Posts Tagged ‘pm’

Not my circus, not my monkey

January 8, 2016

(Original Polish translation: Nie mój cyrk, nie moje malpy)

In simple terms this means ‘Not my problem’ but let’s be honest, ‘not my circus, not my monkey’ is a whole lot more colourful to say and will definitely get you noticed when you say it.

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This thought or attitude draws us to a typical challenge for the project manager who wants to be more ‘social’ since in traditional terms a project manager would have the attitude of ‘this is my problem’ and, as a result, would get involved to resolve the issue. Now in the more ‘social’ world the project manager needs to have the attitude that the project team should be capable of resolving issues without involving the project manager in many cases. Not all of course, since some would be significant enough to escalate to the project manager level. But in general terms it is a change of focus for many project managers.

That said I have, ever since ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ was written, advocated that project managers need to trust their teams a lot more that perhaps many do, and the move towards being a social project manager demands that this is the case.

When it comes to involvement then in my other book on ‘productive laziness’ called ‘The Lazy Winner’ I speak specifically to a decision process that helps project managers, and others, assess whether any specific activity is your ‘problem’, or perhaps I should say ‘is your circus, is your monkey’ (if you can have a reverse version of the polish idiom).

There are 3 tips[1] I recommend and below I have adjusted these 3 tips to the world of the social project manager:

Tip #1: Do I want to get involved? Even if I do want to get involved, do I need to get involved?

Don’t do something just because everyone else does it or because it is the ‘usual thing to do’. Just running with the pack is never going to allow you to take control of your own time and will only lead you in to over-commitments. It will also detract from your project team’s capability and confidence in resolving questions and issues themselves, without having to always involve you, the project manager.

If you really want to change things for the better then begin by asking yourself two questions: ‘Is this really necessary I get involved?’ and ‘Is this really worth getting involved (for yourself and for the project as a whole?’

If the answer is ‘no’ to either of these questions then simply don’t! Of course there will be times when you ignore this advice because you are compelled to get involved because ‘it is the right thing to do’ but really you need to make these exceptions just that, exceptional.

Challenge yourself the very next time a decision has to be made that involves your personal time – ask those two critical questions ‘Do I need to get involved and do I want to get involved’. By addressing objectively the decision making process, rather than being swept up in enthusiasm, acceptance of delegation, or assumption that you do have to do something then you will be better prepared to a) do what is important and b) do a good job on what you accept is important.

Tip #2: Is the result or outcome worth my effort?

Only do the things with the most impact. It is all about applying the good old 80/20 rule. What are the most critical things that you need to get involved in? What is the 20% that will deliver the 80% of value (and not the other way around that most people do – often the easier actions that deliver a false sense of progress). Get the priorities right and you will achieve far more, and by prioritising this way and assessing if the outcome or output is worthwhile then you can help do what is most important.

Your time is limited (some people seem to believe that time is flexible and infinite but they also tend to over-promise and under-deliver) so invest it only in things that give you the most return on your personal investment. As with all of these guiding rules there will be exceptions.

Tip #3: Do I have to get involved myself?

Ask yourself if you really are the best possible person to do whatever it is that needs to be done or is there someone else in your project team who is better qualified than you to do this thing? Or indeed can the collective team, using social tools, address the issue or task in a far better way than you can yourself. Being honest here and thinking about the project as a whole rather than yourself will lead you to make better decisions.

The strength of saying ‘No’ should not be underestimated and saying ‘No’ can be a very positive thing, if you don’t say ‘No’, ever, then you will never achieve anything. There is the ‘what goes around comes around’ idea as well. Sometimes you shouldn’t say ‘no’ because despite the fact that you may not want to do something, need to do something and there is someone who could do it better, you do want to help out and be that team player or Good Samaritan.

Or, it is in your interests to get involved so that you can learn some new skills, in which case you may well not be the most obvious person for the job.

It is all about balance and priority. Overall you want to deal with the important stuff plus a reasonable amount of other stuff.

If you keep saying ‘yes’ then your backlog will never go down and you will spend far too much time working on the unimportant and your project team will be passive and defer always to you in your role as a project manager, in other words you won’t be a social project manager and they won’t be a social project team.

At every opportunity you must think your actions through to the end, as best that you can, and aim to optimise your personal return on your personal investment whilst at the same time maximising the project teams capability to deliver as a collective, as a social collective.

