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Project success does NOT make you happy




Project success is wonderful – we think, we believe, we are told.  But, does it make us happy? Of course, it does.  But, do we first need to achieve project success to become happy?  NO.  The opposite is the case.

Watch the video below to find out why:

Happiness comes first, success is a lovely collateral so to say.  This should make you wonder and challenge your belief and behavir that you have to work hard to achieve success.  In my own book I explain that project success is much more than the final deliverable of a project.  It is or ought to be an experience throughout your project life time; and it comes with happiness, your happiness.

So, are still working hard or do you choose to be happy and become and are successful?

Posted in: Book, Happiness, Leadership

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You have to behave like a kid to become a leader

Can trainee programs teach leadership? Yes, but most of them don’t

I conducted a project leadership for members of a trainee program.  Attendees were motivated and full of energy.  Participation was very good and some of the insights and outcomes of the interactive exercises were even astounding.  Then, toward the end, the bubble of excitement bursted when one of the attendees asked for more detailed instructions how to apply “my” 5 leadership principles for project success.  “Eh, what!?” I thought. “Have I missed anything? Didn’t we just go through a number of exercises that addressed the very same question?” – What went wrong?

108088_web_R_K_by_Jerzy Sawluk_pixelio.deYou have to act like a little kid again to become a leader

What went wrong was that I mistakenly assumed that the trainees to think on their own, to leave their old perceptions behind at least for a few moments and to walk on their own.  Sorry, this was a mistake. What I didn’t understand or at least forgot that students these days have been drilled to memorize whatever the teacher gives them.  The less they challenge the material, the better.  For it is more important to get a good grade and pass.
This is legitimate and it works for the grand majority of people.  However, if you want to train leaders it is a dead end.  You have to take (most) students back to when they were little kids asking the annoying “WHY?” question over and over again.  And – you have to encourage these leadership trainees to go ahead and ask the WHY? question on a daily basis.  Even if they face obstacles, opposition and rejection.  If they don’t have the guts and maybe even don’t see the necessity to take these steps, they should not claim to learn something about leadership.  They may become decent managers but probably never reach the level of leadership.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGood trainee programs build playgrounds

On this token, can trainee programs teach leadership? – Yes, if they start teaching their trainees the necessity and value of asking WHY? and to start walking on their own.  – Luckily, they do exist. – If instead trainee programs focus on technical and old-school management skills, forget it.

Posted in: Agile, Empowerment, innovation, Leadership, Training

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What are self-organizing teams?


Following up some of the questions in my last webinar on March 6 I want to explain what distinguishes a self-organizing team from a manager-led and self-governing team.

self-organizing teamsManager-led teams are defined and led by someone from the outside.  A manager appoints a project manager and the project manager becomes the boss of a team. The team reports to the project manager; the project manager to the project sponsor or another manager.  The team does whatever the manager tells it to do.  It is an extension of a linear hierarchy we still can witness in many organizations these days.

In contrast to manager-led teams are self-governing teams.  These teams do not have exposed leaders at all.  Indeed there is not even an outside manager.  Teams are self-selected in the sense that team members have found each other and work on something their teams decide.  The directions of such teams come from the teams themselves.  A mob may serve as a good example.

Self-organizing teams are somewhere between manager-led and self-governing teams.  While the overall direction of the work of self-organizing teams may be defined from the outside, self-organizing teams decide by themselves how to execute these tasks, manage processes and monitor progress.  Self-organizing teams design their own activities that cumulate in final project deliveries.

Questions from the webinar:

Dinesh K: How do you rate productivity of different team (managed vs. self-organized vs. self-governed team)?

Productivity can be high in either team.  However, it is most likely that self-organizing teams have a greater productivity in the long haul.

Thomas D.: Do Managed Teams use teamwork?

Yes, they can.  However, don’t necessarily expect team magic, i.e., team synergy effects, to evolve.  Often a “team” which is manager led is more like a group of indviduals.  In case the manager empowers the team, true teamwork can evolve.

Posted in: Agile, Empowerment, Leadership

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Questions about self-organizing teams


Following up my webinar about “The Illusion and Promise of Self-Organizing Teams” I gave on March 6, 2013 I have consolidated all questions asked during and immediately following the webinar.  As promised I will answer each of the questions in the coming weeks. In the meantime PLEASE share your thoughts about the following questions about self-organizing teams:

1)   Definition and understanding of self-organizing teams vs. managed or self-governed teams

Marc L.:  What’s the difference between a self organizing team and a mob?

