In 2015 I wrote an article intending to debunk some common myths about project management. Like many of you, I spent a reasonable amount of time during my first few years participating in online forums correcting agile misconceptions. Unfortunately, just like lopping heads off the Hydra, every time I’d address one myth, a short time later it would re-emerge. Recognizing the futility of trying to permanently suppress fallacies, I stopped responding to such discussions. However, as I would still like to help, writing an article on five of the most common agile myths will give me a reference to provide to folks in the future.
It would be an understatement to say that project managers have had to deal with a lot of change this year. Projects have had their budgets vastly reduced or been cancelled outright, and remote work has become the norm rather than the exception. We are still far from the end of the pandemic, but in those areas where they have successfully flattened their first waves, some companies are starting to encourage their staff to return to the office.
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I was asked a very unique question by one of the learners in a project management course I taught this week: “How do I motivate my team members when even I don’t believe in the project?“.
Articles have been written about the importance of doing just enough planning to develop confidence in what we are proposing to do as well as the perils of either too much or too little planning.
The Disciplined Agile (DA) principles were recently refactored and as part of this refactoring, a principle was added: “Organize Around Products/Services”.
Sabina Nawaz’s article “In Times of Crisis, a Little Thanks Goes a Long Way“, which was published this week on HBR.org, is a great reminder of the need we all have to be appreciated.
Remote teaming is not a new concept but physical distancing restrictions have forced many project managers who had never previously worked with teams of dispersed team members to quickly adapt. While this transition might create a few hiccups with a well established team it will be much more challenging when we are working with teams whose members have never worked together. In such situations, the forming, storming and norming phases can take much longer than it was with the “old normal” but your key stakeholders are unlikely to accept prolonged delays in the team becoming productive.
COVID-19 is like that car accident just up ahead which you know you shouldn’t be focusing on while driving, but which draws the attention of all around it. After doing a number of articles related to the pandemic, I’d planned to write about something completely different, but as my weekly blogging time drew near I realized that there was (at least) one more topic I needed to write about.
The January 2020 issue of PM Network provide a case study for one of the 2019 PMI Project of the Year finalists, the Société de transport de Montréal’s (STM) eight-year project to modernize the underground Montréal rail system. I have a soft spot in my heart for this system, having spent most of my formative years in Montréal and having been a frequent user of its services while commuting to university and my first job. I always found it to be a clean, safe, efficient and reliable method of getting around the city. As such, it was a bit of a surprise for me to read about the operating challenges faced by the STM in recent years and the anticipated growth projections, both of which were the impetus for this ambitious project.
It is a common challenge for anyone who has managed projects for a meaningful amount of time. One or more of your key stakeholders who are integral to the successful completion of the project appears unwilling to engage as expected. It could be the project sponsor who ignores your pleas for assistance with a project issue, the functional manager who turns a blind eye to your requests for staffing support or the executive who never seems to have the time to review and sign off on a key deliverable.