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Leadership

LEADERSHIP AND DECISION MAKING IN THE ERA OF MAN-MADE RISK

ORGANIZATIONAL RESILIENCE AMIDST CLIMATE CHANGE, CYBER RISK AND TERRORISM

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Leadership and decision making are at every level of the organization. We project professionals often find ourselves in a tough spot when we have to make decisions and rely on our leadership skills to get us to the finish line.

We’re expected to be well informed, resilient, on our feet and always look one step ahead. It’s pretty much a balancing act when we juggle our data and processes while using our skills. But like any performer we have to practice ahead of time.

Our decision making agility is being tested on a daily basis, when do we rely on data and AI? Do we implement new processes? Do we go with our gut feeling or not? To top it all off, we’re not alone, but work in an internal and external environment that we have to understand in order to navigate.

We’re always asking ourselves if we made the right decision and the answer in most cases is that we did the best we could at that time, given the information we had, the time constraints, resource constraints etc. But we have so many great techniques and tactics at our finger tips to help us with our decision making and better connecting us to decision making processes in the organizations.

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Aggressive Transparency-Project Stakeholder Management

I came across a new phrase last week, which I really like:  “aggressive transparency”. I saw this phrase in the Project Management Institute, Inc. exposure draft of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition.  It is used in the Project Stakeholder Management chapter referring to the fact that agile approaches strive to be very transparent so that stakeholders always are aware of project progress.  I liked the phrase and searched on it to see if I could find where it originated.

Prioritization Troubles? Brainstorm New Metrics

We teach prioritization techniques in many of our classes and many of the conversations we have at conferences and meetings are about how challenging it can be to get a group of people to agree on project priorities or even individual aspects of a product. As I was working on my 2017 strategic plan, I decided to write a short post on prioritization and metrics.

As a program manager at RMC Learning Solutions I have to prioritize projects and make recommendations to my management. We have many ideas for new courses, products, and services which are competing for our time. Prioritizing requires us to assess the expected value of an idea against its expected cost and then compare it to other ideas.

What Good Are Certifications, Anyway?

It seems that certifications are under attack.  In the past several months I’ve heard that corporations are no longer interested in having their employees obtain any certifications. This rant is not limited to the PMP®.  Indeed, it is said that companies are now solely interested in skills training. On one level this makes sense.  Why should a company care whether their employees are certified project managers, business analysts or Scrum Masters so long as they are able to perform those functions? What good are certifications, anyway?

Importance of Team Dynamics

Listening to everyone’s excitement yesterday over the win of the NBA title of Cleveland over Oakland was great.  I thought the sportscaster I listened to made a very astute observation.  While everyone believes LeBron James is a great player, maybe the best in the league, this person’s observation was that Oakland was made up of better players but that Cleveland actually has a better team.

That’s a great comment and one that is likely quite true.

Death by a Thousand “Little Mistakes”

Paying attention to the details is good business analysis

How many little mistakes do you see?
I open the newspaper in the morning and see a typo. I open my email and see a grammatical error. I go to a web site and a menu button doesn’t work. How many “little mistakes” do you see in a day? Corporations are pushing employees to work faster and get products to market sooner. Is this agile or is this sloppy? Many companies sacrifice analysis and attention to detail to increase revenue but it won’t pay off in the long run.

Cut the Costs of Regulations, Hire a Business Analyst!

In the United States (and I am sure other countries), we hear lots of complaints about the cost of regulations. This is especially true during a presidential election year. The paradox of regulatory complaints is that some candidates argue complying with regulations is too costly, while others argue that the cost of not having enough regulations risks the safety of our community. Regulatory costs (or the costs of lax regulation) are not just monetary but also environmental, societal and can result in a degradation of our values and way of life (e.g. lead in our water system). I would like to suggest that more analysis would help curb the costs of regulation.

Time To Think Out of the Box?

Talk about overused expressions! This one has certainly run its course over the last 5-10 years.  As much as I tire of hearing the phrase “Think out of the box”, I have to wonder about the use of the “box” metaphor.

Maybe there is a physical reason? Back in the late 20th century, we found ourselves with the need to employ many knowledge workers.  So, in the interest of efficiently utilizing floor space and affording them the privacy they needed to do their work, we put them all in these 3′ x 5′ boxes that were 5′ high on three sides.  Of course, it is now the 21st century and we now know that rather than make them productive, it made them feel physically and emotionally isolated.

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