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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British Columbia – First time home buyers loan program

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. BC Provincial Government – Canada Project name : British Columbia Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program Project type : Government backed loan program to help first time buyers enter the real estate market Date : Cancelled Dec 2018 Cost : Unknown Synopsis : Between 2002 and 2017 residential property prices in the city of Vancouver, Canada w...
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A380 – Take two

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Airbus SAS – France Project name : A380 Project type : Commercial aircraft development Date : Feb 2019 Cost : Undeclared, but certainly in the billions of dollars in lost opportunity and other costs. Synopsis : An old Danish proverb (sometimes incorrectly attributed to Yogi Berra) quips that "It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the fu...
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RIP Ideas

An organization’s future prosperity is of course directly correlated to its ability to remain relevant in the market place.  As we all know, to remain competitive organizations need to both innovate and invest. They need to stay in tune with their customers, be aware of shifting trends or disruptions and maintain a level of situational awareness that supports effective decision-making.  Most organizations are aware of those basics and CEO’s make efforts to stay on top of them. The “value” creati...
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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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Tram trouble

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Organization: City of Edinburgh Council Project type : Public transit - Tram Network Date : September 2003 - May 2014 Cost : £1 Billion (including anticipated loan interest) versus an original estimate of £375M (based on a much larger scope than was actually built) Synopsis : What started out as a noble idea in 2003 was later described as the “hell on whe...
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I, We, You, Me – Observations on Team Dynamics

As with most Project Managers, I've worked directly with a lot of people and a lot of teams. As an instructor I've observed and coached even more. I've seen good teams and I've seen dysfunctional teams and over the years I've tried to understand what makes some teams work while others don't. Why do some teams gel so quickly while others never click? Why do some teams transcend individual efforts to perform as a whole, while others remain ineffectual? Why do some teams become lifelong friends and...
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Culture’s Cogs – Expectations

Synopsis: Expectations are the medium through which a culture propagates. Expectations can be set through words, use of benchmarks and through actions. This post is part 3 in the Cultures Cog's series of posts. Click here for - Part 1 If a culture is to propagate it needs a medium through which to flow. As suggested in the culture's cog diagram shown in part 1 of this series, expectations are a vehicle through which cultural norms are transferred from leader to team and peer to peer. In th...
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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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Culture’s Cogs

Synopsis: Imperatives, expectations and feedback are the mechanisms through which management's desire for high performance are translated into a functioning corporate culture. Regular readers will know that I've been studying corporate cultures over recent months. My goal is to understand how corporate cultures come to be and what management teams can do to shape positive cultures (i.e. cultures that improve quality and productivity while simultaneously lifting employee engagement, morale and...
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