Dinesh K: How do you rate productivity of different team (managed vs. self-organized vs. self-governed team?

Thomas D.: Do Managed Teams use teamwork?

2)   Development of self-organizing teams

Wilma L.: how does the self-organizing team begin to organize itself for a project? Who determines that this is going to be a SO team, especially in a corporate environment?

Rajakrishnan C.: A typical project team may comprise of people with different experience levels and pay scales. A junior member may not feel as equally responsible for the success of the project as a senior high paying resource. Will this hamper self organizing capability of the team? If so how do we handle such situations?

Alonso A.: Any additional suggestions for teams that are new and still going thru the storming phase?

3)   Roles in self-organizing teams

Elise O.: If this is a self-organizing team, why are we still framing it in terms of “YOU and YOUR team”?  It sounds as though you still need a leader/mentor/sponsor role to get this to work.  Does it really become a team where everyone is a peer?

Naga B.: What will be the role of project manager in self oraganizing teams?

Xavier Z.: what about the risks specific with scrum team with a scrummaster but without project manager?

4)   The MVP Model in action (Motivation, Vision, Project Objectives)

Douglas D.: Can you talk to the idea that, part of the value add for an engagement, is gaining, and documenting, the MVP?  In other words, they project team may not have been able to articulate this until you showed up.

Milagros L.: Thinking in the kick-off meeting, when would conduct the MVP workshop? After or before it?

Mounir G.: How you can apply MVP in a hierarchy, military environment where top down commands are applied?

Loui H.: What would you do if some stakeholder or team members don’t want to play along?

Nihad K.: Here is where the project sponsor gets into the mix.  Isnt it really about their vision?

William P.: What about assigning, defining roles?  Do the team members work out who does what?

5)   Empowerment

Oscar S.: which is the most important empowerment effect in the management?

6)   Acknowledgement

Krithika V.: is monetary acknowledgement (bonus) allowed ?

7)   Promoting performance

Shilpa E.:Q: In self organizing teams, micromanagment is out of question, then how can we promote self performance to ensure project milestones?

8)   Conflict management

Noemi J.: what about conflict management inside self organizing and cross-functional teams? how should a project manager manage it?

9)   Virtual teams

Justus B., Mitra B., Timothy B.: Do the same rules shown today also apply for vitural teams, for example in a culturally diverse environment?

10)         Cultural differences and respect, moral, ethics

Rebecca K: It seems that cultural differences can be the source of disrespect. How can this be overcome?

11)         Project management vs. project leadership

Samuel J.: Dr. Juli has separated Project Management and Project Leadership.  Would he suggest that the PM should aim to be the Project Leader in order to be able to assert authority as necessary?

12)         Project challenges and the right leadership style

Shilpa E. Micromanagement or Delegation has been a question? But to meet the business goal in very rough projects which would help?

13)         A good project manager

Aida C.: How do you know if you are a good project manager other than the hard results which come in the end?

14)         Self-organizing teams and the PMBOK

Cory P.: Good luck mapping these concepts to the PMBOK

 

Posted in: Agile, Empowerment, Leadership, Project Management

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Free Webinar “The Illusion and Promise of Self-Organizing Teams” – March 6, 2013


On Wednesday March 6 I gave a free webinar on “The Illusion and Promise of Self-Organizing Teams” on on Wednesday March 6th, 2013 at 12:00pm (US Eastern Time, Coordinated Universal Time -5 hours).

NOTE:  If you happen to be one of the 989 individuals who attended the webinar and still have queastions, please leave comment below or send an email to tj@thomasjuli.com.  I will respond to all questions in due time.  Thank you!

For topic details, please visit PMI’s website. Click here for Details!

Content:

Teams and teamwork are the heart and soul of every project. This is especially true for agile teams. It is not the individual performance or accomplishment that counts but that of the team. Just like in team sports the team succeeds and fails together. Interestingly Agilists propose self-organizing teams. But what does “self-organizing” mean? If teams are self-organizing why do so many teams and projects fail?

This lecture sheds light on self-organizing teams. It explains what distinguishes them from manager-led and self-governing teams. It then outlines the ingredients that self-organizing teams need in order to develop and prosper.

