Are you Lazy enough?

The lazy project manager has taken it up a notch by introducing the new program on how you can become one. Check out and be lazy and twice as productive.

Be served with the science of productive laziness and get your work- life balance better for your and your team.

So why the online course- I ask Peter Taylor.

“I started the eLearning program because a number of people wanted more information about productive laziness. More beyond the book and more beyond the presentations I have delivered around the world on being ‘lazy’ and being a better project manager.
Since I do have a full time job with Siemens PLM heading up a PMO, and even taking in to account that I am incredibly productively lazy, I did not personally have the bandwidth to offer actual consultancy or classroom style training. The solution seemed to be eLearning.
With The Lazy Project Manager eLearning experience students get to learn more about being a ‘lazy’ project manager through audio visual lessons, get to complete some supporting workshops and even get to take a ‘productive lazy test’. All in the fun manner that you come to expect from The Lazy Project Manager.”

Sounds wonderful, so if this is what you like check out the site.


What are you learning from project management?

Self discipline processes, team building, logical thinking, more certifications and perhaps a little extra money.

Yep, we all learn that.

What are the things that you are un-learning by being in the profession?

•Risk taking- Obviously in your personal /professional life because we are so attuned to seeing them ahead of time and getting rid of it.

•Creativity- The logic, the process, the flow, the bugs and codes can take us far away from the creative self. Try writing a piece of prose that is not related to project management and notice if you have to think. Its different from what you think tied up in your PM chair every day. And it feels nice, doesn’t it?

•Not having fun- we always wait for the right moment, that’s how we trained ourselves- the right moment to inform the team, the right timing to convey it to stakeholders, the timeline and the deadlines run us. The stress and the phones and our validation through overflowing inboxes is what fun is for us. Remember- what did you want to be when you grow up? When was the last time you tried it?

•Working like machines- We love automation. The work we just do everyday- get the coffee, look at emails, write back and forth, browse through proposals, look into excel sheets and more emails and meetings and drive back home. Have you tried to change anything in the last 15 days or ways you been in automation? Are you mindful?

•Giving up- On everything you love to get that extra pat from your boss by overworking yourself and convincing yourself that I will have more time to be happy when I have this project in my bag.

•Being numb- even when you know it’s not the right thing to do. You come back from work to flop in front of the TV and just keep your mind numb, so you can tell your brain to stop thinking of the things that comes naturally to you. We shut them up, even when we know you should pay more attention to what you want.

•Need more, need better mindset- More projects, higher budgets, more certificates, PDU’s, more authority, better team- that’s we think. Less is more- is not very aptly though out concept for project managers. Do you think what you need or do you just need more because that’s what you are unconsciously being trained to ask for?

If you are a Project Manager and think out of the box or within the box- share your thoughts please.

The point being is be true to yourself and don't get trapped into the system. Watch this TED video for some mind numbing data.

P.S. I think only in bullet points these days- scary!

(Pic Courtesy)

How can you keep everyone happy?

Chances are you cannot.

However with a few carefully thought out lists you can keep some of them happy:

•Ask questions- don’t assume anything in a project if you are not sure about it. Repeat what you understood to keep things clear.
•When doing any project documentation, maintain the versioning system and track all change requests. If you are responsible for keeping tracks, make sure you date them correctly and mention why a new version is being done. It solves a lot of disputes later.
•Keep your project manager in the loop, if you report to one. Don’t hand out final documents at the last moment and no have time to tweak anything.
•Stop giving excuses. It doesn’t help your credibility. Be accountable and just go head and do it.
•Speak up for yourself. Don’t be rude to your team, however don’t let anyone else take advantage of the fact that you never speak up. If someone else is blaming you for something you didn’t do, be polite, clarify and then offer to help.
•Be honest- it shows in your work and management gets it.
•Ask for advice, talk to people and then take your own decision. If you want a raise, promotion make sure you are not randomly talking about it and wasting someone s time. Getting ready for it takes time and make sure you out the effort. Keep an excel sheet of your contribution to the team, or time you have taken initiative and you were appreciated, brought in business or client liked your work. More the data, stronger your case. If possible, mention the dates, copies of emails along with or proof enough, so your boss doesn’t thing you are making it up.
•Show up with a smile and lot of positive attitude. Don’t always say- it cannot be done or it’s not time enough. If you think- the deadline doesn’t make sense, tell them you are trying your best and will keep them in the loop as the work progresses.
•Ask for help. Don’t be a slacker and get your work done by someone else. Just make sure don’t be shy if you need help with some calculation, need a peer review of your project or simply need to meet the deadline.
•Don’t be selfish- make sure your team gets the credit. They are the ones you spend 8 hours a day with. You downplay them or lie- it will come back to you the very next day.

Have a great Monday everyone!


Newbie Power- why you shouldn’t underestimate them?

Newbies may be taken for granted and be the go to person to get your paperwork faxed, photocopied and the runner for your three o clock latte fix.

