Do Work Below Your Pay Grade

I once worked in a corporation where you never talk to the CEO. Then I joined a new organization. One day, I was checking my slot in the mailroom when the CEO walked in. I pretended not to notice. He greeted me by name and we exchanged some small talk. Wow! That blew my mind … Read more

Memo to Internal Audit

Projects are initiated based on business cases with assumptions and promises of return on investment or the attainment of some benefit. Once the project starts, these are forgotten. When the project ends, the project manager reports on the completion of deliverables within schedule, budget and scope. If it stops there, you may never get the … Read more

Key Success Factor for Benefits Realization

Back in 1992, Robert Kaplan and David Norton introduced the concept of a Balanced Scorecard to manage a company. This is instead of using one sole measure to manage a company: the bottom line. It is wise to use the same approach when introducing Benefits Realization to project management. Revenue or profit cannot be the … Read more

A Framework of Unknowns Adds Clarity

One of the ways that you can add value as a project manager is to bring clarity to projects, especially project decisions. How do you do that? 1. Keep a list of unanswered questions. Prioritize them and go about finding answers.2. Create a framework of unknowns such as budgets, timeframes, people, approvals; use forms, templates, … Read more

Silo Busting Your Brain and Gut

“It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgments concerning them.” That’s an ancient teaching of Epictetus, a slave who was disabled when his master broke his leg. Epictetus had more than his fair share of disturbing events, surviving a fire that destroyed two-thirds of his city and living through four different emperors … Read more

Deliver the Project Goal, Not the Project Plan

Would you rather have the perfect project plan, extended so that it eliminates all risk and is overbudgeted so that you have all the right resources, before you reach your goal? Or would you rather have a minimum viable project plan that gets you to the goal quicker and cheaper, with the tradeoff of accepting … Read more

Hybrid work is here to stay

Nick Bloom predicts that U.S. workers will spend a quarter of their time working from home in the next 10 years. The economics professor at Stanford University says, “I talk to hundreds of companies about remote work, and 95 percent of them now say they’re going hybrid, while the other 5 percent are going full … Read more

What is the value of this report or presentation?

Project managers tend to spend lots of time preparing reports and presentations. Then they spend more time finessing them. If the focus is on data, insights, and recommended action, that is time well spent and the expected value is good decisions. If, however, the focus is on fonts, icons, and margins, spending hours on these … Read more

Culture Eats Projects for Breakfast

MBA students learn that “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” a famous quote from management guru Peter Drucker. Here’s a pop quiz: Does your culture have rigid vertical reporting structures a.k.a. silos? Yes(0), No(1) Does your culture have cross functional teams working on projects? Yes(1), No (0) Does your culture have decision making frameworks spanning departments? … Read more

Complexity versus Scarcity

According to Peter Drucker, “Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.” He didn’t say that time is easier to manage than budget or scope. Depending on the project, the most complex thing to manage could be the budget, the scope, the quality, or the people. However, you … Read more