Self-organizing teams have an immense potential for achieving powerful results on a project. However, there is no guarantee that self-organizing teams will form and be able to sustain themselves. This is particularly the case in non-agile organizations. Under those circumstances it is important to know common pitfalls of self-organizing teams and learn to overcome them. The lecture will discuss difficulties in developing and nurturing self-organizing teams. And it will show what it takes to master these challenges. This is not an easy task. The returns, however, are multifold and worth the investment. Self-organizing teams can thus become a cornerstone of project success.

A corresponding whitepaper of this presentation is available, too.  Please click here.

 

Posted in: Agile, Company News, Keynotes, Leadership, Project Management, Upcoming Events

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6 steps to unleashing your potential: The Project Management Coaching Workbook [book review]


PM Coaching WorkbookWARNING:  This is a workbook.  Do not read it if you want to read just another book on project management, project leadership, and project success.  If, however, you are sincerely interested in learning what it takes to develop and improve your project management and leadership skills and you are eager to learn why and how these are crucial ingredients for project and personal success, get a copy of this book and start working with it today.
Note that I wrote working with this book.  For it would be a shame if you were just reading this book like any other, then put it on a bookshelf and forget about it.

So, what is this book about?  The back cover states “Starting with an insightful self-assessment, The Project Management Coaching Workbook: Six Steps to Unleashing Your Potential offers tools, questions, reviews, guiding practices, and exercises that will help you build your roadmap to project management and leadership success.”  True.
What makes this book special is that it starts out with an insightful definition of project management and project leadership.  Susanne explains “As a manager, you are typically involved in scheduling work, delegating tasks, coordinating effort and resources, monitoring and guiding progress, building teams, and appealing to rational thinking.  As a leader, however, your role is to inspire people, explain goals, share the vision, provide focus, be a role model, monitor morale, create a positive team feeling, and unleash potential.” (p.8-9)

The book is about both: project management and project leadership.  It is this stretch that makes the workbook special.  There are a lot of books about project management and probably even more on leadership.  Unfortunately, there are only a very few that explain why and how management and leadership has to be dealt with together.  Maybe it is because it can be quite a stretch.  This is certainly true.  Just because you are a good manager does not make you a good leader.  On the other side, if you are a good project manager it is probably because you also embrace qualities and skills of project leadership.  Effective project management therefore is the combination of strong task management and people management and leadership.

The book is into 6 major parts, each corresponding to a 6-step assessment and coaching model.  They are:

Step 1: What do you want to achieve? Create your vision and mission statement

Step 2: Self-assessment: Create a benchmark of your current skill set

Step 3: 360 feedback: Seek feedback from managers, peers, and customers

Step 4: Action: Create an action plan and move forward

Step 5: Guiding practices:  Learn more about project management and leadership techniques

Step 6: Progress review: Examine your progress and determine next steps

Each of the chapters include an explanation of the core concepts and then quickly walks the reader through a self-assessment and guiding questions and principles which show the reader how to apply the principles in a daily project setting.  It is not dry theory, it is very pragmatic and it encourages you to become active.  After all, it is a workbook.

Target audience:  Whether you are a novice project manager or have been in the profession for years, you will get a lot out of this book.  Hence, I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in project management, project leadership and project success.  It is also a book for a team, a department, a division or even a whole company that wants to take team and project performance to the next level.  Indeed working with this book in a team will reveal more about good management and leadership on the individual and group level than working with the book by yourself.

Shortcomings:  … none really.  Personally, I would have liked a bibliography but that’s pretty much it.

In a nutshell: (4 ½ stars out of 5)  A must-read for those who want to take project management and leadership to the next level.

Madsen, S. (2012). Project Management Coaching Workbook: Six Steps to Unleashing Your Potential. Tysons Corner, VA: Management Concepts.

Posted in: Book, Leadership, Project Management

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Achieving a Work-Life-Balance – Follow up from Synergy 2012


On November 1, 2012 I had the privilege to speak at and attend the 2012 Synergy Projec Management Event in London, UK.  It was a fabulous conference with more than 500 people attending.  Considering that there were “only” about 850 people attending the PMI Global Congres EMEA in Marseile this May, the Synergy numbers are outstanding and speak for themselves.  There were a number of factors which made this event very special (compared to PMI GC EMEA):

  • focused on 1 day
  • diverse speakers with presentation topics not so much about technical project management skills but project management in action; speakers helped the audience to think outside the box
  • venue: the Indigo2 at the O2 arena is really impressive
  • organization

My own presentation “Project Management and Zen: Achieving a Work-Life Balance” was very well received, too.  As promised I am making the presentation available to the general public under the Creative Commons agreement.  Feel free to download the ppt-file, use it, spread the message, and please share your stories.

