Monday, November 30, 2009

How to Stay Young (Best e-mail of 2009)

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay 'them'.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.'

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER …Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seven Traits a Project Manager Must Possess ...

While readinf the November 2009 newsletter from, I came across an interesting perspective regarding strong Project Manager traits ... definitely food for thought ...

Who is responsible for dealing with the soft skill dilemmas? The demanding nature of a project propels the project manager to a leadership position the very day he is placed in that role. He becomes the fulcrum of the project, the one person who is looked to by all stakeholders. It takes a colossal amount of effort, and an equal amount of varying skills to complete a project successfully. Most project management trainings and courses focus on the methodology and principles that need to be employed to manage a project. These typically incorporate planning and estimating techniques, drilling down a work breakdown structure, what is change control so on and so forth. These are important but what is overlooked is the ‘softer’ side involved in projects. Resources are the most valuable asset on a project but they are the most complex and the most difficult to deal with. Interactions can get very complex when meshed with personal egos and jurisdictions.

Skill # 1 - Team Builder: A project brings together very quickly people of diverse backgrounds - social, cultural and with varying skill sets for a certain period of time. More often not enough time is given for team dynamics to play out and the project manager has to bring the entire team together for a common purpose. So a project manager is a team builder who gets a diverse working party to function cohesively.

Skill # 2 - Planner: Every team member comes to the project for his need and looks at the project typically from his perspective. In contrast the project manager needs to have a holistic view of the project and also understand the details that compose the big picture. So a project manager is a planner adept at understanding the gross details and the finer elements.

Skill # 3 - Salesman: Often the project manager has to deal with team members who are unwilling to perform project management tasks or even being a part of the project. Not to forget management that is unenthusiastic about the uncertainties involved in planning. So a project manager is a seller who can make people see the advantage of using a structured approach to completing projects despite some shortcomings.

Skill # 4 - Motivator: Only a handful of projects operate under the best of circumstances. Most begin with several hurdles - unrealistic deadlines, insufficient funds, and not enough resources available to complete all the tasks. And, if resources are available they do not have the right competency. As a result tasks are continuously monitored, prioritized and then reprioritized to complete what was set out in the beginning. The project manager has to be a leader capable of leading his team through ever changing uncertainties. What makes it more challenging is the fact that the project manager has little or ambiguous authority over his resources unless he works in a projectized organization. So a project manager is a motivator with limited influence over those who work for him but has to keep them focused in dire circumstances.

Skill # 5 - Innovator: As a project goes through its life cycle issues are inevitable. Things never go as planned – resources walk away from their assignments, requirements are not accurately defined, testing activities do not get completed as planned, etc. The setbacks are endless. The onslaught is perpetual and the project manager wades his way finding instant solutions. So a project manager is an innovator who has to constantly come up with new ideas to get rid of obstacles.

Skill # 6 - Collaborator: Another constant in all projects is change. Stakeholders alter their minds, business and technology scenarios are constantly changing, etc. These have an impact on the project’s deadline and cost. The project manager has to manage expectations and pull the project back on its course. So a project manager is a collaborator who can negotiate with all parties and make everybody comfortable with the situation.

Skill # 7 - Communicator: Stakeholders, be it team members, sponsors, subject matter experts, etc., are always anxious about what is taking place in the project – what happened, what is happening and what will happen. The project manager should be able to converse with ease across the board about status, issues and solutions and put minds at ease. Excellent oral and written skills are becoming very important in current times; the era of virtual organizations and project teams. So a project manager is a communicator who can understand and speak with all stakeholders effectively.

In a nutshell it is essential for a project manager to be multi talented. Different types of soft skills come in handy at different phases of the project life cycle. An experienced project manager knows the right time to use such skills for the benefit of the project. It is very difficult to teach these skills and that is why most project management courses do not focus a great deal on developing such talent. But the situation is changing as companies are realizing that only the best in class processes cannot deliver successful projects. Projects are delivered by people and their attitude and perception can have a mighty impact on the success of the project. Most times teams have inbuilt resistance or their own agendas. So despite the best execution of project management principles several projects fail. On the contrary, if the project manager can transform the energy of the team into a positive synchronous output within the project management process and structure framework, any project can be delivered successfully against all odds.

Thoughts ?

© 2009

Author: Charanya Girish, a project management consultant is a certified PMP with over 17 years of experience. During her career she has lead successfully several projects and programs of varying sizes, set up PMOs & has been involved with portfolio management and strategic planning. A trained facilitator she is known for her excellent oral and written skills. She has presented at numerous conferences and has publications to her credit. She is an active volunteer of the PMI Great Lakes Chapter, Women in Project Management SIG and the PMO SIG.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

5 Steps to Take Before Moving

I am currently in the process of moving to a new city and the entire process is full of emotion, frustration and energy zapping. As I was working through my my e-mails and the internet this morning I came across this article, which has allot of good advise for those of you who are experencing the same difficulties ... hope it is helpful.

Ariane de Bonvoisin is the author of The First 30 Days and the founder of, a Website dedicated to helping you navigate any life change. Log on for advice and to connect with others who are making transitions.

Why is moving to a new place so fraught with emotion?
There's a fear of the unknown and doubt as to whether you've made the right choice. And there's a sense of closure - every move brings completion to a chapter in your life, so take time to reflect on the experiences you've had and be grateful for the people you've met. Also, you'll feel excitement in trying new things, meeting new people, and having new opportunities. It's as if life has given you a blank slate to start fresh, so find the joy in that possibility.

How can I make moving easier?
Instead of tackling everything at once - and feeling totally overwhelmed - set small goals and reward yourself when you complete each task. Celebrating successes reenergizes you to keep at it - and ensures that packing doesn't take over your life.

The toughest part of a move is leaving people you love. My family lives in Europe, and I live here, so we've created a system. I'll text them if I'm on the train, e-mail them about a great concert I saw, or Skype with my nieces and nephews to see how they're growing. Keeping one another updated on life's big and small moments helps love flow.

How can I make new friends without appearing desperate?
Focus on doing what you love, whether that means taking a yoga class or volunteering at a shelter - it'll help you meet like-minded people and keep you occupied with activities you enjoy. And savor any alone time: Rent movies, write in a journal, or do whatever nurtures your soul. Soon enough, someone or something else will start filling up your time. Life has a natural way of unfolding - and you will eventually meet everyone who should be in yours.

What mistakes do people make when they move to a new city, and how can I avoid them?
Some people set too-high expectations: You're not going to get invited to the greatest party in town on your first day. Other people think they're going to love their new city immediately, but it takes time to form a relationship with a place. To adjust, stick to the schedule that works for you, whether that means reading in the local café on Saturday mornings or grocery shopping on Sunday nights. The quicker you put your normal routines into place, the sooner you'll feel comfortable. And give yourself credit for following through with your decision to move. You jumped in and took a risk; you'll make mistakes along the way, but on the other side, you'll find self-esteem and a new inner strength.

Setting Down New Roots: Top 5 Steps to Take

1. Make a plan. Create a checklist for everything that needs to get done - from packing to canceling utilities.

2. Say good-bye. Don't avoid discussing the move with your circle. Sharing your excitement and reservations will make this change easier for all of you.

3. Get the lay of the land. Before you move, buy a map and a travel book that tells you all about your new state or city. Once there, take a leisurely drive or walk to locate your neighborhood post office, dry cleaner, grocery store, and pharmacy.

4. Psych yourself up. Think of the move as an adventure. Appreciate each new discovery, from an out-of-the-way art-house movie theater to a great Thai take-out place.

5. Be patient. Settling in takes time, so go easy on yourself and let your new life evolve on its own. Little by little, all will fall into place.-Nicole Yorio

Thursday, September 17, 2009

He Can Who Thinks He Can

I came across this list of quotes while reading Jeffery Gitomer's book Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, I thought you might enjoy them.

Quotes underlined by the hand of John Patterson taken from the book He Can Who Thinks He Can published in 1908 by Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924), the founder of Success Magazine.

§ Self-reliance is the best capital in the world.
§ Self-deprecation is a crime.
§ The greatest enemies of achievement are fear, doubt and vacillation.
§ Every child should be taught to expect success.
§ If others can do such wonderful things why can not I?
§ Make a resolution that you are going to be an educated man.
§ The man who has learned the art of seeing things looks with his brain.
§ The best educated people are those who are always learning, always absorbing knowledge from every possible source and at every opportunity.
§ It is not such a very great undertaking to get all of the essentials of a college course at home, or at least a fair substitute for it.
§ People do not realize the immense value of utilizing spare minutes.
§ To eliminate every thing that can possibly retard us is the first preparation for a successful career.
§ Timidity also hinders freedom.
§ Many people are imprisoned by ignorance.
§ Get freedom at any cost.
§ Be yourself.
§ Let no consideration tie your tongue or purchase your opinion.
§ Multitudes of people, enslaved by bad physical habits, are unable to get their best selves into their work.
§ Your judgment is your best friend; your common sense is your great life partner.
§ ’It can not be done’ cries the man without imagination. ’It can be done, it shall be done’ cries the dreamer.
§ Do not stop dreaming.
§ A test of the quality of the individual is the spirit in which he does his work.
§ Put the right spirit into your work.
§ Some people never see any beauty anywhere. Others see it everywhere.
§ No matter how humble your work may seem, do it in the spirit of an artist, of a master.
§ Your life work is your statue.
§ Some of the greatest men in history never discovered themselves until they lost everything but their pluck and grit.
§ Responsibility is a great power developer.
§ Do not be afraid to pile responsibility upon your employees.
§ The way to bring out the reserve in a man is to pile responsibility upon him. If there is anything in him, this will reveal it.
§ I know young men who believe in everybody but themselves.
§ Do not be afraid to trust yourself. Have faith in your own ability to think along original lines. If there is anything in you, self reliance will bring it out.
§ If one is so loosely attached to his occupation that he can be easily induced to give it up, you may be sure that he is not in the right place.
§ Today we carry out the inspiration of the day.
§ Almost anybody can resolve to do a great thing; it is only the strong, determined character that puts the resolve into execution.
§ The putting off habit will kill the strongest initiative.
§ Character is the greatest force in the world.
§ It is easy to find successful merchant, but not so easy to find men who put character above merchandise.
§ No substitute has ever yet been discovered for honesty.
§ Success can not be copied- can not be successfully imitated.
§ The principles by which the problem of success is solved are right and justice, honesty and integrity; and just in proportion as a man deviates from those principles he falls short from solving his problem.
§ Happiness is a condition of mind.
§ The very essence of happiness is honesty, sincerity, and truthfulness.
§ Real happiness is so simple that most people do not recognize it.
§ Few people ever learn the art of enjoying the little things of life as they go along.
§ No man can be happy when he harbors thoughts of revenge, jealousy, envy or hatred.
§ The world makes way for the man with an idea.
§ Do not imitate.
§ Resolve that you will be a man of ideas, always on the lookout for improvement.
§ Originality is the best substitute for advertising.
§ To be eccentric is not to be weak, but more often it is a sign of strength.
§ Do not be afraid of being original.
§ Do not imitate even your heroes.
§ Just be yourself.
§ The ability to read people at sight is a great business asset.
§ No idle life can produce a real man.
§ The idle man is like an idle machine. It destroys itself very quickly.
§ Power gravitates to the man who knows how.
§ There is no word in the English language more misused and abused than ’luck’.
§ The highest service you can ever render the world, the greatest thing you can ever do, is to make yourself the largest, completest, and squarest man possible. There is no other fame like that – no achievement like that.
§ The struggle to get away from poverty has been a great man-developer.
§ Poverty is of no value except as a vantage ground for a starting point.
§ It is the student who has to struggle hardest to obtain education that gets the most discipline and good out of it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A picture is worth a thousand words refers to the idea that complex stories can be described with just a single still image, or that an image may be more influential than a substantial amount of text. It also aptly characterizes the goals of visualization where large amounts of data must be absorbed quickly.

