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This content is from the TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2017.21.6

Use a Diverse Team to Gain Broader Perspective on Projects

Hiring the best candidates is one on the most important aspects of the Human Resources organization. Hiring a "diverse" team simply means you have a group of people with different backgrounds, experiences and personalities. Organizations try to hire a diverse workforce, which in turn results in diverse project teams. There are really two arguments for the business case for diversity.  The first is basic fairness and the second is the long-term business value associated with a diverse workforce.

Let’s start with the matter of basic fairness.  A company’s hiring objective is to always find the best person to fill an opening. But what does it mean to be the “best” candidate? Left to their own devices, a hiring manager tends to rate a person’s qualifications using his own background as a measuring stick.  After all, if a manager has a certain background and ended up in the position he is in today, doesn’t it make sense to look for those same traits in another person? This can tend to result in candidates with a similar look and background to themselves.

Companies, especially large ones, have tried to get away from this natural bias by standardizing the recruiting and hiring process in a way that allows each candidate to be judged based on the same set of criteria. The goal of the standard process is simply to ensure the most qualified candidate is hired. 

The second objective of a diverse workforce is to gain real business value for the company. Society as a whole is diverse and companies exist and sell products in this diverse marketplace. Companies have discovered that a diverse workforce translates into being able to prosper in a diverse marketplace for a couple reasons.

  • Exploiting the marketplace.  It is hard, if not impossible, to effectively reach a diverse marketplace without a diverse staff. You need people with diverse backgrounds to be able to thrive in a diverse marketplace. 
  • Making better decisions.  People with the same types of backgrounds have a tendency to think alike and this can affect the decisions they make.  Managers need a diverse set of opinions to make the best strategic and tactical decisions.  Some people can be very creative, but it is hard to be creative in areas where you have no background or context.  Having a diverse team helps drive better company decisions in a diverse world. 
Acquiring the project team is one of the responsibilities of a project manager. Sometimes this leads to hiring decisions. This discussion on diversity will help you understand why most companies feel that hiring a diverse workforce is important.

It is worth stating again that a focus on diversity does not mean that you hire inferior candidates. It is really focused on removing any conscious or unconscious biases so that the best candidate can, in fact, be hired.

TenStep-logo-pngAt TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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392Click Here to Listen to the Interview: http://bit.ly/2s3LsEJ
Read More: http://bit.ly/PMPodcast392

My goal of having these show notes on the website is to give a quick and concise introduction of the podcast topic and to tell you what you can expect to learn from it. Sometimes I am right on point and sometimes I’m a little more vague.

And tomorrow, when you are back at the office working on your project requirements your goal will be to correctly and succinctly describe the requirements for that project your company is going to launch. The big difference here is that your descriptions have to be 100% on point. You cannot afford to be vague, because requirements that can be misinterpreted is a sure-fire way to doom your project. So what can you do to improve your requirements?

The problem of poorly written, ambiguous, and inconsistent requirements is something that Jordan Kyriakidis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordankyriakidis/) has thought about a lot. And his answer to this problem is not only a list of “21 Top Tips for Writing an Exceptionally Clear Requirements Document” (https://qracorp.com/write-clear-requirements-document/) but also to use computing power. Yes, there is actually a software that will scan your requirements document and tell you what's wrong with it.

But we’re not going to talk about the software much, because that would be pretty boring here on an audio podcast. Instead, Jordan and I look at the root causes of poorly written requirements and then we introduce you to the most important 6 out his 21 tips. In that way you can start using your brain power to write better requirements

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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2017.15.06

Check Off These Eight Items Before Starting Project Execution

So, you have just been assigned as project manager. Should you start running around 100 miles-an-hour building things? No, before you start executing, make sure these items are in place.

1. Sponsorship. All projects need a sponsor. It should be easy to find this person, but if not, spend time to identify the person that will fill this role. If the true sponsor is too high-level to fill the role, ask them to delegate to someone that can fill the role on a tactical week-to-week basis.

2. Work definition. Your success will be measured against your ability to deliver against your plan. So plan wisely. We call this "define the work". Before you start executing make sure you know what you are doing. This includes understanding the project objectives, scope, assumptions, constraints, dependencies, etc. In many organizations, the result in a detailed project charter.

3. Schedule. The project schedule describes the work to be completed, the sequence, the due dates and the resources. You create the schedule once you know the scope. You don't want to execute a project without having a viable schedule in place.  

4. Resources. Project management work makes up only a small portion of the project. You need resources to build the deliverables. You don't need every resource assigned before you can start executing the work, but you at least need resources for the first phase. Planning tells you what resources are needed. You must then acquire them.

5. Budget. When you build the schedule you need to identify the work and the resources required to compete the work. You can then estimate the costs of those resources. This is used to create the project budget. (Even if you are not charging the project for the resources, you still need to understand that the resources have a cost to the organization.)

