Showing posts with label women in project management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women in project management. Show all posts

Hello and I am here.

 I never realized it had been a year since I posted here.

My life updates have been mostly about work and I may have been doing this for too long. There's no team behind it, no editor, and no brainstorming sessions- mostly been me running this since 2008 along with a full-time job and a family.          

So, since we are just on time to start this weekend, I thought we could relook at the couple of articles I have posted in the community.

So, here are a few articles listed below that I have been writing and didn't share:

1.  Triads in Agile: The Path to Efficient Decision Making

2.  Quiet Quitting: How Agile can help combat that            

3. 3 Common Complaints in Scrum Team

Let me know if you get a chance to read through these articles.

(Pic courtesy: Pexel)

Interview with Yasmina Khelifi| Project Manager

Hello, todays interview is with Yasmina Khelifi. 

Yasmina Khelifi, PMP, PMI- ACP, PMI-PBA is an experienced project manager in the telecom industry. Along with her 20-year career, she sharpened her global leadership skills, delivering projects with major manufacturers and SIM makers. Yasmina strives for building collaborative bridges between people to make international projects successful. She relies on three pillars: her project management skills, the languages she speaks, and her passion for sharing knowledge.

French-native, she can speak German, English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and she is learning Arabic. Yasmina loves sharing her knowledge and experiences at work, volunteers at PMI, blogs at, and PM Network Magazine. She is also the host and co-founder of the podcast Global Leaders Talk with Yasmina Khelifi to help people in becoming better international leaders.

Yasmina please tell us how did you get into project management and why were you interested?

As a telecom engineer, I began my career, by testing new value-added services at a French telecom operator. After a few years and with the sponsorship of my manager, I applied to a project manager position. It took me courage because I didn’t have strong self-confidence.  Becoming a project manager was a life changing decision. I loved it from the beginning: the variety of activities, being able to organize, to build human relationships, to improve the processes, to create new things. Since then, I’ve managed numerous international projects.

In the process, you also have a blog and a podcast, tell us about it?

During the lockdown, I decided to invest my time in an online self-paced course by Dorie Clark on how to become a recognized expert. As part of the course, I have access to an amazing Facebook community where many people have their websites and portfolio. It gave me the energy to develop mine: I wanted to have one place to share my experiences and ideas. During the lockdown, I've also discovered podcasts and thought: "why not try it out?” I was curious to know how it worked and to share my knowledge about international leadership.

In investing your time in trying to build a community with all of these, what has been your experience so far?

You’re right it takes time and effort. My main aim is to spread knowledge as I didn't have specific guidance when I began to work. If it turns out into a lively community, that would be great. So far, It has been an invaluable opportunity to meet global leaders, learn from them, and share their stories. I haven't met personally most people I’ve interviewed so far. I think my knowledge of project management helps me a lot: I explain the project, set the expectations, communicate the final product for go nogo, and define a communication plan in social media.

Beyond the nitty-gritty tasks, I’ve met incredibly generous people with their time and experiences, and I’m looking forward to sharing more stories from global leaders.

Do you have any suggestions for the new project managers getting into this domain?

I will focus on three points.

First, get the confidence to leap into project management: you’ll get the skills for life, useful in any job. Project Management isn't linked to technical jobs. As soon as you work in a team (and who doesn't?) you’ll need to define the roles, functionalities of the products, expectations, planning, and draw on lessons learned.

Second, don’t hesitate to ask people for help and advice. Sometimes we think we will see as incompetent by asking but that’s a way to move forward.

Third, take part in training about project management but also about leadership. Devise your learning strategy. Be a lifelong learner!

Where can the readers find you?

This is where you can find my blogs and podcasts. I have a monthly newsletter about global leadership and also write here. As for social media you can find me in twitter @YasminaKhelifi7 and LinkedIn

Thank You Yasmina.

If you are a Newbie, Read This

If you really want to show your work, show the vulnerability that comes with it.  I get it you are a newbie and welcome to SIPM. 

I think the biggest fear is that of being judged of failure, lesser experience and shaky confidence. You can fake it till you make it, however you won’t know how it is unless you go out there, do your work and put it out. There’s just one way to get it done and get done with your fear, go through the fire.

If you are a project manager and starting out, don’t feel intimidated by all the experience available over the web in blogs and other platforms. Everyone started like you. So, share your insights and its okay to take time to feel like you have found your zone.

When I started this blog years ago, I had just started out facing the same problem. Everything I read was out of my league and I couldn’t find a space where I would feel comfortable and easier to learn for someone brand new. So, I started my blog, for myself really to talk about my fears and journal my experience so I would remember it.

My first post is here (haha) and it’s been ages since then. What you don’t know is putting that out without any expectation actually helped me connect with people over the web, a lot of them project managers who helped me out without even knowing me personally. It helped me network, get invited for seminars, start a community to give back (You!), get job interviews and interviewer had read my blog (talk about having an advantage), opportunities to speak, finding mentors over twitter, publishing e-books and writing for popular platforms

So, there are only advantages and if no one takes interest in your work its okay too. Being yourself and finding your voice is important because you don’t need to clone yourself. If no one reads or notices that’s okay because you will have found clarity of thoughts, a diary to look back on and a practice that will allow to expand and grow.

So, mentioning yourself as a newbie isn’t a bad thing, it shows you open to learning, life and new skillsets.

So, whether you are starting out or struggling it's okay to bring it out, to ask for help and to show your work!

