Project Accelerator News http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk The latest project management news, views and project management sites from the around the world Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:31:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Is ‘Tinder for recruitment’ the best way to access IT talent? http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/tinder-recruitment-best-way-access-talent/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/tinder-recruitment-best-way-access-talent/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:31:30 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5600 In today’s candidate led IT recruitment market, hiring can be more expensive and time-consuming than ever. It is, therefore, in your best interests to balance the recruiting reality in your favour by optimising your practices so that they deliver not just great talent but a real chance of retaining that talent once hired. There is …

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tinder for it recruitmentIn today’s candidate led IT recruitment market, hiring can be more expensive and time-consuming than ever. It is, therefore, in your best interests to balance the recruiting reality in your favour by optimising your practices so that they deliver not just great talent but a real chance of retaining that talent once hired.

There is a fairly interesting statistic that has been doing the rounds over the past year or so. It comes from Glassdoor, whose US site claims that 89% of its users are either actively looking for jobs or would consider a better opportunity. Given what Glassdoor is and does, that is maybe not a huge surprise. It’s like saying the majority of people on Tinder are looking for a new partner or the majority of people in Asda are likely to purchase groceries sometime soon.

What is interesting, when you unpick that statement, is the suggestion that people who are not actively seeking a new gig are still using a site that is effectively an employer/employee matchmaking service. A bit like finding your other half is still swiping away on Tinder! Indeed, almost six out of ten users of the service are ACTUALLY employed, either full-time or part-time already.

Asking around, the average cost of filling a vacancy is between three and three and a half thousand pounds and takes around 45 to 50 days to do. The reality of the candidate led recruitment landscape of today is that investing all that time and money in finding someone does not guarantee loyalty from them. Just look at the recruitment site’s stats above – no sooner have you moved them in and worked out how they take their tea than they start looking for their next move.

My friend’s business recently spent just over £3000 on a Kyocera printer and photocopier and roughly the same recruiting a new IT Project Manager. She jokes that the photocopier will still work in her office long after the PM has shuffled off elsewhere. Despite the joke, you can tell that it’s no laughing matter.

So, what’s the answer?

It’s you. You are the difference.

You can complain about spending thousands recruiting, for example, an IT Technical Services Manager only to have them leave making you start all over again. Many hiring organisations do have a moan about this when I first talk with them. You should hear the language that they use, I’ve heard talk of a “fickle workforce”, a “volatile marketplace” or “capricious, ungrateful employees” and yet one of my friends just clocked up 15 years’ service with the same employer. Hardly fickle, volatile or capricious. The truth is, he and his employer just hit it off. They are well suited to one another. So why do so few “new hires” clock up such long service?

To find out why it’s useful to return to Tinder, I mean not literally, I don’t want to be cited in your divorce petition.

How does Tinder match make? It’s fairly one dimensional. If someone takes your fancy, you swipe right to ‘like’ them or if they don’t you swipe left to ‘pass’. If they’ve also ‘liked’ you – you’re in and you can start messaging. Based on what? Your mutual love of classical music or the architecture of Watson Fothergill? No, of course not. It’s based on your reaction to a carefully selected, filtered and possibly airbrushed photograph. Hardly any wonder that so many users stay on the site after they find a partner on Tinder – when you meet up and spend some time together the chances of finding that you have nothing in common are quite high.

Recruiting through an online jobs matchmaker can be like that. Sure, you get paired based on more than just a photograph but keywords appearing in both a list of employer requirements and an employee’s CV are no guarantee of a match made in heaven. You spend the biggest part of your waking hours at work and when employees and employers are not a cultural fit for one another it soon starts to show. Is it, therefore, any wonder that so many keep their online recruitment profile active?

Maybe that’s the problem. Perhaps Tinder and its recruitment equivalents are not the best place to find lasting matches. Some get lucky. More often though its back to the drawing board for all concerned. Another three grand down the drain.

Some recruiters have responded to this new candidate led reality and recruit based on cultural fit. In other words, they get to know you and how you go about your business. They work out what makes you unique and what makes your firm a great place to work. Simultaneously, they have a growing database of active and passive candidates and know which would be a perfect fit for you – speeding up the process and lowering the risk and overall cost of a hire. The best ones are so confident that they share the risk of recruitment with you, which can even mean spreading payments over the initial months of the candidate’s employment and if during that time the candidate leaves, the payments stop.

Ultimately, in most human interactions, from love to IT recruitment, the matches that last are those cemented by common values and shared perspectives. Keywords and swiping right, however much fun they may be, are perhaps not be the best way to ensure this.

SOURCE
Glassdoor.co.uk

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7 Reasons why IT Project Managers were born to blog http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/7-reasons-project-managers-born-blog/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/7-reasons-project-managers-born-blog/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:56:38 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5593 “You’re so passionate about Project Management, you should write a blog about it,” one of my colleagues said a couple of years back. That’s how it started. I wrote one blog and then, having found it quite enjoyable, I wrote a second and then a third. I got some nice feedback, got shared, had a …

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straight talk on project management

“You’re so passionate about Project Management, you should write a blog about it,” one of my colleagues said a couple of years back.

That’s how it started.

I wrote one blog and then, having found it quite enjoyable, I wrote a second and then a third. I got some nice feedback, got shared, had a client mention that they’d read and enjoyed it and by this time I was hooked.

Now colleagues say that I am as passionate about my blogs as I am Project Management. In fact, that same colleague just joked that I should now write a blog … about writing a blog. And that’s how we come to be here!