6. Project management processes: Implement processes for managing time, cost, quality, change, risks and issues upfront. MPMM (www.MPMM.com) and the TenStep Methodology (www.TenStepPM.com) are exemplas of project management methodologies that contain all of the processes, templates and practices needed to manage a project - scaled based on the size of the project.

7. Success criteria. It is often overlooked, but you should know ahead of time what it means for the project to be successful. Some of these will be the result of metrics - for example, your actual costs versus your target costs. Others will be a part of acceptance criteria - for example, providing user training.

8. Kick-off. The Kick-off Meeting tells the stakeholders that you are ready to start project execution.

When these elements are in place, you are now ready to run 100 miles-per hour executing the work! 
TenStep-logo-pngAt TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2017.09.06

Use Three Communication Types in Your Communication Plan

There are three types of communication that can be included in a Communication Plan. We find these three categories to be helpful when creating a well rounded Communication Plan. The three types are mandatory, informational and marketing.

Mandatory

This includes any communication that is required by your organization. There is no reason to worry about these or debate their value. If they are required just create them. Examples include:

  • Project Status Reports and status meetings
  • Meetings with steering committee
  • Required reports to shareholders or your Board of Directors
  • Government required reports, safety reports, audit reports, etc.
This information is “pushed” (sent directly to) to recipients.

Informational

This is information that you make available to people, but they need to take the initiative to access it. You put this information in a place that people can access and you tell them that it is there. However, it is up to them to seek out and review the information. Examples include:  

  • Awareness building sessions that people are invited to attend (these are not meant as training – just to build awareness of the project)
  • Project deliverables placed in a common repository, directory, website or library that people can access
  • Frequently-asked questions (FAQ)
This is referred to as "pull" communication since it requires the reader to take the initiative to review the information.

Marketing

These communication events are designed to build buy-in and enthusiasm for the project and the solution you are delivering. This communication is especially important if your project is going to change how people do their jobs. These types of projects are culture change initiatives. Examples include:

  • Project newsletters with positive marketing spin
  • Traveling road shows to various locations to explain the project and benefits
  • Testimonials that describe how the project deliverables provided value
  • Contests with prizes to build excitement            
  • A count down until live date
  • Project memorabilia with project name or image portrayed, such as pins, pencils, cups, T-shirts, etc.
This type of communication is “pushed” to the readers.

Summary

The examples above show that project communication can take many shapes and forms. For large projects especially, the project team should be creative in determining how, what, to whom, where and how frequently the communication takes place. If the project is controversial, requires culture change or is political, the positive aspects of marketing communication become more and more critical. 
TenStep-logo-pngAt TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Thursday, 08 June 2017 05:01

Use Green Practices in All Aspects of Business

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This content is from the TenStep weekly "tips" email dated 2017.7.6

Use Green Practices in All Aspects of Business


GreenPM® integrates environmental thinking into all project management processes. But green thinking does not have to be reserved just for projects. It can be part of all of your business processes. The point of GreenPM is not that you make every decision in favor of the one that is most environmentally friendly. The point is that you start to take the environment into account during the decision-making process. The same can hold true for other business processes as well.     

Green Business Processes

It can be difficult to be green. Most green initiatives today are focused on equipment, supplies and other tangible products. There is not nearly so much emphasis yet on embedding green thinking into core business operating processes. These are the processes you use to run your business. Examples include your hiring process, performance review process, financial closeout process, vendor management processes, sales processes, etc. All companies have many business processes that are used to run the business. Few of these processes have been customized to support green thinking.

For example, let’s look at a simple fictional hiring process, and see where we can add green thinking. The process might look something like this.

  • Understand skills and experience level for the position. (New - ask if there are any green requirements for the position).
  • Create job description. (New - add a section in the job description for green requirements. This gets the manager thinking about it for all job descriptions.)
  • Post position internally. (New - post electronically. Receive all resumes and feedback electronically. Don't print any documents.)
  • Post position externally to internet job boards and on corporate website. (New - validate that the external job boards you use have sound environmental policies.)
  • Evaluate candidates. (New - see if any candidates have green experience that matches any green requirements on the job description.)
  • Perform initial interviews with qualified candidates. (New - perform initial interviews by phone, not in person. Save on costs as well as environmental impact.)
  • Pass qualified candidates to hiring manager (New - send electronically, not hard copy.)
  • Conduct hiring manager interviews. (New - perform initial interviews by phone, not in person.)
  • Bring in finalists for in-person interviews. (New - set up interviews for each candidate so they only have to travel one time.)
  • Make hiring recommendation
  • Make offer
There you have it. You have just embedded some simple ideas to make this a greener process. It is not burdensome. It just embeds green thinking into the process you were going to perform anyway. Take this idea and replicate it 100 billion times on simple business processes round the world. It would have a noticeable impact.

Save the World – Use GreenPM (and green business practices!)
TenStep-logo-pngAt TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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