Success in Project Management by improving people skills #pmot

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’
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10 tips to eliminate the blame culture…..#pmot…#leadership

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.
  • Forgive those who exhibit redemption.
  • Celebrate success & generate genuine teamwork.

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Building great teams……..#business #leadership

Team building is not all about weekends away in the Lake District building rafts & swinging through the trees. Effective Managers employ simple everyday methods to build team performance. Here are 10 tips for great team building:-

  1. Do as I do not as I say. – If you ask team members to carry out tasks you either cannot or wouldn’t do yourself you will quickly lose respect.
  2. Eliminate the blame culture – Organizations which have an overwhelming blame culture are unproductive & waste energy. Avoid blaming others, especially in public, and seek to improve your own performance & those of your team.
  3. Open & Honest Feedback – is to be encouraged. If you want to question a team members performance it must be done in private & in an open, honest manner. Be prepared to hear things you don’t want to hear but don’t be afraid to point out weaknesses you feel need to be rectified.
  4. Don’t delegate irresponsibly –  by overloading your team or passing off un-savoury tasks you don’t fancy doing yourself. This will only create resentment & lower morale.
  5. Get your hands dirty – now & then, the team will really appreciate it – and so will you.
  6. “Big Up” your team – to Senior Management instead of taking the credit yourself.
  7. Have an “open door” policy – to listen to people’s personal problems, it will be much appreciated.
  8. Show Leadership – by taking responsibility for failure as well as success.
  9. Treat others as you would have them treat you – it’s obvious but the best advice normally is.
  10. Celebrate Success – buy the drinks, cakes – whatever but celebrate that win !

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Are you listening to the Voice Of the Customer?….#business, #innovation

One of the most difficult choices in New Product Development is in deciding what products to develop !

Lot’s of us watch “Dragons Den” on TV and it’s pretty obvious some of the budding entrepreneurs believe they have a great idea but have never even considered asking their customers or potential customers what they think.

To avoid wasting millions of dollars on products no one wants it is essential to listen to the Voice Of the Customer. (VOC)

Companies involved in New Product Development & Innovation need to establish effective methods to capture VOC.

This can take many different forms such as surveys, telephone conversations, face to face interviews, feedback forms, Social Media strategies etc etc etc

Whichever mix is used the information then has to be filtered and sorted to identify priorities for New Product Development. To do this effectively it is essential to have a multi-functional team involved to get a number of perspectives.

If you are involved in Innovation you need to capture the VOC.

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Helping you to juggle sand #pmot

Sometimes Project Management can be like “juggling sand”, tasks to complete, schedules to meet, requests to be met etc etc

If your job seems like are constantly juggling sand here are some simple tips to help you cope:-

  • Keep a notebook – it doesn’t matter how good your memory is you will NEVER remember everything.
  • Make a TO-DO list and prioritize it.
  • Say NO – if you can’t do something by a certain time don’t pretend you can.
  • Offer an alternative, if you can’t do A could you do B instead ?
  • Delegate – if you have a team delegate tasks effectively.
  • Communicate – if Management asks you to do something keep them up to date with progress.
  • Be PROACTIVE, rather than reactive.
  • ANTICIPATE problems before they present themselves.
  • Manage your time – if its simpler to phone rather than visit someone then do that.
  • Follow up verbal requests with an email so you have a traceable record.
  • Be Assertive, don’t swallow more than you can chew.

If you have any more suggestions please share them by commenting below.

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Great #design brings great results….#engineering

quashqai Recently released results from Nissan the Japanese automotive manufacturer illustrate how good product design leads to improved financial returns.

Nissan’s Net Profit was up a whopping 7% at 341.43 billion Yen and Turnover was also up 7.2% at 341.43 billion Yen.

This was largely based on sales of the distinctive Quashqai SUV in Europe.

Quashqai’s design team was  headed up by Stephane Schwartz who conceived the distinctive ‘bone line’ styling whilst thinking about Lean & Athletic images at his home in London. Nissan’s European design studio was put to work on the Quashqai at its base in Paddington London and the results are reflected in Nissan’s financial performance despite a strong Yen.

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Management by walking around…

Are you a Manager ? Do you spend all day glued to your screen ? Are you stuck in your “Ivory Tower” ? Are you far too busy to leave your office to walk around ? Think again….. In the book “In Search of Excellence” by Thomas J. Peters, Robert H. Waterman, Management By Walking Around or MBWA is described as “Getting management out of the office”. At United Airlines, Ed Carlson labeled it Visible Management or management by walking about. The Hewlett-Packard (HP) version of management by walking around” describes this technique as “marked by personal involvement, good listening skills and the recognition that everyone in an organization wants to do a good job.” Simply walking around is one of the most significant Management techniques you can employ, people feel valued that a Senior Manager has taken the time to get out and listen to her staff. “If you wait for people to come to you, you’ll only get small problems. You must go and find them. The big problems are where people don’t realize they have one in the first place.” – W. Edwards Deming Tomorrow get off your butt and have a walk around, you won’t regret it! chris@projectsguru.co.uk www.projectsguru.co.uk Follow projectsguru on Twitter View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

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When did you last hear bad news…?#pmot

shoutingManagers often complain they never get told bad news.

If you are one of those Managers maybe you should consider how you reacted the last time one of your Team actually gave you bad news.

If you reacted by shouting, by being aggressive or acting as if the world had come to an end you could hardly be surprised if no one wanted to tell you something you didn’t want to hear.

Communication is a two way process so if you want people to tell you stuff you may not like it may pay to keep your reactions in check

How did you react the last time someone gave YOU bad news ?

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Should have gone to Spec wavers..#pmot #in

product specHow many times have you worked on projects where the product spec is not defined?

This leads to all sorts of issues as the customer tweaks the product spec and the designer responds accordingly, trying to keep the customer happy but at the same time disappointing her because the timescale keeps getting extended to accommodate the changes.  A vicious circle develops leading to frustration on all sides & a perception of incompetence which can lead to loss of all important business.

This can be fixed by adopting the following practice:-

1)      A milestone MUST be put in the plan, somewhere in the design phase, for product spec sign off by both parties.

2)      It should be clearly communicated and understood that any changes following this milestone will be under change control, approved by Senior Management and will impact the timing plan & probably have a cost impact.

This practice is good for both customer & supplier. It forces the customer to clarify what they want and leaves the supplier with no excuse for not meeting planned deliverables once the spec is fixed.

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10 tips to get that problem project back on track #pmot #in

1)       Create Space – nothing clouds judgement more than pressure to create a fast solution. Tell stakeholders you are assessing the situation and will provide an update in 1 weeks time.

2)       Talk to everyone involved in the project and get their perspective. Make it an informal chat, reduce the pressure and you will get more honesty.

3)       When you have identified what the problem is get the team together to Brainstorm possible solutions. Try an Ishikawa diagram to clarify whether the problem is with men (people) , machines, method, materials or environment (external factors)Ishikawa Diagram

4)       Pick the top three possible solutions and start experimental work to evaluate success.

5)       Implement the solutions in the timeline to evaluate timescales.

6)        Agree with the Team a primary solution and a contingency plan.

7)       Inform stakeholders of the revised timescale.

8)       Execute the plan, keep a close watch on progress and issue daily updates if required.

9)       On completion hold a “lessons learned”  meeting to minimize the chances of repetition.

10)    Celebrate Success – take  the team for a beer  or a sticky cake 😉

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