Here’s a topic to get every Project Manager’s heart racing: project documentation. We know we need it, but it’s hardly a favorite!
The danger, of course, is that your project documentation fails to get the attention it deserves. Because getting essential documents right is vital. So, you need to make it one of your top priorities.
That’s why, in this article, we look at everything you need to think about.
Project Managers can learn from all sorts of places. And, since your job is partly to serve your clients and stakeholders, one valuable source of ideas for you is customer service.
In this article we will look at how you can keep your client and stakeholders happy by applying some of the principles of good customer service. Very little of this will surprise you, because you have been a customer plenty of times. You’ve seen the best and the worst of customer service in you work and you daily life.
But, what I hope this article will do, is give you some food for thought. It will offer a load of ideas for how you can apply what you already know about good customer service, to pleasing your customers: the client for whom you’re delivering your projects, and the stakeholders who are affected by that project.
And this is particularly relevant if you are a PMI member. ‘Customer Relationship and Satisfaction’ is explicitly a part of the Strategic and Business Management Competency of the PMI’s Talent Triangle. Yes, PMI uses the language of ‘customers’!
Does it sometimes seem that your life is a constant trudge from one project meeting to the next. It’s as if there’s little time to do anything before the next one.
And, if that’s not bad enough, how many of your project meetings are truly worthwhile?
I know we say ‘good meeting’ at the end of them, but we don’t mean it. What we mean is ‘that wasn’t a great meeting’.
But it is because you spend so much time in project meetings and because they have such a potential to be an important part of a successful project, that you need to learn how to run a really great project meeting.
The regular rhythm of your project is ticked out by your project reporting cycle. Quarterly, monthly, fortnightly, or weekly… you’re there again. It’s time to produce your regular project report.
Project reporting is as much a part of project life as weekends and annual holidays form part of the fabric of our wider lives. They tick off passing time and are a core part of what we do. And, for some project managers, they are nothing but a chore.
But I don’t see project reporting as a chore. I have always seen it as a valuable opportunity to understand my project, communicate with my stakeholders, and access decision-makers.
So, in this giant guide, let’s see how to do project reporting well. I’ll show you how to design and build effective project reports.
A large part of your job as a Project Manager is communication; arguably the largest part. So, only focusing on technical skills will not serve you. It’s essential that you develop excellent communication skills. Luckily, there are many great books to help you.
Increasingly, this is the area my training business is focussed on. My clients are learning the value of giving their project managers – and general managers – great communications skills. And my experience as a project manager taught me two things:
So, in this article, I have set out to share some of the brilliant books that have helped me learn along the way. In reviewing them, I have selected the ones that are most likely to help you, today.
RAG Report, or Traffic Light Report. It is widely used by project managers and it stands for Red Amber Green.
Dr Mike Clayton is founder of OnlinePMCourses.com.
Here, he answers this question, in under 5 minutes.
As a Project manager, you need to be prepared to learn from many different places. And, from the world of marketing, you can learn a lot about how to plan your stakeholder engagement campaign.
You are a project manager. You care about getting things right. So you plan meticulously, identify threats and take steps to mitigate them. The only thing that can get in your way now is one thing: people.
What all experienced project managers know is this:
It is your stakeholders who will ultimately determine whether your project is deemed a success… or not.
So you need to be equally rigorous in planning your stakeholder engagement campaign. You will need to learn from them, build their trust, and ultimately influence their attitudes.
So what are the components of a stakeholder engagement campaign, and how can you determine the best strategy for each?
Two of the things that put off many project managers are Politics and Stakeholders. Yet they are intertwined and a necessary part of project management. You cannot escape either so you may as well embrace them.
In this podcast, Andy Kaufman of the People and Projects Podcast, interviewed me about Politics and Stakeholders – an interest we share.
This interview ranged wider than politics and stakeholders, but for me, that is at its heart. Andy’s case study questions tapped into real ad tricky situations.
Have you got a great project team? If you have, then one thing acts like top-grade oil in a highly-tuned engine: great team communication.
Conversations are friction free, problems get described, addressed and solved. And work gets shared and handed-off efficiently.
It’s like the oil in your engine is burnt and gritty. Everything seems harder and nothing flows smoothly.
So, in this article we look at how to create great team communication, and share ’10 Commandments’.
One of the things Project Managers fear most is resistance. When we encounter difficult stakeholders, it triggers deep emotions. It’s easy to feel out of your depth professionally, and challenged, personally.
This is a common problem for all project managers. And it can be unsettling for newer PMs. So we asked an expert in this topic to write an article for you.
Elise Stevens runs the fabulous FixMyProjectChaos.com website, with over 100 podcasts for you to listen to. We like podcasts. And she is a seasoned practitioner who now coaches, mentors and trains project managers. Hear Elise’s interview with OnlinePMCourses founder, Mike Clayton.
But most important, Elise has thought deeply about the challenges posed by difficult stakeholder. She even has an eCourse available. So why don’t we turn this article over to Elise, and let her tell her story…