Project Management Rebooted™ | Project Management 101 - You Need a Plan

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Someone hands you a project to set up and get going - something where the end result is a service, product or other tangible outcome for the benefit of clients, customers or other stakeholders.

Of course, one of the first things you’re going to do is sit down with a few involved others to sketch out how you’re going to get there. Start developing your project plan.

Right?

Maybe not.

While most of us hope structured project planning is a given, for many, surprisingly, it’s not something people who are managing projects always do.

And it’s one of the primary causes of unsuccessful project outcomes, especially in environments where there aren’t a whole lot of project management standards, if any at all.

No matter how small or how big your project, if you’re a nonprofit, a small business, a medium business, or a large business, if you are officially called a “project manager” or don’t have...

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Project Management Rebooted™ | 5 Best Meeting Practices: Quit wasting your stakeholders’ time

Ever feel like you might want to bang your head against the wall if you have to sit in one more disorganized, messy, non-productive meeting?  

Been part of a meeting recently where everything but the agenda topics were discussed?  

Have you been asked to attend a meeting where you realized about 10 minutes in that you had no idea why you were there?  

Yeah. Me too.

And I won’t lie. It stirs up my Capricorn dark side when it happens.

All of these situations can be highly frustrating and annoying, especially when they are happening every single day in your workplace. It’s almost as if others have purposefully hijacked your valuable time for no good reason.

I’m thinking it’s time to do a little refresh on how and why we need to make sure our meetings are not wasting our stakeholders’ time and causing us to thrash around on our projects like freshly caught fish.

I’m going to bet you’ve heard of some or all of these...

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Project Management Rebooted™ | Cultivate Your Beneficial Stakeholders

Hold onto your ever-changing, multi-faceted Project Management gardening hat. 

More Stakeholder insect archetypes have been identified.

Blame it on the wildfire smoke filling our usually clear and pristine skies here in Seattle.  Or better yet, blame it on the glaring need for focusing on the positive aspects of the people we work with.  

A few months ago, I wrote about Spiders, Beetles, and Ticks as archetypes for crazed stakeholders you may run across in your projects.  It wasn’t exactly a flattering description of human behavior, but when has human behavior ever been 100% saintly?

In this post, the emphasis shifts focus to a few insect archetypes representing beneficial stakeholders: the Butterflies, Honey Bees, and Lady Bugs living in our project ecosystems.  Those who make the life of a project manager a life worth living, a project worth driving, not to mention a life with less gray hair and reduced cortisol levels.

When I think about past...

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Project Management Rebooted™ | Dealing with Crazed Stakeholders

Remember a project where you had a couple of special stakeholders who sucked up so much of your time and energy, you had to pour in countless extra hours to get the work done, not to mention the added expense of special project manager detox therapy and a 4-week vacation somewhere quiet and relaxing for yourself?

Or maybe you're a newcomer to managing projects, you haven't managed your own project, but you've witnessed other project managers getting run over by certain project stakeholders driving Bigfoot monster trucks, jamming it into four-wheel drive as they repeatedly run over the project manager and project team, leaving everyone in the Monster Jam pit stunned, bewildered, and shell-shocked.

If you haven't experienced this yet, then read on to find out how to handle these often stress-inducing stakeholder types.

If you've been there, done that, and maybe don't have the tee shirt yet but you do have some giant tire tread marks on your back - this is for you too!

What are Crazed...

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Project Management Rebooted™ | Does Project Team Dysfunction Have to Spell Disaster?

You're sitting in your second weekly project team meeting as part of your new assignment as project manager on a year-long, high-visibility project.

You've asked for input and opinion from the project team on several key issues - issues that are alive with a painful amount of high risk and big impacts requiring the expert insights from your team.

But no one is talking.

Except the crickets.

You're about to lose it in the meeting as you realize the team is not willing to say anything about much.

WTF?


And then, to add some spice to your project, you have a couple of inherited project team members who avoid accountability at all costs.  They hide their lack of work, they miss key deliverable deadlines, taking up project manager time with repeated nudging to "get it done", not to mention the tracking of when the last time they were nudged; like a frazzled parent trying to get their 3-year-old to pick up their toys or eat their dinner for the last 3 months.

We've all been there.

...

