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  • Dean Waye 8:50 am on October 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill O'Reilly, , Communication, Consulting, Education and Training, Human resources, , , ,   

    Dear Customer, 6 Things Project Managers Don’t Tell You 

    Project Management Knowledge Areas

    NImage via Wikipedia

    (I wrote this 3 years ago(!), before moving back to technical presales.)

    1. I have fewer people than you think, and that’s good

    No matter how big or complex the project is, I never have enough people and that’s okay, because adding people leads to additional lines of communication, self-sorting into groups or specialties, and a tendency to shirk (someone else will do it). A small team has its own risks, but overall you can’t beat the esprit de corps, the sense of being needed, and the nimbleness.

    2. I use my project management tools sparingly

    In a perfect world, we would live inside a project plan, having deep discussions about Earned Value and Critical Paths. In reality, I use the tools of my trade less than I would like to, because the messiness of your world spills over into mine , and those tools don’t  keep up well. Instead, I use other means to manage my projects, especially…

    3. There is a reason you see me so often, even though I live far away

    I recently made my 400th onsite trip to a customer site. In 3 years. The team that actually works for me (in my industry, it’s software development) hardly ever sees me, and lives all over the world anyway. You see me so much, to you I’m local. It’s even possible that I know more people inside your company than you do. But forget the project plans and status reports (no, not really), my main job is to get the different parts of your company, and your other vendors, to work with me, to talk, and be reasonable.

    I once saw a show where someone discussed how to be treated well as a guest on the Bill O’Reilly show, and the simple answer was, go to his studio. If you attend via satellite, he’ll cut off your mic, etc., but sit across from him (or anyone) and the tone changes. Get people outside their email fortress, and real stuff happens.

    Making real stuff happen = project management.

    4. Project management is the worst job in the world, except for most of the others

    It’s thankless. It’s stressful. The hours are terrible, and the true hourly rate (annual salary divided by # of hours worked) is not as much as it should be. But for a certain type of person, the kind that doesn’t like to be comfortable for long, the kind that likes to struggle, it’s the best seat in the house. Especially if you’re the ‘Outside’ type in the next section…

    5. There are 2 types of project managers, and I am not the one you think I am

    Most project managers are ‘inside’ project managers. A smaller percentage are ‘outside’ PMs. Here’s the difference:

    Inside PM: The budget for the project is coming from the same company that issues your paycheck. That means, in her job, delivering within budget and on deadline are ultimately the definition of success.

    Outside PM: The budget for the project is coming from a customer, or other outside entity. So, ultimate success is some combination of making sure your own company makes a profit this time while making sure the customer is happy.

    See the difference?

    If you are an Outside PM, you know that customers can still be happy even if a project is late or goes over budget, as long as the final result’s perceived value is high (whereas an employer is NEVER happy when you go over budget).

    Read that above line again. Twice. But keep it between us.

    6. If I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t be here

    Thanks in part to organizations like PMI.org, plus the international standardization of project manager credentials, and growth in IT globally, the number of unfilled positions for Project Managers with proven track records is still pretty good. PMs who consistently show a profit (or don’t lose money) have even better options.

    PMs are continuously recruited. We are here because we are interested in your company, or the project, or both.  So as far as customers go, you’re alright :-).

    Hey, I like you.

     
  • Dean Waye 12:02 am on September 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Business Services, Company, Human resources, Kronos Incorporated, , , , , , ,   

    Dear LinkedIn.com, How Should I Write Recommendations? 

    Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

    Image via CrunchBase

    Dear LinkedIn Colleagues,

    I wrote my first personal recommendation on linkedin.com 7 years ago, in October 2003. Since then, I have written at least 35.

    My early ones were lousy.  Over time they improved,  when I re-thought the audience. At first I was writing for you. Later, I started writing for your prospective hiring managers, in a friendlier tone, highlighting fewer things about you, but hopefully doing a better job overall.

