Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Festive Greeting's from Unlike Before

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The festive season is a time of thanks and giving. Once again we thank you for your support in 2013 by giving to Kiva through loans that change lives. From Armenia to Kenya, Paraguay to Peru, Iraq to Ecuador our contributions help those striving to create opportunity and better lives for themselves and their families.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas, happy holiday and a fulfilling and prosperous 2014.

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Bring Back Management

There’s something about leadership that’s been nagging at me for a while. It’s nothing to do with leadership itself because leadership has a clear and important role to play in business, personal and career development. My nagging niggle is the amount written about leadership; its airtime is huge making it appear like the be-all and end-all of skills for anyone in charge.

Yet it seems, to me at least, that other skills and knowledge are suffering. Have the fundamentals of management gone so far out of fashion that they’re being lost completely?

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Solution Is In There Somewhere

When faced with a problem that could have multiple solutions, what do you do? There are plenty of resources available about problem solving yet like so many other things the zeal for which a technique or methodology is pursued or applied doesn’t always deliver the best or most appropriate results. And anyway, what’s wrong with the KISS (keep it simple stupid) approach? It’s very effective and can remove a plethora of bureaucracy. There are other benefits too, 4 of which I’ve explored further in this month’s article.

Have a read and tell us how you go about uncovering and agreeing solutions to project challenges.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The #PMFlashBlog - Right here, Right now

You knew this was coming and now it's here:

#PMFlashBlog - What Project Management Means To Me

Project Management is an interesting beast conjuring up lots of images and meaning many things to many people. Those who do it are professional in their work yet the debate rages as to whether it’s a profession in its own right. I don’t think it matters much if the people doing it are professional in their actions and desire to do quality and valuable work. Ultimately it’s about people, change, leadership and management. But this post isn’t a debate about what project management is or isn’t. No, it’s a post about what project management means to me. 

So, regardless of your experience, involvement with it or credentials, I believe project management exists to contribute and deliver value to an organisation and its business. This must never be underestimated or lost sight of.

With that in mind here’s what project management means to me…

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

#PMFlashBlog - Coming Soon to a Blog near you!

September 25th at 0100hours GMT - Mark your calendars!

Introducing the first ever #PMFlashBlog event - the brainchild and fab initiative of Shim Marom. With the theme of 'What does project management mean to me' this is virtual networking and collaboration at its best.

With 70+ (the number just keeps growing!) project management bloggers from around the globe involved we're all writing about the same topic with publication synchronised for the same time.

Read more to view the entire list of contributors or click here to see an excellent world map infographic created by Henny Portman (one of the many #PMFlashBlog'ers) that shows the locations of all those taking part.

Subscribe to the RSS feeds, follow us on Twitter and join in with a global event that will be informative, educational and entertaining.

Don't forget... September 25th at 0100hours GMT.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Holidays Are No Excuse For Delay

It’s August and across much of the UK and Europe that means holiday. Companies that don’t close completely are usually operational with the bare minimum of staff as the majority enjoy being away from the office and email. Those who are working at this time can find it difficult to make progress on anything but the most standard activities. 

As holiday periods get closer people and activities naturally slow down. Interest wanes, attention wavers and conversations are more about plans and less about the task at hand. Once holidays are taken and everyone’s returned it can take days and sometimes weeks for people and activities to ramp up again. Whether it’s August in the northern hemisphere or December in the southern, the holiday period can have a serious impact. 

Can a period of complete inactivity be avoided? Yes. Can momentum be maintained and deadlines achieved even during slow periods? Yes. 

While we all do our utmost to plan ahead here are 4 things that can help reduce delays that would otherwise be an acceptable part of doing business during the holidays. 

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Sales vs Implementation Trap

Recently the news has been full of failed tech projects. Some are major government investments that have either been canned or are currently at risk. Others may be smaller yet the waste of time and money, not to mention the impact on reputation, are no less significant for the business or suppliers concerned. 

The reasons for failure are many and varied. Often seeds are sown during the early stages before there’s any sniff of a project let alone implementation. Expectations on both sides of the fence form and quite frequently remain unspoken. These sprout and grow as time progresses.

Back in 2011 I wrote a blog post about expectations of stakeholders and the role they play as an initiative moves from sales to implementation. It was a lead in to a guest spot on PMChat with Robert Kelly and Rob Prinzo. It's as valid now as it was then so I'm republishing it to trigger thinking and maybe, just maybe, tangible change through action.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

4 Key Takeaways From A London Conference

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have noticed my tweets last week came from the Business Process Management Europe Conference in London. It was co-located with the Enterprise Architecture Europe Conference and expertly hosted by IRM UK. It’s a long time since I’ve been to a conference and my expectations of both the speakers and content were high.

