[Article] – Most common problems that Project Executives and Managers face (2/2)

[Article] – Most common problems that Project Executives and Managers face (2/2)

  • Carrying on the project, regardless of the warning signals

Surprisingly we see this happen too often. No one likes to admit making the wrong decision, especially when there are political, emotional, financial or cultural implications involved in changing direction. Ignoring warning signals instead of taking a corrective action could lead to project failure, not to mention personal failure.

  • Unclear scope, little upfront definition, no system in place to manage the “scope creep”

When the scope is not clearly defined up front and there is no procedure in place to manage changes, it is inevitable that the project will take a life of its own and expand until it explodes. Among the associated problems that we see many executives face are unscrupulous contractors taking advantage of the lack of scope definition and turning them into “cash cows” by translating the scope to their advantage.

  • Aggressive (over-optimistic) timelines and budget

Unrealistic deadlines and over optimistic cost estimates always result in missed delivery dates, poor quality, low morale, cost overruns, and a loss of respect for organizational leadership.

  • Not having a consistent Project Management methodology, resulting in ad hoc practices

Lack of a consistent and repeatable Project Management methodology, or not having a PMO (Project Management Office) in place has been one of the main reasons of project failure, and it often results in increased project initiation time, a long learning curve for project team members and additional time spent to reinvent processes and templates for each project.

In subsequent articles, I will address some clever, some surprisingly simple and some more complicated solutions we helped create for clients.

For more information on how The Mentor Group can help turn your project challenges around, or to arrange for a complimentary coaching discovery session with me, you can contact us at Coaching@Mentor-Group.org, or send an email to my personal email address msypsomos@mentor-group.org.

[Article] – Project Executives, don’t despair! These project pitfalls are all too common, expensive and..…. solvable (1/2)

[Article] – Project Executives, don’t despair! These project pitfalls are all too common, expensive and..…. solvable (1/2)

From my personal project coaching experience of over 20 years, and our coaches at The Mentor Group, the following are the most commonly recurring problems we hear from frustrated and often stressed project executives asking for our help. There are many dimensions to these problems and varying degrees of severity based on each situation, the particular industry, demographics, culture and size of the clients company among others, but nevertheless they surface time and time again.

As Project Management Coaches, we spend as much time as necessary with each executive or project manager in order to thoroughly understand the issues which very often extend beyond the technical, and well into interpersonal challenges; we then work closely with them and empower them to develop their own solutions, which will address their particular situation. The results have been nothing less than spectacular and surprising for the clients in all cases. We have been getting immeasurable satisfaction helping these executives who have reached their wits end and feel they have run out of options, to consistently turn failing projects around, make better and quicker decisions and in general getting unstuck and create amazing value for the company and themselves.

Before going further, it will be appropriate to clarify that the definition of “Project Executive” has a wider meaning here, and includes anyone who makes project capital related decisions, assigns and often manages project resources and is responsible for “Go/No Go” decisions at project phase gates. As such, it includes people from the President to C-Suite Executives to Project Managers.

Here is the list, in no particular order:

  • Assigning the wrong person as the Project Manager

The too common problem of the “accidental Project Manager”; often assigning individuals as project managers simply because of availability, without considering skills and expertise, results in the Executive having to personally babysit the new project manager and spend too much time in solving day to day project issues.

  • Indecisiveness or poor decisions

Very often we have traced project failure to poor decisions made at the initiation phase and phase gates’ “go / no go” points, or slow decisions resulting in missed opportunities.

  • Not getting buy-in and support from key stakeholders and the project team

Too often projects are doomed to fail, as lack of support from stakeholders contributes to difficulty in acquiring funding, resources and support on key decisions and an overall increase in a variety of risks affecting the project in a detrimental way.

  • Lack of communication – Unclear Roles and Responsibilities – Inadequate status updates

The impact of less than adequate communication, which includes having unclear roles and responsibilities for the team members and decision makers, inadequate status updates, etc., leads to inability in keeping stakeholders engaged and the project teams are confused and often de-motivated. Unclear accountability between individuals results in duplication of effort, work that is delayed or incomplete, lack of commitment and potential conflict. Inadequate reporting reduces the opportunity to raise issues in a timely manner and it often creates lack of trust.

Michael Sypsomos

To see the remaining problems and how we address them...
Project Executives, don’t despair! These project pitfalls are all too common, expensive and..…. solvable (2/2)

2 Essential Reasons Why You Need a Project Management Information System (PMIS)

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

How often do even minor communication issues eventually turn into major problems with drastically negative impact? Unfortunately, too often would be a suitable answer. A cost-effective and results-proven solution for communication and monitoring and reporting problems within an organization is the successful implementation of a Project Management Information System (PMIS).