    I think I have gotten better over time. But practice makes perfect. I’ll rewrite yours, if you are one of the early ones 🙂

    * A short note. People are, in general, bad at requesting these recommendations. Virtually no one knows what they want highlighted. Instead, it’s left up to me. In those cases, you have to take what you get. So please take a moment to consider what you want someone to say to your next boss on your behalf. Also, unfortunately, LinkedIn.com recommendations have zero feedback available. So we never know if anyone reads them, likes them, hates them, or even notices them. Maybe LinkedIn can address that in a future release.

    Here are some examples of what I have written for others, in chronological order.

    1. October 2003, for Raj Vennam at Darden: Raj has the tenacity and sunny personality that make for a great coder.

    [sorry Raj, you deserved better]

    Same day, for Uday Shivaswamy at Microsoft: Uday is one of the best programmers I have ever worked with. Very cerebral, with quick insights. [This one had a typo, that I fixed today, after 7 years!]

    2. February, 2004, a little better, this time for Roy Crippen at Digital Fusion: Roy really set the model for me on what a CEO is and does… broad strokes, vision, incredible people skills, and integrity. I’ve measured every other boss against him, and most can’t measure up.

    3. December, 2005, for Rich Bergmann, programmer extraordinaire: When I needed answers about solving a tough software problem, Rich’s answers were the only ones I trusted. He was the only person we all trusted. If Rich said it was possible, you went back to your desk and worked harder. If you still couldn’t figure it out, Rich was always there to help you. If I had ever been as good a programmer as Rich, I probably wouldn’t have moved into management.

    4. February, 2007, for Nader Hooshmand at Kronos: For me, Nader defines conscientiousness and tirelessness. He cares about every aspect of his job. I’m not sure how he does it. He throws himself into it, I’m not sure he ever sleeps, and he’s one of the smartest people I have ever met. Promoting him to be a practice manager was probably the easiest decision his boss made that year.

    5. May, 2007, for Aaron Fausz at Kronos: Change Management is such a difficult field to excel in… blending the science and art of it takes a certain kind of person, and a certain kind of approach. When I choose people to wade into my customer’s organization, I’m very picky. I have to be. I want someone who has perfected the art of “think fast, but talk slow”. That’s Aaron. He’s the only one I know who expertly does both, so all types of businesspeople feel they are in good hands.

    6. December, 2008, for Uta Grzanna, a former client: None of the multinationals (GE, Honeywell, etc.), governments, or tech clients I ever had at Kronos knew as much about, found as many flaws with, or offered as many solutions to our software’s architecture as Ute. She’s ‘that’ client… the one that keeps pushing you to be better: better designed, better implemented, better supported. If I had my time back I would chosen her as my FIRST Kronos client…  having done the work required to make her happy, I could have cruised through my remaining years at Kronos 🙂

    7. August, 2009, for Sudhamen Chandrasekaran at InfoSys/Time Warner CableWhen Sudhaman QAs your product, you end up treating him like he’s the actual customer… a true pain in the ass customer. He treats your product like he’s the one buying it, and picks at it from end to end. He shines a light on every nook and cranny, and writes you up for every little deviation from the spec. And he doesn’t back down.

    If he wasn’t such a super nice guy, you’d wish he would fall in front of a bus. But somehow he manages to be tough and picky and pleasant, all at the same time.

    8. Last month, for Charlie Shaw, PMP:  Charlie is the project manager I always think of when I think about the PMI, and my own PMP certification.  For me he has always been the PM’s PM. The standard bearer of the PMI Way.  And the project manager you look to when you need the job The Right Way.

    9. Yesterday, for Usman Bashir at Time Warner Cable: Someday, Usman needs to do my job for a day. And I need to do his. Someday, Usman will have to give up that fabled deep-focus thing he does, and handle all the trivia and minutiae and cheerleading and threatening I do, and I will get to focus solely and deeply on that day’s problem until I emerge on the other side with the simplest, most elegant answer ever seen. And manage to know the latest cricket scores at the same time.

    Someday… but likely not.


    So.. the later ones are better than the early ones, right? I hope so. Later, I will tell you the secret behind the recommendations others have posted for me.

    *Something occurred to me. This blog is indexed by Google within an hour after the article posts… if your name is mentioned above, this post will soon show up whenever someone Googles you. Try it.

     
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