Posts Tagged ‘projetc management’

July 27, 2017

The following executive sponsorship development methodology has been designed and proven by Peter Taylor – find out more peter.b.taylor@btinternet.com

Critical to any project’s success is having a good project manager. We all know that, but then it is also pretty important to have a good project sponsor: but like the saying goes ‘you can pick your friends but you can’t pick you relatives’. The same might be said of project sponsors.

It has been my experience that the skill profile of project managers continues to grow, and more and more organisations are investing in project managers in a disciplined and mature manner. But the same cannot always be said of project sponsors; many wrongly believe that project sponsor is just a figurehead – never called to actual duty – and for these reasons I concluded some time ago that we are in the age of the ‘accidental project sponsor’.

But how do you effectively go about developing project sponsors inside an organisation? In my book ‘Strategies for Project Sponsorship’ (Management Concepts 2013) I uncovered the reality – 85% of organisations had project sponsors in place, yet 83% of these organisations did nothing to help, train, support, guide, or develop these sponsors, and yet 100% of these same organisations recognised that having a good project sponsor was critical to project success! Go figure!

But the challenge is that these sponsors, these executive leaders, are ‘too cool for school’. And so, I have developed a process, or methodology, that recognises that a different approach is required to raise necessary standards in project sponsorship (see figure above).

Stage 1 Preparation work

Here it is important to collect some background into the current project success rates and issues, and taking comment on the ‘health’ of project sponsorship inside an organisation

Aligning terminology used (for the workshop)

Gathering any sponsorship templates or guidelines in place

Agreeing format/timing/delivery of the workshop

Stage 2 Workshop

Here the key is to take a collective of the executive leadership on a journey of understanding of the importance and value of project sponsorship in general – not to target individuals or to challenge specifics; but only to reach consensus that ‘investment in sponsorship is needed’, and that ‘there is real value in this investment’ for the business

Delivery of the workshop

Summarising output and recommendations

Stage 3 Project Manager Development

Here the key for project managers, whilst the ongoing project sponsorship is happening, is to empower them to work effectively with the sponsors they have right now. Development would include; what role a sponsor should play and what good sponsorship looks like, how to understand the sponsor they have right now and how to work more effectively with them, understanding the role that project managers should play in developing project sponsorship inside their own organisation, and recognising (at a personal level) what is needed to make the transition from project manager to project sponsor.

Stage 4 Sponsor Coaching

Here, once the awareness workshop is completed, then the most productive way I have found to work the existing project sponsors is through one-to-one coaching. Away from the glare of their peers and in privacy of their own offices, many are more open to change and also open to asking for help and guidance of becoming better project sponsors. This allows for a very personal, private, and focused engagement to bring the best possible outcome with regards to sponsorship capability; it also offers the opportunity to identify ‘good sponsors’ and ‘good sponsorship behaviour’ to use as a showcase for others.

Stage 5 Project Manager Surgery

Here there is the realisation that this is not a one-time solution and there will be questions and challenges. To follow up on the project management training regarding sponsorship, the open offer of a ‘surgery’ perhaps one month later, allows the project managers to come back with questions and requests for help with regards to the sponsors they are working with on a day to day basis. This, in turn, contributes to the effectivity of the one-to-one coaching of the same project sponsors with whom the project managers are working with.

Stage 6 – Health Check

Here it is good to take a step back and consider, objectively, the progress that has been made, and what needs further effort of focus and, of course, to celebrate success and progress amongst sponsors and project managers. If there are areas requiring further effort, then make the necessary plans at this stage. But if reasonable improvements are recognisable, now is perhaps a great time to bring the communities together in some way in a combined acknowledgement of joint achievement.

A final part – Future Project Sponsorship Development

The key to all of this is the need for organisations to acknowledge that the projects they sanction are the ones they believe will deliver the business’s strategic objectives. To succeed in these initiatives, then it is logical that they would want these projects to be as low-risk as possible and key, if not critical. Part of this low-risk management strategy is to invest in and support great project sponsors – now and in the future. Therefore, to formalise project sponsorship development can be considered the best possible investment for future change.

Peter Taylor is a PMO expert who has built and led four global PMOs across several industries, and has advised many other organisations in PMO and PM strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, along with many other books on project leadership, PMO development, project marketing, project challenges and ‘Strategies for Project Sponsorship’.

In the last 5 years, he has delivered over 250 lectures around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’.

His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance.

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

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Lazy but looking to be Busy

July 7, 2017

“Life? Don’t talk to me about life.”

 So said Marvin from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Marvin, more fully known as Marvin the Paranoid Android, is a robot manufactured by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. He is equipped with “Genuine People Personalities”  technology which is designed to make him more like a person. Marvin is a severely depressed robot. He’s regularly so depressed that, when he gets bored and talks to other computers, they commit suicide and die.