Actually, the disciplines and skills used for Project Management are the same ones that I use when writing my blogs. Blogs which are published by the likes of CIO.com, shared and republished around the world and now turned into this amazing ebook. So really, when I research, plan and write a blog I’m really just exercising some of my Project Management muscles, at least that’s what I tell my colleagues.

IT Project Managers are were born to be natural bloggers!

Among those PM muscles, I’m working out when I write a blog are …

End User Focus – Who is it aimed at?

In IT Projects you focus on stakeholders and end users, what deliverables will be accessed, by who and how.

If I am writing a blog aimed at CIOs I try to imagine that I am writing directly to one of my CIO friends, sometimes going as far as having their LinkedIn profile open so that I can tab across to see their photo to and imagine what I think they’d make of the words I have written.

This knowledge of who you’re aiming your IT Project or blog at helps you stay true to your target audience.

What’s the point?

Central to any blog or any IT Project is “the point”. In the case of a blog, it’s the main message that I want the reader to take away, in an IT Project it’s the specific business outcomes. Scope is key for both, wandering off message in an IT Project can bust budgets and delay delivery, doing the same in a blog post might have your eyes wandering.

In the same way that I ensure that I have fully scoped a project before starting, I always have a blog skeleton in place before I get too deep into the creative writing part. Creating a completely detailed project scope or mapping out the beginning middle and end of a blog is a necessity not a luxury.

As well as typing the “one line point” at the top of the page, I hand write it onto a small Post-it note that I stick to the corner of my screen and in a notepad that I use for jotting down thoughts. This act of physically writing the message by hand commits it to my mind and leaves me in no doubt what I am writing about.

Attention grabbing

An IT Project has to catch the imagination of those you are pitching it to, similarly, I have been working lately on eye-catching headlines for blogs. Often summing up a bundle of thoughts into a short sentence takes longer than writing the blog itself – but it is rewarded with higher readership.

I have seen many perfectly rational and business case evidenced IT Projects fail to get a green light because of the way that they have been presented and proposed.

Writing a blog is more of a hobby but I treat each one with the approach I would an IT Project!

Reward

You keep team members motivated by rewarding them when milestones are reached, likewise, I make sure that I have treats to encourage me to write a blog. Obviously, blog writing isn’t my top priority but I do find it a very cathartic exercise, I get really nice feedback and of course, it is a great marketing vehicle.

I set milestones when writing blogs to make sure they stay on track, in much the same way that I would a project and I make sure that I celebrate, with a little glass of something, to keep me motivated.

Managing Time Well – Prioritise!

Over time the blogs started to get published in some exciting places and attract interest from industry publications. Many of these had deadlines and publishing agendas and when you throw “the regular workload” into the mix it quickly became clear that I would have to apply PM time management disciplines to blog writing.

Prioritising subjects around these deadlines has helped keep the whole process fun meanwhile prioritising with regards to topicality and lifespan of issues has hopefully given them a sense of the day and kept the blogs fresh.

Accept Praise and Receive Criticism Well

In the same way that the ability to accept praise and receive criticism and use it positively is important for project managers, I have found it useful to adopt this approach to writing the blogs. Sometimes a kernel of an idea for a post can be found in feedback from a CIO or Project Manager, in fact, a handful of blogs are thanks entirely to this type of communication.

I love receiving nice reviews for my blogs but the (very) occasional message disagreeing with the point I am making is a chance to see things from a different perspective – and take this back into my day to day work – making me better!

Delegate And Co-operate!

Before you read this, my fabulous colleagues Helen and Olivia will have gone through it with a fine toothcomb checking for any typos! It is they who will suggest the publication that best fits my narrative. I casually share thoughts, ideas and topics with fellow directors, clients and friends and listen to what they say.

Cohesive teams are vital to the success of IT Projects and although it’s my name above the door, I am grateful for the input of all of those who contribute to my blogs – even if they don’t know that’s what they are doing!

Finally, and by way of conclusion, it’s important to enjoy doing this. IT Projects aren’t always easy but it’s crucial that you still enjoy sorting out the problems and challenges with which you are faced otherwise what’s the point? It is exactly the same with a blog post.

I really enjoy writing about what I still consider to be the best job in the world.

I hope that you enjoy reading them – be sure to let me know!

P.s. Why not download a copy of my new eBook today – Straight Talk on Project Management

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Expect the Unexpected – Managing Companies through Change http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/expect-the-unexpected-managing-companies-through-change/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/expect-the-unexpected-managing-companies-through-change/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:15:43 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5590 When it comes to dealing with change there exists a vast variety of different theories and philosophies on the subject. Many of these draw from difference disciplines including behavioural science, psychology and even sociology all the way over to systems thinking and engineering. The basic principle that underlies the concept is that change does not …

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When it comes to dealing with change there exists a vast variety of different theories and philosophies on the subject. Many of these draw from difference disciplines including behavioural science, psychology and even sociology all the way over to systems thinking and engineering. The basic principle that underlies the concept is that change does not happen in isolation, instead it affects the entire system (or organization) around it in different ways. This includes each and every system, process and even person who is affected by it.

So, to manage change in any way that can be considered successful one needs to necessarily understand how this ripple effect of change works and how it spreads across various levels and circles of impact. There needs to be a focus on attending to these wider impacts and effects of the changes. This means that apart from just considering the obvious and tangible effects of the change, it is indeed just as important, if not more so, to consider the personal impact on those individuals who are affected by these changes on a more granular level.