[1] In The Lazy Winner there are actually 5 tips but the latter 2 are focused in the scale and scope of involvement rather than the question of being involved or not.

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Get Fit with The Lazy Project Manager

October 28, 2014

NEW from Peter Taylor, The Lazy Project Manager – the latest in the ‘Lazy’ series, a book all about Project Health:

GET FIT WITH THE LAZY PROJECT MANAGER

How to make sure your project is as healthy as possible and does not become the ‘ex-project’ of tomorrow

I have long been an advocate of project ‘health checks’ (and perhaps less of an advocate for personal ‘health checks’ but that just makes me normal …)

And so I present to you ‘Get Fit with The Lazy Project Manager’, a look at the reason, the value, the process and the opportunities to assess the ‘health’ of your projects in order to sleep easier at night, safe in the knowledge of inevitable project success (and I am using the word ‘inevitable’ with the common meaning of ‘more likely than before’ you understand).

Get Fit with The Lazy Project Manager

It doesn’t matter where you are in the project lifecycle, even if you are nursing a wicked hangover from the post-project ‘go live’ celebratory party, there is always benefit and opportunity to do some sort of ‘health’ check and learn something of value. Perhaps not for this project but certainly for the next one, and the one after that, and so on.

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY AND SAVE 25% TODAY HERE!

Pre-Order the eBook and get 25% off the price – eBook will be £6 but you only pay £4.50! eBooks will be emailed on 1st December 2014

Pre-Order the Printed book and get 25% off the price – Printed book will be £9 plus shipping but you only pay £6.75 plus shipping! Printed books will be signed by author and shipped from 1st December 2014

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY HERE!

 

Green Bean PMs – Happy New Year

December 31, 2013

How should new project managers learn from the ‘Old beans’

When my kids were young they loved to play one particular game at the annual birthday parties. This game involved ‘Beans’ – all of the kids standing ready and waiting for instructions and then the cry would go up of ‘Beans’ and the game would begin.

‘Runner beans’ as a call would mean that everyone had to run on the spot. ‘Jumping beans’ meant, naturally, a lot of jumping up and down in one place. ‘French beans’ meant a chorus of ‘Ooh la la’s’ and waving of arms in a posh French way. And ‘Baked beans’ meant … well you know kids so I am sure that you can work that one out for yourself. It goes without saying this is the one ‘Bean’ that they loved the most.

Then at the end a final call would be ‘Human beans’ and the kids were back to normal human beings (or back to kids anyway which meant even more noise and dancing around and general excitement).

At my new company I hear a lot about ‘Green beans’ and the challenge of inducting and developing raw talent in to the organization. So when the call goes up of ‘Green beans’ for project managers what should this mean?

I think that key to having a successful induction of the ‘Project beans’ will include:

Give them a safe place to start

Projects are, by their very nature, tricky beasts and for a ‘newbie’ to learn the practical skills of project management we should ensure that they enter the PM world in a controlled way. Hopefully being handed a new project to lead and being told to ‘get on with it’ (as I was when I became a PM) is long gone.

Rather we should allow the ‘Green beans’ to experience project reality by taking up a small part in another project managers project, and watching and learning and getting involved in a small way.

In addition, if there are project reviews, health checks, and retrospectives taking place (and I really hope that there are) then this is another great entry experience for the young ones to see and learn.

Another safe(r) environment might be internal projects – rather than external customer facing ones.

Key is to make the environment of learning a safe one.

Give them a friendly place to work

Where should they work and report when they first start out? Well don’t leave them out in the cold and without peers and project professionals around them. If you have a project practise then this is the place to nurture those ‘beans’.

Make it easy for them to ask the questions that they will need to ask and make it easy for them to see experienced project managers in action.

We all know that there is a world of difference between theory and practice so give them the support they need to move away from the theory.

Key is to make it easy for them to find out all of the stuff that will need to find out.

Give them a helping hand

Appoint a mentor from out there in project management land who will be there to listen to them from time to time and gently point them in the right direction when they need help – such a person will be invaluable to the ‘beans’ in the early days of being a project manager.

Encourage them to make the effort to look outside your organization and connect to some truly wonderful project managers and experts out there on the www. There is a huge amount of advice and guidance through local project management groups, through conferences and meetings, through the online discussions and blogs, and lots more. (It may be in this area the ‘Green’ ones might have the upper hand on us ‘Grey’ ones since all this social connectivity is second nature to them).

Key is to build the best possible network for now and the future and to use it wisely.

A final thought

And a final word for the ‘Green beans’ themselves.

Be enthusiastic at all times. Trust me; project management is a great place to be right now, you probably won’t be able to stop yourself smiling.

So when the cry goes up of ‘Project beans’ join in all that noise and excitement along with all the other ‘Project beans’ (We will be shouting and dancing as best as our ‘Old bean’ legs will let us).

I kind of wish I was ‘Green’ all over again.

Smart Project Management

December 10, 2013

As part of the research for a new book on the future of project management and what both attracts and challenges new project managers to the profession I am undertaking a survey.

The book has the working title of ‘Smart Project Management’ and will authored by Peter ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ Taylor and published by Kogan Page.

The survey is in 5 parts:

1.         Respondent information – to understand who you are at a high level

2.         Looking at the multi-generational Project Management workforce of today

3.         Exploring the challenges of today’s Project Managers

4.         Understanding how and why you ‘chose’ project management as a profession

5.         Survey results and case studies

Your contribution, and that of all of your colleagues, would be really appreciated – thank you.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SmartPM

Gaining access to an Unavailable Sponsor

October 22, 2013

Gaining Access to an Unavailable Sponsor…

…goes far beyond talking the Sponsor’s Assistant into rescheduling the calendar!  It involves a fundamental shift in the sponsor’s perspective.  But how?

If you want to learn the Number 1 way to shift the sponsor’s view of you and many more effective techniques to deal with difficult sponsor behavior, register for a complimentary webinar called “Sponsor Influence Strategies– Masterclass” available for just one more week.

You’ll meet a colleague of mine, Kimberlee Williams who has advanced experience in change management, having led the global change management program for one of the largest, most respected pharmaceutical companies in the world (she’s also a former PMO leader and BlackBelt) and is now sharing her knowledge about dealing with difficult sponsors directly through this webinar. WEBINAR BOOKING

She’ll disclose her personal advice for dealing with the four mindset and behavior shifts that will accelerate a better relationship with your sponsor so you can get them to do what’s essential for project success. It also covers common mistakes and the Top 5 sponsor problems (including exactly what to do about them).

You ‘ll  receive several downloads including a very useful framework that will help you transform your role with your sponsor from ‘hands-on’ to ‘strategic advisor’, program action guide, and others. In addition, you are going to receive exclusive access to a free 3-part video series (1.5 hours) that dives into the other six project ‘people elements’ you must manage in order to be successful.  You can watch the videos yourself at your leisure and are also welcome to share them with others on your team.

Peter

PS: Don’t forget,  Kimberlee is offering a nice bonus with this program.  It’s not for sale anywhere and would probably be worth at least $65-70 USD if you were going to buy it.  You’ll get access to a free 3-part video series (1.5 hours) which explains the ‘7 critical people elements’ that most contribute to project failure rates, then covers her best tips to solve those.  It also tells you the exact technique to reframe your sponsor. You can watch the videos yourself and can share them with others on your team. CHECK IT OUT

PPS: In that program, you can learn how to post a simple reply to the video that could win you $700 USD, paid in November. WATCH AND WIN

Leading Successful PMOs now available on Kindle

September 7, 2012

Leading Successful PMOs – Peter Taylor

Many organizations profit hugely by utilizing a Project Management Office (PMO), it means they achieve benefits from standardizing and following project management policies, processes, and methods. However, building an effective PMO is a complex process; it requires clear vision and strong leadership so that, over time, it will become the source for guidance, documentation, and metrics related to the practices involved in managing and implementing projects.

Leading Successful PMOs will guide all project based organisations, and project managers who contribute to and benefit from a PMO, towards maximising their project success. In it, Peter Taylor outlines the basics of setting up a PMO and clearly explains how to ensure it will do exactly what you need it to do – the right things, in the right way, in the right order, with the right team.

