Tag Archives: Management

5 Ways a Project Manager Can Remove Obstacles

A project manager trying to remove obstacles
How a project manager can remove obstacles

One of the project manager’s key responsibilities is to remove obstacles. Many see management and leadership as an oversight task. Instead, a project manager should strive to balance being informed with getting involved when necessary. The role requires more leadership than management. This means not only knowing when to get involved, but how to get involved.

What follows are five examples of typical obstacles a project manager may face and how to remove those obstacles.
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How Checklist Project Management Can Make Your Project Fail

Checklist Project Management
Checklist Project Management

I managed a project once where we were implementing a system for several clients. We visited one of the clients where I met with their team, including my counterpart project manager.

He seemed like a nice enough guy and we agreed that we would do our best to communicate and work together. Once the meetings started, we began delving into the client’s business requirements.

The client’s project manager had a list of questions he wanted to get through and seemed intent on getting through the list swiftly. He would ask a question. Someone would give an answer. He would begin typing the information into his laptop.

Invariably, someone would either add to the answer, contradict it, or ask a question, indicating they weren’t sure the answer was correct. In some cases, this would result in some fairly extensive discussion.

I could read the expression on the project manager’s face. He just wanted to get through the list. Ask a question and answer it. All this discussion was just slowing down his process.
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5 Myths of Project Management

Myths of project management
5 Myths of Project Management

The project manager’s role is often misunderstood. They do a lot of heads-down paperwork. When they do talk, they are asking questions rather than adding valuable information to the discussion.

Some people think it is an easy profession. This is based on many myths of project management. Here, I will discuss five of the most common ones.
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Do You Manage Like a Coach or a Referee?

do you manage like a coach
Do you manage like a coach or a referee

I was watching my daughter’s soccer game a few days ago and made an observation. I saw her coach standing on the sidelines doing his job. And I saw the referee out in the middle of the field doing his.

I’ve never confused the two roles. They each have a different job to do and they do it. Some are better than others.

Manage like a coach

A coach – at least a good one – works with the individuals on the team to help them improve as individuals and as a team. When a player on his team makes a mistake, the coach provides feedback on how to improve.

A coach sets goals for the team and each of its individuals to achieve in order to succeed. Success is well defined. Everyone knows what they need to do and how to achieve success.
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How Making Noise Hurts Your Team’s Productivity

making noise hurts your team
How making noise hurts hyour team

It can be a difficult transition when someone makes the move from worker bee to management. You find yourself going from someone who had lots of tasks and was always busy, to being in an oversight position.

Certainly a manager keeps busy. There are plenty of things to do. But when a deadline approaches and the team has a ton of work to do in a short time, managers often find themselves in a situation where they watch people working, waiting for the rest of the team to get it all done.

Meaningless activity

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How To Deal With the Renegade Team Member

renegade team member
Do you have a renegade team member?

Every once in a while – maybe even more often than that – you experience a renegade team member who wants to do things his way rather than what you’ve tried to set as the norm. When this happens, the project manager has to decide whether to act and what to do if they decide to act.

The first thing the project manager needs to decide is whether the “renegade” activity is unhealthy or undesirable. Too often, project managers see someone acting outside of the norm and attempt to reign them in before determining the consequences.
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Assessing Risk in Project Management

assessing risk
Are you assessing risk effectively?

The Scout Motto is “Be prepared”. I don’t know if a study has ever been done to determine whether former scouts make better project managers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a correlation.

The most successful project managers I know are prepared for almost anything. Over the years, the most successful way I’ve found to be prepared is to have a formal risk assessment process, in which risks are addressed early and often.
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Project Risk and the FedEx Truck

project risk
Assessing project risk
project risk
Assessing project risk

I recently went on a family vacation to Vermont. Even while I was admiring the beautiful green mountains of that state, I couldn’t help but get distracted thinking about project risk.

We were visiting some family who took us on a drive to Stowe, VT. It was a beautiful drive through the mountains with dense trees and mountain scenes. There was a narrow pass named Smugglers Notch, in which the road narrowed and curved sharply. The lane was wide enough for two cars to meet, and still pass. But it required them both to slow down enough to avoid hitting each other or the side of the mountain.

When we entered the mountainous area, I noticed a sign that read “Road ahead unsafe for trailers, trucks and buses.” I didn’t think too much about it until we got a few miles in and an oncoming car flagged us down.
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Project Management Role: Removing Obstacles

Project Management Role
Project Management Role: Removing Obstacles

When the role of project manager is brought up in every day conversation, many people think of the task-master, always trying to get status from the team member, reminding him of just how late he is on his task.

One can almost picture the PM standing there pointing to her watch, tapping her toe impatiently.
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Just Do It My Way

Inflexible management
My way or the highway.

Do you like the toilet paper to roll up from the bottom? Or do you prefer that roll down from the top?

Chances are that you have a preference.

I deliberately ignore the direction of the role when I replace it (yes, I do replace it). By doing this, it rolls from the top and from the bottom each about 50% of the time.  And something amazing has come out of that. I haven’t once had trouble unrolling this bathroom essential, regardless from where it unrolls.
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