And life, others say, is what happens to you whilst you are busy making other plans. That is very true in my own very recent experience as I am now back out in the big wide working world seeking new challenges and new opportunities.

 After two and half great years investing heavily in a Global PMO and in project and program management, the company I was working for have done a complete U-Turn and abandoned project management as a primary focus and, as a result, don’t feel the need for a Head of Global PMO. Warning to all you PMO leaders out there, you are never completely safe…

 And so, I speak to my world wide network of friends, peers, colleagues, and social acquaintances to seek any and every opportunity to continue my work in PMOs, project management development, and delivery of change.

 Speaker – Trainer – Workshops – General scaring the hell out of C-level executives – MC – Event host and/or manager, PMO development and re-engineering, and, well, pretty much anything else related to the project world – that’s me.

 Anything I can help you and your company with, anywhere in the world, then please get in touch and get the Lazy Guy back being Busy (and productively lazy) once again.

 Thank you. Peter

 

 

Peter Taylor is a PMO expert who has built and led four global PMOs across several industries, and has advised many other organisations in PMO and PM strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, along with many other books on project leadership, PMO development, project marketing, project challenges and executive sponsorship.

In the last 5 years, he has delivered over 250 lectures around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’.

His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance.

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

Never too Young to be a Project Manager

April 7, 2015

Developing Life Skills through Project Management

I am a strong supporter and believer in the great work my friend Gary has undertaken with regards to focusing on our future generation of project manager and I am delighted to share a blog from him:

Gary M Nelson, PMP is an experienced project manager, father of three boys and author of several project management books, including Gazza’s Guide to Practical Project Management and The Project Kids Adventures series (ages 8-12). His international experience includes projects in New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the US and Canada, and has spanned three major industries since 1989.

How old do you have to be in order to become a Project Manager? Many of you reading this may be new or aspiring Project Managers, or perhaps you are completing a degree in Project Management. Once you have that piece of paper, you’ve got to get your first PM job – and then you’re a real Project Manager, right? So, let’s say at least 20-25 years old, or older if you are coming into the profession from another one after working for a while.

You have to be at least that old, right? Because managing projects is tough. You need a lot of training, experience, an iron will and a cast-iron stomach in order to be able to deal with all of the challenges and complexities that your sponsor, stakeholders, vendors and customers will throw at you. If you manage to survive the experience, you will take those lessons learned and battle scars with you as you strive to improve on the next project. Sometimes it seems that if you are not some sort of Superman, you won’t survive.

You obviously need a lot of maturity to go with that thick skin – projects are no place for kids.

Hold up, that can’t be right.

Managing projects does not have to be tough. Not only that, I submit to you that managing projects is actually so simple that a child could do it.

Of course, they may not be quite ready to tackle a multi-million dollar project, but I assure you that children can – and do – manage projects every day. The big difference between their projects and yours is scale and language.

Tell them a Story

Project Management concepts are actually not that hard to understand, but you do need to consider the language you use when teaching children and young adults. You would not use the same terminology with a College student as you would for a 5th grader, but you can convey the same important concepts at any age.

You also need to consider the delivery vehicle for the message – throw a dry Project Management textbook in front of almost anyone and they will soon use it as a makeshift pillow.

But if you tell a story, well, that makes a big difference. No matter how young or old they are, people love stories. You can enrich a college classroom and enliven a dry text book with stories from the trenches and anecdotes from real-world projects, talking about what worked, what didn’t, what challenges you encountered and how you dealt with them.

If your audience is composed of children, you would be less likely to use work anecdotes – but there are plenty of ways to utilize stories to pass on important concepts. One good example of this is Before the Snow Flies: Lando Banager’s Tales of a Woodland Project Manager by Ira A. Seiken, PMP (2010). This colorful children’s book for ages 6+ introduces a number of project management concepts through the story of a beaver helping others to finish their dam on time – as a project.

My own Project Kids Adventures Series books for children (ages 8-12+) convey a range of Project Management concepts and lessons through fun stories.

Peter_Taylor_Gary_Nelson

These full-length chapter books begin with The Ultimate Tree House Project (2013), and follow eight children (four boys, four girls) as they embark on numerous “adventures”, learning project skills along the way. Here’s what happens in The Ultimate Tree House Project:

10 year old best friends Ben, James, Tim & Tom find the perfect tree in a forest near their school and begin to build the Ultimate Tree House. Things start with a bang, and get even worse when Ben’s sister Amanda discovers them working on their secret tree house. Next thing they know, the girls are building their own – in the same tree – and it looks even better than the boy’s! How are they doing it? What is their secret weapon? After the accident, everything changes and the boys are forced to team up with the girls – as if that would ever work!

