There are several things which make for a successful project, here are some of them:-
1) The product or service which is the output of the project can be clearly specified. This is easier said than done especially when the output is a software system or something which is difficult to define. However, this makes the product spec more not less necessary. If the project is to be deemed a success the output needs to be defined as clearly and thoroughly as possible.
2) The product or service has one clearly defined customer. It is always easier to meet the demands of one tough customer rather than the competing demands of several. It is important to meet the customer or their representative face to face to agree the spec.
3) The Project Manager has experience of delivering similar projects.
4) The Team has been through the Storming, Forming & Norming stages of Team development.
5) The Team is multi-functional & chosen for this specific project.
6) The project is planned properly – 70-80% of the PM’s efforts should be expended in the planning phase, the plan should be repeatedly reviewed by the Team, and proper contingency should be put in place to manage the risks.
7) The PM needs real authority in order to ‘get stuff done’
8) Regular Team meetings need to be held to review progress.
9) The team are located in the same building, even better the same room.
A recent report from Deloitte suggests that bringing jobs back in house (Insourcing) is a small but growing trend against the much larger tendency to Outsource which has dominated western industry for the last thirty years.
Companies are increasingly realizing that Outsourcing is no longer the best value option. Anyone who has been involved in Outsourcing knows it is never as simple as it’s made out, often requiring intensive effort from Managerial & Engineering staff & extensive, frequent travel. Not to mention increased wage costs in China & India, increased shipping costs and numerous supply chain delays.
The biggest issue Western companies face with Insourcing is the lack of trained, skilled staff to deliver the service. Having made thousands of workers redundant in the pursuit of cheaper Outsource options this is somewhat ironic.
This need may be met by making good use of the highly skilled Freelance professionals who operate in the market to satisfy just such demand. firstname.lastname@example.org
Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement as Manager of Manchester United today, after 26 years in the job. No matter who you support there is no doubt that Sir Alex is the most successful club Manager ever. Here are some things he taught us:-
Everyone loves a winner – even if that admiration is expressed as jealousy, to win is to succeed.
Age is no barrier – Sir Alex is 71 & is retiring 6 years older than the “official” retirement age.
Background is no barrier to success – he had a tough upbringing in Govan, Glasgow & some would say that was to his benefit.
He evolved – adapting his Management skills to a changing environment.
It’s OK to lose your temper occasionally – it demonstrates passion.
He treats everyone as an individual – recognizing that everyone is different.
He created winning Teams – developing a unifying winning culture.
He was fearless – willing to take on anyone who disagreed with him.
He was Ruthless – never scared to drop fans favorite players if they stepped out of line.
Project Managers are generally encouraged to be persistent and this characteristic is normally seen to be a “good” thing and something to be encouraged.
Sometimes, however, being persistent can bring “bad” results.
Consider the case of a Project Manager who has a preconceived agenda & seeks to impose it on a meeker member of the team. Despite the initial objections of the Team member the Project Manager persists and “badgers” the other into doing what She wants.
Six months later the project hits a major hurdle and the Project Manager realizes this was exactly what She was warned about all those months ago but chose to ignore in order to bash ahead with her agenda.
The wise Project Manager always listens to her Team and is prepared to question her own agenda with as open a mind as possible.
Persistence is a great attribute of any Project Manager but not when it impedes good judgement.
So you reallywant to start your own Consultancy business from scratch !?
Here are some tips I hope will help:-
Identify your key skills – if you want to sell yourself as a Consultant the first thing you need to identify is the skills you possess which people will be willing to pay for. If you can’t do this don’t give up your day job.
Develop a Business Plan – don’t put it off because you can’t be bothered or don’t think it’s necessary. If you want people to take you seriously as a Business you need to start thinking like a Business.
Identify your target market – who are you going to sell your skills to ? – your current or former employer perhaps ? Former customers or suppliers, ex colleagues, business partners etc etc
Network – Develop your contacts, LinkedIn is great for this but don’t forget about your address book & business card collection.
Have a look at the Professional Contractors Group websitewww.pcg.org.uk – it has a fantastic free downloadable guide for freelancers/consultants.
If you still want to take the plunge this is perhaps the hardest step of all – You will need a MINIMUM of 6 months income in the bank before you start. Do not plan to earn anything from your Consultancy business for the first six months. If you really want to succeed with your own Consultancy business you will find this money. If you see this as too big a hurdle then sorry but Consultancy is not for you.
Look out for my new book “Start your own Consultancy – Now!”
Rafael Benitez the current Chelsea F.C Manager has been having a bit of a rant about his job title including “interim”.
But that’s exactly what he signed up to when he took the job!
Benitez was appointed Chelsea F.C Manager until the end of the season and that makes him an “interim”
Anyway, what’s wrong with that ? Those of us who are Professional Interim Managers by choice are proud of the fact. We provide an essential service in an increasingly fragmented economy where flexibility is a key factor for success and interim personnel are valued for the contribution they make.
Come on Rafa ! celebrate your interim status with pride.
Whatever type of Project you are Managing results will be improved by paying more attention to your people skills:-
Treat others as you would expect to be treated yourself – it’s so obvious but so easily neglected. When the pressure is on it’s even more important. Every word you say, every action you take needs to take into consideration the impact on the feelings of those around you. It sounds a bit ‘wet’ but if you consistently neglect the impact your actions have on others you will pay the price of poor Team performance and morale.
Communicate – keep the team informed by giving regular briefings and updates.
Don’t rely on email – it’s a great way of communicating complex information but terrible at conveying emotions.
Face to Face – the most effective way of communicating. Sit down with your key team members at least once a week.
Leave the door open – always make yourself available for a private chat.
Make it fun – it’s all too easy to get bogged down in the bureaucracy of project management – keep a sense of humor & maintain a positive outlook.
Never criticize anyone in front of the Team – keep it for your one to one.
Open & Honest – personal communication should make your team members aware of your thoughts. This means telling people face to face what you think is good & what you think is bad. This requires you to listen openly without interrupting & being argumentative. Through this process your team will gain respect for your point of view & learn that you are a good listener.
Treat people equally – whether they are the cleaner or the CEO.
These issues will be further explored in my forthcoming book – ‘The Projectsguru guide to effective Project Management’ email@example.com
Changing a company culture is not an easy thing to do & the blame culture which is endemic to many organizations needs to be eliminated for innovation to thrive. Here are some tips to eliminate the blame culture:-
Adopt a leadership position by ignoring the accepted blame culture & practicing a solution based mind set.
Instead of asking who did what & why identify the steps required to move from the current position to the desired one.
Look to the future not the past, develop a vision of where you want the organization to be.
Ignore the jibes of others who try to lay the blame by focusing on the steps required to achieve the desired outcome.
Lead by example – people will begin to notice & copy positive behavior.
Reward positive behavior with encouragement.
Deal with negative behavior by ignoring it.
Promote positive people within the organization at the expense of those who cannot change.