The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
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Cinda Voegtli, Author at UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley

Cinda Voegtli, Founder, President, and CEO of ProjectConnections, has over 20 years of project management experience in start-ups, rapidly growing companies, and large corporate environments. Her portfolio includes a wide variety of activities: developing products; managing projects; building organizations; and implementing and improving project management, portfolio management, and development processes. Her project experience includes communications and medical systems, IT application and infrastructure, industrial automation, desktop software, facilities construction, biotech drug development, and aerospace/government programs. Cinda has held director and VP-level positions managing budgets of up to $50 million across large portfolios of projects in technology development companies, and has provided senior management consulting to clients such as Hewlett Packard, Lam Research, Pacific Bell, Dow Chemical, NASA, FAA, Nellcor, Aviron/MedImmune, and Mobil Corporation. She is a Past President of the worldwide IEEE Engineering Management Society, an author and speaker on engineering and project management, and co-author of a Fortune 500-targeted book on rapid product development. Her specialties and project loves include projects involving technology development (high tech and IT); applying PM to short iterative web and marketing projects; adjusting PM and development processes to work on everything from simple, small projects up to large messy complex projects. Why she's still in project management : "Because there is nothing more satisfying than getting a bunch of incredibly different people rallied around a business goal to successfully execute a messy uncertain complex project together." Best project advice she has ever received: "Make the process work for the people, not the other way around." cvoegtli@projectconnections.com

Taking time for powerful just-in-time learning

Jeff and I are posting this week about different ways to effectively learn new project skills, including the value of practicing new techniques in different forms.  I talked yesterday about the value of practice with feedback as a critical component.   Today, I want to highlight another version of in-the-moment learning and just-in-time support that involves […]

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What the pros know – leaps in ability, consistent performance

Jeff talked yesterday about the value of practicing new tools and skills, to truly master them for application in the most challenging project circumstances.  Today I want to go farther on that theme, looking at how practice is utilized in other fields, and asking, what else could we and should we be doing for practice […]

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Charting a path through uncertainty to reduce team anxiety

Charting a path through uncertainty to reduce team anxiety

My parents live in Louisiana and unfortunately got hit hard by Hurricane Gustav a few weeks ago. Their home was damaged by a very old very impressive tree, and a long-time family lake house was so badly rain-damaged that gutting of the entire place was required. The three weeks after the storm reminded me strongly […]

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A final bonus post on Great PMs – notes on the leadership persona

I have come to believe that leadership is really about what you do and influence others to do, rather than primarily about a particular outward charisma..   However, I do believe that how you come across to people CAN significantly add to or substract from your effectiveness. We ask people to do hard things – work hard, meet tough deadlines, operate in […]

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Great Career Options for Great PMs

I wanted to do my last big post on bridging from these ideas of what constitutes a great PM to what it can mean for someone’s overall career.   Of course it seems obvious that if you’re a great PM, you’ll get more opportunities.  Certainly  you’d seem like the person to call for bigger and hairier and […]

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Great PMs – Perfection not a requirement, flexibility and fit a must

Today I want to tackle a couple of typical questions I hear about what a great PM needs to be (or not) and do. 1)  Does a PM in a technical environment need to be “technical” themselves? 2)  Does a PM need to be a charismatic leader?  (Or what DOES it mean for a PM […]

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Executive Views on Being a Great PM – Part 2

Continuing my observations on what executives value – what THEY think makes a great PM.   First, by contrast, it’s interesting to note what the job ads for project managers say.  Here’s a sampling of line items I’ve seen in such ads, covering a mix of PM skills and ‘personality attributes’: Proficient in project planning, organizing,  […]

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Executive Views on Being a Great PM – Part 1

So what DO executives think of us as project managers and what do they value?   I know from conferences and other interaction with project managers that being valued by their executives is something of a holy grail – and seemingly not nearly common enough.  Thinking back, I realize that I was about 7 years into my […]

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Aspects of Being a Great Project Manager

This week I’ll be writing about what it means to be a great project manager – from the perspective of my own career and interactions with other PMs; from what i’ve heard executives say about what they value; and from the unique, interesting and opportunity-filled career paths I’ve observed and heard about specific project managers pulling off!   As […]

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Part 6 of 6 on Teamwork: How the PM can make or break the project’s teamwork

Today I wanted to tackle how project managers and their approach to that role can be seen as boon to teamwork: or conversely be one major reason the team does not work together well.  In my experience project management is often viewed by team members not as an enabler, but as some separate and materially […]

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Part 5 of 6 on Teamwork: Pervasive Personal Responsibility, Accountability, and Initiative

One of the things I’ve tried to do in this series is use some “word pictures”: ways of describing things that  hopefully bring an idea or  behavior to life so that it’s easier to apply in the real world.  I love the phrase “victim or vanquisher?” because it evokes for me VERY clear pictures of […]

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Part 4 of 6 on Teamwork: Bottom Lines – A tool for achieving interpersonal teamwork

A friend once emailed me with a burning question about “A Situation” with a particular team member. What had started out as some displays of mild to medium recalcitrance – the team member resisting some advice in preparing for a design review, then being pointedly late on a couple of key deliverables – had spread […]

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Teamwork: Victims and Vanquishers (part 3 of 6 on observations on true teamwork)

My first two posts in this teamwork rumination (last week’s post here and yesterdays “part 2” here)  set up the idea that “great teamwork” really comes from  proactive, high-quality contributions of individual team members.  In this post I want to relay a few  thoughts about what team member attitudes are behind such contributions, and additional examples of […]

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More on “teamwork” – how individual team members’ knowing and doing makes the team

In a post last week I talked about “teamwork” not being a warm and fuzzy concept to me.   To me the concept of teamwork has meaning due only to a result a group of people produces due to their work together.   A well-functioning team that exhibits “good teamwork” is made up of individuals each taking personal responsibility for having an impact […]

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Teamwork is really a set of individual commitments and contributions…do you have it on your project?

“The concept of teamwork often gets turned into some fluffy, warm and fuzzy ‘thing’ that no one quite knows what to do with … a bunch of people working together in unadulterated harmony or even outright bliss. Great if you can get it but not something I’ve seen a huge amount of….”

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Avoiding spirit-killing project management

Someone asked me recently “How do I know whether I’m using ‘just enough’ project management on my project?” My thoughts went immediately to the environments I’ve witnessed or experienced on projects – because the use of too much or too little project management typically shows up in the emotional state of the team. I refer […]

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PM disappointment – no silver bullets for the hard problems!

Last week I led a workshop aimed at project managers who are ‘beyond the basics’ and looking to take a next step in their skill-set, their ability to handle the projects on their plates and get the desired outcomes in the face of the very messy real world. They had led projects long enough (generally […]

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