This book introduces basic Project Management concepts to children through an entertaining, funny story and simple lessons taught to one of the children by her father who is (of course) a Project Manager. She applies what she has learned and suddenly the girls are leaping ahead of the boys who had just “started building” – without a plan.

Tell a good story – and people will read or listen, and learn from it. But what about the classroom – how can they learn Project Management skills in school?

The Changing Face of Education

In the old, old days of the “accidental project manager”, there was very little in the way of formal education on Project Management, or even formal recognition of Project Management as a “real” profession. Times certainly have changed – it has become a highly valued professional skill, and there are many tertiary courses and degree programs in Project Management.

There has also been a lot of effort over the past few years on introducing Project Management concepts into High School programs, including Project-Based Learning for Students Ages 13-19, a non-profit program offered by the PMI Education Foundation (www.pmi.org/pmief).

More and more primary school programs are beginning to utilize project-based learning methods (whether they call them projects or not), and these have been highly successful. One example of this at is MOTE (Mantle of the Expert), in which the whole class spends a few weeks on an in-class adventure, learning a range of skills across many curriculum areas. My two youngest children both participated in MOTE at their primary school, and they had so much fun they did not realize how much they were learning on their project.

Mantle of the Expert has been described as ‘a dramatic inquiry-learning based approach to teaching and learning’ (mantleoftheexpert.com). First developed by Prof. Dorothy Heathcote at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK during the 1980s, Mantle of the Expert is a fully ‘incorporated’ approach in which children learn across all curriculum areas by taking on the roles of experts engaged in a high status project for a fictional client.

Another highly successful program in helping to educate Primary and Secondary school students on Project concepts is Projects From the Future, a kit for teachers developed by the PMI Northern Italy Chapter (www.pmi-nic.org), also available through the PMI Education Foundation.

“OK”, you say – “so children can learn Project Management concepts – but can they really manage projects?”

Yes – they can, not only in a classroom setting, but in real life too. In my experience, the ideal age to start having kids manage their own small projects is around 10-11 years old. You might go a little bit younger, but 10 is a good starting age. When they reach this age, they begin to develop an appreciation of what they are doing – and why they are doing it.

Be Prepared – Go Camping!

I was a Scout leader for ten years before I had my own children, and I was constantly surprised at how resourceful those 10-14 year old youths could be. One key thing I noticed was that if you treated them like children, they behaved like children. However, if you set them up with challenges that encouraged them to grow, they invariably rose to the occasion, expanded their skills and gained self-confidence. At the time, I did not know anything about Project Management – we just thought we were teaching them basic skills to help them succeed in life, or at least not get too wet or hungry at camp.

Looking back with a Project Manager’s eye, I can see that we were also teaching them a range of basic project management skills. At first, we did a lot of the work for them, but as they learned what to do and practiced, they did more for themselves. As they progressed, we placed more and more expectations on the senior scouts. They eventually had to organize and plan everything with their patrols, right down to how many vehicles and drivers would be needed for a camp. They even had to ask for resources – they could not just assume the leader or vehicle would be available.

Organizing a camp? It’s a project!

  • Strategic planning – Where should we go? How many days away? What would we experience or learn from one location vs another? Were some sites better for summer vs winter camping? What badge requirements could be met by adding activities during this camp?
  • Coordination – logistics around patrols, tents, equipment, transportation
  • Resource management – Who was going? How many adults/vehicles would be needed? What resources did we need for badge work?
  • Budgeting – For fuel, campsite costs, food, etc.
  • Estimating – Number of tents, amount/type of food, other gear requirements

Setting up a campsite?

  • Tactical planning – Nearness to water, site assessment for level/higher ground, etc.
  • Risk management – Distance from tents to the fire, proper food/fuel storage, safe handling of tools
  • Utilizing lessons learned from previous camps – don’t pitch a tent in a dip!
  • Going on a long hike, or doing a bit of mountaineering? Teamwork, communication and leadership were essential.

Lessons learned? You bet – after each hike or camp we reviewed what went well and could have gone better. What equipment did we not use or need? How could we pack lighter? What could we add next time that would make for a better camp? Did we have enough rope?

Over the years we had a lot of great experiences with the Scouts as they progressed through the program, entering as children and moving on as confident youths. It was only later that I came to realize that most of the major activities – and a lot of their key learning – involved the successful (and in the early days not-so-successful) execution of projects.

However, this type of learning is not limited to Scouts – everyone can learn life skills through projects.

