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What are ITTOs Part 2: Definitions | Video

What are ITTOs Part2? - Definitions

ITTO: Inputs, Tools, Techniques, Outputs. So, what do each of those terms mean?

Dr Mike Clayton is founder of
Here, he answers this question, in under 5 minutes.

PMI Talent Triangle - Technical Project Management

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How to Build a Robust Project Risk Culture [8 Steps]

How to Build a Robust Project Risk Culture

A robust risk culture goes beyond having a strong basic risk management process. But the rewards for the extra work you’ll put in to build that culture are huge. Particularly for large, complex, or strategically important projects.

Some of my readers may hope to influence the risk culture of their whole organization. But, for many, I suspect this may be too great an ambition. For you, the right aspiration is to build a positive risk culture within your project. As a Project Manager, that’s entirely within your scope.

So, some readers will draw information related to this badge…PMI Talent Triangle - Strategic & Business Management
But explicitly, we’re going to focus on how your project that can create and impose risk management discipline on a blank project canvas.

PMI Talent Triangle - Technical Project Management

But these ideas scale. And the process for creating a robust risk management culture within your project can apply equally if you get a chance to influence your wider organization.

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What are ITTOs? | Video

What are ITTOs?

They are an important part of your CAPM or PMP study. They take up over half of the PMBOK.

So, what are ITTOs?

Dr Mike Clayton is founder of
Here, he answers this question, in under 5 minutes.

PMI Talent Triangle - Technical Project Management

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Ten Ways to Win Team Commitment on Your Project

Ten Ways to Win Team Commitment on Your Project

If you want to supercharge your project team, your first step is to win their commitment. But although team commitment is easy to define and spot, it is hard to create. Yet the best project leaders seem to do it with ease.

So what are their secrets?

In this article, we reveal all. I’ll list the top ten ways to win team commitment, and secure a supercharged project team, that will:

  • Work hard
  • Collaborate well, and
  • Deliver consistently

PMI Talent Triangle - Leadership

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What is the Pareto Principle? | Video

What is the Pareto Principle - 80-20 rule?

The Pareto Principle, or the 80-20 Rule. It articulates a fundamental aspect of nature, which also applies to projects.

So, what is the Pareto Principle?

Dr Mike Clayton is founder of
Here, he answers this question, in under 5 minutes.

PMI Talent Triangle - Technical Project Management

Project Management in Under 5.
What is The Pareto Principle?

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The Project Manager’s Guide to Simple Risk Analysis

The Project Manager's Guide to Simple Risk Analysis

Risk analysis is both easy and hard at the same time. If that sounds confusing, read on, because we’ll make everything clear. But one thing is for sure. No project manager can get by without knowing how to analyze risk on your project.

Risk is important, because it is baked into the nature of projects. They are time pressured, and need to deliver something new or even unfamiliar. And, to make matters worse, you have the twin problems of limited resources on the one hand, and competing stakeholder expectations, wishes, and demands on the other.

Is it any wonder that one of the most quoted aphorisms in project manager is this, from Tim Lister:

Risk Management is Project Management for Grown-Ups’

PMI Talent Triangle - Technical Project Management

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Gravitas: How to be a Project Manager of Substance

Gravitas - How to be a Project Manager of Substance

Gravitas is something every Project Manager should be aiming at. It's the sense of authority, or substance that leads people to trust your judgement and rely on your advice. And, whilst experience, track record and, frankly, gray hairs contribute to your gravitas, there's more to it than that. We've all met people with plenty of all those, yet their words seem to carry little weight with the people around them.

And, likewise, you've probably met people who are still young and relatively inexperienced. Yet, for some reason, you want to trust them. What they say and the way they say it is not just persuasive. No, it's also weighty. It impresses people with the sense that here is someone to listen to and to take seriously.

PMI Talent Triangle - Technical Project Management

Isn't that how a project manager should be?

If you think so, then read on. We have plenty of advice for you.

What is Gravitas?

Gravity is the physical force that gives objects weight.

And the Latin word gravitas comes from the same root. It was one of the Roman virtues and it conveyed a sense of seriousness, dignity, and weighty opinions. It was what people wanted of their politicians, public figures, and generals.

Gravitas - How to be a Project Manager of Substance

Gravitas - How to be a Project Manager of Substance

And we want it just as much today...

Certainly we want it from politicians, public figures, and generals, but we don't always get it. But we also want it from professionals who deliver services and lead the organizations that society depends upon. And among those are you: the Project Manager.

Don't we want a deliberate, insightful, strategic thinker who is serious and dignified?

This doesn't mean you can't use humor, and improvize. But it does mean that the people around you can trust that you know when to have fun, and when to be serious. And that way, they can feel safe in your hands, trust your judgement, and seek out your opinions.

This is a huge asset to you when you want to:

  • Lead and motivate your team
  • Inspire confidence in your boss, client, or sponsor
  • Engage and influence your stakeholders

...and Why does it Matter?

