WHY YOUR BEST PROJECT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES MIGHT SUCK

Project management professionals often work hard to incorporate best practices into their PMOs. From creating a workable budget to conducting a useful post-project analysis, best practices stand ready to help PMs execute their projects and achieve their objectives. But sometimes, best practices become little more than words on paper (or aspirations that are discussed only when things go wrong). If your team is feeling stagnant, see if your real-world use of best practice methodologies might be less than ideal.

 

You haven’t revisited them in years. Project management best practices, like most things, can go stale after a period of time. The fundamentals are likely to stay the same, but innovations such as new technologies should be incorporated to continue moving your PMO forward. Stay plugged in to industry groups, to be sure your team has the latest information on trends. Attend conferences and seminars so you know what other thought leaders are doing.

 

You haven’t matched them to your organization. Even well-intentioned plans usually need to be tailored to fit the available resources of a company. Workflows are different in every PMO, and those best practices will likely need a bit of tweaking to be most effective. Look around and see what you have at your disposal—time, talent, and funding—and where your team is strongest. Then make the most of what you have.

 

You aren’t really following them. You probably think about them, and chances are good that you discuss them from time to time. But is your team really applying project management best practices in their everyday routines? If it seems you’re struggling to keep up, or if accomplishing the most basic of tasks feels like recreating the wheel every time, it might be time to reevaluate how well you’ve incorporated those best practices into your PMO’s workflow.

6 SNEAKY WAYS TO GET MORE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING

We’ve talked about the benefits of Project Management Training and even covered some of the secrets of putting together a good training program. But sometimes just figuring out when to pack training into an already crowded schedule is the hardest part. Below are 6 ninja tricks for getting more training in your PMO.

1 – Use what you have. Is someone on the team a guru when it comes to a piece of legacy software? See if they’ll give a quick brown bag session that includes a cheat sheet with the platform’s coolest tricks. It’s a fast, free, no-fluff way to get targeted training.

2 – Make meetings do double duty. You can’t cram training into every project meeting, but you can assign the task of ferreting out at least one low-cost training opportunity to a member of the team on a rotating basis. Have them present their findings as an agenda item.

3 – Connect with external mentors. Industry groups regularly pair experienced mentors with new professionals. The cost is usually free, aside from any dues you pay to be part of the organization.

4 – Build education time into purchase contracts. Did you just buy a new piece of equipment? See if the manufacturer will throw in a factory tour that includes an “Installation and Maintenance 101” session.

5 – Make software training mandatory. When shopping for new software, always include a training line item in the budget. You’ll maximize your software investment when the team can use the platform to its full potential.

6 – Volunteer. Professionals who donate their time at project management conferences and local business functions not only give back to the industry, they also frequently get to attend the event’s training and informational sessions for free.

 

project management training tips PMP

PMAlliance has a national open enrollment training schedule
For more information on the event locations and schedules click HERE
More posts on Project Management Training:

6 SNEAKY WAYS TO GET MORE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING

SKILLS YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM IS MISSING – RISK MANAGEMENT

SKILLS YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM IS MISSING – COMMUNICATION

GROUP FACILITATION – SKILLS YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM IS MISSING

WHEN TO TAKE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

DO YOU NEED PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING? INFOGRAPHIC

4 BENEFITS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING

4 Benefits of Project Management Training

Most project management professionals come into the PMO with at least a baseline skill set in the art of project management. But savvy teams know that a well-crafted project management training program brings benefits that go beyond just nailing down core competencies. If your PMO hasn’t seized on the value of good training, consider just a few of potential payouts.

1 – Better participation. When team members have strong project management skills, they can more fully participate in all phases of a project’s lifecycle, from planning to execution to post-project analysis. Project professionals that are pigeonholed into a narrow sector of disciplines often miss out on new opportunities, and are less able to lend their expertise across multiple aspects of each project.

2 – More consistency. A solid training methodology available to all project professionals in an organization allows members across the team to apply consistent project management principles. This leads to better long-term project execution, as well as improved stakeholder and end user satisfaction. It’s also a launch pad for project improvement initiatives that result in repeatable successes.

3 – Increased confidence. Training gives team members the confidence to tackle difficult, complex, and critical-path projects. A strong training program introduces real-world project scenarios that allow PMs to develop good decision-making and other skills in a safe environment. It also gives them a much broader set of experiences to draw from when faced with challenging circumstances.

4 – Improved efficiency. When training focuses on a particular tool used in a PMO, such as a specific software suite, or on aspects of the project lifecycle that required detailed knowledge (planning and facilitation are two that come to mind), team members are able to become power users and experts much more quickly. They can then maximize the functionality and effectiveness of that tool or discipline.

project management training

PMAlliance has a national open enrollment training schedule
For more information on the event locations and schedules click HERE

 

More posts on Project Management Training:

6 SNEAKY WAYS TO GET MORE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING

SKILLS YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM IS MISSING – RISK MANAGEMENT

SKILLS YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM IS MISSING – COMMUNICATION

GROUP FACILITATION – SKILLS YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM IS MISSING

WHEN TO TAKE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

DO YOU NEED PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING? INFOGRAPHIC

4 BENEFITS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING

PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING INFOGRAPHIC

ARE YOU REALLY A PROJECT MANAGEMENT ADVOCATE?

Most project management professionals will tell you that project advocacy is part of their job, but are they really taking that task seriously? Simply being on a project management team doesn’t make you an advocate. On the contrary, busy project managers can actually undermine their role as advocate if they aren’t committed and focused. Take a look at some of the hallmarks of strong advocacy, and see if your efforts are keeping you on the right track.

Project advocates truly listen to stakeholders. Too often, a project’s objectives take over. At some point, it can even seem that PMs are beholden to the objectives above all others. Advocates stay in regular contact with stakeholders throughout the project to ensure things are moving forward as expected. They also encourage a robust two-way dialogue with stakeholders so that any concerns are aired early and dealt with as a partnership.

Project advocates recognize every group of stakeholders. Powerful project supporters wield a lot of influence, but project advocates also seek out other groups that have a vested interest in how the project goes but are often given little opportunity to participate. Advocates strive to include underserved groups at all stages of a project. This helps in developing good objectives as well as managing potential disruptions or other issues throughout the project’s lifecycle.

Project advocates understand that success is more than meeting deadlines and staying within a budget. Instead of focusing solely on completing each project, advocates work hard to maintain an overall vision that encompasses administrative objectives (dollars, schedules, etc.) in addition to stakeholder and end user satisfaction. Shifting organizational needs are evaluated against stakeholder expectations, and vice versa. Priorities that compete with management’s directives must be balanced—rather than dismissed without any real consideration—as the advocate endeavors to execute the best quality project possible.

project management training by PMAlliance

 

Check Out These Other Blog Posts on Advocacy:

3 WAYS PROJECT MANAGEMENT ADVOCATES MISS THE MARK

ARE YOU REALLY A PROJECT MANAGEMENT ADVOCATE?

GETTING OTHERS ON THE PROJECT ADVOCACY TRAIN

THE PROJECTS OF SUMMER

Warm days are upon us, and with summertime comes some perks—and a few pitfalls—for project management professionals. Learn how to make the most of the nice weather without watching your timeline wither.

First we’ll look at the downsides of trying to tackle projects during the dog days of summer.

The vacation conundrum. Not only are many PMOs short staffed while folks take their annual family vacations, but vendors and other outside partners may also be stretched thin for the same reason. Remember to plan accordingly when putting together the project’s initial timeline and resource requirement projections, and be realistic about the level of support that’s likely to be available during the summer season.

Jostling for resources. If you’re scheduling weather-sensitive projects, be ready to compete with other similarly-minded organizations. PMOs facing this challenge typically have two avenues open to them: reserve the necessary labor and materials in advance (sometimes paying for them upfront to ensure they’ll be there when needed), or figure out a way to move critical deadlines either forward or back so they don’t coincide with the highest-demand months.

There are, however, some summertime benefits your PMO can take advantage of.

Boost morale the natural way. Events held in the fresh air often feel less like work, so plan meetings outside, schedule warm weather team-building activities, and perhaps even allow for more flexibility in work hours if possible. The team will appreciate the change of pace, and they’ll also have fun memories to chat about during the gloomy winter months.

Compress schedules when nice weather hits unexpectedly. If summer arrives early or stays late, be sure to pack in as many weather-dependent project tasks as possible. It’s often prudent to have a list of such activities handy, so the team can act quickly when good weather hits.

