Tag Archives: business

The Courage of Your Convictions

I’ve just crossed the one-year mark of my post-corporate journey– one that started with a decision to STOP doing something, without fully mapping out what I would START. It was a profound personal epiphany, and it also left me jobless.

I was burned out, for sure, but mostly frustrated by the desire to contribute in a larger way. My demons of self-doubt had finally given way to new voices in my head:

"Hear Me Now and Believe Me Later!"

“I actually know what I’m talking about. My approach delivers successful initiatives. You might not want to listen, but… (now in Hans & Franz voice): Hear me now and believe me later!”

But how to position myself to be able to do my thing? Continue reading

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Project Metrics: The Double-Edged Sword

Metrics can swing both ways

Metrics can slice both ways!

We all know that metrics are critical to running a business. We need those leading and lagging indicators of performance, so we can change course where needed and keep doing what works.

Metrics, however, are a slippery beast. In addition to measuring the results of actions, they also motivate action. And this is where things can go either fabulously right, or terribly wrong. What’s worse is that we may not realize what outcome we are promoting until it is too late.

Here’s an example from early in my career. This experience seared onto my brain the awesome power of metrics to influence behavior. And with that power comes great responsibility to ensure that the outcome we motivate is the one that we want.

Continue reading

Dashboards and Pumpkin Muffins: A Confession

Meaningful dashboard metrics

Wake Up And Smell The Metrics!

I have a confession to make.  It’s from the days when I was still working for a large corporation and leading part of an enterprise-wide strategic IT change initiative. It was huge and encompassed dozens of programs and sub-projects, all aimed at transforming the global IT organization. It was driven top-down and had strict reporting requirements including a mega-metric that tracked who didn’t submit their weekly report. That particular metric got a lot of attention from the Steering Committee of VPs, who were being held accountable by the CIO to submit a consolidated dashboard.

Every week, I dutifully, painfully, and manually composed the required PowerPoint dashboard slide, doing my best to force-fit my program status into the pre-ordained format—which didn’t really work. I had to choose one color—Red, Yellow, or Green, to characterize the current status of my entire program, which was global and massive in itself. I had already been warned by my leadership that there were no “Reds” allowed, and no getting creative with “Oranges” as some do… so my choices were Green or Yellow. There was a tiny box for a 6 pt. font paragraph commentary on that status, which made me feel a bit better, since I could at least qualify the color rating.

Well, feeling rushed and cranky one November Friday, I decided to try a little experiment. Continue reading

Projects Are About People: Using Your Emotional Intelligence

Managing emotions is key to managing projects

You are a Project Manager. You may not realize it, and you may have some other title engraved on your business card, but believe me—you are. Envision a Saturday morning. Paint brush in hand, in-laws arriving tomorrow, and you angry at the realization that there’s not enough paint to finish the guest room. Your spouse is standing by, volunteering well-intentioned guidance “Don’t fall off that ladder!”

At this very moment, you are a Project Manager, trust me.
What’s more, I can predict the outcome of this project based in large part on the very next thing you do. It’s not whether you actually fall off that ladder, or whether you’re able to get more of the custom-colored paint. Sure, you’ll need to address those things… but the real predictor of how your day’s going to unfold is what you say next to your spouse:

(read the rest of my guest post at Tom’s Planner.com)

If You Could Be King/Queen for a Day…

Special Guest Bob Jewell, CEO of Omega Leadership Group

We had a great live audience turnout for the latest episode of “PDU For Lunch” featuring leadership veteran Bob Jewell of Omega Leadership Group.  Did you miss it? No worries, you can view the recording  (and still earn a PDU toward maintaining your PMI certification!)

WATCH THE RECORDING

Bob Jewell polled the audience on a number of interesting points about the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and challenged the use of some very common terms like “scope” and “critical path.”

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Broadway’s Spider-Man: A Tangled Web of Lessons in Project Management

A project crippled by scope, budget, and time.

The Broadway production of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” has been plagued with significant delays, cost overruns, technical failures, scathing reviews, and most recently, the apparent dismissal of its director, the esteemed Julie Taymor. Those familiar with the Broadway community know Ms. Taymor as the brilliant creative and directorial force behind the smash hit “The Lion King”, as well as numerous other successes of stage and film.

Wondering if I could diagnose the situation from the perspective of project management, I spent a few hours reading articles that piece together a history spanning six years of this massive undertaking. Where did it go wrong? Was there a single point of failure, or a barrage of circumstances that brought this now $65MM (and growing) debacle to its knees? Continue reading

PMP Certification: Project Management’s “Family Feud”

Family FeudThe value and importance of the PMP certification is a hotly debated topic within the project management community.  One end of the spectrum vigorously defends the credential as the defining standard for competence, whereas the other end views it as a meaningless exercise signifying nothing more than rote memorization. Many fall somewhere in the middle, seeing it as a necessary evil that hopefully yields some advantage to their marketability.

Adding fuel to the debate are the results of a research study published in the Project Management Journal, February 2011. “PMP Certification as a Core Competency:  Necessary But Not Sufficient” reports the results of a study conducted by Jo Ann Starkweather and Deborah H. Stevenson of Northwestern University’s Department of Information Systems & Technology. Continue reading