5 Critical Success Factors for Project Management Improvement

For over twenty years, BrightWork has worked with customers across lots of sectors. In that time, we’ve learned a few things about successful project management!  In this blog post,  I outline the five factors we have identified as being essential for successful project management and project management improvement in any organization. To help you on your journey, I have included self-assessment questions to help you identify any missing factors. The practical implementation of the factors with three BrightWork customers is demonstrated in this free ebook.   1. Executive Sponsorship Definition: Senior management recognize Project Management as a strategic capability and necessity for the organization, and desires to improve this capability. Executive sponsorship can mean one senior executive is supporting a company effort or even better, the entire senior management team. The effort, in this case, is the improvement of project management across the company. Oftentimes, when you picture an executive sponsor, you see someone who has a “seat at the table” but is disconnected from the day to day running of the business.  They simply secure the funding and initial resources needed for a project and disappear until the project is completed. This is not the type of executive sponsorship…

5 Quotes to Improve Data-Driven Decision Making

Most of our decisions are made on gut instinct in a matter of seconds and usually less than a minute. This is the most common way to make a decision. It’s often said the best ideas are the ones that come from your gut, but when you start making more tactical decisions within your business, then data always helps. Data is more than just facts and figures. Data is everywhere. There’s more data available now than ever before, and we are continuously striving to stay head of the curve in an increasingly data-driven decision making world. Data can align your team members, improve collaboration and ultimately enhance your organization’s bottom line. With this, the increasing opportunity to collect, interpret and leverage digital information, has led many managers and leaders adapting to how they make decisions – relying less on intuition and more on data. Data vs. Opinions When it comes to making decisions, your colleagues and team members have their own distinct strategies. The more experience we gain, and the more time we spend at a job, the more opinionated we become. How many of you can relate to the quote from James Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape, who famously said “If we have data, let’s look at data. If…

How to Use Project Data for Better Decisions

Project management is the art of decision making. Every project needs a decision maker, the person responsible for making the big decisions – the project manager. The project manager is faced with multiple choices and should strive to choose the best option. However, when a decision is made, it triggers events that the decision-maker has no control over. Each combination of choices is followed by unique events which lead to an outcome with some measurable value. As Deepak Chopra, Founder of the Chopra Foundation, warns in his article “The Secret to Making Good Decisions” “One good decision can have positive repercussions for years, but so can one bad decision.” As the project manager, how do you present your choices as the best options that will lead to the greatest outcomes? You simply need to get the most accurate project data! Accurate project data will tell you what has happened, what is happening and what may happen. You can sometimes find this information through talking or meeting with the key people; stakeholders, project members, colleagues and team members. Another option is to look at reports and documents to understand what has or is happening. This will give you a snapshot from a point…

Decision Making and Personality Traits

Personality traits play a much bigger role in decision making than you may think. Some people are, by their very nature, indecisive. They find it quite difficult to make most decisions. I often find these people very loyal to the decision when they do make it. I am sure you know people like this. Other people make decisions way too quickly without considering all the consequences. These people are more impulsive. How you primarily react to the world will affect your decision making process; this also makes your decision making process unique. There are many ways to describe how we react to the world, but one simple way is to say that we react from the head, heart or gut. Your personality will determine whether you approach decisions in a rational or emotional manner.     Is one of the above more naturally prevalent than the other in how you react to the world? If so, be aware of this when making decisions. A good decision is made with the balance of the three head, heart and gut or when the three are eventually in balance, as described in the holistic decision-making approach. Hard decisions are just hard. There is…

Sharpen Your Decision Making in 5 Steps [Infographic]

I recently wrote about the importance of decision making to collaborative project management. Using a process will allow you to make decisions more effectively. I suggest a  five-step approach as follows: Remember the Privilege of Choice Frame the Decision Start with Indifference Continue with a Head/Logical Decision Confirm with a Heart Decision.   The essence of this approach is presented as an infographic with more information on each step below.     1. Remember the Privilege of Choice We can sometimes feel burdened by pending decisions and this is understandable. However, many times the decisions represent choices between options that all improve the situation. In these cases, it is important to cut ourselves some slack and enjoy the decision making process. Remember that in many situations, we are electing which path to follow – it is our choice. In decision making, try to enjoy the freedom of choice and free will that we have. 2. Frame the Decision Name and frame the reason for the decision. Remember that some items are not really up for decision, so be careful not to bring every matter though a decision making process. For example, you are behind on the project and you would like to…

Making Decisions – A Collaborative Approach

“Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered; they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make.” – Henry A. Kissinger (Secretary of State, USA, from Sept. 1973 to Jan. 1977) I believe that Henry Kissinger has it right. We really only learn to make decisions once we start management. When I think back on my own management training, decision making was not a topic we studied very formally. However, on reflection, making good decisions is a key part of Project Management and making transparent decisions with the team is a critical part of Collaborative Project Management. Your approach to decision making impacts upon projects in two key ways: Project Decisions: Every decision you make as a project manager helps or hinders the project. Each decision can make the project shorter or longer, less or more expensive, simpler or more complex. Each decision can improve or disimprove team morale, making the team feel better or worse about their participation on the project Personal Decisions: Every non-project decision you make affects your mood, your disposition, and ultimately, your leadership. If you are happy as a person, then this will come across to…

Brainstorm Your Way to Project Success [Infographic]

Problems occur on all projects. Creative solutions are always needed to deliver on some of the project requirements. The team generally has or can come up with the solutions. You just need to give them the time and space. There are many ways to run the brainstorm style of meeting. We often use the “ABCD” method at BrightWork as illustrated in the below infographic.        Once your team becomes familiar with this template, you can use a shorter version of the “ABCD” agenda.    Option 1:  Ask questions; Agree the Aim  Blue-sky Brainstorm  Critique with Conflict  Discuss and Decide.    Option 2:   Aim  Brainstorm  Critique  Decide.    This article is an excerpt from the next edition of “Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook”. We would love your thoughts and feedback on this article and the handbook.  Leave a comment below or email cpm@brightwork.com.