Monday, February 25, 2013

Presentation on Presentations – get ready for your next big presentation – some tips from Peter Taylor.

We had a pleasure to meet Peter Taylor, the author of “The Lazy Project Manager”, during the PMI Gdansk Branch seminar on the evening of 31st of January, 2013 where he advised on “great presentations”. The recording of his presentation can be found here and below I would like to share some take aways.

Open on a high & finish on high– start and finish your presentation with a story.
Peter started with a funny story on shreddies – just a shreddies, diamond shreddies and a combo pack with both. The conclusion: it’s all about the presentation – who you present to makes a difference.
Getting the audience's attention right from the beginning is essential. Remember first 10 minutes window is the first point of opportunity to lose your audience.

The Audience.
You can have 4 types of listeners:
•           “Fans” want your success
•           “Entertain me” – they can leave the interest quickly and move to “neutral”
•           “Neutral” – they don’t have an opinion
•           “Left the building” – not focused on your presentation, you lost them

The Purpose: convince, educate, motivate ....
Keep it simple, but have a structure. Peter shared a story from his wedding where he needed to present and was not very good at presenting. He bought a lottery ticket for all important people – “top table” with the same numbers: 1, 7, 15, 21, 30, & 40.
1 because it was first day of our life ticket
7 because it was July
15 because it was 15th of July
21 because there were 2 bridesmaids and 1 page boy
30 because he knows his best friend for 30 years
40 because both parents were about to celebrate the 40th anniversary

The Content
If you talk about something you know well rehearse to control your time.
If you do not know the subject well rehearse or invite people who know more to support you.

It’s not the volume but the message that counts. Do not waste people’s time

The Tools
Be clever! Do not overuse graphs, moving objects, data etc.

The Style – it’s a lot about you.
Present key facts and use rather pictures than words. Our brain is far more capable to take visional images! Keep an eye contact with your audience!

The Practionalities – 3 Ps:
Prepare - Practice and practice again. A well rehearsed presentation will keep your audiences attention.
Present – the smallest part!
Profit – you will gain something: learn, engage, keep connected….

The Risk
Be prepared for anything:
-       Have an usb stick with your presentation
-       Don't rely on an internet connection
-       Check your desktop
-       Be prepare to shorten your presentation – recognize the needs of your audience and adjust

Break the Rules – my favourite one!
  1. 6:6:1 rule (6 bullets /6 words/1 idea on one slide)
  2. Agenda (tell what are you going to tell, then tell and then tell what you have told)  - ridicules!
  3. Thank the audience! 

The Hates – there are a lot of them and a few below:
-       Reading the slides
-       Flat voice
-       Ppt presentation
-       Non interactive presentation
-       Agenda – especially if you have 10 points and manage to cover 2
-       Time management - no one will mind if you finish early but they will hate you if you go on for too long
-       Sitting or standing in one place while presenting

You need to control your audience. Sometimes you will have people who won't accept an answer. Don't battle with them, your audience isn't interested, instead ask them to talk to you afterwards.

With 41 slides, 121 words, 3 words per slide and 61 images Peter managed to keep the audience awaken for one hour. Well done! That was a great Presentation on Presentations! The summary of the 31st event can be found on PMI website.

Break the rules and have fun with your next presentation!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Leading Successful PMOs - update from Peter Taylor’s workshop

How to build the best PMO for your business and keep it relevant? This and more other questions were asked during one day interactive session led by Peter Taylor and organised by PMI Gdansk Branch on the 1st February in Grand Hotel in Sopot.

The workshop was divided into a few parts. We’ve discussed the types, models, role of PMO, and the competencies of a PMO leader. Peter shared the results of the survey for the book and finally presented the Siemens’ PMO he led for 4 years. I would like to share with you a few take aways.

What’s PMO?
  • The Project Management Office (PMO) in a business or professional enterprise is the department or group that defines and maintains the standards of process, generally related to project management, within the organization
  • The PMO strives to introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects
  • The PMO aims to reduce project risk through common practice and quality assurance
  • The PMO links business strategy to project based execution of that strategy
Competencies of a PMO leader:
  • Be passionate about projects
  • Be strong in communication
  • Negotiate well
  • Be enthusiastic about leading change
  • Don’t be afraid to be unique 
Although all of them are important “passion” and “uniqueness” are my top 2. “It’s your PMO. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to be a certain way. Be unique. Be what you feel you need to be”

Some tips on best PMOs:

  • The best PMOs have consistent, repeatable PM practices across the enterprise. All projects are held to the same standards and requirements for success. They have also eliminated redundant, bureaucratic PM practices that have slowed down projects.
  • The best PMOs have the most experienced PMs in place and have a program underway to recruit the best PMs, develop their existing PMs into the best and to maintain this level of quality and experience.
  • The best PMOs have clear visibility into the progress and cost of all projects. They also know exactly how resources are being used. They openly share this information to all the appropriate stakeholders throughout the enterprise. 
  • The best PMOs adapt to the enterprise's strategic expectations and know how to operate effectively within the corporate structure and culture. And they are not rigid in their own structure and focus in order to adapt and adopt quickly.
  • The best PMOs sponsor training and facilitate communities of practice to promote PM best practices in their organizations. Such communities of practice provide PMs with a forum to share their knowledge and share experiences.
  • The best PMOs are the custodians of a dynamic framework of method to assist PMs in the delivery of projects. This includes not only process but also templates and guidance.
  • The best PMOs ensure that quality assurance actually delivers quality.
Finally Peter shared his 4-year - experience setting up and leading PMO in Siemens – “too valuable to lose, but  not too expensive to keep.” We’ve  also learnt that PMO of the Year 2012 winner is Verizon Wireless Marketing Program and Portfolio Office. That was an interesting 1-day learning and sharing event.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Spirit of Project Management. Grow as a leader!

I had a pleasure to meet Alan Harpham, the co-author of “The Spirit of Project Management”, during the PMI Gdansk Branch seminar on the evening 17th January 2013.

First part of the session was a brief introduction to the ‘Swirl’ Best Management Practice portfolio inc. PRINCE2®. The second part was devoted to the book he wrote together with Judi Neal: “The Spirit of Project Management”

During the break I took an opportunity to ask Alan a few questions on Poland, Poles, project management and his book – the recording of this interview below.

                                               Video by Obiektywni

As I was impressed by his story I decided to read the book and share my thoughts on this with you.

The book is divided to two parts. The first part of the book explains a few models for understanding the significance and value of spirituality in projects. The second part helps to integrate these ideas into our day-to-day management of projects. Thus there are chapters on spirituality from the perspective of the individual, the project team, the project organization and even project management within a sustainable world framework.

I have asked Alan why he wrote “The Spirit of Project Management”. His answer was that this book brought his two lives (being a liberal Christian, too liberal for some people as he describes himself and being in project management), his two passions into one.

I’ve also asked him why we should read it“Because spirituality in work (SiW) is brining new ideas to bear. The book enables people to start to look how spirit and spirituality can help in projects and projects management. I truly believe that one of the big topic that’s is coming and people will get paid for, it’s spirituality not just only in project management, but in work and business in general. It’s a topic its time is now, just beginning and it’s fantastic.”

I agree and really appreciate that had an opportunity to meet Alan in person. I always knew that being a great project leader goes beyond having a good knowledge of project management tools and techniques (planning & implementation) and that emotional intelligence competencies are more important that intellectual ones. But only “a few cutting edge leaders are aware of the emerging research and application of spiritual intelligence, particularly for the emerging discipline of managing complex projects “ and thanks to Alan and his book I’m becoming one of them.

“Spirituality” is most commonly defined as connection that which gives meaning and purpose. And both project managers and teams want to work on meaningful projects. They are looking for that feeling that comes from creating something much bigger and greater than the self and for the benefit of others.

Now I understand the success of English Camps – a charity program run by Project Management Institute Gdansk Branch since 2004. Two times a year a group of people who believe that together can change the World devote their free time, working mainly weekends and nights for 4-5 moths or even more (those involved in a few editions) to make a difference for a group of young members of our society. We succeed as we manage to create a spirit of unity – although of diverse backgrounds and skills we really work well together as a single team to achieve a common goal - meaningful and purposeful goal – both children and our growth.

“Spirituality also is the quality of being spiritual, of recognizing the intangible, life-affirming force in self and all human beings. It is a state of intimate relationship with the inner self of higher values and morality. It is recognition of the truth of the inner nature of people.”

Spirituality in the workplace religion in the workplace

Spirituality in project management does not have anything to do with promoting a particular religion or in promoting religion in a more general way.

“Project Spirit” is defined as the collective attitudes, emotions, norms and behavior that characterise the members of a project team.

