Lessons Learned

Lessons learned about managing projects

Examples of Poor Project Management - Mistaking E-mail for Communication

One of the mistakes I have encountered reasonably often in projects is with people (both managers and resources) mistaking e-mail for actual communication. After sending an e-mail, people assume many things, including that: it is read in a timely fashion, the message is understood by the receiver(s), it is enough to generate the action/result desired by the sender. Unfortunately this is rarely the case and overusing e-mail instead of more effective communication mediums (face to face, video-conference, phone or chat), easily generates problems in projects: people not taking action on time, people completing wrong or incomplete deliverables, messages being forwarded to the wrong audience and generating conflicts, etc. In this article I would like to cover why people tend to overuse e-mail, the problems encountered with this communication medium and how to figure out by yourself when you should not use e-mail but a more effective communication medium.

What Nobody Asks in Change Projects: What Should Stay the Same?

When I am involved in change projects I usually start with my clients by trying to define a clear and, as far as possible, unambiguous vision for what the organisation will look like after the change. This part of the change project can be the most fun as thinking about the future, as opposed to the hard work of actually getting there, can be exciting. But in the excitement of planning the future, there is one thing that is often forgotten - what is it that makes this organisation special?

Examples of Poor Project Management - Introducing an Intermediary between the Project Manager and the Client

I will continue our series on Examples of Poor Project Management with a scenario from some of the projects ran by multi-national companies, with geographically distributed teams: having a project team member act as the intermediary between the project manager and the client of the project. I’m not saying that this is always a bad idea but unfortunately, more often than not, I have seen projects fail to some degree due to having such a project setup. In this article I will explore the reasons why projects can have such intermediary roles and how this can lead to negative results. After reading this article, please share your experience on this subject.

4 Project Management Lessons Learned from Lean and Six Sigma

Two of the biggest recent trends in management have been Six Sigma and Lean. These were originally separate approaches, but they are often conflated nowadays into Lean Six Sigma. In this article I treat them as one discipline, although each brings different tools, areas of focus and value.

I do not see Lean Six Sigma as a panacea for all business problems, as some of its staunchest advocates present it, but it has proven its value. Lean Six Sigma is not exactly leading edge thinking, but it has powerful lessons for project managers and project teams which are new to many practitioners.

Stripping Project Management to Its Core: Closing or... Learning how to Learn

Project closures tend to be executed in a quick & superficial manner. People want to get rid of the project and move on to something new, as soon as possible. Unfortunately, doing this, means you are wasting a great opportunity to learn and improve. In this article, I would like to go through they key steps of a good project closure and argue that, doing this right, is key to learning and development.

Predictable futures: a management myth

I would like to look at the assumption underlying many project plans, that the future is actually predictable. All management models have this assumption at their core and all organizations spend a lot of time planning all kinds of things: budgets, revenues, project outcomes, etc. This article will spend some time identifying the flaws of these models and give some tips on how to overcome them. I hope you will find them both useful and interesting.

Learning from New Product Development Projects

In this article, I want to share some of my experiences of developing new products. I have been involved in several projects to launch new products, and a few to start new businesses. But I’m writing this as much for a general lesson I have learnt from those projects, as to discuss detailed lessons about product development.

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