They are new but they are smart.

Here’s why you might want to re-think:

•They lack the experience but boy they know how to communicate! Phone, twitter, gadgets they have it all and use it very successfully.
•They are fiercely competitive and know to market themselves
•If they seem lazy and not being upto the job, chances are you bore them and they have been secretly texting their friends about how their new office sucks.
•They are the decision makers- about their career. You control the project but if they don’t like what they see, they quit .
•Chances are they are a brand and know how to build one better than anyone else.
•They have age on their side- you don’t know what they will be 5 years later. So treat everyone the way you would like to be treated.

Interview with Jason Westland

I interview Jason Westland and how he started with the sites- his inspiration, insight and how one can know that your calling is to be a project manager.

Why did you decide to become a Project Manager?
After university, I secured a great job as a Project Manager for one of our leading banks. I've always enjoyed leading teams and I love the pressure of having an impossible deadline, so Project Management was perfect for me. I really like managing people, suppliers, equipment and customers to bring a project together. It's always a great challenge and very rewarding when you get it right.

Any experiences you might remember when you first started out and want to share here.
Sure. My first project was managing an IT deployment throughout the country. It was using leading edge technologies and was high risk. The first server we installed failed miserably, putting us off track. The suppliers didn’t know what they were doing and we were short on resource. The only way to delvier the project on time was to massively reduce the scope. So I presented to the Company Board (a group of really scary fellas at the time) and managed to get their approval. From there, I learned that you have to communicate with the Board constantly throughout the project, to get their support. With their support, you can achieve anything. We delivered the project on time and then kicked off another project to complete the remaining elements.

I've learned throughout the years, that the top 5 things you need to do to deliver a project successfully are 1) Spec it our properly at the outset; 2) Spend good quality time planning and don’t start execution until you know exactly what you're doing; 3) Monitor progress every week and keep the team informed as you go; 4) Communication among the project team is key and; 5) Always keep your Customer and Sponsor on side - get to know them and their business needs well. If you take those 5 tips, then you'll boost your chances of success.

How did the idea of starting these websites emerge?
I got tired of not having the right tools to manage projects. Firstly, I was always creating documents from scratch. So I built Method123. As I managed bigger projects I realized that everyone in my team needed to work in a more structured way, following a methodology as they went. So we built www.MPMM.com. Project tracking is critical to success and there were no tools available on the market that I was confident in, so we built www.ProjectManager.com. And finally, I needed MS Project for lots of users and it was way too expensive, therefore we built www.ProjectPlan.com. Basically every product came from a common problem that I know all project managers share.

Talk to me about the your site MPMM - how do you think it will help Project Managers?
Good question. Great Projet Managers use the same formula for success for every project they undertake. They manage projects in the same way every time, because they know that if they use the same process for delivering projects, then it will generate the same results. And that’s what MPM gives you. It offers you a proven, step-by-step process for delivering projects. It's aligned with Worldwide Standards PMI and Prince2 and hundreds of thousands of project managers have used it to help deliver projects on time.

If you follow the process that's included, then you'll improve your chances of success. It's that simple. Also, great Project Managers never start from scratch. They always use templates to get ahead. MPMM includes all of the templates you need to manage projects, and it comes with a suite of examples so you know exactly what you have to do to create project documents quickly and easily.

What’s your advice to newbies who are stepping into Project Management?
If you love to take on a challenge, you love managing people and you're goal orientated by nature, then Project Management is definitely for you. It will always keep you on your toes. It can be stressful at times, but the most important thing is every project will come down to your ability to coordinate and motivate a team of people, to achieve the desired results. It's people that really matter.

So learn everything you can about project management. Don’t get caught up in things like the technicalities of Critical Path Analysis or EVA, instead focus on the basics. Plan your projects well at the outset. Hire the most talented team you can find - I always try and hire smarter people than myself! - and then motivate them towards achieving the results. Monitor their progress carefully and tackle issues head on as soon as they arise. Keep your customer informed along the way and get their support and buy in. If you keep to these basics, then you'll be well on the road to success.

Stress at work has become such a major factor these days, so do you think by using your software's, the PMs will be able to do things more efficiently and save more time?
Yes definitely. The world is changing. Everything is going online and people are using the internet to connect and communicate more. By using online tools, people these days are able to share and collaborate to get things done. Everyone knows what's happening on the project because the dashboard and reports are right there in front of them, real time. There is no more waiting until the weekly or monthly reports have been produced, only to get an outdated view because something else came up in the meantime.

By using tools online, Project Managers and teams know what's happening as it happens. It's pretty exciting. These tools are evolving fast and adapting to the ways that people manage projects. The old days of using MS Project to plan the project and then nothing to track real progress are gone. Online tools these days allow you to track progress as you go, raise risks, issues and changes when they occur and collaborate to resolve them. People still use tools like Outlook and Skype to communicate, but in the next couple of years, these will all be integrated within online project management tools, so that you only need to go to one place to manage your day. It's an exciting world! To see what I mean, check out www.ProjectManager.com

Wow, that is exciting- a Project Manager turned entrepreneur! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

The best part is you get 2 licenses free from http://mpmm.com/, you can tweet at @Soma_b or email and let me know why you think Project Management is important to you. Your email, tweets should reach me by May 23. Winners will be announced in the blog.

