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Project Practitioners > Interaction Skills

Posts Under "Interaction Skills"

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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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»

Close the Complaint Department
By Michael Aucoin
Do you have a Complaint Department within your team? By that term, I do not mean the office that receives complaints from customers. Rather, this “department” is how individual team members air grievances about others on the team. For example, Lee has done or said something that Sam doesn’t like. Sam goes to Pat, an uninvolved third party, to complain about Lee. Such third party complaining is detrimental to a team for three reasons. It does not solve the underlying conflict, and creates an environment that prolongs the conflict. It may create factions within a team, meaning that the team... 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»

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: http://www.pmipr.org/html/presentaciones/confrontation%20skills.pdf 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»

The "Secret" Code: a Toolkit of Skills
By Randy Englund
Proman was at a crossroads. The large program had just concluded. What was next? He noticed how engaged he’d felt during the process. Each day he threw himself into the proceedings with renewed vigor. He seemed to know instinctively what to do. People looked to him for direction, even people smarter than he was and higher up in the organization. Sure, there were many moments when he felt like he wanted to strangle someone who would not cooperate. But even these moments challenged him to reach inside himself for an appropriate response that would elicit a positive reaction. He had... Read More»




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