Posted in: Centeredness, Empowerment, Keynotes, Leadership

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International Project Management Day postponed to November 15, 2012


Join us on November 15, 2012 for what is arguably the largest virtual project management event in the world!

Last year over 30,000 professionals attended, with rave reviews. This year we hope to reach over 50,000. Once registered, you will have access to over 30 recorded video presentations where you ‘ll learn about the most current and critical topics in the world today.
You can also visit Virtual Booths on various knowledge areas, live chat with the presenters, stop by Sponsor Booths, and download white papers and other collateral.
This free event can earn you up to 15 PDU’s.  Register Free Now at IPM Day 2012, visit www.iil.com or watch the official trailer of this unique event.

Myself, I will be talking about “Leadership Principles for Project Success“.


We all need and thrive for successful projects.  But what does it take to get there?  This session explains why project management alone is insufficient and shows why project leadership is the decisive factor for project success.  The session outlines 5 simple yet powerful leadership principles which, if applied systematically, can help you pave the path to project success. It illustrates how you can use these principles to set up, manage, and align your projects for success. Last but not least, it shows you how to become an effective project leader.

Posted in: Keynotes, Leadership

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Guest Blog by Neal Whitten: Some No-Nonsense Advice for Project Success


Today I want to share some of  Q&As from Neal Whitten’s book Neal Whitten’s Let’s Talk: More No-Nonsense Advice for Project Success—Over 700 Q&As! which I highly recommend to anyone seriously interested in project management and leadership.

 

Q. As a leader, is an ego a help or a hindrance?

A. Mostly a hindrance. When you go to work each day, leave your ego outside. It’s not about you. It’s about the success of your project, organization, and company. It’s about good business. An overactive ego can get in the way of making sound judgments, establishing and maintaining good working relationships, and learning and growing from our mistakes.


Q. As a young person, I am not seen as a leader to be treated with respect, even though my teams and projects have received high marks for success. How can I deal with this “handicap”?

A. Savor your youth. Do not wish it away; it will evaporate sooner than you would like. All of us were young employees once. You must channel your energies and passion into performing your best.

But a word of caution: Show respect for the knowledge and wisdom of those older than you. Be open to their ideas, and do not come across like a know-it-all. As much as you think you know now, you will know far, far more in five, ten, or twenty years. For now, you may have to work harder than others, but you will win over some converts.

Q. I don’t look forward to the plethora of problems that confront me each day. As a leader, am I in the wrong job?

A. Perhaps, but if you expect to remain a leader in whatever job you choose, you must learn to like and be comfortable around problems. You should adopt the attitude that “problems are our friends”—without problems, you probably would not have a job. Moreover, your level of salary is likely related to your ability to solve problems.

As a consultant and mentor, if I did not have problems to confront, I would not have a job. I sincerely and enthusiastically look forward to the problems that my clients throw at me. If too many are coming my way, then I will prioritize them, and the most important and urgent problems will be solved first.

The higher you climb career-wise and the more responsibilities you take on, the greater the likelihood that you will be unable to resolve every problem. You will either need to get help from others or accept that some problems take longer to resolve than you’d like. Whatever challenges you must confront, thinking about problems with the right mindset can make all the difference in your effectiveness and enthusiasm.

Posted in: Book Recommendations, Guest Blogs, Leadership, Project Management

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Building Performing Teams [Presentation]


PMI Global Congress EMEA, Marseille, France, May 2012

Please join me for my presentation on Wednesday May 9, 2012 at the PMI Global Congress EMEA in Marseille.  I will be speaking about The 5 Team Leadership Principles for Project Success and how they can help build and manage a performing and winning team.

Additional information about the presentation is available at the official PMI Global Congress EMEA website.

A handout of the presentation is available here as well as an article on the 5 team leadership principles for project success.

See you in Marseille!

Posted in: Empowerment, Keynotes, Leadership, Project Management

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