General Management Issues

Sunday, 29 August 2010 00:00

The Failure in Gating Processes

Gate with a stop sign

The policy reads, "Before you can proceed, the PMO needs to approve the design gate." So, you begrudgingly wind down the project so the slowest members of the design team can catch up. A week, maybe two, sometimes even more flash by. The rest of the project team starts finding work on other projects. Once the PMO finally gives the project the green light, you will need to wait for people to complete those other tasks before they can focus on your project. Precious time is lost.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 10:36

Disband Your PMO

After nearly 30 years of project work, I struggle to understand the role of a project management office (PMO). Even though, I have written of the pros and cons, and read a plethora of articles, opinions, and how-to guides little has been done to convince me that the PMO is reducing project failure. It seems to be nothing more than a tool to fill a void in leadership? Even the acronym, which is so widely thrown around, has little meaning as the "P" has no less than four meanings. It is an executive's crutch for their lack of understanding in how projects work. These, like other, unattended holes in the corporate accountability create opportunities for new and greater bureaucracies and empires that further obfuscate accountability.

Saturday, 07 November 2015 12:22

The Executive-Project Manager Gap

It was such an innocuous question, "Working on an article; what is the biggest problem you see with project governance at orgs? Can you comment?" Can I comment? Really? That is like cheese to a mouse. Where could I start—bureaucracy, draconian process, poor executive sponsorship, disengaged leaders? Plenty of fodder, because they all lead to project failure. I fired off, "Creating an over bureaucratic morass stifling innovation & implementing process instead of cultivating leaders." Then the maelstrom started and it went directly to the gap between the executives and projects managers. Naomi Caietti, Robert Kelly and I had a great conversation. Most of the thread is below.

Sunday, 27 December 2015 17:26

Kill The White Knight

There is a reason we hesitate to teach classes on fixing failing projects. Many a cynic feels that we simply do not want to teach our trade, however, our reason is far nobler—we should be teaching prevention rather trying to create white knights to save the day. It is the same philosophy as building a fence at the cliff's edge rather than an emergency room at its base. Our language is replete with idioms telling us to look past the symptoms and address problems at their root cause. 'An ounce of prevention versus a pound of cure' or 'a stitch in time saves nine.' Please, feel free to supply your own in the comments. Unfortunately, most of our businesses loathe this philosophy, waiting to address an issue until it is irrefutably broken.

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership

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Author:Bill George, Peter Sims, David Gergen
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Released: March 2007
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 251
ISBN:978-0201835953

True North shows how anyone who follows their internal compass can become an authentic leader. This leadership tour de force is based on research and first-person interviews with 125 of today ’s top leaders —with some surprising results. In this important book, acclaimed former Medtronic CEO Bill George and coauthor Peter Sims share the wisdom of these outstanding leaders and describe how you can develop as an authentic leader. True North presents a concrete and comprehensive program for leadership success and shows how to create your own Personal Leadership Development Plan centered on five key areas:

  • Knowing your authentic self
  • Defining your values and leadership principles
  • Understanding your motivations
  • Building your support team
  • Staying grounded by integrating all aspects of your life
The Next Evolution - Enhancing and Unifying Project and Change Management: The Emergence One Method for Total Project Success

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Author:Thomas Luke Jarocki
Publisher: Brown & Williams Publishing
Released: June 2011
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 326
ISBN:978-0201835953

Still confused on how projects and change management fit together? If so, read this book. It gives a great history of both and outlines a process that may work for your company. If nothing else, the process described will help you understand how your company can fold the two disciplines together. The only detractor is the author's contniual reference to "his" methodology. However, this does give you a good example of its implementation.

Just about every project professional agrees that "success" today is not just about being "on time, within budget, and according to scope" but one in which there is successful organizational change and the broad organizational adoption of project outputs and deliverables. However, because the project management and organizational/behavioral change management disciplines are often practiced as separate entities, the road to success often becomes divided, leading to poor outcomes for both the project manager and stakeholders throughout the organization.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

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Author: Stephen R. Covey
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: Anniversary Edition November 2013)
Type: Softcover
Pages: 432
ISBN:978-0201835953

The title says it all. What project manager does not need to improve their effectiveness? This is a bible that you should always keep in close reach. A true "Must Read."

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

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Author: Peter M. Senge
Publisher: Doubleday
Released: March 2006
Type: Softcover
Pages: 445
ISBN:978-0201835953

Business and projects are complex systems. The people that run them need to create organizations and teams that can learn and grow. This classic business book is a great treatise how to become a better lead and run a better project.

This revised edition of Peter Senge ’s bestselling classic, The Fifth Discipline, is based on fifteen years of experience in putting the book ’s ideas into practice. As Senge makes clear, in the long run the only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization ’s ability to learn faster than the competition. The leadership stories in the book demonstrate the many ways that the core ideas in The Fifth Discipline, many of which seemed radical when first published in 1990, have become deeply integrated into people ’s ways of seeing the world and their managerial practices.

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty

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Author: Patrick Lencioni
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Released: February 2010
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 240
ISBN:978-0201835953

Excellent project managers are relationship builder both with the project team and the stakeholders. You need to continually build those skills and build trust.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 14:44

HBR's 10 Must Reads on Change Management

HBR's 10 Must Reads on Change Management

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Author:Harvard Business Review, John P. Kotter, W. Chan Kim, Renee Mauborgne
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Released: March 2011
Type: Softcover
Pages: 224
ISBN:978-0201835953
Page 5 of 6

Filling Execution Gaps

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