This post is a follow-up to my Agile DNA webinar I hosted a little over a month ago. This was my first webinar for RMC and we had a great interest with over 2,000 people registering for the event interested in Agile approaches in agile projects. The recording is now available, see below for details on how to access it. The webinar was entitled “Agile DNA, the People and Process Elements of Successful Agile Projects” and the DNA theme came from the twin strands of People and Process guidance that run through all agile approaches in agile projects and make agile uniquely what it is.
Project managers spend 90 percent of their time on communication related activities; yet communication is reported to be the No. 1 problem on projects.
Consider the following example: While planning one of my projects, my core project team assessed our sponsor, “William”, to have high influence but low interest in our project. William would routinely arrive late to meetings, be distracted by his phone, and leave early saying he had more important meetings to attend. When he was present, his gloomy attitude affected the rest of the team. They did not want to speak up in front of him fearing that they may have to face his disdain.
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.
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.
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.
I’m reading “Leadership and the One Minute Manager,” by Ken Blanchard. The book discusses “situational leadership,” which essentially means that a manager’s leadership style must vary depending on the competency of the person being managed. As I was reading the book I realized that these management styles, while probably relevant, would not initially apply to most project managers.
Every organization uses job titles as a way of describing the contribution of an individual employee. Titles are important within an organization for employees to understand their role and their relationships with other employees. But titles are often meaningless outside a particular organization. When someone is looking for skills training or professional development opportunities for their role, it is sometimes difficult to match a job title with a skill description.
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.
“For English, please say or press 1,” so you press 1. The friendly automated voice says, “I am sorry. I did not get that. What would you like to do?” So you say “1.” The friendly voice then asks, “Did you say ‘1’? Press or say 1 for yes, and 2 for no.” So you say, “Customer service.” The voice replies right back with, “Okay, I will transfer you to a representative, BUT first, please tell me the reason for your call,” followed by a list of options that are not relevant to your call. Here, then, are your options, and not one of them is what you need, so you repeat “customer service” and she repeats the same list. By this point, five minutes have passed and you don’t even have a spot in the customer service center queue.