The 22 Minute Meeting

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After looking at my calendar, I noticed I’m booked solid this Friday.  From the moment I arrive until I leave for the weekend, I’ll be in meeting after meeting.  Do you think this time could be spent doing more productive things?  At present, only one of the meetings has an agenda.  I actually have something to do with that meeting so kudos to my colleague on that one. If she’s out, I’ll be running the meeting.  As for the other two, if there isn’t an agenda, it’s going to be an example of Parkinson’s Law (Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion).  If you suffer from this regular time suck, also known as a meeting, please enjoy the 6 minute video.  I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

As mentioned in the video, here is a link to the 22 Minute Meeting Poster. I’m not going to take credit for finding this video. I was commenting on Mark Suster’s blog and found it in the comments.  (Mark was explaining the right way to cancel a meeting.)

What I like about the idea of a 22 minute meeting is it would work, regardless of the project approach.
Are you using Agile, Waterfall, or Spiral? It doesn’t matter!  Are you the vendor or customer?  It doesn’t matter!

Like the image?  Find it at Pictofigo

Categories: Video Tags: Tags: , , ,

MS Project Task Types – Fixed Work – Units – Duration

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Upon reviewing a vendor’s Integrated Master Schedule, created in MS Project, I noticed something very peculiar. Where some tasks could clearly be marked as Fixed Duration, everything was Fixed Units.  I think there are two answers for this.  Either there was a misunderstanding about the work to be performed or the person doing the schedule needs some help understanding task types.  I believe working with MS Project can make your eyes bleed if you’re not used to it.  But if you’re armed with just a little information about task types, it can be a whole lot easier.

I would love to go into a detailed explanation about Fixed Work, Fixed Units, and Fixed Duration.  If I did, however, you’d probably leave my site never to return.   Instead, I found a very helpful video on YouTube.  Why go hunting for this stuff when you can just find it here?

Updated 10 Step Help To Submit PMP PDUs

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I’m in the process of helping my client make their submissions for PMI Professional Development Units (PDUs). All PMPs need 60 PDUs during a CCR cycle so don’t put it off until the last minute. In this case, my client participated in a workshop. If you want to collect PDUs, you’re going to need some kind of evidence. It might be a program agenda, copies of a publication, transcript, certificate, registration form… do I need to go on? This is actually for you in the event PMI audits you. In this case, participating in a workshop, the evidence is not required to actually complete the PDU request online.  Because PMI has updated their website, I think it’s important you know the new process.

Know your PMI ID #, Cert #, and Last Name on file with PMI.

Step 1: Log into the PMI homepage.
A Membership Status box will appear in the left navigation menu with the following data:
PMI ID No.:
Member Since:
Expires:

A Certification Status box will also appear in the left navigation menu with the following data:
PMP No.:
Earned:
Renewal Date

Within that Certification Status box, at the bottom, is a link titled “View PDUs
(If you follow the link before logging in, you’ll be asked to do so at that time)

Step 2: Select the “View PDUs” link
Step 3:
In the left navigational column, select Report professional development units (PDUs)
Step 4:
Select a PDU category and sub-category (if applicable) (“2e” for participating in a workshop)
Step 5: Select the Next button
Step 6:
Complete the entire form (know the knowledge area and process group)
Step 7: Select the Next button
Step 8:
Review for accuracy and enter the number of PDUs (if given the option)
Step 9:
Select the Next button
Step 10: Select the checkbox, agreeing to the accuracy of the claim and Select the Submit button

Go back and review your Online Transcript in a few days to verify your submission was successful.

See, it’s not as hard as you thought!

I welcome any questions you may have about the process.

Regards,

Derek

Categories: Project Management Tags: Tags: , , ,

Mitigated Speech and Project Negotiations

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Try thisMitigated speech is a linguistic term describing deferential or indirect speech inherent in communication between individuals of perceived High Power Distance.

The term was recently popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers, where he defines mitigated speech as “any attempt to downplay or sugarcoat the meaning of what is being said”. He described 6 degrees of mitigation with which we make suggestions to authority:

1. Command – “Implement this

2. Team Obligation Statement – “We need to try this

3. Team Suggestion – “Why don’t we try this?”

4. Query – “Do you think this would help us in this situation?”

5. Preference – “Perhaps we should take a look at this an an alternative”

6. Hint – “I wonder if we will run into any issues by following our current process”

As I observe the command and communication structure between a PMO and its members and contractors, I have the opportunity to witness mitigated speech every day.  Being direct (command) doesn’t always work.  People need to learn to be flexible in their requests and negotiations if they have the hope those in power will implement new strategies.  Additionally, learn to read those around you to know what degree of mitigation you will use IF you intend to use it.

As I read Outliers, I started to think of the relationship between mitigated speech and Appendix G.8 (negotiation) of the PMBoK.