The individuals themselves fit together to make up the organization and if we are able to manage the change to some effect at that level, it adds up to huge benefits as we scale up. This means understanding the journey towards working and behaving in new and interesting ways that these individuals tend to take once affected or impacted by the change. To understand these effects, it is very important for any manager, business analyst or professional to take some kind of change management training and even work towards attaining a change management certification as this would provide them with the right tools to properly gauge these effects.

One of the tools that a change management course would expose you to would be the Change Curve model, which is a great model that can be used to describe the organizational and personal process of change and their interdependence to a high degree of detail. All of this tells us that change management definitely is a very broad field that varies vastly with the different organizations, teams, cultures and even strategies that exist across the globe. This can even vary within a firm from project to project just because of the different people who are involved as a whole.

This effect causes many organizations to opt for consultants who are well versed in the tools and methodologies which have been formally laid down for change management, and with good reason. It’s because it works, and works very well.

This means the use of toolkits, outline plans and checklists for what needs to be done, how it needs to be done and how to manage the changes in a successful manner. In fact, these tools and methodologies can be easily picked up by doing a change management certification online and any project manager who is seriously considering a future in the field needs to have one of these certifications in their arsenal as soon as possible.

When as a professional one must manage change, whether or not they subscribe to any particular methodologies to do so, it is prudent to first consider what it actually would mean to manage change in this particular situation. It could be to minimize losses, maximize compatibility, cut down on costs or a whole range of other things. This means that an individual who is dealing with change management must have a wide range of skill sets that they can deploy in any kind of situation, as may come to be demanded of them. Change management tends to focus more on the people who are affected and how to best transition them, and how this positive transitioning would add up to an overall positive effect in the long run.

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How to be an IT talent magnet http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/how-to-be-an-it-talent-magnet/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/how-to-be-an-it-talent-magnet/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 14:06:20 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5584 If you’re looking on eBay or searching on Google, you make your search criteria as specific as possible so you don’t waste time with results that don’t fit. It’s the same with a job search. Either consciously or subconsciously the criteria that fits with a candidate’s search is what stands out when they scour the …

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How to be an IT talent magnetIf you’re looking on eBay or searching on Google, you make your search criteria as specific as possible so you don’t waste time with results that don’t fit.

It’s the same with a job search. Either consciously or subconsciously the criteria that fits with a candidate’s search is what stands out when they scour the job boards or do some research online about a potential employer.

Sometimes, when recruiting, the things that make your company a great place to work can get forgotten in the “busyness of business” and you can find yourself falling into the mind-set trap of offering a job or placement – rather than an opportunity to be part of something truly amazing! Why would you go the trouble of being a fabulous employer and not tell potential candidates?

Working with companies to produce meaningful, bespoke adverts focused on candidate attraction to match their business or company culture, I have identified many things that I believe every business needs to offer to IT talent, apart from a great salary! However simply offering these things is not enough, you have to loudly announce in your recruitment collateral or company mission statement or website exactly what candidates can expect when you sign up with you.

Here are just ten things that both active and passive IT talent have said that they want from their next position. Are you a magnet for these? How many do you offer? Furthermore, how many of these things do you tell candidates that you offer?

1. Trust

Can employees speak out without fear of consequences? If something is wrong most IT Talent wants to be able to call it regardless of who is involved. Makes sense. If a strategic IT Project is veering away from delivering the agreed business change anyone on the team who identifies this should be empowered to flag it up without upsetting (for example) the Project leader. Making sure that candidates can identify if this is your culture will attract talent with a collective responsibility mindset.

2. Clearly Defined Roles and Responsibilities

A recent LinkedIn Talent Trends report put this as the number one thing that talent wants to know. In your business, grey areas in client expectation cost money, cause breakdown of relations and delay. Similarly, if you were to think of your business as a client of your talent can you honestly say that roles are locked down and clear?

3. Proper Acknowledgement for Hard Work and Achievement but Also Constructive Feedback When Things Don’t Work Out

One company has the phrase “We never fail. We either succeed or we learn” on the wall above the water cooler which is a great mantra but such sentiment is never evident in their recruitment literature. This means talent attracted to a philosophy of continual experience-based improvement and ‘credit where credit is due’ may not have them on their radar.

If total honesty in all communication is key to you then you need to attract like-minded talent.

5. Ample Opportunity to Grow Both Professionally and Personally

Organisations that have programmes in place to accelerate the development of the most talented people see a greater return on their investment. Increasingly talent is attracted to positions that have a career path mapped out or the opportunity to pioneer their own. Win/Win

6. Solid Leadership

Research shows that of all the people candidates would like to meet at their interview, their direct boss should they take the role is number one. Having the supervisor or manager to whom they will report available on the day of the interviews or at least available to answer questions during the process can be hugely beneficial. If you have good, competent leaders – put them in the shop window.

7. Respect for Life Away from The Office

When LinkedIn studied responses to recruitment messages sent via InMail they found those sent on Saturdays were 16% less likely to get a response than those sent during the working week. What’s more, the closer it gets to the weekend, the less likely talent is to respond. Recruitment mails sent on Thursday between 9 and 10 am were 12% more likely to get a response than those sent on Friday during the same time period. This tells you that talent values the work/life balance – reflect that you do too in your communications with candidates.

