Requirements can make or break your projects. Depending on your personal level of PM maturity, you will make sure that you have clarified them on one, two, or three levels. Here’s what can further improve your chances to deliver the project successfully: shared values of the team.
The secret is in the proper composition of your team. Assembling the right team is highlighted in a recent McKinsey report as one of the key practices that define the “art” of project leadership.
Granted, you will not always have the luxury to hand pick the team members. In the worst case, you are parachuted into a failing project and have to make do with what you have. Even in this worst-case scenario, what I suggest here will help – if you take personal values of your team members into consideration.
In short, personal values are needs, and they refer to desirable goals that motivate action. Thus above all, you need to make sure that at least your core team members’ values are aligned with the Goal of the project.
Let’s say you have to deliver a super-new software solution that will boost your online sales. Of course, you need to have it launched before the Christmas shopping madness starts. Your “advanced” requirements will probably suggest to focus on Time and Scope (albeit a minimal one). Strategically, your goal will be the New Product Introduction. In practical terms, that means being willing to take on risk and expect to come up with a breakthrough or get a pretty bad PM score in case of a failure.
Now imagine that your team’s value profiles have been analyzed, and their locations on the “celestial map” are clustered around 4 p.m. That location is characteristic for folks high on Conservation values – like Conformity, Security, Tradition. Of course, all values are always positive by default. But dominant Conservation values may not be appropriate for the current project goal. I would suggest that those folks are your best bet if you need to fine-tune and test a product that may cost a lot of money (and human lives). Like a new aircraft. Or a software product that will be loaded on a communication satellite. But not for this project.
If we overlay the PM triangle on the Values Map (borrowed from Shalom Schwarz), we’ll be able to see which available specialists we should try to get on the team. The individual value profiles are indicated by the blue diamonds. For our cutting-edge project, we should be better off with the stars that are in the 9-to-12 o’clock quadrant.
The individual profiles are calculated with the CLCTVR 2.0 tool, more details here.
It should not come as a surprise that Elon Musk’s (big red) Star (that we’ve crowdsourced recently) is in this same area of the Celestial Map. Getting people remotely similar to Elon Musk shall be a good start, but it is the relative importance of multiple values that guides action. The CLCTVR tool gives a good indication of personal values congruence as well. Experience shows that, compared to randomly assembled teams (based on “resource availability”), congruent teams have a tendency to show superior results.
Want to improve your success and test your team? Let me know.
The three key reasons why some projects fail are:
There is but a grain of joke in this PM joke: requirements are key. In real life, three different sets of requirements could and should be identified during the project initiation.
Requirements-1: The Spec.
First requirements that come to mind are the “standard” ones: what exactly we have to deliver. If the “what” is not defined properly, different interpretations of the requirements will lead to reworks, conflicts, delays etc.
Although requirements definition and requirements management is an important part of the PM’s job, it is important to go one level higher and make sure that we understand the business context.
Requirements-2: The Constraints Triangle.
If you’ve read this far, you are probably not new to the project management. Hence you know that the triple constraints – Scope, Time, Cost – are part of PM life, and that another PM not-exactly-a-joke insists that you can pick only two. Continue reading “The Recipe for Project Success: 3 Requirements + 10 Values”
“8 of 10 Self-Made Millionaires Were Not ‘A’ Students. Instead, They Share 1 Trait.”
The trait, of course, is their willingness to learn.
While I agree with Jeff Hadden, that is not news. Similar observations were made before.
According to Tom Corley’s study of “Rich Habits”:
“85% of millionaires read two or more books a month that help them grow.”
Indeed, Elon Musk, one of today’s most admirable business leaders is known for having taught himself – literally! – rocket science by reading books. Moreover, according to his brother, Elon used to read two books per day when he was a kid. Continue reading “Shared Values of Self-Made Millionaires”
A few months ago, I answered this question on Quora: “How can Elon Musk put in 80-100 hours a week and still have a social life or time for exercise, etc.?” My answer collected an incredible number of views and upvotes – a good indicator that this is (A) a hot topic and (B) my answer makes sense to many.
The answer I have for you today may be even more interesting. In part, this is your answer!
Here’s the scoop. (TL,DR version: go to Elon Musk Q7 questionnaire).