How do you know- Project management is for you?

Its simple- explore further.

Unveiling my secret project that I have been working on for a few months now- If you would like to try it out for me please, let me know. Just email me with the subject line: want to try out SIPM.

I will email you the details and how you can help out hundreds of newbies. Whether you are a project manager or not a project manager, thinking of being one or want to give it a shot- you are eligible to try it out and let me know the flaws/errors and thing I can improve upon.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Why you do- what you do?

Understanding your objective/goal/interest/ambition might give you answers to your own questions.

If we all knew why we do what we do, the world would have been a different place. Getting to a point; any point is based on a lot of complex thinking- thinking about the goal, analyzing on how to get it, preparing for it and finally getting it done.

The point being, don’t do anything just because your best friend is doing it or its sounds cool. Don’t be a Project Manager, because you think it sounds awesome and paycheck sounds attractive.
You cannot survive any profession unless you enjoy it and you cannot enjoy until it is something you really want to do. Your own personality should match with the requirements (read soft skill) of the job.


So, you have to know what why you are doing what you are doing. Once you are aware of that, rest is very simple.

So, how do you know if Project Management is right for you? How do you know if this is something you will like before you commit on getting the next certification and spend thousands of dollars on it? How will you know that you can rise up to the challenge and get it done?

If this is something that interests you, hold on……..more coming in the next post.


(Pic Courtesy)

Guest post: SIPM reader

No blog is worth without it's readers. Period.

Over all these years it was a blessing seeing the readers increase, facebook community grow and the interactions happening over emails and twitter. Thank you everyone!

So, today we have Sara Broca a new project manager and SIPM reader from France who works in the railway industry who has put together an guest post specially for SIPM (Stepping into Project Management) newbies.

Needless to say she is passionate about Project Management, quality and all tools and techniques which is very evident from her regular tweets. She looks forward to get her PMP very soon.

Thank you Sara for your involvement whether it's over the Facebook community or occasional emails!

Defining objectives for a project: is it really hard?

An objective is a specific statement of a goal, to formulate a purpose.

The objective must be formulated without giving solutions but with a goal.
It must answer the question: "Where are we going?”

Organizing this step for project managers can be really hard, because:
- Goals are already defined
- Time to focus on it is too short
- Goals are not clear
- Customer does not express it clearly etc…

But we must do the project, that’s our work…

An objective must be measurable. You know you have succeeded when all objectives are achieved, and you know they were achieved if you can give their status.

To define them even if the issues listed are there, you can try to do this by:

- Identifying the subject
- Connecting it to the project purpose
- Connecting it to what is expected from you as project manager
- Expressing it with a verb.

Objectives must also be realistic:

- With the customer needs
- With the quality assurance
- With the organization
- With the team expectations.

They must be expressed:

- In the language of the organization and of the customer
- Clearly for the team
- Clearly for the stakeholders.

To define them, you must use team, stakeholders and customers.
Objectives are helpful to communicate, monitor progress, manage the team, create limits, and to better define changes.
Before defining objectives, the scope must be known and written.
The scope briefly answers to these issues:

- Is the project strategic?
-How it fits into the strategy of the organization?
- Are there other factors that may explain why the project is to be started at this time? And in this context?
- What are the external factors affecting the client of the project?

Next we can establish objectives.

Performance – Customer’s View:
- Quality, results expected by the customer, ...


Schedule – Business View:
- Development duration, specific activities time, crtical path, ...


Costs – Strategic view:
- Investment cost, cost by work package, risk plan, mitigation plan, …

Profitability –
- ROI, profits margins, operating costs…


Defining those helps setting priorities:

- What are the needs? What is important? What is good to have in the time scheduled? What is superfluous?

A good objective is one which can be clearly linked to strategy ‘organization and can be easily cascaded down through the project team.

Points of attention:

Defining objectives of the project is a milestone for the project manager because it is also the project manager who takes responsibility of the project. That's when the project manager becomes aware of where he will have to take his project.

(Pic courtesy:Sara Broca)

Interview happening at Facebook

The interview with Ron Holohan starts today. We post questions every evening at 8pm (CST), follow the interview here.

Interview with Ron Holohan

To celebrate summer and life- this month’s interview will be not in the blog but done in facebook- something we have never done before.

We are taking the interview outdoors- that is opening it up to more of you.

The interview will be spread over an entire week and be an interactive session where anyone can comment or ask questions. Each day I post the in Facebook and Ron Holohan , whom I am interviewing will reply right there.

To follow the interview, click here and feel free to come ready with your set of questions.

To know more about Ron, click here.