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notes:misc:project_management

Project Management

Project: A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service (as defined by PMI®). It has a discrete start, a discrete end point, and a specific scope. It is to be done in a defined time period, for a defined cost and to a specific quality standard.

Project management: The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to the execution of a project in order to meet or exceed stakeholder needs and expectations. Project management is about time, cost, and quality. It is not about the design.

Project management plan: A consistent and coherent document based on the outputs from the other planning processes. Project management plan is not merely a project schedule!

Program: A group of related projects, managed together.

Project Management Plan

Project management plan includes:

  • Project charter
  • Scope statement (in/out of scope)
  • Work breakdown structure
  • Cost estimates
  • Project schedule
  • Project organization and staff schedule
  • Risk evaluation
  • Procurement plan
  • Project information systems
  • Project control plan

Project management plan is used to:

  • Guide project execution
  • Document project planning assumptions
  • Decument project planning decisions regarding alternatives chosen
  • Facilitate communication among stakeholders
  • Define key management reviews as to content, extent, and timing
  • Produce a baseline for progress measurement and project control

Rolling wave planning is the progressive detailing of the project management plan. It idicates that planning and documentation are iterative and ongoing processes. Rolling wave planning acknowledges the fact that we can see more clearly what is in close proximity, but looking further ahead our vision becomes less clear.

Reasons for the use of project management:

  • Focuses on one objective for one customer.
  • Responds efficiently to rapid change.
  • Effectively blends multidisciplinary skills.
  • Allows for most productive use of resources.
  • Facilitates consistent achievement of objectives.
  • Encourages creativity.

Stakeholders:

  • Owner
  • End-user
  • Project sponsor
  • Project organization
  • Project manager
  • Functional managers
  • Project team
  • Designers
  • Consultants
  • Contractors and sub-contractors
  • Competitors
  • Suppliers
  • Creditors
  • Financial institutions
  • Government agencies: federal, provincial, local
  • General public groups: consumer, environmental, political
  • Local community

Project Manager

The project manager is:

  • Team leader
  • Decision maker
  • Integrator
  • Communicator
  • Motivator
  • Interface manager
  • Expectations manager

Scheduling

Scheduling - duration compression:

  • Normal - tasks have normal duration and are sequential
  • Crashing - tasks are compressed
  • Fast-track - tasks are overlapping

Scheduling techniques:

  • Gantt
  • PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) - used for big projects

Critical path:

  • Critical path tasks have no float
  • Non-critical tasks can “float” and do not affect the end date
  • Critical path tasks must finish on time or the project completion will be delayed
  • if a non-critical task takes more time then it can become a “critical” activity

Negotiation Techniques

  • Commit to negotiate for mutual gain
  • Separate the people from the problem
  • Generate options for mutual gain
  • Use objective criteria and standards

There are two methods of negotiation:

  • positional
  • principled

Positional negotiation (=positional bargaining):

  • starts by taking extreme positions by negotiators
  • negotiators successively take and give up a sequence of positions
  • locks both sides into their positions
  • fails to produce a wise agreement efficiently
  • can be soft or hard

Soft negotiation:

  • concerned with the relationship
  • common within families and close friends
  • usually produces results quickly
  • an agreement may not be wise
  • In short: “Soft on merits, soft on people”

Hard negotiation:

  • concerned with victory over the other side
  • may damage the relationship
  • inefficient and time-consuming
  • an agreement (if any) may not be wise
  • In short: “Hard on merits, hard on people”

Problem: A soft negotiator meets a hard negotiator:

  • the hard negotiator dominates the soft one
  • the soft negotiator may feel exploited…
  • …and have long-lasting resentment and bitter-feelings

Solution: Principled negotiation (=negotiation on the merits):

  • an alternative method of negotiation
  • neither hard nor soft
  • developed at the Harvard Negotiation Project
  • concerned with a wise outcome reached efficiently

A list of principles:

  • “Separate the people from the problem”
  • “Focus on interests, not positions”
  • “Invent options for mutual gain”
  • “Insist on using objective criteria”
  • In short: “Hard on merits, soft on people”

Separate the people from the problem means that negotiators should attack the problem rather than each other. Emotions and perceptions are common obstacles in effective communication. They should be separated from the problem to reach a satisfying agreement.

