The Other Half of Project Kickoff You’ve Forgotten

For most, the project kickoff is just a one-and-done event where the project manager articulates the goals and context of a new project for the team. However, the kickoff can and should be more than that. As project leadership coach Susanne Madsen explains in a post at her website, the kickoff can also be used to define the team identity. Taking this extra step will greatly improve the odds of project success. Strong Team, Strong …

Read More »

How to Identify Risks with a SWOT Analysis

Project managers can use several tools to identify project risks, including interviews, brainstorming, checklists, assumption analysis, cause-and-effect diagrams, the nominal group technique, and affinity diagrams. One of my favorite techniques is the SWOT analysis, where you and your team can identify and prioritize strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Once you’ve completed the SWOT analysis, you will have identified opportunities (positive risks) and threats (negative risks), inputs for your risk register. The information can help you …

Read More »

Untangling Your Organization’s Decision-Making

Armed with extensive analytics, and being mindful of the many biases that affect our perceptions, business leaders should be better equipped to make decisions than ever. However, business complexity has also increased such that decision-making accountability has become too messily dispersed. The final result is a tangle. In an article for McKinsey, Aaron De Smet, Gerald Lackey, and Leigh M. Weiss comprehensively address how to clean up decision-making processes in your business. Piercing the Impenetrable …

Read More »

The Sponsor Makes or Breaks Your Project Success

Stormy times are upon us, literally, but also perhaps in the life of your project. A project sponsor is supposed to be your umbrella in the storm, in addition to the flashlight and the blinking directional signs. When the sponsor stops acting in any of those functions, you can get wet and lost real quick. In a post at Project Bliss, Leigh Espy explains the many benefits of great project sponsors—and what happens when they …

Read More »

Use Feasibility Studies to Ensure Your Project Can Succeed

Pilot projects, management software, and agile implementations are all great avenues to getting a stronger hold on projects. But there might be something even simpler than those options for ensuring the viability of a pending project. In an article for Tech Pro Research, Mary Shacklett discusses the overlooked value of feasibility studies. Plausible Plans Shacklett describes feasibility studies as occurring during project preplanning, after project conception but before presentation of the project concept to management. …

Read More »

How to Find the Value of Service Improvement & Sell It to Leadership

In tougher economic times, many organizations will start to evaluate all the components that make up their operational model. In other words, they look for value. A challenge for those delivering services will be to illustrate not only the current value that they provide but also future-state value that can be added with some margin-of-improvement initiatives. When speaking about business value, we must first recognize that this term can be interpreted in slightly different ways. …

Read More »

The 4 Types of Project Manager

There is more than one way to grow a company, and project managers are actually at the core of that growth. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Carsten Lund Pedersen and Thomas Ritter identify four different types of project manager that can help the business grow in different ways. They say your organization should try to retain a healthy mixture of all four of these types: Executor Expert Gambler Prophet A Reliable Quartet The …

Read More »

5 Factors Complicating Today’s IT

IT is in a weird spot when it comes to innovation and internal maintenance. There’s a pressure to be on the cutting edge, but there’s also an expectation to maintain exceptional daily operations. The large majority of IT’s time is spent on the latter, and you can’t reinvent the wheel if all you do all day is make more wheels. In an article for InformationWeek, Tim Herbert identifies five of the biggest factors making your …

Read More »

Your Leadership Development Strategy Isn’t Good Enough

Anything that claims to have the silver bullet for a problem is usually wrong. Be it taking weight loss pills, becoming a millionaire, or even just getting your kids to eat cauliflower, solutions are a lot more complicated than that. This same principle applies to the epidemic of floundering leadership development. Drawing from research conducted at McKinsey & Company, Claudio Feser, Nicolai Nielsen, and Michael Rennie share four more effective strategies for developing leaders: Focus …

Read More »

8 Tips to Set and Manage Project Expectations

Managing expectations is crucial to keeping a project from imploding in on itself. If one camp thinks the project is a week late and another thinks it’s three months ahead, you have a severe conflict of views that could wreak havoc on the schedule and the budget. In an article for CIO.com, Jennifer Lonoff Schiff gives eight suggestions you can use for setting and managing expectations: Put together the right team. Build in a discovery …

Read More »