PMAlliance, project management training.

WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG WHEN IT COMES TO PROJECT MANAGEMENT PHOTOS

Pictures are useful in many areas of project management, from showcasing improvements to documenting problems. But now and then, project management consulting teams completely flub photos. I’m not talking about taking poor quality images. Instead, a somewhat greater concern is where PMOs either miss the benefits of project management pictures or stumble into procedural problems (or worse) because of a photo.

First, let’s look at an administrative mistake with the potential to give you serious trouble.

You aren’t treating photos as data. PMOs sometimes forget to apply relevant information retention practices to project photos, or they don’t protect pictures against unauthorized access. Photos should typically be treated like a project write-up or other piece of documentation. They may need to be scheduled for review and/or destruction per the organization’s guidelines, or encrypted for safe storage.

Now we’ll talk about why your pictures aren’t as effective as they could be.

You’re relying on pictures to tell the story. Photos convey a ton of info, but use them as visual aids rather than standalone narratives. Viewers might easily misunderstand what your pictures show, and your project could suffer as a result. You may be trying to highlight a new piece of equipment, but what if folks only notice the snazzy tile flooring? Opt to include a bit of text with each photo so viewers know exactly what they’re looking at (or for).

You aren’t including enough candid photos. Glamour shots—of newly installed equipment or screenshots from the latest software program—look great to those involved in the project, but human nature is a funny thing. Instead of focusing on posed (read: sterile) pictures, people will almost always gravitate toward the unstaged photos. If you really want folks to pay attention to your pictures, give them a selection of informal, engaging, and even funny images.

project management photo

 

3 SCENARIOS WHERE MEDDLING MAKES SENSE

I normally encourage project managers and team leaders to fight the urge to get involved in garden-variety conflicts (“Stop Meddling!”), since these often lead to innovative and creative solutions. But there are times when some intervention by a PMO’s leadership is a good idea. Below are some guidelines to help you determine when to step in and when to step back.

Professionalism has gone out the window.  The instant a conflict escalates into all-out warfare, you must intervene. Direct personal attacks are forbidden, as is divulging sensitive details (either business-related or personal) to others in an attempt to influence their opinion or gain their support, general venting that includes bad-mouthing another team member, and any refusal to interact with the other person that impedes the group’s activities.

Productivity has dropped. When you notice productivity levels—of the people involved in the conflict or of those around them—are slipping, it’s time to get everyone back on track. Signs that the team’s output is dropping could range from meetings that are monopolized by arguments (these will usually be about the same things over and over) to unresolved disagreements that delay a project’s progress or negatively affect critical milestones. If any of these triggers crop up, you need to step in and mediate so the team can move forward.

The players aren’t on equal footing. If the seniority level or reporting structure of the involved parties means that one is at a distinct disadvantage, you should pay close attention to how the conflict is progressing. Any abuse of a position merits intervention, so be on the lookout for arguments where one person is able to withhold resources, deny new opportunities, or otherwise interfere with the work of the other. Productive conflict only happens when everyone involved is able to participate without fear of retribution.

3 SIGNS YOU’RE A PROJECT PERFECTIONIST

Earlier we talked about why project managers don’t need to be—and in fact should not be—perfect (“Perfection Not Needed”). Some of you probably have a sneaking hunch we were talking directly to you, but how can you tell for sure? Take a look at these 3 signs and see if they sound familiar. If so, you just might be the unreformed perfectionist other members of your project management team dread.

1 – You often say something similar to, “You know what would be really great?” Most of the time, this leads to enhancing the requirements needed to meet existing objectives and sometimes even adds new goals mid-stream. Either way, it’s scope creep, and it’s sure to undermine your team’s ability to successfully execute the project. Yes, you probably have some great ideas for making every project even better, but remember that you still have a budget and a deadline to meet.

2 – After delegating a task, you frequently take it back. It doesn’t matter if you justify it by saying that team members aren’t completing things just the way you like or you feel they’re taking too long/not devoting enough attention to it/not giving it a high enough priority, these are all warning flags that your perfectionist tendencies are taking over.

