You may be asked at some point to take over a failing project. When joining a failing project, you will have to assess the people, processes, and tools. Today, I want to focus on processes.
When I join a failing project, the first thing I want to understand is whether the scope is clear? I look at the documented scope, but I also take time to understand what people believe the scope is. I frequently find there is a mismatch between what is expected and what is documented. At that point, we take the time to align on scope, clearly defining what is in scope as well as out of scope for the project.
Being a team-building enthusiast and agile blabber-mouth allows me to participate from everything from executive meetings to dev. team ping pong tournaments and believe me when I say, I’ve had more fun in meetings than I have playing ping pong. I’ve been in meetings where everyone feeds off one another and we’re able to build, optimize, or plan something amazing. I’ve been in meetings I’ve looked forwards to and left feeling refreshed to go do more! Why won’t I forget those meetings? Because those teams were high-performing, self-organizing, powerhouses with leaders that gave them direction and guardrails. Some of the most engaging leaders and most amazing teams I’ve ever worked with were waterfall folks through and through. Continue reading
Walking into my boss’ office to tell him I was quitting was one of the hardest moments in my career. I was in tears. I loved my job. My boss was wonderful. My team was fun. The company was a great company to work for. But it was time to leave. At university I took the Myers Briggs test. I remember sitting in class, reading about the best careers for an ENTJ. There was one that stood out to me: CEO. That’s what I wanted. Over time I forgot though, distracted by different career options. In my MBA I took a project management course and discovered an entire career field just for me. I poured everything into project management. I began volunteering at the Project Management Institute, worked on finding a project management job, and in general lived and breathed project management. Life as a project manager was great, but there was still something missing. Continue reading
“Change management” and “sales strategies” are phrases not often used in the same sentence. They belong to two different professional worlds and it is doubtful that many change management consultants see sales techniques as important to their work. Interestingly though, when looking deeper into the concepts behind successful sales strategies, there are several important lessons that directly relate to an effective change management strategy. The following are four sales concepts that should be added to any change management consultant’s tool kit to improve their effectiveness with their clients: Continue reading
I worked for a VP who loved to empower us to get things done. The first time she said it to me, I felt my chest swell and I had confidence we could conquer the world, or at least execute the project. That confidence quickly vanished when I realized we weren’t really empowered. In order to advance the project, we were dependent on other parts of the organization – teams that we had no influence over. Sure, we could have conversations with these groups and attempt to gain buy in, but ultimately, it wouldn’t be enough because the challenges we were facing related back to the priorities that had been set for the entire organization. The conversations and decisions needed were way above our heads. That’s when I realize we had false empowerment. Continue reading
Toxic people in the workplace are nightmares! They thrive on making your life miserable. Often their behavior is driven from pride and somehow it makes them feel good to treat you poorly. Likely you have seen all these people at some point in your career. Here are a few tips with how to deal with them:
“I can’t tell my boss what I really think. I’d probably get fired.” I hear this lament too often from employees with legitimate concerns carrying potential impacts to the organization’s success. Personally, that thought hasn’t crossed my mind. If it needs to be said, I tend to say it (maybe a little too often). This situation made me realize there are ways that employees should act more like consultants and therefore experience the freedom that comes with it.
Crises happen in the workplace frequently. Whether these crises are real or artificial, it seems there are four types of poor leadership that emerges during crisis (or perceived crisis) situations. Each having a negative impact on the team:
“I can’t have you tying my team up in daily meetings.”
“Why do you need that meeting; we already have another meeting with the same people.”
I can’t tell you how frequently I get questioned on the number of meetings I hold. Inevitably, though, at the end of the project phase, most people agree with my meeting strategy. Meetings are a part of life. Get over it. Don’t be a meeting avoider, and even worse, if you are creating an environment where people are afraid to have meetings, have you thought about the unintended consequences? Continue reading
I’ve always been curious about people who go on journeys to find themselves. I imagine someone going to a far-off land, being isolated from everything that was once familiar, and connecting with a spiritual side, just like a page out of Eat, Pray, Love. I realized two things: “finding” yourself is important; and you don’t have to travel to do it (although your self-discoveries may be more intense if you do; since I haven’t done it, I wouldn’t know). Here is what “finding” yourself (or self-discovery) does: Continue reading