Project managers encounter conflict regularly over schedules, project priorities, human resources, requirements, and technical opinions, to name a few. Individuals, groups, and organizations have different opinions, sometimes strong opinions. These conflicts may surface internally, as well as externally.
I remember a project that I managed where the organization wanted to create a customer service representative (CSR) position. Previously, administrative personnel handled the customer service in the remote locations. The introduction of the CSR would have greatly diminished the administrative personnel’s role and responsibilities.
I was asked to facilitate a series of meetings with key stakeholders. I remember the tension in the first meeting. The body language, the tone of voices, and the arguments all magnified the conflict. All project managers encounter conflicts like this one. How can keep peace while working through the opposing views?
This is a guest post from Colin Gautrey, an author, trainer and executive coach who has specialized in the field of power and influence for over ten years. He combines solid research with deep personal experience in corporate life to offer his audiences critical yet simple insights into how to achieve results with greater influence. He is the creator of the Stakeholder Influencing Masterclass.
We’ve all been there. You get a call (or more likely an email) requesting that you do something immediately or within an impossibly short space of time. Alternatively, they may be asking for something that you simply do not have the resources to be able to deliver. Many times, these requests feel more like orders — people demanding that you do things without giving a thought to what else you have on your plate.
In these situations, it is all too easy to react emotionally — especially if the definition of “unrealistic” is stretched to the extreme. Your plans for the day are thrown off course, other people may be let down, and those people may be your loved ones. No surprise that you may feel angry or frustrated by the lack of consideration shown by the person making the demand.
If you’re struggling to respond to unrealistic demands:Continue reading
This is a guest post by Colin Gautrey from Learn to Influence. Colin is an author, trainer and executive coach who has specialized in the field of power and influence for over ten years. He combines solid research with deep personal experience in corporate life to offer his audiences critical yet simple insights into how to achieve results with greater influence.
In this article, my guest Colin Gautrey shares what you need to know about stakeholder management.
I first started out I worked for a branch of the intelligence services. Nothing terribly exciting, just a communications and IT specialist. Well okay, some of the time it was very exciting, but I can’t go into that.
Embedded in the culture was the concept of “need to know.” To minimize the risk that secrets would leak, you were only told things that were essential to perform your role. Nothing more, nothing less. For this to work, we all had to rely on someone at a more senior level making an accurate judgment about what we needed to know. Only they were allowed to see the bigger picture.
In fact, it was even a little risky asking questions lest suspicions were aroused. So generally people kept their heads down and did their job.
Why am I sharing this little snippet from my deep and distant past with you today?Continue reading
Have you ever had problem team members? These individuals hide missed deadlines, possess bad attitudes, and criticize other team members. They seldom volunteer to help other team members or jump in to pick up the slack.
[callout]Bonus: Keep an eye out for the FREE bonus at the end of this article.[/callout]
Project managers are more than managers – they are leaders. Team members watch project managers to see how they respond to problems. A project manager’s failure to confront and resolve poor attitudes, behavior, and actions can be costly on many levels.
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” -Babe RuthContinue reading
Project managers are not just managers. They’re leaders. Project managers shape and influence their project culture for good or bad.
Tolerance can be a great trait. However, project managers must be deliberate in what we will tolerate and what we will not tolerate. Project managers must refuse to tolerate things that cause disorder, degradation, and uncertainty.
As leaders, we must first walk the talk. Before addressing the intolerable things of others, let’s first make sure we’re living up to that standard…lead with integrity. Here are a few things that I find intolerable in myself and my projects.Continue reading
Every month or so, I like to provide you with a digest of featured articles on a particular topic. LEADERSHIP is this month’s topic.
Think you’re not a leader because you are not in senior management? Think again. Leaders are individuals who influence others, no matter where they are in an organization.
“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” John C. Maxwell
How does leadership fit in the world of projects? The focus of project management is helping an organization achieve its project objectives. Leaders define and cast the vision, whether at an enterprise level, department level, or project team level. Leaders then support their teams to make the vision a reality.
Question: What three words would you use to describe project leadership?[callout]My favorite leadership podcasts include Michael Hyatt’s This Is Your Life and Andy Stanley’s podcast.[/callout]
Stop and consider the words you’ve spoken recently to your project teams. How would you characterize them? Are you speaking words that bring clarity, courage, and confidence to your teams? Are you asking the right questions to keep your team focused?
Never forget – you are working with human beings who need clarity and who have emotional needs. Your words matter. Before meeting one-on-one with team members or as a team, THINK about your words. Consistently use the phrases and questions below:Continue reading
Can I be painfully honest with you for a minute?
What I am about to say may not feel good. In fact, I am certain that you will NOT enjoy it.
I have been hoping someone else would do the dirty work. But no one has stepped forward (at least that I know of).
You know how you’ve been struggling with your projects? Are you tired feeling like you live on another planet, and no one understands you.
Well, it’s not because you aren’t trying. It’s not because you don’t follow the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). After all, you have your Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. You are a cut above the rest in your knowledge of project management.
So here it is.
I’ve been managing projects and programs for more than 15 years. I’ve seen a little bit of everything. I’ve also had the joy and the pain of implementing two Project Management Offices (PMOs), one in an Information Technology Department and one Enterprise PMO.
Through the years, I’ve noted many reasons that PMOs fail or struggle. It’s rarely just one thing; it’s usually a combination of things. Here is a list of causal factors. I hope the list helps you find success.
Are you planning to implement a PMO? Take the time to review this list; use it as a checklist in your planning and implementation. If you’ve already implemented a PMO, review the list to see where you might need to make some changes in your approach. I would love to hear about your success and pain points. Best wishes!
Question: What would you add to this list?
Life is not easy. We are dealt hands that can be difficult. Project managers may be pre-assigned resources internally and externally that lack the skills and knowledge required for their projects.
Why do we always feel like we get the left-over resources?
What can we do? Jump ship. Give up. Find another job. Let’s try some other strategies.
Many organizations have under-performing projects. Why? Organizations do a poor job of defining their projects and understanding the resource requirements. Next, organizations overcommit – they commit to more projects than they should. Team members are stressed and organizations experience a lot of employee turnover. Furthermore, organizations fail to identify and acquire and develop skills and knowledge for these resource bottlenecks.
I am sometimes asked to take a look at organization’s resource problems and help them find solutions. My response? Before I come, prioritize your project portfolio and kill or postpone half of your active lower-priority projects. Do fewer projects better. Of course, very few organizations will do this…the insanity continues.
Question: Perhaps you feel different. What would you recommend to improve project resource management?