Payson Hall is a consulting project manager for Catalysis Group, Inc. in Sacramento, California. Payson consults on project management issues and teaches project management. Email Payson at [email protected]. Follow him on twitter at @paysonhall.
One of the more challenging tasks for a new leader is joining a new organization. There is an interesting balance that must be struck in making it clear that there’s a new sheriff in town without being disrespectful or dismissive of your predecessor and the organization they established. Here's how to get it right.
Teams are systems made up of individuals with different strengths and weaknesses. When people are cooperating on a team—whether in software development or football—sometimes those strengths and weaknesses can be complementary, and other times they can be out of alignment. Be sure to draft the player your team needs.
Decision-making in a climate of ambiguous responsibility is a no-win situation. If you're in a position of some authority, how can you define exactly what that authority allows in order to better secure sponsor support for your decisions? It involves considering some scenarios and asking the right clarifying questions.
Many new project fields look simple from a distance because we only see the outputs and interfaces. But corner cases, bad data, users with special needs, regulations—getting inside a new knowledge domain and teasing out the special cases and unhappy paths is a skill. This is why business analysts are so important.
If a team member leaves without notice, it slows down a project and puts stress on everyone else as you wait for a replacement. There's not much we can do with surprises, but why don’t we do a better job of planning for those we know are going to leave? Building in some overlap for knowledge transfer should be a given.
It's helpful for leaders to have technical skills and abilities, but interpersonal attributes are more important for what makes a truly great leader. This list is about attitudes and behaviors—choices you can make to improve your leadership. These fifteen characteristics are a good foundation for effective leaders.
Project managers are tasked by sponsoring executives to complete projects successfully and provide timely communication if barriers arise. But what should a project manager do if the sponsors are the biggest barrier? If you can’t get the answers you need, is it a good idea to make your best guess and proceed?