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What is Project Leadership? – Video

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

What is project leadership? It consists of proven techniques that project managers use to:

  • set standards of behavior and performance
  • motivate the team members to high performance and
  • rally the team members when the project has problems to overcome.

These tasks are particularly challenging because most project managers are technically- oriented people with little experience or skill in motivating others. Another factor that makes project leadership difficult is that the project manager often has very little or no formal authority over the project team. The lack of formal organizational authority is the number one challenge to project leadership.

Project managers must tailor the interpersonal techniques they use to fit the personality of each team member and stakeholder with whom they work. That’s the only way project managers can make up for their lack of formal authority.  Once they have “typed” the person’s personality and selected the right techniques for dealing with them, they have won half the battle. Here is a video on Team Member Personality Types

Another technique of effective leadership is to apply the best practices in terms of how the project manager trains and treats their project team members. Watch this video of a PM dealing with a situation where a team member has been pulled off the project and assigned elsewhere. In the first video, you see the PM use a technique that does not fit the personality of the team member. The result is complete failure. Then watch an analysis and see the PM do it the right way, using the right technique for the team member. Leading Teams

Communicating with the team member who has a problem

You can learn all of these skills in our online project management basics course. We individually tailor this course for business, IT, construction, healthcare and consulting specialties.

[button link=”https://4pm.com/product/project-management-basics-101/” style=”info” color=”red” window=”yes”] Project Basics[/button]

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Project Tracking Software – Video

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

This video shows you the entire process for using project tracking software (Microsoft Project®) from start to finish. Reporting project progress is an important part of every project manager’s weekly routine and using software makes your job much easier and efficient. You’ll see how to enter the status reports from your team members, spot variances and plan corrective action.  How to Write a Weekly Status Report

Project Tracking Software Video 

You’ll see how the software uses the data about the actual work completed and the team’s estimates of the remaining work (work-to-complete). If there are overruns on any tasks, the software adjusts the schedule to show the  start and finish dates of the remaining tasks in the plan. It also updates the project budget and the earned value data. You’ll also see click-by-click instructions for analyzing the variances and modeling corrective action to bring the schedule back into line with the approved project plan.

Tracking & Status Reports in MS Project

After the project schedule  had been updated with the team members’ status reports, the project manager will analyze the variances and identify those that require corrective action and those variances that do not. Then the project manager will model corrective action for each of the variances and test the impact of that corrective action on the schedule and budget. Finally the project manager will prepare the reports he will distribute to the project sponsor and stakeholders. These reports show what has happened, the consequences if nothing is done about the variances, and the corrective action the project manager proposes. The corrective actions will help bring the project schedule and budget back in line with the baseline of the original project management plan. As you can see, project tracking software is a powerful tool. Project Tracking Reports Main Page

You can learn how to use project tracking software in our online project management basics courses. You work privately with an expert project manager who is your instructor and coach. You begin whenever you wish and control the schedule and pace. You have as many phone calls and live video conferences with them as you wish.

At the beginning, when you and Dick talk to design your program and what you want to learn, you will select case studies that fit the kind of projects you want to manage. Chose you course and then select the which specialty case study from business, or marketing,  or construction, or healthcare, or consulting.  That way your case studies and project plans, schedules and presentations will fit your desired specialty.

  1. 101 Project Management Basics
  2. 103 Advanced Project Management Tools
  3. 201 Managing Programs, Portfolios & Multiple Projects
  4. 203 Presentation and Negotiation Skills
  5. 304 Strategy & Tactics in Project management

 

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Project Sponsor Video – Getting a Bad Sponsor to Do His Job

In project management, the project sponsor’s role is critical. The most of the project sponsor’s work happens at the beginning of the project. Many failed projects are blamed on project managers and teams when in reality the failure was caused by the project sponsor’s shabby work at the beginning of the project.

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

Sponsor Video: Synopsis

This video is about a new project manager who is working for a project sponsor, Mr. Calderone, who is known for not doing the sponsor job correctly. Watch the new project manager go through all the steps of initiating the new project and battling with Mr. Calderone to get him to do his job correctly.

