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Archive for Keynotes

Webinar Presentation “The 5 Team Leadership Principles for Project Success” now available

Today’s webinar presentation “The 5 Team Leadership Principles for Project Success”  is now available on Slideshare and as pdf-download, here.  In addition you can download a synopsis of the presentation, here.

All of the 55 questions will be posted on the PMI IS CoP website / blog soon and I will answer all of them shortly.  Stay tuned.

Posted in: Book, Keynotes

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Free Webinar “The 5 Team Leadership Principles for Project Success”, Oct 5, 12 PM EST

On October 5, 2011 I will conduct a one hour webinar entitled “The 5 Team Leadership Principles for Project Success”.
What is it about?
We all need and thrive for successful projects.  But what does it take to get there?  There is no doubt that good project management is a critical success factor.  But is it really sufficient?  I don’t think so.  I claim that effective project management needs to have a solid foundation in project leadership AND team work.  It takes a performing team to run a project successfully.  And it takes effective leadership to empower the team to do so.  This is why team building is a decisive factor for project success. 
Webinar Date: Wednesday October 5th 2011
Webinar Time: 12:00PM EST (Eastern Daylight Saving Time USA/Canada)
Webinar Duration: 1hour

Webinar Title: The 5 Team Leadership Principles for Project Success  
Webinar Presenter  Dr Thomas Juli

To Registerhttp://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=82418

WebCast Log-In Instructions for Participants:
For your reference, all participants will log into the Webcast via the following registration URL: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=82418
As a reminder, participants will hear the audio via their computer speakers If participants are unable to hear the audio via their computer speakers, would prefer to listen via their telephone, please have them call the following phone number at anytime.
Dial-In Instructions for all Participants:
Toll-Free (US & Canada):  (888) 567-1603
International Dial-In (Toll):  (201) 604-5052
Callers will reference the PMI  webcast.

Posted in: Empowerment, Keynotes, Leadership, PMI Congress, Project Management, Training

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Valuable Collaboration [includes presentation and white paper]

Everyone is talking about collaboration these days, especially in projects.  Hence it was no big surprise that “collaboration” was one of the key words at this week’s PMI Global Congress EMEA in Dublin, Ireland.  Social media, communication, collaboration tools, …, you name it.  Thank to technology it seems that collaboration is ever become easier these days.  But is it really? I am not convinced.  Yes, there are some new widgets and gadgets out there that make us think that all of us can become great communicator if we only use the right tools.  But it is not that easy.  As a matter of fact if we really think that tools are at the center of collaboration we are missing the point.  Collaboration is not about technology.  It is about people and relationships!  Therefore we have to understand people and their relationships first before we even consider any technology.  Once again I am catching myself having to admit that this is common knowledge – which is – what a surprise! – not common knowledge.

So, what do I recommend with respect to collaboration tools.
First of all, it is a fact that technical collaboration tools can enable collaboration if and only if you understand the critical success factors of collaboration.  These critical success factors include the power of team synergy, discipline, shared values, a simple yet strong structure of collaboration rules, results-orientation (especially in projects) and many more.  Have a look at the presentation I gave in Dublin on this topic.

Second, assess the collaboration requirements. This starts with an understanding of the purpose of your project.  Why do you want to start your project in the first place, i.e., what motivates you? And what do you envision as the ultimate outcome? What is the bigger picture where your project fits in? And more specifically, what do you want to accomplish in a given time frame?
Then ask what kind of collaboration you need to achieve those desired results? And, what kind of collaboration do you and your team value?
Don’t stop there. Instead think of possible impediments to this kind of collaboration.  What is that could prevent this desired collaboration to evolve?  Examples could be:

  • Wasted effort due to mismatch of goals or politics
  • Disconnect in understanding
  • Excessive time spent interpreting communication or artifacts
  • Time spent searching for information
  • Delays due to reviews, approvals, and bottlenecks
  • Incorrect use of methods and techniques

Identifying possible or actual collaboration blockades is one thing.  What you and your team want to do now is finding ways and means to overcome these blocks.  This brings me to the next point:

Third, select the right tools with your team.  Tools can help overcome collaboration inefficiencies; they can help enable and promote active and productive collaboration in your team.  Don’t select these tools by yourself.  Involve your team.  Find out which tools can facilitate your work, are in sync with your daily workflows.

Fourth, know how to use tools.  This should be a given, but often times this point is forgotten.  Bottom line: keep your tools simple, start small and invest in necessary trainings.

Fifth, align the tools with the purpose of your project.  Beware thought that your project and hence collaboration requirements can and probably will change during the project life cycle.  Keep your eyes on the goals and adjust your collaboration and tools accordingly.  Tools don’t exist for the sake of technology.  They are there to help you.  They need to serve your purpose and not the other way around.

Once again, I invite you to have a look at the presentation I gave at the PMI Global Congress EMEA in Dublin on May 9, 2011.  In addition, you can read the corresponding White Paper.

Related blog posts: The wise use of collaboration tools for project success, Effective Teams Don’t Need Collaboration Toos. Really?
Tags: #collaboration, #project management, #teams, #leadership

Posted in: Keynotes, Leadership, Project Management, Tools

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PMI Global Congress EMEA 2011 in Dublin

Today is the second day of the PMI Global Congress EMEA 2011 in Dublin.  More than 800 people came to Dublin to share their stories about project management and get inspired by new ideas.  A fabulous event!

My own presentation “The Good and Evil of Collaboration Tools” went very well I think and was well received.  I will uploaded the final version of my presentation tomorrow to Slideshare.  Stay tuned for more.

In the meantime I have started a new discussion on the LinkedIn Group of the Congress.  It is entitled “Can baselining and agile go together? I think this may be possible. Actually, I believe that baselining has to incorporate agile elements, otherwise it is doomed to fail. ” If you are on LinkedIn, join the discussion at  http://lnkd.in/x9g_Gq.

Posted in: Agile, Keynotes, Miscellaneous, Project Management

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The wise use of collaboration tools for project success

Collaboration is and always has been a central factor for project success.  In times of international projects and virtual team environments collaboration is more important than ever.  Technology can help overcome geographical boundaries to active collaboration.  Indeed, technology has become an enabler of communication and collaboration.  This is no call though for the introduction of more technology in our projects.  Technology can enable, facilitate and promote collaboration.  However, collaboration is not about technology.  It is first and foremost about people and human interaction.

Effective collaboration in a project setting serves the purpose of the project; it is results-driven.  Hence, the key to successfully introducing collaboration tools is not the understanding of technology.  It is understanding the critical factors for project success of which collaboration is one element. In other words, collaboration is a means to achieve project objectives.  This is why we have to nurture collaboration.

The good news is that collaboration tools can help us achieve this.  Provided we are aware of the many possible pitfalls of collaboration tools.  In my upcoming presentation at the PMI Global Congress EMEA in Dublin, Ireland (May 9-11, 2011) I identify these pitfalls.  And I lay out a roadmap how to overcome them and successfully utilize collaboration tools. 

First, we need to have a good understanding of the real collaboration requirements in our project. 
, we have to select the right tools which help enable, facilitate and promote collaboration. 
, we have to know how to use the tools effectively and efficiently. 
Last but not least
, we have to align all collaboration tools with the project objectives and keep them aligned throughout the project life cycle.  Changing project environments require us to adjust our tools accordingly.  It also means that we must never forget that a tool is always a tool and remains a tool.  We must not let technology dictate our workflows and become an end in itself.  It is up to us to overcome the obvious limitations of technology and utilize its huge potentials instead.

Have a look at the preliminary ppt-file of my upcoming presention in Dublin.  Feedback is welcome and highly appreciated.

Posted in: Keynotes, Project Management, Tools

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Effective teams don’t need collaboration tools. Really? [includes podcast and presentation]

Last February I had a chance to attend (and speak at) the NASA Project Management Challenge in Long Beach, CA. In a session about collaboration tools one of the attendants claimed that “effective project teams don’t need collaboration tools”.
I admit that this statement made me think. I am interested in your opinion about this provocative hypothesis:

  • What collaboration tools do you use in your teams?
  • What can you recommend?
  • And what impediments have you been faced with and how did you overcome them?

To give you an idea about my own thinking listen to a recent podcast http://tinyurl.com/63wj84a or attend my presentation at the upcoming PMI Global Congress EMEA in Dublin, Ireland (May 9-11, 2011).

My presentation at the PMI Global Congress North America 2010 in Washington, DC, on the possible pitfalls of introducing collaboration tools  is available at Slideshare.  Click here to view and download a copy.

I am looking forward to your comments.

Posted in: Keynotes, Project Management, Tools

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One of the most important keys to project success: building vision

There are many factors that contribute to project success.  It starts with your attitude toward project success and your belief in success.  Without a clear vision of project success, your project is likely to fail.  This is why it is important that you spend enough time to build a commonly understood and agreed upon project vision at the very beginning of your new project.

In this video (taped in Washington, DC in October 2010) I am talking about a project where I led a team of parents founding a local preschool in our home town:

To learn more about this important principle for project success, read my book “Leadership Principles for Project Success” of which the first chapters are available in Google preview.

