Project Management Coaching

We can all use a little help.  Project Management coaching can help you improve your project management skills.

Through coaching you will learn tested and proven tips and suggestions that will provide results.

  • How to communicate risks/when to escalate concerns or obstacles
  • Defining and communicating roles and responsibilities
  • Gaining consensus with the project team and project stakeholders
  • Managing stakeholder expectations
  • Keeping project team members on track and accountable

Need Help to Build a Project Plan?

Using templates can save you a great deal of time when writing documents – and there is a lot of documentation when planning a project.

You can use a Project Plan template to create a comprehensive project plan for your project.  Our template includes explanations for each section and suggested content.  Our Project Plan template contains the following sections:

  1. Project Information
  2. Project Definition
  3. Approach
  4. Governance and Reporting
  5. Project Controls
  6. Schedule & Dependencies Management
  7. Financial Management
  8. Risk Management
  9. Issue Management
  10. Quality Management
  11. Change Control
  12. Resource Management
  13. Stakeholder Management
  14. Communications Plan
  15. Lessons Learned

To successfully manage your project, you will need to conduct regular status meetings, provide status reports to the project team and project stakeholders and track individual action items.

  • Project Status Report Template
  • Stakeholder’s Report Template
  • Change Management Process Document & Request Template
  • Action Tracker Template
  • Project Communication Tips

These templates are aligned with Worldwide standards: PMI and Prince2.

Healthy Relationships – Building Rapport  

Having healthy relationships with co-workers can increase job satisfaction and help boost morale in the office.  Here are ten ways to build rapport with co-workers.

Rapport

  1. Show empathy.  Demonstrate you understand how the other person feels and can see things from their point of view.
  2. Openly share when you agree with the other person, and say why.
  3. Ask open questions.  Open questions require more than a yes or no answer.
  4. Use feedback to reflect and clarify back to the other person what you think they have said.  This gives opportunity for any misunderstandings to be rectified quickly.
  5. Find links between common experiences. Talk about things that refer back to what the other person has said.
  6. Let go of stereotypes and any preconceived ideas you may have about the person. Be non-judgmental towards the other person.
  7. Admit when have made a mistake or you don’t know the answer.  Acknowledging mistakes will help to build trust.
  8. When you disagree with someone, give the reason first then say you disagree.
  9. Use the other person’s name early in the conversation. This will help you remember their name and it shows you hear them.
  10. Smile!

Project Management Articles

Keeping fresh content on your blog or website is demanding.  Fortunately, you don’t have to create everything yourself.

Need leadership or project management content?

  • Defining Success, The Project Mantra
  • Managing Negative Feedback
  • 10 Time Management Tips for Project Managers
  • Picking up the Pieces, stepping in to assist a failing project
  • Keys to Post Launch Success

The Art of Delegation

New managers struggle frequently with delegating tasks.

shutterstock_400874542a

As former contributors, it is difficult to step up and manage the contributions.   It is likely that they have been promoted to a management role because of their superior skills, which means they are most like better at doing the job than their staff.  New managers are apt to choose to do the task rather than delegate.  It is good to remember. . .

You can’t manage if you are doing.

Five Tip for Delegating

1) Tell people what you expect them to do.

On a regular basis, tell employees what your goals are and your standards for performance.  People need goals.  There isn’t any human activity without them.  Don’t assume that they know what you want.  Tell them as specifically as possible.

2) Make the work valuable.

When you can, assign people to the kinds of work they like and can do well-work that they regard as valuable to them.  Give them work that enables them to achieve their personal goals, such as growth, advancement, self-esteem, professional recognition, and status.

3) Make the work doable.

Increase employee’s confidence that they can do what you expect by training, coaching, mentoring, listening, scheduling, and iding resources.

4) Give feed back.

When employees try to do what you expect, give them feedback on how well they are doing.  Positive feedback tells them what they need to continue doing; criticism helps them to correct mistakes.

5) Reward successful performance.

When employees have done what you asked them to do, reward them with both monetary and non-monetary recognition.

Need to Show Status for a Project with a Gantt chart?

It’s a time-tested tool for visually representing the steps and duration within a project. A Gantt chart is a useful way to keep track of all the moving pieces.

There are a variety of tools you can use to create a Gantt chart and project timeline. With a Microsoft Project Gantt chart, you can display the critical path and link tasks with dependencies.

These charts and timelines are quick, visual representations of the project. They can easily be added to PowerPoint presentations or emails to present project overview or status to project stakeholders and executives.

 

Dealing with People Challenges

coaching

What do you do when you have someone on your team who is not pulling their weight or creating challenges?

