Value management is something that project managers should be aware of. In fact, the Association for Project Management in the UK has a specific interest group dedicated to value management. It’s a structured approach to defining what value means to a business and that’s essential to make sure that projects are aligned to strategy. A value management framework should give you the ability to define what your company needs, any problems and opportunities and then take these and review what the right solution should be.
Sounds difficult? The main problem with value management is that it’s subjective. And that applies whether you are dealing with what the company values as a whole (like “we value environmental credentials”) or at a project level (such as “As your sponsor I value quality over budget on this project”). Different people will have a different view of what is important. At corporate level you would expect there to be some kind of agreement and strategic take on what the company values – that’s essential as it can help prioritise projects (criteria around value should be part of the project selection process). But at project level when you are dealing with a number of different stakeholders it can be difficult to get agreement about what’s important. Read more »
I’ve read How to be a Productivity Ninja this year in a bid to become more productive. The author, Graham Allcott, shares some strategies for making the most of your time, one of which is the CORD model of productivity. I think this is a great tool for project managers so here is a brief explanation of what it is all about.
C: Capture and Collect
In this step you capture all the stuff that you think you might have to do, or useful notes. In the project environment, that could be notes from a chance conversation in the corridor with your project finance manager, or the minutes of your project board meeting. It could also be emails, post, things that come up from phone calls or ideas that you get in the shower about how to deal with that difficult project risk. Anything, really.
Got any presentations coming up? Sometimes it feels as if I’m constantly giving presentations, to different stakeholder groups and individuals. What matters during a project presentation is that you meet the objectives for the presentation so that your audience – whether that’s one person or 1000 – go away knowing what they need to know and having their questions answered.
If you are new to giving stakeholder presentations on your projects here are some tips to help.
Know your audience
You may have heard this before, but it is really important. An audience of senior managers isn’t going to want to know about the issue with the code you found last week or how the construction contract is working out. They will want to know what it means for them and their teams in terms of sales, customer service and the big picture. They want to know what they have to do now to take advantage of the new project deliverables and how to help their own staff through the changes.
On the other hand, an audience of end users will want to know exactly how their work processes will change as a result of your project and you’ll probably get a lot of technical or functional questions relating to their day-to-day work.
Focus on whatever is important to your audience and make sure you anticipate the kind of questions that they will ask. Read more »
I’ve read The Feedback Imperative by Anna Carroll recently and something stuck out for me. I know that giving project team members feedback is important – that was hardly a revelation from the book. But Carroll did talk about why we don’t offer feedback and it got me thinking. Project teams thrive on knowing what is working and what isn’t; it’s the way we get better at delivering projects and why we spend so much time doing post-implementation reviews and talking to project customers. So what would cause us not to give feedback? Here are 4 reasons that Carroll discusses in her book.
1. Lack of support
This is probably a major one for most project managers. The lack of support when it comes to providing feedback manifests itself in several ways. Perhaps you don’t have a good role model – you never get feedback from your manager so you are not sure what it should look like. Perhaps feedback is actively discouraged, or there is not a culture of calling out people on their mistakes. Maybe no one bothers to celebrate success around you so if you do it there is a risk that it looks insincere. It could be as simple as that you don’t have enough time to prepare feedback so you can’t give it properly and therefore choose not to do it at all. Read more »
What do you really need to know in order to be a great project manager? A paper in the Project Management Journal* has gone into this in a lot of detail, and analysed the Project Management Competency Development (PMCD) framework with the aim of identifying whether project managers are developing their skills in the right areas – the areas that employers actually want. The whole thing revolves around an understanding of what makes a project manager competent, in other words, whether they are capable of doing a good job.
I’m curious to know whether I am doing a good job and what makes up the competency framework that would dictate whether I can be assessed as doing a good job, so let’s take a look at the framework in more detail.
The PMCD framework, according to the researchers, covers three main dimensions of competency for project managers: knowledge, performance and personal.