September 24, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Project Success Story – Call Centre Efficiency

By Linky van der Merwe

Call centre efficiencyThis story from a project manager, Sakhile Malinga, is about a national roll-out of a support contract for contact centre technology in a massive tele-communications company. The objective was to build the support function for all the Call Centres. An outcome was the creation of a National Operational Centre (NOC).

The complexity lay in the fact that it was aligned with software renewals. It had to be completed in a limited time-frame with fixed dates, when support had to be taken over by a new company. The project team consisted of a large sub-contractor component who were responsible to provide resources in the Regional centres that were taken over. It was difficult to manage various stakeholders, different entities and people with different agendas.

Scaling Up

The company that had to take over the support contract, was a fairly small enterprise, therefore the project was quite transformational for them. At the same time they were trying to achieve operational efficiency for the customer.

Existing technical resources that were assigned to the project, needed to skill up. In addition more skilled resources, responsible for technical infrastructure, had to come on board and all had to work together as one team.

Good Management of Resources, Stakeholders and Time

Project resourcing worked out well, despite the difficulty to secure the right people. The stakeholder management was done professionally, especially with C-level stakeholders.

Although the timeline was fixed and deadlines were tight, the project launched on time. The budget that was quoted in the local currency, had to be fixed to compensate for possible loss due to fluctuations in the exchange rate.

The project also created opportunities for staff to grow. Read more ….

Traits of Leaders in the Digital Era

By Roelof Louw

Many definitions of leadership can be found and in essence leadership is about people, about change and about achieving goals. This article will explore leadership skills in the digital era.

Leaders in digital eraIn an article published on the site, Executives Online, the author, Andrew MacAskill (Feb 18, 2015) identifies “5 Essential Skills of a Future Super Leader” as:

  • Digital savvy
  • An engineering mindset
  • An agile risk taker
  • A true believe in corporate and social responsibility
  • Great self-leaders

Digital savvy

A digital savvy leader must have a solid understanding of current technologies that enables a social and global connectivity to be in touch with the changes demanded or needed in society, industry and the market place. These technologies provide the means to create knowledge from an explosion of information to allow for identification of a change or a trend. A leader also uses these tools to drive the change.

Engineering mindset

A leader must have an engineering mindset to apply new technology concepts and trends such as Cloud Computing, Telemetry and Big Data to enable people to innovate within an industry and thereby leading people to change through applied innovation.

Agile risk taker

Risk is inevitable. MacAskill describes that risk can be valuable when a leader practices intelligent risk taking which is sometimes necessary, to prosper. Leaders must be informed and knowledgeable to know when to take calculated risks, when to avoid it and how to manage risks in particular situations. A leader needs to be in touch and digitally connected to be a successful, agile risk taker.

Corporate and social responsibility

Capitalism in its essence cannot be socially responsible however business leaders live in a capitalist world with a growing demand for social responsibility to ensure sustainability. A true future leader within the digital era must therefore apply technology and innovation to create a mindset or psyche of social responsibility. This requires entrenchment of the concepts of sustainability in the organization, with employees and customers alike and in the community.

Self-leaders

Leadership is not instructional. A leader must be a successful business leader, an upstanding community leader and a followed people leader. In business, a leader must apply him or herself to specialize or master a subject, apply his / her expertise in the community and be in touch with emotions, passions and abilities of people to lead.

It is important to remember that leadership skills can be developed. Leaders of today must become future super leaders as MacAskill describes them where the leadership traits and styles are applied within the context of the digital era.

About the Author:

Roelof Louw is an IT professional with a passion for how people, technology and process are applied in business, community and society to improve, drive change and innovate.  At present Roelof focuses on applying his career experience in IT management and strategy as well as consultation on Cloud, Managed Services and Computing Services topics. Connect with Roelof on Linkedin or mail him at roelof.louw@gmail.com

PMI Announcement for Certified Professionals – Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program Update

Project Management Professionals

PMI has announced changes in the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program from 1 Dec 2015. This is to answer the demands of the Profession based on the latest research findings in Pulse of the Profession and Project Management Talent Gap.

Employers need project practitioners with leadership and business intelligence skills to support strategic objectives that contribute to the bottom line.

The ideal skill set — the PMI Talent Triangle — is a combination of technical, leadership, and strategic and business management expertise. Aligning with this will ensure that you can develop your career in a more consistent, actionable and meaningful way.

