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Keep Moving

How do you feel about the status quo? In the project management world, status quo is not enough. We must keep moving. We must act relentlessly on our plan. We must stay creative. I'm fond of quoting my friend Andrew Oxley about this: "In nature there is no stasis. We can choose growth or we can choose decay but there is no standing still. Life only knows those two directions." That's your project. There is no standing still. If it's standing still, it's decaying or getting worse or falling behind schedule or running over budget. There is no stasis. There's no standing still so we might as well move in the direction we need to go. Keep moving. It's your best option. What part of your action plan has been standing still lately? What will it take to get it moving? -- Doug Smith

Clarify Your Common Sense Assumptions

When you're working on a project, do you ever wonder why common sense is in such short supply? People make mistakes that seem silly. Standard procedures are sometimes ignored creating havoc. Relationships that should be sound and happy feel haggard and lost. Where IS all this common sense? When I'm the leader, I sometimes forget that not everyone shares my same view of common sense. Not everyone on the team has experienced the kinds of things that lead me to believe that certain project concepts are common sense and so they don't share that view. We all have places in our work that seem simple to us but more complicated to others. Just because something is common sense doesn't mean that people are doing it. We may need to tell them about our version of common sense. We may need to make processes fool-proof. We need to make things easy. The next time you think to yourself, "why are they missing that thing that is clearly common sense" consider the o

Find Your Project's Business Case And Compelling Story

Does your most important project include a financial business case AND a compelling story? I've noticed that project leaders tend to forget one or the other. You need both. Why? Because half of the world is laser-sharp focused on the financials while the other half cares about the financials but needs a compelling story. A compelling story is the cool reason why you are doing a project. It's the people side. It's the part that when the project is finished makes you and your constituents feel warm and fuzzy. Maybe you're not a warm-and-fuzzy kind of person. I'm not. But, I've learned that the chances of sustaining support and achieving the project goals improves dramatically when the project includes both a business case and a compelling story. The business case shows the financial impact of your project on the organization. It shows how will your project improve your results in any of these areas: Revenue Expenses Customer Happiness Team Member

Solving Problems Requires People to Change

Have you ever noticed that one of the toughest parts to solving a problem is getting people to adapt the solution? We just don't like to change. Sometimes our solution feels tougher than living with the problem. The discipline of doing something differently, and better, is challenging. Some of the biggest problems have the easiest of solutions. The challenge is influencing people to change. What are your easy answers? What do you think prevents people from doing those changes? How can we influence them quickly and collaboratively? Answer those questions successfully, and lots of problems melt away. -- Doug Smith Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Track Your Project's Progress

You probably already have reports in place for your project. How certain are you about your project's progress? Is it moving as fast as you want it to move? Are you energizing your team with the progress your project makes? A project without progress is begging for attention or closure. If it was scoped correctly, planned carefully, and resourced properly your project should be making significant progress. People need to see that progress. People need to feel that progress. If the energy has drained out of the progress, it's time to make a decision: ramp up the energy, or shut down the project. What's your choice? -- Doug Smith doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals

Solve Problems to Achieve Your Project Goals

Those pesky project problems! Do they ever bother you? Wouldn't you love a project that had NO problems to solve so that you could race right through to the end? That's not likely to happen very often and it's probably best. Solving problems exposes us to new ideas. Solving problems helps us focus on our project goals. Solving problems is the way to that faster conclusion. The purpose of solving problems is to better achieve our goals. When you look at it like that, they don't seem so annoying, do they? -- Doug Smith Front Range Leadership:  Training Supervisors for Success doug smith training:  how to achieve your project goals

Get Lots of Ideas

Where do your best project ideas come from? When we're creating something new we need lots of new ideas. The ones we bring with us are great, but we might need more. We probably need more. We certainly need more. As the project manager, part of your job is to find the best sources of new ideas. To spark some inspiration, think about where great ideas come from. They don't even have to be related to your project because great ideas from unrelated areas might just get your team going in a spectacularly new and creative direction. Sometimes several unrelated ideas can produce the best solution to your project problem. Get lots of ideas! Why not invite some new ideas into your next project meeting? -- Doug Smith doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals

Find The Help You Need

Does it ever feel like your project has one problem too many? Just when you're about to solve one problem another pops up and keeps you from your goal. Just when we seem to have everything under control something else slips out of view and into trouble. One problem too many just means that it's time to find the help you need. Maybe someone on your project team has the answer. Maybe your project sponsor knows what to do. Maybe the customer has an idea that will take ten problems off the table and help you focus on the goal. Asking for help not only gets you closer to solving those project problems but it also energizes your team. The help is out there. We just need to ask. -- Doug Smith doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals

Now Is The Time

When is the best time to be working on your project goals? Right now, of course. Now is the time that we have. While we might be easily distracted our project goals are waiting for us to take action. There is no better time than right now to work on your project goals.  Act relentlessly on that project plan. Find the goal that's ready for the next action. Then, act! -- Doug Smith doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals

Let Go Of Imbedded Solutions

Do you have a favorite solution? I've misapplied solutions sometimes simply because they were my favorite answers. Need more flexibility? Take all the flexibility you need. Or not. The answer that first pops into our mind is not always the right answer. It's just the answer we know best. That big problem might be easier to solve once we let go of that ineffective solution so deeply imbedded in us. We might be conditioned to pick that idea. We might be in a pattern of dysfunction. We might be wrong. Can you let go of an imbedded solution long enough to make room for something new? You can always come back to your favorite idea if it turns out to be the best one. But it often isn't. Solving project problems usually means creating something completely new. Where do your best NEW ideas come from? -- Doug Smith doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals

Constantly Clarify Your Project Goals

How sure are you that the people on your project team are clear about the project goals? I've often made the mistake of thinking that just people I was clear about the project goals that everyone else was also clear about them. They may need to hear about them more than once. Probably at least five times is the minimum that a team member needs to hear about the goals before they truly understand them. As clear as they may be, you need clear understanding as well. The more clear and direct your project goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them. How clear are your team members about your project goals? -- Doug Smith Front Range Leadership:  Training Supervisors for Success doug smith training:  how to achieve your project goals

Change A Moment At A Time

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by how much there is to change? I know the feeling - there are so many big problems to solve that it can crush expectations and send me into a zone of retreat. But, that's not where I belong. That's not where any of us belong. We belong involved in the work that makes life better. Better for us, better for our customers, better for our team members. Even (gasp!) better for our competitors and enemies. There IS a lot to be done. No single one of us will be able to change everything. What we can do is change what we can change. We can work constantly at learning, developing, improving, growing, caring. If I can't change the world I can at least change a moment at a time for the best. We can build great moments. One moment at a time. What will be your greatest moment today? -- Doug Smith Front Range Leadership:  Training Supervisors for Success doug smith training:  how to achieve your project goals