Spotting a leader

Synopsis -  Effective 'leaders' know what quality is and feel a sense of responsibility for achieving quality.  If a person waffles, waivers or avoids discussing quality, chances are they will not make an effective leader. It's pretty clear that project success rates are higher where projects have effective leadership and lower where there was either no leader, or where those in the leadership roles didn't discharge their duties effectively.  Effective leaders align people, focus people a...
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Agile’s Achilles heel

From its birth in the software development community, the idea of ‘agility’ has risen in prominence to the point where organizations of all shapes and forms are now leveraging agile principles (or at least trying to).  Since being conceptually formalized in the 2001 ‘agile manifesto’ the ideas have matured to the point where agile practices have worked their way into the mainstream of the Project Management Institute’s PMBoK® Guide. As I’ve written about a number of times, agile concepts are ...
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Back to the drawing board

Synopsis: Adoption of suitable project management practices in the workplace can yield benefits over time. At a recent international sporting event, in between all the hype and excitement, the relaxed atmosphere allowed for a no-holes barred discussion to take place regarding office discontent. Two people employed in senior positions, IT and Marketing respectively deliberated on an issue that is not unfamiliar. “We (IT) built according their (marketing) needs and they okayed what we presented...
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Yes we can!

Synopsis: People can be productive! What most often holds them back is management's failure to take ownership of the concept of "efficiency"... It is amazing how fast humans can respond to a situation when they need to!  A recent story from Japan helps illustrate the point. When a 30M wide sinkhole destroyed a road in Fukuoka, Japan, the problem was resolved and the road fully repaired in just 7 days. As the video below illustrates this was no minor pothole. This was a 15M deep crater that cu...
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Culture’s Cogs – Feedback

Synopsis: Feedback is the mechanism that keeps a culture alive...  This post is part 4 in the Cultures Cog’s series of posts. Click here for – Part 1 In the two prior parts of this blog series we looked at the role "imperatives" and "expectations" play in giving rise to a culture. In this final post we'll look at how feedback is the link that keeps a culture alive. Feedback is the interaction between people that tells them whether or not expectations are being achieved. Feedback can eit...
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Culture’s Cogs – Imperatives

Synopsis: Imperatives are the core values of the management team and the foundation stones of corporate culture. To influence corporate culture, leaders need to bring clarity and consistency to their imperatives. This post is part 2 in the Cultures Cog’s series of posts. Click here for – Part 1 As a follow up to my discussion on the topic of "culture's cogs" I thought I would dive a bit deeper into each of the cogs. In this post I'll explore the issue of imperatives. As noted in my origina...
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Christmas Blunderland

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Christmas Blunderland - UK Project type : An assortment of Christmas themed entertainment parks Date : Nov-Dec  - 2008, 2013 and 2014  Cost : Unknown Synopsis : One definition of success is "meeting or exceeding expectations". Satisfy expectations of the customer or stakeholders and the project is viewed as a success. Fall short of expectations and no matt...
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Everything is (not always) Awesome

Synopsis: Feedback to staff is a critical tool management can use to shape corporate culture  This year's Lego Movie spawned the song that has turned into something of an Internet meme. Likely to be 2014's most cheerful tune, the "Everything is Awesome" song tells us that we shouldn't worry about the negatives in life, instead we should focus on the positives. While that happy-go-lucky message lifts spirits and is fun, from a business perspective the song's message is something of a trap that...
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Pride of Workmanship

Synopsis: The more management focuses on product quality the greater the levels of motivation at the staff level I've written before about how corporate cultures are formed and the massive impact they can have on the outcomes an organization achieves. My hypothesis is that in the longer term organizations with healthy, positive cultures (that are properly aligned with the organization's desired outcomes) are more productive and successful than organizations in which the culture is negative an...
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Corporate Culture – Part 3

In parts one and two of this series, we've looked how corporate cultures affect the outcomes a project attains and where cultures come from. In this final post in the series we'll look at the mechanisms through which cultures spread and what organizations can do to promote a healthy culture. Pretty much every business leader understands the value of having a positive corporate culture. The state of many businesses however illustrates that not every business leader understands how to shape...
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