt and apply appropriate technology
    • Dedication to continuing professional development
  • Teamwork skills
    • Productive as a team member
    • Positive and encouraging attitude
    • Punctuality and meets deadlines
    • Maintains accountability to the team
    • Works with multiple approaches
    • Aware of and sensitive to diversity
    • Shares ideas to multiple audiences
  • Professionalism skills
    • Effective relationships with customers, businesses and the public
    • Accept critique and direction in the workplace
    • Trustworthy with sensitive information
    • Understands role and has realistic career expectations
    • Deals effectively with ambiguity
    • Maintains appropriate decorum and demeanor
    • Selects appropriate mentors and sources of advice
  • Leadership skills[6]
    • Sees the ‘big picture’ and thinks strategically
    • Recognises when to lead, and when to follow
    • Respects and acknowledges contributions from others
    • Recognises and deals effectively with conflict
    • Builds professional relationships
    • Motivates and leads others
    • Recognises when change is needed, and contributes to the change effort

To assess the contribution of soft skills to the overall economy required some extensive analysis; as a starting point, the overall productivity in the economy was disaggregated into the five drivers of productivity (as defined by HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills):

  1. Investment,
  2. Skills,
  3. Innovation,
  4. Entrepreneurship and
  5. Competition.

The value of the skills driver component was then further disaggregated into the following elements: technical skills, technology skills, literacy, numeracy and soft skills, where soft skills covered the range of capabilities outlined above.

Based on this analysis, soft skills were found to underpin around 6.5% of the economy as a whole, and this contribution was expected to grow strongly over the next five years.

The research highlighted that employers ranked soft skills above academic qualifications and ahead of or equal to other competencies, with 97% believing that soft skills are important to current business success. Worryingly, 75 percent of employers say there is a soft skills deficit within the workforce but many job applicants don’t list soft skills in their résumés.

Employee results supported this concern as it was revealed that 54% of employees said that they have never included soft skills on their CV and one in five felt that they would be uncomfortable discussing their soft skills with an employer.

The research found that deficiencies in the UK’s current stock of soft skills were imposing severe penalties on the economy, causing major problems for business and resulting in diminished productivity, competitiveness and profitability. Over half a million UK workers will be significantly held back by soft skills deficits by 2020.

Observation of project managers in Australia, the USA and South America suggest to me that the UK findings are likely to be repeated in most similar economies. Helping to change this observed lack of focus on the linked capabilities of effective stakeholder engagement and communication was one of the reasons for writing my latest book Making Projects Work: Effective Stakeholder and Communication Management; it really does not matter how good the technology is, if people don’t understand it and don’t want to use it your project will fail!

In summary, soft skills matter and contribute significantly to productivity.  But there is a measurable, and widening, skills gap and soft-skills are under represented in skills development initiatives.  Changing this is a major challenge for organisations, business and people seeking career development.

How do you think your soft-skills can be developed?

[1] See: http://www.backingsoftskills.co.uk/

[2] See: Crawford et al: Comparative Analysis of Soft Skills, Michigan State University, August 2011.
A seventh cluster – Experiences has been excluded from the table above.

[3] For more on communication skills see:
http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1066_Communcation_Theory.pdf

[4] For more on decision making see:
http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1053_Decision_Making.pdf

[5] For more on personal time management see:
http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1054_Personal_Time_Management.pdf

[6] For more on leadership see:
http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1014_Leadership.pdf

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Limber up: Are Project Managers getting Agile?http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/limber-up-are-project-managers-getting-agile/4552 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/limber-up-are-project-managers-getting-agile/4552#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:11:58 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=4552 Jean-Pierre Ullmo, VP EMEA Sales at Changepoint

It can be tough to keep up with buzzwords in the project management world: in recent years we have seen ‘scrum teams’ using ‘game theory’ tactics to play ‘zero sum games’. A phrase that has risen to prominence recently is Agile. Familiar to those working in IT, the term is growing in popularity in a number of other sectors as they become wise to the potential benefits of working in this way.

