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Susan Lyle Dodia's Blog (19)

Top Project Management Stories of 2010

Here is my list of the big project management stories of 2010 and what lessons they offer for project managers.  At a glance, I think risk planning and perseverance are the take-aways.   And there are only 8 stories - project managers are all about efficiency, right?

1.  March 23 – Passage of the Healthcare Bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Regardless of what your opinion is on this legislation, the project of getting it passed was successful, and achieved…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on December 31, 2010 at 10:41am — No Comments

A Project Manager’s Guide to Analysis Paralysis

Well, I am late posting this blog because I couldn’t decide what to write about! You know what I am talking about – analysis paralysis, the bane of all project managers.

Wikipedia provides a good definition for the syndrome: “The term “analysis paralysis” or “paralysis of analysis” refers to over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation, so that…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on September 27, 2010 at 7:38pm — No Comments

A Quick Primer on Social Media for Project Managers

Let’s start with a definition of social media. According to Wikipedia, (and that’s an obvious place to go for…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on August 25, 2010 at 3:24pm — No Comments

Troubled Project Primer: What’s Going Right in the Gulf?

Since we are on the topic of troubled projects, I started thinking about what has now been branded the Deepwater Horizon Response Project. This situation has similarities to many project calamities one might encounter in the course of dealing with internal or external customer organizations. A customer organization messes up, BIG TIME, and you have to step in and turn it around.

In this case, the project manager is retired U.S. Coast Guard Adm.…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on July 25, 2010 at 7:24pm — 1 Comment

RIP: IT Project

It’s the end of the 2nd Quarter and the first half of the year, and for many organizations, it’s a time when projects and programs are reviewed and analyzed. Some will ultimately be nurtured: more money, resources, attention, whatever the scare resource is. Other projects and programs will not fare so well and will be terminated outright or “back-burnered”…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on July 9, 2010 at 8:44am — 1 Comment

Better Living Through Requirements Templates

In her blog last week, Cindy Vandersleen talked about the challenges of gathering requirements and how the devil is always in the details. I think many people would agree with this assessment; I know I do. My best practice for gathering a comprehensive set of project requirements is to build a Requirements Template, and this week I’d like to share with you some tips for creating a model that…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on June 23, 2010 at 4:46pm — No Comments

Are You Really Developing Your Project Team?

We all know that developing the project team is a responsibility of the project manager. In broad strokes, we know that “developing the project team improves the people skills, technical competencies, and overall team environment and project performance”. (Project Management Book of Knowledge, 4th Ed., pg 230).

We know that it’s important to put some effort into the team dynamics. We plan team building activities, and can find a plethora of ideas on how to use team building…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on June 9, 2010 at 4:26pm — No Comments

Celebrity Apprentice Episode 7: Fruit Basket Turnover

This week’s episode of Celebrity Apprentice offered a lesson for project managers the world over about recognizing the power of mixing up stagnant teams.

The guys had been doing pretty well as a team and had learned to play to each other’s strengths after the first six episodes. The women, not so much. Cyndi’s initial flakiness has progressed to outright boorishness. Holly continues to grate with her sledgehammer finesse. Maria takes things too personally and Summer is the…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on April 29, 2010 at 9:34am — No Comments

Celebrity Apprentice Episode 5: Don’t Confuse Kindness with Weakness

After five episodes, the stress of the show is taking its toll on both teams. The ladies are not nearly as courteous as they were when they started, and are eager to comply when The Donald sets them up to throw each other under the bus in the Board Room. The guy’s team, no longer forming or storming, has moved on to norming, the stage where team members adjust their behaviors to the team dynamics. In this week’s episode, Curtis provided strong leadership for Rocksolid. After weeks of…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on April 14, 2010 at 10:22pm — 4 Comments

Celebrity Apprentice Episode 3: Girls Behaving Badly

This week’s Celebrity Apprentice was an object lesson for just how badly people can handle conflict. Women are particularly guilty of avoiding conflict so they won’t have to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Cyndi Lauper has…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on March 31, 2010 at 3:53pm — 1 Comment

Celebrity Apprentice Episode 1: What’s The Big So What?

The premier of the third season of Celebrity Apprentice certainly provided lots of grist for the gristmill and the portent of intriguing things to come.

