When projects don't work out, it's easy to just blame the failure on others, but it's ultimately counterproductive. Here's how to focus on resolving issues. Whether it's work "politics" or anger at the current political administration, there's an overabundance of blame, angst, and even visceral anger directed at various entities, both real and imagined. Whole industries have sprung up around this phenomenon. On the professional side, decades after IT became a staple of companies large and small, we're still hearing about the antics of "the business," and what seems like a constant campaign of sabotaging our purest intentions in IT. If you've ever been on the other side of that equation, you've probably sat in similar meetings where voices were raised in anger over IT sabotaging every noble action. Software and services companies have jumped on the bandwagon, using the stereotype of diametrically opposed IT and business entities to sell reporting tools, software, and consulting Continue Reading
How to manage conflict: Thomas-Kilmann to the rescue!
Projects can be a hotbed of conflict. From the difficult stakeholder who wants to undermine the project’s success to a disagreement about a feature of a deliverable, project work lends itself to workplace conflict situations. And project managers contribute hugely to that because we go out and look for it. We challenge leaders, we talk about risk and what might go wrong and we call people out on poor performance through project monitoring and control.You could say, part of the job is in fact looking for trouble Conflict should be a healthy part of any team’s development, and it’s a good way to challenge requirements and ensure that your business case and plans stand up to scrutiny. So while you shouldn’t shy away from conflict, it does help to be prepared for it. Conflict can be good – both for the project and the team – if it’s handled correctly. When conflict is constructive it means that we examine our different points of views with an open mind and learn from each other. The real Continue Reading
Back on Track: How to manager Your Post-Vacation To-Do List
Some people return to hundreds of unread emails, dozens of unaccomplished tasks and the to-do list from hell. What started as an enjoyable time away from the office ends with skyrocketing stress levels and a sense of dread. While there might not be a perfect fix for taming the post-vacation to-do list, there are a few strategies you can employ to make sure your first few post-vacation workdays are manageable. Limit Obligations. Don't schedule a handful of meetings for your first day back from vacation, at least not early in the day. While it may help you understand what you missed, it's best to spend a good portion of the first day working through and planning your to-do list. If you wait to organize your work and push off responsibilities, you may find yourself even more stressed out two or three days after you've returned. That being said, you don't want to overdo it your first day back. Manage your inbox. One of the most dreaded post-vacation tasks is going through the Continue Reading
Nothing wrong in taking a break and do nothing: happy holidays!
“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” – Robert Orben Many of the world’s most successful and productive people who see the value of taking a break from the chaos of everyday life so they can think and be creative are scheduling time to do absolutely nothing into their calendars. Microsoft founder Bill Gates has a long-standing habit of taking breaks called Think Weeks to slow down, recalibrate and gain clarity on his best way to move forward. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur like Bill Gates to make slowing down a part of your life or restrict it to several weeks a year. Try taking a cue from other cultures: One of my favorite Italian sayings is "Dolce far Niente", which means "the sweetness of doing nothing." It does not mean being lazy, it is referring to the pleasure one gets from being idle. The ability to completely enjoy and savor a moment. For Italians this concept is a part of everyday life; spending time with friends at a café, sipping wine at Continue Reading
So you are the new manager? Cool, what now!
If you’ve been promoted to management for the first time, you’re probably stoked about your new gig, ready to take charge, and, let's be honest, contemplating how to spend your first new salary. But, if you’re like most, you’re also feeling pretty terrified. While graduating to management is a huge accomplishment, it's also the beginning of a pretty serious challenge. Not quite sure where to start? Get off on the right foot with these steps for a smooth transition. Get Smart: First off, make it your personal mission to learn everything you can—believe me, this is the big key to success as a new manager. Seek out the management tools, resources, and classes that your company offers. Some organizations have formal supervisor training, and nearly all have manuals and Human Resources policies. Read them, digest them, and keep them on your bookshelf. You should also do some digging and learn more about each of the people you'll be managing. Review their personnel files, their resumes, Continue Reading
Project Managers: high performers and what they do differently
I have already written articles about what it is to be a good project manager. Yes, and I am not referring to myself. I am still somewhat surprised – though I probably shouldn’t be— that the behavioral characteristics of a good project manager are still the same, but what attributes makes a great project manager? High performers actively and regularly seek out reviews and feedback How do project managers perceive their performance? In general, we project managers tend to view our own performances very positively, and this becomes even more pronounced when we compare our performance against our fellow project managers. The truth is that most of us have a terrible ability to self-assess. We simply don’t see ourselves or our performance the way our stakeholders do. The most common way this manifests is that we overestimate how well we do common tasks. Sanity check: We can begin by realizing that the way others experience us is different than how we perceive ourselves, and the news Continue Reading
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