What do you think?

Locked up: The New Age of Collaboration amidst WFH

Lot of people I knew over the years, looked down upon work from home. Being at work meant more engagement, interest, collaboration. So, why work from home?

Today we are redefining what collaboration means locked up in our homes. An estimated 16 million U.S. knowledge workers started working remotely due to Covid-19 as of March 27, 2020 

The same group who once scorned the ability to work from home now talked about how surprised they were being able to work from their own home and numbers started trickling in of greater productivity, more efficiency and everyone happier because of finally being able to get rid of the commute, spend quality time with family and some even working on their newly found hobbies. 

Ninety-four percent of 800 employers surveyed by Mercer, an HR and workplace benefits consulting firm, said that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic, even with their employees working remotely 

Has this era of pandemic broken the traditional idea of work and collaboration? Has this led to taking a modern approach of being able to collaborate remotely bringing in the flexibility of being able to work from anywhere globally. Has this opened up the global market for the talent pool? Does this encourage a lot more women to come back to work or continue with work?

Forbes mentioned “The fastest growth in remote work has been in computer-related occupations, with business, financial, and management occupations also experiencing rapid growth in teleworking” 

I know this first hand, I have friends who have moved to other cities or travelled back to their home states rented apartments and are working from there for months now. All of them mostly working in IT. The Facebook groups of home stays are flourishing with a steady growth of members everyday which only can vouch for the fact that everyone is enjoying the newly found freedom of being able to connect remotely.

These changes have steadied few things:

  1. The market has changed for good- remote working is here to stay. With all myths of remote working being debunked, more and more companies are opening up to the  option of continuing with remote work. It might be one of the positive changes left behind by this deadly pandemic.
  2. Improved communication skills will be required- flexibility and remote working will mean better and more communication skills to gap the loopholes created by not being able to meet face to face. Building teams and camaraderie over zoom calls might reveal new skill sets everyone needs to bridge the gap of real face to face conversations. Team connects will just not be for a stand ups or town halls, it can simply be a break with colleagues or used to welcome a new team member.
  3. Self-motivation is essential and so are the tools- working on your own schedule and on your own might also need more willpower and self-motivation to get things done on time. This is more challenging with kids at home for the longer run with online from home schools. To be able to get deep work done that require more attention might need setting up rules and boundaries even at home. Tools that allow team to collaborate and work together will likely be more in use.

So, does this mean more remote project management positions openings up? While sites like Upwork who have always flourished on remote work model has 1,223 Project Manager positions tagged and open to hire right now, Fiverr has project managers ready to set up collaboration software for teams amongst other things from Monday dot com to Trello.

Change at any level as it turns out is not easy and this concept of locked up collaboration seems to be just a start to slowly settle down as a  mainstream way of working.

What do you think?

(Pic courtesy: Pexel)

This is How I work- Lindsay Scott

Lindsay Scott is a Director at Arras People, the programme and project management recruitment specialist in the UK. She’s also founder of the PMO Flashmob and PMO Conference. She is PMI’s PM Network career columnist and writes for TwentyEighty Strategy Execution and Project Challenge. Lindsay is also Co-Editor of the Handbook of People in Project Management

When do you wake up every day? What’s your alarm set to? 
Unfortunately my alarm goes off about 7.15am each morning, which is not necessarily the time I get up! I’m a real night owl so don’t like early mornings at all. I’ve often wondered if I would be better suited to the night shift but my work relies on being around when most other people are.

Tea or Coffee? 
Definitely tea – Yorkshire Tea, decaff with milk. Almost impossible to get in any other part of the world and always appreciated when I return from travels abroad. Us English certainly have a thing about tea 

Any rituals to set the tone for the day in the morning? 
Oh yes, bad habits too – tea, a cigarette and a look at the Times cryptic crossword. If its summer, sat outside overlooking the garden – or if it’s typical Manchester weather, rain, then its quickly out the door to work.

When do you feel most productive? 
I actually feel most productive mid morning and then later on in the evening so I tend to do different types of work at those times. In the morning I do a lot of writing about project management careers for various outlets, the first being the Camel blog. Later in the evening its more about research and reading.

Where do you work? 
I work in different places. We have an office in North Manchester, that’s the main office for Arras People. It’s in a small town, nothing fancy but I have a large desk and lots of in-trays. It looks like chaos but there is a system honestly! I work in London a lot too so there’s time spent working on the train, which I love, two hours of no interruptions because the phone network is so bad. In London I work in an apartment I rent, or grab a desk at the Institute of Directors in London’s Pall Mall (the pink one in Monopoly!). I tend to like working in different places because I’m a firm believer in a change is as good as a rest, especially when you’re trying to be creative in writing articles and suchlike.

Three must have items in your desk.
A cup of tea, lots of pencils and my day workbook.

What do you listen to while working? 
Nothing other than the general chatter of those around me at work or on the train. I’ve never been one for music or the radio playing in the background but can work well if there is. I just tune out.

What are you reading currently? 
I’ve got about three books on the go at the moment. For fiction it’s The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, set in London, an intriguing read so far. For non-fiction but not work related its The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons – I did a Psychology degree many years ago and still pick out books related to that. I’m also dipping in and out of The small BIG: Small Changes that Spark Big Influence. A good interpersonal book for any project manager. I’m a big reader so tend to have books on the go on Kindle and the real thing!