It is believed that the modern use of the phrase stems from an article by Fred R. Barnard in the advertising trade journal Printers' Ink, promoting the use of images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars. The December 8, 1921 issue carries an ad entitled, "One Look is Worth A Thousand Words."

Another ad by Barnard appears in the March 10, 1927 issue with the phrase "One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words," where it is labeled a Chinese proverb. The Home Book of Proverbs, Maxims, and Familiar Phrases quotes Barnard as saying he called it "a Chinese proverb, so that people would take it seriously." Soon after, the proverb would become popularly attributed to Confucius.

Despite this modern origin of the popular phrase, the sentiment has been expressed by earlier writers. For example the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev wrote (in Fathers and Sons in 1862), "A picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound."

The quote is sometimes attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, who said "Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu'un long discours," or "A good sketch is better than a long speech". While this is sometimes translated today as "A picture is worth a thousand words," this translation may not predate the phrase's common use in English.

Remember this next time you are doing a presentation …

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Project Management Certification

Until recently I was in search of gainful employment, which I have happily found. During my search I realized that there were a great number of 'uncertified' Project Managers in the business world, that are claiming to be Project Managers.

I think that if you are going to call yourself a Project Manager you should have to be certified as a Project Manager, either with PMI (Project Management Institute), IPMA (International Project Management Association, or an affiliate), etc.
Knowing first aid doesn't make you a doctor !!
Just like understanding the concept of project management doesn't make you a Project Manager !!

Certification to me means meeting a set of requirements such as those for a PMP - Project Management Professional (see chart).
I know what you are thinking ... and NO, I don't believe that a certification automatically makes you a competent Project Manager or even an average Project Manager ... that will come with experience.
I just think that only certified Project Managers should be able to call themselves Project Managers ... otherwise, why would anyone go through the effort to become certified ?
Thoughts ??
Sloan Campbell MBA, PMP, P.Mgr, F.CIM, CC

Friday, July 3, 2009

7 Habits of Brilliant Project Managers

I came across this article on Project Smart ( and I thought it was worth sharing with all of you ... the article was written by Duncan Brodie. Enjoy ...

Project management is a tough role. You often find yourself being pulled between keeping users, subordinates, team members and senior people happy. Given these demands, what do the best project managers do that makes them stand out from the crowd?

1. Focus on Solutions

Problem solving and breaking through constraints is an essential part of managing projects. Those that excel as project managers have a mindset where they focus on finding solutions to problems. They keep asking themselves how they can overcome whatever barriers arise.

2. Participative and Decisive

All the best project managers understand the need to communicate and consult. They also know that lots of talking and procrastination achieves nothing. Finding the right balance between consulting, deciding and acting is what separates the best from the rest.

3. Focus on Customer

In every project there are customers. They might be internal or external or a combination of both. The best project managers keep customers at the forefront of their mind. They listen effectively, take on board the feedback they are getting and look for ways of incorporating it whenever they can.

4. Focus on Win-Win Outcomes

In any project there will be many stakeholders, all of whom will see their issues as being the most important. The challenge that the best project managers respond to is finding solutions that address the issues without compromising the overall project structure.

5. Lead from the Front

Project managers need to lead by example. The example they set determines how the rest of the team behave and respond to the challenges that arise. Those project managers who want to encourage openness and honesty are open and honest themselves. Those that take risks and learn from their mistakes empower others to do the same.

