Sunday, May 18, 2008

Team Building...

Team building is a necessary part of every project. Whether it is team building activity during a meeting or getting the team together to do something at an outside event. Many times team building events help your team to refocus on the project.

This past week I organized a hot dog social for my team. The event allowed everyone on the team to come together to talk about things other then the project and leave with a full tummy and ready to keep the project moving on!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Custom Cars and Project Management

Several weeks ago I was contacted by an automotive instructor at MATC (Madison Area Technical College) about bringing my car in for an automotive career day they were having. I agreed to bring my car in and also at the same time pass on some Project Management knowledge to the ~ 300 high school kids that showed up for the day.

My car, a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle:

During the day many students ask me about my car and what I did for a living. I explained to them that I was a PM and many of the skills I have could be transferred to managing the build up of custom cars or restoring cars. The car hobby in recent years has been popularized by TV shows such as Unique Whips, American Chopper and American Hot Rod. All of these shows have one thing in common. And that is project management of their builds. There is a charter which assigns the project need and a PM, a WBS which is typically a checklist, stakeholders and a timeline. It is then the PM's job to keep the team members on task and motivative.

After I used this analogy the high school kids better understood what I do and many of them commented that they would love to manage a project of building a custom car or motorcycle.

Plant the seed and maybe it will grow...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

PMI Madison Professional Development Day

A few weeks ago I attended the Madison PMI Professional Development Day at the Monona Terrace. I attended several talks on PMOs and one person's talk which hit home for me was Kevin Zerman from Miller Brewing Company. He said that an effective PM is not a person who can live and breath the PMBOK, but is rather a person who understands project management and has the right soft skills to lead the team.

Soft Skills

Over the years I have observed how important it is to be a leader of the pack to be an effective PM. During this same day I also attended a talk by Buck Joseph who is a professor at UW Madison. I have seen Buck speak several times over the years and I feel enlighten every time and I enjoy watching him as he works the crowd. Buck is able to make you see just how important soft skills are (don't forget to smile). From the way you dress, speak, listen, motivate people and even your mannerisms. Buck laid it out as: CHARCOAL:

Confidence, Honesty, Approachability, Reciprocity, Consistency, Openness, Acceptance, Likeability

So the next time you are the leader, or someone is asking for someone to step up to be a leader, keep the soft skills in mind.