3 – Competent and able professionals in your PMO regularly ask for direction or approval on everyday tasks, or seek your input on things you know they’re perfectly capable of handling on their own. If it’s just one person looking for help, you may have a training or performance issue on your hands. But if it’s endemic to the team, chances are good they’re tired of your perfectionism interfering with their duties after they’ve invested the effort to complete a task, and are instead trying to proactively figure out what will make you happy.

 

Check Out These Other Blog Posts on Perfectionists:

3 SIGNS YOU’RE A PROJECT PERFECTIONIST 

TURN PERFECTIONISM ON ITS HEAD

PERFECTION NOT NEEDED

BANISH THE BULLY: PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING

Earlier we looked at some of the signs that indicate you might have a bully in your PMO (Bullying In The Workplace). But once you’ve confirmed there’s bullying going on, what can project management team members do about it? If the bully is the leader of the team, affecting their behavior will likely be difficult. You may also be hesitant to raise the issue with someone in a position to fix the problem—the bully’s boss, for example—for fear of reprisals. There are other options, though, that may help your project management team address the situation in a positive way.

Get HR involved. Employers today typically won’t tolerate any measure of bullying in the workplace, so bringing an HR rep into the conversation may be the best way to resolve the situation. They’ll work with the bully to modify and improve their behavior, and may also be able to address issues the problem has caused within your PMO. Be sure to pull together several examples of the bully’s problem behavior ahead of time, to help illustrate exactly what’s going on.

Establish alternate communication channels for stakeholders. Help project supporters and end users avoid the bully by designating a point person for these folks to contact with project questions or concerns. Beware that this may not be an option in those cases where the bully has purposely made themselves the sole communication conduit into and out of the PMO, as they’re unlikely to relinquish such a powerful, visible role.

Create new opportunities for team building. If one person’s domineering behavior is hurting group morale, take the time to schedule some activities designed to pull folks back together and rebuild trust. Even a simple team lunch can work wonders. Plan something offsite, and keep your intentions quiet so the bully doesn’t catch wind of it and show up.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consultingproject management training and project office development services.

BULLYING IN THE WORKPLACE

The concept of bullying doesn’t just apply to kids. Bullying in the workplace is also getting more attention these days, and PMOs aren’t immune to the problem. Project management leaders often find themselves in a position of power, and some wield significant control over others in their group and beyond. Below we’ve outlined a few ways to spot a bullying problem within your project team.

Disconnected stakeholders. There are many reasons stakeholders may disengage from a particular project (or from your PMO in general), but it’s always worth considering if their sudden distance from the team is a result of bullying. Pressure exerted by a domineering PM could easily lead a valuable stakeholder to find other initiatives to throw their weight behind. If a former project champion’s reasons for their diminished enthusiasm don’t stand up to scrutiny, there’s a possibility they felt they were being pushed around.

Frustrated end users. It’s the rare project that doesn’t spark concerns or queries from end users, but a bulldozer of a PM could leave your team with a slew of unhappy customers. If they feel they’re being bullied in retaliation for pointing out problems or for asking for resolutions to something they aren’t content with, they’re likely to become increasingly frustrated to the point they no longer even try to raise issues in a constructive way.

Demoralized team members. If enthusiasm within your PMO has gone into a nosedive, something is clearly amiss. And unfortunately, whenever a person in a leadership position users their power to intimidate coworkers, morale will certain go down. Some previously happy team members may raise complaints, but others will simply leave for greener pastures.

Have you run across a bully on a project team? What sort of behavior did they display, and how did it affect those around them?

project management training tip

PMAlliance provides project management training services.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING: STOP MEDDLING!

Project management leaders are always looking for ways to boost synergy within their teams. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to near-constant meddling. Not to be confused with micromanaging, the sort of meddling I’m talking about revolves around the team’s various personalities, not  its overall effectiveness. But leaders who want their PMO to resemble one big happy family should realize it’s actually detrimental to the team when they involve themselves in every disagreement. Below are some of the problems teams often encounter when members aren’t able to forge their own solutions for balancing personality differences and overcoming strife.

A lack of productive conflict may result in unimaginative problem-solving efforts. We’ve said it before: conflict isn’t always bad. In fact, sometimes it can be very good. If the team’s leadership imposes its will in an attempt to quell arguments—determining a specific course of action or a preferred solution to a particular problem, for instance—any potential innovations that might have arisen from the conflict-discussion-resolution process are lost.

