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Project Management Blog

 We have all been on projects where an understanding different stakeholder groups becomes a ‘touchy-feely’ process.  You have a gut feel for their tolerance for change, commitment, ability to influence and what they view as important.  Most of the time we are wrong but if we had some real data for these areas, then we could establish effective communications and begin to understand what challenges faced us during our project time line.

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 In part 1 of this blog, we talked about not all communication events were pushed out to the project stakeholders.  Let’s look at some different types of communications interventions that represent the information, ideas, topics and subject matter that flow to and from the stakeholders through formal communication channels.

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On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful powered airplane flight. It was quite an amazing accomplishment, but I don’t believe it would have been possible if they were working in today’s business world. The problem would have been the drive for perfection. It would have started something like this…
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Tuesday, 21 August 2007 15:51

Point 14 - Deming in Project Management

Total Participation Starting From the Top

This point speaks to the need for
(1) commitment from top management and
(2) commitment from everyone else in the organization.
Quality is everyone’s job, and if any implementation is not total, it will not fulfill its full potential. 

In project management, I see this point alluding to executive formation and support of a company-wide Project Management Office. That PMO must be the central source of all project management knowledge, under continuous development by the practitioners of project management. Lessons learned and any potential improvements to the project management methodology used by all PM’s in the company should be evaluated, tested, and implemented as a positive change.

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Sunday, 12 August 2007 20:54

Point 9 - Deming in Project Management

Break Down Departmental Barriers in Pursuit of a Common Goal

Many processes are cross-functional. The same is true of projects. {mosimage}This point is about dissolving the “us versus them” scenario that so often exists in one form or another within organizations. In most projects that I work on, there are individuals from departments such as operations, central services and other support functions, MIS, IT, Service Engineering, etc. The “us versus them” attitude comes about when project managers and project team members look at their own interests at the exclusion of others, and instead of working towards a common goal, work towards their own separate and distinct goals.

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Bas de Baar, ProjectSociology.org

Whatever your take is on projects, at the end of the day it is just a bunch of people working together to achieve a certain goal. To laugh, cry, pull pranks, play dirty tricks and show all other kinds of behavior towards each other. If you are lucky they even work to reach the final goal. If you take everything away, and put people in the center of what a “project” is, you will see a group of stakeholders interacting with each other, just like any other group of people would do. As a Project Manager it is your goal to herd the project crowd toward the required end result.

 

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Fighting alter egos is tough work.  Like Dr. Jekyll striving against Mr. Hyde it can seem like a loosing battle.  This is especially true when the alter ego seem so helpful in the beginning.  Take the case of Mrs. Process.  She starts by figuring out how things are done and documents the procedures.  Working with others she finds better and faster ways to accomplish the work and incorporates them.  By performing audits and making sure that the procedures are followed she spots things before they become issues.  The problem begins when she becomes inflexible and intolerant.  As she turns over to the dark side her focus becomes the letter of the law, not the spirit.  Forms become static and any alterations are denounced vociferously.  

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Adopt a Philosophy of Cooperation Where Everyone Wins and Teach it to Everyone

Often, projects can become battlegrounds where the project manager and team are at odds with the sponsor and other stakeholders. These conflicts can arise when the project environment is not conducive to a win-win approach.

In project planning and initiation, clearly define the WIIFM (What’s in it for me) for everyone on the project.

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Monday, 02 April 2007 08:43

Avoiding Hindsight Management

Growing up in rural western New York we had cold, long winters.  Natural gas wasn’t cheap even then.  With 4 sons and a chain saw, my dad would cut enough firewood to heat a big, four-bedroom, 2-story home from October to April. 
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Thursday, 25 January 2007 21:08

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance covers all activities from design, development, production, installation, servicing and documentation. It introduced the sayings "fit for purpose" and "do it right the first time". It includes the regulation of the quality of raw materials, assemblies, products and components; services related to production; and management, production, and inspection processes. One of the most widely used paradigms for QA management is the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) approach, also known as the Shewhart cycle. The main goal of QA is to ensure that the product fulfills or exceeds customer expectations. PDCA (also known as the Deming Cycle, Shewhart cycle, or Deming Wheel) is an iterative four-step quality control strategy.

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