Project Foundations

Obviously Mr. Calderone outranks the new project manager so she must tread carefully. She seeks guidance from two experienced project managers regarding subtle ways to “guide” Mr. Calderone to do his job correctly. They start with the statement of work or SOW. Mr. Calderone tries to get away with a vague, mushy definition of the project scope. The project manager slowly convinces him that he has to make a commitment to exactly what he wants from the project. So the scope must be defined by measurable acceptance criteria. That lets the project manager tell every team member what’s expected from them and the project as a whole.

Next the project manager works with Mr. Calderone to define the major deliverables of the project. They sub-divide those into a second level of deliverables. With the guidance of the two experienced PMs, she creates a network of deliverables that is crystal-clear and measurable. After that, she gets Mr. Calderone to define and approve the charter for the project. Then she moves on to the project planning phase.

Sponsor Duties: Summary

The sponsor duties include setting the goal for the project, providing the funds to “pay” for it, and appointing the project manager. In addition, the sponsor approves the project management plan (how the PM will manage the project) and the project plan itself (the schedule, budget, risk management plan, quality plan, procurement plan, stakeholder management plan, etc.). So it is the sponsor’s job to approve every detail of how the project will be executed to reach the goal they set at the beginning of the project. The project manager is certainly involved in the development of every step, but the sponsor reviews and approves it before launch. During the project execution phase, the sponsor approves any changes to the original plans the sponsor approved during initiation. He or she also accepts every deliverable the project produces. At the end of the project, the sponsor accepts the final deliverable and the project is complete. Project Methodology Main Page

At the beginning, when you and Dick talk to design your program and what you want to learn, you will select case studies that fit the kind of projects you want to manage. Chose you course and then select the which specialty case study from business, or marketing,  or construction, or healthcare, or consulting.  That way your case studies and project plans, schedules and presentations will fit your desired specialty.

  1. 101 Project Management Basics
  2. 103 Advanced Project Management Tools
  3. 201 Managing Programs, Portfolios & Multiple Projects
  4. 203 Presentation and Negotiation Skills
  5. 304 Strategy & Tactics in Project management
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Dysfunctional Teams – Video

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

During the course of their career, every project manager has to deal with dysfunctional teams. The people on the team may be in that state as a result of bad experiences on previous projects. You may have inherited them when you took over a failing project. The dysfunctional team is unlikely to produce satisfactory project results. Leading Teams Main Page

Time is often wasted in turf battles between team members from different functional units. People also spend inordinate amounts of time trying to avoid blame for the project failure that they see coming down the road. Finger-pointing will also be rampant. All these behaviors destroy morale. Dysfunctional project teams can cause major overruns on a project’s duration and budget.

But there are techniques that project managers can use to salvage a dysfunctional project team and turn it into a high performing team.

Watch this video on how to deal with a dysfunctional project team.

How To Manage a Dysfunctional Team - Video

You’ll learn all of those skills in our project management basics courses. Take a look at the basics course in your specialty.

At the beginning, when you and Dick talk to design your program and what you want to learn, you will select case studies that fit the kind of projects you want to manage. Chose you course and then select the which specialty case study from business, or marketing,  or construction, or healthcare, or consulting.  That way your case studies and project plans, schedules and presentations will fit your desired specialty.

  1. 101 Project Management Basics
  2. 103 Advanced Project Management Tools
  3. 201 Managing Programs, Portfolios & Multiple Projects
  4. 203 Presentation and Negotiation Skills
  5. 304 Strategy & Tactics in Project management
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Project Reports – Project Presentations, Reports, Meetings that Build Credibility

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

Project managers spend at least 80% of their time communicating with their team members and stakeholders. You communicate when giving project reports, running meetings, giving presentations and updating the project status. No one will appreciate your knowledge and skills on the technical aspects of managing a project if you can’t clearly and concisely communicate your ideas in project reports.  Even worse, poor communication skills can cause confusion among your team members and incorrect project expectations among user managers.

Project Reports Must Fit the Audience

Effective project communicators tailor the message and communication style to fit the audience. You can’t speak the same way to a group of  high-level managers unfamiliar with technology as you do to the techies from your department.  These skills require practice and coaching in a safe environment where you can make mistakes, learn from them and try it again.

