Posts Tagged ‘project management training’
Whenever a group of people get together to get something done, there are five role-related questions that should be asked immediately to focus their efforts and avoid wasting anyone’s time. This new article at my WORTH SHARING website presents these questions and provides a tool to help you find the answers together, as a team. Check it out!
Edited: November 21st, 2016
Loads of links & plenty of great free resources to help you retool! Check out the full article here.
Edited: June 28th, 2016
Edited: December 17th, 2015
Then you need the PM Minimalist Quiz & Exercise! This document is a generic version of the quiz/exercise I use to start my custom, on-site PM classes. It is carefully designed (by me… a former instructional designer!) to measure students’ comprehension of the most important PM Minimalist terms and concepts, while challenging them to come up with specific, immediately useful ways to improve their specific PM processes. The PDF includes:
- A two-part Quiz with 39 matching/fill-in-the-blank items
- A four-part analytical Exercise which guides students through a detailed analysis of their specific PM practices and how they might improve them by applying what they learned in the PM Minimalist book.
- An Answer Key, providing feedback on the Quiz (Note: This Answer Key is self-contained on the last page of the PDF document, so if you’re teaching a class you can print this page separately and share it after they complete the Quiz.)
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Edited: November 4th, 2015
I was recently corresponding with Geoff Crane, the creative force behind The Papercut Project Manager website, about how people can get started in Project Management (PM). After some thought-provoking back and forth with him on the topic, I was inspired to create the following article. (Thanks, Geoff!)
In more than three decades of working with PM newbies in my classes, I’ve heard a lot of great stories about how people became project managers. Based on what I’ve heard, I have two broad suggestions for anyone who would like to get that first job as a project manager:
- Become a valuable and trusted contributor on project teams.
- “Act as if” you are in charge of (or at least responsible for) one or more projects.
Here’s a closer look each of these.
Become a Valuable and Trusted Project Contributor
Something every would-be project manager ought to consider: PM is an activity that is often regarded as “overhead.” That means that the time project managers spend on their PM chores is budgeted under “administrative costs” or a similar heading. In contrast, the primary work of creating project deliverables is typically done by specialists in a given field. The scriptwriters, computer programmers, researchers, systems analysts, plumbers and electricians, etc. – all these folks make unique contributions that are based on their mastering a chosen specialty. Over time, if they do good work, they come to be regarded as valuable and trusted project contributors. They are the “go to” people who get things done, know how to deal with obstacles and can creatively invent short-cuts that can be implemented without sacrificing quality.
Now if you are going to manage a project in a given field, you need to have developed a substantial working knowledge of that field for two primary reasons:
- Your detailed plans, inspections, reviews and client/stakeholder outreach efforts need to make sense within the context of that field and its professional “best practices” and,
- You need to have the respect of those key project contributors so that when you ask them to do something they trust that you know what you’re talking about and will comply. And the best way to get their respect is if you, yourself, have spent some time working shoulder-to-shoulder with them, getting good results.
So whether you’re trying to create an accurate task list and matching project schedule, trying to sell the project to stakeholders whose support you need or trying to nudge project team members to take a specific course of action, it really helps to have spent some time yourself as a project team member, making valuable contributions and earning the trust of your peers, SMEs and other stakeholders. (And it also helps if you love this field, can empathize with the passions of its practitioners and truly enjoy working with them!)
“Act as If” You Are Responsible
In his book The Power of Intention, Wayne Dyer suggests that we: “Act as if everything you desire is already here… treat yourself as if you already are what you’d like to become.” And in his book,Get Out of Your Own Way, Robert K. Cooper writes: “Brain scans show that simply imagining a complex and compelling goal will actually fire the same neurons that will be required to actually achieve the goal… In order to sense a new idea or shape a better future, we must first create it in the brain as a possibility…”
Translating these high-sounding suggestions to our topic of getting a foothold in PM (and getting a bit more specific) here is a list of things I’ve observed that “ordinary” project team members were doing just before they broke into their official role of project manager:
- Anticipating problems that the team might face, then helping to prevent them
- Going beyond simply enduring or complaining about obstacles or roadblocks to taking the actions that were necessary to help remove them
- Filling in the gaps by doing the dirty, thankless jobs when no one else was available in order to keep the project moving
- Stepping up and acting on behalf of — or, more specifically, acting as if they “owned”:
- The schedule
- The budget
- The resource work load that may have needed balancing
- The quality of the finished product
- Advocating on behalf of team members who wouldn’t (or couldn’t) speak up for themselves
- Serving as a bridge between stakeholders and the professionals on the project team by helping translate technical jargon, explain field-specific best practices or generally selling the project and its value
- Leading, in critical moments when there was no one else around to serve as leader
In short, when a member of the project team starts doing the kinds of things listed above, the senior managers and stakeholders who are orbiting the project begin to listen more carefully when this person speaks. And eventually this person acquires the personal gravitas to be asked to serve, officially, as a project manager.
Like a Glacier
If you practice the two broad collections of behaviors discussed above, it is almost inevitable that you acquire the job title of project manager. And this job title will be deserved because you have authentically:
- Mastered a profession and earned the respect of your peers through a track record of competence
- Become a de facto project manager by “acting as if” you own and take responsibility for the projects on which you work
Do these things and slowly but surely, with the inevitability of a glacier moving inexorably down a mountain, you will become a project manager.