Adoption of an Agile approach to project management is certainly on the rise: a quarter of all projects in the UK now happen in an Agile way, according to research from Arras People. And it’s already having a positive impact: fashion retail chain Zara has credited some of its success to an agile project management approach to its supply chain.  Is Zara’s successful adoption of the approach just a flash in the pan, or is Agile in a position to transform the way projects are approached?

What is Agile? 

As mentioned earlier, the Agile revolution actually began within a very different setting: software development. There is an Agile Manifesto, which was created in 2001 with the aim of creating a better way of developing and coding computer software. The summit of leading computer programmers got together to set out a better way of working, which valued:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Essentially, Agile represents a whole new way of working. Instead of having a rigid process and determined outcome, in an Agile world things are much more fluid. This is because people work in smaller, non-hierarchical teams; there is no rigid plan or path to stick to, and it is accepted that the end product you are working towards can often look very different to what was initially planned if a better way of achieving the strategic purpose of the product is found.

Now these principals are being adopted by businesses from both the private and public sector, and it could prove a good fit for project management too because it allows people to react and adapt to issues on the ground as they happen, finding new ways of working around problems, rather than being trapped in fixed boundaries.

Can I do it?

As interest in the Agile methodology continues to grow within the project management community, we have started thinking about what that means on a practical level. Here are five qualities a team needs in order to be capable of working in an Agile way:

  • Trust: You can rely on each other to produce high quality work.
  • Commitment: To each other, the project and the company. This means acting in good faith and shooting towards the desired project outcome.
  • Collaboration: If somebody asks, you can’t say no. Share information and spread knowledge across the team.
  • Cooperation: Because Agile involves working in close quarters and pairing with a colleague, it is critical that everybody plays nice.
  • Discipline: Although Agile can involve some erosion of hierarchies, team members must obey their own processes, charters, aims and decisions.

Businesses across an increasingly wide range of sectors are realising they can start working in an Agile way too. These five guidelines can act as a starting point for project managers to follow, but in its present form, attempts at Agile project management are just that: a starting point. Existing working practices will need to be flexible to incorporate this new approach, and rigid PPM platforms could prove a barrier to adoption for some.

Of course it is also important to remember that Agile will not be the right fit for everybody. It is dangerous to change the way you work just because it is en vogue; the UK Government encountered big problems with its £2billion Universal Credit project because it tried to use an Agile development method when that way of working did not suit the way it worked with suppliers.

The formal future

As a concept that is still emerging, Agile project management has not yet been properly formalised. The Arras People survey also revealed that while a quarter of projects claim to be run in an Agile way, just 8% of them involved somebody with Agile certification.

This means that at the moment, it’s only largely innovative firms, often smaller and fresher-faced ones, which are able to take advantage of Agile. Formalisation, certifications and processes will make it easier for adoption to take place across the board, even at the most process-driven, traditional organisations.

 

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Roehampton master’s qualification given official accreditation by APMhttp://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/roehampton-masters-qualification-given-official-accreditation-by-apm/4541 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/roehampton-masters-qualification-given-official-accreditation-by-apm/4541#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 16:19:01 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=4541 The Association of Project Management has just given its formal backing to the University of Roehampton’s MSc in Project Management, after confirming the qualification is now officially accredited.

The association is the largest professional body in its field in the UK, and the accreditation provides a sought after official sign of quality and relevance to the industry for the MSc course. Roehampton is now one of just 28 universities in the country, and only three in London, to have the course accredited.

Professor Sharon Mavin, Director of Roehampton Business School said: “I’m thrilled with the accreditation, we are in the middle of a 10 year period when the industry will see 15.7 million new project management roles created globally, the recognition of our MSc shows our commitment to providing a course that allows students to be well prepared for careers in the sector.”

The accreditation will provide students with a qualification recognised by a growing sector for its quality and relevance to the workplace. As a result of the accreditation, students will have opportunities to attend APM events including conferences and talks, access their materials, and study for other qualifications.

During the one year course, students could expect to learn about consultancy practice, contemporary issues in the sector, risk management, business research and change management. The skills needed to become a professional practitioner within the sector.

