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Archive | Project People Skills

Project managers spend 90% of their time communicating with executives, stakeholders, their team and contractors. They must be able to motivate, persuade, influence, negotiate and share information. We show you techniques to improve your skills for effectively dealing with all these people. The skills required for consistent project success include effective team building, criticizing productively and also persuading and influencing stakeholders, your project team and the project sponsor.

Project Team Assignments – Deliverables Not “To Do’s”

The best project team assignments tell each team member exactly what end result you expect and how you will measure their performance against it. Too many project managers do a poor job of making project team assignments because they don’t define clear performance expectations. As a result, the project management team members don’t work as effectively as they […]

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Project Variances Solve Just the Important Problems

Project variance is what gives executives nightmares about project failure. They are the calculated difference between the approved project plan’s costs and duration and the actual project results. We can have project variance vs.  schedule where we identified that a task should have been finished by July 1 and it was actually finished by July […]

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Project Estimation Techniques

Project estimation techniques are critical survival tools for predicting when a project will finish and how much it will cost. Estimating duration and cost accurately can make the difference between consistent success and frequent failure.  Project managers need to use different techniques during the project phases to provide good information to the decision-makers. Let’s look at some estimating situations and […]

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Leading Teams: Six Techniques For Success

Highly motivated, problem-solving teams are a key reason for project success. These teams are committed to the goal and to completing their assignments on time and within estimates. Teams like that are rare, however. That’s because the correct steps for successfully leading teams are challenging and often missed. The proven techniques you’ll learn here include selecting the […]

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Project Duration

Managing project duration to make sure the sponsor and stakeholders are happy is the number one challenge for most project managers. Many executives think the most important metrics are the project duration and the finish date. Sometimes they are the only measures the sponsor and stakeholders ask about. Project Duration: Why Do Stakeholders Manage Only Dates? In […]

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Improve Team Performance – Video

The need to Improve Team Performance is always a challenge for project managers. This  often includes dealing with an individual team member’s poor performance. Sometimes bringing about performance improvement is straightforward. First, the project manager identifies the behavior that is causing the performance problem. Next, the project manager communicates what he/she thinks is causing the problem. Then they suggest a […]

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Project Stakeholders – How to Influence Them

Project Stakeholders are anyone who is impacted by the project. That includes managers and executives, users, contractors, vendors and team members. Watch this “project manager in action” video about influencing project stakeholders. It’s followed by a discussion of the best techniques for influencing the stakeholders and gaining their support for your project. Project Stakeholders Main Page […]

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Critical Listening

The Art of Critical Listening is improving the personal connection you make with team members and project stakeholders by intensely engaging as you listen to what they say. This works because most people are not accustomed to having their words carfully listened to by others. You’re probably familiar with the terms “critical thinking” and the […]

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Project Questions Video

All project managers spend a great deal of time with executives handling Project Questions after status reports, project plan presentations and discussions of change requests. How the project manager handles these project questions will have a significant impact on the  level of executive support the project receives. Project Questions Video Synopsis You’ll see a project manager who has […]

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Project Stakeholder Management

Project stakeholder management includes identifying and dealing with the executives, managers,employees, customers, contractors and users who will be affected by the deliverables your project produces. The list of stakeholders also includes people who will be lending resources to your project team and helping you gather requirements. In the beginning of your project manager career when your […]

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Constructive Feedback

Constructive Feedback That Changes Behavior Project managers and team leaders will always have some poor performing team members. Poor performance can encompass assignments that are not what you expect regarding quality, timeliness or completeness. Constructive feedback is an effective tool for changing the behavior of poor performers. It is also useful to give constructive feedback to team members whose assignments meet all the requirements and your […]

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Team Culture on Your Project Team

The Team Culture on your project affects the team’s productivity, work attitudes and overall commitment to the project. It is affected by you as the project manager as well as the larger organizational culture. The key question is how does a leader affect the culture in positive ways and extinguish any negative aspects?   Project Teams Main […]

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Overconfidence in Project Management

Most successful professionals have a great deal of confidence. This is particularly true of project managers.  They have climbed the technical ladder to reach the project manager position and a few successes may have elevated them in the eyes of management above the other project managers.  This can cause overconfidence which is a situation ripe for […]

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Project Sponsor Role – Video

The project sponsor role is the most important one. It’s more important than the project manager or project team member or project stakeholder. Why is the sponsor role so important? Because of the accountabilities that go along with it. These are: Set the goal of the project in measurable terms with acceptance criteria Secure funding […]

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Change Control Video – The Wrong Way & The Right Way