Essential Life Skills

Learning to manage projects successfully (and learn from your mistakes) is an essential life skill – and you are never too young (or too old) to learn how to do it. It is somehow easy to think that children are just children – we forget that they are growing, developing and in a few short years will become adults. What we teach them now will have a huge impact on their future direction and capabilities.

Treat them like children, and they will behave as children – but teach them, lead them and encourage them, and they will surprise you with how much they can do, right now.

If you systematically equip them with these life skills now, there is no telling what they may become, however you can be assured that they will be better prepared to become the leaders of tomorrow, to become not only smart project managers of the future but perhaps even smarter than smart…

 

Gary Nelson: Author – Project Manager – Speaker Gary is passionate about sharing knowledge and making Project Management concepts more accessible, particularly to new and aspiring Project Managers (of all ages). Said another way, he likes to tell stories to help convey complex concepts in a way that helps the concepts “stick”. Who says learning shouldn’t be fun? He is an IT Project Manager who has worked in the Telecom, Student Information Systems and Local Government sectors since graduating from Simon Fraser University (BC, Canada) in 1989. His international experience includes projects in New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the US and Canada. Gary is a long-term volunteer with PMI, and has served as a Board member for the PMI West Coast B.C. Chapter and for the PMI New Zealand Chapter.

Contact

PM for the Masses Podcast is officially launched

July 8, 2013

PM for the Masses Podcast is officially launched and I was delighted to be the first guest on this brand new show.

 

Here’s the link to the podcast page:

 

http://pmforthemasses.com/category/podcast

 

And here is the iTunes listing:

 

http://pmforthemasses.com/itunes

 

And here’s the direct link to my episode:

 

http://pmforthemasses.com/1

 

If you’re an iTunes user, it’d be great if you left a review for the show in iTunes.  This helps raise the visibility of the show and increases the chances of new people finding it.

 

Also, please feel free to share the links with your community.

 

Congratulations to Cesar Abeid who came up with this great initiative http://www.pmforthemasses.com

 

One day workshop with The Lazy Project Manager

January 23, 2013
The art of productive laziness – how to be twice as productive and still leave the office early – a one day workshop with Peter Taylor (The Lazy Project Manager)

BOOK HERE

Date Tuesday 16th April 2013
Time 8:45pm Registration and refreshments
9.00am Start
5:00pm Close
Venue The Hatton, 51-53 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8HN
Presented by Peter Taylor, The Lazy Project Manager
CPD Up to 6 hours (find out more about CPD)
Cost £350

‘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 seminar 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 be led through 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.

Who should attend

The workshop is directed at anyone who is directly or indirectly involved in   project based activity, experienced or otherwise, and is a great team   building opportunity:

• Project managers
• Senior project management practitioners
• Project administrators
• PMO staff

All are welcome, only a keen interest in learning more about what an   effective project manager, and project team, can deliver is required.

Benefits

At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:

• Apply the approach of ‘productive laziness’
• Understand how to better manage themselves while managing others on   projects
• Identify ways to apply the concept of working smarter, not harder
• Apply personal efforts where it matters most on a project
• Work with team members in a more productive way
• Plan projects to start the way they want them to start
• Communicate more effectively with the entire project team

BOOK HERE

Reviews

“Peter is a powerful, passionate and persuasive speaker. His   presentation was one of the most exciting and memorable speeches we’ve ever   had!” Malgorzata Kusyk, Project Manager, Thomson Reuters January 2011

“Peter is a self-effacing presenter poking fun at himself. All of this is   what makes him so good.” Karen Fox, President, PMI NYC September 2010

“Peter is 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.” Mihaly Nagy, Project Zone;   Copenhagen and Budapest 2011

“Peter did not disappoint – I’ve been involved with organizations that   produce sessions for members for many years, and the feedback following   Peter’s was among the highest I’ve ever seen. Not only is he presenting   highly relevant and interesting concepts to get you to look at things   differently, he’s also a very engaging speaker who breaks down the theories   into manageable, easy to learn concepts” Barbara Porter, PMI IT &   Telecom Community of Practice 201

Bookings for this event are subject to the APM terms and   conditions.

BOOK HERE

 

 

International Project Management Day – Treat your Project Teams

October 4, 2012

The 9th Annual International Project Management Day will be held on November 1st 2012, to celebrate: The Power of the Profession.

Check it all out here http://internationalpmday.org/

It is a time to celebrate project management and say a big ‘well done’ to your project teams.

Have you considered a small but useful gift as a ‘thank you’ this year? I can offer copies of either of my best sellers ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ or ‘The Lazy Winner’ in eBook form (pdf) at a significant discount (depending on numbers purchased).

Just let me know how many you might like and I will get you a fabulous price.

Treat your project managers with something that they will really enjoy!

‘Be lazy’ and enjoy IPM Day 2012.

Peter