How do you address these issues in a way that will be perceived in a positive light and will inspire change?

It happens to all of us, people challenges consume a great deal of time for managers and project managers.  How you handle them is important.  Your first reaction or impulse is most often not the most effective one.  Telling someone what they have done wrong or how they are not measuring up is often not the most effective way to get them to change their behavior.  And if it does work, it may have side-effects that are even more unpleasant than the initial offending behavior.

The first take a good look at the issue.   Typically, the symptom is what you will see, but it is not the true issue.  You want to address the true issue.  Which means you may have to ask about the behavior before suggesting the changed behavior.

Let’s look at this scenario. . .

Mark is the owner of a company that develops mobile apps. He has several teams working for him; a development team, a marketing group, and a sales team.  The development team is the largest group and on a different floor than Mark’s office. The development team is on a tight timeline to deliver the next release.  Mark meets with the leaders of each of managers, including the development manager, Eric, each week.  He trusts them and things are progressing.

One morning Mark decides to stop by to see Eric in development before going to his office.  It is 8 am and Eric, the manager, is the only person in the development group in the office.   Mark speaks with Eric and continues on with his morning.  But he is angry.  How can the team be working hard if there is no one in the office at 8 am?  Don’t they know how important it is to meet this deadline?  After chatting with his colleagues and fuming over the issue for a few hours, he calls Eric to his office.  Mark tells Eric that he wants to establish a new policy; everyone must be in the office by 8 am.

Problem solved, right?  No, unfortunately because Mark was only looking at a symptom, he was seeing a problem where none existed.  He was mandating an 8 am start time, thinking he would get more working hours out of the team if they started earlier.

The Symptom     =          No developers are at the office at 8 am.

The Goal               =          Ensure that the developers are putting in the necessary
hours to get the work done.  Get the most from his staff.

Mark needed to let go of the symptom that infuriated him earlier in the day and focus on his goal.  Then start asking questions.  Find out why folks were not coming into the office in the early morning.

  • Was this just an anomaly? Or did this happen every day?
  • How late was the development staff at the office?
  • Did folks work at home as well?
  • Were there reasons why individuals needed special hours?

In just asking a few questions he would have found that the development team traditionally rolled into the office between 9 and 11 am.  Which sounds like a lacks environment.  Keep asking questions and he would find that they often worked until 10 or 11 pm.   There was another factor; the testing team started work at 4 pm. Many of the developers needed to interact with this group and had started coming in later in the morning so they could stay until 6 or 7 pm – allowing them to work with the testers for a few hours.  All of this was good stuff – but Mark didn’t see it.

By creating this new mandate, he created a more unpleasant side-effect.  The team was offended that he did not know about how committed they already were and how many hours they were putting in each day.  In response to his mandate, the development staff began leaving the office promptly at 5 pm each day.   Although Mark did resolve the symptom; the whole development team was in the office at 8 am each day.  He didn’t get what he wanted.  Not only did he reduce the hours his team was putting in on the project, he also insulted his team, which also had an impact on the team’s morale.

Be sure you are achieving what you want – look deeper than the symptoms on the surface.

When you are ready to address the issue, take the time to set up the right environment.

  • Clear your mind & let go of your anger
    Even if you are sure they are sabotaging your project, or simply being mean. Clear your mind of the negative thoughts.  Going into the conversation with a preconceived notion of why they are behaving in such a way will mean you won’t be able to listen to them.

If you are angry or upset about what they have done or if you are angry about something else, take some time to let that go first.

  • Pull them aside
    You may need to schedule one-on-one time, or simply take them aside. But whatever you do, don’t address a problem in front of others.  This is a bullying tactic.  You are possibly embarrassing them or you may find that others don’t share your view.  Either way addressing something in public is never a good plan.
  • Know what you want to be different
    Even though you don’t know “why” they are causing issues; you should know what you want them to change and be prepared to be flexible.

The Talk

Start by telling them that you have something important to discuss. Approach the issue with the appropriate level of seriousness.   Be prepared to give them some positive feedback first.  Let them know that you are having this conversation because you value their contribution.  Give them a couple of compliments.  Be specific.  The conversation can’t be all negative – they won’t hear you.  Now, talk about their behavior.  What you saw, what you experienced, and what you know to be true.  Don’t make assumptions and use “I’ statements.

“I noticed you were late yesterday.”

Not

“You were late yesterday.”

 

“I have not received your status report this week.”

Not

“You never turn in your status reports.”