If you are a project manager, or aspire to be one, you may have found yourself thinking something like one of these:

'My manager says that I lack gravitas'

'I want to move my project management career to the next level but people don’t take me seriously'

'I keep being overlooked for bigger projects'

'I get told that I’m too young to take on such a senior role'

'I sometimes feel intimidated by Partners and Clients and don’t speak out when I have something to say'

'As a woman in an industry traditionally dominated by men, I’m seen as lightweight and find it hard to get my contribution heard or acknowledged'

To operate effectively at the senior level, on big projects, you need your colleagues to view you as influential. And to do that, you need to be mindful of what you say, how you say it, and when you make your contributions. But, if you can find a way to carry the confidence of people around you, you are more likely to be a member of (rather than an outsider to) the top team. Having an influential voice among those at the big table needs 'gravitas'.

When gravitas is lacking

When gravitas is lacking, people know it. But, when it's present, they sit up and take notice of you:

People seek her out for her thoughts and advice.'

His ideas always influence the Project Board, especially when there's uncertainty or disagreement.'

When she speaks, people sit up and take notice.'

With gravitas, your leadership moves up a notch... or three. Your contributions at senior levels will create impact. And you will get the attention you are due. Your thoughts will carry weight. When you do it right, gravitas is not a mask or an act. It's a way to ensure you are heard in important discussions.

Your Biggest Business Asset

What makes the very top people in any context stand out?

Is it their wealth, their intellect, their appearance, their energy, their charisma?

I don’t think that it is any of these, although you can certainly find plenty of examples of each. Rather, I think it is something far more fundamental. People at the very top of their domain  - be it business, politics, sport, philanthropy, educations, service, or entertainment – have one thing in common.

We listen to them.

We want to hear what they have to say. And, because of this, we are likely to be influenced by their opinions.

This is, of course, the basis of LinkedIn’s Influencer program. Here is an example of a business giving the top people from many arenas a platform because we want to know what they have to say.

When you get to this position, your words will carry extra weight. The word we use for the characteristic that these people share therefore means weight. It is gravitas.

It seems to me that gravitas acts like a feedback system. We listen to people who have gravitas, and people have gravitas because we listen to them. The trick, therefore, is to start this self-reinforcing process: to acquire some gravitas. Because, without a doubt, being listened to and having others seek out and value your opinions, would be you’re your single biggest business asset.

In this article, I’m going to offer a lot of advice in the form of tips and techniques for how to develop gravitas. But I want to start with the best.

Morgan Freeman's Secret Ingredient

If there is one person who, to me, role models gravitas constantly, it is the actor Morgan Freeman.

In fact, there are few actors who have got to play that most pervasive of characters, god, and none with as much… gravitas. I don’t know what Morgan Freeman is like as a person, but his characters frequently have a depth, a solidity, and a weight that draws us to them. They have gravitas.

So what is Freeman’s secret in creating these characters? He puts it very simply – although you will find it far from easy to do:

Stillness. That’s all and that’s the hardest thing. Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance.

Have you noticed how little hurry some people seem to feel? How calm them seem – not agitated, not fidgeting; just patient.

It’s agitation and rush that rob us of our impact, because they betray a lack of confidence.

If you want gravitas, take your time… slow down. And the ultimate expression of slowness is stillness.

The Real Power behind Gravitas

Let’s extend that idea a step further. We recognise gravitas when we encounter a set of attitudes and behaviours that conform to our expectations of authority, credibility and wisdom.

What makes gravitas does depend, to a degree, on the culture and society you live and work in. My expertise is in Western, English-speaking cultures. But there is one thing that I am confident transcends all human cultures.

How Your Speak

If gravitas means not rushing, this applies to your speech, as well as to your movement. A steady, deliberate pace conveys your confidence in what you are saying.

As a bonus, speaking slowly increases your control over your speech and your ability to relax your vocal cords, allowing your voice to express all of its natural resonances. This will allow people to hear the components that are at the bottom end of your tonal register. Deeper tones tend to convey authority.

People who are absolutely confident don’t need to shout, so keep the volume down too. When people choose to strain to catch your important ideas, you know you have got their attention. And, having worked hard to hear you, they wil value what you say to a far higher degree.

The Power of Silence

The ultimate in slowing your speech, the linguistic equivalent of still… is silence.

Yet, this is something few can master. Used at the right time, it can be a devastating contribution to your argument. How much more subtle and understated can your contribution be?

If you don’t have an insight or contribution to make, remember that smart people will always find something smart to say. But Ludwig Wittgenstein was wise when he said:

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.'

Don’t be afraid to not have an opinion or an answer: no insight is better than shallow insight.

But silence has a power all of its own. I constantly advise the people I coach that, in a conversation,

the person who is most comfortable with silence has an advantage: they have control.

You can use silence as a question, as an answer, and as a way to win an argument.

The person who is most comfortable with silence has an advantage: they have control. Click To Tweet

A Question

Have you noticed how desperate most people are to fill a silence in a conversation?

If you ask a question, you’ll get an answer. But if you respond to the answer with silence, you will often get more. Desperate to fill the silence, the other person will say anything to ease their discomfort. Sometimes they will give you a new answer to your question – something buried deeper, and perhaps something they didn’t intend to let out.

An Answer

And silence is a great answer in itself.

