Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Certified PM’s…or not?

I often come across post’s regarding pros and con’s for PM certification. I place my self among those who say that we should have certifications for Project Managers. It is just during the recent years that I feel that the profession of Project Management. has become more and more accepted. Almost anybody can say that they are a project manager, but of all those who claim the title Project Manager I strongly believe that there are not many who actually can tell what knowledge and experience a PM should have. To be a successful PM you need to have both some theoretical knowledge but you also need the experience. To manage a project can often be challenging in many ways and you need to have done the mistakes and learned from them to become a good PM that knows what he or she talks about. Yes, you can of course be a great PM without certification but the certification is a receipt on that you are able to deliver according to a certain standard. I work in an internal IT-department and we are unfortunately not certifying our PM’s, which is a pity but the sad fact. But we buy a large amount of consultancy-services and I must say that it feels good to see a CV of a PM that says PMI-certified. . Then I know that I will get a PM that has the experience and knowledge to do a good job.
What do the rest of all of you PM’s think?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Receiving Feedback

Why is feedback so important? There are many answers to that question but the most important answer must be that you are able to receive valuable information about what You need to improve and in that way also develop your self.
Giving feedback can sometime be difficult but receiving feedback can also be difficult, but in another way. To receive feedback is about communication, but you need to stay focused and quiet. When the person who gives feedback talks, you need to stay quiet and listen and use your body language to confirm that you are listening and follow his or hers feedback. To receive feedback can often trigger a need for you to explain or defend your self. More than often will your perception of the feedback differ from the person who gives the feedback. Try to stay quiet until the giving-person is finished and then you are able to ask questions to clarify the feedback.

Your body language should signal that you are interested and open to receive information. In other words, do not lean backwards into the chair with your arms crossed. That is not a good way of saying that you are willing to receive feedback.
Remember that feedback, or constructive criticism, is a way for you to learn, grow and improve your performance.

How well you receive the feedback can be divided into five different stages;

1. Denial. You hardly listen to the person who gives the feedback and interrupt with saying: “This does not concern me” This is a very immature way of receiving feedback. If you, as a giver of the feedback, meet this kind of person you have to work slowly and have a lot of patience.

2. Defence. You immediately start to defend your self. “No, this was not the way it was.” Or you blame somebody else.

3. Explanation. You start to explain your behaviours. A person in this stage often listen a bit more before interrupting the feedback.

4. Understanding. You listen to the person who gives feedback and really try to understand what the other person says. This is were you and your team should be to have a fair chance of develop as a team and individuals.

5. Change. You listen, ask questions, try to understand and also change your behaviours. It is your own choice to change.

Remember that to give and receive feedback is a vital competence for you as a project manager. Try it, try it often and improve your ability to give and receive Feedback. It will excel your self as a project manager.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Key succes factors

In the infrastructure-project we have another 3 weeks before we go into production. We still have one major test to pass but I'm confident that we both will make a good test and a successful Go Live in a couple of weeks. All the men and women who have worked to hard realy desirves to have the Go Live on time with a successful result. We are all working hard to make this happen and some of us put in extra hours these weeks just to reach our goal. It is a satisfying feeling to see all work for eachother to reach the goal.

During the last projectmeeting we held a small workshop in which we discussed Why we have been successul so far. The team agreed upon a number of reason and some of them are;

* Good planning
We planned the project in detail from the start and we have followed the plan. Ok, small changes have ofcourse been made, that is natural, but in overall we have followed the plan. This have made all involved project-members and stakeholder to always know what we have done and what is yet to be done. It is also easy to prioritise correctly when you have a solid plan to prioritise after.

* Constant and Clear prioritisation
During this year we have always worked with prioritisation over time. If there are conflicts between activities all projectmembers should always know what is prioritised.

* Simplicity
Even though we have a complicated project we have tried to keep things as simple as possible. We have not had the luxury of making fancy and hightech solution...just solve our challenges in the best possible way and according to the timeplan.

* Communication
Not knowing what is happening in the project is not good. I have written a weekly information-letter which has been sent to all projectmembers and all major stakeholders. It is painstaking sometimes but worth every penny of it.

I'll come back to these factors after we have delivered but please have them in mind when you are running your projects...