How do you organize? 
I tend to use the calendar a lot – Outlook Exchange so it works on every device I have. I’m also a sucker for a good old-fashioned list. I use a workbook – just a jotter from the stationery store and a “5 days a week” list. It’s standard stuff but I tend to list what needs to happen in the week on certain days then add in the activities I need to complete day by day. I often spend 5 minutes at the end of each work day updating the list, moving things around and doing that really satisfactory thing of striking a line through the things I’ve completed.

Any hacks you prefer for work? 
Because I’m working in different places all the time I totally rely on Dropbox to keep everything filed and easily accessible. I can’t bear not being able to lay my hands on things when I need to, plus Dropbox is also great for managing my photos taken by phone which I use for blog articles.

I use social media a lot for work too and I love reading and sharing great blogs. Dlvr is great for managing multiple social media accounts plus I love its Curator tool which allows me to save my favorite feeds, read blog articles and quickly share them across different platforms.

Finally another great tool if you use a lot of imagery in your work is PicMonkey  Although I use Adobe products a lot (Photoshop and Illustrator) you can’t beat Picmonkey for quick and easy image creation.

What are your favorite gadgets?
The usual I think – iPhone, iPad and laptop. I’m Apple on the mobile gadgets and good old fashioned Microsoft on the laptop and PC. I think that’s a Gen X thing! And I love the Kindle for being a good old workhorse of a gadget that withstands some serious knocking about. I’m also doing a lot of filming of sessions for the PMO Flashmob too so now camcorders have become a thing for me. Sennheiser wireless microphones are the best thing I’ve ever bought

What apps can you not love without? 
Oh wow, where do I start. Dropbox, Echofon (for Twitter), Facebook, Times newspaper, Daily Mail newspaper (guilty pleasure!), Weather app from the Met Office (we’re obsessed with the weather!), BBC iPlayer (TV on the go, great for the train), Anagram solver and the Thesaurus app (can’t do the crossword without it). I also like sketching when I’m at a conference – doing basic mindmaps, so I like basic drawing apps for those but no particular favorite (using Paper and Brushes at the moment)

Any new addition to your routines? 
Yes I’ve starting organizing an annual PMO Conference in London –  which has meant I have a whole new type of work to do. I love it. Especially the part where I get to choose what topic areas we’re going to cover and talk to potential speakers about their passions. It’s also meant I get out and about more listening to others speaking at conferences, like the PMO Symposium in the States. I suppose it’s like a big project for me – doing the project rather than writing about project management or recruiting for project managers like in the day job at Arras People. I like to have new things to do – to set new challenges – to blend with the work I’ve been doing for a while (it’s coming up to 15 years at Arras People!)

How do you recharge? 
I’m the queen of chilling out when I need to – or want to – I enjoy watching TV and movies – anything period drama wise and you’ve got me! Love reading of course and at a weekend I love visiting places. In England we have so much history on our doorsteps and under our noses that you just have to get out and explore. Recent weekends away have included the castle where Harry Potter was filmed and the Plague Village. If there is a magnificent garden to visit I’m also right there, and a chance to combine them with a city visit even better. The Real Jardín Botanico de Madrid was a recent visit.

(Pic courtesy: Lindsay Scott)

To read the last interview of this series, please click here.

You are Not Limited by your Location- SIPM Connect

If you thought your opportunities are limited by your location- think again.

 You can be located anywhere in the world and yet to connect to continents apart. So, if you are new to project management and what to know more, why limit yourself to your locality. Be bold. Be brave. Reach out to anyone.

The most difficult part of reaching out to someone in the PM community is:
  • You might want to network or work with the best; however you don’t know how to reach them
  • If you reach out, you aren’t sure if they will be open to it

Why SIPM Connect:
  • You can choose a mentor or someone to connect with anywhere in the world (choose based on country, city)
  • You can also choose them based on your domain of work and location (in case you want someone local, for example if you work in projects within advertisement, mass media who might want to connect with someone local or within your country)
  • They have already agreed to be the mentor (they have signed up as experts and chosen to be a mentor), which means you don’t have to pursue them as much to mentor you.
  • Best part, its free. Login from anywhere in world to anyone.  And you will never get bombarded with emails. Never. 

(Pic courtesy: SIPM)

SIPM Connect- The Benefits of Being a Mentor

SIPM Connect is the Community of Project Managers that allows the Newbies and the Experts to interact. Oh and it’s free.


3 top benefits of being a mentor in SIPM Connect:

1.You get to share your experience with someone- the greatest of satisfaction is to help someone our and see them grow. It makes you a better person and professional and it add a boost of positivity in your life. In SIPM Connect, you can choose to be a mentor.  This allows newbies to connect with you easily from all over the world. Mentors can be sort out based on their location, domain or profile insight.

2.You learn from the millennial’s (born between 1980-2000)- Most of the younger workforce who are looking for mentors are probably millennials. 3 things you didn’t know about millennials  
          •       They are motivated (source
          •       They crave coaching (source
          •       Open to change (source
     3. You can earn credits- In most formats, informal coaching or mentoring can be counted as learning or discussions,  so if you are involved you might be able to get adequate credits. Please check with your local chapter of PMI or Scrum  Alliance for more information.

    What is SIPM- Connect?

    SIPM (Stepping into Project Management) is a community for Project Managers. While this is a blog, the SIPM community is called- CONNECT.