Communication and presentation training is the path to effective skills that give you self-confidence in front of an audience and the ability to influence them.  These skills are a key to gaining acceptance of your plan and building user and customer support for your project. Giving a presentation that is technically correct is not good enough. You need to determine the personality types in the audience and tailor your presentation’s design, content and delivery style to suit those personality types. With all these ingredients properly combined, you have a chance of persuading them to your point of view and supporting your project. Project Management Skills Main Page

Project Reports Video

Effective and Persuasive Presentations


In this presentation training lecture, Dick Billows, PMP, discusses the presentations skills you need throughout the project. During the initiation phase, you may present the business case and make presentations about the project to the stakeholders. During the planning phase, you’re making presentations about requirements and presenting the project management plan to the sponsor and stakeholders. As your project moves into the executing phase, you are presenting weekly or monthly status reports to management. You are also holding meetings and presenting information to the project team on a regular basis. In the project closing phase, you gather infoproject reportsrmation for the lessons learned archive and present it to the team and stakeholders. When conducting the lessons learned meeting, your presentation skills are vital to overcoming the conflicts that affected the project.

Project Reports Training

You don’t need to be a fascinating, spell-binding speaker to succeed. Even if you are uncomfortable with public speaking, a little live practice online with one of our instructors will help you master proven techniques. You will be able to overcome nervousness and use effective body language. Most importantly, you will learn to “read” the personality types of the audience and deliver your ideas in a style to which they will positively respond.

At the beginning of your 4pm course, when you and Dick talk to design your program and what you want to learn, you will select case studies that fit the kind of projects you want to manage. Chose you course and then select the which specialty case study from business, or marketing,  or construction, or healthcare, or consulting.  That way your case studies and project plans, schedules and presentations will fit your desired specialty.

  1. 101 Project Management Basics
  2. 103 Advanced Project Management Tools
  3. 201 Managing Programs, Portfolios & Multiple Projects
  4. 203 Presentation and Negotiation Skills
  5. 304 Strategy & Tactics in Project management
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PMP Exam – Are You Ready for Certification?

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

The PMP®, Project Management Professional, certification is a valuable credential for people who are job hunting or who want to gain credibility (and increased salary) with their current employer. The PMP® is an internationally recognized credential from PMI®, the Project Management Institute. On the job hunting front, the PMP® is often used as a résumé screening tool. Human Resources people often discard the résumés of applicants who don’t have the PMP® credential. So the decision-makers for the project manager positions never see these résumés.

The PMP® is a credibility-builder for people who want to advance their career within their current organization. That is particularly true for people manage projects outside their “home” department/organization or for customers/clients.

PMP® Exam Eligibility

The PMP® has two eligibility requirements.  The first is 4,500 hours (3 years) of experience managing projects. (7,500 hours if you don’t have a college degree). The application form requires people to document their experience, including the names of their project sponsors. The second requirement is 35 hours of project management education.   Applicants must then pass a difficult 4-hour, 200 multiple choice question exam.

If you can’t meet the PMP® eligibility requirements, we offer other project manager certifications.

Passing the PMP® Exam – Rote Memorization Doesn’t Work

Passing the PMP® exam is no easy matter. The days when you could memorize definitions and the answers to a handful of questions and pass the test are long gone. The exam has now has situational questions where you must analyze the situation and pick the right course of action. You need to learn the best practices in project management and understand what tools and techniques a project manager can use in a variety of situations. The most difficult part of the exam is the situational questions where you’re given a project management situation and asked to select the right thing to do. You must analyze the situation and decide the best thing to do. You need a course that teaches you how to handle these varied situations. Our PMP® Exam Prep course does this and fulfills the education requirement.