6. Adapt to What Arises

You can set out the best plans in the world, think about the risks, put great tracking in place and even then the unexpected will show up from time to time.

Adaptability is a key characteristic of the best project managers. View adaptability in projects a bit like the flight path of an aircraft. It can be off course along the way but it needs to be right on target when it comes to landing.

7. Get the Best Out of Everyone

Those that excel as project managers realise they cannot do it all on their own. They recognise the importance of the collective team effort in getting results. They find and utilise the strengths in everyone and try to ensure that they allocate roles to those best placed to deliver. They learn to keep everyone motivated and pushing the boundaries to get results.

Project management is a complex and demanding role. Starting to work on these 7 habits can take you to the next level.

Duncan Brodie is a Leadership Development Coach and Management Trainer at Goals and Achievements .
He specialises in helping accountants and professionals to make the transition from technical expert to manager and leader.

Friday, June 19, 2009

If Anything Can Go Wrong ... It Will !!

Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will") was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base. It was named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981, (a project) designed to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash.

One day, after finding that a transducer was wired wrong, he cursed the technician responsible and said, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it." The contractor's project manager kept a list of "laws" and added this one, which he called Murphy's Law.

All project managers (managers in general) should be aware of these laws for their own good and the preservation of their projects.

Murphy's Laws
1. Nothing is as easy as it looks.
2. Everything takes longer than you think.
3. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
4. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong. Corollary: If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.
5. If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
6. If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
7. Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
8. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
9. Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
10. Mother nature is a bitch.
11. It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
12. Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
13. Every solution breeds new problems.

Murphy's Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.

Murphy's Law of Copiers
The legibility of a copy is inversely proportional to its importance.

Murphy's Law of the Open Road
When there is a very long road upon which there is a one-way bridge placed at random, and there are only two cars on that road, it follows that:
(1) the two cars are going in opposite directions, and
(2) they will always meet at the bridge.

Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics
Things get worse under pressure.

The Murphy Philosophy
Smile . . . tomorrow will be worse.

Quantization Revision of Murphy's Laws
Everything goes wrong all at once.

Murphy's Constant
Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.

Murphy's Corollaries
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

Law of the Perversity of Nature (Mrs. Murphy's Corollary)
You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.

Corollary (Jenning)
The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

6 Questions to Help You Build Trust on Your Team

The words 'Trust Me' have been uttered billions of times … and every time those words are spoken, it’s because it’s because the other person doesn’t.

I was sent this article by a colleague and I thought it was worth sharing with all of you ... the article was written by Lieutenant Colonel Diane Ryan.

This post is part of our Frontline Leadership series, looking at what business leaders can learn from today's military.

The ongoing economic crisis coupled with the appearance of one scandalous headline after another describing the latest crook to run off with somebody's life savings have done much damage to Americans' ability to trust one another. While a fair amount of skepticism may be practical at times, building trust both between individuals and within organizations is absolutely critical to overall well being and effectiveness. And nowhere is this requirement more important than in relationships in which the life of one person may, in specific situations, depend on the actions of another. That's why examining the processes of building and maintaining trust between military personnel in the extreme environment of combat may provide practical considerations that apply to leaders in many different contexts.

Perhaps most important is the understanding that trust must be a two-way street. While it is imperative that subordinates have trust in their leader, this will never happen without reciprocity. In a combat team, all members are mutually interdependent, meaning everyone has a specific job to do — jobs that often require a significant amount of risk to life or limb. Soldiers must trust their leader to make decisions that minimize risk where possible, and the leader must trust that soldiers will carry out their orders despite any hazards for the overall benefit of the team. Recent research by my West Point colleagues Colonels Tom Kolditz and Pat Sweeney indicates that there are several factors which influence and facilitate building this mutual trust building, including shared values, relationships that foster cooperation, and perceived competence.

For much of my own military career I took the trust-building process between myself and other soldiers, both leaders and subordinates, for granted. It was only after returning from my most recent deployment to Iraq and spending three years in the civilian world finishing my graduate degree that I began to sense that there was something special about how we cultivate trust in the Army. My first clue was when I had the occasion to ask a university administrator, himself a veteran, for a fairly substantial policy exception that I truthfully did not expect to be considered. When he granted my request without batting an eye I was taken aback. After I stammered out a surprised thank you, I exclaimed "But you don't even know me" to which he quickly replied "Oh I do know you, because I know what you stand for and I know you'll do the right thing." Our shared values served as a precursor for instantaneous mutual trust that developed and deepened over the course of our professional relationship. I recognized that this was not an isolated incident and that the values I share with my own leaders, peers and subordinates often serve as the figurative handshake upon which all subsequent trust is built.

In my experience these shared values facilitate cooperative relationships and intimacy at much faster rate in the military than in many civilian professions. There are many factors that might contribute to this phenomenon. Perhaps it's because we move around so much that we feel a sense of urgency to get to know each other more quickly. Maybe it's the time we spend together riding in dusty HMMWVs and sitting in foxholes sharing even the most mundane details of our lives in an attempt to pass the time until we get back to civilization. But mostly I think it's because we want to know almost everything about the people we potentially face death with. These deep personal relationships — that I have come to consider familial in many cases— cement the bonds of trust.