To secure the accreditation the University went through a rigorous process which involved demonstrating how the MSc is aligned to the Association of Project Management Body of Knowledge, as well as demonstrating that the quality assurance and other processes within the University are robust.

Academic accreditation by the Association is designed to help students and professionals choose the best academic education in support of their professional project management career. Accreditation provides an independent quality mark for the course, helping students make decisions about which university to study at.

Peter Hill, a Lecturer at Roehampton Business School, who has overseen the accreditation process with APM said project management skills were relevant in many sectors, and that Roehampton students would find the knowledge learnt on the MSc course useful whatever field they chose to work in after graduation. He said: “Many processes in all industries are increasingly being done as projects. At Roehampton for example we take a number of dance students on our undergraduate project management module because productions are now run as projects.”

He said students on the accredited MSc in Project Management course could expect to be taught by professors with a strong research background as well as lecturers who have lots of industry experience.

The University now intends to start the process of securing accreditation for its undergraduate project management module during the coming year.

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Project management tips in the finance sectorhttp://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/project-management-tips-in-the-finance-sector-2/4532 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/project-management-tips-in-the-finance-sector-2/4532#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 08:29:10 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=4532 The financial sector is complex, fast-moving, and the stakes are high. For anyone operating in this world, a good project manager is vital. When overseeing operations that could potentially involve billions of pounds worth of stocks and shares, business equity or other assets, a team leader has to have a clear, cool head and the necessary skills to keep things moving steadily forward on an even keel. If the unexpected happens, as it easily can, you need to be able to adapt to the new circumstances and to think on your feet. Ultimately, you have to be aware that the project is your responsibility, and to be able to not only cope with that pressure but also thrive on it, knowing that the buck stops with you.

Good management qualities

Many typical project management skills are readily transferable to the financial and investment sector. You will need to be an excellent communicator, with the ability to be clear, direct and open. You need to not only be able to communicate effectively with your team but also be able to liaise effectively with clients and your superiors. You will need to be able to negotiate and be diplomatic, and at times be strongly persuasive.

Enthusiasm is another vital factor. A can-do attitude of optimism and confidence will inspire your team to do the best they can. Being seen as trustworthy is perhaps the most important quality in the investment and finances market, and as a project manager, you should set an example to your team and project a calm, resolute image to the outside world.

Problem-solving

A financial project manager needs to be able to take the long view while also paying attention to the smallest detail. You’ll need to be an efficient organiser, capable of analytical thinking, juggling several problems at once without getting flustered. Foresight when it comes to the markets and their moods is essential, but so is being able to ride out the consequences of your inevitable occasional misjudgements.

Building a portfolio

 Along with his brother Taha, Najib Mikati started out in property and construction in the 1980s. Foresight saw them establish their flagship telecommunications company Investcom, and by the time they floated it on the stock exchange in 2005, it had a market capitalisation of $3.3bn, making it one of the largest companies in the Middle East. In 2007, the brothers formed M1 Group, a diversified investment holdings group comprised of eight companies covering real estate, commercial aircraft, travel, energy, fashion and consumer goods. Here is Najib Mikati interviewed when he applied his project management skills to the task of being Lebanese Prime Minister from 2011 to 2013. Correctly managing different investment portfolios was absolutely crucial to Mikati’s business success, which has made him one of the world’s richest men.

A project manager in the finance and investment sector is more than just an administrator. You need to be a visionary who can inspire others to share your vision, and you need to be able to think on several levels at once, analysing the big picture while being aware of all the small details. A financial project manager must stay on top of the game at all times.

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Leading your team through a period of crisis – the mark of a good manager?http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/leading-your-team-through-a-period-of-crisis-the-mark-of-a-good-manager/4523 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/leading-your-team-through-a-period-of-crisis-the-mark-of-a-good-manager/4523#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 07:59:07 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=4523 All businesses will go through some form of crisis at least once in their lifetime. How the business comes through this is very much to do with the management style of those in charge. A great manager will be able to inspire a team through any difficulties and enable them to come through the other side with a positive attitude that can help to rebuild the business.

Crises come in all shapes and sizes. This could range from a natural occurrence, such as a flood, fire or earthquake, through to human problems, including a theft, bad investment or social media disaster.

