The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
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Signs that you are a micro-manager

This client’s issue was that she continually put in over 10 hours a day in a draining work environment. Although she had desires to do other hobbies and side businesses, she was too exhausted to do anything about those other dreams. She self-diagnosed herself as having no follow-through, although at the office – she had lots of follow-through.

After hearing her story, I suggested that she was actually micromanaging her people too much. This was taking her time away from the items she really wanted to accomplish as well as zapping all her energy. Her knee-jerk reaction was that she was not a micro-manager.

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You can’t get your money, unless you ask for it

4 weeks after I had completed his taxes for him, I asked this friend-first-removed if he had received his refund yet. He confessed that he has the forms signed, but he has not mailed them in yet.

“Well — you know you can’t get your money, until you mail the forms in….”

It’s the same in life and work. It’s more difficult to get what you really want if you don’t explicitly ask for it and then follow-through with your plan.

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Keeping an external job offer alive

It’s usually bad news when your job offer is put on hold. Sometimes the offer disappears. So what strategies can you employ to make sure you keep that offer alive even if the employer has to suspend plans for bringing you on board?

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How can a career vision help me with my career

How can a career vision help me with my career

Steve Wynkoop and I were talking a lot about designing and managing our professional careers on a weekly interview on SSWUG.org. This episode was about what steps to change your position in the your current company.

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Strategy and Entrepreneurship – Are they Mutually Exclusive?

Strategy and Entrepreneurship – Are they Mutually Exclusive?

Recently, a Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal article reported the results of a BrandZ study that Apple’s brand is #1, now estimated $183 billion, followed by IBM at $115.9 billion and Google at $107.9 billion (May 22, 2012).  How did these companies achieve the top 3 brand value placements?  Was it their strategy or their […]

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Twins – Double Your Efficiency, Double Your Fun

Twins – Double Your Efficiency, Double Your Fun

If I ever hear “Well – could you make a baby in one month with nine mothers?” again – I will scream.  Personally, I average four months per baby with my preemie twins.  Because designing is so costly, looking for twin opportunities – more often called “design re-use” – is a very sensible plan. In […]

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Prototype your way to Real

Prototype your way to Real

When project managing for innovation and change, three important steps are getting great inspiration, having an effective idea generation session, and then moving your ideas forward with prototyping. Consider your personal and organizational prototyping practices: do you prototype across a wide range of levels, from rough to real? Do you prototype both your tangible and intangible concepts, as you might for service design and organizational change? Take a look at the following post to imagine your path this year on what and how to prototype – for yourself or across your company.

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Use a “Decision Tree” for Effective Daily E-mail Management

Use a “Decision Tree” for Effective Daily E-mail Management

Randy Dean shares his “e-mail decision tree” for handling new e-mails received throughout the day, balancing time to complete embedded tasks inside of those e-mails, priority of the tasks in those e-mails, and your desire for organizational efficiency inside of your inbox.

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Are You Managing Your Projects, or Is Your E-mail Managing You?

Are You Managing Your Projects, or Is Your E-mail Managing You?

This post features a recommended “daily start-up” routine that will keep you focused on your key projects and priorities rather than being driven by your e-mail and the “crisis du jour” on a daily basis, by Randy Dean, the author of the recent Amazon E-mail Bestseller, Taming the E-mail Beast.

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The Bump in the Night (5 of 5)

The Bump in the Night (5 of 5)

Where to Go From Here? I realize that most of us will never face the challenges confronted by Gene Kranz, NASA Flight Director, on Apollo 13, but the mental exercise is worth doing.  If you haven’t seen the movie, or have seen it and view it as entrainment at the time, I suggest renting it […]

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The Bump in the Night (4 of 5)

The Bump in the Night (4 of 5)

Rallying the Team from a Bump in the Night For the rare situation where the project plan comes to an abrupt, premature end or dead stop, it is your time to show everyone what real leadership is.  At this point the whole team, and more, are looking for someone to rally them and provide direction […]

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The Bump in the Night (3 of 5)

The Bump in the Night (3 of 5)

Process for Handling the Dips in the Road The majority of unexpected situations that hit a project during its execution are dips in the road to closure; a leader can certainly prepare both themselves and a process for the team, to deal with these. As the project leader you own the solution/decision process, like any […]

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The Bump in the Night (2 of 5)

The Bump in the Night (2 of 5)

Who is Solving the Problems and Making the Decisions? The question on the table is, will we have the right person(s) solving the problem and/or making the decision, when needed? The volume of problems/decisions seen by a project is probably somewhat pyramid in shape, with the bulk lying with individual SMEs and, hopefully, precious few […]

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The Bump in the Night (1 of 5)

The Bump in the Night (1 of 5)

Are you prepared to cope when things go bump in the night? As project managers we have become proficient in transforming the project charter (in whatever form we get it) into a project plan (hopefully, including some risk management) and then charging through plan execution to closure.  But, what happens when thing go bump in […]

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A Tale of Three Cities – London, Toronto, and Redwood Shores

A Tale of Three Cities - London, Toronto, and Redwood Shores

It had all the earmarks of a disaster, a real career-sinker of a project. And here was my old friend and former colleague calling me up enthusiastically, on the phone: “Hey Lisa, we need a Technical Project Manager for this start-up I’m working for, in Redwood Shores… you’ll love the project and the team. It’s […]

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Sorry is not the final word, just the beginning

Sorry is not the final word, just the beginning

After years of managing online products and projects, you’d think it would become old hat… but never, not for this gal. There’s always something new to learn, and a different twist on old scenarios, if you’re open to them. People and team dynamics are endlessly fascinating, and you never know how it’s going to go […]

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The Project Culture Cunundrum

The Project Culture Cunundrum

The challenge of managing virtual projects is amplified by a complexity factor equal to the number of cultures represented on your team. When you start doing the computations based on the different cultures related to nationality, company, functional discipline, age and caste you can quickly realize why you and your peers heads are spinning when […]

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The POO Code, Chapter Five

The POO Code, Chapter Five

The applause was thundering as the magician completed his performance. Proman A. Jecgert had hired the magician to help celebrate the completion of what would come to be called Phase One. The party included all participants across the organization. The grove in the trees was a perfect setting, and the sun shone brightly. Proman smiled […]

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Silicon Valley’s Best PMP Course – Coming Up!

If you think you might be changing jobs any time soon, (hello Yahoo!, Applied Materials and Nektar Therapeutics),

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Work smarter?

I just loved the latest grievance from my students (see Monday/Tuesday/Thursday posts).  When being given more work than schedule to accomplish it, or additional tasks on top of their “primary” assignment, upon replying that they were going to have to slip something, that they couldn’t get it all done on schedule, they were told by […]

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Project Turkey

Project Turkey

Just as there are many ways to manage a project, there are many ways to cook a turkey. We all have our favorite way to do it:  Oven-baked, Bar-B-Cued, Deep fried, or even Outsourced.  And we choose the best technique using various success criteria: –          Results –          Taste –          Moisture content –          Effort –          Expense –          […]

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