Updates from Carlos Gonzalez Jardon Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Carlos Gonzalez Jardon 9:00 am on January 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The Skill Set of a Project Manager (Part 2) 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    In the first part of this article, we talked about the three skill areas a good project manager has to develop. Ultimately, managing a project is an art based in the application of a series of scientific knowledge. The art consists in applying our knowledge, experience and skills in an adequate manner at the right moment, and even though there is no guarantee to the success of the project, it allows us to reduce the risk of failure.

    Thus we must maximize/develop some key skills: 

    • Communication. Clear and effective communication is fundamental for all project managers. Not only is it important to communicate what (the level of detail used and the perspective), but also how (which mediums we are going to use) and when (choose the time when such communication will be made). Additionally, make sure the person on the receiving end has received and understood what you wanted to communicate, whereby the feedback becomes a base element as a means to avoid misunderstanding and incomprehension.
    • Negotiation. With any project there may be mixed and even conflicting expectations, which becomes relevant in negotiation skills as a way of aligning the expectations of the participants with the objectives of the project.
    • Solutions to problems. A project manager must be proactive, anticipating possible problems that may affect the success of the project (risks) and develop plans to minimize or avoid their impact. However, ultimately, if the problem has not been avoided, it must have the capacity to manage such situations efficiently. A project manager should be decisive, able to take responsibility and engage others in the project. (More …)
     
  • Carlos Gonzalez Jardon 9:00 am on January 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The Skill Set of a Project Manager (Part 1) 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    In the previous article, we focused on emphasizing the importance of the role of Project Managers, and what their main functions are, but what makes a good project manager? Directing/leading a project is something more than just running a set of activities. Instead, it requires having different specific skills such as technician or project specialist that may be needed.

    When it is time to manage/direct a project, the manager should:

    • Plan the work/activities that must be done in order to reach the objectives of the project and accomplish the expectations of the client.
    • Organize all of the elements (resources) that interact throughout the life of a project. This activity will require the project manager to provide a certain level of authority within the organization.
    • Manage the people, whether they are clients, users, project team members, etc… and definitely stakeholders. Projects are done by people and the objectives are not always shared or understood in a correct way.
    • Direct and Lead. Leading is something more than just commanding or giving orders. A good leader forms a part of the team that he/she is leading, and he/she is not an “external agent” who merely establishes goals to achieve and a task to execute. The leader is involved with the team itself.
    • Control/Monitor the project that is developing under the established plan and, if not, define the necessary corrective measures.

    (More …)

     
  • Carlos Gonzalez Jardon 9:00 am on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The Importance of a Project Manager 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    One of the first activities to address at the hour of pulling out a project is to name the project manager. The role of this person is key for he/she will be in charge of coordinating/leading all the aspects related to the project. 

    In many projects, I have been able to see that there is not just one person responsible for making decisions, but the responsibility is diluted between distinct people in charge of different aspects of the project: technology, law, functions, and business.

    Specific managers in specific fields within a project is not bad, but there must always be one particular person wit the capacity to make decisions: to resolve conflicts, to select different options, to coordinate distinct parts of a project, to communicate, etc. It is what is called accountability: a sole person who has the total/essential responsibility of the project.

    Another aspect that calls my attention in many projects is the manager has a marked technical character. This happens a lot in high technology projects where the Project Director is often worried of low level aspects and where project management function is performed by a technician of the team as a reporting activity.

    What is the Project Manager’s function? Does he/she have to dedicate time to technical activities? 

    I rely on PMBok®: “The project director concentrates on the specific objectives of the project“. It must be planned what to do, keep track of how it’s running, make decisions to correct issues, inform stakeholders involved, etc.

    The project manager plays a key role in coordinating all the resources of a project. 

    (More …)

     
  • Carlos Gonzalez Jardon 9:00 am on August 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    The importance of communication in project management 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    We already spoke about the benefits of using an Enterprise Social Network in project management. From a project manager, communication is one of the key skills you need to nurture and encourage. Communication represents an important part of our day-to-day and we need to give it the attention it deserves.

    What can we do for our communication?

    • Plan and prepare communication. We can’t leave communication to improvisation. We need to be clear about what we want to transmit, when, how to do it, what medium we will use, and who our interlocutors are. Limit improvisation as much as possible to avoid running the risk of saying what we shouldn’t.
    • Use simple language. This is very important in a highly specialized environment. Often we tend to use a language that we only understand in our scope of work (engineers, etc.). We need to communicate thinking in who receives the message, not who issues it.
    • Get feedback from the recipient. This point strengthens understanding of the message. We need to ensure that our interlocutor has understood what we want to transmit.
    • Establish multiple channels of communication. We need to define what the main lines of communication in our project are, and formalize/control them: reports, enterprise social networks, intranets, etc…
    • Determine the sensitivity of the recipient regarding the information to be transmitted.
    • In face-to-face communication, pay attention to the recipient’s body language. This will give us clues on whether the information is being received correctly.
    • Communicate at the right time, with the right format and means.
    • Strengthen words with actions. Avoid attitudes like “do what I say, not what I do”.
    • Listen actively. We need to listen and understand communication from the point of view of who is speaking.