    You can be a newbie in the field OR someone who has been in the domain for years and is an expert. This is an open platform where you can interact within your own group, find a mentor to consult and learn from or simply network.

    Best of all- its FREE!

    The image above is a sneak peek, post login. You get:

    • to maintain your own profile
    • get updated within your network (if you have joined as an expert, you get to see all the experts registered with the site and start a conversation)
    • you get to see the other group as well (example- I can see the newbie list too)
    • My notes allows you to scribble your to dos and things to remember.
    • And of course based on your registration type (Expert or Newbie) you get to see the relevant advertisements, which hopefully add value to you. Ads re not globally placed n the site, its based on your group. 
    Its an active site with a lot going on, so if you are already part of it- a big THANK YOU. If you have been thinking about joining it, please try it out. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me.

    (Pic courtesy: SIPM)

    New Resources Pt 2- Interview with Elizabeth Harrin

    Happy New Year to all of you! 

    We start this year with another great resource that is sure to bring a  smile. Elizabeth Harrin who also writes the award-winning blog, A Girl’s Guide to Project Management has a newly launched
    e-coaching services. She talks about how it can help so many project managers and definitely something that's much easier to access than formal coaching sessions.

    So, please tell us about your newly launched course which is a great resource for the upcoming project managers and where can we find it.

    I realized that lots of people wanted access to a coach but in a more informal way than scheduled Skype calls or face-to-face meetings. So I thought offering bespoke coaching for particular issues over email would fill the gap. You don't have to have a massive career problem to work out over several months. It's just about tapping an expert for advice, for example when you've got questions about a difficult project and you can't discuss them with someone at work (or you want an external view).

    E-coaching is an easy way for you to get access to support and career resources whenever you need it. You don’t have to be tied to a particular time for a phone call and you don’t have to wait until the next session to get some advice. It’s also affordable and manageable, so if you thought you’d never be able to engage the services of a coach, think again!

    I don't actually have anything on my website about it yet. You can read about it in one of my newsletters here

    Why do you think this is a must have for new project managers? what are the main takeaways from the mentoring sessions that newbies can directly have with you.

    I was lucky enough to have a senior project manager assigned to me as a mentor when I started out but that isn't the case for everyone, and even with her help I still had to learn a lot of things the hard way. I wrote Project Management in the Real World because I was frustrated at having to learn everything about project management from scratch. It was the book I wished for when I became a project manager.

    A coach can help you unpick problems faster. They can help you work out your own style and help you develop. My style of e-coaching is based on questions and answers over email and clients get a very detailed response, action steps and additional resources for their queries in a reflective style which they can then decide if they apply to their situation. I think this is particularly good for new project managers who don't necessarily have the experience to work out exactly what they need to do by themselves and need a helping hand to offer a few alternative directions.

    If you are working in project management or would like to work in projects and need some help sorting out some of the daily problems you face, putting together a career plan for your next job, improving project communications, getting to grips with virtual teams or practically any other project-related problem, then you should consider a coach (whether that's me or someone else).

    One piece of advise that you think is an absolute must for new project managers?

    Being gracious and appreciative has always worked well for me. When you are a new in post, everyone else knows more than you so it's not easy to assert your authority in a traditional way. A facilitative style actually works better anyway. Take the time to thank the people on the project team for their contributions and make them feel that their work has meaning. You can be very effective while knowing very little if you keep in mind that your job is to make their jobs easier. What do they need to get their tasks done? That's what you have to provide. That and a little structure in the form of a plan and you are well on your way to completing your project successfully with a happy team.

    Elizabeth Harrin, MA, FAPM, MBCS is Director of The Otobos Group, a project communications consultancy specialising in copywriting for project management firms. She has a decade of experience in projects. Elizabeth has led a variety of IT and process improvement projects including ERP and communications developments. She is also experienced in managing business change, having spent eight years working in financial services (including two based in Paris, France). Elizabeth is the author of Shortcuts to Success: Project Management in the Real World, Social Media for Project Managers and Customer-Centric Project Management.  You can find Elizabeth online at or on Twitter @pm4girls.

    (Pic Courtesy: Elizabeth Harrin)

    You can Read Part 1- Interview with Jeff Furman here.

    Introducing Project Rio

    Introducing Rio, my latest project and clearly the reason I have been offline or a while now.

    He has happily taken over in the last 20 days my entire calendar and finding time for myself has been nothing but luxury.

    Thank you for being so patient with me for a while now.

    Interview with Naomi Caietti

    Today we have the honor of interviewing  Naomi Caietti has been a consultant, author, speaker and recognized expert on personal growth and leadership development for project managers for 10 years. She is a global speaker and is a featured subject matter expert for the community that reaches over 550K members. She was a featured speaker for their PMXPO 2011 on the topic "The Hard Work of Mastering Soft Skills: Take Your Leadership to the Next Level; with an audience reach of over 2000 attendees

    She lives in Northern California and enjoys outdoor activities with her family and her two beloved dogs; Brownie and Biskit.

    How did you become a project manager? Did you have a plan?

    My dream job years ago would have been as an athletic coach or working as a fashion business executive.  Well, today I could not be further from my original dream but let’s see where I landed.

    Most project managers come up through the ranks in an organization as “accidental” project managers (PMs): certainly this was my story.  Education was always very important to me; my path began when I attended college and graduated from California State University Sacramento with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  I took a job out of college at an insurance company and worked in their Information Technology (IT) Division as a pc coordinator.