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Project Management Rebooted™ | Project Management for the Self

For those of you with project management blood running through your veins, have you ever stopped to think about how you might go about project managing yourself? (Or maybe how you don’t!)

Planning your vacations, your family events like birthdays, family reunions, weddings, parties, etc, - hopefully trying to run them like actual projects, because that’s what they are.

Maybe you don’t really go all out and enter the tasks into Microsoft Project or come up with Powerpoint status reports to your family and friends every week (if you do, no judgment here!). But maybe you make a quick outline, a list, or if the event is big and there’s lots of moving pieces, you outline the milestones and tasks in Excel.

You might delegate activities to others who are helping you, motivating them to hit the timeline and deliver.  Trying to successfully manage your family and other relatives like some kind of unruly project team.

But what about other types of projects?

Like...

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Project Management Rebooted™ | Plan. Then Let Go.

Have you ever planned something — an event or a project, and then got so attached to the outcome and the sequence of events (aka agenda), you held on too tightly and controlling, causing you to completely miss the opportunity to allow others to show up and contribute?  Your over-zealous planning smothering any chances for serendipitous, game-changing connections and outcomes to surface?

Yeah.  Me too.

That happens when you have a heavy presence of project management in your DNA.

You get so excited about your ideas, your methods, your approaches, and how you're going to make it all happened, you forget to build in that balance where you plan just the right amount, and include the spot or intention where you purposefully let go and let things happen.  When we forget to build this "letting go" piece in, we miss out on so damn much.

We miss out on creating space for others to share their contributions and presence.

We miss out on the wonderful way things can unfold...

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Project Management Rebooted™ | Freedom Beyond Safety

The seat-back information cards on my flight from Seattle to Anchorage a few weeks ago were juxtaposed just so. The words practically jumped off the cards and onto my lap, eager to deliver a message of direction and hope to my project management career and my new business I was starting.

"FREEDOM BEYOND SAFETY"

Weird. How could the airplane safety information and beverage/meal offering cards be so vocal and loud?

Stupid cards. WTF? I thought to myself.

I had just settled into my seat, lost in deep thought about a consulting opportunity my firm had just talked to me about. I was debating with myself on the pros, the cons, what it would mean to me, my project management career, and the lovely open space I had just created by declaring "I want to take 3 months off" after I rolled off contract at the end of February.

Why not "Freedom beyond Wi-fi and Movies"? Or, "Freedom beyond Food & Drink"? You can see the possibilities in the picture.

But no. It was definitely, strongly,...

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Project Management Rebooted™ | WTF? The Whispering Shadows in Project Management

Had any shadows whispering to you lately while you're trying to plan and execute on your projects?

Those voices that come out of the sidelines of your reality telling you what you should do, what you did wrong, what you need to do? Maybe telling you how you missed it in the last project meeting with your key stakeholders?

Those voices can be quite a noisy lot with their cacophony of seemingly authoritative, self-righteous words.

Last fall I had the first of 2 intensive software implementation go-lives at 3 hospitals, then another one for 28 hospitals 4 months later. The project pilot was quite the production over a 7 month period, working with a team of 30 to get the software built to specifications, sorting out all the twisted spaghetti healthcare stuff, and training around 200 staff. Then readying for the second go-live with 800 staff in 5 regions.

The "shadow voices" were like a gang of half-drunk sailors, roaming the streets at all hours of the day and night, filter-less...

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Uncertainty and Taking a Chance = Opportunity for Greatness or Failing. Both are acceptable!

My trip to NYC a few weeks ago to connect with my Conscious Business Entrepreneur group, The 108, was another mind/body/soul expansion. I'm always struck, sometimes slightly debilitated, with how much I have to learn yet about everything from digital marketing, to getting my heart and mind in alignment around this choice of striking out on my own.

That this IS an acceptable path. I'm learning to put myself "out there" to the world and see what sticks. Or in this analogy, what doesn't disintegrate from the forces of being in "outer space".

The energy and expertise embodied in The 108 is astounding. I literally have a band of entrepreneur brothers and sisters in various stages of their business maturity who give their time and smarts to help me figure out anything I need to do. Which works really well for me, because let's face it, I need help.

Everyone Needs a Mentor!

I need mentors from all walks who want to share their roadmaps of success and failure with me. While I did get my BA...

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