Most Project Managers are aware of the importance of soft skills. Emotional Intelligence has been seen as a key attribute of a good leader and a must for those who are responsible for building effective project teams. Spiritual Intelligence goes close with Emotional Intelligence. According to Steven Covey, Spiritual Intelligence is the central and most fundamental of all the intelligences, because it becomes the source and guidance for the others.
“Project Leadership is a Significant Gap Impacting PPM Performance”

“Project, programme, and portfolio leadership is in short supply as organizations struggle to implement Agile methods, complete large projects, manage vendors, and create more value through their project management offices (PMOs). Leadership is one of the key themes throughout many of the 2013 top 10 trends for project management, which were identified by a global panel of ESI International senior executives and subject matter experts.”

Cindy Wigglesworth describes Spiritual intelligence as “the ability to behave with compassion and wisdom (love) while maintaining inner and outer peace regardless of the circumstances” Cindy Wigglesworth, 2004.

Moreover the world is also becoming more conscious of the need for large, highly integrated, and world changing social projects. There is a growing recognition in business of the importance of a social conscience and corporate responsibility.

In order to meet these challenging requirements of today’s World, leaders will need to develop a greater spiritual intelligence in themselves and their teams. “They will need a global mindset, one that crosses all cultures and understands different cultures and their origins, one that the various faith and spiritual traditions have been teaching for years” (Neal 2006)

There are a lot of other spiritual values (virtues) mentioned in the book, but I would like to draw your attention to a few values specific to projects and useful in project management teams:

  1. Respect for diversity
We all know that heterogeneous groups outperform homogeneous groups. Project teams require diversity of thinking and problem solving solutions.

  1. Freedom
The authors of the book have a dream of a world without borders or boundaries, both physical and mental and I that’s my dream too.

  1. Deep listening
According to Posner’ studies, communication skills - listening, persuading, are number one on the list of skills needed to be a successful project manager.By deep listening the authors understand the ability to hear beyond the words and facial expression - trust your intuition and have an open heart! In order to be effective, you must willing to share with the other what you think you are sensing in your deep listening. You may not always be right in your intuition, but just the fact that you are attempting to listen at deeper level will make a difference to the person you are interacting with. It is and example of spiritual connectivity.

  1. Creativity
In my previous post on Creativity, risk management and agility I mentioned that creativity is the most important leadership quality followed by integrity and global thinking (IBM studies). Creative leaders are more prepared to break with the status quo of industry, enterprise, and revenue models.
Today’s leaders in order to improve performance need to stimulate creative thinking and unleash the creative potential in themselves and in their teams.The authors of the book stress the importance of a mindset of openness and curiosity, which is essential for creativity.  When I run risk management sessions I always try to encourage people to indentify positive and negative risks, as they both matter and need to be managed proactively. I’ve used the word try because have failed on a few occasions. So, I’m very happy to see this sentence in the book: “Opportunity management is just important as risk management”

  1. Trustworthiness
Chartered Management Institute in UK (Miller 2011) found that the attribute must sought after by the staff of their managers was authenticity. Authenticity creates trust.

Real trust = integrity x competences

Again IBM studies reveals that integrity is the second most important leadership quality. In our project manager’s roles we must being trustworthy. Keeping promises is essential and if you cannot keep them do not make them! “Becoming more trustworthy requires first becoming more trusting.”

  1. Commitment to something greater than oneself.
We all want to work on projects that make a difference in the World. The responsibility of a Project Manager is to get best out of the team, create an environment that every person’s best talents contribute at full force.

Even some people might question it I truly believe that spirituality can be achieved and I have experienced it not only working on social projects (ex. English Camps). For last 15 years I have been working in both “spirited” and “dispirited teams and know how inspiring and uplifting that can be working in the first and also understand the devastating impact (self-esteem and feelings of how we are valued by others) when working in the second ones.

The studies show (Lamont 2002) that soul-friendly companies have lower absenteeism, less sickness, and lower staff turnover. This also apply for soul-friendly projects.

Why spirituality in Project Management? Please find below Alan’s answers.
  • Change is accelerating.  Change is not merely necessary to life; it is life. Alvin Toffler
  • Project management is growing
  • People want to work on projects that are meaningful and that make a difference in our world
  • People are moving up the Maslow hierarchy of needs to spirituality (self-actualisation)
  • We are called to grow in body, mind and spirit
  • Growth and development require us to take risk - the bigger the risk the more we grow
  • Growth and change are integral to all projects
  • Complexity is growing as is the complexity of team
  • Team members seek meaning and purpose, strong alignment to project vision in order to bring their best and go beyond what they thought possible.

Read this book and grow as a leader! With a greater understanding of the role of spirituality in project management you will be able to tap into your team members’ passion and purpose, unleash their creativity, and help them solve difficult, seemingly insurmountable problems!