     It was a wonderful experience because I was mentored by ex-IBMers and they really focused on growing new IT staff.  Learning new data center processes and techniques was a daily experience and I became responsible for business analysis, software, and IT data center and telecommunication infrastructure, procurement, desktop support and training.  Also, I was one of the main points of contact in my unit for most of our internal lines of business so I really enjoyed the customer service side of my job as well.

    After about five years, I had the opportunity to work for in the public sector as a business analyst for the California State Lottery; a state agency that runs a lot like a private sector business.  It was a perfect fit for me and so my journey in public service working in IT started me down a path I didn't exactly plan for …at least not until 10 years ago.

    Working in a male dominated profession was challenging but I found that there was plenty of other women programmers, IT Managers and Executives that supported my continued career path.  As the profession of project management matured and was recognized as more valuable in both government and the private sector, I focused on putting together a plan to sit for the exam and get my credential as a Project Management Professional..(PMP)  Below were my 5 – 10 year goals that guided me through the process:

    • Increase my capacity for individual growth, PM maturity and achievement by earning my PMP® certification.
    • Gain a better understanding of my leadership style and continuously improve specific leadership and communication skills through volunteer opportunities in my community.
    • Enhance my ability to lead by example with a calmer, focused, energetic presence to produce results.
    • Enhance organizational maturity and accomplish critical organizational initiatives by exposure to new insights for leadership issues and techniques.
    • Expand my network of practitioners’ to influence advancement and growth of the profession of project management 

    So, for the last ten years I focused on growing complimentary skill sets for my career as an IT project manager.  I served as a volunteer leader with Project Management Institute in various volunteer leadership capacities, passed my PMP exam, graduated from PMI’s Leadership Institute Master Class Program and along with other project managers on twitter (#PMOT) found my voice my on Social Media.  

    Today, I’m very active within the PMI community as a thought leader, speaker, published author and blogger and in my day job I work as a credentialed Project Manager and Enterprise Architect working in the field of Information Technology in the public sector in California. As an Enterprise Architect (EA), I help define how information and technology will support the business operations and provide benefits for the business. Over the years, I've enjoyed consulting with teams to design, build and implement technology. IT  is a exciting field for project managers; I'm a geek at heart and a dreamer on a deadline.

    What's the secret of your success?

    These are my top 10 secrets to my success:

    • Believe in yourself; be willing to take risks, reach for YOUR dreams and set lofty goals. - Only YOU can determine what you can and can't achieve.
    • Power of the mirror - Self discovery of your inner giftedness, integrity, and character will be the most powerful keys to your success. 
    • Mentor others and lend a hand to help others achieve their success. - You will truly pass along a long lasting legacy and learn from those who you've mentored in the process. 
    • Surround yourself with other successful leaders and foster global relationships to perpetuate continuous growth and development. - change is constant; growth is optional. 
    • Develop a greater cultural awareness and be adaptable to lead project teams in virtual communities around the world. - We live in a virtual world today so the ability to adapt is essential. 
    • Think of failure as success in disguise – be willing to learn from your mistakes, find a mentor/coach, and focus on your personal growth. 
    • Network - Reach out to your community to network, attend meetings, and offer to share knowledge in social networks. 
    • Have a voice  – Overcome your fear of speaking, put yourself out there, share your stories. 
    • Reflection – Reflect back to move forward; there is nothing more powerful than to take stock of what you've accomplished to begin the next chapter of your life. 
    • Openness – Put yourself in the way of new opportunities; you will be amazed at the new relationships you will form and opportunities you will get involved in to help make a difference in someone’s life.

    How does your day usually look like?

    Well, just check in with any project manager and you may hear them say:
    •I'm running to another meeting.
    •I'll be right there; I have to update my issues and risk log
    •Let me share a copy of the project charter; you'll want to review prior to our conference call

    Three qualities any newbie venturing into project management should have.

    Project Management is not for the faint of heart otherwise, everyone would be doing it.  It’s both and art and science to manage the reality of projects; people, processes and politics.

    Here are my top three:

    • Self Motivated – Project Managers must have the drive and passion to multi task in most environments today.  You may be managing multiple projects and need to be able to be good at time management and focus your attention on a myriad of project activities.  So, here’s a fun way to look at being self motivated. Be a STAR – Self motivated, Team player, Always, Ready to Shine
    • Be Adaptable – Embrace ambiguity.  Projects can take on a life of their own and as a project manager you are responsible to deliver your projects on time, within budget and that meet customer needs.  It’s no small task so make it a daily focus to do the following: Be Open, Be Flexible, Be Present
    • Good communicator – Communication is 90% of a project manager’s job on a daily basis.  You must be able to acquire these core skills through training and personal development working with a mentor or senior project manager.  You’ll develop a library of best practices of tools, tips and techniques in your bag that you will reuse and refine over time.   

    What do you see as a major change in project management in 2013?

    These are my top three:

    • Multi-faceted skill sets – Major industries like Information Technology, Telecommunications, Healthcare, to name a few, have undergone significant downsizing due to the economy.  All organizations are running projects of various sizes and complexity so the need for project managers who are versed in project, program and agility using agile methodologies will continue to be in high demand.
    • Core skills (soft skills) are just as important today and continue to be equally important to be relevant in the marketplace as a candidate looking for employment or if you are looking for your next project or promotion.
    • Creative disruption is growing as more organizations continue to evolve and find ways to grown their brand, stay competitive in the marketplace and retain customers.  Project Managers also need to recognize that what made them successful today, may not make them successful in the future. Project Managers should focus on their brand, participate in social media, and plan to network more in 2013.