8. The Ability to Make a Dent In The Universe

Having a more influential role within the organisation or working on projects that make a real difference are often cited as key influencers in choosing which offer to accept. One of the legacies left by Steve Jobs is that great quote, “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?”

9. A Supportive, Collaborative Environment Where Teamwork and Innovation Are Actively Encouraged

In her Huffington Post blog, culture expert Karin Volo makes the point that collaborative, not competitive environments are at the centre of the modern workplace. Supportive relationships between co-workers raise job satisfaction and employee retention so it pays to make this your thing. “There is a definite energy that comes from employees who enjoy working together,” writes Karin, adding, “They stop being a cog in the machine and know that what they do makes a difference — they are able to contribute on a personal level to a company contributing on a much bigger level. This excites them to get up in the morning and come to work.” Collaborative talent is attracted to collaborative environments.

10. A Great Interview Experience

83% of talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked, meanwhile a roughly similar number (87%) say a positive experience can change their perception when they had initial doubts. Getting your interview process right or making sure that you have a recruitment partner who will get it right on your behalf is more important than ever!

Getting to know what interview content will make a difference is also important. Almost half (49%) say that getting business questions answered is the most important interview takeaway – make sure you’re ready.

These are just ten to consider. The point is that whatever makes you a great place to work, whatever is going to attract great talent your way, THAT should be the lead story when you recruit. Make sure you identify where you and the talent you want are aligned and then make sure that they know all about it – or get a GREAT specialist recruitment partner who will do it for you! That’s how you become an IT Talent magnet.

 

Sources

LinkedIn:Global Talent Trends

Huffington Post

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Are you the manager of projects or peace? http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/manager-projects-peace/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/manager-projects-peace/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:35:13 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5577 Do you spend all your time handling internal politics and conflict? Here’s how to avoid it. My friend Steven, an IT Project Manager with that all important sense of humour, told me this week that he was considering adding to the job description on his business card. Now, it’s not the first time that he …

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Are you the manager of projects or peace?Do you spend all your time handling internal politics and conflict? Here’s how to avoid it.

My friend Steven, an IT Project Manager with that all important sense of humour, told me this week that he was considering adding to the job description on his business card.

Now, it’s not the first time that he has sent me an email like this, such is the lot of the PM that quite often you end up doing things that you didn’t necessarily sign up for. Steven always jokes that if he got paid for the extra roles he carried out he could easily retire this time next year.

His latest email gets the usual wry smile from me but also some more considered thought because the extra role that Steven is considering adding to his job description is that of “Peace Envoy”. I wonder how many other IT Project Managers are now finding themselves sucked into dispute resolution and what impact could that be having on successful achievement of objectives?

I suppose thanks to the nature of our increasingly digitised business world now, IT leaders are dealing with lots of different members of their firm’s team from very different backgrounds and with very different agendas. With more touch-points, inevitably comes more opportunity for issues and challenges to occur and more proactive Project Managers (like Steven) are facing them with good humour and seeking to dampen any flashpoints before they take hold.

I asked around and it seems that Peace Envoy is an addition that many Project Managers would consider adding to their job profile.

To add to the challenge, the disputes that need resolving by IT Project Managers come from both up and down the chain of command within organisations. Each has to be handled differently to the next. A dispute that arises at boardroom level needs a more ‘politically sensitive’ approach than one fed back to you by end users, for example. Here are some of the instances bounced back to me after I threw the question out on social media and some of the creative solutions that Project Managers have come up with. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent!

Cross Department Politics

Tom is Project Managing a software rollout across his company’s entire business operation. It started as an accounts package upgrade but the Finance Director was so impressed that Tom was asked to look into effecting similar change across the whole business, better connecting every aspect … purchasing, stock control, delivery and transportation.

The problem was that historically all of these department heads had sourced their own systems and it had then been Tom’s job to make them talk to one another. When this was taken out of the department heads control Tom encountered a quagmire of internal politics.

He wrote, “Even though we fully consulted with all stakeholders it seemed that every solution would be someone else’s worst nightmare. It was like managing nursery school kids!”

The solution was to source end to end Project Management.

“As soon as department heads were dealing with objective external project professionals who didn’t care about office politics all the problems seemed to disappear – almost as if they weren’t actually problems in the first place. I’ve worked with these guys for years, coming up from a fairly junior level to where I am now. Whether familiarity breeds contempt or they didn’t like the upstart from IT telling them what’s what – I don’t know – but as soon as they were dealing with strangers they packed in objecting and worked together towards the project’s objectives.”

On reflection, Tom reckons that the project benefitted from a Project Management as a Service approach beyond the resolution of disputes. He says, “PMing the accounts package was one thing, rolling out across the whole operation was probably ambitious and might have stretched our capability. If we hadn’t hit all the politics and turbulence I might not have considered outsourcing the PM function! Don’t tell the department heads but in a funny way I’m quite grateful!”

Talent Issues

Ellie got in touch to say how career aspirations within her ambitious team are causing issues. The skills gap means that team members are often getting poached by chequebook-waving competitors. This causes resentment on two levels; those left behind are jealous of their former colleagues’ success (and increased pay packets) but more so the extra workload carried by the smaller remaining team was triggering burnout and mistakes that were impacting outcomes.

“After every departure, the team would fall out.”

The solution once again was to be found in the Project Management as a Service market where “culturally aligned” talent could be “grafted” onto the team as and when needed creating a constant full staff.