With a foreword by Chris Walters, Chairman of the PMOSIG, where he states ‘Peter’s book breaks new ground in looking at the leadership of PMOs’ and ‘This book reflects on PMO leadership topics based on Peter’s extensive experience in inventing and reinventing PMO functions in fast moving organisations. If you need a PMO (which you do, if you deliver projects) and you really care about your business (which I also assume you do), then you need a strong PMO leader. Reading this book will give you a fantastic vision for the role and the person that would fill it’.

US Amazon Leading Successful PMOs

UK Amazon  Leading Successful PMOs

And check out my tour delivering the workshop based on Leading Successful PMOs in Singapore, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne  One Day Workshop

Peter Taylor: Experience/Motivation/Creativity

June 20, 2012

Peter Taylor

Peter is a dynamic and commercially astute professional who has achieved notable success in business.

His background is in project management and marketing across three major business areas over the last 28 years and with the last 8 years building and leading PMOs.

He is an accomplished communicator, a professional speaker, workshop trainer and consultant.

Peter is the author of ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, The Lazy Winner’ and The Lazy Project Manager and the Project from Hell’ (Infinite Ideas), as well as ‘Leading Successful PMOs’ (Gower).

More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com  and www.leadingsuccessfulpmos.com  and www.thelazywinner.com  – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.

Experience

PMO Coaching

‘Building a Project Management Office (PMO) is a timely competitive tactic’

So declared Gartner, and further, they believe that ‘organizations, who establish standards for project management, including a PMO with suitable governance, will experience half the major project cost overruns, delays, and cancellations of those that fail to do so.

You and your business want to achieve that competitive advantage of course and so you need an effective PMO as quickly as possible, and that is not so easy to achieve if you are building your very first PMO.

My proven (three PMO s built over the last three years) PMO development methodology can be applied in three stages to aid you in achieving your project goals.

Methodology Development

Are you seeking to develop your own project methodology or framework then I have developed two enterprise scale methodologies and can help with advice and training development to ensure that the most appropriate method is invested in and the highest level of adoption is achieved.

Retrospectives (Lessons Learned)

One of the ‘missing links’ for many projects and yet one of the most valuable learning points – the retrospective will deliver both the hard fact experience and the emotional learning from the project team in an enjoyable way.

Lessons learned can be significant contributions to future project success so don’t let your projects end without a final small investment in effort.

Creativity

Leading Successful PMOs (1 day)

This workshop aims to aid all would-be and current PMO leaders. As a PMO leader myself I know that this can be a really rewarding experience, but not an easy one to find the right line to balance the projects and the business demands. The workshop is about successfully leading a PMO (whatever you understand by those three letters) to deliver better projects, better business to the customers of those projects and to the organisation that you work for, and to best serve the contributing project managers from both a professional and a personal perspective.

The workshop will explore some of the research carried out by myself for my book ‘Leading Successful PMOs’ (Gower). The book brings together the experience and views of PMO leaders from around the world and the project managers that work within the PMOs, as well as those who are now seeking leaders for their PMOs.

The Lazy Project Manager and the Project from Hell (0.5 day or 1 day)

Why learn about Project Success and Failure Factors in a dry, traditional manner when instead, you could participate in rescuing the Project from Hell in this exciting interactive and fun workshop? Compete with your colleagues in bringing this project back from the brink of complete failure and in to the realms of success – from hell to heaven.

The Lazy Project Manager (1 to 5 days)

Learn about the art of productive laziness with The Lazy Project Manager; understanding what is meant by the ‘productive lazy’ approach to Projects (and life) and learn how to apply these lessons ‘to be twice as productive and still leave the office early’.

The course will cover the definition of productive laziness, the science behind the theory (yes there really is some), and will share some personal learning experiences that led to the creation of ‘The Lazy Project Manager’.

Motivation

The Art of Productive Laziness

‘Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something’

Learn about the art of productive laziness with The Lazy Project Manager; understanding what is meant by the ‘productive lazy’ approach to Projects (and life) and learn how to apply these lessons ‘to be twice as productive and still leave the office early’.

The session will cover the definition of productive laziness, the science behind the theory (yes there really is some), and will share some personal learning experiences that led to the creation of ‘The Lazy Project Manager’. In addition the audience will consider the three key project stages, one of which the ‘lazy’ project manager works very hard in and the second they should be in the comfortable position of enjoying the ‘comfy chair’ safe in the knowledge that the project is well under control.