Focus on interests, not positions says that negotiators should explore their interests rather than locking themselves in their positions. It may turn out there are more mutual interests than differences.

Invent options for mutual gain allows negotiators to gain advantage of variety of available options. The act of inventing alternatives is separated from making decisions. This allows negotiators to find options that bring mutual gains for both parties.

Insist on using objective criteria says that it is wise to base decisions on some objective standards. Objective criteria are independent from wills and positions of the negotiators and lead to wise agreements.

Knowledge

  • The most important asset in enterprises is the people and the knowledge they possess. Knowledge is now being called intellectual capital. Knowledge that people know but cannot really explain to others is called tacid knowledge, as opposed to explicit, explainable knowledge.
  • Knowledge-based strategies begin with strategy, not knowledge. Intellectual capital is meaningless unless companies have the corporate fundamentals in place, such as knowing what kind of value they want to provide and to whom (source: Brook Manville and Nathaniel Foote of McKinsey & Company).
  • Executing a knowledge-based strategy is not about managing knowledge but about nurturing people who have the knowledge, tapping into the knowledge that is locked in their experience.
  • The key to unlocking tacit knowledge is a work environment in which people want to share. When people want to share, they form worknets - informal groups whose collective knowledge is used to accomplish a specific task.

Leadership Styles

“Situational Style Leadership” by Blanchard & Hersey

S1 Directing (Telling) - High Task / Low Relationship
R1 Unable & Unwilling (Insecure)
Leader provides structure, control and closely supervises task accomplishment.
S2 Coaching (Selling) - High Task / High Relationship
R2 Unable & Willing (Secure)
Leader continues to direct, but also explains decisions, solicits suggestions and supports progress.
S3 Facilitating (Participating, Supporting) - Low Task / High Relationship
R3 Able & Unwilling (Insecure)
Leader facilitates and supports team-member's efforts toward task accomplishment and shares responsibility for decision-making with them.
S4 Delegating - Low Task / Low Relationship
R4 Able & Willing (Confident)
Leader turns over responsibility for decisions and problem-solving to a team-member.

Leadership is the process of influencing someone to do something that he or she might otherwise not do. Leadership is influence. Many people equate influence with manipulation but there is nothing wrong with influence as long as you are influencing someone to accomplish something that advances organizational goals and their own goals at the same time. That's a win-win situation. If, however, you attempt to influence someone to do something which is harmful to them while advancing your own personal goals or even organizational goals, that is manipulation and sets up a win-lose dynamic. This is not what we mean by leadership.

Authority and Power

  • Authority - power given to a person as a result of their hierarchical position in the organization; the right to command
  • Power - the ability to influence others so that they will respond positively to the instructions issued to them; ability to command and get results

Types of power:

  • Legitimate Power - based on position in organization
  • Coersive Power - based on fear (“do this otherwise you will not get promotion”)
  • Referent Power - based on respect for being a role model
  • Reward Power - involves positive incentives (for example, bonuses)
  • Charismatic Power - based on strong soft skills
  • Expert Power - special esteem because of skill or knowledge

Brainstorming

  • A powerful means of team building
  • Creates shared ownership over the issues identified
  • The basic rule: anything can be said without criticism or judgment

Two key factors for a successful brainstorming:

  • Attendance: get the right people - key project stakeholders
  • Assistance: the facilitator - good interpersonal skills

Four rules of brainstorming:

  • Creativity and freethinking is welcomed and encouraged
  • Quantity of ideas is required
  • Criticism is ruled out and judgement deferred to outside the session
  • Combination and improvement are sought to generate better ideas and build upon the ideas of others

Interpersonal Communication

Peter Drucker emphasizes the importance of communication for managers, and points out that communicating ability is essential for success. He states that one's effectiveness is determined by one's ability to reach others through the spoken or written word, and this ability is perhaps the most important of all the skills an individual should possess.

Sievert says that a high percentage of the frictions, frustrations and inefficiencies in working relationships are traceable to poor communication.

