Soft Skills For Project Managers and Teams Kathy Schwalbe, Ph.D., PMP Express Scripts PMUG Meeting February 16, 2005 [email protected] www.kathyschwalbe.com 1 Speaker Background Associate Professor at Augsburg College,
Dept. of Business Administration, also teach project management at U of M in ME dept. Author of Information Technology Project Management, Fourth Edition out this March (Note: Most figures in this presentation are from my text) 10 years full-time industry experience before entering academia in 1991 2 Personal Background
Middle child (#3 out of 7) Did not speak until 3 years old Forced to write a lot in high school Rarely spoke in classes (until graduate school) Studied and worked in primarily hi-tech jobs, but soon learned that Communications and other soft skills are what help you advance and gain job/life fulfillment 3 Presentation Overview
Project management framework Job functions and characteristics of effective project managers Tool and techniques to help project managers and teams (require hard and soft skills) Developing soft skills 4 Project Management Framework
5 Project Management Mostly hard Job Functions* skills?
Define scope of project Identify stakeholders, decision-makers, and escalation procedures Develop detailed task list (work breakdown structures) Estimate time requirements Develop initial project management flow chart Identify required
resources and budget Evaluate project requirements Identify and evaluate risks Prepare contingency plan Identify interdependencies Identify and track critical milestones Participate in project phase review Secure needed resources Manage the change control process Report project status *"Building a Foundation for Tomorrow: Skills Standards for Information
Technology," Northwest Center for Emerging Technologies, Belleview, WA, 1999 6 Characteristics of Effective Project Managers* Leads by example
Mostly Visionary soft Technically competent 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 American Project Managers, Project Management Journal, March 1998 7
Project Management Tools and Techniques 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 effectively 8 Whats the Most Popular Tool Used by Project Managers?
The Work Breakdown Structure 9 WBS for an IT Upgrade Project 10 You Need Good Soft Skills to Develop a Good WBS
The WBS provides a very logical structure, but our minds dont work that way The challenge is getting people to provide good inputs to help develop the structure Suggestions for developing a good WBS? 11 to Help Create a WBS Can use pictures and colors, too, in drawing mind maps
12 What Are Some Popular Time Management Tools? Gantt charts Network diagrams 13 Gantt Chart for an Intranet Project 14 Network Diagram
15 Create and Control 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? 16
Pass the Gorilla?! 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 gorilla 17 What Cost Control Tool Do Many Experts Say is Crucial to Project Management? Earned Value Management 18 Earned Value Chart 19 Implement Earned Value
Management? 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 projects
20 Whats a Popular Tool for Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities for Project Work? Responsibility assignment matrices RACI charts 21 Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) Sample RACI Chart
R = responsibility, only one R per task A = accountability C = consultation I = informed 23 Clarify Roles and Responsibilities Do you take the time to clearly define roles and responsibilities on project tasks? Do you need to convince people that its well worth the time and effort?
24 Do You Know How Your People are Allocated? What tool can show you individual and group allocations? Resource histograms 25 Whats Wrong With This Picture? 26
Are People Afraid to Let You Know When Theyre Under Allocated? Most people let you know when theyre 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 youre supposed to do arent worth doing?
27 Knowledge Area is Least Mature? Project Risk Management What simple tool can you use to help identify and prioritize project risks thats 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 register 28 Sample Probability/Impact Matrix 29 Sample Risk Register No Ran Ris Descripti . k k
on R4 Catego ry Root Caus e Trigger s Potential Respons es
Risk Owne r Probabili ty Impac t 1 4 R2 2 1
R7 3 30 Statu s What Are Some Important Project Communications Management Tools? Stakeholder analysis
Stakeholder analysis for communications Status/progress reports 31 Sample Stakeholder Analysis Ahmed Key Stakeholers Susan Erik Mark internal senior mgt.
Project team Project team Hardware vendor Organization Role on project Unique facts Level of interest Level of influence Suggestions on managing relationship sponsor of project and
Supplies some one of company's DNA sequencing expert Lead programmer instrument founders hardware start-up company, demanding, likes very smart, Ph.D. in best programmer I he knows we can details, business biology, easy to work know, weird sense make him rich if focus, Stanford MBA with, has a toddler of humor this works
very high very high high very high very high - can call the subject matter expert - high - hard to low - other vendors shots critical to success replace available keep him happy make sure she reviews keep informed, let him so he stays, just give him specs and leads lead conversations, do emphasize stock enough lead time
testing, can do some as he says and quickly options, likes to deliver hardware work from home Mexican food David Project Manager for other internal project Competing for company resources Nice guy, one of oldest people at company low - medium
low - medium he knows his project takes a back seat to this one, but I can learn from him 32 Sample Stakeholder Analysis for Project Communications 33 What Do People Write/Say On Status/Project Reports?
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? 34 Individual Versus Organizational Issues
Every individual can improve his/her soft skills Organizations must also strive to provide a culture conducive to good project management 35 Organizational Culture 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 culture 36 Ten Characteristics of Organizational Culture Risk tolerance* Reward criteria* Conflict tolerance* Means-ends
orientation Open-systems focus* *Project work is most successful in an organizational culture where these items are strong/high and other items are balanced. Member identity* Group emphasis* People focus Unit integration* Control 37
Developing Soft Skills 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. 38 ABCs of Communicating* 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, 1987 39 Building Rapport 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 sale
40 Listening Empathically 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 anothers shoes and focus on understanding them before trying to get them to understand you
41 Team Building, Motivating, Negotiating, etc 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 realworld setting Working with a mentor/expert also helps build these skills
42 Ideas for Developing Soft Skills at ESI? 43 Questions/Comments? Note: You can access lots of great, free PM info from my Web site at www.kathyschwalbe.com. 44
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