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Give unto Caesar…and don’t steal his spotlight!

What are you? Are you a technical specialist? What’s your specialty? What about your team: what’s their specialty?

How would you feel if your team members tried to manage the project in your place? How would you like the software engineer trying to replan the project to meet the deadline?

I bet you would not like it. Not one bit.

Yet, how often do we do this to our teams? How often to we try to be specialists in their own discipline?

It’s one thing to want to be helpful and to makes suggestions. It’s another to assume we know better than they do. After all, we’re the project managers because we are good a managing. She’s en engineer because she’s good at engineering.

Project Managers: we don’t need to know everything about everything

It’s ok to defer for the technical expert in your team. It’s ok if they answer the question and not you. They don’t get to do that often.

If they fix an issue, they should be rewarded for it. If you fix a team conflict, that your accomplishment.

It’s […]

By |2009-09-01T17:59:00-04:002009-09-01|

Virtual teams make everything more difficult

Virtual teams are a fact of today’s projects. With outsourcing and increased mobility for the workforce, there is a higher proportion of people who either work in satellite locations, or simply work from home.

The project team becomes virtual. How can we keep up with everyone when we can’t see them?

A huge part of project management is getting a feel of how the team is doing

How can we do that without seeing the people we work with? After all, the biggest part of a person’s message is not conveyed with words. It’s transmitted via pitch and intonation of voice, the way she sits or stands, her facial expressions and hand gestures. These are all things someone can’t show in an email, a tweet or a chat window. And while video conferencing and conference calls can help getting a bit more from that team member, it’s still not the same as being right in front her.

Another issue is created by writing instead of talking. In writing, people have different personalities. When we write something, it’s not spontaneous. […]

By |2009-04-22T14:42:00-04:002009-04-22|

Project managers are not alone

A project should not be composed a leader on top and everybody else below. Actually, that's a very good way to fail. Your team is there for the project, and so are you. Why not work together?

You need to work together.

Be with your team. Spend time with them. Take the time to explain what's going on in the project.  Listen.

When problems arise (they always arise), your team's unique perspective may be the key to solving it. Budget problems? Maybe one of your developers knows a less-expensive tool that does the job just as well. Schedule problem? Your QA specialist may have a few tricks up her sleeve to speed up the testing phase.

Project managers are not superheroes. We can't expect to fix everything on our own. That's why there are project teams.

The project can't succeed without the team, but it can succeed despite the project manager.

By |2009-04-08T12:30:00-04:002009-04-08|

Project roles: sponsor VS manager

While working on a project, I realized the project team was not clear on the roles and responsibilities of the project sponsor VS the project manager.

Who’s the sponsor anyway?

The project sponsor is the person who pays for the project. Because he or she is paying for the project, they get to decide on the project scope, schedule and budget. They’re the ones really taking the big decisions.

Don’t confuse sponsor and client, however. The person who buys the product is not necessarily the one investing in its development. For example, we develop AceProject and then sell it to our clients. The clients get the product after the development project is completed.While their opinions are very important to the development process, they are not the ones funding the project.

When we are developing custom features for a client,  then the client is also the sponsor, because they are privately funding the project. Otherwise, the project sponsor here at Websystems is Daniel, our President.

What about the project manager, then?

The project manager makes sure things get done. The project manager […]

By |2009-03-12T13:38:00-04:002009-03-12|

Project management and communications

It’s easy to get swallowed by project management tools. It’s easy to feel that we can get all the information we need from a piece of software.

But it’s not true.

If you want to know how well a project is going, take your team to lunch. They will tell you more about the project than any statistic. While you’re sitting at the table with your team, take a look at their non-verbal behavior. Are they happy to be together? Are they talking to each other? Are they just sitting there, waiting for lunch to end?

How your team interacts together will show if they are getting along and where there might be personality clashes. Moreover, the general mood of the team is a good indicator of the project’s status.

By |2008-11-25T13:13:00-05:002008-11-25|
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