The management need to have the necessary skills to keep the team motivated so that they can continue working for the good of the business.

One leader who has shown how to successfully handle a crisis is Max Mosley. He was in charge of the FIA through a number of serious issues, including Ayrton Senna’s death. He is still seen as a point of authority within Formula One, including during the recent incident involving driver Jules Bianchi. When Mr. Mosley discusses Jules Bianchi’s accident, he takes on board the seriousness of the situation, but confidently handles the media and shows how and why certain actions were taken.

Here are some tips on effective crisis management:

Be prepared

Having a plan in place can allow you to respond quicker and more successfully to a crisis. All businesses should put together a crisis communications plan, which will include who to put forward to speak about an issue and what they should be saying.

Have a response

If your business is facing a crisis, then you need to speak publicly about it as soon as possible. The rise of the internet and social media means that a minor issue can quickly become a crisis if you’re not careful. If you don’t say anything, then people will find out information from somewhere else, so it’s always best to be honest and transparent.

Be media trained

A good manager needs to be an effective spokesperson. You should be confident in dealing with the media and deliver a consistent message throughout the crisis. Effective training will enable you to understand the business better and answer questions confidently and succinctly.

Be positive

Employees will quickly pick up on any negativity, so it’s important to maintain a positive persona throughout the crisis. If you keep strong and have a positive attitude, then it’s more likely to keep your employees moving and focussed on the business.

Be accountable

As a manager, you need to take charge of the situation straight away and stand up for the business. Even if a scandal hits, you can still have a positive outcome if you take responsibility for any actions and try to put a handle on the situation.

By working through these processes and remaining calm and confident throughout, you can lead your company through anything that may hit. A good manager will steer his or her team and ensure everyone comes out the other side.

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Property development: becoming your own project manager, or hiring in outside help?http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/property-development-becoming-your-own-project-manager-or-hiring-in-outside-help/4519 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/property-development-becoming-your-own-project-manager-or-hiring-in-outside-help/4519#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 15:40:36 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=4519 Managing the development of a property can be a complicated process. If you have prior experience, it is understandable that you may want to be more involved than someone with very little or no experience. Regardless of experience, it can be a lot of work. Here are some things to keep in mind when making the decision of how much management you want to do yourself.

Time frame

If you want to get property developed quickly, then you may want to consider extra help from a more experienced manager. A tight timeline can lead to mistakes if you take on too much yourself, or lead to complications that make the development take even longer. This becomes even more important if tenants have already reserved spaces and expect you to finish right on time. If you have plenty of time, then you might want to be more involved with the whole process. It is important to also set a realistic timeline. Getting done sooner is better, but it is best to set a reasonable goal and then try to do better than it.

Do you truly have the experience?

It is easy for an investor to overestimate their experience. Property development involves a lot of meetings, cost analysis, procurement of supplies, dealing with regulations, etc. That doesn’t mean that you have to be on the side-lines the whole time, but rather that you may want to just deal with a small portion of the development process. In fact, if you don’t have the experience and take on too much, you can actually cost yourself money because someone with more experience is going to be able to complete the project more efficiently.

Smart decisions mean better overall returns

Making good choices about the development of your investment property early on will help you to make a better return faster. Existing buildings can require extensive renovations to be acceptable for your purposes. Older buildings can have their challenges, and renovation costs are often higher than expected. If you spend too much time working through the challenges yourself, you are adding even more to the cost. CEO of Kuwait Real Estate Investment Consortium, Fahad Al Rajaan, achieved his success by making good decisions early on in projects. Fahad Al Rajaan has built his wealth by carefully choosing the contractors and firms that his firm works with to develop its real estate interests. For more information, see Fahad Al Rajaan – 500 Most Powerful Arabs.

Be clear of expectations with those you hire

Another major factor that comes into play on any property development project is establishing good communications. If you want the absolute final say on something, then you need to make this very clear from the beginning. Also be clear as to the budget. Any development project should budget for some unforeseen expenses. Having a clear plan and making sure that everyone working on the development has the tools they need to work together is essential to getting a project completed on time and with minimal cost.