Negotiation is a strategy of conferring with parties of shared or opposed interests with a view of compromise or reach an agreement.  Negotiation is an integral part of project management and when done well, increases the probability of project success.

The following skills and behaviors are useful in negotiating successfully:

  • Analyze the situation.
  • Differentiate between wants and needs – both yours and theirs.
  • Focus on interests and issues rather that on positions.
  • Ask high and offer low, but be realistic.
  • When you make a concession, act as if you are yielding something of value, don’t just give in.
  • Always make sure both parties feel as if they have won.  This is a win-win negotiation.  Never let the other party leave feeling as if he or she has been taken advantage of.
  • Do a good job of listening and articulating.

To summarize, stride to be a win-win negotiator and be aware of the mitigated speech you are using to conduct your negotiations.

10 Helpful Steps to Submit PMI PDUs

I’m in the process of helping a group in the PMO make their submissions for PMI Professional Development Units (PDUs).  All PMPs need 60 PDUs during a CCR cycle so don’t put it off until the last minute.  In this case, they all participated in a workshop.  If you want to collect PDUs, you’re going to need some kind of evidence.  It might be a program agenda, copies of a publication, transcript, certificate, registration form… do I need to go on?  This is actually for you in the event PMI audits you.  In this case, participating in a workshop, the evidence is not required to actually complete the PDU request online.

Know your PMI ID #, Cert #, and Last Name on file with PMI.

Step 1: Log into the PMI homepage.
A Membership Status box will appear in the left navigation menu with the following data:
PMI ID No.:
Member Since:
Expires:

A Certification Status box will also appear in the left navigation menu with the following data:
PMP No.:
Earned:
Renewal Date

Within that Certification Status box, at the bottom, is a link titled “View PDUs”
[http://tel.occe.ou.edu/pmi/PMI_Member/PDUlogin.php3]

Step 2: Select the “View PDUs” link
Step 3:
Enter your ID#, Cert#, and first four letters of your last name
Step 4:
Select the “PMI PDU Self Report Form” radio button
Step 5:
Select the “Login” button to continue
Step 6:
Select the Activity you wish to claim  (“2e” for participating in a workshop)
Step 7: Complete the entire form (know the knowledge area and process group)
Step 8:
Select the “I Agree” checkbox and the “Continue” button
Step 9:
Review for accuracy
Step 10: Select the “Submit” button

Go back and review your Online Transcript in a few days to verify your submission was successful
Repeat Steps 1, 2, and 3

At Step 4,  select “PMI Transcript” radio button
Step 5: Select the “Login” button to continue to your Online Transcript

See, it’s not as hard as you thought!

Categories: PMP Tags: Tags: , , , ,

Helpful Hints For Project Meetings

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People generally go to meetings because they are asked to attend. With a simple click of the mouse, they accept. Rarely do they respond to your request with the why did you invite me question. Some accept and just don’t show up. These are contributing factors that sway a meeting from productive to unproductive.  I sometimes see people go an entire day and only attend meetings. When do they get actual work done? We all know that answer.

Here are a few helpful hints for the next meeting you organize.
[1] Write out the purpose of the meeting with actionable events in mind. e.g. “Provide an updated status, identifying risks and opportunities, and identify new action items.”

[2] Identify your attendee list but only keep those you can map to the actionable events listed in step 1.  There is a difference between an attendee list and a communications distribution list.

[3] Create an agenda.  Do not ever arrange a meeting without a written agenda.  Your meeting will suffer scope creep in the worst possible way.

[4] Identify who will run the meeting and who will take notes.  It should not be the same person.

[5] Circulate the completed agenda and collateral documentation prior to the meeting.  Have some on hand in the event people don’t bring their own copies to the meeting.

[6] Provide different means of attending the meeting.  e.g. In person, via telephone, via web meeting.

[7] Start every meeting on time.  If you don’t start on time, how do you expect to finish on time?

[8] Ensure discussion points align to the agenda.  If they don’t, recommend taking the topic to another forum.

[9] End the meeting by having the note taker read back the discussion points and the understood action items.

[10] Send out the meeting minutes within one to two days.

Here are a few helpful hints for the next meeting you are invited to or attend.
[1]
Upon receiving an invitation, ask yourself if it is really necessary to attend this meeting.  It could be you just need to be kept informed.  Ask to be included on the meeting minutes distribution list rather then attending.

[2] If you are going to attend, arrive on time!  It is rude to walk into a meeting after it has started.  Have a little respect for the other attendees.  They found it important enough to arrive on time, why can’t you?

[3] Know which agenda items pertain to you prior to coming to the meeting.  Be prepared.

[4] Verify the published meeting minutes for accuracy.

I hope this helps you get the most out of your project meetings.  As an added bonus, I am including a link to my free Meeting Minutes Template.  You can also find it by navigating to my Free PM Templates page.

I welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Regards,

Derek