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.
New research from Arras People says that 46% of project managers can’t find a job that meets their salary expectations. The Project Management Confidence Index concludes that project managers don’t feel that the UK economy has bounced back sufficiently for them to move into a new job and that living standards are still pinched.
The flip side of this is that 55% of respondents said that they found it difficult to recruit project and programme managers and that it was hard to fill roles. The research authors speculate that this might be because recruiters are still thinking in terms of it being a buyer’s market: in other words, they can set the levels of remuneration and very high standards with regards to what they are looking for in a candidate. Many companies are still operating with restrictions on packages and salaries, so there seems to be a big disconnect between what hiring managers are prepared to offer and what candidates are prepared to take.
In the meantime, candidates aren’t moving roles for positions as it could be a risky move. Project practitioners aren’t predicting that salaries will increase, either. Only 12% believe that salaries will rise above the level of inflation with the vast majority of people (37%) reporting that they think pay levels will stay the same.
So if you are struggling with the choice between leaving a job for more money or staying put, what should you do? Read more »