Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Like Who You Are

Sometimes project activities might make you stretch how you manage projects. You don’t compromise your ethics, but work within your personal constraints. You might not feel comfortable asking staff to work weekends, but sometimes you need to do that. You might not feel comfortable giving harsh feedback but sometimes it’s needed.

In the end you still need to like who you are ... you are the only one that has to be with yourself every second of every minute of every hour for the rest of your life. If you cannot like yourself, then it might be time to look for a new job.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Time boxing

Recently I was given a project which was researched months before I received it. There were some research artifacts but not anything really comprehensive. As a good PM, I decided to create a charter. However, I didn’t want to slow down the project (high visibility).

I applied a time-boxing approach. I can be a perfectionist, trying to get the wording and organization just right. With time-boxing, I gave myself 5 hours across 2 days to complete the charter. The process promoted time management, right-sizing the documentation, and “not over-doing it.” I created the charter with the information available and didn’t try to find all the little details. If I didn’t know something, I acknowledged it as a follow-up for the requirements/prospectus/scoping document phase.

THINGS TO CONSIDER: Time-boxing can sometimes save you from yourself, allowing you to focus on the important pieces and being time-driven.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Oz Principle

Most of us are familiar with the Wizard of Oz. Four characters believe that they are missing something and need the wizards held to find it. In the end, the wizard only reinforces that they already had those traits and qualities but didn’t realize it.

The story might be familiar from the Wizard of Oz but it’s also something that you might see every day. My niece says she can’t ride a bike without someone holding on to her (until I let go and she notices she’s riding by herself). At work, they say something cannot get done because we don’t have the staff (until you ask for volunteers who work late to get the work done).

Some people see the glass as half empty. They are reaching for something or someone (the wizard) to follow, to solve their ills. Organizations bounce from the latest management philosophy to another, trying to find that silver bullet. By the way, it usually doesn’t exist.

At some point, you have to the take ownership and accountability. My manager doesn’t have time to help manage my career – so manage it yourself. I need a mentor but we don’t have a mentoring program– so find a mentor yourself. My manager never puts me on good, visible projects – so tell the manager a project you want (how else will they know).

The book The Oz Principle : Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability (ISBN 1-59184-024-4) helps explain this victim mentality, see the yellow brick road out of this mentality, and let you be your own wizard. A nice book summary can be found at .

THINGS TO CONSIDER: It’s time for that cowardly lion to roar; you are your own wizard and have the power to control your destiny.