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Project Practitioners > Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka L. Waugh, PMP, is the founder and head coach of the project management coaching firm Your Clear Next Step, L.L.C. Sinikka is an actively practicing project management consultant, known for consistently helping teams find innovative ways to leverage effective project strategies across multiple disciplines and technologies. With over 10 years in project roles (primarily program manager, project manager, and business analyst) Sinikka has successfully applied project and leadership expertise to improve project performance in a wide variety of industries, including publishing, education, product fulfillment and distribution, insurance, event and travel management, human resources, and financial services. As a coach, Sinikka’s down-to-earth, “try-this-now” approach blends with her passion for helping others improve. Her energetic and engaging style helps make both the art and science of project management accessible to those she works with.

Sinikka holds a BA from Central College, an MA from the University of Iowa, and is a certified Project Management Professional through the Project Management Institute.

A Fresh Look At The 5 Why's
By Sinikka Waugh
Try these 5 why-like questions to improve your scoping, requirements-gathering, stakeholder-identifying activities: Why? How come? Why else? Why doesn't? What if? Read More»

4 Steps to Managing Difficult Situations
By Sinikka Waugh
I was teaching a facilitation class the other day, and a question kept coming up that I thought would be useful to Project Leaders as well: How can we get through difficult situations? The class was specifically asking “How can I learn to keep control of a conversation when things are getting tough?”, but for project management, the question is “How can I learn to keep control of the project when things get tough?”. And I think the same answers apply. Let's assume for just a moment that there are a couple of "basic plots" for difficult situations. There's the... Read More»

Be What's Missing. A Simple Way to Help Your Team Thrive
By Sinikka Waugh
Improve project team performance and morale by figuring out what's missing and taking the accountability to bring it to the table. Read More»

5 Questions to Kick-start the Planning Process
By Sinikka Waugh
Why can't we get this figured out? Why are so many business leaders still saying phrases like "it's the start that stops us"? Just the other day, I had a client team who expressed frustration that they never really get through the planning process, and they spend agonizing hours churning over how to even get started with a new initiative. It's a pretty innovative group, so good ideas are constantly surfacing, but the elapsed time between idea and execution is painful for everyone. As project managers, we've made a career of the art and science of planning things, yet sometimes... Read More»

4 Tips for Managing Projects Around Holidays
By Sinikka Waugh
In celebration of this week's US National Independence Day, I just wanted to take a quick moment to share 4 tips on managing projects around holidays. Tip 1 - Be Aware: Whether working with a multinational team or a collocated team, an effective PM is fully aware of national, religious, and local holidays that could impact the work site of the team members. Will offices be closed on a certain date at a certain location? HINT: Check out a calendar for each of the geographic locations that are important to your project team, and add any known holidays to your... Read More»

Wake up! Three ways to improve your influence as a (project) leader.
By Sinikka Waugh
When was the last time you thought about your influence? Has anyone made any comments lately about your ability to influence others or move others to action? What did they say? Were they compliments…or not so much? Would it be handy to have a greater ability to influence others, regardless of the authority vested in you by your current role? Here are three quick ways to improve your influence. Consider your wake – For your role as a leader, others look to you for direction, vision, and forward movement. For your role as a project manager, others look to you... Read More»

Why we're behind before we start...and what we can do about it.
By Sinikka Waugh
Have you ever thought to yourself, "wow - we haven't even started this thing yet, and we're already behind the 8-ball!"? I heard a colleague express that he was having that feeling yet again this week, and it seemed that that happens more often than not. Everyone in the conversation agreed - both that the project at hand was behind before it had even started, and that it seems to happen more often than any of us care to admit. So why are we behind before we start? And what can we do about it? I'm suggesting a couple of... Read More»

A quick reminder: Agendas are important
By Sinikka Waugh
Sometimes, I'll admit, I get a little lazy. No, "lazy" isn't the right's more like I get a little too "comfortable." I'm comfortable with my project team; I'm comfortable with the work being done; I'm comfortable with our interactions; I'm comfortable with where we're headed; I'm comfortable with my own understanding of what's coming up and what we're supposed to be focused on; and I'm comfortable with my own ability to shoot from the hip. So sometimes, when I'm "comfortable," I come into meetings with an agenda in my mind, rather than published ahead of time. But just recently,... Read More»

They Won't Always Like You
By Sinikka Waugh
Dear new and emerging project leaders, I have some very important news for you. I need you to stop for a moment and consider what I am about to say. Many of you have been very well trained through formal classes and study, and access to tools and techniques. Several of you have been taught by experience in other disciplines or other fields. A handful of you are lucky enough to have a mentor to help you on your way. You're no doubt filled with optimism and confidence, ready to take on the world of project management. Sure of your... Read More»

Feeling overwhelmed by multiple projects? Take Five.
By Sinikka Waugh
Some percentage of project managers have the luxury of focusing all of their time and attention on a single project. But the reality is that the vast majority of us are juggling multiple efforts simultaneously. And sometimes, the flurry of activity can cause us to become overwhelmed or lose sight of what we need to focus on. In a perfect world, we would collectively do such a nice job planning, anticipating and preparing for risks and issues, and adequately resourcing our initiatives, that everything would run like clockwork. But ours, my friends, is not a perfect world. And while we... Read More»

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