    Thank you Naomi.

    Post-implementation reviews are not the only way to measure success

    This is a guest post by Elizabeth Harrin.
    Most projects have a post-implementation review (PIR), also known as a project post-mortem or post-project review. This is often the only opportunity to assess success on a project, especially if your organization doesn't have a more robust method of benefits tracking over the long term.
    Often the stakeholders are involved in a PIR. You may or may not choose to involve suppliers as well. Normally the whole project team will be asked to contribute, either in a big workshop-style meeting or in a series of smaller sessions.
    PIRs mainly cover process things, like how we managed schedule changes as a team, or whether our monthly reporting schedule gave everyone the information they needed. Aside from the process topics during a PIR, it is also an opportunity to discuss statistics and metrics related to the project. These are normally backward-looking. What was the percentage of effort spent on testing? How many days did it take the quality team to audit the deliverables? These metrics and calculations can then be incorporated into future projects so that initiatives going forward have the benefit of experience and hindsight.
    This is great, but this type of PIR doesn't help the project stakeholders. After all, for them, the project is over.
    So why do we do post-implementation reviews?
    Traditionally, a post-implementation review is the only way that project managers have to determine whether or not their project has been a success. You set success criteria at the beginning of the project and then at the end you pull them out of the drawer and have a meeting to decide if you hit them or not.
    We do PIRs because it’s a way to assess performance and to gather data, and typically we look at retrospective measures.
    We do them because we’re in the habit of doing them, and because our methodologies and standards say that we should.
    What are the limitations of PIRs?
    For me, there are two issues with PIRs: they only happen at the end of projects and they mainly focus on the project management principles and methods used. They don’t make the distinction between the success of the project and the success of the project management effort, and they mainly focus on the latter.
    Sometimes customers will be asked to feed into the project evaluation process, but at that point it is too late to do anything practical about their comments. If they complain that they weren’t kept up to date, you cannot go back in time and provide more information on a regular basis. It is a case of, ‘How can I help you now it is too late?’ In fact, research from South Africa shows that project sponsors prefer a proactive approach to feedback over the post-implementation review process. They chose to work collaboratively with the project manager during the project to ensure that their expectations were met.
    Of course, PIR discussions are immensely valuable for continuous process improvement, and I am not suggesting that you stop using this technique. Focusing on project management principles and methods used is essential to improve organizational project management processes. Could we have done better risk management? What scheduling lessons were learned? A good PIR meeting should discuss what went well and what did not go so well with this project, and this is great information for project managers and teams. If you don’t cover this stuff, you won’t learn how to do things better next time.
    So, while PIRs have their limitations, don’t stop doing them! I suggest you start doing something else as well.
    Continuous reviews are the future
    I would advocate continuous reviews. Review project success on a monthly basis with the main stakeholder or key stakeholders. There’s a lot of talk about ‘engagement’ but not a lot of practical advice about how to actually do it – sitting down with your stakeholders and talking to them regularly is an easy (and cheap) way to build engagement.
    It’s just about talking to people, so it doesn’t take up much time, but continuous structured reviews do give you data in the same way that PIRs do. On top of that, talking to them also gives you data you can actually act on, so you avoid this ‘how can I help you now it’s too late’ problem.
    You can ask people to score how you are managing their projects on a scale from 1 to 10. You can ask them the same set of questions month-on-month so that you can see if you are doing better. You can monitor their feedback over the long term, tweaking your project management approach and the project deliverable themselves, so that at the end of the project the stakeholders actually get what they want, in the way that they want it.
    That’s got to be better than saving all the feedback until the end, don’t you think?

    Elizabeth Harrin is the co-author of Customer-Centric Project Management (Gower, 2012). She writes the award-winning blog, A Girl’s Guide to Project Management ( and is Director of project communications company The Otobos Group.

    (Pic Courtesy: E. Harrin)

    Beyond the Boys Club- Book Review

    I came across this book review here and decided that I should read the book- so I bought it.

    It had a waiting period of 10-15 days to import the book from US and then deliver- it was worth the wait and every single bit of the money!

    This 292 pages book is a must read if you are a woman working in an organization which has a considerable percentage of men involved.

    It lets you in to the secrets and science of being noticed, taking on more responsibility and being promoted. Suzanne Doyle Morris, the author interviews professionals and talks about steps taken by them to be noticed and be considered as part of the all male teams.

    With this book you will actually learn and it’s a keeper .

    Throughout the 14 chapters of the book she helps women see themselves in ways we have never thought about- the way women are perceived by men, how the body language, smaller things in workplace affect your image. She educates on things to change, things to act on, to do on what will make a favourable impression where you have a sponsor and an advocate for you.

    It’s an amazing book and the one book which I think that will change your life and will be used over and over again.

