Project Practitioners > Interaction Skills

Posts Under "Interaction Skills"

The Lifeguard Analogy, Mindfulness, and the Project Manager
By Alan Zucker
Lifeguards are taught to only go into the water as a last resort. Going into the water puts both the lifeguard and the victim at risk. The phrase, "reach, throw, row, and go" is drilled into trainees to break the natural impulse to immediately jump into the water. Like lifeguards, project managers have a bias to action, but we are not always trained to assess a situation before jumping in. While PMs do not face the same life or death decisions, there are project and reputational risks to be considered. Once, a very excited manager called me. “We needed to... Read More»


By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
Why Do We Do It? As project managers we are responsible for delivering an operating asset, new piece of equipment, new software program, etc. Most companies have the codes, procedures and processes in place. But it takes more than that to get the project done. When we start a project, it is usually just a concept. To get from this concept to the finish, there are the procedures, methods, and tools. However, there is more to project management than these. I was always considered as one who got things done, so from my experience, project management also involves: Being creative.... Read More»

A Confident and Prepared Experience
By Ann Drinkwater
A year ago I had a less than desirable personal service performed. What I was told was a very small, routine dental procedure, that according to the computer would take 18 minutes turned into a situation where I lost all confidence and trust in my dental provider. The issues presented and takeaways really apply to all types of projects and businesses. The first dental issue arose when my procedure started and I realized the dentist hadn’t provided adequate time for numbing or adequate medication before starting the procedure. The second issue came while I was in the dental chair with... 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»

Think You're Not In Sales? Think Again
By ProjectConnections Staff
I always find it ironic that individuals outside of the sales profession think they're not in sales or that they don't need to become effective at selling or that it's somehow beneath them. The reality is that each of us is engaged in selling, every single day and some days more than others - we just call it persuading or influencing. But the fact is, as leaders, we're "selling" all the time, whether it's in a meeting, during a one-on-one or while delivering a major presentation. Whether it's "selling" a sponsor on an alternative solution, "selling" a functional manager on... Read More»

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»

Conversation Starters for PMs and Sponsors - Part 2: Planning
By Sinikka Waugh
What do you say to your Sponsor during Planning? No single communication relationship in a project is more critical than that between the PM and the Sponsor, but not every PM and Sponsor know how to connect. Every project is, by very definition, unique. But there are predictable moments, and critical conversations that need to take place throughout the project. Assembled in this 4-part series are some conversation starters - prompts, if you will - to help PMs and Sponsors have more effective exchanges at core moments in the project. Read them, make them your own. If you are a PM - use them to engage your Sponsor. If you are a Sponsor - use them to engage with your PM. Read More»

Conversation Starters for PMs and Sponsors - Part 1: Initiation
By Sinikka Waugh
No single communication relationship in a project is more critical than that between the PM and the Sponsor, but not every PM and Sponsor know how to connect. Every project is, by very definition, unique. But there are predictable moments, and critical conversations that need to take place throughout the project. Assembled below are some conversation starters - prompts, if you will - to help PMs and Sponsors have more effective exchanges at core moments in the project. Read them, make them your own. If you are a PM - use them to engage your Sponsor. If you are a Sponsor - use them to engage with your PM. Read More»

Who Put the #$!&@ in Teams?
By Michael Aucoin
To adapt a line from the movie Animal House, "Teams–can't live with them, can't live without them!" That may be the conclusion of a 2013 survey commissioned by the University of Phoenix that revealed some troubling findings about the nature of teams in the workplace. 95 percent of those surveyed recognize that teams serve an important function, but only 24 percent prefer to work in teams. 68 percent who have ever worked in teams have had at least one experience with a dysfunctional team. 40 percent of those who have worked on teams have witnessed a verbal confrontation between team... 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»




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