Too much interference allows underlying problems to fester. Sometimes, seemingly minor issues can grow significantly worse if those involved aren’t able to butt heads and successfully devise a way forward that works for them. When this happens, whatever put them at odds in the first place may actually continue unchecked. If others in the group also become embroiled in the situation, morale in the PMO could quickly drop.

Personality clashes could consume project management time. Once the PMO’s leadership decides to take on anything but the most difficult personnel conflicts, the entire team may learn to depend on having these types of issues solved for them. And if managers are focused on individual-level conflict resolution or confrontation avoidance, high-level efforts such as mentoring and the championing of strategic initiatives could suffer in the long term.

project management training

PMAlliance uses a team of certified professionals to provide project management training services.

WHEN DYSFUNCTIONAL PMOs SUCCEED

Nearly every project management consulting professional has watched a completely dysfunctional PMO execute a project successfully. How do they do it? When the rest of us are carefully creating solid budgets and timelines, while we’re diligently minding our progress and watching for potential problem areas downstream, these broken teams manage to succeed in spite of themselves. Is it just luck? I don’t think so. In those cases where I’ve seen a heavily flawed project team achieve its objectives, there are usually some extraordinary circumstances that contribute to the project’s success.

A lot of problems can slip past disconnected stakeholders or an executive team that isn’t paying attention. Projects that are over budget or miss a deadline may never be questioned, and even failures on a critical deliverable could glide under the radar. If your performance is never truly subjected to scrutiny, what does it matter if you do a good job or not? But beware the downside: the long-term effectiveness of projects that don’t pass muster is diminished, meaning that stakeholders might not trust your PMO’s recommendations in the future, or other projects may need to be implemented to fix what went wrong the first time.

A project team comprised of high-performing individuals will often succeed, even if a subset of members aren’t pulling their weight. Self motivation and sheer determination can usually drive those who set high standards for themselves to cover a lot of faults if it means the project will succeed. Unfortunately, in my experience these situations ultimately put the organization in an even worse position when the stars of the PMO move on in search of a team that doesn’t take advantage of them.

Have any of you ever worked in a dysfunctional PMO? What were the underlying problems, and how did your team manage to find success?

project manager

 

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management training services.

THE TASK CONUNDRUM

In project management, there are two schools of thought on doling out tasks to team members—assign all tasks at the beginning of the project, or assign them as they come up in the project schedule. Each method has merits, along with some notable pitfalls. Here we examine both strategies to see what’s good about each, and where problems may lurk.

Assign at the beginning of the project

Benefits of this approach are felt at both the team and individual levels. Project professionals often feel they are better able to juggle tasks for multiple projects simultaneously when they can budget their time early in the process. From the team’s perspective, assigning tasks during the initial project phase may allow resources to be more efficiently managed across the overall project load. Possible downsides include increased susceptibility to delays, due to the unavailability of the person responsible for the task. If one individual gets behind, the effects may be magnified across the entire team.

Assign when the task is ready to begin

This strategy may enable PMOs to eliminate delays by leveraging available resources on a just-in-time basis, rather than wait for a specific individual to begin the task. It may also facilitate a generalist approach to project management by ensuring team members have opportunities to oversee a variety of tasks, rather than just those in their areas of expertise. Potential concerns include the delays that may occur if a task languishes before being assigned, and the unavailability of a team member suited for the task if there is a requirement for a specific skill set.

A team comprised of high performers could likely use either strategy successfully, assuming that some things—communication channels, stakeholder expectations, etc.—were well established and carefully managed. How have these approaches worked in your own experience?

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consulting services.

7 TIPS FOR SHARING PROJECT METRICS

Most PMOs strive for transparency, and that often includes releasing metrics related to project objectives, budgets, and a host of other data points. But there are some recommended—and other not-so-recommended—guidelines for sharing that information to best effect. We’ve put together 7 suggestions to keep stakeholders engaged while ensuring your transparency efforts remain on track.

1 – Focus on the data stakeholders ask for most often. Your team can often avoid answering the same questions a dozen times by putting the information front and center.

2 – Consider including some data points that aren’t usually requested. If there are little-known metrics that would help stakeholders understand how successful your project truly was, be sure to highlight them. If nothing else, it’s good PR for your team.

