Category Archives for Personal Development

How to Respond to Difficult Presentation Questions

Project managers often give presentations to groups such as senior leaders, boards, and third-party vendors. The truth is most people are afraid of public speaking. After all, we may make a mistake and be criticized. Let’s discuss how to respond to difficult and sometimes unexpected presentation questions. 

picture of microphone

8 Ways to Respond to Questions

Allow me to share a few tips that can help you to answer with greater ease:Continue reading

How to Engage Participants in a Project Management Workshop

John, Sally, and Bill just left a full-day project management workshop. John said, “Am I the only one who felt like I just wasted a day?” Sally replied, “The trainer lost me in the first thirty minutes. At least, I caught up on my email during the day.”

pictures-of-people-in-training

Are you responsible for project management workshops for a PMI Chapter, a Project Management Office (PMO), or your organization? Want to ensure that your participants get maximum value? Let’s talk about how to design workshops that are engaging. Project managers will leave your workshops excited about what they learned.

Whether you are the trainer or the VP of Programs for a PMI Chapter or something similar, here are some principles to help you design your workshops.Continue reading

Why PMPs Should Actually Read the PMBOK 6th Edition

The Project Management Institute (PMI) released the PMBOK 6th Edition on September 6th, 2017. Some certified project managers may respond with, “Ho-hum. I’m glad I got my certification behind me.” However, I think PMPs and other certified project managers should actually read the PMBOK 6th edition. Why?

[callout]PMI Members can download their PDF copy of the PMBOK 6th Edition.[/callout]

Four Reasons to Read the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition

1. Stay Current

PMI conducts Role Delineation Studies for each certification every five to seven years. These studies help PMI understand how project managers perform their duties and lead cross-functional teams within the constraints of schedule, budget, and scope.Continue reading

10 Ways to Improve Your Project Presentations

As a project manager, you will sometimes be asked to make presentations to a board, to a senior leader team, an external vendor, or to your organization. Here are opportunities to help your stakeholders understand your projects. With every presentation, you can try new things and learn to improve your presentations.

audience watching presentation

Improve Your Presentations

1. Plan your presentations.

Want to present more effectively? Create your presentation with good structure. The structure will help you with recall and more importantly, will help your audience follow your presentation. Here’s a simple but effective structure:

  • Introduction. Present the big idea. What is the major challenge or opportunity you want to see your audience to think about?
  • Body. Give your audience three practical action steps to achieve the big idea.
  • Conclusion. Restate the big idea and summarize the action steps.

Not complicated, huh? That’s the idea–keep your structure simple.

2. Arrive early.

It is a good practice to arrive early at the location of your presentation. Make sure everything has been set up as you’ve requested. Check out the equipment to make sure that things such as your microphone, PowerPoint, remote, and projector are working properly.Continue reading

How to Become a Better Communicator

Project managers spend a large part of each day communicating—facilitating meetings, emailing stakeholders, responding to texts, writing reports, and having one-on-one conversations. We are so busy, we rarely take the time to think about the effectiveness of our communication. How can we become a better communicator?

man making a presentation

Here are five practical ways. Pick one or two and work on improving your communication this week.

Becoming a Better Communicator

1. Join Toastmasters.

Howard Hendricks said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.” How true. Just because we speak or make presentations a lot does not mean that we are improving. We can actually become worse. Individuals need feedback and coaching to become better.

Consider joining an organization like Toastmasters International. This organization provides education and public speaking resources. More importantly, you’ll have regular opportunities to speak and to get feedback in a safe environment. If you like, you can even compete at different levels allowing you to further hone your skills.Continue reading

Five Ways to Improve Project Communication

Communication is the vehicle for successful projects. From the beginning to the end of a project, the project manager and team must plan, execute, and deliver the required products and services while interacting with stakeholders. What are you doing to improve your project communication?

project-communications

Project managers are not lone rangers. Projects involve interdependent relationships such as the sponsor and other leaders, the project manager and the project team, and users interacting with the systems. Consider the following project activities that require communication:

  • Developing a project charter
  • Interviewing stakeholders
  • Completing a work breakdown structure
  • Negotiating a contract
  • Eliciting requirements
  • Making decisions
  • Identifying risks
  • Reporting status
  • Presenting a project overview
  • Conducting one-on-one meetings
  • Defining a change order

We all have room to grow in our communication skills. Let’s look at five ways to improve your project communications.

Ineffective communications is the primary contributor to project failure one-third of the time, and had a negative impact on project success more than half the time. -Project Management Institute

Continue reading

Match Game: Project Risk Management

How’s your project risk management knowledge?

Some of you are a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) or as a Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) so this test may be a good review for you. If you are preparing for the PMP or PMI-RMP exam, this exercise will certainly be helpful. For others, give it your best shot; see what you know and don’t know.

Matching Game: Project Risk Management

Matching Game: Project Risk Management

 

If you prefer, you can download and print the Matching Game. Feel free to share it with other project managers.

After you’ve completed the test, check your answers here.Continue reading

What Project Managers Need to Know About Stakeholder Management

Colin Gautrey

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

How to Be Smart in a Project with a Slack Team Member

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.

How to deal with a slack team member

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock (edited in Canva)

[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

10 Best Selling Project Management Books

Looking to buy a great project management book to help you to mature as a project manager?

PM InterviewHere are the 10 best sellers when it comes to what project management books are being purchased on Amazon:

  1. The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future
  2. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK(R) Guide
  3. PMP Exam Prep, Eighth Edition – Updated: Rita’s Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam
  4. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  5. Scrum: a Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction
  6. Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable–Includes new bonus chapter
  7. Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)
  8. Head First PMP
  9. Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology
  10. The Six Sigma Handbook, Fourth Edition

If I may, please allow me to add my new book The Intentional Project Manager which I published in February of 2016.

How this list was compiled

One of the ways that we keep the Project Risk Coach free is by promoting quality products on Amazon. The Project Risk Coach earns a small commission from any purchase made from following these links.

The above list was generated from Amazon’s Best Seller list. Some books were listed more than once on the Amazon rankings (e.g., once for the print version and once for the Kindle version). I eliminated the duplicates by listing the book in its highest ranking only.

Thanks for supporting The Project Risk Coach in this way — we hope you find the best seller list informative as you consider future purchases.

Do you agree with this list? What other books would you add? Here is a list of my favorite books.

[callout]PRCHarry Hall is the editor of The Project Risk Coach and author of The Intentional Project Manager. He lives in Macon, Georgia. Follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.[/callout]