Flying just a few feet off of the wings of the pilot in front and to the right of him, this skilled pilot was determined to keep a tight formation. And he was not alone in his efforts and highly honed flying abilities, as every single pilot in his entire squadron was similarly adept at maintaining this tight formation no matter the direction, the weather, or even the specific order in which these aviators organized. The formation would have looked impressive to anyone observing from the ground, but it wasn’t a formation used to impress observers, it was utilized because it worked. By maintaining this flying organization, each member of this flying contingent was able to benefit from the lift created by the pilot off of his wing, to the tune of a 71% improvement in fuel consumption. The exception to this economy of course was for the sole lead pilot, which did not benefit from having a lead aircraft providing a boost of lift. So to account for this, each member of the flying team would Continue Reading
Simplify your project plan with a pre-flight checklist
A national project management survey released this month reports that most projects are not meeting goals, and team members are often not trained properly. While most projects are eventually completed, only one-third of them come in on time and on budget. If pilots flew aircraft like we run projects, no one would ever fly. Even now, millions of people fly for work or pleasure and flights arrive on time almost 80 percent of the time, delayed mainly by weather. Airline travel is also the safest form of long-distance travel with a fatal accident rate of .022 per 100,000 hours flown. If you flew every day of your life, you have less than a 1 percent chance of being in a fatal accident. We have been flying for just over 100 years, but project management has been around since the building of the pyramids and the Great Wall. As an instrument-rated pilot, project manager, and Agile Coach, I believe some hard-won lessons from thousands of pilots can be applied to project management as Continue Reading
Pilot, Projectmanager, Agile
To land a plane you need to line up with the runway, figure out the right rate of descent and airspeed, then monitor and manage those, all the way down to the ground. Your goal is to touch down on the runway, rather than before or after it, while traveling fast enough that the plane doesn’t stall and fall out of the sky, but slow enough that the wheels stay attached when they hit the ground, and you can stop within the amount of runway you have at your disposal. Simple? Well, not so much. How not to land a plane If you drop the average person with no experience of flying into the captain’s seat and ask them to land a plane, they will almost certainly get into trouble very quickly. Even if you line them up with the runway and tell them the rate of descent and airspeed they need to maintain, they will probably still lose control of the aircraft. What inevitably goes wrong is that the pilot-to-be assumes that you should use the throttle to control airspeed, and you should use Continue Reading
tipping point: the worst manager you ever worked for is… you?
I always enjoy hearing about the early careers of the project managers I meet. In almost every conversation, the subject turns to when they were team members being led by a highly capable senior project manager who provided guidance in starting up, executing and sometimes turning around projects. It’s also not uncommon to hear stories of the worst project manager they ever worked for. These stories, while not as glowing, also influenced their careers around what not to do. By probing a bit deeper, they offered up observations of certain behaviors that created havoc, dissatisfaction and quite often failed projects. From these observations of the worst-ever project manager, I started to put together my own thoughts on who I would select for this inglorious label. After careful consideration, I arrived at the only logical choice: me. In my early years as a project manager I managed to consistently demonstrate all of the behaviors of poor project managers. Here Continue Reading
The End: project closure done correctly
You’ve reached the final stretch! Congratulations is in order – but before the podium, comes the declaration! Everything has an end. Project closure is a time to take stock, assess the successes and failures, and take lessons and learnings that you can transfer to future projects. But so often, this stage of the project is neglected – project managers are already moving onto the next assignment and want to get things wrapped up. In order to achieve a clean project completion, a lot of activities are necessary, which do not happen by themselves, but have to be planned and controlled just like everything else. Project closure is as much a part of the project as any other project phase. As with project start, closing activities must be planned and controlled. In the best case, they are firmly integrated into the project planning. In this phase, the project manager has the last chance to actively influence his project. Anything that comes after this is beyond his power. It can be Continue Reading
Team and conflict resolution: big deal?
When did the term “conflict” get such a bad name? In my work with teams over the last 25 years all around the world, I have never found a high performing team that did not have moments when team members disagreed, debated, or argued. These teams all had a healthy respect for the value of not only having differences of opinions or perspectives, but for having learned how to manage themselves as they worked through the discord or tensions precipitated by their disputes. High performing teams have a high degree of emotional intelligence and recognize that they must go through a process of learning how to first listen to and understand diverging points of view before they can evaluate them and arrive at a converging consensus. I strongly believe that, conflict, rather than being an enemy of collaboration, is, in fact, a necessary requirement for productive and successful collaboration! When conflict is managed well creativity can be enhanced because ideas are more vigorously debated. One Continue Reading
- « Previous Page
- Next Page »