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Knowing When to Say Nohttp://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/knowing-when-to-say-no/4516 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/knowing-when-to-say-no/4516#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 11:29:07 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=4516 David Cotgreave - Stoneseed

David Cotgreave – Stoneseed

Created By: David Cotgreave

I’ve written much about “Why Projects Fail” and each time most of the reasons are out there … someone else’s fault.

But…

What if, as a project management professional, you were to take a long hard look at yourself?

Could there be any areas where your behaviour could cause a project to fail? It turns out there are and in each case simply saying “Thank you but … no thank you” could be your best response.

So … When to say no?

Here are “The Seven Deadly Sins of Project Management Selection – Knowing When to Say No!”

1 – You’re Out of Your Depth

You know, telling your client or your boss that the project they are proposing you manage is above your skill level is not an admission of weakness. You will be judged far more harshly by taking on a task that is beyond you and failing to deliver than you ever will by stepping aside.  Honesty and integrity are great values in any commercial relationship and your transparency will be rewarded with more offers not less. If you are employed as a Project Manager then it is also a great ice breaker to open dialogue with your boss about accessing some training.

2 – You’re Overloaded

Nice problem to have …  too much work but if you or your team are spread too thinly then projects can easily come in over budget and run late. It’s a problem mantra in many organisations – “if you want something doing – give it to the busiest, most effective project manager”.

I remember watching a dialogue between a CIO and a PM. The CIO – with full backing from his board – was trying to push an urgent project on the Project Manager. Rather than accept the commission (and risk overload) the PM calmly walked the CIO over to a white board on his office wall. The board had a list of all the projects that were under his PMO’s control, with deadline dates and a progress column that was updated at least once a day.  The PM asked which of the project deadlines the CIO would like to adjust – the CIO could see at a glance what consequences “shoe-horning” his project in would have and assessing the business case impact he wisely opted to contract out to a Project Management partner.

3 – You Know it’s Not Actually a Project

It’s incredible how many overloaded Project Management Offices we’ve come across whose time is filled managing projects that … well … aren’t projects.  They’re business judgements, strategy decisions, and business as usual or change – but they’re not projects.

Sometimes this can be done by internal PMOs trying to justify their existence or external contractors trying to up-weight their invoice and sometimes it’s down to a simple lack of knowledge of commercially available solutions that can bypass weeks or months of project naval gazing.

By saying … “you don’t need me … just buy this off the rack” you are turning down work in the short term but increasing a client’s trust in you that will reap rewards in the future.

4 – You’ve Got Previous

If you have a conflict of interest, or history with any of the project partners – and you think that it might cause some issues – you need to flag it up at the start.

Anything that could derail a project needs airing before it has the chance to.

One consultant who turned down a lucrative contract because he was working with his client’s competitor was rewarded for such integrity with an even bigger project to manage when his work with the competitor was finished. That’s not uncommon.

Sadly, there are also plenty of times when contractors have not been transparent and the conflict of interest has soured both relationships.

5 – You Could Either Sink or Swim

Assessing the probability of success of a project is an instinct and there are many reasons why projects fail.

Increasingly I am seeing projects falter, not because the PM is out of his or her depth but because they are managing the wrong project. I mean the project, on paper, is commensurate with their skill set and level of experience but in reality something just doesn’t fit.

It can be as simple as not understanding the existing technical infrastructure of the client, their corporate culture or industry sector needs. The construction sector, for instance, has very specific needs – remote sites often with little or no connectivity, dusty “portakabins” for offices and varying end user skill levels.  If your background is managing projects in lovely Canary Wharf skyscrapers you might want to consider if this is the right project for you.

6 – You Will Be the Project Manager – By Name Alone

Knowing who will call the shots on a project is crucial. If a project has too many leaders it will be prone to scope creep, budget overspend and deadline overrun.

“Let He That Takes The Blame Take Aim” is a phrase coined by a radio industry friend of mine for production responsibilities on his show – I think it works when deciding whether to take on a project or not.  If stakeholders and end users will have an over-weighted say in the running of the project then you should walk away.

You are a Project Manager!

If they won’t let you manage and lead then your role is effectively reduced to “project administrator”. You could take a view that as long as they pay you you’ll put up with that but really? What of job satisfaction? What of progressing your talents?  Come on! You’re better than that!

7 – You Just Don’t Like the Client

Sometimes, you meet someone and you just don’t hit it off, it could be a professional difference or perhaps a personal issue – either way if it could impact on the result of the project then you should probably think twice about taking it on.

Like staying in a bad marriage, when the cracks appear they will be magnified exponentially by any issues between you and your client and in the pressure cooker atmosphere of a project you might end up saying something that could cost you business in the future.  It happens.

It can be hard to say “no”. If you’re an employee don’t get yourself a disciplinary or a reputation as a trouble causer – often it can be harder if you’re a contractor and you’ve got responsibilities like a family and a business.

If it helps, remember that when you say “yes” to something you are more often than not saying “no” to something else anyway – even if it’s a successful completion of the project.

So by saying “no” you are choosing a wiser “yes”.

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Project Management Hints and Tipshttp://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/project-management-hints-and-tips/4500 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/project-management-hints-and-tips/4500#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 18:32:22 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=4500 The life of a project manager isn’t as easy as teammates would believe. A lot is needed to succeed as a project manager. Professional qualifications are a must but personal qualities can also make or break a project manager’s career. Here are some helpful tips for project managers to succeed –

Good Listening Skills Are Important – Many project managers have ruined their careers because they didn’t value the art of listening. When project managers stay quiet and listen to the concerns of teammates, discussions regarding projects, and everything else, they give the impression of being fair and balanced. Not just that, this simple tip can help to motivate the teammates, satisfy customers and understand client requirements. As a regular exercise, every project manager should actively try to speak less and listen more, especially during team building meetings. The difference would be instantaneous and the project manager would realize that the work has become much smoother when listening skills are put to good use.
Develop Problem Solving Capabilities – Young project managers tend to focus more on speed than quality. They rush to finish projects and adhere to deadlines but fail to map out and plan a project before it begins. What happens is when the project nears its end, a lot of problems start cropping up. Most of these problems tend to occur because problem solving capabilities are absent in the project manager. Simple planning and preemptive problem solving can help to battle big roadblocks towards the end of the project. It can also lead to better results and quick promotions for the project manager.
Become The Example That Is Being Taught – Project managers often have problems in trying to generate team spirit and the best way to go about this issue is by becoming the example. If you have a problem, don’t hesitate in asking for help. When the teammates see that the project manager is open to discussion and doesn’t hesitate in micromanaging, they would understand the concept better. It also sends a message to the team that the project manager is not separate from the group but is, in fact, a part of it. Thus, the rules that are being preached to everyone are applicable to the project manager as well.
Cultivate Emotional Intelligence – Project management is one field where emotional intelligence is probably more important that any other trait. Some project managers are born with high emotional intelligence while others need to cultivate it. Thankfully, experience is a good remedy for those managers who lack in emotional intelligence. This important trait has many uses – it would help a project manager in knowing about the weaknesses and strengths of their team. It can also be used for interacting with customers and clients, and gauging their requirements. On top of that, emotional intelligence would act as a radar for the project manager, informing them when a personal situation might need intervention.
Communicate The Good and Bad – Great communication skills are essential tools in the arsenal of any project manager. They can be used for delivering bad news with motivation and grounding the team while offering good news. This is why so much of the theoretical base of a project manager’s education revolves around communication. Managers who take proper training from good institutes learn about the barriers in communication, facial expression, open body language, friendly demeanour, and so much more. These skills are used in the life of a project manager for keeping the team together at all times.Criticise When Needed – A huge part of the project manager’s job is ensuring that the team is growing and developing as a whole. This means that not only is the team getting better at handling projects, individual members are also scaling personal milestones. In this journey, the project manager offers a pat on the back when needed. Sometimes, however, it might be important to offer constructive criticism to teammates. When necessary, criticism can be delivered with a twist. Body language and right words can be used for better results. Also, monitoring the said teammate’s performance and doling out appreciation when the mistake is rectified is a big part of the growth process.Discuss Instead of Procrastinating – Problems might crop up between the manager and teammates or between the teammates themselves. Instead of waiting for the issues to resolve themselves, the project manager should talk it out. This little tip would stop issues from escalating and that, in turn, would ensure that the project does not suffer because of personal issues between people.The most important part in this journey is getting properly trained in the field by an institute that is reputed and experienced. Parallel Project Training has years of experience in project management and budding project managers should definitely look to PPT for growth and development.
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7 Reasons Why CIOs Should Love Project Managershttp://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/7-reasons-why-cios-should-love-project-managers/4487 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/7-reasons-why-cios-should-love-project-managers/4487#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 16:30:33 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=4487  

