April 18, 2014

Presentation tip: Don’t rely on the presentation

conference room presentation
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Don’t rely on your presentation to capture the audience, rely on you ability to present.

By presentation, of course I mean PowerPoint decks or other visual aids. Quite frankly, unless you have something technically complex that can only be understood with a graphical depiction, or you have something uproariously hilarious that can only project its humor when seen. If you do not have these things, then you really don’t need slides at all.

My short speaking experience is already telling me – don’t even think about opening that PowerPoint file until after you have perfected your what you will say and how you will say it. [Read more]

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Understanding questions

question marks
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I came across this post from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University detailing the different categories of questions:. While intended to be questions asked of students in a classroom, these exact same questions are the sort of things that ought to be asked in the workplace when attempting to promote continuous improvement. This list of questions serves as a useful study guide for anyone looking to conduct a root cause analysis or initiate a process change. [Read more]

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Stump the chump and the art of accountability

business relationships teams friends
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This past Thursday night I delivered a presentation on understanding the 7 Wastes of Lean and how they are manifested in project management. It was the largest gathering I’ve spoken to yet, and presented some interesting audience dynamics that were far different from when I presented the same topic to about 50-60 people at the New Hampshire chapter. Overall, the presentation was fairly well received, however, and I think I delivered my point. It was good speaking experience and gives me some time to reflect on how to work a larger room. At the end of the presentation, a question was asked of me by an audience member: “How do you make people accountable?”

I won’t bore people with the usual rhetoric: Approach the sponsor for additional support, lay out ground rules for the project team, establish tasks and task owners. Those things are fairly simple and rely on utilizing tools rather than getting down into core people-centered concepts. My best advice, then, is this:

Make friends. [Read more]

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Don’t be a tool

tool of the trade
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And don’t be a tool.

There will be plenty of time to sit in a cubicle, navigate corporate politics, curry the favor of blowhards and nincompoops, and monitor your 401K. For a short time, however, you will have the ability to experiment with life….and your career. Why work for someone else? Start your own business. It can be just about anything, since the consequences of failure are so low. Trust me, as you get older – no matter how smart you get about business – going out on your own gets more and more difficult. Those mortgages and tuition bills are pretty limiting. [Read more]

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Why your PMP prep doesn’t feel like reality (and why it shouldn’t)

A Break in Reality
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I feel lucky to have the benefit of my time spent trying to understand the Lean paradigm because it is offering so much insight into what the PMI framework is trying to do. It is establishing a standard. It is offering a methodology for managing projects against which all other management styles, and outcomes, can be measured. In a way, it depicts the ideal – if all projects, everywhere, operated in the way the PMI describes, then all projects would deliver on time, within budget, and with inputs from all stakeholders at every level of the organization – including customers.

Is that reality? No. Of course not. [Read more]

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Project Management & Measurement gamed

Measurement
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Project management tends to be all about outcome metrics. Tracking costs vs. plan, Earned Value, Cost and Schedule Performance Indices, consumed slack – all are about what happened. Granted, there’s an effort inherent to those practices that says the future can be predicted by understanding the past, however, that approach also seems to indicate that errors are acceptable. Especially if we read a bunch of charts and graphs and variance analyses to tell us that we had a problem some number of days, or weeks, ago.

Somehow, that doesn’t seem good enough. [Read more]

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Management Innovation Exchange, and the weekly rewind

Think Differently
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I’m not certain how many of the usual readers of this blog are aware of the Management Innovation Exchange. According to their site:

What is the MIX?

An open innovation project…

The Management Innovation eXchange (MIX) is an open innovation project aimed at reinventing management for the 21st century. The premise: while “modern” management is one of humankind’s most important inventions, it is now a mature technology that must be reinvented for a new age.

The spur for a revolution in management… [Read more]

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Last week’s tweets

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TweetIn case you missed it, here are some tweet & re-tweets of articles & other things that caught my eye last week: From Others: From @tedcoine: YES!! RT @shawmu: Actually give a S### about the development of individuals.ow.ly/8SkuB via @kris_dunn From @ShingoPrize: Robert Miller said Shingo Prize focuses on more than just culture, it focuses on how [...]

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Making Your Network…Work

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Recently, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to witness several strong examples of the positive impact that real, strategic networking can have.

Being a part of these particular examples got me thinking a bit more about networking and what it truly means in the age of Facebook and LinkedIn. [Read more]

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The management lessons of angry birds

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Angry Birds, that time-draining app that has spawned a cult phenomenon and a slew of stuffed toys at Walmart, might seem like an odd place to look for wisdom on accomplishing tasks. Nonetheless, the game offers several highly useful examples of how to manage yourself and others in order to get things accomplished: [Read more]

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