That cultural alignment part is the key to the success of Ellie’s solution. Make sure that you select a partner who will really take the time to get to know how you work so that any additional crew are ready to just slot in – ‘plug and play’ as Ellie puts it.

Limited Resources

A number of PMs got in touch with this catalyst for disputes!

Resources are limited in most firms – Project Managers who say that they have everything they need are few and far between! Conflicts can arise when those limited resources are not allocated based on project priorities or where perception and reality are not aligned. As a Project Manager, it is, more often than not, your responsibility to identify the priorities and schedule accordingly but when there is disagreement over what those priorities are you can find yourself in a ‘bun fight’!

Great project managers seem to be able to stay a step ahead of such conflict.

Usually, having an independent pair of eyes take a look at your project portfolio can identify potential conflicts and resource bottlenecks before they happen and suggest resources that can be bought in to bolster your in-house offer.

I get a sense from feedback already received that “dispute resolution” is increasingly becoming a part of a busy Project Manager’s day and it only becomes a problem is when it impacts on outcomes. The common theme from the three disputes mentioned here is that the solutions were ‘out there’. The lesson is that we shouldn’t struggle alone. Online Project Management forums are a great resource – a dispute within your project may have played out during someone else’s – often the solution has already been tried and tested elsewhere. Plus of course, there’s the booming Project Management as a Service market which has an answer for most problems.

I would love to hear from you about your experiences of dispute resolution. Please feel free to get in touch.

In the meantime, if you too are thinking about adding “Peace Envoy” to your business card – explore what solutions may already be ‘out there’ waiting for you!

Originally published on CIO.com

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How to influence others http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/how-to-influence-others/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/how-to-influence-others/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 07:45:42 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5574 A while ago I posted on influencing without authority, that post looked at building credibility and ‘currency’ to trade for the support and help you need.  Those ideas buy you a seat at the table but how much influence you exert in any given situation largely depends on how effective you are at being influential. …

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A while ago I posted on influencing without authority, that post looked at building credibility and ‘currency’ to trade for the support and help you need.  Those ideas buy you a seat at the table but how much influence you exert in any given situation largely depends on how effective you are at being influential. This post looks at some of the subtle ways you can influence situations to help everyone move to a satisfactory outcome[1].

Smart influencers recognise it is often futile to work against powerful resistance, rather than fighting the situation (and making the situation worse) they slow down and look for ways to influence the eventual outcomes. They change and combine the situation, their language and their actions to achieve an outcome. The timing, and the way you use these skills defines how influential you are in any situation.

Being in the right situation at the right time helps enormously some of the key factors include:

  • Being open and aware. In stressful situations, effective influences slow down, take a breath and observe what is occurring before taking action. Focused breathing is an important and often neglected way to create awareness. As we take the time to focus on our breathing we relax, which increases our perception, creates options for viewing the situation from a new perspective and heightens empathy. This in turn enhances our ability to influence and lead.
  • Use physical movement as a trigger for a change in attitude. Dealing with a tough colleague, who has assumed a hostile, close position and is unwilling to open up to you may benefit from inducing a physical change to trigger a change in attitude. Suggest ‘we go downstairs for a coffee’ – if you are moving together for one thing, it may open up other ways of ‘moving together’.  A more subtle way to change a closed attitude, particularly if it is manifest in a ‘closed position’ with arms crossed, etc., is by offer the resisting colleague an object such as a pen or a document. This can result in them moving to open their folded hands, or shift forward in their chair. The change in outward behaviour can often cause changes the inner attitudes, just as surface behaviours generally are a reflection of inner feelings.
  • Use the space around you to influence attitudes both in formal meetings and in your own office space; creating the right ambience will help you influence others. Some of the things to consider include:
    • A meeting table is virtually divided into personal zones. These zones are maintained zealously. Make sure you don’t inadvertently cross the lines.
    • Move away from negotiation stalemates and conflict situations by reorganising the physical setting. If the meeting has stalled try moving to a low circular table in the lobby or sitting in a corner; the less formal situation can often break down barriers and yield better results.
    • Be aware of personal space and seating hierarchies. Rather than confronting the ‘opposition’ across a rectangular meeting table consider setting up a ‘round table’ where ‘we’ can work together on the issue.

Once you have the situation optimised for influence, what you do and how you do it creates your ability to be influential. Active listening and the use of language are the key tools for creating influence. Some easy to use techniques include:

  • Where appropriate use collective language ‘we’ is almost always better than ‘you’.
  • In the situation where a colleague clearly dislikes your proposal avoid closed questions. It is much easier to avoid getting a ‘no’ in the first place than to change a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ later. Questioning is a powerful way to influence a person’s attitude but requires skill, consider these three options:
    • “Do you like my suggestion?” This is a ‘closed question’ and if the answer is ‘No’ and you have nowhere to go.
    • “You do not appear to like my suggestion, why?” This is better, you now have a conversation starter but the ‘why’ has negative implications – it look as though you are blaming the other person for disagreeing with you.
    • “How could my suggestion be improved to make it acceptable to you?” Opens up a whole new paradigm; if the person makes some suggestions that are incorporated into the overall proposal, the proposal becomes ‘our suggestion’.
  • Focus on what you want to achieve rather than what you think should be done. By openly stating what you want to achieve, you lead by example and create an opportunity for others to do the same. If there is agreement on what ‘we want’, reaching agreement on what has to be done to get to the desired outcome is much easier.
  • Consider ‘amplification’: work with colleagues to reinforce your messages by adopting a meeting strategy called “amplification”: When one person makes a key point, other colleagues repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forces others in the room to recognise the contribution.
  • Everyone reads body language, for most people it is a subconscious reaction that can help or hinder your attempts to influence. A couple of the key things to focus on include:
    • Paying attention, and being seen to pay attention – this makes the other person feel valued and is likely to enhance your ability to influence the situation.
    • Being careful what you do with your hands, gestures are culturally significant (and can have very different interpretations in different cultures) but almost everywhere if you place your hand on something you are claiming ownership – make sure you know what you are saying with your hands.
    • Don’t overreact to ‘body language’; it is a complex language and generally reacting to superficial signs can cause more harm than good. But paradoxically, your subconscious reading of the whole situation will very often be accurate.
    • Remember it is very hard to fake body language (unless you are a professional actor), to get yours right you need to have the right thoughts and attitudes first and then let nature do its bit. For more on this see: Influence: Body Language Silent Influencing by Michael Nir https://www.amazon.com/Influence-Influencing-Employing-Techniques-Leadership-ebook/dp/B00ATJUROG