    Carlos González Jardón (@cgjardon) is Consultant and Trainer in Project Management with more than 18 years’ experience in the IT sector. y Formador en Dirección de Proyectos con más de 18 años de experiencia en el sector TI. He holds a computer engineering degree from the Universidad de Vigo, an Executive Master’s from ICAI/ICADE and PMP certification from the Project Management Institute. He is currently consultant in Project Management at Tecnocom.


     
  • Carlos Gonzalez Jardon 9:00 am on May 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    Enterprise Social Networks and Project Management 

    Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

    Editor’s note: Today we would like to welcome a new author to our blog. The clarity of his first post has surprised us, and that has made us even more delighted about him joining our group of contributors. Carlos González Jardón (@cgjardon) is consultant and trainer in project management. With more than 18 years’ experience in the IT sector, his activities revolve around IT project management and quality standards such as CMMi. He holds a computer engineering degree from the Universidad de Vigo, an Executive Master’s from ICAI/ICADE and PMP certification from the Project Management Institute. He is currently consultant in Project Management at Tecnocom. Welcome and thanks!

    We live in a society where access to information is no longer the privilege of a few and has been democratized. Nowdays, in a single click, we can access a wide range of data from multiple sources: search engines, online newspapers, blogs, social networks… The technology revolution is causing a social and professional evolution, in how we relate to our environment. Information continues to be important, but how we access/acquire that information is gaining relevance.

    In this environment, an enterprise social network can become a vital tool that enables us to strengthen some key aspects in our work:

    • Speed. Quick decision-making.
    • Reliability. Quality of the data.
    • Collaboration: Share information.
    • Acccessibility: A single data source, multiple devices to access it.

    The subject is rather extensive, but we will look briefly at how an enterprise social network can help us in executing projects.

    Projects and Enterprise Social Networks

    In project management, communication is a critical factor. But what do we understand communication to be in a project?

    According to the PMBok® Guide (project management knowledge base), one of the leading references for any project leader, managing communication involves all processes required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval and ultimate disposition of project information.

    In other words, the project manager needs to ensure that all project stakeholders have or have access to, at the right moment, the information required using suitable and efficient means. This is extremely relevant as poor management of communication and information in a project could cause the time that the project manager devotes to communicate, distribute, share and access the information to sky-rocket, and even bring the project to the brink of disaster.

    In order for the project manager to have the right information at each stage, they need to interact with their team, the customers, suppliers, and the ‘closer’ they are to the task being done, the better the information. Basically, the project manager needs to beSOCIAL with all those stakeholders in the project. It is not enough to have social skills based on ‘face-to-face’ interaction. We need to seek support from the tools that enable us to manage online or virtually multi-disciplinary and multi-site teams.

    In this scenario, an enterprise social network can play a differential role. If we share aspects of our daily lives, why shouldn’t members of a project team share, through an enterprise social network, their problems, doubts, concerns regarding the activities being performed in the project? This activity is already being done in the corridors, on the phone, but it is difficult to have a document support with the conclusions reached. Using collaborative tools can help to flourish and document information that would be lost otherwise. In those project-focused organizations, an enterprise social network can provide major value by sharing and accessing data easily and quickly.

    Benefits of Enterprise Social Networks in Project Management

    Although I’m sure there are many more, these are some of the benefits they can provide:

    Quick access to one of the best sources of knowledge: the team’s experience.

    The senior profiles are an excellent source of knowledge and that knowledge can be used to resolve different situations that we face daily in a project. Coaching, mentoring, tutoring, training or resolving of doubts can be done dynamically through an enterprise social network.

    Repository of project information and documents.

    Although this point has already been solved by many other tools, an enterprise social network can be the main point of access to shared resources. It means converting the current static or one-directional intranet (always focused from the company to the employee) into a social and collaborative environment ‘company-employee’ and ‘employee-employee’ (beyond a simple question-response network).

    Reduce “meetingitis”.

    In many organizations, there are too many inefficient meetings. Often we finish the day with the feeling that we haven’t done anything “productive”. Simple meetings to exchange information and update everyone can be replaced by short virtual meetings (e-meetings): for example, the status of our project, clarification of doubts, etc. These e-meetings will not replace face-to-face meetings, rather they will complement them and reduce them to the essential ones, as the cost, both economically speaking and cost-opportunity (what I don’t get done) is very high.

    Simplify management in multi-site environments.

    In environments where the team is located at different sites in the company or in the client (or even in teleworking situations), the social network will help us enormously with that task of “sharing”, reducing, or even eliminating problems resulting from not all being in the one place.

    Neglected management.

    On many occasions, we experience many short interruptions that break our usual work rate. Enterprise Social Networks mean that those short interruptions can be channelled through it to be answered at a later stage; or even they could be resolved by other members of the team collaboratively, leaving evidence of their resolution in the “social environment” itself.

    Our value lies not in what we know, rather how quickly we can “update” (learn what we don’t know, acquire knowledge) and how we share it with our co-workers.

    In this scenario, an enterprise social network can become a perfect work environment where different stakeholders in our project can interact according to their role, regardless of their physical location and time zone.

    The work environment is a clearly social activity in most cases, so why not use enterprise social networks? This way sharing knowledge among the project team can be more agile, although to achieve it, a cultural change is required in organizations.

     

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
shift + esc
cancel