    Who should read this Book?
    • Women Starting Out- Why wait, when you can read this book and be aware from the beginning on how to manoeuvre your way through professional success.  
    • Women In the Profession- Ever felt being sidetracked when you are spending 14 hours a day head down working and producing incredible results? Not getting the right project, the right promotion, the raise? This book is for you.
    • No matter what I do; it never works out (for women)- The book reveals perceptions that are working against us ad how we can change them. The do’s and the don’ts of survival and making an impact.
    • Men in the Profession- Not all actions are deliberate, this book will allow you to see the point of view of women working with you. An in-depth study, this might be the one book that allows you or your team to understand and create ways to encourage and promote women in your team.
    Why should you read this book?
    • If you have been frustrated by your career track and umpteen hours at your desk hasn’t produced any favorable results.
    • Has goals to grow and wants to know how to work the system.
    • If you are a women and a minority in your organization, this is a must read. Even if you have never felt out of th loop and get along well and are happy with your job, this might be life changing for you.
    What’s the price and where can I find it?
    Who is the author?
    You can find all about the author here and this is her Linkedin profile.

    If you want a short video to see her talk about the book click here

    You can also watch her interview in the video below:

    To read her interview about her new book Female Breadwinners here 

    Book Review- Project Management in Real World (E Harrin)

    Published by BCS, this 203 paged book is a perfect read by newbies as well as project managers.

    Divided into 5 sections and including topics like “Managing Budgets” to “Managing Yourself”, the book encompasses every topic that a project manager has to handle on a regular basis to fulfil their role as a project manager.

    Sprinkled all over with real life examples, the author drives home every single point with graphics, illustrations, simple narrative without many of the tongue twisting jargons. Heady and compact with information this is not a one day reading. You will find yourself bookmarking the pages for reference later.

    Every chapter begins with the definition, an example followed with Golden Rules and Hint for easy reading and reference. The example doesn’t necessarily always stick to IT, it goes back and forth in all domains from media to wedding planning to offshore projects and ways to provide incentives to your team.

    This book is a fantastic read for everyone who wants to attempt their hands in project management or is in the domain ( to get a different perspective). In fact the book starts with a Glossary and is a great way to learn concepts and the reality of project management if you have seen projects happening from the outer circle or is planning certifications for the near future.

    Who should read this Book?
    • Newbies- Anyone interested in project management, this is a perfect read to step into the realities of project management. Book offers a detailed narrative on what happens in your dream job role.
    • Project Management Students- Great examples that you can relate to the theories or the PMBOK chapters. The book displays how the formulas, theories and expertise keep the projects running in reality.
    • Just Promoted New Managers-Great read to know how to manage teams, find solutions to complex problems and accounting, how much risk to take, how to get your team together.
    • Ambitious Professionals- Anyone from any domain and position (job title) looking forward to impress your bosses and finding ways to make yourself stand apart and get more responsibility.

    Why should you read this book?
    • Real life examples those are easier to relate to than theories in the PMBOK.
    • Examples from all domains, so everyone can relate to it and find ways how you can use project management in your everyday job or your field. You don’t have to be in IT to implement project management techniques.  You also don’t need to know all chapters of the PMBOK to understand this, however if you have read the PMBOK this book might turn to be  a great guide to see how all those theories really are implemented in reality.  
    • Expert comments on their insights and mistakes and how they handled it.
    • From Peer Reviews to finding a mentor; the author covers it all. It’s a one stop guide/book for all project managers.

    What’s the price and where can I find it?
    $41.99 at Amazon US
    21.05 (pounds) in Amazon UK
    325(INR) in India

    Who is the author?
    The author is Elizabeth Harrin, who runs the award winning blog A girls Guide to Project Management  and is currently the Head of IT Program Delivery and author of 2 books- Social Media for project Managers and Project Management in the Real World. She is also the director of Otobos Group which provides writing services to the business. You can also find her at this twitter handle @pm4girls  

    Disclosure: The links provided in this review are NOT affiliate links.

    Fight it out- To achieve your goal

    In all the work that spills into our busy days, we forget what our team members can expect from us. Or for that matter what you expect from your manager.

    There are times works pushed down the alley because no one wants to do it, you can’t say no or linger on with the last hope that if I take this project, I will have access to the good one next time.

    I hope the strategy works out for you, but sometimes in the midst of all this and the effort you put in - it doesn’t. In those trying times, try fighting it out- with yourself first.

    Sometimes its so easy to convince yourself that they are right- after all they are the ones with more experience or control/authority. I think it has to do more with the imposter syndrome where we are so convinced with self- doubt that we take it for reality.

    It’s a pity that so much talent is wasted because of the failure to be recognized, nurtured and sponsored . I remember being in a meeting where a new director had walked in and told us how one of his craziest decision turned out to be the most profitable. He interviewed someone for a position in one his companies before where skills didn’t match but he liked the fire he saw in the girl to make it. She needed the job, had lost her husband and the job is all she wanted. He hired her inspite of the mismatch- a gamble he took based on his intuition. And never regretted, turns out she learned the ropes and was the best employee in a year and stayed with the company.

    Lesson- never assume about someone before you give them a chance.

    Be sure about your goals and if you are side tracked, don’t blame others for thinking that you are not serious about it. Fight it out- for the chance you deserve with yourself, your team or your boss. Don’t allow anyone to second guess your abilities. 

    When it comes to you- give someone a chance. Help them be who they are and what they want from their work. If you can’t be the mentor or give them a job or a project, at least help them find one. Refer to friends and colleagues, sources of information and allow their dreams come true.

    If nothing else, its good Karma!

    Interview 1: How to become a #PMOT Author?

    If you are still celebrating the first week of this year, doing more in 2012 will matter or how to have a great year without setting a goal!

    The next few posts will be about #PMOT authors and how they have managed it. We start with Elizabeth Harrin.

