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Articles tagged "Project Management"

Doing What the Contract Says Instead of Doing Your Job

Doing What the Contract Says Instead of Doing Your JobWhat do you do when the contract that's just been signed with the client, is no longer in their best interest or yours? Renegotiate the contract. Change the contract. Rewrite the contract to fix the real issue and achieve a better win-win scenario. Right? It seems like an easy enough solution, but why doesn't it happen as often as it should? Why do so many project managers avoid renegotiating contracts?

They don't realize what their real jobs as project managers are.

Project managers are supposed to deliver what clients want, have requested, and need (in the clients' opinions.) Too often though, project managers abide by the old adage, "The customer is not always right, but the customer is always the customer." By doing so, project managers fail to provide their expert guidance and instead allow clients or customers to determine what they believe is in their own best solution. All too often, what the clients believe they need is wrong. The clients don't have expertise in identifying the root causes and appropriate fixes. The project managers do - or should. Yet many project managers prefer to stick their heads in the sand and simply implement the project plans step-by-step according to the predefined plans, budgets, and schedules. Success! Wrong.

Clients expect project managers to be their guides.

Clients expect project managers to be their partners in developing their solutions. Clients expect project managers to be the experts in identifying better ways to reach their objectives. Clients expect project managers to be professional, upfront, honest, and communicative. Clients expect project managers to foresee needed changes, identify effective fixes, and provide cleaner paths to solutions. Clients don't want to be blind-sided by issues that were known weeks if not months before by the project managers. Clients don't want their project managers to simply plug away at punch lists with no real thought about what they're doing or how to do it better. Clients don't want machines; they want partners.

Project partners work for mutual gain and don't hide from that fact.

The most effective project managers understand their roles as project managers is to be partners, consultants, and guides. As such, they provide the needed expertise in helping their clients to understand the rationale for better ways to address the contracted issues. They don't run from changes or the opportunities to renegotiate contracts. They look forward to them because a better solution will result - for everyone. Effective project managers have no fear in communicating clearly about needed changes or about their need to bill for services. If changes are needed, there's a reason and the project managers are the guides to explain why. Project managers don't need to run from the explanations, project managers just simply need to explain: Why the changes are in the clients' best interests and why the changes may result in additional fees. There's nothing to hide if the project managers have been doing what is expected. There's nothing to hide if the project managers do their real jobs instead of just doing what the contracts say.

Copyright MMXIV Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on February 18, 2014 in Leadership Development and tagged , ,


It's Time to Sync Your Team

It's Time to Sync Your TeamWhen was the last time you sat your entire team down and simply compared To Do lists? That may sound like a waste of time, but I'd encourage you to make it a priority if you can't remember the last time you did this or you've never done it. Why? if you're not all focusing on the right priorities, you're probably working harder than you need to be. If you're not all in sync with the same information, you may also be working against one another.

Years ago I was working with a bank's leadership team. One of the vice presidents commented during a work session that his assistant seemed to be over-loaded more than ever and she wasn't producing fast enough on the bank's key projects. I suggested he meet with her for just 15 minutes after that day's session to simply review her To Do list to get an idea of what she was working on and determine if she needed additional support. The next day, the vice president was rather quiet. He shared that he'd met with his assistant. In his words, "It was eye-opening and embarrassing." His assistant had over 35 items on her To Do list, which in and of itself wasn't surprising. The eye-opening and embarrassing part of this scenario was his realization that 10 of the items that were taking up most of her time were projects or tasks that were no longer priorities or had been cancelled all together. He had not communicated these changes to her. As a result, she was wasting her time working on projects that were no longer on his or the bank's radar screens. Instead of spending her time on the current key projects, she was working frantically on projects and tasks the leadership team no longer wanted.

To ensure you don't experience or create this kind of situation, take 15 minutes at least once a month to meet with your team and simply compare To Do lists. Reestablish or clarify the key projects and any revised project timelines so every team member is clear on them. Identify who is waiting for what from another team member, vendor, subcontractor, or from you. Determine why there are delays or snags and what you can do to clear the roadblocks for your team members. Finally, help your team members delete tasks that are no longer necessary or table projects that are temporarily on hold. However, remember whenever you table a project, you also need to set a timetable for bringing it back to life, continuing to table it, or ending it all together. The goal is to definitively move items off your teams' To Do lists. If items are not moving off of their lists, you need to help determine why. More often than not, it's simply a matter of communicating more clearly with your team on what's happening, what needs to happen, and what is no longer going to happen -- and why.

When you get the hang of keeping your team better informed, you'll be more in sync with your management responsibilities. So why not schedule some time to update your team? Why not schedule regular team sync sessions? Why not sync your team today?

Copyright MMXI Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on January 17, 2011 in Leadership Development and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,