Leadership

  • Team Building and Development in a Matrix Environment

    There are many kinds of teams.  A functional team is a permanent team established to conduct operational activities for a particular part of the organization, such as finance, sales, marketing, etc. 

    There is no specified time limit on functional teams as they are needed to keep the business running.  A project team is brought together for a discrete period of time to achieve a defined goal.  At the end of the project the team is disbanded. 

    Project teams are often matrix in nature, staffed by members taken from diverse functional teams in order to achieve the project goal.  When the Project Manager has a high degree of authority this is known as a strong matrix; when Functional Managers have stronger authority this is known as a weak matrix.

    Team Building and Development in a Matrix Environment

  • Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers – Nice to Have or Necessity?

    If only it were just about defining scope, creating a project plan, and tracking costs! Project Management obviously encompasses all those things, but now more than ever it’s also about relationship development, team building, influencing, collaborating, and negotiating often in a very complex environment. As my father often said, this job would be easy, if it weren’t for the people!

    Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers – Nice to Have or Necessity?

  • The Artistry of Project Management: Enabling a Strategy for Organizational Transformation

    How do you manage to create change and incorporate PM processes when stakeholders are telling you to minimize change as much as possible? Below, please find how my team and I were able to make successful changes that established a Program Risk Management Office, implemented an Organizational Taxonomy for Risk, and created a learning environment designed to build capabilities that ensure successful project execution.

    The Artistry of Project Management: Enabling a Strategy for Organizational Transformation

  • Taming the Unruly User

    Here’s something I hear a lot in IT development teams:

    • Users don’t know what they want
    • Users are always changing the requirements

    The other day I sat in a meeting with a development team PM and her client. The system, mind you, is already built, but not yet live. I listened, incredulously, as the users asked for one new requirement after another. It was like watching children go nuts in the grocery store while the slightly clueless parent says “Please Johnny don’t.” I was embarrassed for the PM because, quite frankly, she had done a very poor job of managing her users. 

    Taming the Unruly User

  • Applying the ‘Productive Lazy’ approach to your Sponsor

    How to control your greatest asset and potentially your biggest threat

    Critical to any projects success is having a good project sponsor, but, like the saying goes ‘you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your relatives’ and the same is true of project sponsors.

    Applying the ‘Productive Lazy’ approach to your Sponsor

  • The Art of Productive Laziness

    What is productive laziness

    'Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.' Robert Heinlein (1907 - 1988)

    By advocating being a 'lazy' project manager I do not intend that we should all do absolutely nothing. I am not saying we should all sit around drinking coffee, reading a good book and engaging in idle gossip whilst watching the project hours go by and the non-delivered project milestones disappear over the horizon.  That would obviously be plain stupid and would result in an extremely short career in project management, in fact probably a very short career full stop!

    Lazy does not mean Stupid. No I really mean that we should all adopt a more focused approach to project management and to exercise our efforts where it really matters, rather than rushing around like busy, busy bees involving ourselves in unimportant, non-critical activities that others can better address, or indeed that do not need addressing at all in some cases.

    The Art of Productive Laziness

  • The Challenge of Creating—and Sustaining—an Ethical Workplace

    What are the keys to ethical leadership?

    Have strong personal values. Communicate those values to everyone in your business or organization. Be impartial and transparent. And, perhaps most important, encourage all your employees, from the CEO on down, to speak up whenever they face an ethical quandary or see behavior that concerns them.

    Do all these demonstratively positive things and—actually, you’ll still face challenges. It’s part of human nature and the way people behave in organizations.

    David Fink, Vice President of Human Resources for Airbus in North America, said it can be tough to convince some employees—especially younger, newer ones—to embrace his company’s goal of having a “speak-up culture” about workplace issues.

    The Challenge of Creating—and Sustaining—an Ethical Workplace

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