All communication should be aimed at producing one or more of these responses:

  • Understanding the exact meaning and intent of others
  • Being understood by others
  • Gaining acceptance for yourself and/or your ideas
  • Producing action or change

Nonverbal communication includes gestures, vocal tones, facial expressions, and body language. Below, there is a formula developed by Albert Meharabian that underlines the importance of nonverbal communication:

Total Message Impact = Words (verbal message) (7%) + Vocal tones (38%) + Facial expressions (55%)

Besides vocal tones and facial expressions, gestures, gender, and dress can also influence the impact of a verbal message.

Written communication: the main aim of business writing is that it should be understood clearly when read quickly. To meet this goal, the message should be well-planned, simple, clear and direct.

Effective communication is the key to success for the individual as well as for the project. Project managers and other project participants can increase their personal power or influence by developing a “power” vocabulary. It can be achieved by using the following guidelines:

  • Front-load your message. Put up front what matters to your audience.
  • Use concise language and stick to the point. Use words that are crisp and unambiguous. Use active voice rather than passive voice.
  • Watch out for “is” and “but”. Use “and” instead of “but” if possible. “But” negates what you said before and weakens what is to follow. “Is” provide a red flag that you are using passive voice.
  • Use persuasive language. Some of the most persuasive words in English are: you, we, new, save, results, free, guarantee, money, easy, and proven.
  • Show confidence. Tell what you can do rather than what you can't do.

Mistaken perceptions often lead to communication problems and poor relationships among project participants. Here are some ideas that can be used to overcome differences in perception:

  • As a listener, check your perceptions continually, by stating your observations about body language and your interpretation of it and asking for verification or clarification.
  • As a speaker you should strive to be specific, state the facts, and stay neutral. Avoid labeling and use non-judgmental, non-punishing language. One technique for remaining neutral is known as the “I message”. For example, instead of saying, “You didn't turn in your report on time”, the speaker might say, “I don't seem to have that report yet. Is it ready?”
Poor Listener Good Listener
Always interrupts Does not interrupt
Is impatient Waits until the end, then asks questions
Makes hasty judgments Asks for clarification
Shows disinterest (poor posture, wandering eyes) Pays close attention
Doesn't try to understand Verifies understanding by repeating what was said
Doesn't respond Gives feedback: smiles, nods, or frowns
Mentally prepares an argument to “win” Avoids arguing and its negative effects onn relationship
Reacts to person, loses temper Responds to idea, not to person
Fidgets with pen, paper clips Gets rid of distractions
Goes off the subject Concentrates on both the words and the feelings behind them; stays on track
  • Stop talking - Decision makers who do not listen have less information upon which to base decisions. You cannot listen while you are talking.
  • Silence - A space in the conversation, even if uncomfortable, should be tolerated. It encourages others to talk by signalling that you are ready to listen.
  • Few distractions - Shut the door, put the phone on hold, and refrain from impatient mannerisms such as doodling or shuffling papers. These communicate lack of time and/or respect for the speaker.
  • A receptive attitude - Listen for the total meaning, not just for points of opposition. Allow plenty of time for the communication to take place - if it runs over, end it in a manner sensitive to the speaker, not by interrupting, walking away or repeatedly checking your watch.
  • Ask questions to encourage further communication. This proves to the speaker that you are paying attention.
  • Hold your temper - An angry person takes things the wrong way. Suspend judgment while listening in order to avoid putting the speaker on the defensive. Don't argue - even if you win, you lose by impairing the relationship.

Closed communication

  • It's not my problem.
  • It will cost a fortune.
  • Let's be realistic.
  • The boss won't like it.
  • That sounds interesting, but…
  • I don't like it, do it again and see if you can get it right the next time.
  • Excuse me while I answer this telephone call.

Respect other people's opinions and ideas and show your commitment to work together as a team to resolve project problems:

  • I like your idea…
  • What you want to do is…
  • How can I help you?
  • What you need from me is…
  • How can we solve the problem together?
  • How can we create a better solution by partnering on this?
  • Let's look into it, you can count on me for full support.

Model open communication in your behaviour:

  • Sit next to the person you are communicating with, not across the desk or table.
  • Take turns speaking rather than iterrupting the other person.
  • Ask meaningful questions. It helps to develop further points of discussion.
  • Listen genuinely and attentively.
  • Focus on mutual interests, not differing positions.
  • Ask for feedback and give specific feedback in a timely manner.
  • Go easy on argument and criticism.
  • Avoid putting other person on the defensive.
  • Try to see the other person's point of view.
  • Be patient. Allow sufficient time, don't finish sentences for others and don't walk away.

