Project Management Skills


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Soft Skills For Project Managers

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Project Management Skills

  1. 1. Soft Skills For Project Managers 1 WALI MEMONWali Memon
  2. 2. Project Management Framework 2Wali Memon
  3. 3. Project Management Mostly Job Functions* “hard” skills? 3 Define scope of project Evaluate project requirements Identify stakeholders, Identify and evaluate risks decision-makers, and Prepare contingency plan escalation procedures Identify interdependencies Develop detailed task list Identify and track critical (work breakdown milestones structures) Participate in project phase Estimate time requirements review Develop initial project Secure needed resources management flow chart Manage the change control Identify required resources process and budget Report project status*"Building a Foundation for Tomorrow: Skills Standards for Information Technology,"Northwest Center for Emerging Technologies, Belleview, WA, 1999 Wali Memon
  4. 4. Characteristics of Effective Project Managers* 4 Leads by example Visionary Mostly Technically competent “soft” skills? Decisive Good communicator Good motivator Stands up to upper management when necessary Supports team members Encourages new ideas*Zimmerer, Thomas W. and Mahmoud M. Yasin, "A Leadership Profile of AmericanWali MemonProject Managers,” Project Management Journal, March 1998
  5. 5. Project Management Tools and Techniques 5 Project management tools and techniques assist project managers and their teams in various aspects of project management Many tools and techniques emphasize “hard” skills, but they require soft skills to get people to use them effectivelyWali Memon
  6. 6. What’s the Most Popular Tool Used by Project Managers? 6 The Work Breakdown StructureWali Memon
  7. 7. WBS for an ITUpgrade Project Wali Memon 7
  8. 8. You Need Good Soft Skills to Develop a Good WBS 8• The WBS provides a very logical structure, but our minds don’t work that way• The challenge is getting people to provide good inputs to help develop the structure• Suggestions for developing a good WBS?Wali Memon
  9. 9. Try Using a Mind Map to Help Create a WBS 9 Can use pictures and colors, too, in drawing mind mapsWali Memon
  10. 10. What Are Some Popular Time Management Tools? 10 Gantt charts Network diagramsWali Memon
  11. 11. Gantt Chart for an Intranet Project 11Wali Memon
  12. 12. Network Diagram 12Wali Memon
  13. 13. You Need Good Soft Skills to Create and Control 13 Project Schedules Gantt charts and network diagrams are also very logical, useful tools, but… How do you get good estimates, figure out the dependencies, and get people to focus on completing critical tasks on time?Wali Memon
  14. 14. Pass the Gorilla…?! 14 A project team at Apple Computer worked in an area with cubicles, and whoever was in charge of a task currently on the critical path had a big, stuffed gorilla on top of his or her cubicle Everyone knew that person was under the most time pressure, so they tried not to distract him or her When a critical task was completed, the person in charge of the next critical task received the gorillaWali Memon
  15. 15. What Cost Control Tool Do Many Experts Say is Crucial to Project Management? 15 Earned Value ManagementWali Memon
  16. 16. Earned Value ChartWali Memon 16
  17. 17. What Do You Need to Implement Earned Value Management? 17 Top management commitment Team commitment to develop good estimates and enter “real” actuals Culture that permits mistakes Strong integration between project budgeting and corporate accounting Good metrics to create better estimates based on actuals from past projectsWali Memon
  18. 18. What’s a Popular Tool for Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities for Project Work? 18 Responsibility assignment matrices RACI chartsWali Memon
  19. 19. Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) 19Wali Memon
  20. 20. Sample RACI Chart 20 R = responsibility, only one R per task A = accountability C = consultation I = informedWali Memon
  21. 21. You Need Soft Skills to Help Clarify Roles and Responsibilities 21 Do you take the time to clearly define roles and responsibilities on project tasks? Do you need to convince people that it’s well worth the time and effort?Wali Memon
  22. 22. Do You Know How Your People are Allocated? 22 What tool can show you individual and group allocations? Resource histogramsWali Memon
  23. 23. What’s Wrong With This Picture? 23Wali Memon
  24. 24. Are People Afraid to Let You Know When They’re Under Allocated? 24 Most people let you know when they’re too busy, but are they really too busy? Are they working on the right things? Is it “safe” to say you can handle more work or that some tasks you’re supposed to do aren’t worth doing?Wali Memon