3 – Provide enough detail to make the data meaningful. Remember that most stakeholders aren’t project professionals, so include any additional information that will help them understand the data points you’re sharing with them.

4 – Let readers know where they can find more information. Part of transparency is responding to follow-up inquiries, and that’s best accomplished by designating a point person to field stakeholders’ questions.

5 – Identify who’s responsible for particularly impressive metrics. Rather than feed the notion that your PMO is a faceless mass, take the time to call out particular team members with notable accomplishments.

6 – Release a subset of metrics on a regular schedule. Things like staffing levels, number of active projects, budget overages, and new vendor agreement metrics are often helpful on a quarterly or even monthly basis.

7 – Share data in a number of places and ways. Some stakeholders may not read the corporate newsletters or frequent your PMO’s intranet site. To widen your audience, consider other avenues, such as an e-mail blast or a short presentation at each company meeting.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consultingproject management training and project office development services.

 

THE DANGERS OF OVERPLANNING

Can you really overplan a project? It turns out you can. When schedules are adjusted too frequently, or when task durations are forecast too optimistically, the project can quickly fall into the overplanning trap. Most people recognize and quell the occasional bout of overplanning when they see it in themselves, but what happens if that gene runs wild? There can actually be downsides to too much—or too frequent—planning.

The moving target syndrome. One pitfall of updating plans too frequently is that milestone dates can become too fluid. Unless you’re the only one involved in bringing the project to fruition, others will already have target dates in mind for items they’re managing. Manipulating those dates too often can make it difficult for others to achieve their milestone objectives.

Whittling down contingencies. It’s not uncommon for project management teams to build contingency time around key tasks, where variables make tight planning less precise. When a project timetable is managed too closely and updated too often, there’s a tendency to chip away at those contingency days. If everything doesn’t line up perfectly and that additional time is actually needed, the rest of the schedule may again need to change to accommodate the wiggle room that shouldn’t have ever been removed.

Unrealistic targets. This becomes a problem when one person updates the entire project schedule based on their own progress, rather than communicating with all stakeholders to ensure that time savings in one area actually affords the opportunity to adjust target dates in other areas. It’s particularly troublesome if equipment installation schedules or other dates along the project continuum are fixed, and changes create a milestone date that another team member can’t possibly meet. If changes aren’t communicated well, deadlines may be missed simply because someone didn’t know their target date had changed.

PMAlliance Project Management Training

Control Your Project’s Reality

The reality of a project—its objectives, its hurdles—don’t always match the perception that stakeholders have in their minds. When a project management professional discovers a discrepancy between how things really are and how people assume them to be, it’s time to do some proactive damage control that often goes beyond simply resetting expectations.

First, see if you can determine where the incorrect information came from initially. There’s a chance that the data is actually accurate, but was passed through inappropriate channels, such as a vendor providing someone other than their primary contact person with updated lead times, etc. This will help you determine if the information floating around is indeed incorrect, or if it’s just old and needs to be refreshed.

Next, send accurate (or perhaps updated) information to everyone involved in the project. This includes not only stakeholders—end along with champions, funders, and even the executive team if it makes sense—but also anyone in your PMO who may have the project on their  radar. This will alert folks to the fact that erroneous data is floating around, so they can be on the lookout for it. It also ensures that everyone with the potential to provide information to stakeholders is working off the latest approved data.

 

Finally, reinforce where information should enter your PMO, and who is responsible for passing it on to stakeholders. If updated data bypassed your team and was given directly to stakeholders, either by others in your organization or by business partners, you will likely need to let folks know from whom they should expect to receive new data points. If a vendor released information to end users or others outside your PMO, it’s time to re-educate them that all data is to go through a specific point person on your team.

PMAlliance Project Management Training

4 WAYS TO SPICE UP YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM

Project Management Training is an ongoing activity for most PMOs, but participants can get burned out if the routine gets stale. We’ve rounded up some tips to keep students interested and enthusiastic.

1 – Offer one on one sessions

Training is typically more time- and cost-efficient when multiple students attend, but individual sessions can offer a helpful alternative. They’re especially useful for students who travel or work irregular shifts, and may have difficulty blending common class times into their schedules. If you have a mentor program, you already have a list of experts potentially willing to lead occasional sessions.

