Over the last few years of work I have picked up many great skills and a ton of experience that I will take with me forever. I believe the there is no substitute for experience, it is a great teacher and helps up become the best version of ourselves as we move through our careers. While I value these attributes of my history, what I want to hold onto the most is my relationships. Building connection with people at my office and other companies I have worked with has been a meaningful journey and I hope to continue that trend moving forward. Continue reading “Power of Connections”→
One of the great things about being a Project Manager at my office is that I feel like I can be connected to my team and my work from just about anywhere. All my important files are either on the computer or on a cloud based server that I can always access. While many people, myself included, believe the ability to work from home is a freeing experience, it can also be a tremendous struggle. Finding the ability to balance work and life while still being effective is challenging to say the least. Regardless of where you work, whether it be from home or an island in the Caribbean, we will always be divided by the distractions around us. To get the most out of your remote office, there are a few thing things that we can all do to maximize our time. Continue reading “Let Work Take You Places”→
In the spirit of the Presidential Election happening in America right now, I wanted to talk about a subject that seems to be a sore thumb for many companies, office politics. Workplace politics or office politics are the games that people play to gain favor or to change the perception of them. This can happen both positively and negatively, however the latter seems to be more common. Typically this will happen with supervisors asking their team to behave differently to make them look better, or in the accounting realm with fudging the numbers just a little bit to make the margins look better. Regardless of how the politics are created, they are the leading cause of workplace stress according to Personnel Today.
To truly be a successful Project Manager you have to have failed. I don’t mean that in a negative connotation at all, but more just emphasizing the importance of failure. Previously I know I talked a bit about the right way to fail, which was focused on how to handle yourself in a failure situation. How we behave during a failure or difficulty shows a lot about our character, but there is more to failure then just that. These terrible experiences shape us as people and will always make us better from it. Whether it be the ability to better prepare for the next time around or new knowledge about how to react to certain situations, these low points positively impact us regularly. As a PM we know that the truth of the matter is not whether you are going to have a failure or some issue on a project, but when – so there are a few things we can do before, during and after a collapse. Continue reading “Prepare For The Worst”→
To be a good project manager you really have to be a jack of all trades. I have always believed that it is important to be good at every task in order to be effective, but I don’t think that I ever really understood what that meant. Sure, it’s easy to say we need to be good at multi-tasking, or good communicators, or creative thinkers, along with many other attributes, but is that it? Recently I went through a humbling experience when I realized that I actually wasn’t good at everything. Continue reading “How Many Hats Do You Wear?”→
You can never have too good of quality – at least that is what I hear frequently. Over the years however, I am starting to not believe it. Sure, when I go to buy a car I want something of high quality because I am spending a lot of money. On the contrary though, when I go to purchase dental floss, I don’t know if I actually care that much about the quality. Really it comes down to the purpose of the item that determines the level of quality that you need to achieve.
Quality as a definition is also problematic because quality is completely based in perspective. If you don’t believe me, look at car brands. I drive a Toyota truck and absolutely love it, I think they make extremely high quality vehicles. I am sure however, that someone reading this blog probably loves Chevy or Ford and would debate with me over which is the highest quality. So when we are working on a project, we need to understand what our product’s intent is, and what the expectations are of our customers. To me, the easiest way to figure that out is simply to ask them. Opening up the communication with your customer about what they are looking for and why they want what we have to offer allows us to cater our strategy to a matching outcome.
The trouble with not knowing is we tend to draw the line in the wrong place. A glaring example to me is my work behavior when I started with my company. I was hired on as a project manager straight out of college and thrown into managing projects on my own – trial by fire – if you will. I was unfamiliar with the customers and unclear of anyone’s expectations. Really, it was just the “don’t screw up” mentality. I wanted to do everything right the first time and I wanted to prove to the other PM’s that I could handle what they did, so I spent hours on my drawings and data packs and submittal documentation to make sure everything was absolutely perfect. I ensured every drawing was the best damn drawing I could make…complete…waste…of….time. Looking back, the customer wanted an image or rough outline that gave the intent of the project, not a book about every detail, no one cared.
The important take away is to know what kind of quality you are expected to provide. Remember:
“Good enough doesn’t mean you can just do 80% […]”
What is does mean though, is don’t shoot for 100% when your customers don’t need it. Stop wasting your time and the company’s money shooting for that perfect deliverable rather than moving forward onto the next task. Project management is about managing your projects and the deliverables that come out of it, take responsibility for the work you produce and talk to your customers so you know their expectations. You may find you have been doing more for a few, and falling short overall.
Leave a comment below and we can keep talking about quality
In one of my last blogs I talked a bit about how to not be a bad bass. Really, that conversation was about leadership and probably should have been phrased as such, but I digress. To me, leadership is exactly what makes us not bad bosses. I don’t want to preface that statement with good leadership, because honestly, I wouldn’t consider it leadership if you are not being effective, at that point it’s just managing. I know that many of us want to be good leaders, but whether it be the desire to see our own gains, our overarching ambition, our desire to make everyone happy, or whatever, many of us fall short of being real leaders. I believe that a leader is not just the person who shows up to work with the agenda and ensures you follow it, a leader is the person who shows up to help you be a better version of yourself.
No, I’m not talking about that weird guy in your life that always seems to be around…I’m talking about project scope creep. Creep is the broadening of a project scope and it can be a real nightmare to deal with sometimes. Project creep comes in one of two forms, either you are like me and are constantly looking for more and willing to take on additional projects – even when you are too busy to handle them, or your client is asking for additional services or a change to your current project outline. Both of these scenarios can be detrimental to you and your business if they are not dealt with in the right manner. Continue reading “Dealing With Creeps”→
If you read my last post, Bad Bosses (Part 1), you know that I am not a fan of working for p
people who are just that, Bad Bosses! There are a number of factors that can make someone a bad boss, but one of the biggest components in my book is respect. I will never find myself employed by someone who does not respect me and I cannot respect. An article by Victor Lipman on Forbes states “Respect, not friendship, is what a manager needs.”
With that said, I would encourage you to find someone who respects you and you can respect, being best friends does not make anyone a great manager. For those of us who find themselves in management roles, I wanted share a few things we can do to help build trust and respect with our teams. Many people dedicate their lives to studying leadership and management so this is not even close to an exhaustive list, but it is a few of the tips I have learned over the years from working with great people and a few, not so great.
I know that not all of us have to opportunity to work for great people at every position that we hold over our careers. In fact, about half of Americans have quit a job to get away from a bad manager according to a study by Gallup. Half of Americans have quit, how many more do we think are out there who would quit if it wasn’t for the stability, the pay, the necessity to have a job, the fear of leaving and so many other variables? With statistics like that, some may argue that it is just a way of life and we should learn to put up with it, but I disagree.