There were around 250 attendees representing 30 or more countries and many have blogged about their experience. Rather than taking you through the conference, its content and highlights from the various speakers I heard, I thought I’d share my 4 key takeaways. While they won’t surprise you they should confirm you’re either on the right track when it comes to influencing and delivering change or that some course correction is well overdue.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Pied Piper of Leadership

On a recent trip to NZ I finally had time to visit the Hard to Find (but worth the effort) Book Shop in Auckland. It’s actually quite easy to find if you know where to look and once you’re in there very easy to get lost amongst the huge and eclectic collection of books. I was on the hunt for a birthday gift and once I found what I wanted hidden in English History amongst a host of fascinating titles, I was distracted by the business section. As I looked up and down the shelves Amanda Sinclair’s Leadership for the Disillusioned caught my eye. It was the word disillusioned that got me and my interest increased as I scanned the Introduction where the first 2 sentences read:

“This leadership book is not about how to run a company. It is for those who are disillusioned by their encounters with leaders and leadership: with idealised heroic performances, impoverished theories and oversimplified templates.”

I bought the book and this post expands one particular gem that when read made me exclaim ‘Yes, that’s exactly what it is!’

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

It's All In The DNA

It’s not often I register for a webcast but something about the Deloitte’s IWD (International Women’s Day) 2013 one piqued my interest. The subject was ‘Inclusive Leadership as the missing link for advancing women’ and it got me thinking… Is ‘Inclusive Leadership’ just another buzzword and why, if it really is something new, would it make a difference to the advancement of women? 

While there was a lot of interesting discussion and some good points made by the panel, the questions and responses didn’t really identify or highlight anything I hadn’t already seen or experienced. As the webcast progressed it seemed Inclusive Leadership was another way of giving a label to the behaviours leaders ought, in my mind, to be exhibiting anyway. Then finally the last question came – What is the definition of Inclusive Leadership? 

Friday, 8 March 2013

And The Winners Are

The Academy Awards ceremony, otherwise known as The Oscars, was held on Sunday 24 February 2013. A night of glitz and glamour where gongs are given, speeches made and the occasional mishap occurs.

On this same night another glittering star-studded Oscar ceremony took place – the virtual Project Management Oscars. To quote directly…

“For The Third Year In a Row #pduOTDPDU Of The Day (pduOTD.com) tweeted their choices for 150 of the “Best of the Best PM BA Leadership & Agile/IT Twitter Users” & issued them PM Oscars throughout the day.  Every 5 minutes @pduOTD gave out another #PM_Oscar to an amazing person or organization.”

With sequins in place, lip gloss applied and acceptance speeches at the ready the Twitter community traversed the red carpet then waited with baited breath to see who would be honoured as Best of the Best. 

As Martin Chernenkoff and @pduOTD announced, one after another, an amazing list of talented knowledgeable #PM_Oscar winners I was heard to tweet “OMG, seriously?! WOW! Honoured, gosh”. To be awarded a prestigious PM Oscar by your peers and colleagues ‘For Excellence in International Project Fixing of Business IT Projects’ in the category Highlighting Project Management Field Experts, is a wonderful compliment.

Congratulations to Martin and @pduOTD on a superb ceremony and for their excellent work supporting PM’s around the globe. 

Now without further ado or falling over on my way to the podium, I’d like to thank…

A recap of all the Winners can be found here.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

'Manager' - Not Just a Job Title

The posts you read on this blog are mostly about projects, the way an organisations DNA must change if it wants what it says it does, and the challenge of balancing the business drivers for that change with the dynamics of those on the receiving end of it. 

Balancing all this takes a combination of leadership and management. Without leadership people won’t have direction or guidance, and without management the company has no clue whether they’ve achieved the desired result or not. A company can be as inclusive as it likes, empower its employees, and push the boundaries of innovation but…  if it has people filling roles entitled ‘manager’ without knowing how to manage, it’s got a problem.

From executive level to daily ops, from programmes of multi-million dollar/pound/euro proportions to projects with miniscule budgets, the ability to manage is critical. Yet ‘management’ seems to have been pushed into the background. Execs that give a damn may now been seen as abdicating responsibility as, unwilling to deal with conflict or with bigger fish to fry, they look to their direct reports to pick up the slack. Middle management may be more concerned with keeping the peace rather than making those tough decisions and taking the necessary action to effect change.

How did this happen? Why has it happened? There is a multitude of reasons and of course gazillions of books written on the subject. Because there’s no single reason and rather than discussing the why’s and wherefore’s, let’s take a look at options for re-establishing an equilibrium for ‘manager’.