The ability to influence people is a key leadership skill and is critically important if you need to ‘influence without authority’.  One way to acquire the skills is to watch others in a group situation and see how the people who are influencing attitudes and actions are behaving.  Then try emulating their behaviours in your next meeting.

How effective are you at influencing others?

_______________

[1] Influence has to be used ethically if you intend to remain influential over an extended period. For more on ethics see:  http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/PM-Knowledge_Index.html#Ethics

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How to waste less on IT projects http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/waste-less-projects/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/waste-less-projects/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:47:35 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5568 Reading The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) 2017 Pulse of the Profession report something jumped out and really grabbed my attention. It’s something that should be celebrated. As a profession, the Project Management industry is less wasteful. Specifically, more projects are achieving original goals. they’re coming in within budget and they are aligned with business strategy. …

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how to waste less on it projectsReading The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) 2017 Pulse of the Profession report something jumped out and really grabbed my attention. It’s something that should be celebrated.

As a profession, the Project Management industry is less wasteful.

Specifically, more projects are achieving original goals. they’re coming in within budget and they are aligned with business strategy. Which all added up means that fewer projects are failing.

However, this should not be seen as ‘mission accomplished’ but more as the start of a trend that when looked back upon in five or ten years will really be something to hail as a huge success.

Thing is, that efficiency and success are addictive and once you have tasted them … you crave more. Thankfully there is plenty more of both to be achieved.

The PMI report has a really useful benchmark for measuring waste against spend that allows even the most casual observer a valuable insight. By measuring waste per billion dollars spent on projects it is easy to see which industry sectors and geographical regions are successfully combating the problem of waste and which could do more. Comparing waste against previous years’ data allows you to unpack trends and identify what works and what doesn’t.

The previous year, across all sectors, an average of $122 million was wasted for every $1 billion invested. This represented a 12 percent increase from the year before and was a trend in the wrong direction that sent a warning shot across the industry. The reason was clear … poor project performance. Simple as that. This year the story is a happier one. The trend has apparently been reversed and organisations throughout the world have reduced the average amount of money they wasted on IT projects to $97 million for every $1 billion spent … reducing waste by 20 percent year on year.

There are some individual sector and regional success stories but there are also some red flags that need to be addressed. Many sectors, for instance, are sitting considerably above that average $97 million waste figure and if the trend towards reducing waste is to continue or (as is hoped) accelerate energy ($101m), telecoms ($106m) and healthcare ($112) need to be a little more introspectively critical.

Similarly, while India ($73m) and China ($82m) can celebrate, to remain competitive Europe needs to reflect on reporting the highest average waste on IT project spending at an average busting $131 million wasted per $1 billion invested.

There are 7 clear lessons that can be learned and repeated moving forward and the more that they become habits the less wasteful Project Management will become.

Habit 1 Explore Project Management as a Service Solutions

It is in the interests of a good project management partner be more conscious of reducing waste. Most reputable partners will look towards recommendations or future work that you may put their way rather than padding out a job to fleece you on this one. Having said that there are stories of firms who take the longer route to project completion in order to bulk up their bill. Find a partner who is habitually on their ‘client’s side’ and who will really get to know your business strategy and corporate culture.

Habit 2 Align Business with Project Culture

Often, waste occurs when cultures within businesses and project teams are at odds with one another. For example, a business with “do it now, do it brilliantly, do it for the customer” written into its mission statement was hampered by a project leader who (you could argue rightly) kept a tight grip on scope within his portfolio. The problem was that he was SO inflexible that business opportunities were being missed. The CEO had a great attitude to scope creep and was happy to sign off on contingency budgets if there was customer benefit but the project leader was running his portfolio by the book and saw requesting extra money as a failure.

Habit 3 Develop Talent

32% of respondents told the PMI that they consider both technical and leadership skills a high priority, this is a 3% increase on last year. There are many ways that you can develop talent from traditional training and attainment of qualifications to what I call the positive contagion effect of complementing your in-house talent with talent from the PMaaS sector. An injection of new ideas, best practice and efficient operating methods usually leads to an improvement in skills and performance and that in turn tends to drive down waste.