    It’s a big milestone to be an author- why did you decide to be one? 
    I have always written; when I was younger I wrote stories and poems. For me, there was never an option of not writing, and getting a publisher seemed like a logical next step. My motivation for Project Management in the Real World was partly because I wanted to write a book before I was 30. We had the book launch event a month after my 30th birthday, so I nearly made it!

    What are your published works and where can we find them? 
    Project Management in the Real World came out in 2006. Social Media for Project Managers was published in 2010. They are available on Amazon and the other online stores or you can get them through bookshops. You can pre-order Customer-Centric Project Management from the Gower website now, I think. That isn't due out until the summer, provided my co-author, Phil Peplow, and I finish the manuscript in time.

    I have also self-published two books: Get Started Using Social Media on Your Projects is a practical ebook that walks you through the steps to - you guessed it - start using social media on your projects. You can get that from my blog. Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Ten Strategies to Stop Feeling Like a Fraud at Work came out just before Christmas. I wrote that because I gave a presentation on the subject and it seemed to impact so many people that I felt there was more to say on the topic. You can get that at or from the Amazon Kindle store.

    How long did it take you to write your last published book? 
    Social Media for Project Managers took about 6 months to write, if I remember rightly.

    What was your schedule like while working full time and writing it? 
    I do remember the last few weeks being horrendous. The deadline was fixed because it was due to be launched at the PMI Global Congress in Washington and I was working full time and then writing every evening and all weekend. The hardest part isn't the writing, although that is tough. It's the co-ordination of everything else: quote approvals and permissions, footnotes and references, preparing images and tables, checking formatting, proofing over and over, responding to the copy editor's queries (I had to take out the word senior because she felt US audiences would interpret that as meaning 'old' when over here it means 'executive'), reading the galleys, doing launch interviews ahead of time. There is a lot more that goes into producing a book than just the words.

    How different is authoring a book from blogging? 
    In blog posts you make a point in 700 words. In a book, the whole argument has to hang together over 70,000 words! Some of the worst books I've read are when a blogger takes a collection of blog posts and puts them in one document and calls it a book. The structure needs to be completely different.

    Three things every #PMOT author should know? 
    • If you want to write, write.
    • Don't write a non-fiction book without selling it first. Just do a book proposal, as you will get feedback from the commissioning editor about how they want to make it fit into their list.
    • Don't underestimate the amount of work, and always add a month or two extra into your contract with the publisher so you give yourself some slack.
     Is it tough finding a publisher? 
    No. Well, I didn't find it difficult the second or third time round. First time round I pitched to a big publisher who took a year to say no. I should have done better research because I realise now they would never have published a book by a nobody like me. I matched my next attempt at selling Project Management in the Real World to a smaller publisher, the British Computer Society, and they rang me the next day. I have had a great experience working with them and my other publishers.

    Name a book/incident/person that inspired you to become an author. 
    That's tough. My mother would let me sit on her lap while she read romance novels, but it was my grandparents who gave me a journal for Christmas one year and that started me out writing.

    Elizabeth Harrin is Head if IT Programme Delivery at Spire Healthcare, and Director of The Otobos Group, a business writing consultancy. She was recently named IT Professional Blogger of the Year by the readers of Computer Weekly. Find her online at or on Twitter @pm4girls. 

    Newsletters- Do they change you?

    If you follow me on twitter, I tweeted about 2 fav persons whose newsletter I love.

    I am not a fan of newsletters, I treat them more as a spam flooding my inbox because most of the times I really don’t care what you have to sell.

    However, Jenny Blake and Elizabeth Harrin are exceptionals. If you are a newbie or out of college (I’m none of these) and love entrepreneurial journey- Jenny’s newsletters (and blog) are fantastic. Need a project management update and what’s new happening in the PM Town, Elizabeth as always is a great resource.

    Another great resource that I have been ignoring for a while is Ramit Sethi. I read the partial free download of his book and his blog and loved it, so I signed up for the newsletter years ago. Honestly, I have almost never read his newsletters till last week. I didn’t want to buy stuff and thought his newsletters were informative, but I didn’t know if it was for me.

    Till last week, I clicked on his newsletter and saw his tips on having a great resume- that got my attention.
    I read the whole thing including the links and downloaded all the videos and information. The material was great. It was stuff he was giving away to registered newsletter subscribers that he usually sells as a course.

    From all that I have read and heard (still have 3 more videos to go), here are some amazing things he said:

    •Resume’s should be very specific (in everything). Pack in details, research your company (where you would like to work) and your job profile well. Don’t just randomly apply to jobs (and through job boards) and then blame the system for not having a scope for you. True- my last 2 jobs have been through referrals.
    •Use LinkedIn as a Tool.
    •Every month, keep a percentage of your salary for meeting other interesting people.  While it may not be flying to the other side of the world, meet people in your locality who can be your mentors, career advisors, or just a great contact. Invest in yourself and your growth.

    So, instead of signing up for all kinds of newsletters, look for those that helps you. De-clutter your inbox and focus on the thing you should be doing.

    That is my goal for December. I have moved continents, lived in 2 cities commuting every month and postponed a lot of personal goals for tomorrow (the one that never comes).

    This December, I am re-planning my life and my goals. I want to be happier, do things I have always wanted to do and find time for myself and my hobbies. Learn something new twice a year that isn’t part of my professional life (like Tennis and rock climbing).

    Time to de-clutter and find yourself.

    (Image Courtesy: Google Images)