  25. 25. Which Project Management Knowledge Area is Least Mature? 25 Project Risk Management What simple tool can you use to help identify and prioritize project risks that’s very low tech and high touch? A probability/impact matrix (using sticky notes works fine), and then… Discussing strategies for managing high and medium risks, both positive and negative, and documenting them in a risk registerWali Memon
  26. 26. Sample Probability/Impact Matrix 26Wali Memon
  27. 27. Sample Risk RegisterNo. Rank Risk Description Category Root Triggers Potential Risk Probability Impact Status Cause Responses OwnerR44 1R21 2R7 3 Wali Memon 27
  28. 28. What Are Some Important Project Communications Management Tools? 28 Stakeholder analysis Stakeholder analysis for communications Status/progress reportsWali Memon
  29. 29. Sample Stakeholder Analysis 29 Key Stakeholers Ahmed Susan Erik Mark David Project Manager internal senior mgt. Project team Project team Hardware vendor for other internalOrganization project sponsor of project and Supplies some Competing forRole on project one of companys DNA sequencing expert Lead programmer instrument company founders hardware resources start-up company, demanding, likes very smart, Ph.D. in best programmer I Nice guy, one of he knows we canUnique facts details, business biology, easy to work know, weird sense oldest people at make him rich if focus, Stanford MBA with, has a toddler of humor company this worksLevel of interest very high very high high very high low - medium very high - can call the subject matter expert - high - hard to low - other vendorsLevel of influence low - medium shots critical to success replace available keep him happy he knows his make sure she reviews keep informed, let him so he stays, just give him project takes aSuggestions on specs and leads lead conversations, do emphasize stock enough lead time back seat to thismanaging relationship testing, can do some as he says and quickly options, likes to deliver hardware one, but I can work from home Mexican food learn from him Wali Memon
  30. 30. Sample Stakeholder Analysis for Project Communications 30Wali Memon
  31. 31. What Do People Write/Say On Status/Project Reports? 31 Are people encouraged to bring up issues? Are too many reports done in writing instead of verbally? Do managers and team members provide helpful suggestions during review meetings?Wali Memon
  32. 32. Individual Versus Organizational Issues 32 Every individual can improve his/her soft skills Organizations must also strive to provide a culture conducive to good project managementWali Memon
  33. 33. Organizational Culture 33 Organizational culture is a set of shared assumptions, values, and behaviors that characterize the functioning of an organization Many experts believe the underlying causes of many companies’ problems are not the structure or staff, but the cultureWali Memon
  34. 34. Ten Characteristics of Organizational Culture 34 Member identity* Risk tolerance* Group emphasis* Reward criteria* People focus Conflict tolerance* Unit integration* Means-ends Control orientation Open-systems focus**Project work is most successful in an organizationalculture where these items are strong/high and otheritems are balanced.Wali Memon
  35. 35. Developing Soft Skills 35 Many tools, techniques, and courses in project management emphasize “hard” skills, and it is important to learn them It is also crucial to develop “soft” skills to be effective, such as following the ABCs of communicating building rapport listening empathically team building, motivating, negotiating, etc.Wali Memon
  36. 36. ABCs of Communicating* 36 Aim for a specific result or series of outcomes from your communications Be positive See, hear, and feel sensory data Dovetail desires Entertain long- and short-term objectives*Laborde, Genie, Influencing with Integrity, Syntony Publishing, 1987Wali Memon
  37. 37. Building Rapport 37 When rapport is not present, it becomes top priority in communication A process called mirroring or pacing works well to gain rapport Many sales people use mirroring, then stroking, then go for the saleWali Memon
  38. 38. Listening Empathically 38 Empathic listening means listening with the intent to understand “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” as Covey puts it You can learn to put yourself in another’s shoes and focus on understanding them before trying to get them to understand youWali Memon
  39. 39. Team Building, Motivating, Negotiating, etc 39 Many soft skills take time and practice to develop, but most people are capable of improving them Role playing is a good technique before testing new skills in a real-world setting Working with a mentor/expert also helps build these skillsWali Memon
  40. 40. Questions/Comments? 40Wali Memon