We often rush to give our answers to people’s questions, fearing any delay indicates we don’t have a response readily to hand. So clearly, we are poorly informed or a slow thinker. This is wrong. Your quick answer says to me:

My question was easy, the answer was obvious, I’m a fool.

Why would you want to make me feel like a fool?'

Of course, you don’t easily make me feel like a fool. So maybe your quick answer makes me think:

You jumped in, you didn’t think, you don’t care much about my question, you didn’t listen to it’s subtleties, you’re giving me a stock answer, you’re a fool..'

Why would you want to look a fool?

A slow answer, following a silence, on the other hand, says to me:

you paused, you thought about my question, it was a good question and you recognized that, you paid me the respect of thinking afresh about how to answer it, you’re a wise person, I should listen to your answer.'

Why wouldn’t you pause?

An Argument

When you are debating a topic, sometimes a silence is the strongest point you make.

It lets your audience make your point for you. It can say not 'I have nothing to say' but instead 'what you expect me to say is not worth saying'. Silence creates space for listeners to fill in the gaps.

Use silence wisely, and it adds weight to your words.

Silence is the real power behind gravitas. Click To Tweet

How to Develop Gravitas

Now available at OnlinePMCourses: my online video program, 'How to Develop Gravitas'.

This course contains 21 short videos, with over an hour of content. Most of the videos contain a short lecture of under 5 minutes that will introduce you to a simple idea that will help you strengthen your gravitas and authority.

Together, they build into a comprehensive set of techniques that will make you a professional - and a project manager - of substance. You will become someone whom people look to for advice, insight, and guidance.

How to Develop Gravitas

Find out More and Get Started Now

Three Powerful Tips for Gaining Gravitas

I have already discussed the importance of Stillness and Silence. I’d like to offer you three more techniques to develop gravitas that start with S.


We talk about an aura of gravitas as if it generates a space around you. You can do a lot to create this.

We all have a ‘bubble’ of personal space, that others can detect and will usually respect. When you are with people, imagine your bubble expanding to twice, three times, four times the volume of your normal space, out to the edges of the room. As you visualise this, it will change the subtle cues that your body language gives out to the people around you. You will notice that they will respect a greater distance.

You can also choose to draw people in, by turning down the volume and leaning forward. This will give them a sense of occasion, and underline the extent to which you are in control of the conversation.


I have said nothing so far about the content of what you say. I need to assume that, if you want people to listen to you and value what you say, you have something worthwhile for them to hear. But what is the essential character of what people with gravitas say.

One of the things you will most often hear is synthesis. Many of the people we look to as wise, and who speak with deep authority, are able to see from different perspectives, and understand a broad array of disciplines. They will almost certainly have deep expertise in a narrow field, but this depth does not come at the cost of breadth. Because what they are able to do, is to bring together the understanding from different quarters and create new insights from their combination.

Gravitas demands the ability to learn broadly and form new connections that help move ideas forward.


Another talent that people with gravitas will put on display is their ability to make the complex simple, and the murky clear. They simplify (another S).

Smart people will usually dive in with their ideas to ensure that they are heard. They will have opinions on everything and feel the need to share all of them, as soon as possible. Wiser souls wait, observe, then assess and summarise what they have heard. They bring clarity, informed evaluation and, above all, penetrating insight.

There's more...

How to Develop Gravitas

The topic of professional gravitas is a big one. And there is far more to learn that I can possibly cover - even in this long article. So I have decided to make my online video program, 'How to Develop Gravitas' available through OnlinePMCourses. This course contains 21 short videos, with over an hour of content. Most of the videos contain a short lecture of under 5 minutes that will introduce you to a simple idea that will help you strengthen your gravitas and authority.

Together, they build into a comprehensive set of techniques that will make you a professional - and a project manager - of substance. You will become someone whom people look to for advice, insight, and guidance.

How to Develop Gravitas

Find out More and Get Started Now

Personal Time Management for Project Managers

Personal Time Management for Project Managers

One of the questions project managers most often ask me in training room is about personal time management. They want to know:

‘How can I manage my time, in the busy context of a project?’

For most project managers, we have learned all sorts of tools for managing the project schedule. But, when it comes to personal time management, all we have is a ‘To Do List’. This is a great too. But, on its own, it’s toxic.

So, in this article, I’ll explain when to use a To Do list, how to use it properly and, most important, I’ll introduce you to the most powerful technique for personal time management I know.

Finally, why is this so important? Because how can you expect to lead and manage others, if you can’t manage yourself?

PMI Talent Triangle - Leadership

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Project Procurement Management [All the basics you need to know]

Project procurement becomes necessary when your project is so large that you don’t have skills or capacity within your team to do things yourselves in a cost-effective way. At this point, you need someone else to provide the goods or services that will supplement your team’s capabilities and resources.

But how do you ensure your supplier delivers what you need, and you get good value?

The answer is Project Procurement Management.

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What is Project Portfolio Management? | Video

What is Project Portfolio Management?

Portfolio Management is becoming a more important part of the project management world – especially at enterprise level.

So, what is Project Portfolio Management?

Dr Mike Clayton is founder of
Here, he answers this question, in under 5 minutes.

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