Project Practitioners > Cinda Voegtli

Cinda Voegtli

Cinda Voegtli

Cinda Voegtli is Founder and CEO of the service providing practical online resources and support to over 250,000 project managers, functional managers, and team members around the world. She has over 20 years of experience in companies of different sizes and radically different project environments, with titles ranging from developer to vice president. She started her career as a hardware and firmware engineer, moved into technical group leader roles, and then became Director of Hardware Engineering at a start-up. Cinda found herself unwittingly falling into (untitled) project management as she managed large releases there, and after the company was acquired made the official leap and managed release programs in 3 different product divisions. Since then she has worn many hats - including contract project manager, interim department manager, project and development process consultant, functional executive, company founder, and executive project sponsor - experiencing the myriad light and dark corners of the business-driven project universe, and still relishing and enjoying all the rewards and challenges.

Over time Cinda has worked on different types of projects to develop products, services, and systems, for areas including communications, medical, IT, factory automation, computer games, construction, and biotech. From all these years of projects she has developed a big passion for making “management stuff” practical, effective, so that we can all enjoy our jobs day-to-day as we work hard to get it all done. Her particular areas of interest are helping get boring, static project methodologies into dynamic, situation-specific use; achieving business-savvy and amazingly synchronized cross-functional teams; and bringing together the critical skills, attitudes, and experience that result in truly great project managers.

Sanity check: What is MOST important for your time in the next week?
By Cinda Voegtli
Step back from the trees and bushes and weeds of each project -- and contemplate the overall forest. See the big picture, not just the details. The goals, not just the tasks. The results needed, not just efforts at hand. The risks, not just the work plan. Specifically, ask yourself this: For us to accomplish what ultimately matters, what is truly MOST important for me as the PM to do this week? Questions such as the following will help feret out places for high-leverage attention: Is there a particular upcoming critical target date, a major milestone? (Then who do I... Read More»

Book: The Next Evolution - Enhancing and Unifying Project and Change Management
By Cinda Voegtli
I still hear way too many stories of "change management bolted onto the end" of projects whose outputs will impact lots of people. So I'm always interested in what approaches people use to INSTEAD make change management a natural part of each project. [I'm not talking here about managing/controlling changes to delivereables etc. during a project. This is the Change Management that is about anticipating how a project and what it's delivering will impact various people and groups, including how it will CHANGE THINGS THAT MATTER to them :-)... how they work; how they're reviewed; whatever.] I was therefore browsing... Read More»

Why are we even trying? - a Stat on EXPECTING projects to fail
By Cinda Voegtli
"75% of business and IT executives anticipate that their software projects will fail." Wowsa. Whoever responded to this survey might just have a lot of trouble getting out of bed in the morning. This statistic is from a survey done by Geneca, a software development firm, of 600 business and IT executives. Sources for the survey participants includeda CIO networking group, a project management professional association, Hoovers/D&B, and attendees to a 2010 CIO trade conference. A couple of other findings: Lack of confidence in project success: 75% of respondents admit that their projects are either always or usually “doomed right... Read More»

Sanity check: Who are you ASSUMING is committed?
By Cinda Voegtli
A sanity check to consider, on a Monday morning as you start the new week, or any time you are stepping back to take stock (which should be often enough to catch bad assumptions, or any bad mojo, before damage is done)... Think about your team. Stakeholders. Sponsor. Managers of the resources on your critical project. People who obviously SHOULD be committed... to the goals, to managing risks in their area, to making sure this thing will succeed. BUT: Just because they signed the Charter... Just because they participated in planning and got to have their say on deadlines... Just... Read More»

Cognitive Dissonance - Investment in Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
By Cinda Voegtli
Managers and executives lament the poor leadership and interpersonal skills among their project managers, yet recent studies have revealed that organizations spend almost twice as much on the hard skills of project management vs. the soft skills, and that spending on soft skills has actually decreased in the past few years. What’s wrong with this picture? This flummoxes me. I don't talk to anyone who thinks the hard skills trump the people skills. None of us get anywhere with schedules, charters, other PM tools and techniques, without the soft skills to adapt to our audience, influence, overcome objections, etc. I'm... Read More»

What teammates say: to lead, be calm (and why that matters)
By Cinda Voegtli
Here's a quick post with an article full of notes on what it means to be seen as a leader by teammates. I am a huge San Francisco Giants' baseball fan, and about to watch game 3 of the World Series tonight. Our local papers are doing a fabulous job posting daily background articles about the team and individual players. In an interview with Wednesday's starting pitcher Jake Peavy, Jale brought up the team's catcher, Buster Posey, "in the midst of a long explanation of why he has been better with the Giants than he was with the Red Sox."... Read More»

High-Altitude Leadership - A highly-recommended book
By Cinda Voegtli
(I'm moving this previous post from a private blog to here to make it easily available to everyone. And I still love the book!) The angle this book takes on leadership -- lessons from high-altitude, highly dangerous mountain climbs, results in a fun, interesting read. And I found those lessons to be very concrete and thought-provoking -- and with good coverage of organizational AND project issues, which I have not often seen in leadership books. The full title is High Altitude Leadership: What the World's Most Forbidding Peaks Teach Us About Success. One of the authors is an experienced mountain... Read More»

Why no one wants to identify risks
By Cinda Voegtli
Interesting factoid from a recent Risk Management class I taught inside a large, established company: When we discussed why this company is so large, with establisehd processes in other areas, yet not doing project risk management (and in a complex, risky, regulated industry to boot), here is what emerged: Risk identification is not being done consistently or thoroughly on our projects, because our executives see discussion of risk as "Focusing on failure", "denigrating our own capabilities, because it implies we can't do things without making mistakes, or we are not good enough to naturally overcome difficulties" and "if you bring... Read More»

Don't understand them? Don't even like them? Too bad!
By Cinda Voegtli
What makes working on projects hard is, all too often, working with the dratted people! :-) As we start work this week ---- who are we dreading working with? Who are we mentally already bracing to interact with? Who have we not communicated with for a while, just because our styles are so different that it's easier to stay away? Put like this, such issues might even sound a little childish if admitted out loud. Yet it's just human nature. But it's also dangerous. If we really believe that communication and collaboration are key to project success and to the... Read More»

For grumpy, overworked times...
By Cinda Voegtli
Something i like to remind myself of when extreme grumpiness hits - which it does sometimes, because there IS usually an insane amount of stuff to get done, sprinkled with pesky issues, conflicts, changes ... :-) Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same... Francesca Reigler. Cinda Read More»

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