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Project Practitioners > Behavioral Characteristics

Posts Under "Behavioral Characteristics"

Beginning Steps in Becoming a Complete Project Manager
By Randy Englund
While working in a field service office, I observed how a variety of firefighting activities seemed to repeat themselves: sales made commitments to customers and did not inform service, installations began before the site was ready or all equipment was on site, “rough-in” drawings were incorrect for the equipment ordered, etc. Being a process-oriented person, I made a vow to keep these “fires” from occurring again. I also knew that I had reached a plateau in my development at the job and was ready for a change. So I took the initiative to propose a revised process and structure to... Read More»

Deconstructing the PMO to Save the Brand
By Alan Zucker
What do the following have in common? Best Practices, Business Process Reengineering, Matrix Management, Six Sigma, and Management by Objective According to Inc.com1, these are five of the 10 worst management fads. Based on current trends, I fear that the PMO will join this list, as well. Several research firms have found that PMOs fail at alarming rates, with 50% of PMOs closing their doors within three-years2. One driver of this high failure rate is the expectation gap between PMOs and their customers. I believe that poor organizational branding has created confusion about the role and function of the PMO... Read More»

Are You Elegantly Solving the Wrong Problems?
By Brian Irwin
I recently read an interesting article by Mark Shead outlining how good we are at problem solving and how notoriously bad we are at identifying the correct problem to solve. That notion resonated with me in both personal and professional contexts. Being emotionally invested in outcomes can occasionally obfuscate the true underlying issues; or, if we are aware of the underlying issues, we might dare not address them directly for fear of the unknown (insert personal reason here). Alas, we attempt to address what we perceive to be the real issue which often turns out to be only a symptom... Read More»

Organizational Structures, Modes of Power, and The Prisoners’ Dilemma
By Alan Zucker
Say you are assigned to a new project. What process do you follow to determine your approach to engaging the team? Do you analyze the project’s organizational structure? How do you decide which role and power type to use? The project’s organizational structure influences the formal power and role of the project manager. The way the PM chooses to exert power affects the type and quality of the team relationships. The Prisoners’ Dilemma provides insight into the impact of collaborative versus competitive behavior. Organizational structures, modes of power, and The Prisoners’ Dilemma can provide the PM with insight into leading... Read More»

Tactical Communication
By Margaret de Haan
How many times, when managing a project and something unexpected happens (or doesn’t), do you get reactive reasons/excuses a while after the fact? Don’t get me wrong, you need to understand the why to be able to avoid the same thing happening in the future at the micro level, but how could it have been avoided altogether? The longer that I manage Projects, the more that I think that it comes down to 2 things – communication and managing expectations. I believe that if you can do that well, many of the “oops” won’t happen. Yes, yes, I know, there... Read More»

Establishing YOUR Project Team's Culture
By Jeff Richardson
You can tell the difference between an effective and ineffective team by simply observing ONE meeting. The underlying set of agreements becomes very apparent to an outsider, while team members are somewhat oblivious to how their team REALLY works because they have been immersed in the minutiae. Just like fish don't think much about water because they immersed in it, teams become resigned to a "that's just the way it is" mentality regarding how they works interact. Changing the way your team works together seems like a daunting task from the insiders perspective, even for many leaders. The complexity of... Read More»

Adapting to Our Partners' Perspective
By Jeff Richardson
Partnering is an evolving practice that is essential for survival in our rapidly growing global economy. On the surface the process seems simple and the savings substantial, but lying below the surface is a host of challenges and conflicts waiting to undermine good intentions. Your NDA’s and legal contracts are the least of your problems. When I first got involved in multi-company collaboration programs I was somewhat naive to the intricate differences in company cultures. There are hundreds of small, seemingly insignificant ways of operating that go unnoticed when immersed in your company’s ‘business as usual’ mode. These differences become... Read More»

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Creating New Team Connections
By Jeff Richardson
Resist the urge to “get right to work” when bringing new team members together to launch a new project. As the project manager, you’ve already gotten a head start by working for days, weeks or even months to build the business case and initiate the team’s kickoff. I’m constantly amazed at how haphazard the process for assigning project team member is at successful tech companies. So often engineers or support staff showing up at a kickoff session with no information about what’s going on or why they are here. Individuals coming together during this “forming” stage of team development1 may... Read More»

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Aligning People on Multi-Cultural Project Teams
By Jeff Richardson
Doesn’t it feel like sometimes the deck is stacked against you? Project success seems elusive as business complexity reaches a tipping point. I miss the days when technology innovation was the primary hurdle to overcome. In today’s environment, project leaders are dealing with complex set of variables that make their work more unpredictable than ever. Matrix structures, cross-cultural members, distributed locations, short term mindsets and unrealistic expectations are the norm in many companies. Managing these compounding factors isn’t as hopeless as it seems, provided you get the team aligned in moving in the right direction. Neuroscience experts are confirming insights... Read More»

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Scrum is not Difficult; Abandoning the Familiar Is
By Brian Irwin
Scrum is one of the easiest frameworks to understand. I’ve heard it said that, while Scrum is easily understood, it’s difficult to do. While teams and organizations do struggle with Scrum, I tend to disagree with the wholesale statement that Scrum is difficult to do. One of the reasons I believe this statement came about is that teams and organizations aren’t realizing the benefits they originally expected they’d receive when first adopting Scrum. The Scrum framework is intentionally lightweight and easily understood. Struggling to implement something that’s easily understood is indicative of different issues. Before I get too deep into... Read More»




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