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Project Practitioners > Communication Skills

Posts Under "Communication Skills"

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»

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»

Continue reading "Creating New Team Connections" »

Shift Their Mind Paradigm
By Margaret de Haan
I’ve decided that I have become too much of a creature of habit, and so I have decided to start ignoring most of what I know works. I know, it sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and observing lately, and I’ve come across some interesting perspectives that my brain has spun together. The result looks like something that could have significant value in changing the current process paradigm. Ultimately, if we keep performing things in the same way, based on the scientific method of investigation and learning, how do we deviate away from basic... Read More»

Does Dysfunction Serve a Purpose?
By Michael Aucoin
When scanning articles or books, I like to include provocative or contrarian topics in my search - they often provide interesting or new points of view. With my interest in helping dysfunctional teams, my eye was immediately drawn to an academic paper, "The Functions of Dysfunction: Implications for Organizational Diagnosis and Change," by William A. Kahn, who is on the faculty at Boston University. My curiosity was piqued: what purpose could dysfunction possibly serve? We would all agree that dysfunction in a project team is counterproductive to the reason a team exists. With this premise, we tend to approach dysfunction... Read More»

You Call That a Good Meeting?
By DeAnna Burghart
"Great meeting," was absolutely the last feedback I'd expected to receive. It had been one of those days, and as a result I'd walked into a big planning session totally unprepared and five minutes late. I presented my apologies and launched into what felt like a fast and loose high-level meeting, got consensus around a few items, and got the group to agree to a second session next month. Total time spent: about 40 minutes for what was supposed to be a highly detailed one-hour one-off meeting. Read More»

Think Differently About Project "Crunch Time"
By Margaret de Haan
So we have all been the lead on a Project that hit “crunch time” where everyone has borrowed a sleeping bag and planned on camping at the office 24/7 for a few days to make sure that the date is met, right? Well I have been speaking to a number of individuals from different organizations at some of my networking events that I have attended recently, and one of the COO’s that I met came out with a revelation that I feel I just have to share even though it should be considered obvious. In a discussion about the “Go... Read More»

How Should We Measure Success?
By Margaret de Haan
Obviously if you ask any of us the above question, the rote answer is “A Project that is delivered within scope, on time and within budget”. But really, it isn’t that easy, is it? That definition, as with everything, depends on the perspective of what your team and your Project Sponsor defines as "within scope” and “on time”. I have struggled with this since starting out as a Project Manager, and I have found that that possibility of misalignment in the perception of those particular Project components is most likely rooted in the corporate culture, and the level of maturity... Read More»

Getting to “Win-Win”
By Michael Aucoin
Many times, we hear someone say that a negotiation resulted in a “win-win” deal for both parties. It sounds like a simple concept, but have you ever thought about what it really means to you? More to the point, have you considered what it takes to get to a “win-win” outcome? As part of our mini-series on negotiation, in this installment, we address an important foundation for negotiating skill. As much as anything, getting to a “win-win” outcome is a matter of your beliefs, your optimism, and your creativity. Let’s start with some background. One can identify two types of... Read More»

Just Walk Away
By Michael Aucoin
The hot, expensive red sports car was calling out: “Buy me! Buy me!” It was a “gotta have” car from the moment the customer first saw it. The test drive sealed the deal. Salespeople love a customer like this. Once the emotional investment is made, price takes a back seat to obsession. Of course, hot red sports cars are not the only objects of our obsessions. In fact, “gotta haves” often pop up in our projects. The problem is not the obsession in and of itself, because it is appropriate to obsess about what is necessary and good for the... Read More»

Project Management and the Art of Confrontation
By Margaret de Haan
I have been brushing up on my negotiation skills to ensure my sanity lately, and came across a fantastic presentation deck about confrontation that I am sure every Project Manager on the planet can benefit from. I have summarized in my own words the highlights below, including some personal thoughts regarding the conclusions and comments made. If you would like to review the entire deck, please access the following link: In terms of background on this “tool”, there are a few different confrontational types of behavior: Aggressive; Non-Assertive & Assertive – the “preferred” method. Assertive behavior involves face-to-face, respectful... Read More»

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