Passing the PMP Exam® – Personal Coaching is the Key

Some PMP® exam prep courses have 50 to 100 people in a class. If all you were doing was memorizing lists and definitions, this might not be a handicap. But to pass the exam these days, you must understand what to do in different project situations and which techniques work best in those situations. So the learning process is much more complex. The way each person understands the material is different because their learning styles are different.
Our online PMP® exam prep course begins with a custom design where we fit the training to your learning style. One learning style and one teaching style do not fit everyone. Some people like lists and dot points. Others want to see flowcharts of the step-by-step processes. Some people are visual learners and want to watch videos of project managers handling various situations. Still others learn best from stories of project managers doing things the right way. The stories and videos come back to people during the exam and help them select the right answer to the situational questions. Our course offers the tools and techniques that cover each of these learning styles. Here’s a video that shows how you work with your instructor in the course and until you pass the PMP® exam.

 PMP exam – The Best PMP Training – Individual Mentoring

PMP exam - The Best PMP Training - Individual Mentoring

You get lots of personal, one-to-one coaching and interaction with your instructor.  That’s how we make sure we answer your questions in ways that you understand. And we guarantee you will pass the exam.  Over ninety percent of our students pass on their first try. But if you don’t, your instructor will work with you until you pass (for no additional tuition). Please take a look at the details of our PMP® Exam Prep course. We look forward to helping you get your PMP® certification and advancing your project manager career. After, you earn the PMP consider other certifications and courses we offer.

At the beginning of your 4pm course, when you and Dick talk to design your program and what you want to learn, you will select case studies that fit the kind of projects you want to manage. Chose you course and then select the which specialty case study from business, or marketing,  or construction, or healthcare, or consulting.  That way your case studies and project plans, schedules and presentations will fit your desired specialty.

  1. 101 Project Management Basics
  2. 103 Advanced Project Management Tools
  3. 201 Managing Programs, Portfolios & Multiple Projects
  4. 203 Presentation and Negotiation Skills
  5. 304 Strategy & Tactics in Project management
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Dysfunctional Project Team – Video

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

When you inherit a project from another project manager (whether your successor was fired or somehow managed to escape to another project), you have to watch for the danger signs of a dysfunctional team. There are consistent early warning signs of a problem team.

Dysfunctional Project Team: Warning Signs

Early in your tenure as the new project manager, a stream of people from your project team  may warn you about other team members. The offenses include a laundry list of “sins,” such as: treachery, bad behavior, low productivity, poor quality work and disruptive behavior. These people may say they’re coming to warn you. But what they’re trying to do is stab  fellow team members in the back.
Another kind of behavior can come from the more experienced and senior members of the project team. They may suggest that other team members have already badmouthed you to the company’s senior management.
You need to be careful not to overreact to any of these situations. Most of the information is untrue. And it certainly is not intended to help you.

Dysfunctional Project Team: The PM’s Focus

What you have to focus on is the progress being made on the project’s plan. That includes determining how well each of your team members is doing with their assignment. While you’re reviewing that, you also need to confirm the project scope with senior management. You must “take the temperature” of your key stakeholders to avoid surprises from them. Now you’re ready to tackle your dysfunctional project team.

Watch a project manager in action video about a project manager who inherits a dysfunctional team. See the steps he takes to make them productive and to finish the project on time and within budget. He meets with each team member individually and then with the entire group. He uses a variety of motivational techniques to turn the dysfunctional  group into a productive team. Leading Teams Main Page

How To Manage a Dysfunctional Team - Video

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Project Due Dates – How to Screw Up a Project Plan

project plan
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

Watch this video of a common way to screw up a project plan. Is it familiar?

Pretend Project Due Dates

The sponsor plucks a project due date out of the sky. Then the tells the stakeholders they’re accountable for meeting that date. No one believes this pretend due date is realistic. They back into the due dates for their deliverables but they aren’t committed to them.  Watch the managers faces in this video and see how much commitment they have to the dates.  These people know they are going to fail before they even start work.  They’re all trying to figure out  how they will throw something together by the due date. They know they’ll then spend months fixing it.

