Thursday, January 29, 2009

Project Management Manual…

I have received several emails requests about my PMO talk that I gave in November. You can find a pdf here of the presentation. I’ll write about page #15 below:

As your organization grows and learns to accept that projects need to be structured you need to make sure your staff understands what that structure is when they are running their projects.

Many organizations that reach this level have 2 types of projects. Small ones and big ones. What is small and what is big? It depends on your organization. You may choose a dollar amount to define them, or a project ranking system or some other means that fits your organization.

So what is in this manual?

The manual should detail the steps of the project from the beginning (like a method to review and accept new projects, so it stops the projects coming in the back door) to the end (how about a standard project close-out check list) and the forms and templates the PM must use to run the project. These forms and templates typically are specific to your organization.

Why standardize this process? Well, it will allow your PMs and team members to see one consistent way of managing projects. Also, your staff will spend less time fighting fires and it will limit things from slipping through the cracks.

Once you have this in place you can move on to the next phase which is auditing your PMs to make sure they are using your predefined methodology.

Notable Quotable:

“Successful firms have mastered the art of melding the power of human will and organization. But the key to their vitality is their world class capabilities in selecting, guiding, and completing development projects, which are the building blocks of renewal and change. The companies that can repeat this process again and again have discovered the manufacturer’s perpetual motion machine”

Bowen, H. Kent, Clark, Kim B., Holloway, Charles A., Wheelwright, Steven C., The Perpetual Enterprise Machine, page 14 Oxford University Press, Inc. New York, NY., 1994.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Speed Networking…

As the economy slows down and reports coming out every day about companies cutting jobs it may be time to dust off that rolodex and look for some new contacts to put into it.
This past week I attended a local (Madison, WI) speed networking event (about 100 attended). Chairs were set up in U shape and attendees had 3 minutes to talk before the whistle blew and you move on to the next person.
I have attended these in the past and every time I make some great new connections. If you are planning on attending a speed networking event keep the following in mind:
1. Have your 30 second elevator speech ready. Treat it like an interview. Start with a hand shake and end with a hand shake. Sit up straight and give lots of eye contact to the person you are speaking with.
2. Have follow up questions ready to roll! Are you from the area? What are your hobbies? How did you find your current job?
3. If you receive a business card follow up with an email to them several days after the event. Review to see if they are a member and ask them to join your network.
If you have never attended a speed networking event before I highly recommend it, because you never know who might be able to help you or how you can help someone else out in the future.

Good Blog post on Networking...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Successful Organizations...

This past month I attended a book discussion put on by MAGNET
and we discussed the book

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't by Jim Collins

The event was intended for people who have read all of the book, some of the book, or even none of the book. Feedback was mixed from those that read it since some of the companies mentioned as great companies are now gone, or bankrupt or are receiving bailout money. Many that read it were looking for what companies did to move from good to great, but the book doesn’t detail it. That being said I didn’t feel the need to run out and purchase the book.

Recently, I purchased the book 301 ways to have fun at work by Dave Hemsath and Leslie Yerkes.

The book is broken down into 6 parts: Work Environment, Communication, Training, Meetings, Recognition and Team Building. The book was written in 1996, and certain parts of it are dated, but it has spurred a few ideas for me to try in my current organization and helped me remember some things I have experienced at a previous organization….

At a previous organization we had just been bought out and rumors started flying about pink-slips. Our site director then started to write up a newsletter to keep everyone updated on what was happening. As weeks turned into months the site director asked each department to come up with skits. Every 2 weeks a department would give a skit to the entire organization. This helped everyone focus on some fun for a short time instead of uncertainty. We also had BINGO over the PA; reading numbers at 10AM and 2PM. Yell out BINGO and win a gift card to a local restaurant.

Then the ball dropped. Pink-slips for everyone, but not for two months! So our future was set, but we needed to transition our knowledge to the new buyers. At this time there was still one department left to complete their skit (which was suppose to happen the day the bad news came out) and that was the Project Management department.

After this event we did a complete re-write of our script and presented it a couple weeks later. We went with Saturday Night Live skits (The Church Lady, Wayne’s World, and Weekend Update). The skit was a huge success and everyone had a great time.

One final hurrah! Our last day ended with a pig roast at a local outdoor brewery and everyone received custom made trophies using 1 part of our medical delivery device we created. I still have this in my office today to reflect on that part of my past.

Notable Quote

Humor consultant and bestselling author C.W. Metcalf wrote in HR Focus (February 1993) that, “humor is a vital, critical element for human survival, and we often forget about it, and set it aside. We are told that laughter, fun, and play are unadult, unintelligent, and nonprofessional. Nothing could be further from the truth. One of the first indicators of the onset of most mental illness is a loss of the sense of joy in being alive.”