Monday, April 8, 2013

People Skills for Project Leaders and Team

Art Pittman gave a chapter meeting discussion on people skills for project leaders. Here are some take-aways that I noted:

Dirty little secret of project management: It is all about the people

DAC (remember I blogged about this in my last post)
- D: Direction (Vision)
- A: Alignment (Get the resources)
- C: Commitment (Team)

Emotional Intelligence
- Self-Perception - Awareness
- Self - Expression - How you assert
- Interpersonal - empathy
- Decision Making
- Stress Management

Great Quote:

"People are emotional first and rational second: Logic makes people think; emotions make people act"

What makes a best team
- Well-oiled machine
- Know your purpose and role
- Everyone work together.
- Everyone knew what was happening - picked up for each other
- project has good leadership
- great support from top

What makes a worst team
- No idea of the project goal
- Out of focus
- Each individual has their own agenda
- Illusion that the team is strong - but the team is "tangled"

Top Team Skills
- Contributors
- Communication
- Understanding of a common goal
- Diversity
- Commitment from team members/leadership
- Cross-functional synergy
- Trust
- Collaboration
- Accountability
- Flexibility - Learn/Adapt
- Leadership
- Positive Attitude

"Cost of trust doubles the cost of business"

Sincere apology
- Sincere
- Intentional
- No excuses
- Consequences
- Empathy
- Retribution (What Ill do going forward)
- Expect - may need some time

Giving Feedback
SBI (Situation, Behavior, Impact)

It was a great session. For additional information, go to

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Friday, April 5, 2013

One on One with Art Pittman

I had a privilege to interview one of my friends, Art Pittman, to discuss the topic he will be presenting during the April chapter meeting for Piedmont Triad PMI.  Art and I met last year at a PMI meeting and found out that we both are passionate about growing/implementing Agile at the workplace. 

Art is a Leadership Coach and an Agile Consultant who specializes in leading, communicating, and connecting with people to support and improve individual and team performance. He capitalizes on creativity and innovation to help identify, define and develop simple solutions to complex problems.   He is Adjunct Staff at the Center for Creative Leadership and is a CCL-approved feedback coach and certified Organizational Workshop facilitator. He is certified on the CCL-proprietary 360-degree assessments, Workplace Big Five 4.0, and other psychometric assessment instruments. Art is also certified as a Professional Scrum Master. 

On Monday, April 8th, Art is going to have a super collaborative session on what makes up great project teams.  There will be an activity which everyone will have an opportunity to participate.  He will wrap up the session with the DAC model (You have to be there to know what the acronym stands for ).

For registration details -


Monday, March 11, 2013

Conquer your paper and digital clutter - Recap of PMI March Chapter Meeting

I attended a much needed session hosted by PMI March Chapter Meeting presented by Dr. Merchant on conquering your paper and digital clutter. Here are some great tips:
The RAFT concept for paper management:
- Read - piling your paper on items you need to read
- Action - paper that needs action (either a phone call, fill out a form, action via computer)
- File - papers need to be filed
- Toss - trash papers that are not needed
Ways to sabotage your day:
- Check email first thing
- Surfing the net
- Multi-Tasking
- Bad attitude - predicting negative consequence
Keep IRS related information at least for 3 years.
For next month's session, make sure you register at:
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Friday, February 1, 2013

Lesson from my mother - Education is key to success

My mom has been a great role model for me all my life. I love her strong work ethic, dedication to family, and her family management skills. The one thing that mom regrets is not going further in education.

My mom was born and raised in India. In the 60s/70s, educating women was not really a priority. The assumption was you graduate high-school, get married, have kids, and take care of family. My mom graduated high school but the concept of higher education didn't exist.

Now looking back, she wishes that she had taken school more seriously. Rather than studying music, she should have focused in business/accounting - concepts that would have helped in life. When our family moved to US in the 90s, the only job mom could do is blue collar.

As I was growing up, she stressed the importance of education and not just stopping with bachelors but pursuing higher. She didn't want us to make the same mistakes.

Education is very important. Jobs are requiring a minimum of bachelors. If you want to move up to management, it is preferred to have a Master degrees. I typically do something each year in terms of education. I may pursue a certification, learn a new technical or Project management skill, or focus on an area of a soft skill.

If you keep your skills updated, the fear of losing job is eliminated. It also gives you confidence to try new roles.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

PM Topic: Importance of Stakeholder Management - They can make or break your project

Stakeholder Management used to fall into the communication knowledge area in PMBOK.  Because of its importance, there is now a separate knowledge area dedicated to Stakeholder Management in PMBOK 5.  For PMs, it is important to know your stakeholders, understand the power they hold, and find ways to keep them satisfied and informed on project progress.  If you are not satisfying or managing stakeholders effectively, it can create major issues in the project. 

I've encounter situations where project goals collide with departments and I end up getting involved spending numerous hours resolving issues.  There are times, when issues arise due to some stakeholders not being adequately involved or the feeling that they should have been involved but weren't - This can create lots of complications and can negatively impact the project.  I've been involved in projects where ineffective stakeholder management has created project delays, increased scope, or canceled projects.

There are three key things that I remember to ensure stakeholders are managed effectively:
  • Ensure you have all the key players - Understanding the project scope and identifying positive and negative dependencies early will ensure you have a complete stakeholder registry - You lessen the risk of last minute surprises.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate - Find ways to deliver the message by using multiple channels.  Don't just depend on e-mails or meetings - If you are launching a new product - invite them to your sprint reviews or product checkpoints.  Have engaging meetings - where stakeholders participate and provide feedback.  
  • Understand your escalation path - Know your escalation path and keep them informed regularly on the project.  If a situation gets out of control, they can help remove obstacles so you can keep the project moving.
For more information about stakeholder management, please review Stakeholder Management in PMBOK.  Also, I found the below link helpful.  It is a great introduction of the 4 areas within Stakeholder Management in PMBOK:

Friday, January 11, 2013

One on One with Chris Wright

I had an opportunity to speak with Chris Wright to get a sneak peek into what our PMI chapter can expect on Monday, January 14th. Chris Wright is the founder and President of Tanden, which is a project management, leadership development, and professional training company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. His organization provides a wide variety of project leadership training and seminars, management and leadership development, and PMO consulting and portfolio management. Before Tanden, Chris was a project and program manager in the telecommunication and wireless space. He was part of the project to implement cameras in phones, which was first of its kind in 2003 – pretty cool!!!

The topic for Monday is on communicating the value of project management up the chain of command. He will be providing techniques that help us project managers educate the value and benefits of project management to senior management. When speaking with Chris and about this topic, he stressed that we as project managers often focus on a science of project management. What gets overlooked is the art of project management. “Projects are delivered by people – not delivered by templates or forms or tools. Tools support the delivery – but we often overlook the leadership side.”

One of the techniques about communicating up to senior management is the kingdom example, which he will detail out on Monday along with other examples. King is the upper management and they are accountable for different counties. He is going to share how project management can be used for the collective good for the “king”.

If you haven’t register – you don’t want to miss this meeting: