Ask Harry: Three Charts to Avoid: Help Your Audience; don't make it Confusing for Them By Harry Rever, PMP - Director of Six Sigma
I want you to stand up. Yep, get out of your chair and stand up straight, put your right arm out to the side with your hand up at a 90 degree angle at the elbow and say aloud; “I solemnly swear that I will no longer use pie charts. I will no longer use shaded area charts, and I will no longer use stacked bar charts. Furthermore, when making charts I will not be a ‘chartoonist’, I will not make cutsie charts, nor will I make my charts difficult for my audience to understand. I promise to use the correct charts going forward, I promise to keep my charts clean, and I promise to make it easy for the reader to interpret any chart I use for now on. I do solemnly swear to uphold all of these resolutions.” Now, you may be seated. Thank you.
The Black Belt Chronicles: If You Want to be a Better Project Manager or Six Sigma Green Belt, Consider This Advice By Harry Rever, PMP - Director of Six Sigma
Over lunch, an internal Six Sigma Black Belt, Will, gives a few hints and suggestions to a group of Six Sigma Green Belts and Project Managers about running successful improvement efforts. An interesting discussion ensues.
| SSGB #1: So Will, based on your experience working on projects over the years, what advice would you give those of us leading process improvement projects? |
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In the project management environment, strong leadership skills are essential for success. Regardless of project size or complexity, or the level of authority approved for a project manager, it is the leadership capability of the project manager that will make the difference between success and failure. The definition of leadership varies depending upon the influence of personal values, organizational culture, nationality, societal norms, the political environment and many other factors but there are several traits or behaviors that are commonly used to describe the characteristics of a leader.
Anatomy of an Effective Project Manager By Jeff Hodgkinson, PMP, Gary Hamilton, PMP and Gareth Byatt, PgMP
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It’s first thing in the morning, and you are preparing to interview prospective project managers for an open position on your team. Whether it is your first candidate interview or you have conducted many before in your career, you are likely to be contemplating the line of questioning you will ask of the prospective candidates. Perhaps you are thinking of questions from a “Strengths and Weaknesses: Project Manager Profile” that you typically use, however, any line of questioning can only provide a limited insight about the candidate and their potential to be an effective project manager for your organization. Understand that a skilled candidate may well have sat through similar interviews recently, researched your organization, and prepared competent answers to what they believe are the most typical interview questions. Or maybe they haven’t, because this is the first interview they are going to – although they are a first-rate project manager that is well thought of in their existing organization. In order to assess whether a person has the potential to be an effective project manager in your organization, we contend that you need to conduct specific assessments beyond interviews and references of previous work assignments.
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A new term has become popular among people when they talk about risk, including some risk specialists. The phrase “Black Swan” is taken from the title of the 2007 book by Nicholas Nassim Taleb called “The Black Swan: The impact of the highly improbable”. Unfortunately the way most people use this term is different from Taleb’s original definition. In popular conversation the Black Swan event is something with an extremely low likelihood of occurrence and an extremely high potential effect. It is seen as the thing that we think will never happen, but if it did happen then we would really be affected in a big way. By contrast, in his book Taleb says Black Swans have three characteristics: they are unexpected and unpredictable outliers, they have extreme impacts, and they appear obvious after they have happened.
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When I started working as project manager my skills were based on suggestions and directions of the senior project managers as well as best practices I experienced directly in the field which I used to translate into lessons learned. Over time my project management knowledge improved, I felt even more the need to have support for me to re-arrange and rationalize my competences. I finally found it within the PMBOK® Guide (The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge®). Achieving the PMP® Certification represented my first step towards a professional learning path and one that is still leading me to become more and more involved in the project management world allowing me to appreciate the continuous evolutions of this discipline or, as I like to say, this new science.
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Project management is becoming more and more common as a profession. Organizations have realized the advantages of adopting a disciplined approach for delivering successful projects. Yet, becoming a project management practitioner is not like becoming a medical practitioner, there is not a standardized educational and professional path that leads one to project management. How many times have we heard managers saying that they fell into project management by accident? Although various career routes can lead to project management, there are common capabilities recognised in successful project managers: they put a lot of heart into managing change, delivering results, and last but not least, interacting with people.
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There are Poor Project Managers (PPM), Average Project Managers (APM), and then there are World-Class Project Managers (WCPM). It is easy to identify a PPM by late or failed projects combined with dissatisfied teams members and stakeholders. The APM might do a decent job, since the project might have been completed on time, in scope and budget but they have a few dissatisfied team members along the way, they did what the project required but just fell short of becoming a world class project manager.
Program & Project Manager Power - What are your most important traits to achieve success By Jeff Hodgkinson, PMP, Gary Hamilton, PMP and Gareth Byatt, PgMP
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“Happiness is the full use of your powers along lines of excellence in a life affording scope…’ John FitzgeraldKennedy, 35th President of the United States
Positive Leadership In Project Management - The World Class Project Manager By Frank P. Saladis, PMP
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Several years ago, around 2000, two authors collaborated on a book that focused directly on the professional development of project managers. The authors, Robert K. Wysocki and James P. Lewis, with some help from Doug Decarlo produced “The World Class Project Manager,” Perseus Publishing Services, HarperCollins Publishers, New York NY. This book became a reference I went back to time and time again. The title itself just beckons for attention. If you think about it, isn’t the title what project managers should be striving for? I imagine that there are many “world class project managers” within our professional community and there are many more who are aspiring to achieve that distinction. I believe the book was very timely when it was released. The world had just entered a new millennium and Y2K created opportunities for project managers in every industry and business, large and small.
Ask Harry: Cross Cultural Virtual Teams: Key Suggestions for the Project Leader By Harry Rever, PMP - Director of Six Sigma
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Virtual teams are not the exception; they are now the norm and they present a unique set of challenges compared to the traditional project team. I mean, after all, team members are located all over the place doing who knows what during your project. There’s a tremendous sense of loss of control; trust becomes an issue as does participation and dedication to the project. Cross-cultural virtual teams, also common in today’s business environment, are even more demanding on the project manager because now cultural differences have to be explored and understood.