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Owning the Issue—A Profile in Courage
By Alan Zucker
At the weekly executive operational review meeting, the atmosphere was tense. We were having issues with the order processing systems and the sales reps were unable to install and fulfill the orders for the new product line. A raspy voice from the row of people sitting behind the conference table said, “It’s all fouled up. We are working on the issue. I will have a an update later in the day.” I was stunned. Who said that? It was the technology VP, Mike Callahan. Mike was honest, direct, and was not afraid to be accountable. At the weekly executive review,... Read More»

Project Management: An Apprenticeship Model of Learning
By Alan Zucker
My company has an active program to hire college graduates. Every summer my team is graced with newly minted graduates who want to rotate through the project management track. Generally, these future project managers (PMs) have limited training in project management. When evaluating PM candidates, I have found that attitude and behavior are more important than academic training. In fact, some of my best college hires have come from unexpected majors like history and chemical engineering. The apprenticeship-learning model is the best way to train future project managers I believe that the best way to train future project managers is... Read More»

Developing Confident Leaders
By Ann Drinkwater
In knowledge work, there is no line manager. Knowledge work involves professionals. Professionals are paid to solve problems and get results. Regardless of position, we are obligated to take ownership for our work and our personal development. Working for yourself, working for a startup, having an entrepreneurial drive and determination are helpful to understanding what professionals do, but there are other ways a person can acquire this level of understanding and accountability. There are no excuses in business. So how does a person go from being uncertain and needing significant guidance and oversight to being able to confidently handle all... Read More»

Startup Rewards
By Ann Drinkwater
Imagine you no longer have access to your vast array of team members and skills. You walk into work and are now individually responsible for marketing, selling, managing, testing, delivering and supporting your projects. While this may seem like a bit of a nightmare, this is a reality I believe everyone should experience first hand. I’m not talking about surviving a downsizing, but that would also be an opportunity for this type of growth. I am mostly referring to working for a start up organization. In a startup, you wear many hats and are required to be passionate, focused and... Read More»

What Really Is A Project Manager?
By Margaret de Haan
The longer I work in some form of a Project related role within any organization, the more I realize that the skills required to manage a Project to a successful outcome requires so much more than is encompassed in the PMBOK. I have also found that there are many Project Managers that don’t share that philosophy, insisting to stay “inside the lines” of what is outlined in the PMBOK – a “that’s not part of a PM’s job” mentality. I have seen again and again that ideal increasing risk, reducing the quality of deliverables, and costing money. The big one... Read More»

Determining Cultural Fit
By Ann Drinkwater
The time has come. You have started to pursue new endeavors and want to make the right choice. It can seem daunting and change can be tough. While the devil you know can sometimes be better than the devil you don’t, that’s not always the case. Don’t become paralyzed in a situation that doesn’t offer the promise and culture you desire. Culture is the largest component to long-term satisfaction and success. 1. Company & Team Size: A larger organization often will have more mandates, more elaborate structure, processes and layers. This isn’t always the case, but should be something to... Read More»

Being our Best - New Insights on Changing Sub-Optimal Habits at Work and Beyond Habits.
By Cinda Voegtli
HABITS. Good ones and bad ones - I imagine we all have some of both. Some manifest at work; some at home; some in both settings. Our personal habits determine whether we are effective at what we do and achieve the results we want – or not. I want to recommend a great book that has given me some new tools for being my most effective self in both venues -- and also prompted some unexpected insights about dealing with certain habits (ours, and those of team members) that can cause aggravation and other issues on our projects. The book... Read More»

Project Manager's Guide to Office Holiday Parties
By Patti Gilchrist
Due to the recession, it is reported that many companies will forego the office holiday party this year to cut costs. If your company is one of the few hosting a party, consider yourself lucky. Go ahead, smirk at that statement, and even groan loudly (but please do it before you arrive at the party of course), and then consider yourself fortunate and do plan to attend and take advantage of this fast disappearing perk while it lasts. With some careful planning, anyone can survive this sometimes grueling event, which for some can turn into a career ender if not... Read More»

Knowing Your Limitations
By Patti Gilchrist
According to fictional San Francisco police detective, Inspector Harry Callahan, in Magnum Force of the Dirty Harry film series, “A man's GOT to know his limitations.” While it is true that there comes a point where every individual eventually reaches their limitation and thus you must know your boundaries, how can organizations encourage growth for people to realize their full potential without driving them over the border? And what is the responsibility of the individual to strive to attain their full potential without overstepping the boundaries of their limitations? Below are some tips for individuals and hiring managers to aid... Read More»

A Few Tips on Hiring for your PMO
By Margaret de Haan
As usual, it seems that I have been doing a large amount of interviewing lately, looking for that diamond in the rough, that “perfect fit” for the team and the environment. For those of you that are also responsible for staffing your PMO, you know how vicarious the process is, and how you never really know what you’re buying until after you’ve bought it. In some ways it feels as though you’re dating on a timeline, you have two dates with each candidate before you have to make a commitment and walking down the aisle. Sure, divorce is always an... Read More»

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