How to Inject Life Back Into Your Project

July 3rd, 2012

The recent power outages in the Washington, DC metropolitan area have inspired me to blog about losing power (electricity) and the effect it has on people and communities from a metaphorical project management perspective.  

Keep reading if you are a Project Manager looking for signals or indicators that your project is losing ‘power’ and how to inject life back into your project.

How do you recognize a ‘power loss’ in a project?

It can be hugely beneficial to see your project from the outside-in perspective.  This is something that I have blogged about in the past to encourage PMs to occaisonally step away from the tactical details and see projects from multiple stakeholders lenses.  It has been my experience that there are a few ‘tells’ when a project is losing momentum;

  • Sponsors or key stakeholders have become uninvolved, uninterested, or have moved on to other priorities
  • Workstreams are not meeting agreed upon delivery dates or delivery dates are frequently extended as they near expected completion
  • Lack of integration and gaps in communication, both inside and outside the project team, have people feeling frustrated or disengaged

How do I turn around a troubled project?

It is not always easy to recognize – or admit – that there is room for project improvement, especially when you are at the helm.  Again, just like in real life, projects appear differently from multiple vantage points.  Perceptions are powerful.   The good news is, that while the bullet points above may not be preferred, they are totally normal and may be overcome with a push in the right direction.  Here’s how:

  • Address issues head on.  Avoiding them only makes them worsen and harder to correct the situation.
  • No fault, no finger pointing.  Hold people/teams accountable.
  • Talk about making a positive course correction(s) and others will usually appreciate being part of the solution
  • Integrate.  Explore and address intersections with cross funcitonal efforts/teams
  • Keep stakeholders abreast of status (recent accomplishments, next steps, issues/risks)
  • Seek out creative ways for stakeholders to share a common understanding of why we are doing what we are doing
  • Projects bring about change.  Recognize changes as you go along so other people can share the same understanding of the new normal

How VeriScope Can Help You?

VeriScope has built a leading project management consulting practice on deep functional expertise and unmatched ability to elevate business results.  Is your project in trouble?  Do you need a fresh perspective from the outside to help you and others see maintain a path to success?  Contact us today, let us be your strategic business partner.  We are available on a consulting or contractual basis to staff your project with one of our many competent, results-driven project leaders.

About the author:  Joe Giampa is a seasoned management consultant, Project Management Professional (PMP), and a Prosci certified Change Management practitioner.  Joe shares his experiences gained over the last twelve years while bringing to life the visions of senior leaders by implementing leading-edge solutions, systems, and processes for multi-billion dollar companies.  Joe is the Chief Project Manager at VeriScope, Inc. – a leading provider of Project Management consulting, staffing, and training to commercial and government clients looking to  mature internal project management capabilities and maximize successful project outcomes.

Follow Joe on TwitterLinkedIn, or Facebook.  Read other blog posts.

Spring Has Sprung… Is Your Project Ready to Enter a New Season?

April 6th, 2012

Growing up in Northern Virginia, I, like most people, am always energized by the break in low temperatures, the bright pops of color, and the promise that the long, cold winter is behind us.  As a Project Manager, I take the same opportunity to revisit each of my programs and projects because I believe that applying a fresh perspective can have a huge impact on results.  Today’s blog builds off a previous posts that I have authored on considering an outside-in perspective. project turn arounds, and how to inject life back into a project

Projects bring about change, are you and other stakeholders living the change?  Successful projects bring about change.  These changes come in all shapes and sizes (e.g. changes to processes, operations, business support, technology implementations).    Project Managers are on the front line of change and have already adopted personal commitments to change.  But this is not always true for all stakeholders. 

Use your position as Project Manager to help usher others along the change path.  Resistance to change has the ability to seriously impede successful project outcomes.  Address this as part of your project planning efforts.  Most change management experts will agree that people need to hear messages five to seven times before the message is actually received (and more importantly, absorbed).  This is why it is imperative to take time to frequently communicate the need to change, the project vision and intended benefits, what has been accomplished to date, and where you are heading next. 

Break away from the mundane and shake things up!  Sometimes when we are in the thick of execution, things may become routine.  When things become routine, there is a tendency to become less engaged and overlook or minimize issues/risks that require greater exploration.  This is the perfect time to shake things up!  For example, do you still need to have that weekly stakeholder meeting?  Pulse the group about frequency and let them be part of the decision.  If you are feeling that things are becoming routine, trust your instincts because typically, you are not alone. 

Revisit milestones, schedules, and deliverables.  Refine and refocus as appropriate.  In the spirit of progressive elaboration, it is always a good practice to revisit and refine as you know more information and when you can be more granular in planning.  Ask yourself, do these milestones make sense now that we are here in the current state Is the team focused on the most impactful actions that will lead to desired outcomes?

How VeriScope Can Help You?

VeriScope has built a leading project management consulting practice on deep functional expertise and unmatched ability to elevate business results.  Could your project benefit from a little Spring cleaning?  Contact us today, let us be your strategic business partner.  We are available on a consulting or contractual basis to staff your project with one of our many competent, results-driven project leaders. 

About the author:  Joe Giampa is a seasoned management consultant, Project Management Professional (PMP), and a Prosci certified Change Management practitioner.  Joe shares his experiences gained over the last twelve years while bringing to life the visions of senior leaders by implementing leading-edge solutions, systems, and processes for multi-billion dollar companies.  Joe is the Chief Project Manager at VeriScope, Inc. – a leading provider of Project Management consulting, staffing, and training to commercial and government clients looking to  mature internal project management capabilities and maximize successful project outcomes.

Follow Joe on TwitterLinkedIn, or Facebook.  Read other blog posts.

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