Several themes emerged during the first episode, which had the teams (divided by gender) run a New York diner for a few hours:

  • Cindi Lauper was an ineffective leader for the women’s team and Holly Robinson Peete demonstrated the concept of “emergent leadership” in the vacuum left in Lauper’s wake.
  • Bret Michaels,…

Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on March 17, 2010 at 10:59pm — No Comments

Celebrity Apprentice Blog Series

Sunday, March 14th marks the premier of the third season of Celebrity Apprentice on NBC at 8:00 PM CST. The only show on television, scripted or unscripted, about the discipline of project management, it is fascinating for those of us who toil in the trenches of the triple constraint. The celebrity quotient just makes it that much more…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on March 10, 2010 at 7:21pm — No Comments

Techniques for Creative Team Thinking: Multi-Voting

Multi-Voting is a useful technique for helping your team rank or prioritize a list of options. It is particularly useful if the first choice or top priority is clear, but you can’t get your group to agree on the 2nd and subsequent priorities.

The basic premise is quite simple: each participant gets to cast multiple votes on a list of options. If the list is static, one not generated by the group, this can even be done before a brainstorming meeting.

The Card…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on March 2, 2010 at 9:50pm — No Comments

Techniques for Creative Team Thinking: Attribution Analysis

Attribution Analysis is a great method to use when you need to guide your team through the exercise of generating ideas. In the process, you may challenge some of the assumptions you’ve made about the nature of the problem you are trying to tackle and the realm of possible options you have for solving it.

Again, I will reference Team Troubleshooter: How to Find and Fix Team Problems by Dr. Robert Barner for a description of Attribution Analysis: “With this technique,…


Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on February 15, 2010 at 9:39am — No Comments

Techniques for Creative Team Thinking: Affinity Diagrams, Brain Writing and the Plus/Delta Technique

In my last blog, I talked about the Nominal Group Technique, a quick and painless way to guide your team through a brainstorming task. Each team member gets a stack of Post It notes (or index cards or scraps of paper or whatever is available) and 5 or 10 minutes to silently and anonymously write down as many ideas as they can think of, with one idea per note card. When the time is up, the meeting facilitator (i.e., the Project Manager – you) collects the artifacts, reads them all aloud, and,… Continue

Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on January 27, 2010 at 7:19am — 2 Comments

Techniques for Creative Team Thinking: Nominal Group Technique

If you are like most people charged with running a meeting, you find the same group dynamics are in play meeting after meeting after meeting. You have someone who won’t talk and another who won’t stop talking and everyone else falls somewhere in the middle.

Dr. Paul Paulus at the University of Texas at Arlington has studied and written about group task performance and creativity. He has determined that groups are less productive than individuals, if left to their own… Continue

Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on January 14, 2010 at 6:00am — 2 Comments

Techniques for Creative Team Thinking: De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

My New Year’s Resolution is to focus on creativity this year. Even though today is only December 31, there is no time like the present! So, let’s get started.

For the next few weeks, I will be blogging about how we, as project managers, can help our project teams think more creatively. In my last blog, I looked at the systems and causes of teams that are in a creativity crisis. Today, I offer the first technique for helping your team break out of a creativity rut. I will follow with… Continue

Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on December 31, 2009 at 10:10am — No Comments

Building a Creative Project Team

It’s that time of year again. Whether you believe in New Year’s Resolutions or not, most people are reflecting on the last year and thinking about what we might do differently in the coming year.

My goal for 2010 is to think more creatively. Every organization, including my own, is challenged with doing more with less. We are dared to increase sales, revenue, customer satisfaction or efficiency, while reducing costs, headcount, and anything else that can be reduced. Finding a new way… Continue

Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on December 17, 2009 at 1:27pm — No Comments

Improving Project Team Accountability

Communicating about tasks, roles and responsibilities takes up a great deal of time for most project managers. After communicating, a project manager documents and tracks task assignments in a project plan. So everybody has something to do, and the plan forward is clear to all. But how do you translate those task assignments into a real sense of ownership by individual team members? How do you make sure that each member of the project team feels accountable for the project’s success, not just… Continue

Added by Susan Lyle Dodia on December 3, 2009 at 12:34pm — No Comments

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