And then listen.   Ask them how they see the situation.  Let them know how their behavior impacts the project or the organization.  Ask how they can improve or change the situation.   This should be a discussion, not an edict from you.  Come up with a joint plan to correct the issue and determine if you need to follow up later.  If follow-up is needed, schedule that now.

“Let’s check in next Tuesday to see how you are doing.”

This way you can keep your conversation private.  Don’t publicly refer to this discussion.  This should remain a private discussion between you and the staff person you are trying to coach.   Scheduling a follow up discussion will also let them know you expect a change and that you intend to follow up.

When dealing with people challenges, be sure you are addressing the real issue not the symptom and take the time to consider how you approach the issue.   You want to achieve your goal with a minimum of side-effects.

Project Management Coaching

We can all use a little help.  Project Management coaching can help you improve your project management skills.

Through coaching you will learn tested and proven tips and suggestions that will provide results.

  • How to communicate risks/when to escalate concerns or obstacles
  • Defining and communicating roles and responsibilities
  • Gaining consensus with the project team and project stakeholders
  • Managing stakeholder expectations
  • Keeping project team members on track and accountable

4 Critical Leadership Skills Needed to Successfully Manage Project, or anything for that matter

leadership2A good project manager does more than simply delegate and track tasks, they must possess some true leadership skills to be successful.  Here are four skills to think about when hiring a project manager or anyone in a leadership role.

  1. Filtering Skills
    Knowing what is important and what to ignore comes from experience. Even without direct experience in a specific expertise, it is important to have trusted advisors that can be relied upon to identify priorities and those things that are time wasters.
  1. Consensus-building Skills

Knowing how to lobby and campaign for new ideas is a sign of a true leader.  A true leader is not interested in getting credit of the idea, they are interested in getting things done.  They plant seeds, they create a buzz about their ideas – their ideas catch on and are presented by other people and groups.  They are able to work through objections and navigate through obstacles along the way.

  1. Listening and Questioning Skills

Leading a team requires you to understand the value of each team member and the contributions of their team and stakeholders. They take the time to listen to alternate ideas, to the objections and concerns.  Taking the objections and concerns seriously and make sure that all of the voices are heard.

  1. Relationship Cultivating Skills

Having an extensive network inside and outside the organization is critical to a leader’s success.  Gaining consensus is sometimes a matter of knowing the right person to ask or the right way to present it.  A leader relies on their resources; formal and informal – it is not possible to know everything.

For Delegation to Work, It Has to Come with Coaching

Senior leaders want to believe that delegating a task is as easy as flipping a switch. Simply provide clear instructions and you are instantly relieved of responsibility, giving you more time in your schedule. That’s the dream. In reality, we all know it almost never works that way….

Read full article at the publisher’s site: http://ift.tt/1rtTnYq

Save Valuable Time Using Project Management Templates

Starting from scratch on every project can be time consuming.   New to project management?  Templates can save you time and guide you in the right direction.

Benefits of Templates

  • Increase Speed

You can reuse the template and simply change the desired information. Templates boosts your efficiency allowing you to focus on the specific data for each project.

  • Reduce Errors

Template ensure you don’t miss or forget needed content.

  • Consistency

Templates provide a constant format, which makes it easier for everyone using the document to locate relevant information quickly.

  • Improvement in customer satisfaction

Templates present information in a professional method, allowing for easier beginning to end project documentation.

You can use a Project Plan template to create a comprehensive project plan for your project.  Our template includes explanations for each section and suggested content.  Our Project Plan template contains the following sections:

  1. Project Information
  2. Project Definition
  3. Approach
  4. Governance and Reporting
  5. Project Controls
  6. Schedule & Dependencies Management
  7. Financial Management
  8. Risk Management
  9. Issue Management
  10. Quality Management
  11. Change Control
  12. Resource Management
  13. Stakeholder Management
  14. Communications Plan
  15. Lessons Learned

10 Ways to Maintain a Positive Environment

5-social-media-safety-tips-for-parents-uk

How to Maintain a positive environment with your team.

1)  Listen

2)  Believe in your people, trust them.

3)  Be optimistic and positive.

4) Insist on respectful treatment of others

(call people by their names, show trust, people are not disposable, monitor you mood)

5) Don’t play the power card.

As the leader you don’t want lead by power, you want to motivate and influence.

6) Monitor your preferences

(don’t play favorites)

7) Establish a balance between micromanaging and staying in touch.

8) Model the qualities you want in your team

Everything from how you dress, your attitude, working evenings and weekends, etc.

9) Care.

Show interest in your team members as people, with lives outside the office.

10) Provide training and growth opportunities.