What is a PMIS?
A Project Management Information System (PMIS) is the “central nervous system” of any project. It supports all stakeholders to remain constantly aware of the project status in critical areas such as cost, time, scope and quality requirements. In addition, it clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the project team members. Furthermore, it efficiently manages documents of all kinds (contracts, permits, approvals etc.) so that they can easily be retrieved and produces standardized and customized reports that are readily available and conveniently presented on easily monitored dashboards, essential for speedy and accurate decision making.

Read more

3 Reasons Why Coaching is More Effective than Consulting

“Coaching is the universal language of change and learning”

As more and more Thai businesses are seeking external assistance from companies with more expertise in certain areas, it is imperative that a clear distinction be made between a “Consultant” and a “Coach”.
Business coaches and business consultants provide three distinctly different benefits for the executives, teams, and organizations:

  1. Coaching Helps People Uncover Their Own Solutions
    Consultants are normally hired for one of two reasons: either as a means of “outsourcing” specific functions or to gain a body of knowledge and expertise that is not generally available within the company. Business Coaching, by comparison, is highly personalized and aims to enhance the performance of individuals or perhaps small teams. Whereas consulting is largely technically focused,coaching is heavily inspirational and empowering. The main purpose of coaching is to help people uncover and
    Read more

Turning Falling Oil Prices into an Opportunity

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

It’s been historically proven that global oil prices are volatile and cyclical. At present, we again are facing another cyclical low period with oil prices continuing to plummet. The good news is that it is only a matter of time before oil prices inevitably start to go up again. The president of Halliburton, Jeff Miller, shared his insights on the matter during the company’s Q4 financial results press conference: “Although oil demand growth expectations for 2015 have weakened, it is still growth. Demand is forecasted to increase by an estimated 900,000 barrels per day. Internationally, decline rates have become more pronounced in several key markets over the last couple of years. In areas like Angola, Norway, and Russia historical growth has given way to net production declines in the last year”.
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Unleash Your Career Opportunities By Earning Your PMP

“Being a Project Manager is like being an artist, you have the different colored process streams combining into a work of art” – Greg Cimmarrusti

What is the PMP Certification?

Globally recognized and in great demand, the PMP credential demonstrates to employers, clients and colleagues that a project manager possesses project management knowledge, experience and skills to bring projects to successful completion.

As the demand for locally skilled project managers is at a critical level in Thailand, practitioners who hold the PMP credential are well positioned to provide the professional skills necessary to lead project teams and achieve successful project results.

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Creating Optimal Teamwork for Successful Projects and Organizations

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”    Henry Ford

In order to be successful in any endeavour, first and foremost you must ensure that you have the right people for the task at hand. Project management is no different, since even when you have all the right project processes and systems in place, without the right people to supervise and operate them, the effort to achieve success will be futile.

  1. Create the perfect team.
    In an ideal world, you would be able to beforehand assess and select the people that would join your team to ensure maximum compatibility and team cohesiveness. In reality, that rarely is the case. Regardless, you can still minimize friction between team members by defining clear roles, responsibilities and goals to make sure everybody is moving in the same direction and no one is stepping on anybody’s toes. This can be achieved through a team kick-off meeting. In this meeting it’s important to establish clear communication channels for your 
    Read more

How to Achieve Optimal Project Performance by Implementing a Project Management Office (PMO)

“You can’t keep it all in your head. Project Management tools are an absolute necessity for the control of any project.” – Louis Fried

Most companies in Thailand still do not realize that gaps and inconsistencies in the way they use project policies, standards, and procedures from project to project, are what is causing poor overall project performance. Establishing a Project Management Office (PMO) would limit this frustration and integrate standards, procedures, and policies to make them uniform, thus improving project processes, and ultimately performance.

The Project Management Office (PMO) is the single most critical tool for the success of any company and is what differentiates between a good project company and a great one. The PMO provides oversight for the overall management of projects and programs within an organization. Getting all projects under one overall standard helps improve efficiency, costs and execution of project deliverables.

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How You and Your Projects Can Benefit from Proper Stakeholder Management

“Unengaged sponsor sinks the ship.” – Angela Waner

Stakeholders greatly influence the intended outcome and success of a project. Their involvement can take place during any stage of the project; however, performing a stakeholder analysis during the initiating stage will greatly influence the development of an effective project strategy and increase the chances for a successful project outcome.

Many organizations express supporting stakeholder involvement by promising participation, but gaining stakeholder involvement is not always easy. Careful and thorough planning is essential to identify the right stakeholders and to ensure stakeholders participate in appropriate and effective ways.
Read more

Three Tips for Successful “Change Management” Implementation

“I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.”  – Georg C. Lichtenberg

The term “Change Management” is often defined as “the transitional phase/approach that drives an individual, team, or organization to a desired future state”. “Change Management” when implemented successfully, puts an organization in a better position to be ready for change, and improves desired results. Below are three tips to help you achieve this:

  1. Start early
    Change management is most effective when it begins at the initiation of a project.
    The advantages that come from starting change management at the beginning of a project are numerous, including:
    Read more
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