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.
Inspiring quotes can be motivating, but there's more to good leadership. New leaders may feel compelled to find clever and memorable things to say, when in reality, they should probably focus less on what they’re saying and more on what they’re hearing. The best leaders ask good questions and listen to the answers.
Technology allows amazing innovations to optimize business and deliver new and better services, but if you don’t carefully consider your entire user community, innovations may cost you business. When designing for stakeholders, don't stop at the obvious cases—or else you may find that you forgot an important customer.
Scope, schedule, and resources: Whether you’re using agile or more traditional project management approaches, this triple constraint is the law of the project universe. The unmentionable “third rail” of project management trade-offs is compromising quality to deal with the other two aspects. Don't make that an option.
Good leaders sometimes make decisions based on incorrect or incomplete information, and when that happens, we have a professional obligation to encourage them to reconsider. However, correcting them in a confrontational way can be a career-limiting move. Here are four factors to consider when speaking up to leaders.
Acknowledging that a product isn't ready to ship may seem like a simple call—if it isn't the desired quality by the target date, why not pull the plug? But when you start considering all the effort, time, and money you've already invested, it becomes harder to make that decision. Here's a story to help you remember.
People love to hear how someone with no formal training solved a problem that stumped experts because they weren't tainted by years of experience. These "black swan" stories are the exception, though, not the rule, and they can be dangerous because they trivialize hard work and study. Most times, you want an expert.
If you have an important implementation date, early identification of the minimum viable product is a vital risk-management step that helps focus your team’s attention on what's important. Rather than apologizing for intelligent phasing of functionality to manage risk, explain it to stakeholders and take credit.