Inherent in both initial perceptions and long-term trust building is competence in the form of technical and tactical proficiency. In other words, do subordinates believe that a leader knows his or her job well enough so as not to needlessly jeopardize their safety and well being? I vividly remember the pressure of leading my first convoy operation as a brand new lieutenant — ten hours through the hills and winding roads of the Bavaria. Although I exuded confidence (at least that's how I remember it), inside I was terrified of getting lost and ruining my credibility with the platoon forever — which thankfully did not occur. What I did not know at the time was that approximately 10 months later I would be executing a similar exercise across the Arabian Desert as part of Operation Desert Storm, where so much more was riding on my performance as a leader. Had I not demonstrated competence early on, my soldiers would have lacked trust in my ability to keep them from harm's way, and our overall effectiveness as a unit would have suffered tremendously.

While most businesses are not subject to circumstances similar to combat, many of the trust-building processes practiced in the military are nevertheless applicable, particularly when an organization faces crisis. Asking the following questions has the potential to facilitate trust building within your own organization:

1. Do I place trust in my employees as a prerequisite to earning theirs?

2. What are my organization/profession's shared values and culture?

3. Have these values been articulated within the organization to the point they are internalized and go without saying?

4. How much do I know about my employees and their families and how well do they know me?

5. What experiences can I offer to increase cooperation and familiarity in ways that are appropriate and rewarding?

6. And last but certainly not least; does my personal competence inspire trust in my subordinates?

Finding ways to build confidence in people who only have to look as far as the daily news to find numerous reasons why not to trust may be challenging, but ultimately well worth the effort.

Friday, June 5, 2009

17 Pointers for Managing Virtual Teams

In this day and age when more and more of our interactions are virtual, it is important to have some guidelines for success. I REALLY like the following 17 Pointers for Managing Virtual Teams provided by Kevin L. McMahan ... I hope they help you with your virtual meetings ...

  1. Engage the team in setting expectations about behavior and performance. Record
    the team's decisions and commitments to each other.
  2. Clearly define member responsibilities.
  3. Use rigorous project management disciplines to ensure clarity.
  4. Consider servant leadership exposure and training for potential team leaders.
  5. Determine, as a team, how conflict will be addressed and resolved.
  6. "Proactive behavior, empathetic task communication, positive tone, rotating
    leadership, task goal clarity, role division, time management, and frequent
    interaction with acknowledged and detailed responses to prior messages
  7. Strive for a good faith effort in complying with the team norms and commitments,
    be honest in team negotiations, and don't take advantage of others or of the situation.
  8. Encourage social communication that accompanies task completion at the outset and
    be enthusiastic in e-mail dialog; look for predictable, substantial, and timely
    responses to members.
  9. Provide more formal communication than in traditional same time/same place
  10. Keep communications in a shared database for use in new member orientation.
  11. Focus knowledge management attention on the tacit as well as the explicit
    knowledge. Document the tacit and embed the process into the organizational
  12. Record and share the "context" when sharing information, preferably with a view
    toward future audiences.
  13. Match desired activities with performance evaluation factors; reward the desired
  14. Build information sharing (knowledge management initiatives) into the
    organization's strategic plan.
  15. For a team cross-cutting an organization's departmental boundaries, develop an
    information system to help translate terms in the subject disciplines.
  16. Encourage and provide feedback on all team activities; listen to it!
  17. Design and integrate tools that fit the team environment; don't force the team to
    adapt its behavior to the "latest" software.

Kevin L. McMahan, from his paper: "Effective Communication and Information Sharing in Virtual Teams"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Inspirational Speech #2

The second inspirational speech that hits home with me is, Gene Hackman's When the Washington Sentinels Left the Stadium that Day speech from the movie the Replacements. It's not as graphic as Al Pacino's speech in Any Given Sunday, but it makes an excellent point just the same.

Here it is ...

"When the Washington Sentinels left the stadium that day, there was no tickertape parade, no endorsement deals for sneakers or soda pop, or breakfast cereal. Just a locker to be cleaned out, and a ride home to catch. But what they didn't know, was that their lives had been changed forever because they had been part of something great. And greatness, no matter how brief, stays with a man. Every athlete dreams of a second chance, these men lived it."


Inspirational Speech #1

I am always on the lookout for inspirational speeches and comments in my day to day life, Al Pacino's Inch By Inch Speech from the Movie Any Given Sunday is (in my opinion) one of the best.

Here it is ...

"I don't know what to say really ... Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today. Either we heal as a team or we are going to crumble. Inch by inch, play by play, till we're finished. We are in hell right now, gentlemen ... believe me ... and we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch, at a time.

Now I can't do it for you. I'm too old. I look around and I see these young faces and I think, I mean, I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make. I uh ... I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who has ever loved me. And lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life things get taken from you. That's, that's part of life. But,you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean one half step too late or to early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are every where around us. They are in ever break of the game every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch ... On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch ... Cause we know when we add up all those inches that's going to make the fucking difference between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING.

I'll tell you this, in any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch. And I know if I am going to have any life any more it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch because that is what LIVING is. The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can't make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to you, Look into his eyes. Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That's a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That's football guys. That's all it is ... Now, whattaya gonna do?"