A specific focus will be made on the third area, project closure, which can be done so much better with very little effort but with a significant value add for all ‘would be’ lazy project managers.

Leading Successful PMOs

‘How to build the best PMO for your business and keep it relevant to your business’

The presentation is about successfully leading a PMO (whatever you understand by those three letters) to deliver better projects, better business to the customers of those projects and to the organisation that you work for, and to best serve the contributing project managers from both a professional and a personal perspective.

The session will explore some of the research carried out by Peter Taylor for his book ‘Leading Successful PMOs’ (Gower). The book brings together the experience and views of PMO leaders from around the world and the project managers that work within the PMOs, as well as those who are now seeking leaders for their PMOs.

Together we will identify what it is that successful PMO leaders have and do that allows them to be successful and how the rest of us can learn from those proven experiences.

The Lazy Winner

‘Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy’

Learn about the art of productive laziness with The Lazy Winner; Through the strength of saying ‘No’ and the skill of saying ‘Yes’ and understand how being ‘lazy’ can make you more successful?

Meet Nigel our hero and enjoy some of his educational sense of humour as well learning how he progresses on the path of enlightenment in all things ‘lazy’.

Escape your own limiting comfort zone with the influence of 5 and the relationship of 6 and gain insight in to how get past any roadblocks that life throws at you.

Sensational Presentational

We aren’t born to be professional level presenters but through this entertaining presentation the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of good presentations are explored along with a ‘how to prepare’ for that all important presentation.

With a few simple lessons taught through the very medium of ‘presentation’ the audience will take away some great ideas for improving their technique.

Customised Presentation

Peter is happy to develop a presentation specifically for your event, just contact him to discuss your requirements. Presentations can be anything from 20 minutes through to 2 hours, or indeed full day training courses/workshops are also available.

References

“Peter is a powerful, passionate and persuasive speaker. His presentation at the PMI Gdansk Branch, Poland Chapter event was one of the most exciting and memorable speeches we’ve ever had!”

Malgorzata Kusyk, Project Manager, Thomson Reuters January 2011

“Peter Taylor spoke at the NYC chapter of PMI Professional Development Day September 24, 2010. His presentation was “The Lazy Project Manager”.

The meeting room was “standing room only”. His presentation was informative, educational and entertaining. Peter is a self-effacing presenter poking fun at himself. All of this is what makes his presentation so good. If you are looking for a terrific presenter for your event, I highly recommend Peter.”

Karen Fox, President, PMI NYC September 2010

“Entertaining public speaker and world-famous author of The Lazy Project Manager Peter has spoken at a number of PMI UK events and has always been very well received. Highly recommend his book too! All this and a day job…read the book to find out how!”

Chris Field, President, PMI UK Chapter November 2009

“Peter was one of the keynote speakers at the New Zealand Chapter Project Management 2011 Conference. His humorous and engaging style grabbed everyone from the moment he started until the very moment he stopped. If that’s being “Lazy” then fantastic.  Given the fact that Peter had only arrived from the UK a couple of days earlier I thought his energy levels were amazing. We were thrilled with Peter’s performance.”

Rachna Vijan, PMI Conference Convener, New Zealand July 2011

“Peter is a fantastic public speaker and a highly knowledgeable expert. He has a unique ability to deliver even the most complex messages with ease, using humour to connect with the audience, leaving a lasting impression. It’s a pleasure to know him and I look forward to the next opportunity to work again.”

Mihaly Nagy, Project Zone; Copenhagen and Budapest 2010 and 2011

Contact

To find out more about The Lazy Project Manager or to discuss a speaking opportunity then please:

Email to: peter.b.taylor@btinternet.com

Phone:    +44 (0)2476 540324

 

SPEAKER: AUTHOR: TRAINER: COACH: CONSULTANT

Peter is a dynamic and commercially astute professional who has achieved notable success in business.

His background is in project management and marketing across three major business areas over the last 28 years and with the last 8 years building and leading PMOs.

He is an accomplished communicator, a professional speaker, workshop trainer and PM/PMO consultant.

Peter is the author of ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, The Lazy Winner’ and The Lazy Project Manager and the Project from Hell’ (Infinite Ideas), as well as ‘Leading Successful PMOs’ (Gower).

More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com  and www.leadingsuccessfulpmos.com  and www.thelazywinner.com  – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.