Effective 1 December 2015 the CCR program will be aligned with the employer-identified skills depicted in the PMI Talent Triangle to ensure Project Management Professionals (PMP’s) are equipped to remain relevant in a continually changing business environment and to keep certification holders focused on the needs of the profession.

Please have a look at the Infographic below for a complete break-down of how Professional Development Units (PDU’s) will be maintained as per the update.

Also visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for an explanation of the reasons the CCR program is being updated, what the updates are, when the updates will go into effect, for which activities you can claim PDU’s and how you are impacted.

Update to CCR pogram

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Portfolio Management Definition – Infographic

Today I would like to share this very informative Infographic from Knowledge Train on the Definition of Portfolio Management.

As per the PMI definition:

Portfolio Management is the coordinated management of one or more portfolios, a component collection of programs, projects, or operations, to achieve organizational strategies.

In order to cope with the more complex and unpredictable world we live in today, you need portfolio management.

Visit the blog listed below for an interesting article about portfolio management.

Knowledge Train’s blog – portfolio management

Secrets to Planning and Preparing Powerful Presentations

As Project Managers we all need to use Presentations as one of the channels we communicate with. As part of our daily job, some project managers become really good at it and know how to engage with their audience through powerful presentations.

For most people the ability to deliver great presentations starts with practice that comes from experience, but also from adequate planning and lots of preparation.

Below is an ebook consisting of advice from experts who share their secrets to giving powerful presentations that will get people to take action.
Enjoy the read!
 

How to Understand the Dynamics of a Project Team

By Natalie Athanasiadis

Understanding project team dynamicsThe saying “no man is an island” becomes especially true on a project. Working on a project usually means working within a team. Whenever two or more people are put together, the potential for issues and conflict cannot be ignored. The dynamics of a team are difficult to predict and are shaped by team members’ similarities and differences. Understanding and working with group dynamics is key to ensuring positive project results.

Communication

Clear communication is the cornerstone of a successful team, and absolutely vital to the success of a project. It is a project manager’s responsibility to give clear direction and advice and to empower each team member to execute his or her tasks confidently. The lines of communication should be kept open at all times. Team members need to feel comfortable raising any issues with their management team. This helps to foster a flexible team that’s able to respond swiftly to crises or unexpected changes. On the other hand, if communication is unclear and team members are not encouraged to give feedback, the team becomes dysfunctional and results suffer.

Innovative thinking

How innovative a team is, depends to a great degree on the atmosphere of their working environment. A team that feels stifled cannot be creative, no matter what the credentials or talents of its individual members. Criticism should be structured in a constructive manner, a positive, supportive atmosphere that rewards innovation needs to be fostered, one which encourages team members to take creative and calculated chances. This also enhances the problem-solving capabilities of the team.

Motivation to succeed

Leaders who try to intimidate their team members into performing are barking up the wrong tree. Motivation is what makes team members excited to contribute and even go above and beyond the call of duty. On the other hand, unmotivated team members will try to get by doing just the bare minimum, which will have a huge impact on quality. Understanding what motivates team members will enable leaders to find the right incentives.

Trust

Team members need to trust each other to be able to work well together and it takes time to build a cohesive team. Observe your team members closely and you will find that some might try to conceal their weaknesses from their colleagues, while others might lack the confidence to let their abilities shine. A project manager needs to understand the strengths and weaknesses of his or her team in order to build a climate of trust and mutual respect.

Team dynamics are not only complicated but can also have a huge impact on the success of a project, regardless of the abilities of each individual team member.  A good project manager should be able to help a team to reach its maximum potential in terms of efficiency and ability.

 

About the Author: Natalie Athanasiadis is a PR and digital marketing guru specializing in working with large organisations in the project management field including Unispace. Get social with her on Twitter @natalieathana

Project Management Inspiration – Infographic

As a Project Manager you need motivation to excel in all aspects of your role.  Here are 15 quotes about leadership, people management, project planning, success and failure.  I trust that reading and sharing this will inspire you!

Remember to subscribe (right) for more project management tips and articles.
Project Management Quotes #Infographic
Wrike Project Management Software

Leadership in Project Management

An excellent Leadership ebook has been released by AtTask containing lessons from well-known Project, Program and Portfolio Management experts about making the transition from project management to project leadership.

Gartner predicted a massive change in the world of project management—a change that is forcing project managers into a greater leadership role and requiring them to work closely with senior executives.  Making the shift from project management to project leadership isn’t easy, but the rewards can be significant. Read the stories for inspiration to become a better leader.

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