Posted in: Book, Empowerment, Leadership, PMI Global Congress, Washington 10'10

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Creating high-performance contexts for teams

According to Charles J. Pellerin high-performance contexts for teams have the following characteristics:

  • Mutual respect, people feel valued
  • Reality-based optimism, commitment
  • People feel included, trustworthy
  • Clear organization, accountability

In his book How NASA Builds Teams: Mission Critical Soft Skills for Scientists, Engineers, and Project Teams. (2009, published by John Wiley:  Hoboken, NJ) Pellerin describes the underlying structure of this context.  Alas, where his book falls short is explaining how to create the right environment for teams to prosper, especially in a project environment.

It is great to work in performing teams.  It is indeed a wonderful experience when you see how team synergy effects help the team achieve extremely high level of productivity, quality and results AND have fun at the same time.  It is magic.  However, it takes more than the insight of the key characteristics of high-performance contexts for teams.  The following 5 principles help as a guidance to project success:

(1) You and your team have to build and follow a common project vision.  It drives the whole team.  It may be ambitious but feasible. It certainly motivates the whole team to commit all its energies to achieve it.

(2) A clear organization is a cornerstone of a functioning team.  It is a structure.  The juice is collaboration itself.  Hence, you have to nurture collaboration.  Actively involve the team to define the various roles and responsibilities, collaboration rules, align expectations, share motivations and drivers.  Give each team member to chance to buy in his or her own role as well as all the other roles in the team.  This defines accountability of the individual and the group.

(3) Promote performance on the individual and team level.  Creating the right environment for performance is great.  At the end of the day you and your team have to perform and deliver.

(4) Project environments change, as much and as often as project requirements.  Hence, cultivate reflection and learning in your team.  Don’t pretend that you can plan everything in its very detail.  You can’t.  Adapt and move ahead, keeping the project vision in mind, follow through.

(5) Last but not least, the best high-performance context for team is worthless if the team doesn’t deliver.  There is more to project success than results.  Still, results are what other people outside a project can and want to see.  Hence, ensure ongoing delivery of results.  Don’t wait until the end.  Instead, build in interim checkpoints, deliver results throughout the project.  Not only do you give the outside world a sign that you are making progress you also strengthen the morale of your team and hence the context for team performance.  This helps secure project success.

Posted in: Empowerment, Leadership, NASA PM Challenge 2011, Project Management

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Learning from Egypt: A Lesson in Leadership

History is in the making when you look to Egypt these days.  It is fascinating and scaring at the same time watching the Egyptian people demonstrating against the Mubarak regime, demanding “their” leader to step down. – This is not the place to comment on this political development as interesting as it is.  Instead I want to gear our attention to Mubarak himself and the lack of true, tranformational leadership he exercises.  AsKatherin Tyler Scott points out in her recent commentary in the Washington Post “President Mubarak has used his position to exercise authority, not leadership. His establishment and maintenance of control over his followers rather than control with them has resulted in an environment of fear and anger ripe for the unbridled expression of rage and violence.”

How often do we experience such “leadership” in project situations?  Way too often, at least this is my observation.  True project leadership is not based external power, force, status.  True leadership is based on the trust of and by the team.  As little or as much as project managers strive for control, the most important foundation of control a project manager can and should seek is the team itself. It is not the single project manager running a project.  The team realizes the project.  The project manager is and should behave and act as a member of the team.  Corollary, if you don’t have a
functioning team you are acting without a foundation of control.Teambuilding helps establish a foundation of control. Hence,effective project leadership always involves teambuilding.  The project manager is nothing without the trust of his or her team.  It  may have the authority to control over its team, but not with its team.  This has nothing to do with leadership, this is the abuse of power.  Project leadership requires a functioning team, it calls for team building to ensure project success.  This starts with the insight that a project manager first and foremost is always a team member, too.

More on this in my upcoming lecture at the 8th NASA Project Management Challenge in Long Beach, CA, USA, Feb 9-10, 2011

Posted in: Leadership, NASA PM Challenge 2011

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What is the key to effective project management and project success?

We all need and thrive for successful projects.  But what does it take to get there?  There is no doubt that good project management is a critical success factor.  But is it really sufficient?  I don’t think so.  Instead, effective project management needs to have a solid foundation in project leadership AND team work.  It takes a performing team to run a project successfully.  And it takes effective leadership to empower the team to do so.  This is why team building is a decisive factor for project success.

Based on my own experience I have identified 5 team leadership principles that build a foundation for effective team building.  They include

  1. building a common project vision,
  2. nurturing team collaboration,
  3. cultivating team performance,
  4. promoting team learning,
  5. ensuring team delivery.

These 5 principles encompass the core of effective leadership in a team.

In my upcoming lecture at the 8th NASA Project Management Challenge in Long Beach, CA, USA, Feb 9-10, 2011 I will present these 5 principles of effective project leadership and show how they can help build and manage a performing and winning team.  – See you in Long Beach!

Posted in: Keynotes, NASA PM Challenge 2011

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