Communicate, communicate, and communicate… This is what I do every day.

If I ignore this fact 2 days it comes to me in form of a misunderstanding and then I need to repeat the message again.

Sometimes I think that I do not communicate properly or that I don’t get the attention of the people I talk to; but it’s not the problem, the fact is that the amount of information/decisions I get from meetings and mails is very big so I continuously need to decide if this is something I have to communicate or not.

I have developed the following mechanism to not forget it: I create a draft mail where I list all the issues/news/decisions I want to remind in the next monthly team meeting.

Once the month finishes, I review the draft agenda and I send it to the team with comments in order to help people who cannot attend the meeting.

Finally, if I get some issue during a meeting I draw on the item in the notebook something like this in order to add it when I am on my desktop.

Understanding environmental factors of your company

Live in a matrix organization within functional manager in one axis and the team leader in another axis have a lot of problems, mainly when there is not coordination between both axis, or when there is not the right balance in terms of authority.

One of the long term benefit looked into this type of organizations is the organic growth of the people which compose these teams, not only in terms of responsibility but in terms of knowledge and capabilities.

This is something difficult to implement because managers tend to look for the quarter deadline results, ignoring long term results.

Why to implement an organization like this? Probably this company implements this type of organization because it tries to build a long relationship of the employee within the company; so it’s understood that the growth of the employees is a must.

This fact cannot be ignored by the managers: it’s important that the growth of their careers will be done as the growth/change of the IT sector is huge.

I have seen managers ignoring the long term development of their teams and looking for short term benefits. After some years, they need to replace some people or reorganize the teams because the lack of growth in their careers, provoking in addition a lot of damages in the team and the company because it breaks the balance of the investment that the company tries to implement for the complete organization.

Of course you need to have the right balance between organic growth and new staff in your company, but to build it; you need to understand the whole picture of your organization.

Building collaboration: second try.

First try; I used the formal channel of communications available for the center in order to foster the relationship between the team members and try each one know the initiatives launched by the others.

The problem was easy, people cannot enter new documentation and there is not way to perform real collaboration between people.

We are also taking a monthly meeting to review issues happened during the month and this is being positive from the point of view that the people comment things and ones listen the others… but it’s not enough.

Second try; we are going to use another tool that is initially implemented as a pilot for collaboration and communication. The use of the tool is very easy; in addition it has all the typical component of the social networks that foster the ability to share information.

Apart of the technical advances of this tool, the important one for me is that this type of channel is accepted by the people and everybody like it.

Let’s see if it works.

Lessons learned, it’s time to take their benefits!

We are working on a project that needs some changes. The “easy” solution for the project is perform some actions that lessons learned from previous similar projects say that this “easy” solution has negative consequences on the budget of the project.

The account manager has clear that this is not the right solution, nevertheless the project manager insists on it.

I have explained the consequences of this approach and showed the documentation performed by other PMs on those previous projects; nevertheless this guy is not convinced on it. I don’t want just impose the decision on this project, I still have a little more time to convince him about this before to impose it.

What I need is that this guy understands these negative consequences on this solution in order that he focuses on an alternative solution.

Once it happens, he will be able to concentrate on real solution for it.
Jorge Santayana (1863-1952) said:

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

PMO effectiveness

We started the delivery assurance process on the whole portfolio where the initial objective was to know the status of the projects.

After we knew the general status and evolution of them, the next need at portfolio level was clear: now we can prioritize the projects and start opening relevant actions on the key projects.

Resources are limited, so enable actions for all projects is neither effective nor efficient.

We use an easy reporting scheme o it: Actions performed in this period,Actions not performed in this period,Actions to be performed in the next period.

Pareto law says something like this: with 20% of actions you can solve 80% of problems. I try to help on this.

Project management framework, why?

One of our clients have their own management framework, but the grade of implementation into the company is not right: they have the papers, but just that.

Last week someone made me a question: Why do you consider our pm framework as something good?

And my answer was simple: to not have the problems that the mentioned company has.

You can be in that office for a day, looking into the project work performed there, and in just 2 meetings reviewing a project, you can detect a lot of issues, lack of definitions, communication problems…

I’m sure that with a good use of the framework, the situation should be, at least, better.

There are thousand books talking about management methodology benefits, but having this environment let me understand them in the real world.

Sales presentation

I continue working on the material for the solutions we are working on. Preparing the sales material is an interesiting process I’m enjoying.

First, I have done a presentation with a lot of slides, presenting different ideas, concepts and typical sections these material uses to have.

After to review it with the solution manager, we have selected some of them as good, some other to be removed, other to work more on them and other that we don’t know what to do with it.

We know our goal: more or less 10 slides, so now with all this material what I’m doing is a list of concepts I want to show, forgeting the material. Once I have this list I will take the material and I will reflect the ideas using it.

Let’s see if it works!!

Notifiership (it’s like a virus)

In some environments, notifiership has replaced leadership. There are people who only takes the problems and then distribute to team without helping and encouraging the issues they are leading in the project.

I have seen this phenomenom recently. The assignment of a team member to a project, where the project manager did not explain his expectations, objectives… about the position the team member was getting. It was a project leader position with some grades of independency.

After some days we adviced the project manager to explain our guy his objectives, expectations and other items to him. Nevertheless he has continued notifying simple tasks without communicating objectives, expectations, rules of engagement…

Now, and after 3 months, the project manager complaints about how this guy is working. 🙂 His words were things like “…he is not reaching the business objectves…”.

Have you explained him?….

Je je, he was counting beans and now we are involved in a lack of communications problem that is compromising the capacity of the team member.

So now, I’m reviewing meeting minutes and mails to explain our position about this issue.

This kind of things and like virus with different ways of expression.