Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Giving Feedback

To form a medium project-team into a high performance team that are highly motivated to meet the objectives of the project you need to work actively with Feedback. The main objective with feedback, as I see it, is to help other collegues/coworkers to develop them selves and in that way also perform better. You will also increase your possibilities to deliver on time, on budget and with the correct scope and quality. In a well performing team you are able to both give and receive feedback in a mature way.
Example of feedback are when you tell a projectmember that he/she has performed well or when you need to correct any bad behaviour that coworker has.

There are some things to think about when you give feedback:
• Give the feedback directly to the person or the team. Do not let the receiver of the feedback get the information from somebody else.
• The receiver should be able to control the feedback with other. You need to stand fast with the feedback even though it some time can be tough.
• You should give the feedback, not “we” or “somebody” else. You need to be able to say “I think that you…etc…”
• If the receiver of the feedback would like the feedback it is more likely that the person will accept and learn from the feedback. Do not force the feedback onto someone, if possible.
• If you need to give constructive negative feedback you also need to prepare your self. Come to such meeting well prepared and you will have a better result of the meeting.
• Describe the behaviour that the person has and what kind effect that the behaviour has on you.
• Do not give too much feedback at once. The receiver is just able to take a certain amount at once.
• Be careful with the timing of the feedback. You can not give the feedback too long after the behaviour was shown. The feedback must be given in the nearby future from the time when the event took place.
• Ask the receiver of the feedback to confirm that he/she has understood the feedback.
• Give feedback about behaviours that the receiver is able to correct and to something about.
• Make sure that both of you have the correct amount of time that is necessary for the feedback.

You will only be really good a giving feedback if you practice on it. Everyday, both at work and at home.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Resource problem

We only have 7 more weeks to go in the infrastructure-project until Go Live. We are so far on plan but we have still three major tests’ to complete before the Go Live. The team is starting to feel the pressure and I think that some of my key project members are tired and soon fed up with the project. I although need them to stay sharp the last seven weeks. To be honest I’m also a bit tired and I want it badly to be the Go Live-week. That will be a lot of fun but, well…7 long weeks until than.

I still have problems with one of the resources and I will have yet another meeting with his line manager during the week. We both agree that we partly need to replace him but that will introduce another risk for us. We still need him and we need him sharp, motivated and alert…not the opposite. I can only cross my fingers and hope that he will not be too uncommitted for the remaining time of the project. I will prioritise him try to get him to feel needed in the project. Because he really is. Well…enough about that.

Another thing is that I will have a new line manager my self. That will be my 8th line manager in 5 years… how about that for continuity…


Friday, August 18, 2006

Resource estimation template

To do the budget is not the funniest thing I know but it is necessary. To do the financial follow up and forecasting of the project is even more tedious, but that is also necessary.

You need always to stay in control of your project. I use a small but quite efficient template to simplify this process. This template is useful if you know how much time each person/role in the project will spend over time. I usually work with longer projects and therefore the time format is set to months but you can of course change this to weeks or even days if that would suit your projects needs better.

I would although like to stress the importance of having valid number to put into the template. You need to do the basic work first of breaking the activities down into work packages into a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). When you know how much resources you need, first than are you ready to use this template.

You are most welcome to change or update the template if you would like too. I would appreciate to see how an even better template so please send the new updated template to me…

I think the template is pretty “self-explainable” but please e-mail me if any questions.

Resource estimation template


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Top mgt buy-in

Back from a three week long, and a much needed, vacation. Just before I left for vacation we had an interesting meeting with the CEO of the supplier for the 3rd party package-project. In March 2006 we increased the budget for the project and also informed the supplier that they were entiteled to use up to 7 resources instead of 2,5 before. This has unfortunately not happened due to the fact that we only spoke to the CTO and not the CEO. Ok, the CTO is a partner of the company and it should have been enough but it wasn’t…

The supplier had only utiliesed ~45% of the authorized resources during 10 weeks and this has proven to blow the timeplan for the project. The CEO was not aware about that the supplier had the right to use up to 7 resources and in that sence missed out on some good business for the company. I couldn’t belive when I heared this…

So, what are the lessons learned from this small ”misshapp”?

• Always secure that you have top management ”buy-in”
• Demand specified time-reports from the supplier

I have a feeling that I will have an interesting autumn…