Maybe it's just a guy thing ...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Immutable Laws of Project Management

When dealing with the world of Project Management, I whole-heartedly believe in the Immutable Laws of Project Management.

LAW 1: No major project is ever completed on time, within budget, with the same staff that started it, nor does the project do what it is supposed to do. It is highly unlikely that yours will be the first.

Corollary 1: The benefits will be smaller than initially estimated, if estimates were made at all.
Corollary 2: The system finally installed will be completed late and will not do what it is supposed to do.
Corollary 3: It will cost more but will be technically successful.

LAW 2: One advantage of fuzzy project objectives is that they let you avoid embarrassment in estimating the corresponding costs.

LAW 3: The effort required to correct a project that is off course increases geometrically with time.

Corollary 1: The longer you wait the harder it gets.
Corollary 2: If you wait until the project is completed, it’s too late.
Corollary 3: Do it now regardless of the embarrassment.

LAW 4: The project purpose statement you wrote and understand will be perceived differently by everyone else.

Corollary 1: If you explain the purpose so clearly that no one could possibly misunderstand, someone will.
Corollary 2: If you do something that you are sure will meet everyone's approval, someone will not like it.

LAW 5: Measurable benefits are real. Intangible benefits are not measurable, thus intangible benefits are not real.

Corollary 1: Intangible benefits are real if you can prove that they are real.

LAW 6: Anyone who can work effectively on a project part-time certainly does not have enough to do now.

Corollary 1: If a boss will not give a worker a full-time job, you shouldn't either.
Corollary 2: If the project participant has a time conflict, the work given by the full-time boss will not suffer.

LAW 7: The greater the project's technical complexity, the less you need a technician to manage it.

Corollary 1: Get the best manager you can. The manager will get the technicians.
Corollary 2: The reverse of corollary 1 is almost never true.

LAW 8: A carelessly planned project will take three times longer to complete than expected. A carefully planned project will only take twice as long.

Corollary 1: If nothing can possibly go wrong, it will anyway.

LAW 9: When the project is going well, something will go wrong.

Corollary 1: When things cannot get any worse, they will.
Corollary 2: When things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.

LAW 10: Project teams detest weekly progress reporting because it so vividly manifests their lack of progress.

LAW 11: Projects progress rapidly until they are 90 percent complete. Then they remain 90 percent complete forever.

LAW 12: If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.

LAW 13: If the user does not believe in the system, a parallel system will be developed. Neither system will work very well.

LAW 14: Benefits achieved are a function of the thoroughness of the post-audit check.

Corollary 1: The prospect of an independent post-audit provides the project team with a powerful incentive to deliver a good system on schedule within budget.

LAW 15: No law is immutable.

The Immutable Laws of Project Management -

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Magical Project Management

I really enjoy Magic and pretty much always have … all kinds of Magic … Magic that is sometimes known as Sorcery (a conceptual system that asserts human ability to control the natural world including events, objects, people, and physical phenomena through mystical, paranormal or supernatural means) and Magic that is a performing art that entertains an audience by creating illusions of impossible or supernatural feats, using purely natural means.

Recently, I came across an interesting article discussing The Seven Laws of Magic. The Seven Laws of Magic are intended to guard against the abuse of magic by wizards against other wizards and humans. Wizards in violation of the Laws are called Warlocks and can be spared from the punishment of execution if a wizard from the White Council (The White Council is the governing body of the Wizard community in the world. They primarily protect humanity from abuses of magic, but also shield this world from the Sidhe and other creatures that wish humanity harm. It is also a political and democratic organization seeking to unite Wizards throughout the world, and can make or break treaties with the other supernatural powers as necessary. The Council is governed by a Senior Council of seven wizards, with the leader referred to as the Merlin. Beyond the Senior Council, which constitutes the executive branch, there are the actual wizards of the council that contribute to the legislative branch. The Judicial branch belongs to the Wardens, a combination police force and military. Meetings of the Council are traditionally conducted in Latin, a procedural point which has, not coincidentally, served to keep younger wizards from gaining too much standing or momentum by making it very difficult for them to speak eloquently or even coherently to the rest of the Council) takes responsibility for them.

The Seven Laws of Magic are as follows:

1. Thou shalt not kill by use of magic.

2. Thou shalt not transform others.

3. Thou shalt not invade the mind of another.

4. Thou shalt not enthrall another.

5. Thou shalt not reach beyond the borders of life.

6. Thou shalt not swim against the Currents of Time.

7. Thou shalt not seek beyond the Outer Gates.

These Laws of Magic made me think that there should be similar Laws for Project Management, which would be referred to forever more as the Magical Laws of Project Management. I honestly don’t believe that they would make magical things happen to our projects, but they might just make Project Management the envy of all other professions … if it isn’t already … and guard against the abuse of Project Management by PMPs (Project Management Professionals) against other PMPs and Managers.

