PM Strategies to Lead Effective Transitions

The role of transition leader is frequently overlooked but important aspect of program management. There are several keys that you can use to be a top performer.

· Gains support from and confidence of others. Change is not accepted and work cannot be done without the buy-in of key stakeholders. Building support early and frequently is a key to ensuring you have management, customers, team members or shareholders when needed

· Collaborate effectively. No matter how good a manager is, people will not follow without a sense of ownership in the organization. Working together at all levels of organization is critical. People look to see results and your ability to get results effectively and break through roadblocks. This is a fundamental to rapid results. In order to collaborate effectively, you need to focus on building relationships with customers, peers, and project team members.

· Takes accountability. As with any effective manager,successful transition leaders take accountability for their own work as well as that of the entire team that he or she manages. If the transition is structure change, project change, team member change there will be a lot of changing elements. To be viewed as the leader, you need to take accountability for the good and bad and keep communication strong.

· Inspires and motivates sponsor, stakeholder, customers and team. In order to manage change effectively in the organization, transition leaders need to have inspired employees and stakeholders. This can be a challenge as many people will view change as negative. The one constant these days is change, so helping people

· Communicates openly and often. Since change is such a complex and fearsome idea for process what it means and connect to what they do and contribute will mitigate the effect and keep project moving forward as it needs to. For most people, it is important for transition leaders to open the flow of communication and let people know what is undecided and what is decided so they are not left to speculation, rumors and growing fear develops. This holds true on a day-to-day basis as well and just becomes more critical during times of change.

· Provides clear direction. People want to know where program or project is headed. They want to know what roles and responsibilities are and they want to do a good job. Often, there can be a lot of distracters and inhibitors to people doing a good job. Stakeholders also need to understand where they are and where the organization is going. The action you can take leading through change is to link vision to goals of program and keep defining and redefining so people can understand and work to the needed results

· Create a culture of urgency – Often change becomes worse when prolonged as it can create a wait and see operating style. Creating the platform of why and what must be done with urgency will help force resolution and implementation more quickly.

· Creates opportunities for wins. The change involved in large scale and complex IT implementations often appears insurmountable to employees. Define interim goals and wins the team and individuals can celebrate. It is important to frequently reward and recognize team members to help boost morale and to keep change initiatives from failing due to a burned-out staff. It will help build momentum and feeling of accomplishment over long term projects.

Change is a constant. You can implement simple strategies to assist surviving tough transition and being the leader to help team thrive through change. It is important to practice these on a regular basis but step it up in a big way through transition times. It will ensure you delivery High Payoff Projects!


7 Ways to Evaluate PM Effectiveness

Are you managing a large program? Are you a project manager? Regardless of your role, here are 7 simple ways to evaluate the effectiveness of PM you work with or even yourself. These are some general areas but keep in mind you may need to tweak the question to be more relevant if you manage software projects over construction.

1. How Effective is your Business Strategy to Project objectives defined by PM?

One of the primary functions of project management is to translate the business strategy goals into technical specs, operational goals or specific outcome. If this translation is not clear, stop and ask why and what is the effective translation that would make sense to someone not working on your project. That is how clear you should be able to articulate and will increase the effectiveness of delivering on the goals. The entire effort will be successful only if the business goals are effectively translated.

2. How does PM respond to change in strategy and/ or goals?

Changes in business goals are inescapable, especially in projects that have long timelines. The efficient way to finish a project may be to keep the timeline, however when strategy changes its likely some objectives in project have as well and efficiency will no longer matter if the wrong outcome is achieved. These are critical points in the project to evaluate what can be removed, what is a must have add, how does that impact other projects that are part of the program, what resource and schedule impact are there. If the resource and schedule impacts are not in line and reasonable, you need to review findings with stakeholders and keep adjusting till there is an achievable scope, timeline and budget.

3. How does PM facilitate design and development work?

The eventual success of a project is highly influenced by how well the PM removes obstacles. When time is lost because development team is waiting on scope decision and there is not one, or inspection resource cannot be scheduled for X number of weeks keeping the team on track and able to complete work is critical to high payoff results.

4. How responsive is PM to Stakeholders?

The project manager needs to be responsive to a number of stakeholders, the project team, business sponsors, peers, internal partners such as sales, marketing, human resources and customers. All of these stakeholders may have different priorities, and the project manager has to juggle all of these priorities effectively. Ignoring input and feedback from sponsors and stakeholder is an early warning sign. Watch that concerns are investigated and understood if a response is justified or already covered in planned work. When a stakeholder does not feel concerns were noted, it will escalate later in the project and become more critical.

5. How well does PM work with external vendors, providers that are part of project?

The more organizations that are part of the project, the more complexity there is. The ability to navigate, build strong working relationships is key to collaboration and speed when you need it most.

6. How well does PM Communicate?

Is there proactive communication on the project? When common themes come up, are meetings scheduled, training etc to get the info out to teams that need it? This area is so important and often forgotten in the heat of crisis and managing the minutia in a project, so be diligent in helping PM manage communication frequently and in a timeline manner.

7. How well does the PM solve problems?

Problem resolution skills will be called upon on a frequent if not daily basis in any project. Good project management depends upon proactive and quick resolution of these problems and keep work moving as rapidly as it can. Is the PM persistent? When there looks to be a roadblock to they continue to work to define alternative solutions? Never underestimate what persistence with a bright team can create to keep a project on track.

Running an Effective Virtual Meeting

Interesting article about leading effective virtual team meetings from CIO Australia. It covers the basics of meeting guidelines as well as best practices for staying engaged. It’s full of good reminders and ideas to make your meetings product effective results.

Running an Effective Teleconference or Virtual Meeting

“Virtual teams are becoming commonplace, but the old rules for running a meeting don’t necessarily apply. Managers need to learn new skills to keep people engaged and to use the time (and technology) effectively. These tips will make your next remote meeting a success”