2 – Go offsite

Students who are too close to their desks might not give training their full attention— it’s too easy to run back for a quick e-mail or voicemail check, which is never actually quick. Traditional venues are fine, but if you’re looking for something more interesting (and perhaps less expensive), consider the picnic benches at a nearby park or even a coffee shop for events with only a handful of students.

3 – Go online

Computer-based training is a great way to offer sessions that are efficient and can accommodate the schedules of multiple students. It works particularly well for short classes, where participants can easily tune out distractions because they know they’ll be available again before long. Online presentations can also be used during traditional training sessions to offer students access to remote experts or additional accompanying material.

4 – Turn students into trainers

Interactive classes can help to keep things interesting, and tapping participants’ expertise to expand the group’s knowledge base is a fun way to maintain a high enthusiasm level. Be sure you don’t rely on any one person too much—instead, schedule several folks to present different material. This will ensure that everyone gets the chance to be a student.

PMAlliance project management consulting.

 

4 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN DEALING WITH STUBBORN PEOPLE

Much of project management consulting centers around negotiation—objectives, expectations, timeframe, and budget. There are occasions where negotiation may be impossible, such as when budget limitations simply won’t allow additional money to be approved, but sometimes plain human stubbornness keeps the team from making progress. When someone comes to the table refusing to negotiate on key points, project professionals should keep a few things in mind as they try to move the discussion forward.

1 – Even hard data might not sway them
Before you dedicate significant time or energy to gathering data that supports your viewpoint, remember that stubbornness is sometimes immune to empirical evidence. Facts won’t always unseat deeply held ideas, concerns, or opinions.

2 – Ask and listen
Because data might not be enough to change a stubborn person’s mind, see if you can get to the root of why they’re stuck on a particular point of view. Turn the tables and pull information from them by asking about their experiences and perspectives. They might divulge something that points you toward an acceptable compromise or workable solution.

3 – Public opinion could work in your favor
You alone may not be able to bring enough pressure to bear to convince a stubborn person to back down or to secure a compromise. In these cases, consider rallying others to support your cause. This could take the form of user surveys, or it might require getting the senior leadership on your side.

4 – They might not actually be stubborn
There’s a chance they’re stuck on a particular issue because their boss or other influencer has an agenda. As you discuss why they hold such a firm perspective, try to determine if someone else is at work behind the scenes. If so, you’ll likely need to address that person directly before progress can be made.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consulting, project management training and project office development services.

EMBRACE THE NON-MEETING

We’ve covered how to hold effective meetings “MAKE THE MOST OF MEETINGS“, but sometimes a meeting isn’t the most efficient way to move your team forward. Below are some instances where other approaches may be a better choice than the typical project management meeting.

Confirming information.
If no new data will be revealed and all that’s necessary is to corroborate information for the team’s general knowledge, don’t bother bringing folks together. E-mail is often a better choice, allowing large numbers of team members to respond when convenient. It also offers an easily accessible trail of what’s been confirmed and which data points are still outstanding.

Asking questions.
Yes, gathering information is sometimes best accomplished during a meeting, but think carefully about whether a different methodology might be more efficient. If all you really seek are answers (and not a discussion surrounding the questions you’re posing), then e-mail or even individual conversations might be a wiser use of your team’s time.

Raising concerns.
Don’t wait to bring up potential problems, especially if the bulk of the group isn’t available for a last-minute meeting. Instead, bring your concerns to the team leader or—if that’s you— seek out the one or two people with the expertise to help identify the true scope and nature of the problem, or who are best equipped to begin developing solutions. Once these initial steps have been taken, you can then call a meeting to deal with the issue on a wider scale.

Going through the motions.
Admit it: sometimes your PMO holds meetings simply because they’re on the calendar, not because anyone has anything to contribute or requires anything from the rest of the team. Rather than spend time on an unproductive get-together, consider sending an e-mail before each regularly scheduled meeting to ensure the team will actually benefit from it.

project management meeting

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consultingproject management training and project office development services.

Going Beyond Mentoring

Mentoring remains an important way for project management professionals to expand their knowledge base (6 reasons-mentoring still matters), but sometimes your needs go beyond what a mentor can provide. We’ve outlined a few instances where a different kind of expert might have the information or expertise you’re seeking.

Continue reading Going Beyond Mentoring