Personal efficiency, effectiveness, success – have been my favorite subjects and areas of research for quite some time. A few years ago, when I launched the Collectiver site and online tool, the objective was to find out why some teams are more efficient than others. According to my research and observations as a performance expert, the best-performing teams have significant internal alignment. That alignment I measure by the basic values’ congruence of the team members. Continue reading “Elon Musk Q7”
The CoachingOurselves Reflections 2017 – Rebalancing Society conference was an outstanding 3-day event filled with ideas, presentations and passion shared with us by the brightest minds: Henry Mintzberg, Philip Kotler, Dan Ponterfract, Ed Schein, Jonathan Gosling, Mitch Joel and many other prominent thinkers, businesspeople and coaches.
This true feast of sustainable leadership was concluded with a savory dessert – The Great Canadian Canoe Trip, five hours in double canoes going down the Devil’s River in Mont-Tremblant National Park.
Now, mentally going through the experience again, I think that this trip in the end of the conference was more than just for pleasure and relaxation. The unbridled nature, the canoes, and the river flow – all have their profound role in the understanding and “internalization” of the worldview experienced during the main event.
Here are my key takeaways from the Canoe Trip.
1. Key safety rules in the canoe are familiar to every manager:
- Avoid sudden movements.
- Go with the flow.
Nothing new, but that does not mean “don’t rock the boat”; it’s just that any disruption creates unnecessary risks and may lead to an accident, and is not necessary when you are on the right course.
2. The real leader in the canoe, the helmsman, is the paddler in the stern. He is the more experienced one, doing the steering. Leading from behind, he will be looking over the front paddler’s shoulder all the time, and if the latter does not have a small frame and wears a hat, the helmsman will not see much. Continue reading “Canoeing with Mintzberg”
Practice makes perfect.
Practice speaking and listening – and use technology to analyze your skills and measure the progress.
Sounds sophisticated? Not at all.
All you need is a simple speech recorder or just your smartphone. Make it a habit to record all substantial conversations that you have during the day, then allocate ample time to listen to the recordings and do a conscious “flight debriefing.”
You will be amazed.
That happens pretty much to everybody because you have never heard yourself “from the outside.” You will notice some obvious mistakes or mannerisms that sound so … well, disgusting, that you will not need much effort to get rid of them (like talking too much, interrupting, using pleonasms, periphrasis, discourse markers, grandiloquence, or being excessively magniloquent – just like I am now).
Additional benefit: you will retain much more from the conversations. That’s a good thing, especially when the discussion is important, and you have no chance to make notes. Next time you’ll impress your counterparts with your attention to detail.
One caveat though. You have to be discrete, i.e. your recording device must be hidden. Obviously, when you start openly recording the conversations all the participants do not talk naturally (yourself including) or do not talk at all. Another thing to bear in mind: this may be illegal in some states…
(Originally answered on Quora)
(Originally answered on Quora)
Most probably you want to share your surprise that Elon Musk, who reportedly stayed overnight at Tesla site on many occasions, still looks and behaves like a normal sociable person, gives interviews and is altogether in good health and good spirits, right?
This is because he is fortunate enough to have a solution to the ageless dilemma of “work-life” balance.
For most people, this problem exists, and exactly in this form – work vs. life – implying that the negative portion of your existence, called ‘work’, is balanced out by the positive ‘life’. When the balance is in place, then the negative impact that work leaves on your personality and health is cured by the positive emotions you get from what happens after work. Or that is how the unfortunate majority sees it.
There’s not much of an overlap between the Life and Work, and as this overlap is not considered healthy, we are advised by holistic gurus that we must disconnect, shut off etc. and not mix the two. Hence, there’s not enough room to have both, we either displace one at the expense of the other, or meticulously separate them, having not enough of either as a result. The rest is a multitude of ‘chores’, neutral in their nature; we just take them for granted, neither good nor bad. Continue reading “How can Elon Musk put in 80-100 hours a week and still have a life?”
Here are a few off the top of my head. I am glad you’ve asked because it’s good to go through the list every once in a while.
1. Always have a plan. Thinking before doing requires some time and internal discipline but gives you an edge over the “doers” who act without thinking. Continue reading “What are the best tips and tricks for increasing productivity and time management?”
To learn more about the critical role Leadership Development professionals play in society, come to the Rebalancing Society Event, hosted by Henry Mintzberg, Philip Kotler, Mitch Joel and many others.
““Leadership, like swimming cannot be learned by reading about it.” Henry Mintzberg.
Register to see Henry and other thought leaders at Reflections 2017 Global Conference!