1. Thou shalt not kill Creativity by use of Project Management.

2. Thou shalt not Transform current Managers into PMPs.

3. Thou shalt not Invade the Mind or Ideas of another Project Manager.

4. Thou shalt not hold Captive another Project Team Member.

5. Thou shalt not reach Beyond the Borders of the Project Management Life Cycle.

6. Thou shalt not ignore History.

7. Thou shalt not Venture beyond the Concepts of the PMBOK.

The Magical Laws of Project Management may never become ‘absolute’ by themselves, but it might just be magical how much they can help some of your projects find their way to (or back to) success … Abracadabra …

Seven Laws of Magic:
Seven Laws of Project Management: Copyright © 2009, A. Sloan Campbell, MBA, PMP, P.Mgr, F.CIM

Friday, May 22, 2009

All I Really Need to Know About Project Management I Learned in Kindergarten

I came across this VERY interesting commentary on Linkedin (compliments of Mark Parrish, IT Project Manager - RN, MBA, PMP), it REALLY makes you think ...

I am interested in gathering project manager perceptions to a different take on Robert Fulghum’s book.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it and apply it to your job as a project manager and what these statements mean to you. I will post the results for everyone.

These are the things I learned:
• Share everything.
• Play fair.
• Don't hit people.
• Put things back where you found them.
• Clean up your own mess.
• Don't take things that aren't yours.
• Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
• Wash your hands before you eat.
• Flush.
• Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
• Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
• Take a nap every afternoon.
• When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
• Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
• Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
• And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Project Management Formulas

Following are the Formulas consolidated for PMP preparation, but they are also very helpful for every day activities ...

Earned Value Analysis
PV (Present Value) = BCWS (Budgeted Cost of Work Schedule)
EV (Earned Value) = BCWP (Budgeted Cost of Work Performed)
AC (Actual Cost) = ACWP (Actual Cost of Work Performed)

CV = EV – AC
SV = EV – PV

ETC = BAC – EV [Future Variances are Atypical or Not Consistent or Di similar]
ETC = (BAC – EV) / CPI [Future Variances are Typical or Consistent or similar]

EAC = BAC / CPI [simplest formula: typical or no variances]
EAC = AC + ETC [Initial Estimates are flawed]
EAC = AC + BAC – EV [Future variances are Atypical or Not Consistent or Di similar]
EAC = AC + BAC – EV / CPI [Future Variances are Typical or Consistent or similar]

% COMPLETE = EV / BAC x 100
% SPENT = AC / BAC x 100

CV% = CV / EV x 100
SV% = SV / PV x 100

Float or Slack
LS - ES and LF – EF

MEAN -> Average
MODE -> The “most found” number
RANGE -> Largest - Smallest Measure
MEDIUM -> No in the middle or avg. of 2 middle Nos

PERT = O + 4ML + P / 6
STD. DEV. OF TASK = P – O / 6
TASK VAR. = [(P - O)/6 ] squared = Std. Dev ^ 2
CP STD. DEV. = √ σ² + σ² + σ²

1 = 68.26
2 = 95.46
3 = 99.73
6 = 99.99

Channels of Communication (N x (N – 1)) / 2

Project Selection
PV = F V / (1+r)ⁿ (or) FV = PV x (1+r)ⁿ

Cash Flow = Cash Inflow – Cash Outflow
Discounted Cash Flow = CF x Discount Factor
ARR = S Cash Flow / No. of Years
ROI = (ARR / Investment) * 100 % [Bigger is better]
BCR = Benefits / Cost

Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR)
[Bigger is better ]
((BCR or Benefit / Cost)Revenue or Payback VS. cost) Or PV or Revenue / PV of Cost

Net Present Value (NPV) [Bigger is better]

Internal Rate of Return (IRR) [Bigger is better]

Payback Period Less is better - Net Investment / Avg. Annual cash flow

Exp. Value = Probability % x Consequence $

Class of Estimates
Definitive +5%
Capital Cost +10-15%
Appropriation +15-25%
Feasibility +25-35%
Order of Magnitude > +35% (-50 - 75%)

Contract Incentives
Savings = Target Cost – Actual Cost
Bonus = Savings x Percentage
Contract Cost = Bonus + Fees
Total Cost = Actual Cost + Contract Cost

Expected Monetary Value Probability * Impact

Point of Total Assumption (PTA)
((Ceiling Price - Target Price) / buyer's Share Ratio) + Target Cost

To Complete Performance Index [TCPI]
Values for the TCPI index of less then 1.0 is good because it indicates the efficiency to complete is less than planned. How efficient must the project team be to complete the remaining work with the remaining money?

( BAC - EV ) / ( BAC - AC )

Cost of Quality (CoQ)
(( Review Efforts + Test Efforts + Training Efforts + Rework Efforts + Efforts of Prevention) / Total efforts) x 100 %

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Project Manager as a CEO

Being and exceptional Project Manager is like being a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of your own business. Great CEO’s have five defining characteristics:

1. Personal Insight. They are great leaders. They know themselves and what they stand for. They have been called on all their lives as problem solvers because others know them to be fair and impartial. People respect their opinions and look to them for guidance. Great CEOs are mature people. They can suffer disappointment more gracefully than others and give others credit for their achievements. They don't come in the office door yelling for something they need. They aren't as concerned about titles or power structures as they are about the welfare of those who work at the company. They are trustworthy because they've always been honest with people and have earned that trust. They care about families, and they know that people are more important than dollars and express it in their actions every day. Finally, great CEOs seek out feedback. They want to know how others see them so that they can understand themselves better and continue to grow as people. They also want feedback about the company from an employee perspective, and they use surveys as a starting point for creating a dialogue to make things better.