Habit 4 Make Waste Reduction a Manageable Benefit

Almost a third of organisations (31%) report high benefits realisation maturity. Inevitably, when you identify intended benefits at the outset of your project you proceed in a deliberate, thoughtful manner when the project is live to make them happen. For instance, by stating that 5% sales hike, quantifiably faster order processing and measurable waste reduction, are project outcomes you improve your chances of achieving them. Be mindful during your project’s lifecycle that waste reduction, for example, is one of your pre-ordained benefits and you and your team will look for ways to turn intentions into results.

Habit 5 Stimulate Stakeholder and Sponsor Engagement

When everyone is bought into an IT Project’s mission it is amazing how potential risks, like scope creep, take care of themselves as no-one wants to be the person who throws a spanner in the works! Actively engaged executive sponsors remain the top driver of projects achieving their original goals and business intent with an average of 62% of projects reporting with actively engaged sponsors (up 3% on last year).

Habit 6 Develop an Effective PMO

Business strategies and project mission statements are better aligned in organisations that have an effective Project Management Office (PMO). Half of firms with a PMO report having an ‘enterprise project management office’ (EPMO) and 38% more projects meet original goals at organisations where their EPMO and business strategy are aligned and 33% fewer projects are deemed to have failed.

Any gaps in your PMO should be bridged to trim waste, a Project Management Assessment can help refocus and refine or redesign your project management capabilities and via the PMaaS market, you can access a complete range of Project Management services, including full Programme Management Office.

Habit 7 Celebrate Being Less Wasteful

It’s funny, of all the project outcomes that inspire the popping of Prosecco corks, reducing waste rarely seems to be celebrated. I suppose that it’s not as ‘sexy’ as an exciting business change delivered through IT or a vast software roll out. Celebrated it should be though and I am encouraged by the focus on waste reduction in the PMI’s Pulse report. So measure your waste and as you see a trend emerge, make sure that you have a bottle on ice ready to rejoice!

Start tomorrow to make these good habits part of your IT Project DNA and watch yourself magically become measurably more efficient.

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Great talent is not easily replaceable http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/great-talent-not-easily-replaceable/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/great-talent-not-easily-replaceable/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:42:10 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5563 When your firm loses a great team member, they take with them a business value that cannot be easily replaced. First, there’s the rich knowledge that they have of your organisation, its products, culture, systems and processes. They may have fostered relationships with your clients and internally with colleagues over many years and they have …

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HOW DO YOU REPLACE INGREDIENTS WITHOUT RUINING THE CAKE?When your firm loses a great team member, they take with them a business value that cannot be easily replaced. First, there’s the rich knowledge that they have of your organisation, its products, culture, systems and processes. They may have fostered relationships with your clients and internally with colleagues over many years and they have experience of what has and hasn’t worked for your company that can be lost to your greatest competitor.

No wonder talent retention is increasingly important to many organisations. If you have the chance to retain great talent, you should do everything you can to do so, it’s the people working for you that makes you what you are, as one friend of mine puts it, “if you use different ingredients chances are you’ll bake a different cake.”

However, people do move on so is great talent replaceable? I mean, your company can hire someone to fill a vacancy, but what about the hole their departure leaves in your experience and knowledge bank and your corporate culture? How can you be sure that you fill those when you hire new talent?

You’re kidding yourself if you think you can do it by simply hiring someone with a more impressive CV or list of qualifications. Many generalist recruiters offer this and on paper, it looks like you’re getting a “new and improved” version of the person you lost. Often though, unless your recruiter has their finger on the pulse of the industry and a thorough understanding of your culture you won’t get the maximum return on your investment.

Of course, no-one knows you better than you do so you may decide to go down the “D.I.Y.” hiring route. You may already be a personality assessment expert, you may know what to look for in a covering letter or CV, you may have a set of killer interview questions … or you may just get lucky BUT it’s not just about identifying the ideal candidate. Half your battle is attracting them and even just getting their attention in the first place can be hard.

A specialist recruiter should yield a greater quantity and quality of candidates for you, but it’s more than that because the holy grail is replacing the ingredients but not affecting the flavour of that cake!

This is why a really good specialist IT recruiter should get to know you and your culture first – they need a big taste of your cake! This is how they to produce superior results. Aligning talent with business culture is the best way to ensure perfect fit.

To do this they should be able to demonstrate an understanding of your needs, they should get to know your goals and how you go about achieving them and be able to recite them back to you. Then, because they have a database of pooled interviewed talent they should be able to quickly find you the perfect match. In short, they need to have their finger simultaneously on the pulse of the industry and your organisation, its structure and its business needs.

That ongoing relationship that your specialist IT recruiter has with talent is important to you. The best specialist recruiter builds such relationships because let’s face it, a candidate is likely to switch more than just once in their career but it helps you too because it usually means that they can suggest suitable candidates without having to even advertise. Reach and speed are vital when replacing great talent.

If they do have to enter the market you have to be confident that they know where to look and that they have the relevant industry background and experience to know what they’re looking for. A proven track record or a connection and working experience within your industry are things you should look for in a partner, it is these guys who will find the right candidate for you.

That word “partner” matters too. To ensure that you get the right cultural fit you should look for a partner who sees themselves as just that. Look for specialist recruiters who will share the risk of the hire for example.

Your niches should dovetail too. If for example, you have a vacancy in Project Management your partner should be able to field any questions that you ask them on the subject. They should speak the same language as you and your potential candidates. The more they know about your subject, the better they’ll be at recruiting the right person. Subject matter experts and peer profiling are ways that the best specialist recruiters achieve this. When hiring for key roles or when replacing great talent it’s worth spot testing your potential recruitment partner on their knowledge of your specific area to make sure that they are best positioned to get a result for you.