Change control is a constant challenge for project managers. They have to deal with stakeholders who want to submit scope changes. This occurs daily on some projects.  Project Change Control Main Page Change Control – The Wrong Way The project manager in this video faces two aggressive stakeholders who want to make significant additions to the scope […]

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Project Management Skills

Project Management Skills For a Successful Project Manager  What project management skills do consistently successful project managers have in common?  There are personality traits, interpersonal skills, the ability to communicate, and knowledge of the right techniques to use in various project situations. Let’s start by examining the project management skills commonly used to define the consistently successful project manager. […]

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Matrix Project Team

In the matrix project team, you borrow people from other departments, not from your own. Matrix project teams have always been popular with project managers. They are a way to get resources for your project without paying consulting fees or persuading people in your organization to give up some of their staff.  That sounds like a fabulous bargain but […]

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Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM)®

One path for beginning your project manager career is getting the Certified Associate in Project Management CAPM® credential. This is an internationally recognized certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. This credential is an effective resume-builder because you learn the language of project management and its processes, techniques, terms and definitions.  Project Manager Certifications Main Page There is no project management […]

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PMP® Certification Training

How to Qualify for the PMP Exam After you have 3 to 4 years of experience managing projects, you should consider adding the PMP® (Project Management Professional) to your previous certifications. It is awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is an internationally recognized credential in project management. It is a door-opener when you […]

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Make Clear Assignments & Estimates With A Work Package

A key success factor for project managers is making crystal-clear assignments to their project team members. This ensures  the team members understand what’s expected before they start work. A related success factor is having team members make realistic estimates for their tasks. This ensures the overall project estimates are accurate. It’s important for team members […]

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Team Assignments – Video

First, let’s watch a video about what the first meeting with a team member should deliver. Next we’ll discuss an example of a team member assignment that, unfortunately, is typical. Then we’ll talk about the right way to make team assignments. The goal of this example project is to improve the quality of the applicants that Human Resources refers to line managers […]

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How To Manage Remote Project Teams

Over the last 10 years, technology has provided more opportunity for teams to collaborate remotely, whether working from home, varied offices, or another country. This brings potential communication barriers into the picture.  Email, text messaging, teleconferencing, among other technologies, have allowed for project teams to collaborate effectively. Working remotely, however, can also create some challenges when […]

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3 Point Project Estimating: Padding, Accuracy, Commitment

Estimating is tricky for project managers with many conflicting pressures: The customer or user wants the project done quickly and cheaply. You, as PM, want to finish on time and within budget. For commitment, the team needs to participate in a process their perceive as fair The estimating technique should yield accurate numbers and some […]

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User Relationships

User Relationships with Mistrust, Doubt and Fear Drain Your Team’s Energy and Creativity By now, l’ve learned one thing for sure. Project management does not give a receipt of guaranteed success. It takes effort to manage people, align their goals and focus their efforts to achieve a common objective. People are susceptible to moods, interests, […]

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What is Project Leadership? – Video

What is project leadership? It’s the techniques that project managers use to set standards of behavior and performance on the project team, motivate the team members to high performance and rally the team members when the project has problems to overcome. All of those tasks are particularly challenging because most project managers are technically oriented […]

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Top Down Project Planning

In many organizations, managers and senior management view project planning as a waste of time. To them, the project plan is needless. They want to “start work immediately without wasting time in useless planning meetings and creating mounds of paperwork.” As a result, project managers have difficulty engaging management in the project-planning task. Why do they […]

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Super Project Manager

When Do We Need a Super Project Manager? A solid process and good methodology is not enough to guarantee success. If it was possible to be successful by implementing the right methodology, all rich companies would have managed to buy or copy it somehow, and we would experience minimal failure rates in projects. Unfortunately we […]

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Effective Feedback

An important part of a leader’s job is setting norms of behavior and conduct. These help the team work together effectively and efficiently. You, as the leader, must set and enforce these norms of behavior. You have to reinforce positive behavior and change negative behavior.  Part of behavior change comes when you criticize a team […]

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Team Types

When you take over a team from another leader, one of the first things you do is make a quick assessment of the team’s culture or type. While each of the individual team member will be different, you always find there is an overall project team culture that has developed. That culture reflects the previous […]

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Leadership & Improving Team Performance

Improving Team Performance Improving a team’s performance starts with a review of the project manager’s leadership.  Project managers are often unaware of how their own performance and behavior affects the team’s performance and their attitudes. We’ll look at six ways project managers try to improve team performance that do NOT work. And we’ll analyze why they […]

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Project Team Motivation

Project team motivation is every bit as important as developing a creative project plan, creating a tight schedule and spotting problems early. Too many project managers assume that their team members will be unaffected by their behavior in assigning work, solving problems and making estimates. That is very far from the truth because those three […]

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