David Cotgreave - Stoneseed

BY DAVID COTGREAVE www.stoneseed.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Only two CIOs I’ve ever worked for over the past 15 years have really cared about Project Management.”

These are the words of Colin Ellis, a CIO from Australia, in his fascinating blog “CIOs need to care more about project management”1 published by CIO.com.

He goes on, “Don’t get me wrong, the rest really cared that projects got done, usually quickly and with little time for planning or real customer engagement.”

I’d go a step further than Colin, caring about Project Management is good but when you consider the benefits that an effective Project Manager can bring – this is an individual that you really should love.

Here are 7 Reasons Why CIOs should love Project Managers.

  1. The best Project Managers just make you, the CIO, look good. No strike that. They make you look great! Imagine reporting to the board that the BIG project is on time and within budget – the project that you devised to deliver the business plan (and all those shareholder dividends). You’d be a hero! Incentivise and encourage your PMO to deliver the means for you to have your moment of glory.
  2. Your Project Manager holds your business IT their hands. That means they hold your business’ reputation with its clients and your (the CIO’s) reputation with the board in their hands too. Why wouldn’t you love someone with that power.
  3. The best Project Managers are always learning, always reading, always exploring and looking for new technologies and methodology. What a great resource to have on tap.
  4. Over time, the best metric of business success is customer satisfaction – every aspect of efficient PMO is geared towards delivering a better experience for the end user of your business IT.
  5. If you don’t get your Project Management talent right, everything else that you do will be liable to collapse like a game of IT Jenga. The right people, doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.
  6. Consulting firm, McKinsey reported that “17 percent of IT projects go so bad that they can threaten the very existence of the company.”2. Stop reading and digest that … almost a fifth of projects become so toxic that they poison the organisation and “threaten the very existence of the company.” You have to love the colleague whose job it is to prevent that happening.
  7. They’ve listened to your business’ heart beat. IT systems have become an important competitive factor in most industries, technology is the heartbeat of your business and as projects are getting larger and touching more parts of your organisation, so the risk to the company, if that heart stops beating has grown too.

I think I’m lucky. Most CIOs I know, do appreciate the value of their PMO. One even tells the story of how his Project Manager insisted once on full stakeholder consultation at an early stage of a project – it raised eyebrows with the Board who just wanted the CIO and PM to “get on with it”.

A competitor was racing to bring about a similar initiative but didn’t consult end users until the project was almost ready to go live. The result was their project delivered on time, hitting the ground running on day one and the competitor’s having to be reworked and rethought – it was delivered late and way over cost and it is still not right – giving clear competitive advantage to the proactive PM’s organisation.

Great Project Managers seem to have a sixth sense for who and how a project will impact. So love them.

Many CIOs are on board. “CIOs must cultivate a culture of agility and customer service,” says Frank Modruson, CIO at Accenture3. Frank is right and your PMO should be at the heart of that culture, after all as Mike Capone, CIO with ADP (@MikeCaponeADP) puts it, “Good people trump bad organizational structure every time.”

Loving your PMO means giving them the time to deliver, and the tools and the talent to actualise your business plan through IT. Whether it is your internal team, external contractors or a Project Management as a Service approach – the love that you show to your PMO, will be returned exponentially where it matters – better customer service and experience and better results on the balance sheet.

What’s not to love about that?!

 

Sources

1CIOs need to care more about project management

2Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value

3Business And Technology Advice From The World’s Top Executives

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