Suggested Links (Further Study)
- Project Management is a Broad Human Practice, not Merely a Profession (See also several links at the end of this article.)
- Podcast: Act As If
- Podcast: Trust Your Judgment
- Podcast: Just Do It!
Edited: May 28th, 2014
This article summarizes a process by which you can create a comprehensive, locally-relevant set of “PM Job Tasks and Competencies Based on Job Level” that can serve as the foundation of your organization’s unique PM Job Model. This, in turn, can be used as a powerful reference tool to guide the evolution of each project manager’s individual career, including helping structure performance evaluations, coaching, PM training and education, and HR initiatives related to PM and PM career development.
Edited: October 23rd, 2013
Question: What’s 2 1/2 inches thick*, weighs over 5 lbs*, and has 63 chapters all about Project Management? Answer: The Gower Handbook of People in Project Management! I am proud to be one of the book’s 46 PM authors. I contributed Chapter 60, Project Management Certification: Taking Charge Locally. Check out this great work created and edited by Lindsay Scott and Dennis Lock at these links:
- Main web page for book
- Full Contents Listing
- Notes on Contributors
- Chapter 1: People in Project Management
* (Also available in ePub & PDF ebook formats. See book’s main web page.)
FYI: The chapter I contributed was based on these publications:
- Seven Benefits of Local PM Certification: Why Pursuing Locally-Relevant PM Skills Makes More Sense Than Buying Generic, External PM Certifications
- Do-It-Yourself PM Certification: How to Document Your Skills & Get the Credibility You’ve Earned without Jumping Through Someone Else’s Hoops
Edited: September 14th, 2013
Since I launched my first iteration of this PM (project management) Resources website in 1999 (over 14 years ago!), I’ve been happily sharing free tools, articles, and more to help new project managers become more effective. Recently I examined the statistics and compiled this list of those most frequently downloaded or read. Thanks to all of you who’ve used these and shared them with your colleagues! And if you’re new to this site or new to PM you might want to check these out for yourself. Enjoy!
2. Project “Post Mortem” Review Questions. This tool includes 35 starter questions (customizable) and instructions for conducting your own Post Mortem. It’s useful for evaluating a single project or as the starting point for an organization-wide discussion of this question: “How can we manage our projects more effectively?”
3. Worksheet: Sample Project Sign-Off Form. Projects are, by definition, finite. And sign-offs provide tangible proof that some portion of your finite project is (finally!) completed, thus helping to mitigate rework. This sample can be used as a model for developing your own sign-off form for your project phases, deliverables, 0r project completion.
4. The PM Minimalist Quick Start Guide is designed to help you plan and manage your first project using the PM Minimalist approach.
This 38 page e-book is available in Kindle, NOOK, and PDF formats.
5. Free E-Book: One Simple Thing to Improve Projects or PM (An Anthology) — In this e-book anthology, many working project managers & PM experts share their “one simple thing…” that could improve projects and/or project management (PM). Available in Kindle, NOOK, and PDF formats.
6. Do-It-Yourself PM Certification: How to Document Your Skills & Get the Credibility You’ve Earned without Jumping Through Someone Else’s Hoops – This extended article (PDF) explores the distinction between competence and certification. It then provides a professionally valid, step-by-step process for documenting your own PM skills and self-certifying. –
- See related article/PDF: Seven Benefits of Local PM Certification — Why Pursuing Locally-Relevant PM Skills Makes More Sense Than Buying Generic, External PM Certifications
7. Video Series: Become a Project Management Minimalist – This series of 8 free online videos is designed to help you apply “just enough” project management (PM) to manage your projects effectively.
8. What’s Project Portfolio Management (PPM) & Why Should Project Managers Care About It? – The title says it all!
9. Too Many Projects? Prioritize Them! — A practical guide and sample worksheet to help you prioritize that overloaded list of projects. (See also the related item 8, above.)
10. (Video) The Project Management Change Agent: How to Lead Your PM Revolution (55 minute video includes links to 25-page PDF.) – Are you ready to be the change agent who brings about a PM revolution in your organization. This video can show you how to conduct some “below the radar” guerrilla PM warfare.
Edited: July 3rd, 2013
How to Lead Your PM Revolution
Is your organization ready for a project management (PM) revolution?
- Are your projects always running late, over budget, and plagued by “do overs?”
- Do people hate working on your project teams and try to avoid being assigned to projects?
- Are you continually reworking and reworking deliverables because you just can’t seem to get it right in the first place?
And if it is time for a PM revolution, then where should you begin?
This video is for everyone who wants to be the change agent who brings about a PM revolution in their organization. Whether you are a middle manager, HR professional, supervisor, or simply a task specialist who wants to conduct some “below the radar” guerrilla PM warfare, you can benefit from this video & the accompanying 25-page PDF (click here to download the PDF). (Scroll down below the video image to see a complete outline of the topics covered.)
Edited: February 25th, 2013
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[UPDATE: SPECIAL OFFER NOW EXTENDED THRU CYBER-MONDAY!]
This Thanksgiving Week I’ve decided to join in all the “Black Friday” and “Pre-Black Friday” fun to offer you The Project Management Minimalist: Just Enough PM To Rock Your Projects e-book (password-protected PDF version) for JUST $5!
This PM reference book has everything you need to organize your project, your team, and yourself. (Scroll down for video overview!)
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Edited: November 20th, 2012