Enhancing performance through effective communication

  • The project managers should praise and give proper rewards and recognition to project participants for the job well done. This not only makes people happy and satisfied, but also acts as a positive reinforcement that encourages repetition of similar behaviour.
  • Poor performance must be identified as early as possible and the poor performers given the necessary help to turn around the situation and achieve effective performance.
  • Have one clear priority. High-performing teams are characterized by clear, well-understood priorities.
  • Be non-judgmental (stay neutral). Example: A project member comes late to work. Poor: “You are late”. Neutral: “I came by to discuss this with you at nine o'clock but I guess you weren't in yet”. Try to modify the message and its tone in a way that will help you stay neutral and assertive, rather than blaming and aggressive.

Motivational Theories

Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory

Hygiene factors, if provided appropriately, prevent dissatisfaction. If not provided, they can create dissatisfaction. Good hygiene is necessary but not sufficient to achieve worker satisfaction and to motivate them on a long-term basis. After a while, worker satisfaction goes back to a zero level and that zero level escalates each time, creating a higher threshold of “no dissatisfaction”.

Hygiene factors (a.k.a. maintenance factors):

  • Compensations
  • Company policies and administration
  • Working conditions
  • Relationships with supervisors and subordinates
  • Relationships with peers
  • Level of supervision (too much or too little)

Motivating factors increase job satisfaction and are more permanent.

Motivating factors (a.k.a. motivators):

  • Opportunity for advancement
  • Opportunity for achievement
  • The challenge or variety inherent in the work itself
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Opportunity for recognition
  • Opportunity for personal growth

Team values of winning teams:

  • Pride in performance
  • Loyalty to the success of the organization
  • Teamwork through cooperation with other members
  • Self-discipline and accountability for behavior
  • Dedication through a willingness to work hard
  • Trust through building honest relationships with other members
  • Credibility by being consistently accurate and honest
  • Dependability by being there when needed, especially in the rough times

Conflict

  • Conflicts are inevitable in a project environment.
  • Conflict is natural and may improve creativity.
  • Openness resolves conflict. Open discussions can sharpen the differences and present alternatives.
  • Conflict resolution must focus on issues, not personalities.
  • Conflict forces a search for alternatives. In a healthy team environment, project members do not blame others for a problem or a failure. They are interested in finding solutions and alternatives.
  • Conflict resolution is present-oriented. An effective team should not consider past events, disagreements or behaviors of team members that may have taken place either within or outside the team. What matters is the present circumstances and what is being said now.
  • Conflict is a team issue. Any disagreements among team members can affect the effectiveness of whole team. As such, the whole team should help the members involved in resolving their differences instead of leaving them on their own.

Team conflict precautions (keep communication links working):

  • Keep team members informed of project objectives, plans, status and decisions.
  • Define task assignments clearly by avoiding duplication and overlapping.
  • Make task assignments challenging and interesting.
  • Involve team members in establishing objectives, preparing plans and making decisions.
  • Get top management involved and committed to teamwork.

Performance

The project manager should not take high performance as guaranteed and assume it will continue indefinitely unless it is positively reinforced with proper rewards in a timely manner.

Types of rewards:

  • pay
  • praise - one of the most powerful forms of recognition
  • desirable work assignments
  • status symbols
  • promotion
  • awards
  • conferences and seminars
  • training
  • travel opportunities
  • profit sharing

People respond better if praised for what they do well rather than if critized for what they do wrong.

Ethics

  • Utilitarianism - Choosing actions and policies that bring about the best consequences (e.g. happiness). There is emphasis on positive consequences of a group rather than of an individual.
  • Deontology - The internal character of an action (right or wrong) is more important than consequences.
  • Social contact theory
  • Paramedic method for computer ethics - a method to arrive at ethical decisions.

Lecture Notes

  • It is not WHAT you do or HOW you do it, but WHO USES IT that counts. Quality is in the perception of the customer.
  • Experience counts more than anything else in project management.
  • The repetition of any task leads to an improvement in productivity because of the experience gained.
notes/misc/project_management.txt · Last modified: 2018/06/19 by leszek