2. Resourcefulness. They seem to have boundless energy. They come to work with the greatest enthusiasm. Even when they don't feel like it, they find ways to reenergize themselves and come in ready to go. They take good care of themselves physically and emotionally so that they can be there for the employees and the needs of the company. They give much more than they take every day. They don't give up. If the wall is too high, they back down and find another way around. They don't blame, but they do look for solutions to problems so that those problems are less likely to happen again.

3. Courage.They have one of the world's toughest jobs. No matter how tough it was to start the company, it's even harder to keep it going and growing. A CEO must decide what he or she stands for and do what is right, all the time.

4. Willingness to Look at Risk.They aren’t afraid to look at the downside and answer the hard questions he or she hopes will never become a reality. They need a backup plan-one that is designed by looking at the company's worst-case scenarios. This plan addresses questions such as: What if your industry experiences a slump? What if new governmental regulations affect your business? What if you lose the client that accounts for 50 percent of your sales?
Preparing yourself and your company for these eventualities may be the difference between a tough year or two and bankruptcy. The key is to be ready and able to take immediate action to reduce the loss.

5. Foresight.It seems some CEOs have an uncanny ability to predict the future. They may have unusual insights into their particular markets, and luck may play a part as well. In addition, they are prepared to create their own luck by cultivating an ability to see opportunities for their company and to make the deals that convert those opportunities into realities. Some things that may seem like amazing foresight are actually the result of the hard work and discipline it takes to constantly look forward to build a successful company. Great CEOs must also constantly develop new products to build and retain a customer base. Foresight is also the ability to hire and retain the right people, looking ahead toward the growth of the company. Finally, over time, each company must develop a steady source of business during both good economic times and bad, because there are sure to be bad economic times during the life of a business.

Five Defining Characteristics of a Great CEO:

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Principles of Common Sense Project Management - Vol. 01

The following are my 10 Principles of Common Sense Project Management, Vol. 01 ...

1. The process of Project Management is basically the same on EVERY project; it is the intangibles that make the difference in the success of the project.

2. LEADERSHIP is not synonymous with Project Management.

3. CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING is essential to Project Management. The SIMPLEST answers are usually the best one.

4. If you are not part of the SOLUTION, then you are part of the PROBLEM.

5. Bad news is not like an expensive bottle of wine; it DOES NOT get better with age.

6. Communication should never be MANAGED from stakeholder to stakeholder.

7. Of all of the project constraints … TIME controls the Cost, Quality, SOW (Statement of Work) and Customer Satisfaction.

8. It is better for your project, if the TECHNICAL EXPERT is not the Project Manager.

9. Your TEAM is the most important resource you have on a project.

10. Documented Lessons Learned are MANDATORY after the closure of a Project.

Common Sense is not common; otherwise more people would have it !!

Copyright © 2009, A. Sloan Campbell, MBA, PMP, P.Mgr, F.CIM

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do Businesses Know What Makes a Successful Project Manager ?

There is a disturbing movement in the arena of Project Management that requires Project Managers to be Professional Engineers (P.Eng) or Information Technology (IT) Programmers to be considered as a successful candidate in the field.

Let’s go back to the beginning … and define exactly what we mean by these terms.

Project Management is the discipline of organizing and managing resources (i.e. human, financial & material) in such a way that a project is completed within defined scope, quality, time and cost constraints.

A Project is a temporary and one-time endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service, which brings about beneficial change or added value.

A Project Manager is the person accountable for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing the triple constraint for projects, which is cost, time, and scope.

A Professional Engineer is a person who holds a licence or a temporary licence

The practice of Professional Engineering means any act of designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising wherein the safeguarding of life, health, property or the public welfare is concerned and that requires the application of engineering principles, but does not include practising as a natural scientist.

A Programmer is someone who writes computer software. The term computer programmer can refer to a specialist in one area of computer programming or to a generalist who writes code for many kinds of software. One who practices or professes a formal approach to programming may also be known as a programmer analyst. A programmer's primary computer language (Lisp, Java, Delphi, C++, etc.) is often prefixed to the above titles, and those who work in a web environment often prefix their titles with web. A programmer is not a software developer, software engineer, computer scientist, or software analyst. These IT professions typically refer to individuals possessing programming skills as well as other software engineering skills.

Knowing and understanding these definitions, I find it very confusing that success in the field of Project Management requires that a Project Manager be a Professional Engineer or Information Technology Programmer. The best/most effective Project Managers are the ones that are NOT the technical experts of the team, but understand the required process and the applicable technologies to successfully complete a project … while, at the same time, being able to appreciate the intricacies of the process and technologies NOT required to complete the project.

Project Management Unplugged - Book Release

My new book, Project Management Unplugged, is hot off the presses at Blurb!

Take a sneak peek and place your order if you're so inclined.
It's a book release, and you're invited -- check out my new book at ...