Project Planning Blunders: Due Dates

Realistic Project Due Dates

The way a project manager and sponsor should set the project due date is by calculating the amount of work that each task requires. An effective technique is to let the team members take part in estimating the number of hours worth of work their task will take. Then you convert the number of work hours into the task’s duration. The duration is also based on each team member’s availability to work on their project task. Main Project Planning Page

When you use that technique to develop your task duration estimates, you gain a significant number benefits. First, the team members have a reasonable amount of commitment to the due date because they participated in setting it. Second, you and sponsor can accurately track progress. You can measure the number of hours worked versus the estimated hours. That gives you an exact idea of the percentage of work completed and the percentage of work remaining. With that information, you can calculate when the work will be done. The third benefit is that the team members are not held accountable for finishing their task by a certain date. They are accountable for finishing within a certain number of hours worth of work.

You can learn the best practices for planning projects with realistic due dates in our project management basics courses. Take a look at the basics course in your specialty.

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Project Disasters – Comedy Video

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

Project DisastersIt takes a lot of work to make a project disaster as bad as this one. Our 4PM.com cast members show you how in a Project disasters comedy video about how to screw up a project.

The PMs and team members are preparing their failed project for a big project status meeting. You’ll see micro-managing PMs frantically hiding problems and berating team members for finishing early. Other team members point fingers at each other while sleazy executives maneuver for their political advantage.  Whacked-out IT staff members use a million phony excuses about why the system is late.  While the Human Resources people back-stab the Sales people to avoid blame for a  pointless employee survey. You’ll see all the things NOT to do on a project.

You’ll also see how the PM deals with the inept executive sponsor of the project, Mr. Lonegan. He starts more projects than the organization can possibly finish. His projects never have a clearly defined scope so the project managers and team members have to guess about what they think Mr. Morgan wants the project to deliver.  Because the project managers are not sure what Mr. Lonegan wants, they make very vague assignments to their team members. That way they can’t be blamed but the team member can.

The final icing on Mr. Lonegans’s disastrous cake is the red hot anger he directs toward any project manager or team member who admits to being late. Mr. Lonigan probably convinces himself that he is a dynamic leader with very high standards. In truth, Mr. Lonegan is a complete failure as a project sponsor. And he drags down and rest of the organization with him.

These characters may remind you of some of the people on your projects and the interpersonal challenges they give you. If you remember characters or situations from your experience, share them with others in the blog.

If you have outrageous examples of how to screw up a project, send them to us in a comment and we’ll try to work them into the next episode of 537 Ways to Screw Up a Project.

How to Screw Up Project: Status Reports

 

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Project Management Foundations – First Project Video

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
CEO 4pm.com
Dick’s Books on Amazon

Every project manager learns the Project Management Foundations on their first project.  These foundations give them the skills they will use on every project they manage. Our video is about a brand-new project manager starting her first project with an executive who doesn’t know how to correctly sponsor the project. In fact this executive, Mr. Cordalon,  has the worst project track record in the entire organization.  Our novice project manager has no idea how to handle him. But fortunately she gets advice from two senior project managers in the project office. They have dealt with Mr. Cordalon on several projects and they know how to handle him.

Project Management Foundations – The Scope and Deliverables

Mr. Cordalon tries to wiggle out of providing the project scope. He gives the new project manager nothing but the project’s completion date and its acronym.  Armed with the advice of the two experienced project managers, the new project manager goes back to him and asks the right questions to properly define the project scope. In the next step, the rookie leads Mr. Cordalon through the process of defining the project’s high level deliverables, constraints and risks.

Project Management Foundations – Identify Stakeholders and Requirements

The project moves on to more of the Project Management Foundations which include identifying the stakeholders and gathering their requirements.  Mr. Cordalon wants to keep the project a secret so there’s no interference from other departments. Guided by her two behind-the-scenes advisers, the new project manager persuades process as a new project manager learns the Project Management Foundations of her professionhim that there is value in identifying and actively managing the project stakeholders. The new project manager successfully gathers requirements from the users and stakeholders. The project pros teach her how to evaluate requirements in terms of whether they are necessary to deliver the project scope.

Project Management Foundations – WBS and Estimates

In the rest of the movie, the new project manager assembles her project team. She has them participate in the formulation of the work breakdown structure (WBS) and leads them through the process of estimating the duration of their tasks.

In summary, the video takes you step-by-step through the

Project Management Foundations: A Project Manager's 1st Project