In conclusion, 2017 is going to be a challenging year for IT employers. In the past, you’d only have to worry about rival companies in the same field headhunting your staff. As more firms become ‘tech firms’ there will be a greater number of opportunities for your talent to transfer their skills in a wide range of businesses. You may not be able to hold on your best people.

The title of this post was “Great Talent Is Not Easily Replaceable” and that’s true but with a plan and the right talent attraction partner, it is not impossible.

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Blue Ball Solutions Becomes First Changepoint Partner to Reach Platinum Status http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/blue-ball-solutions-becomes-first-changepoint-partner-reach-platinum-status/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/blue-ball-solutions-becomes-first-changepoint-partner-reach-platinum-status/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:32:13 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5561 Changepoint a leading provider of project and portfolio management (PPM), enterprise architecture (EA) and professional services automation applications (PSA), today announced that Blue Ball Solutions has become Changepoint’s first partner to achieve Platinum status. As Changepoint’s first dedicated European partner, Blue Ball has worked with numerous global enterprise clients to achieve technology-led business transformation goals, including …

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Changepoint a leading provider of project and portfolio management (PPM), enterprise architecture (EA) and professional services automation applications (PSA), today announced that Blue Ball Solutions has become Changepoint’s first partner to achieve Platinum status.

As Changepoint’s first dedicated European partner, Blue Ball has worked with numerous global enterprise clients to achieve technology-led business transformation goals, including Extra Energy, Arco, Schlumberger and Ziggo.

“Working with Changepoint partners means clients benefit from decades of experience and expertise in the full range of Changepoint solutions,” said Mike Spacone, vice president, partner strategy at Changepoint. “Blue Ball Solutions is an outstanding partner in our channel landscape, and their Platinum status is testament to their dedication, focus and ongoing success in delivering cutting-edge Changepoint technology projects.”

Since joining Changepoint’s global partner program, Blue Ball clients have benefitted from Changepoint’s solutions including Changepoint PSA, Daptiv PPM and barometerIT. Changepoint is consistently recognized by top industry analysts for delivering leading project and portfolio management and enterprise architecture solutions.

“Real-time insight into the status of projects is even more essential for business today,” said Matt Lowman, managing director at Blue Ball Solutions. “Bringing order to chaos requires a firm grip on an organization’s portfolios, programs and projects. Changepoint’s local presence, global user community and cloud-based solutions best fit our clients’ needs for solutions that transform how they do business.”

Daptiv PPM is a highly-configurable SaaS project portfolio application that provides top-down and bottom-up visibility for resourced-based project management. Its designed for organizations that need a structured approach to managing their projects, programs, and portfolio. Daptiv PPM automates project data capture to reduce errors and provide enterprise-wide visibility.

barometerIT is a cloud-based data management application that provides a real-time enterprise asset map. Data is inventoried from people-driven crowdsourcing and from third-party system integration that barometerIT leverages to illustrate the relational data using graph technology and rich visualizations. Real-time, authentic data about the state of the enterprise enables organizations to make smarter, more informed decisions.

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Everything You Need to Know About the PMO Conference in London this June http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/everything-need-know-pmo-conference-london-june/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/everything-need-know-pmo-conference-london-june/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 09:36:45 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5552 The PMO Conference is back for a third year this summer at St Paul’s in London – and over 400 PMO practitioners come together to gain great inspiration and ideas to push their PMO and their careers forward. Will you be amongst them? The PMO Conference gives you 19 hours of new PMO content, spread …

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The PMO Conference is back for a third year this summer at St Paul’s in London – and over 400 PMO practitioners come together to gain great inspiration and ideas to push their PMO and their careers forward.

Will you be amongst them?

The PMO Conference gives you 19 hours of new PMO content, spread across four streams from 23 inspirational speakers. Can’t decide what to see on the day? All delegates receive the full video set of presentations from the PMO Conference to watch back at the office.

The PMO Conference also features the PMO Exhibition – the largest ever in the UK with 23 organisations showcasing PMO products and services to help you and your organisation push your PMO on.

The PMO ConferenceThe PMO Conference is a full on day – kicking off at 8am in the morning with breakfast networking and expo, the main keynote starts at 9am.

Mark Price Perry, the world renowned PMO author of the Business Driven PMO, brings his energy and passion to kick-start the day and challenge you to Test Your Convictions.

You then have a choice of sessions that take you up to the lunch break – choose themes such as managing stakeholders; Agile PMO; portfolio management or listen to a PMO case study – real stories from the trenches.

Lunchtime gives you chance to get back into the expo – pick up the latest in products and services happening in the PMO area. Take time to connect with other PMO practitioners or browse the bookshop.

Not looking forward to the post lunch slump as the afternoon session gets underway?

We’ve got it covered with four fast paced, innovation, even controversial PMO Flash Talks – you’ll leave the session energised ready for the next two sessions. Choose from themes that cover PMO governance; strategy; innovation or further case studies from real PMO practitioners.

We finish the day with brain tricks and behaviour fixes to achieve extraordinary results, inspiring everyone to find the gap between stimulus and response and be the best they can be.

An energising and inspiring end to the PMO Conference.

But don’t forget, you take away all the presentation sessions with your 19 session video pack – perfect for catching up on the sessions you couldn’t make – and sharing them with the team back at the office.

Make sure you are at the UK’s premier PMO event of the year this June in Central London.

The PMO Conference

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