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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The 10 Hour Project Manager: Excerpt (Chapter 6)

Today I thought I'd publish a small excerpt from The 10 Hour Project Manager, my best-selling project management reference book. Take a read and then head on over to my website (or Amazon) to check it out and buy a copy.

The 10 Hour Project Manager
Strategies for managing successful projects

Amazon Top 100 seller in two categories
 during 1st week of release in April 2011!
(Please click picture)

"Clear, concise and valuable Project Management advice for the price of a beer (Two if you want the paperback)!"

6. Communications & Reporting - Too little or too much?

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” (Anthony Robbins)

Keeping people excited

Another major reason for communications is ‘keeping people excited!’ What has this to do with running a project you ask? Well, quite simply, excited people get things done quicker and with fewer problems. If you have an excited project team, your project will have a much greater chance of being successful.

How do we keep people excited? It’s not actually that difficult. Focus on the things that are going well with the project, not the day to day issues you have. Hopefully if you are running your project well, the issues are getting resolved (by the right people) in the background. So don’t dwell on them, this will only highlight the challenges you are facing in certain areas. If you are holding a regular status meeting involving stakeholders and other key project members, concentrate on the project successes. You want to keep everyone positive about the progress of the project to date and also discuss the upcoming milestones the project will be meeting. Of course, reserve some time to go over major issues if you need to, but try not to let this part of the meeting bring down the rest of the discussion. Discussing issues in detail during a project status meeting can lead to team fractures, disinterest by some, and even open up personal conflicts between certain team members as they try to play the CYA game (Please refer to the earlier chapter on Risks and Issues).

Wow! I am probably advocating a completely different kind of status meeting than you are currently having. But stop and think about it for a moment. Think back to a recent project and its status (or weekly team) meetings. Was there always someone who was negative and wanted to discuss the problems? Was there always a group of people who were worried about getting to the next milestone? You know what I mean, and I’m sure your answer was yes. But what if you could change your meetings such that you were primarily talking about achievements and upcoming milestones you were going to hit? And what if you could dilute those naysayers and move their conversations outside of the status meeting to a more one on one setting? This is what I mean by keeping people excited. There is a time and a place to discuss issues. That time and place is not always during the regularly scheduled status meeting, especially if that’s the only regular meeting that certain people attend. Their lasting impression of the project will be one of problems and despair, when in reality you were successful as a project manager and delivered to the key stakeholders and sponsors as requested...

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