Main Themes in Project Management

MAIN THEMES
  1. Risk / Return – They need to be evaluated together.  
  2. Communication – The absolute cornerstone of effective project management.
  3. Set High Standards and Expectations for Leadership and Integrity
  4. Understand the Dynamics of The Project Office – Functional Group Interface
  5. Manage Stakeholder Expectations
  6. Be Sensitive to the Project Environment
  7. Know the Importance of a Project Champion
  8. Practice Scope Control
  9. Drive Cost and Schedule Management
  10. Be Adaptable to Change
  11. Embrace the Importance of Establishing Trust – Nothing of importance can be accomplished without trust.
  12. Know that Determination and a Will to Win are Key
  13. Set Standards for Clear Reporting and Transparency
  14. Convey the Need for Organizational Discipline
  15. Keep an Eye on the Big Picture
  16. Insist on Clarity
  17. Understand Industry and Project Economics – Pricing, productivity, trends and resource availability.
  18. Realize that Most Decisions Involve a Trade-off
  19. Practice Humility and Respect for the Team > The PM as Servant > The Leader is the Servant
  20. Realize the Destructive Nature of Ego > This applies particularly to construction projects.
  21. Implement Effective Control Systems
  22. Business Drives Technology – Simply put, technology is a tool used to achieve business objectives.
  23. The Learning Organization – If your team and your company are not learning organizations, you will most likely face a competitive disadvantage in the future.
  24. Capture Lessons Learned – We need to learn from the past and improve based on past experience.
  25. Plan for Project Closeout  
  26. Feedback is Important – Project leaders need to solicit feedback from stakeholders, peers and team members.
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Independence and Objectivity Within Project Organizations

One of the key indicators of the project management maturity of an organization is the level of independence and objectivity that its project and program managers display in reporting and assessments.   Executives in well run firms recognize that lack of independence and objectivity within the PMO is certain to erode trust, and will likely create a corrosive environment that will discourage transparency and flow of relevant information.

Words are not sufficient in ensuring independence and objectivity.  We have all seen situations in which executive management provides lip service to issues such as accurate reporting, forecasting and risk assessment; these are signs of a troubled organization.  We have learned that unless a culture of transparency and objectivity is established, project managers will be discouraged from reporting in a rigorous and factual manner.  This kind of culture will ultimately lead to actions and behavior that is contrary to the interests of stakeholders.  Excellence in project management starts at the CXO level.  Corporate leaders must set the tone for objectivity if they are to credibly demand excellence and maturity from their project management teams.

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Questions to Ask When Interviewing Senior Project Managers / Program Managers

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

1. Specifically, what do you believe are the most critical responsibilities of a Project Manager?
2. What tools have you used to manage people, processes and projects?
3. Can you provide examples of when and how you used motivational techniques to keep your team (s) energized on difficult projects?
4. Walk me through your approach to a new assignment / project. What systems and processes do you focus on?
5. Please cite examples of difficult clients (or client relationships), and how you have handled them.
6. Describe risk analysis and mitigation methods you have used.
7. Give me two or three specific examples of difficult technical issues that you have resolved.
8. Give me two or three specific examples of difficult conflicts you have resolved on a projects.
9. What has been your experience in negotiating contracts?
10. What have been your most significant achievements? Explain.

LEADERSHIP

1. What motivates you as a Project Manager?
2. How do you see your role as change agent?
3. What actions have you taken to facilitate the career development of team members or subordinates?
4. In the past, how have you improved in areas you were weak in?
5. How have you driven innovation in your career?
6. How have you leveraged relationships to accomplish organizational goals?
7. How have you aligned your role as a Manager with organizational goals? What problems have you had in this alignment process?
8. What makes you stand out from your peers?
9. What does growth mean to you?
10. How did you handle difficult superiors?
11. What was your biggest professional failure?
12. What coaching / mentoring experience have you had?
13. What non-monetary rewards have you given your team members and subordinates? Were these effective?
14. Why is organizational learning important? How have you managed to capture “lessons learned” and either use them on other projects or enable your company to use them?

RESUME – SPECIFIC

1. What was your favorite position? Least favorite position?
2. How did you add value over time in the various positions you held?

LOOKING AHEAD

1. Where would you like to be in career-wise, in five years? In ten years?
2. What is your vision for a well-run project organization?
3. What is your vision as a project leader?

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